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Thursday, 28 May 1914


Senator PEARCE - We were just as busy then with important measures.


Senator FINDLEY - It is perfectly true, as Senator McColl said, that we had a comprehensive policy - a policy which before the elections were decided in 1910 we had pledged ourselves to carry into effect, provided that the party came back with a majority in each House. We introduced measures into both Chambers on the lines of our policy, and passed them. We put up a record which, in my opinion, both for quantity and quality is unparalleled in the history of this Parliament, and unparalleled, too, in the history of any other Parliament in the world. Many statements have been made that we did not carry out the promises we gave in respect to Protection. It has been stated by the Leader of the Senate and by Senator McColl that the Labour party did nothing in respect to Protection during the time they were in office. The Fisher Government did all that they promised to do. In 1910 Mr. Fisher made a speech in Melbourne, and he also delivered speeches in the other State capitals. What did he say to the people on behalf of the Labour party?

We were never in doubt about this - that where we could incorporate the principle of protecting the workers as well as employers, we were ready, and are ready, to give them, not only reasonable protection, but the Australian market.

In furtherance of that policy the Labour party submitted to the people a referendum in 1911, when the electors were told what our policy was and what we desired by the submission of the referendum. We wanted the people to say " yes " to our proposals, and we gave them an assurance that if they did say " yes " we would introduce Protection of the most comprehensive kind.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Yet they turned you down.


Senator FINDLEY - I cannot help that.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - It shows what confidence they had '-a you.


Senator FINDLEY - We assured the electors that if they said " yes " to our proposals we would give the Australian manufacturers the Australian market, and also extend to Australian workmen and workwomen the best possible industrial conditions. We gave them this further assurance, that we would prevent a continuance of the exploitation of the consumers then going on. As Senator Gould has interjected, notwithstanding these assurances on the part of +he Fisher Government, the majority of the citizens of Australia turned down our propositions. While we were in office we were not idle. I ask any fair-minded man sitting on the other side to say whether it would have been possible for us to have the Tariff ripped up, lock, stock, and barrel, and passed to the satisfaction of the Australian community, iri addition to the work we had performed, and in the face of the referenda?


Senator PEARCE - There was only one session after the referenda.


Senator FINDLEY - Yes. Another election came along; the Fisher Government made an appeal to the electors, and Mr. Fisher, as Prime Minister, made this definite pronouncement in his policy speech delivered in Maryborough in March, 1913-

The Tariff as originally imposed in 1901 and since amended, though working fairly well on the whole, seems to call for readjustment to more effectually encourage Australian industries.

The policy of the Labour party has been and is along the lines of the New Protection.

Legislation instigated by the Labour party and passed by the Parliament in 1906 has been in the Excise (Agricultural Machinery) Act declared by the High Court invalid. Until 'the

Constitution is amended nothing can be done to give effect to that policy.

Protection of the workers in protected industries cannot be assured while protection of the consumer, i.e., of the community generally, is quite impossible. We therefore most strongly urge tbat the amendments of the Constitution now before you should be approved, in which case we shall take immediate steps to put the policy of New Protection into force and give such protection to the community and the workers as may be necessary.

Should the people, however, decide not to take to themselves, through their Federal Parliament, these powers, the Government pledges itself to take an early opportunity to amend the Tariff to give effective protection to Australian industries.


Senator Oakes - What did Mr. Hughes say when the question of Tariff reform cropped up ? Was there not a difference of opinion in your party?


Senator FINDLEY - There is no difference of opinion amongst the members of our party in regard to that plank in our platform, namely, new Protection.


Senator Oakes - I admit that.


Senator FINDLEY - The majority of the electors, by a very small margin, placed their confidence in those who are mow sitting on the Ministerial benches. A remark made by Senator McColl this afternoon will live and keep. He said that if the Government had introduced Tariff reform during this or the last session of Parliament, it would have given the Labour members an opportunity of talking ad libitum, and would have blocked the business of the country. Therefore, according to the honorable senator, Tariff reform is not the business of the country. I think that the average intelligent citizen is more seriously concerned about the establishment of Australian industries and the giving of employment to Australians, than they are about that piece of piffle known as the Government Preference Prohibition Bill, a measure for which there is no warrant, because that which Ministers propose to do by law has already been done by an administrative Act. Senator McColl made the statement here to-day that it would have been blocking the business of the country if the Government had introduced a measure of Tariff reform.


Senator McColl - I said it would be at the present time.


Senator FINDLEY - The honorable senator did not say anything about the present time. He said it would have been blocking the business of the country. Therefore, according to the honorable senator and his colleagues, it is more urgent to introduce a Bill which is not important, according to the Prime Minister himself, than it is to introduce a measure of Tariff reform which is of vital interest to every citizen.


Senator McColl - What I said was this-


Senator FINDLEY - Never mind; I know what the honorable senator said. He need not try to " crayfish " out of what he did say. Suppose that this Free Trade Cabinet all at once became converts to Protection, and were successful in giving adequate Protection to Australian manufacturers in another place, and that their measure reached this Chamber. What sort of a reception will a Protectionist Tariff receive at the hands of the high priests of Free Trade on the bench opposite ? Senators Millen, Oakes, and Gould won their elections in New South Wales in May last mainly by reason of their violent opposition to a Protectionist Tariff.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - The honorable senator is mistaken.


Senator FINDLEY - I am absolutely correct in that statement. I haveread much literature that was published in connexion with the elections that were decided in May of last year, and I know that the electors of New South Wales were implored to vote for Senators Millen, Oakes, and Gould, in order to reduce the high cost of living, which they were informed was due to Customs taxation.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir. AlbertGould. - I think the honorable senator is romancing.


Senator FINDLEY - I am not romancing at all. These are the gentlemen who are going to support a Protectionist Tariff when it reaches this Chamber. There are, in all, seven honorable senators on the other side, and I have named three who are out-and-out Free Traders, and make no bones about it.


Senator Oakes - Hear, hear ! The best speech for Free Trade I ever listened to was delivered by Senator Pearce.


Senator FINDLEY - The votes given by Senator Pearce on the Tariff speak for themselves, and show that he was a better Protectionist than many who proclaim themselves to be Protectionists. There are three honorable senators on the other side who are out-and-out Free Traders, and Senator Clemons makes the fourth out of the seven. Then we have Senator McColl, who is a half-and-half Protectionist. I do not know the fiscal faith of Senator Bakhap, but some one has said that the honorable senator is a fiscal atheist. There is, then, only Senator Keating to be accounted for, and I believe he could be relied upon to vote for Protectionist duties. Four of the seven have declared themselves violently hostile to a Protectionist Tariff. There is one doubtful Protectionist in the person of Senator McColl. I have no doubt that the honorable senator would support Protectionist duties for metropolitan industries, but the rural inhabitants looking to him for Protection would find him a Free Trader. There are, then, only two or three honorable senators opposite upon whom the Government would have to depend for the passage of a Protectionist Tariff through this Chamber. In the circumstances, how, in the name of all that is good, the people of Australia could have been so blind as they showed themselves to be at the last elections passes my comprehension.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - The clearness of their vision will be seen later on.


Senator FINDLEY - If the Government introduce a Tariff Bill, it will be later on. This is the linger-on and lateron Government. Senator McColl said, " We have a great policy," and a man up at Echuca asked him, " Where is it?" The honorable senator replied, " We shall give it to you later on." Supposing that later on the Government do introduce a Tariff Bill proposing the imposition of higher duties, who will carry it in this Chamber? It must be carried by honorable senators on this side who are genuine Protectionists.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - What are they now?


Senator FINDLEY - They always have been genuine Protectionists, so far as new Protection is concerned. The majority of the members of the. Labour party are Protectionists. No member of the party would have the slightest chance of winning a seat in Victoria - Federal, State, or municipal - if he was not prepared to support the Protectionist policy of the State.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould -The honorable senator knows that the Labour party left the fiscal question an open question.


Senator FINDLEY - I know that the present Government would not be. in power to-day if it were not for the allegations made against some gentlemen who were members of the Senate and of another place that they were false to their promises in the matter of Protection. I venture to say that we lost Corio, Indi, and, probably, Corangamite because of the vitriolic attacks made by the Age on the members of our party who previously represented those constituencies, on the ground that they had gone back on their Protectionist principles. They had done nothing of the kind. The present Government are in power mainly as a result of the efforts of the newspapers supporting them. The official organ of Liberalism in this State, the Argus, is a Free Trade newspaper, whilst the Age professes to be a Protectionist newspaper.


Senator Pearce - It is not their official organ.


Senator FINDLEY - It is not. Although the Age professes to be a Protectionist newspaper, it "belted" our party hip and thigh, and gave support to wishy-washy Protectionists. What did the gentleman who now represents that constituency say? He said that the woollen mills, the rope works, the engineering works, the salt works, and the timber mills were all struggling because they were insufficiently protected, and there were hundreds of men out of work. He gave this pledge to the electors of Corio, and, without a shadow of a doubt, it won him the seat -

I pledge myself to support during the first session of the Parliament a revision of the Tariff, to adjust the many anomalies which now exist, and also to put thousands of men now unemployed into profitable employment in manufacturing Australia's raw material into the finished article.

The honorable gentleman went further, and said -

If the Government will not introduce a Tariff Bill I shall raise the question in the House myself.

He will raise the question! Why, the honorable gentleman is not allowed to whisper. When he was before the electors of Corio he violently thundered, and the echoes of his voice could be heard over Corio Bay. He was an out-and-out Protectionist, and when he was told that Mr. Cook was a Free Trader, and was asked what he would do if the Cook party were returned to power, and did not introduce a Tariff Bill, he said, " I shall raise the question myself." The honorable gentleman dare not whisper the word "Protection" in another place.


Senator O'Keefe - Being the Government's majority of one, he could have forced the question on them.


Senator FINDLEY - Of course he could. The present is a very peculiar Government. They have a majority of only one in another place, and, whereas it is usual for Governments to have a majority behind them, the present Government have their majority in front of them.


Senator Needham - In the Chair.


Senator FINDLEY - I do not know where he is at times, but he is mostly in front of them. The Age told the electors of Indi that if Mr. Ahern were elected, and Mr. Parker Moloney rejected, the result would be that industries would spring up on the KingRiver and the Ovens River like mushrooms, during a night. If honorable senators go through the Indi electorate to-day they will find hundreds of electors who were deluded by the promises which were made to them and the assurances which the socalled Protectionist newspaper, the Age, gave them, that if they voted for Mr. Ahern Protection would be all right. The Age finds out to-day that Protection is not all right, and that they should never have deserted the party that has always been faithful to the Protectionist policy of this country. When it is said that the Labour Government did nothing during the time they were in office, the statement is incorrect, because we did much. I propose to read a statement of what we did, in order that the people of Australia may know the facts. It may be somewhat tedious for honorable senators to listen to it, but I intend to read the statement all the same, that Imay get it into Hansard. I ask honorable senators to do me the special favour not to interject while I am reading it, in order that it may appear in tabulated form, so that the readers of Hansard may be able to see at a glance what we did during our term of office for the industries of Australia, in addition to the record we put up in connexion with national undertakings.

Sitting suspended from 6.27 to 8 p.m.


Senator FINDLEY - When the sitting was suspended I was remarking that I desired to place on record inHansard the substantial good which the Fisher Government accomplished from a Protectionist view-point whilst they were in office. I propose to read a list of the items which are dealt with in the Customs Tariff Acts of 1910 and 1911. They are as follow: -

 

 

 

That long list is, I think, an answer to honorable senators opposite, who have declared many times that the Fisher Government did nothing in the interests of the manufacturers of Australia, and that by no action taken by them was the Protectionist policy of the country advanced. I say that we did much to further the Protectionist interest in Australia. The present Government, in their Ministerial statement of policy last year, committed themselves to a declaration that - i

In the meantime, any anomalies discovered in the existing Tariff will be dealt with.

The people of Australia naturally believed that they would act up to that promise. They have now been in office for twelve months, and will any man say that our present Tariff is so perfect - if it is, it is a great compliment to the Fisher Ad- ministration - that it contains no anomalies? On the other hand, if anomalies do exist in it, why have not the Government introduced a Tariff Anomalies Bill? They would find no stronger supporters of any proposal for the rectification of such anomalies than honorable senators upon this side of the chamber. They say that they have' referred the matter to the Inter-State Commission. That is a wonderful institution. I noticed the other day that the Premiers had a conference and decided to refer the break of gauge question to the Inter-State Commission. It has been at work for nearly twelve months, and up to the present we have had no public communication from it. The Prime Minister says we must not hurry it or interfere with it. Is it above Parliament and above the people?

I understood that the people were" supreme, and that Parliament was above any institution it created. The Commission is not likely, unless asked to get a move on, to present any report for a considerable time, and the people are expected to remain silent while this inactivity continues. Who are its members? I am not going to find fault with them as citizens, but I have my doubts about the personnel of the Commission from a Protectionist point of view. The chairman is Mr. Piddington, and I have heard it said that he is a single taxer. He has a perfect right to his .fiscal opinions, but, if that is so, he cannot honestly have very much sympathy with the Protectionist policy of Australia. I believe Mr. Lockyer to be a sound Protectionist, but I have very grave doubts about Mr. Swinburne being a Protectionist. I believe .him to be a Revenue Tariffist. It is a very funny thing that, at the time of the appointment of Mr. Swinburne, there was trouble up at the State House. The socalled Liberal party were in the danger zone; Mr. Swinburne was the man of the hour, and Senator McColl made tracks from the Commonwealth buildings to the State Parliament building to interview him at this crisis. It has been said that the so-called Liberal party of Victoria wanted to get rid of Mr. Swinburne because he was dangerous to them, and there was every reason to believe that at that particular time, if the Watt Government had been up-ended, Mr. Swinburne would have been the man to take up the reins. The Inter-State Commission is now travelling from one end of Australia to the other, no doubt doing its work well as a Commission; but are the manufacturers and the industries of Australia going to suffer by excessive importations while it drags along at a snail's pace? If it was asked by the Government to get a move on, and present a progress report, I warrant that it would soon forward a progress report, particularly with respect to the anomalies in the existing Tariff; but the Government are indisposed to do anything of the kind.


Senator Stewart - 1 The Government have given it the wink to go slow.


Senator FINDLEY - They have not given it the tip to get a move on. The Government deserve the severest condemnation for not keeping their promises to the citizens with regard to the introduction of a Bill for the rectification of Tariff anomalies, and I am satisfied that the people have got their measure by this time. The people know by now that they can obtain no relief from them from a Protectionist point of view.

Senator McCollmade a serious remark this afternoon regarding the erection of meat works at Brisbane by a company said to be identical with the American Meat Trust. He said he was very glad that a Liberal Government was not in power when the application for permission to erect these works was made. Does he mean that if a Liberal Government had been in office they would have refused the desired permission? That is a plain, straightforward question. The honorable senator remains silent because he has no answer to it. The Government know that they could not refuse such an application from a company so long as it complied with the State laws with regard to sanitation and building conditions generally. Mr. Tudor was at that time Minister of Trade and Customs. During his term of office he received many applications from different parts of Australia for the erection of cool-storage establishments. Probably one of the last to make application was this company. He could not refuse the application, and there is no power in the Constitution to enable this or any other Government to prevent even a branch of the Beef Trust starting in one State in Australia. Senator McColl knows this, or, if he does not, he ought to. He had no justification whatever for attempting to make the point that he tried to make this afternoon at the expense of the exMinister of Trade and Customs and at the expense of the Labour party


Senator de Largie - And at the expense of truth.


Senator FINDLEY - He ought to be careful in regard to statements that he makes from time to time that have not the semblance of truth about them. This tarradiddle about the Labour party granting permission to- the Beef Trust to establish itself in Australia has been trotted out in another place, but the AttorneyGeneral himself put the position very clearly in these words during the last week or two -

Let us look at the matter with eyes cleared of the film of prejudice. If we find a man spending £200,000 on the erection of a thoroughly up-to-date meat works, intending to buy up cattle for the purpose of exporting meat, can we say to him, "What you are doing is what we should thoroughly approve of and encourage in any one else. But as you are named ' Swift,' and in combination with others have done certain very wrong things in America and the Argentine, we intend to stop your operations here " ? The ex-Minister of Trade and Customs will agree with me that that is impossible.

No clearer statement could be made to show the impossibility of Mr. Tudor withholding his . permission when the application was made, even though he might have been of the opinion at the time that the company was a branch of the American Meat Trust. When the members of the Government try to make capital out of this incident, they are playing the game very low down indeed.


Senator de Largie - If Mr. Tudor did wrong, why do they not put it right?


Senator FINDLEY - Mr. Tudor did not do wrong. He did the only thing he could have done in the circumstances. He granted applications from time to time to different companies for the erection of up-to-date meat works for exportation purposes, ana this was one of the latest applications received during the Fisher Government's term of office. If the company is doing harm and mischief to the people, it is the duty of the Government to institute a prosecution against it, instead of finding fault with the ex-Minister for granting an application which he could not refuse. The Government has appointed Mr. Justice Street as a Royal Commission tq inquire into the trusts, combines, and monopolies of Australia. No one knows better than they do that the labours of the Commission cannot result in any substantial good being done to the people, because the Commissioner will have no power to compel witnesses to divulge anything with respect to any business outside the Commonwealth, and so long as the company is established in one State only, the inquiry will be resultless

The Prime Minister has said that this is to be a short session. He says it is being held for the one purpose of bringing about a double dissolution. The Prime Minister has said to the friends and supporters of the Government - by these he probably means the trusts and combines and all the other monopolistic institutions in Australia - "Get ready; there will be an early appeal to the people, and we will take our own time." I thought we were working under a written Constitution, and that the King's representative had something to say as to whether there should or should not be a single or double dissolution. In attempting to influence and coerce the Governor-General into interpreting the Constitution in their way only, the Government are playing with fire. The Constitution is the result of serious and careful consideration on the part of the delegates to the Federal Convention, and there would have been no Federation if the smaller States had not been given a guarantee of protection by way of equal representation in the Senate. They would never have come into the Federation had it not been for that promise. But the present Government say in effect, "Although you are in the Federation, we will bring about a double dissolution on questions which are not important, because the Constitution provides for a double dissolution in the event of certain things happening, and, with a double dissolution, we are hopeful of altering the personnel of the Senate." Does any honorable senator in his sane moments believe 'that 'the Government can increase its number in this Chamber from seven to nineteen ? Does the Government believe that it can wipe out, by a double dissolution, its minority of twentytwo here? If it does it is safe to say that in another place, where the Labour party is in a minority of one, it will be able to turn that minority into, at least, a majority of one. Holding that belief, and stretching one's imagination to suppose, although the thing is unthinkable, that the Labour party. would find itself in a minority in this Chamber, there must, after the first' appeal, be another double dissolution, because the Government would be in a minority here. According to the doctrine laid down by the present Government, every time a Ministry is in a minority here, there must of necessity be a double dissolution. If that is the correct reading of the Constitution, the smaller States were lured into the Federation under false pretences, because once that precedent is established the representation of the smaller States disappears for all time, the Federation becomes a farce, and the Senate Chamber may as well be forthwith shut up. Where, then, does the protection to the smaller States come in? It absolutely disappears for all time. In my judgment, the framers of the Constitution never had such an idea in their heads, or the people of Australia either, that because there should be a difference, not between Houses, but between parties, the party in power could send both Houses to the country. Why does the Government want a double dissolution? Does it want a double dissolution merely for the sake of wanting it, or does it want a double dissolution because it says that the Constitution lays it down that it can be had?


Senator Stewart - They want it because they need a majority here.


Senator FINDLEY - That confirms the statement I made just now that, because the Government is in a minority here, there must be an election, and the Senate must be destroyed. If that is the reading of the Constitution it might as well be torn up, the shutters put up in front of this building, and the States told that they were induced to come into the Federation under false pretences.


Senator Millen - If you do not let the Government have a double dissolution, you might as well shut up the other House.


Senator Oakes - By a double dissolution you will not destroy the Senate, but the personnel.


Senator FINDLEY - If the Senate is to be told every time that there is a difference between the parties, "Unless you do what the Government in another place desire, there must be a double dissolution," the existence of the Senate is absolutely farcical. Senator Millen wants a double dissolution, because he says that the Senate is unworkable. Why is it unworkable? Is it unworkable because it has failed to pass the Tariff ? No. Senator McColl said to-day that if a Tariff had been introduced it would be blocking the business of the country, so that, according to the honorable senator, the people of the country are not concerned about the Tariff, but are concerned about a midget measure that the man in the street laughs at, the so-called abolition of preference to unionists. Mr. Irvine, the AttorneyGeneral, said -

There could be no more clean-cut line of demarcation between the two parties than the question of preference to unionists, and it was on that question that the Ministry was prepared to challenge their opponents before the whole of the people of Australia.

On this question Mr. Irvine said that the Government is prepared to challenge the people of Australia. Senator Millen, the Leader of the Government here, has said that it wants a general election because the Senate is unworkable. Let us see what the Prime Minister has said, for it is a three-voiced Cabinet. Speaking at a social to the State AttorneyGeneral on the 26th March, the Prime Minister said -

I am alluding particularly to a speech which I read this morning, in which I am being solemnly warned that when we go to the country we should not go on such questions as the postal vote and prohibition of preference to unionists. Who in the name of heaven ever suggested that we should go on that alone? The notion is preposterous, and how it should have got into the brains of people I cannot understand. I think it would be absolute folly for us to go to the country on such questions as these.

The Attorney-General has said that the abolition of preference to unionists is the question on which the Government desires to face the people, but the Prime Minister has said that it would be absolutely silly and foolish to go on these unimportant issues.


Senator Millen - Alone.


Senator FINDLEY - On what else has the Government a right to go to the country?


Senator Millen - A great deal.


Senator FINDLEY - This is a new doctrine. The country does not know the other reasons.


Senator Millen - Yes, it does.


Senator FINDLEY - Can the Government, on measures which they say are unimportant, and on which, according to them, it would be silly to go to the country, get a double dissolution from the King's representative, and then go to the country not on the matters which caused the trouble because it says that these are not important, but on something altogether foreign to the issues which created the so-called dead-lock ?


Senator Senior - And something that has not been before the other House.


Senator FINDLEY - This attitude on the part of the Government is an extraordinary one. It has had ample opportunity to introduce legislation which would have been beneficial to Australia had it felt so disposed. It is perfectly true that the Government introduced a Bill in another place to amend the Electoral Act, but there was so much limelight shed on that iniquitous measure that the Government was shamed into withdrawing it because one of its provisions meant the abolition of the secrecy of the ballot for which men sacrificed their lives and their liberties in days gone by; a provision that every person's ballot-paper had to be numbered, and every person who was possessed of a ballot-paper had to attach his signature. The Government know that there was no more chance of that Bill being carried than there is of any member of it flying into heaven. Consequently the Government withdrew the Bill, and introduced this midget measure known as the Government Preference Prohibition Bill. The time of this country has been wasted on something which, since the day the Government came into power, has not affected a man, woman, or child in the community.


Senator Russell - Are you aware that the Home Affairs Department now sends out to applicants for employment letters asking them if they are members of a union, and that if so they do not get a job?


Senator FINDLEY - That is a very serious statement. It is the first I have heard of the matter, but I would not be surprised at anything being done by members of the Cabinet, because it is well known that they have no time for legitimate unionism. They are in office because of the financial and political support accorded to them from time to time by big employers who have financed their organization, who believe in freedom of contract, and have no time for legitimate unionism. The Government said it was going to amend the Arbitration Act, so as to prevent the rural workers from having access to the Federal Arbitration Court. Why should these men be treated differently from any other class of workers ? Why should we differentiate in our treatment of the worker between the town and the country ?


Senator Stewart - Because if the rural worker gets high wages land values will go down.


Senator FINDLEY - The rural worker, generally speaking, is the most poorly paid worker, and one of the hardest worked men in Australia. His hours are inordinately long, . and the conditions under which he lives are different altogether from those under which the city or town worker lives.


Senator de Largie - And the Government is going to keep him in that deplorable position.


Senator FINDLEY - The Government has no chance of doing that, because the rural workers are organizing, and seeing that the Government says it prefers to leave the fixing of their wages and industrial conditions to the State Parliaments. That is what Ministers say now, but was ever a voice raised by any honorable senator opposite in favour of organization amongst the rural workers until the Fisher Government made it possible for that class to have the same advantages in regard to arbitration as the city and town workers have ? There was never a whisper prior to that time that the rural workers ought to have these rights. Although the Government are trying to placate their friends in the country, the country people can see the writing on thewall. I take the following from the Argus of the 22nd May, which is headed " The Farming Industry ' ' -

Your executive is watching with interest for any development of the scheme of Federal control of industrial matters. It is obvious that some such development is inevitable. . . . Seeing that arbitration is inevitable, your executive urges upon all delegates and all local district councils to prepare for an arbitration contest. Hitherto we have been able to take a stand on the assertion that no dispute existed as between us and our employes, but it would be suicidal tactics to presume that a dispute is impossible, or even unlikely. Our time would be far better spent in preparing to put the circumstances of the great industry we control adequately before any tribunal before which we may be called.

That is the decision of the executive of the New South Wales Farmers and Settlers Association. A few months previously the members of that association were strongly opposed to the rural workers having an opportunity to appear before any Court. They felt that they should be in a position to do as they pleased, to work their men as long as they liked, and practically to enjoy, to the full, freedom of contract. But the farmers of New South Wales, in common with every sensible and clear-sighted person, see now that organization amongst all sections of the workers is inevitable. The rural workers are organized to-day. They are part and parcel of the Australian Workers Union. It would be in the best interests of the farmers of Australia to encourage the growth of these organizations that they might come under the Federal

Conciliation and Arbitration Act. What protection can be offered to the farmers of Australia while the rural workers are working under a Wages Board determination] No penalties are provided for a breach of a Wages Board determination. The rural workers, if working under a Wages Board determination of which they did not approve, might, if they felt strong enough, seize the psychological moment to strike, and a strike at such a time might mean the ruin of the farmer, and might be the means of putting him off his land. But if the rural workers and their employes are registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, -and an award is made by the Court, it will be binding upon the rural workers and on their employers, the producers, and in the event of such an award being broken those responsible for breaking it may be penalized.


Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Why are not the present Government penalized for breaking an award ?


Senator FINDLEY - What award?


Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The award in the linemen's case. The Government are paying the wages fixed by the award to blacklegs.


Senator FINDLEY - I do not intend to occupy any more of the time of the Senate on this motion. I feel that the present Government have been in possession of the Treasury bench far too long. Taking the membership of the two Houses together, the Government are in a big minority. The people of Australia expressed themselves through the ballot-box as in favour of the Labour party. By a strange paradox, although the Labour party have a majority of votes and a majority of members in this Parliament, they find themselves in Opposition, and the party that obtained a minority of votes, and has a minority of representation in this Parliament, occupies the Treasury bench. During the time the Government have been in office they have not made one legitimate effort to carry any measure of legislation that would be helpful to Australia. The two trumpery Bills they have introduced for the set purpose will, I feel sure, return upon them like a boomerang, because the people are sick and tired of their shadow sparring and sham fighting. If they had introduced something of a substantial character, of which the Labour party might be able to approve, or even something to which we might take strong ex ception, there might be some justification for their continued existence. But the fact that they have been in office for twelve months without doing anything to advance the interests of the people of Australia affords indisputable proof that they really ought to throw up the sponge. They have done nothing, and they ian do nothing. They talk about a double dissolution, but they have not a thousand to one chance of getting a double dissolution. The people are sick and tired of them, and the sooner the inevitable takes place - and that is, an early appeal to the electors by the members of another place - the better it will be for Australia. I am satisfied that an appeal to the electors will result in the return of a substantial majority of Labour members to another place, and with the majority which the Labour party have in the Senate, Australia will be safe in their hands, and progress will be possible.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [8.54]. - As one might have expected, Senator Findley indulged in a tirade against the Commonwealth Government as constituted to-day. The honorable senator has contended that the party to which 'he belongs have the confidence of the people, and the Government party have not their confidence. The only reply that need be given to that contention is a statement of the fact that the Liberal Government are in power to-day, and have been in power for the last twelve months. They were returned to power because Mr. Fisher, the Leader of the last Government, stated that he found that he was in a minority, and unable to carry on the business of the country. Senator Findley has said that a majority of the electors recorded their votes for representatives of the Labour party. That may be so in regard to the House of Representatives, but it is not so in respect cf the Senate. The anomaly in this Chamber is that, while only seven out of eighteen seats contested at the last elections were won by Government supporters, they represent a considerable majority of the electors of the country. It is well that honorable senators who talk a good deal about one vote one value, should bear in mind that the majority of the voters of Australia are behind the present Government. Senator Findley has said that he believes it would be a good thing to send the members of another place to the country, because he considers that the Labour party would come back with a majority; but he very prudently adds, " We do not wish to see the Senate, where Labour is so strongly entrenched as it is to-day, sent to the country." The Labour party have in this Chamber a majority of four to one. Honorable senators must realize that, under' our Constitution, the other Chamber is regarded as the people's House ; and but for that it would not be possible for the present Government to continue in office for a day. They are in an insecure position by reason of their lack of power in the Senate; and if it can be shown that government is impossible under existing circumstances, it is a fair thing, if the Constitution can be utilized for the purpose, to utilize it in such a way as to bring the position of affairs prominently before the GovernorGeneral, with whatever advice the Cabinet may see fit to tender him, and then let him form his own conclusions as to the action he should take. Senator Pearce, in dealing with this matter, spoke very strongly of the powers which might be exercised by the Governor-General. I am not going to dispute the powers possessed by the Governor-General in deciding to grant or withhold a dissolution of Parliament in any circumstances at the request of any Government. Senator Pearce, in referring to the intention of the members of the Federal Convention in framing section 57 of the Constitution, providing for a double dissolution in certain cases, interpreted the section in a very restrictive way, and I entirely dissent from his conclusions. It is a wellknown rule in the interpretation of Statutes that an Act must be read as a whole, and an endeavour made to harmonize differences appearing in the various sections. It is laid down clearly in the text-books that where there is any doubt or difficulty in the interpretation of the Statutes the most liberal construction is to be adopted. The weakness of the speech made by Senator Pearce lies in the fact that the honorable senator attempted to impose restrictions upon the Constitution which are not manifest, and which, I contend, cannot fairly be read into it. He took up the position that the section dealing with a double dissolution is applicable to financial provisions, and those alone. He argues that only upon financial matters the other Chamber is the superior authority. Honorable senators are aware that there is a manifest endeavour in the Constitution to give the two Houses of the Federal Parliament coequal powers in most matters. The members of the Federal Convention, while desiring to maintain the dominance of the House of Representatives in financial matters, were very careful to build up a strong Senate for the representation of the States in this Parliament. How has that been done? First of all, certain Bills must be introduced in another place after a message.


Senator de Largie - Surely the honorable senator does not contend that the socalled test Bills are financial Bills?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- No; I shall refer to them directly. In section 53 of the Constitution it is provided that -

Proposed laws appropriating revenue or money, or imposing taxation, shall not originate in the Senate; but a proposed law shall not be taken to appropriate revenue or moneys, or to impose taxation, by reason only of its containing provisions for the imposition or appropriation of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or for the demand or payment or appropriation of fees for licences, or fees for services under the proposed law.

It is further provided that -

The Senate may not amend proposed laws imposing taxation, or proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government.

Later in the same section it is provided that -

The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting, by message, the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein. And the House of Representatives may, if it thinks fit, make any such omissions or amendments, with or without modifications.

No doubt it was desired that the Senate should possess the fullest powers to consider these matters. Though the Senate may not amend these Bills, it may suggest amendments which the other House will take into consideration and accept, modify or reject. The Senate was not placed in a helpless position, because it may decline to pass a Bill unless amendments it has suggested are accepted or modified in a form which the members of the Senate consider reasonable. That shows how desirous members of the Convention were that both Houses should be placed in a strong position. Other provisions were inserted in the Constitution prohibiting tacking in the case of financial measures, and vesting the Governor-General with certain powers. Then followed section 57, which reads -

If the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House or Representatives will not agree, and if, after an interval of three months, the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which hove b«en made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve "the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. But such dissolution shall not take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time.

I defy any honorable senator -to show me a more suitable place in the Constitution at which to insert a provision in regard to a double dissolution.


Senator Senior - It is very singular that it immediately follows the provisions which relate to financial matters.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Where else could it have been put? Having dealt with the general powers of Parliament, the framers -of our Constitution had to specify the way in which a certain limited number of matters should be dealt with. By all the rules of construction in regard to Statutes, it is perfectly clear that section 57 must be held to be applicable to all matters coming before Parliament for consideration. It has been urged that finance is at the root of responsible government. I admit that it is. But will honorable senators tell me that, in respect of any great matter of vital principle which was rejected by the Senate after having been approved by the other branch of the Legislature, it would be impossible to secure a double dissolution? Take, for example, the question of whether preference should be granted to unionists. Let us assume that the Liberal party in another place passed a measure declaring that no such preference should be granted under any conceivable circumstances.


Senator Senior - From a hypothetical case the honorable senator cannot draw certain conclusions.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Or let us assume that the House of Representatives was very strongly in favour of a scheme to promote immigration - a scheme which the Senate considered would be detrimental to the best interests of this country. Would not the difference between the two Houses be on a vital matter of principle, and do honorable senators opposite contend that it would be impossible to bring about a double dissolution in that event? The other branch of the Legislature might very well say that a certain system of immigration was a proper one to adopt, and this Chamber might not agree with it. For example, it would be possible for, say, the White Australia policy to be at stake.


Senator Ferricks - The honorable senator's party would wipe out that policy if they thought they could get the necessary measure through Parliament.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - In the case which I have cited, the two Houses would be opposed to each other on a matter of vital principle.


Senator Senior - Whilst the honorable senator is arguing from a hypothetical stand-point, he has not given a single reason why section 57 must be held to be applicable to all matters coming before Parliament.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I cannot do that at once. At present I am endeavouring to show that the view expressed by Senator Pearce the other day is a too restricted one.


Senator Senior - The honorable senator is arguing on a hypothesis, not on a reality.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - It is a reality in regard to one particular measure. My contention is that if a double dissolution can be secured on a measure of most important public policy, Senator Pearce's argument, that section 57 applies only to financial measures, is entirely destroyed.


Senator Senior - The logical conclusion, then, is that, a double dissolution can be secured in connexion with every little Bill.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Honorable senators may say that, but that is not my contention. Somebody else has to be consulted in regard to the granting of a double dissolution.


Senator Findley - The Government ought to realize that, too.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - And honorable senators opposite ought to recognise it. In an ordinary case of the defeat of a Government, the Governor-General has to exercise his own discretion as to whether their request for a single dissolution shall be granted. I am willing to concede that in the case of a request for a double dissolution, the position of the Governor-General would be just as strong. But he has to be guided by the circumstances surrounding each case, and one of his peculiar functions is to afford Parliament every opportunity of performing the work which it was elected to perform.


Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - And to see that the States have fair protection. This is an underhand way of taking that protection from them.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - If that be so, we must recollect that the provision was inserted by the Federal Convention, and was accepted by Tasmania after it had been placed in the Constitution.


Senator Pearce - Was the Convention providing for a set of conditions artificially created, or for a genuine difference of opinion between the two Houses?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I say that when certain things happen, it becomes necessary for the GovernorGeneral to exercise his own judgment. In my opinion, it was intended that his judgment should be exercised in cases in which some great principle was at stake.


Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - It would not then be an artificially-created crisis.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - When the Constitution was framed it was intended that the other House should be the dominant branch of the Legislature. When the Government in that Chamber send Bills to the Senate, if those Bills are of any importance, they have a perfect right to endeavour to work the Constitution in such a way as to bring about a double dissolution. What is the position to-day? In the other House the Government have a majority of one.


Senator O'Keefe - In the chair.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I do not care where it is. The honorable senator's own party could have had the chair if they had liked. They preferred to put their own man out of that position, in order that they might have another vote on the floor of the House. Last night Senator Stewart stated that the policies of the two rival parties in this Parliament were like fire and water, and that under no circumstances could they combine. That being so, what measure could the present Government hope to pass through this Parliament ?


Senator Findley - Why not introduce the Tariff. The honorable senator would then see what the Labour party would do.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- I will talk about the Tariff directly. If Parliament is to remain in its present condition, and the Government are to possess a majority of only one, they know that none of their legislation dealing with matters of Liberal policy will have a chance of passing through this Chamber. But my honorable friends opposite say, " Why not let members of the House of Representatives alone go to the country?" If that were done, and the Cook Government succeeded in securing a majority elsewhere, is it not clear that Labour would still occupy an entrenched position in this Chamber? In such circumstances, Ministers would be just as powerless as they are to-day. We are told that the Labour party is willing to help the Government if the latter will introduce non-party measures. That is to say, Ministers are invited to transform Parliament into a debating Chamber, and to sav to their opponents, " We want to pass suchandsuch a measure; will you permit us to do so?" I admit that the Government of the day could bring forward matters of that kind, but the great party which stands behind the Government in the country would turn round on them, and say, " You had not the courage of your convictions. You remained in power for three years for the sake of the emoluments of office, and had not the courage to test your position before the people." If a dissolution of the other Chamber were secured, and the Labour party won, well and good. They would have their working majority in both Houses; but if the Government succeeded, they would have a working majority in the other place and be in a minority here, so that the very position that we are in to-day would recur.


Senator McDougall - They are not supposed to have a majority here; this is a States House.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. The Opposition in another place moved a motion of censure on the Government the other day, and it failed. After a general election, in respect of the Lower House, the Government would be in exactly the same position as they are in to-day, and it would then be necessary either to have a mark-time period, during which none but administrative business would be done, or noncontentious or unimportant measures passed, until a general election took place--


Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - I should like to hear the honorable senator arguing the case for the Senate, if his party was in a majority here.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - It is quite sufficient for me to take the view I am taking at the present moment. It might so happen, having regard to the present constitution of the Senate, that there would not be a sufficient change to give the Liberal party a majority here, because of the equality of representation of the States in this House.


Senator Needham - Do you object to that?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I am not objecting to it. Pour years ago Labour swept the Senate polls, and also won twelve months ago so far as this Chamber was concerned. It is quite possible that a similar state of affairs might occur again, even after a double dissolution, but then we should have the assurance that every possible means had been taken to bring both Chambers into a working condition.


Senator Findley - If no change took place there would then have to be a joint sitting to consider what was to be done with the very measures with which we had already dealt.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- In that event, if the other House passed the same Bills, and this House rejected them again, there would have to be a joint sitting of both Houses, in which the majority would have to prevail. If, then, the decision of this House was affirmed, I do not know what would happen.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator recognises, then, that the double dissolution would not cure the position in regard to any other measure that might come forward. The only measures that | would be settled would be the two so- f called test measures.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I am well aware of that. That is one of the misfortunes of the whole position, but the probability is that there would be a change in the personnel of the Senate. If the Labour party is going to win all along the line next time, by all means let them; but if they are so firmly entrenched in the people's confidence, why are they not prepared to risk a double dissolution?


Senator McDougall - We are looking for it.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Like the man who is looking for work and praying that he will not find it. They have the idea that even if the Government recommend a double dissolution it may not be granted.


Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - In the representation of Victoria and New South Wales alone in this Chamber there is a majority of two to one against the Liberal party.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- Not at all. New South Wales woke up at the last election, and returned three Liberal senators. I admit that previously our people were a little careless and supine, and that, consequently, three Labour members were returned.


Senator Ferricks - How many Senate seats did the honorable member's party gain in New South Wales at the last election?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - We retained our three seats, and there was a difference of between 40,000 and 50,000 votes between our lowest candidate and the Labour party's highest. In the case of the House of Representatives we wrested five seats from the Labour party, and the Fisher Government, which had previously had a majority of ten or eleven, came back in a minority of one. A great deal has been said about the duties of the GovernorGeneral if a double dissolution is asked for. If it is asked for he will be called upon to consider, not merely the bare question of the Government Preference Prohibition Bill, but the power of Parliament, as at present constituted, to work.


Senator Pearce - Where do you find that?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - It is common sense. I dare say honorable senators opposite will laugh to acorn the idea of bringing common sense to bear on this question, but the Governor-General's duty is to see as far as he can that Parliament is a workable body, and that the people have a chance of making it so. As it stands to-day, it is absolutely unworkable, unless it is going to descend to the position of an ordinary debating society and discuss matters about which there is no party complexion whatever. We want to show that we have the people behind us, and are armed with a determination to pass into law the planks of our policy if we can only get their help. We are accused of doing nothing with regard to the Tariff. During the last election campaign I told the people that we had fought against a Protective Tariff in this Chamber, but recognised that we had been beaten two or three times, and that the people themselves had spoken in favour of a Protective policy. The question of Free Trade was not a burning question at the last election. We were prepared to leave things as they were.

SenatorO'Keefe. - The Liberal party said they would rectify anomalies as soon as possible.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I believe we also said we were quite prepared to rectify anomalies.


Senator O'Keefe - And they have refused to do that.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - We have not refused. What did the late Government do to rectify anomalies and give us a Protective Tariff? Senator Findley read out a long list of changes effected in the Tariff by the late Government. In introducing the Customs Tariff Bill - the Bill upon which Senator Findley is priding himself so much - in 1910 Mr. Tudor said in Committee of Ways and Means -

Thers were many deputations with the object of rectifying various anomalies which have arisen under the Tariff. I have prepared a schedule of these anomalies ; and, after submitting it to the Committee, will, before I sit down, move that it take the place, so far as it goes, of the Tariff which has been in operation until to-day. Many honorable members, I have no doubt, will be disappointed because particular items in which they are, perhaps, interested, are not included. I may say at the outset, however, that this rectification of anomalies is not regarded by the Cabinet as Tariff revision.

I believe the bulk of the people of Australia are Protectionists, because they believe that the conditions existing in Australia are superior to those existing in the countries which compete with us by sending their goods here. That is why this Parliament has placed ad valorem, or fixed duties, upon a number of articles; and it is to insure the workers their share of that increased Protection that the Cabinet have arrived at the decision that there shall not be any Tariff revision before the referenda, although the anomalies in existence shall be, as far as possible, rectified.

That shows clearly that the Government knew they were not doing anything in the interests of Protection by introducing that measure. In putting it before the Senate, Senator Findley said -

In the Governor-General's Speech at the commencement of the present session, a promise was made that a Bill for the rectification of Tariff anomalies would be introduced during the session. In fulfilment of that promise, I have much pleasure in moving the second reading of this Bill. Honorable senators are fully aware that there is a considerable difference between Tariff anomalies and Tariff revision. The questions are separate and distinct.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Do any of these amendments propose increases or decreases in the duties?


Senator FINDLEY - I shall get that information for honorable senators, but they are proposed for departmental convenience, and for the convenience, I understand also, of importers; if they involve any alteration of duty, it is so small as to be unworthy of serious consideration.

In face of that speech the honorable senator actually tells us to-night that the Government to which he belonged did much with regard to the Tariff. His own speeches show how little they did. The Government themselves said that they were not going to deal with the Tariff until the referendum had been taken. It was only as a drowning man would clutch at a straw that Mr. Fisher made the statement repudiated by many of his own supporters that if the referendum was not carried, the Government would bring in a Bill to increase duties.


Senator Findley - The honorable senator quoted my remarks on the amending Bill of 1910; but there was another amending Bill in 1911, which made a substantial increase in the direction of Protection.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The honorable senator has placed himself on the horns of a dilemma. He first told the country that the Fisher Government wanted the referendum passed before they dealt with the Tariff except to rectify anomalies. He now says that they were false totheir promise in that regard, and did bring in a Bill to increase duties. I have not had an opportunity of looking up the debate of 1911. When Mr. Fisher made the statement I have quoted regarding the introduction of increased duties in the event of the loss of the Referendum Bill, he thought it would help the Victorian Protectionists among his party; but some of them said that his pronouncement was not in accord with the policy as laid down by the Caucus, which seems to be allpowerful in these matters. Therefore, there is very little to be considered in that regard. Exception has also been taken to the Government calling upon the Inter-State Commission to deal with Tariff matters. Why was a Bill introduced to appoint that Commission, and why were powers given to the Commissioners if it was not intended that they should be used?


Senator Needham - There is any amount of work for the Commission to do, without revising the Tariff.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The powers, of the Inter-State Commission are set forth in very wide terms in section 16 of the Act. It is empowered to investigate, amongst other things -

(a)   the production of and trade in commodities;

(b)   the encouragement, improvement, and extension of Australian industries and manufactures;

(c)   markets outside Australia, and the opening up of external trade generally;

(d)   the effect and operation of any Tariff Act or other legislation of the Commonwealth in regard to revenue, Australian manufactures, and industry and trade generally.

A number of other powers is given by this section, with which I do not propose to trouble honorable senators just now. I want them to realize that the section authorizes the Commission to make the fullest possible inquiry in regard to Tariff matters, whether the rectification of anomalies or the increasing or the decreasing of the protective duties.


Senator Findley - The Government only wanted to get in out of the wet.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - It is all very well for the honorable senator to make that remark; but let me quote what was said by Mr. Hughes, who introduced the Inter-State Commission Bill. After he had spoken about the Bill which was introduced by the Deakin Government in 1909, he was asked to state in what respect his own measure differed from it, and, after explaining the difference, he said -

The scope of the Commission has been widened, in order that it may exercise, amongst other functions, those of a standard Commission of Inquiry. That, in itself, is a function becoming more and more necessary every day. . . The Commission may, for instance, investigate matters affecting the productionof and trade in commodities, the encouragement, improvement, and extension of Australian industries and manufactures, bounties paid by foreign countries to encourage foreign shipping, or the export trade, and the effect and operation of any Tariff Act or other legislation cf the Commonwealth in regard to revenue, Australian manufactures, and industry and trade generally. It may also inquire into matters affecting prices of commodities, profits of trade and manufacture, wages, and social and industrial conditions, and any other matter that may be referred to it by either House of the Parliament for investigation. Not only are its powers of investigation, as set forth in the Bill, very wide, but there is no limitation to the subjects that may be referred to it by resolution of either House of the Parliament.

Unquestionably, after the determination of the country with regard to the Tariff, it was desirable to end the interminable debates, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings that occurred under the old system, and to end the eternal lobbying of members by interested persons. It was, therefore, a wise and statesmanlike act to appoint a non-political body to investigate Tariff matters, not with the intention of strangling this Parliament, but with the intention of placing before it authoritatively reasons why certain changes should be made, whether by the increasing or the reducing of duties, the freeing of articles from duty, or the putting of duties on articles previously free.


Senator Mullan - Seeing that Parliament has finally to decide every Tariff proposal, cannot lobbying still go on?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Lobbying cannot be carried on with the same effect as previously, because a non-political body will have investigated the working of the Tariff. If members in either Chamber were so recreant to the duties that they are called upon to perform as to reject the results of the fullest inquiry, they should not be in Parliament.


Senator Findley - Does that mean that we must carry out the recommendations of the Commission?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - No. Honorable senators, having the full facts placed before them by a Commission - which, I hope, they will recognise as impartial and honest - will have a very much better idea as to the desirability of any changes that may be suggested by the Government of the day.


Senator Needham - Are we bound to accept the recommendations of the Commission ?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - No, but honorable senators will be bound to give due weight and fair consideration to the recommendations of the Commission. A little time ago Senator Findley took some exception to the personnel of the Inter-State Commission, but I do not know that there is any reason for that. The chairman was selected by Senator Findley and his colleagues in the last Ministry as a suitable man for a position on the High Court Bench, not simply because of his knowledge of law, but because also of the confidence which the people generally have in his uprightness of character and independence of judgment.


Senator de Largie - Can the honorable senator clear up the mystery as to why he did not go on to the High Court Bench ?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - 1 do not know why he did not. Personally, I felt that the Labour Government's opinion of the high character of Mr. Piddington was well deserved. I have known the chairman of the InterState Commission for a great number of years, in political life and elsewhere, and it would be impossible for him to do other than give an honest and fair judgment with regard to any matters that might come before him.


Senator Findley - He is a single taxer.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I do not care whether he is a single taxer, or a Protectionist, or a Free Trader. It is not desirable that on a motion of this kind we should discuss the qualifications of these gentlemen; but as they have been attacked I wish to point out that they are entitled to our confidence. Mr. Swinburne has been interested in political matters, but, Mr. Lockyer in his official position was sometimes under a Free Trader and sometimes under a Protectionist, his one object in life being to administer the law as he found it in an honest, conscientious, and proper spirit. We can place full confidence in the Commissioners, and it was a wise act to refer the Tariff to the Commission.


Senator Findley - When shall we get a report from them ?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- I do not know. When the Labour party formed its coalition or combination, it carefully left the Tariff an open question, so that each individual member might exercise his own judgment. Even when it closed up its ranks and formed a Government which lasted three years, it said, " New Protection is the thing which we are going to give, and we shall not propose a Protective Tariff until by referendum we have been given the necessary powers." Can we be surprised at that? Exception has been taken to the constitution of the present Government, but I ask, was not Senator Pearce a Free Trader? Did he not in his early days in this Chamber make one of the strongest speeches in favour of Free Trade? Did he not point out how the workmen would suffer if high protective duties were imposed here? There was not a more prominent Free Trader in the Parliament of New South Wales in his day than Mr. Hughes, the AttorneyGeneral of the Fisher Government. When Sir George Reid was at the head of affairs in New South Wales he would never hear of any opposition being offered to Mr. Hughes, because of his strong Free Trade proclivities and opinions. So it was that Mr. Hughes worked on, and got elected to this Parliament. So well were he and his friends able to manage the party that they staved off the Tariff question by saying, "If we do anything at all we must give equal opportunities to the consumer, the manufacturer, and the worker." Then take Mr. Thomas. He was another strong Free Trader in the New South Wales Parliament. In the Fisher Ministry there were, therefore, three strong Free Traders. When I look round the chamber now, I see other men who are still, I believe, Free Traders. Several members of the Labour party are strong Free Traders to-day.


Senator Gardiner - They fought side by side with Mr. Piddington when he beat Sir George Dibbs, who was then leading the Protectionist party in New South Wales.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Exactly. Honorable senators cannot take exception to the present Government on the ground that some of its Ministers are Free Traders. When a matter of policy has been determined by the country, it is assumed that every Government will accept that determination; unless, of course, some great change comes about which proves that the decision of the country was wrong, and that the situation has altered.


Senator Findley - Why does not the present Government get a move on, and do something with the Tariff?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The honorable senator harps on that; but, during three years of office, he did nothing to correct Tariff anomalies. The present Government have been in office for only twelve months. It has not had majorities to assist to pass legislation, yet the honorable senator asks why does it not introduce a Tariff? Why does it not do this, that, and the other? The first thing that the Government had to do was to see if it could clear the Augean stable of its predecessors. It found certain things requiring alteration, and honorable senators have tried to belittle measures which it has brought forward, the Postal Vote Restoration Bill, and the Government Preference Prohibition Bill. They say that these- measures are a mere nothing. One honorable senator said that the latter Bill is " piffle."


Senator Findley - So it is.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - What is the meaning of the fight in the other Chamber, week after week, if the Bill is " piffle " ? The Opposition has fought the Bill as hard as it could, in the belief that underlying it was the whole question of preference to unionists. The Bill deals with a state of affairs which I say is corrupt, politically, and which arose under the control of the preceding Government. That Govent,ment said, by Executive minute, that no man should have employment in the Commonwealth Service unless he was a unionist, and that, should it be necessary to reduce the number of hands, the nonunionists were to go first. It was time that action was taken to reverse that decision. No matter how strongly a unionist may be entitled to preference in ordinary circumstances, a Minister is called upon to act as a trustee for. not one section, but for every section of the community. All the people contribute to the revenue of the country. Al] are interested in its prosperity. There should be no ban or hindrance to prevent any man from getting Government employment on the ground that he is a unionist or a non-unionist. The Government is treating all men on a plane of equality in this regard. What was done under the Fisher Government was done by an Executive minute, but if the present Government went out of office tomorrow, and our friends opposite came into power, the latter would have the right, if they saw fit, to go back to what I regard as the very bad system of giving preference to unionists in Government employment.


Senator Needham - Could we not repeal the Act in the same way as we could revoke an Executive minute?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - You have to repeal the Act in the light of day. You do not proceed by an Executive minute made in a Minister's room ; but the public have an opportunity to hear the reasons for going back to a system which I believe to be a vicious one, and capable of bringing about corruption and " Tammany " practices, which not one member of this Parliament desires to see brought into existence.


Senator O'Keefe - Your Government did not give preference in the light of day.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - What have the Government done that was not done in the light of day?


Senator O'Keefe - They gave preference to contractors, and that was not done in the light of day.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - What nonsense! The Teesdale Smith contract has been the great subject upon which an attempt has been made to rally the opponents of the Government. They have tried the Government on this question, and the Government have been victorious. My friends will say that it was a party vote. I recognise that, and that if the matter were dealt with in the Senate the verdict would be given in another way, and also by a party vote. The Government have placed their cards on the table in this matter, and have told the country exactly what took place. Why should we debate the subject of the Teesdale Smith contract at the' present time when we have a motion on the business-paper to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the whole circumstances of the case. Honorable senators whom it is proposed to appoint to that Committee should wait until they see the witnesses and hear their evidence before they come to a conclusion on the subject one way or the other. When Senator O'Keefe talks about contracts being entered into privately, I remind him that there was a contract entered into for powellised sleepers that created a great scandal, and led to the appointment of a Royal Commission, from whom we may expect a report shortly.


Senator Findley - There is no parallel between a contract entered into with a Government and one entered into with a private individual.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - What about the contract for the supply of wireless apparatus? That was another case in which a contract was let without calling for tenders. I am not going to talk about the Teesdale Smith contract, but when honorable senators opposite attack the Government in connexion with it, I say that they are living in glass houses, and cannot afford to throw stones. They are dead politically, though I admit they might come to life again, and the people should know these things in order that they may be acquainted with the class of men who may ' be called upon to form a new Administration.


Senator Needham - We were never more politically alive than we are at the present time.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - We are all politically alive at present; whether we shall be politically dead later on is another matter. The Leader of the Opposition took grave exception to the present Government " grovelling." as he termed it, to the Premiers of the States.


Senator Gardiner - Hear, hear!


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - An honorable senator cheers that expression. But I ask where was the grovelling ? We should remember that while certain duties have been intrusted to this Parliament, the State Parliament has important powers with which we have no right to interfere. Whilst doing what we can to promote the prosperity of the country, we should, as far as possible, induce Commonwealth and

State Parliaments to work in harmony. Each should respect the rights of the other, and, in taking advantage of our rights, we should interfere with those of the State Parliaments as little as possible. The matters dealt with at the Conference of Premiers of the States, which are referred to in the Governor-General's Speech, are those dealing with the Murray waters question and the question of the conduct of Savings Bank business by the Commonwealth Bank and the State Savings Banks. These are matters of the greatest importance, and they cannot be dealt with solely by either the Federal or the State authorities. Our powers with regard to the control of waters are of a very limited character. We have power over navigation, but must not interfere with the right of the States for the conservation of waters for irrigation. The question of irrigation with the waters of the Murray is a matter of moment to the States immediately concerned, and to the Commonwealth. Attempts have been made on many previous occasions to have the matter settled, and we all realize that, in the interests of the country, it should be settled on fair and equitable grounds.


Senator Gardiner - Is it fair to ask Tasmania and Queensland to pay for its settlement ?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The settlement of the question can only be brought about by an agreement as to the quantity of water available for each of the States specially concerned, and this can only be provided for by a system of weirs and locks on the river. It was quite up to the Government of the Commonwealth to say to the State Premiers, " We recognise the need for having this matter settled, and are prepared to contribute a certain amount of the money derived from the people to bring about a settlement." It is true that Queensland may not be affected, and that Tasmania and Western Australia are very little concerned in it, except in so far as it makes for the general prosperity of the Commonwealth. The need of bringing the matter to a conclusion is admitted, and, in the circumstances, it is, in my opinion, wise that we should deal with it in the manner proposed by the Government. Honorable senators .should remember that if the whole control of waters in the Commonwealth had been placed in the hands of this Parliament, and the

Government had come down with a proposal of the kind suggested for the settlement of the Murray waters question, it would have had to he decided here on its merits as it will he under existing circumstances. A proposal involving the expenditure of £1,000,000 must be admitted to be an important one. It properly finds a place in the Governor-General's Speech, and should be discussed in this Parliament. On the question of the conduct of Savings Bank business, honorable senators will agree that a very large section of the community were opposed to the Commonwealth Bank opening a Savings Bank in opposition to the State institutions. We know that we could not shut up the State Savings Banks by legislation, and our opponents considered that the only way was for the Commonwealth Bank to enter into competition with them. Although the difficulty was pointed out, this Parliament gave the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank power to conduct Savings Bank business, and he has done so. He had the sympathy of the Labour Government in starting that branch of the business of the bank.


Senator Needham - Why not start it, when the Constitution gave us the power to do so ?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The matter is one of grave public policy, and I admit that much is to be said on both sides. The Labour Government had not the power to close the State Savings Banks, but they have attempted to do so in an underhand manner. They attempted to close them by the competition of the Commonwealth Bank. Many persons consider that it is wrong that the Commonwealth Bank should continue its Savings Bank business, and the only way to settle the matter is to bring it before the people again and see whether they are now prepared to go back upon what they previously authorized this Parliament to do.







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