Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 10 June 1914

The PRESIDENT - I must ask honorable senators to maintain order. Senator Gould has a right to be heard in silence. Of course, there is no objection to reasonable interjections, but during the honorable senator's speech there have been far too many interjections.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I have no objection to reasonable interjections, but it is playing the game very low down when an interjector says that an honorable senator is stating what is a lie, and that he knows it. I give the lie back to Senator Rae.

The PRESIDENT - I did not hear Senator Rae say what the honorable senator has attributed to him; otherwise I would have ordered him to withdraw it. If Senator Rae did make a statement of that sort I ask him to withdraw it.

Senator Rae - I did not make it. I did not impute untruthfulness to Senator Gould. I merely said that the statement of Senator Findley was true, that Senator Gould knew it, and that it was the Liberal party's villainous organizers, who take that party's money, who do the mischief.

The PRESIDENT - As Senator Gould said that he gave the lie back to Senator Rae, I must ask him to withdraw that statement.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Of course, after the explanation by Senator Rae I withdraw it. I was under the impression that Senator Rae made the statement which I attributed to him. When an attack is being made on the Minister in control of the Electoral Branch of the Home Affairs Department, an imputation is cast upon every officer of that branch. How can the VicePresident of the Executive Council take the name of any man off, or put the name of any man on, the roll ?

Senator de Largie - We do not blame the Minister.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Senator Findley has attacked the Vice-President of the Executive Council over and over again on this matter. When he does that, I submit that he is attacking the Electoral Officers and every one connected with the administration of the law.

Senator Findley - Oh, no; I have at very good opinion of the Electoral Officers.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - If that be so, I ask why the honorable senator attacks the Minister who has no power under the law unless he has power to corrupt the electoral officials 1

Senator Long - He was not a Minister when he made the statement.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I do not care for that. He is a Minister to-day. When Senator Findley attacks the Vice-President of the Executive Council he exhibits a gross desire to injure him politically, or else - but I do not like to put the alternative. When honorable senators opposite do not respect their opponents, they do not respect themselves. When an honorable senator charges the Minister with corruption it is his duty to prove the truth of his charge. If Senator Findley's statement in regard to the Vice-President of the Executive Council be true, every Commonwealth officer holding an important position must have allowed himself to be corrupted.

Senator Rae - It is the corrupt organisations behind the honorable senator's party of which we complain.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - If there be corrupt organizations which advocate either Liberal or Labour principles, is the Minister to be blamed for that? He is not responsible for it.

Senator Rae - He is if he accepts their help.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I say that those who are guilty of corrupt practices should be prosecuted. Let us suppose that a candidate offers his services to the electors. Naturally he has his friends, and his party, who desire to accord him all the support that is possible. Is the Minister to run roundthe country and say, "I want to know how you are managing this organization. I want to assure myself that everything is all right."

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator was making a stalking horse of the Minister just now.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- Senator Findleyhas attacked Senator McColl again and again, and only to-day he declared that he intends to make a similar attack from every public platform on which he speaks. I say that that is a politically dishonest trick.

Senator Needham - Has not the Minister been placed in charge of the Electoral Office?

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- Yes.

Senator Needham - Is he not responsible for the work done there?

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - He is responsible for the administration of the Electoral Office so far as the control has been placed in his hands. But seeing that that control has been taken out of his hands, Senator

Findley can only attack the Commonwealth electoral officers.

Senator Needham - Senator McColl has been placed by the Cabinet in sole charge of the Electoral Branch, and he should, therefore, be held responsible for its administration.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- If the Vice-President of the Executive Council knows that the Chief Electoral Officer for the Commonwealth has been corrupt or dishonest, the former is responsible if he does not take action.

Senator Rae - Nobody says that the Chief Electoral Officer for the Commonwealth has been corrupt.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Exactly. The whole of my honorable friends opposite will repudiate any charge against the electoral officers, and yet they will make accusations against the Minister. In regard to taking names off the roll, we know perfectly well that it is the duty of the electoral officers to see thatthere are pure rolls - that is, rolls which are not unduly inflated. A roll is not clean unless it contains the name of every individual who is entitled to vote. It is not clean if it contains the names of persons who are not entitled to vote. Of course, duplications will always occur, and mistakes will always be made in regard to striking off names. But the Electoral Act provides that when an elector changes his residence it is his duty within a month of so doing to obtain a transfer. Of course, if a man follows a migratory occupation, and thus has occasion to leave his wife and family for several weeks, or even months, there is no necessity for him to obtain a transfer. In such circumstances, he should vote in the electorate in which his home is located. I should like to say one or two words in regard to the detention of cadets. I am very glad to know that the picture Senator Rae drew of the horrors of solitary detention docs not apply in any respect whatever to these cadets. And while it is all very well to make attacks and complaints, there is a difficulty, as has been pointed out by the present Minister of Defence and the exMinister of Defence, in making people observe the law if they are disinclined to do so. There must be some sort of punishment. Senator McDougall spoke as if an enormity had been perpetrated in the case of these cadets. But the honorable senator did not state how we are to enforce the law. It is easy to find fault, but when we pass a law we must take steps to see that it is observed.

Senator Rae - You need not torture people.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Does the honorable senator say that these cadets are tortured ?

Senator Rae - I say that solitary confinement is torture.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - If the punishment were mere isolation, would the honorable senator say that that was torture? If we were to say that we would not allow one lad to mix with other lads for seven days, would that be torture ? It will be seen from all that has been said in this discussion that these boys are simply detached from others; they are kept in a well-lit cell; are given meat five times a week, and they are given very liberal rations in all other respects. That is the only thing that is done to these boys in order to punish them for not observing the law. It may be that a boy thinks that his military service is a mere bagatelle, and does not care anything about it. It has been said that before separate treatment is ordered a boy should be again brought before a magistrate. I do ask honorable senators to realize that there must be some authority to deal with these matters rapidly and expeditiously. It might be possible to have a magistrate brought in to hear the case against the boy, but even that would not suit honorable senators, because they want all such cases to be heard in open Court. It is better for the boys themselves when they disobey instructions, and refuse to fulfil their duties, that there should be some person responsible for meting out such punishment as will be commensurate with the offence, and will tend to correct it as far as possible.I suppose the Commandant determines these matters, and he would surely take care that he was not acting unfairly towards the boys. In any case, there is always the right of appeal to the Minister in the event of anything unfair taking place, and, until an abuse has been shown to have been committed, why should not that right of appeal be sufficient? I think that Senator Rae made a mountain out ofa molehill. He allowed his mind to dwell too much on what solitary con finement means in an ordinary criminal gaol, and he was under the further disadvantage of speaking of conditions which obtained many years ago. Since then many reforms have been effected in all our gaols. Whilst I approve of Senator Rae's endeavour to make the punishment less severe, and certainly to prevent it being harmful to a boy's body or mind, I deprecate these matters being brought up in this way when they could be dealt with either by correspondence or by personal interview. Then, if the Minister would not do anything, the honorable gentleman would be doing right in bringing them forward in this Chamber. If that course is not followed, I do say that it would be more conducive to the dignity of the Senate to allow these complaints to be dealt with outside.

Suggest corrections