Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 9 March 1904

Mr GLYNN (Angas) - The honorable member for Wannon during his excellent speech, expressed the opinion that some consideration should be extended to his youth. I am sure that there was nothing in his utterance to indicate youth except the freshness of it. Both in his case, and in that of the honorable member for Wentworth, the electors are to be congratulated upon having sent into the Federal Parliament excellent representatives of the young manhood of Australia, who will undoubtedly do their part in maintaining at a high intellectual level the tone of this House. In view of the despondent tone of the Prime Minister at the Australian Natives' Association banquet, when he indicated his fears of trouble owing to the peculiar balance of parties, I might congratulate the Government upon the fact that they still retain their seats in the second week of the first session of the second Parliament of Australia. The retention of their position is all the more noteworthy because they have been weakened by the elevation of two of their leaders to the High Court Bench ; they have lost, perhaps, their most virile member through the resignation, upon a point of principle, of the right honorable and learned member for Adelaide; and they have also been sent back by the electors with a somewhat curtailed following. I do not wish to refer to their administration, except upon one or two points. Although I may have to trespass upon ground that has already been well trodden, it is only, right, when one considers that the Ministry do not wish to refer to their administration, to take notice of them in a general debate of this kind. Some of the matters referred to, such as the employment of coloured labour on the mail steamers, are such that if reprehensible action has been taken, the responsibility must rest upon Parliament. If there was anything wrong in including in the mail contracts a clause relating to the employment of coloured labour, the responsibility must rest upon this* House, which accepted the proposals without even going to a division. I am almost sorry that I did not propose the amendment I suggested to some honorable members on this side of the House, and to some members of the Labour Party, which I think might have relieved the Government of some difficulty. I suggested that instead of compelling the Government to exclude from the right of tender companies that employed coloured labour, preference should be given, other things being equal, to steamers upon which only white labour was employed. Although it might seem a strong step to take, I think that the error we made should be re trieved by the amendment of the Act. I say that, although I am quite as much in favour of the principle of a White Australia as are the members of the Labour Party. In fact, I voted for a straight-out prohibition of coloured labour in preference to the provision which now finds a place upon our statute-book. I do not think, however, that the principle of a White Australia is affected by the mere inclusion in the Post and Telegraph Act of the declaration of a moral principle, because it does not amount to anything more than a political homily. It does no good to the principle of a White Australia, and it has no substantial effect either in restraining coloured labourers from coming to Australia, or preventing the depreciation of the wages of those employed upon mail steamers. The contracts entered into with the crews are through contracts, and cannot possibly affect the rate of wages in Australia.It is unfortunate that in these times, when so much is being said about the Imperial spirit, we should be embarrassed in our relations with the British Government. We belong to the Empire, and should, do our best to help the mother country. But in connexion with the mail contract we find that the Imperial Government have still to pay the subsidy in connexion with the Australian postal traffic. A general contract is entered into for the carriage of mails between Great Britain and China, India, and Australia, the payment made being £300,000 per annum. Therefore, whilst that contract lasts, and I believe that it has still two or three years to run, we shall have the benefit of that portion of the subsidy " which relates to the carriage of the Australian mails. A lump sum is paid for the three services, but it is estimated that the proportion contributed for the Australian service is £98,000. When no real principle is furthered it is a great mistake to interfere with the expeditious transit of our mails, and the great conveniences that are afforded under the mail contract system. We can ill afford, in these days of severe commercial competition, to do without such advantages. I have seen it stated that, owing to some of the mail steamers reaching here, within thirtyone or thirty-two days from London it very often happens that the invoices relating to goods shipped by ordinary steamers can be sent by mail at a date subsequent to the despatch of the cargo, and yet arrive here in time for use in the clearing of the imports. Many conveniences are offered by these services, and it is a great mistake, when no substantial benefits result from an abstract declaration of principle, to interfere with them.

Mr Fisher - The commercial conveniences referred to have not been extended to Queensland.

Mr GLYNN - Perhaps not. But we shall not cause the steamers to extend their facilities to Queensland by inserting a special clause in our mail contracts prohibiting the employment of coloured labour. On the other hand, such a provision may have the effect of preventing the mail steamers from calling at Adelaide. It is almost certain that, after a time, the P. and O. and Orient steamers will not regularly call at Adelaide if they are to be prohibited from tendering for the carriage of the mails. With regard to the Petriana incident, there is no doubt that there has been a great deal of confusion. On reading the newspaper accounts, it seemed to me that the Ministry were much more open to condemnation than appears after the perusal of the papers laid upon the table by the Government. Upon some points there is a great conflict. Still, where the Government have to administer a drastic enactment, they should make pro- %'ision for an exceptional case like that of shipwreck. It was a great mistake for the Government to wrangle with Messrs. Gollin and Co., Mr. Terry, and Mr. Stewart, for five solid hours, whilst the men were down at Williamstown waiting to land. The vessel was stuck up at Williamstown with a constable on the pier to prevent the men from landing, whilst the question was discussed whether the men should be landed at the quarantine station, or be placed upon a tug. The agents of the vessel were unable to obtain any definite advice, and in the end were told that they could land the men upon their own responsibility. The Government should have made provision for such an emergency. As regards the Suiting case, the Act was administered after the man was released, and, to say nothing about his offence in landing contraband goods, for which he paid the penalty, the test was applied in a manner quite opposite to that, which was to be expected, after the promise made by Sir Edmund Barton as to the method of administration. When the Bill was introduced provision was made that the immigrant should be examined as to his knowledge of some European language, and I think that the honorable member for Melbourne moved that the lanena ire should be selected by the immigrant. He made the suggestion,- and I think I moved in the matter. Sir Edmund Barton objected. He accepted part of my amend ment, which was to the effect that instead of the language being read out to the Customs officer, it should be dictated. But heobjected to the Government being expressly bound to allow to the immigrant the right of determining the language to be used for the test. In fact, he urged that it would betray a want of confidence in the administration of the Act by those who framed it. He said -

If a Swede were asked to write a passage at dictation, i should not dream of instructing the officer to subject the immigrant to a test in Italian. That would be unfair, and is not what the House has in its mind in passing this legislation.

Ithen pushed the matter a little further, because I recognise that we owe a duty to ether countries. Surely it is against all rules of international comity or equity that we should place on the statute-book a provision of which the administration is not clear. Under the guise of a colour test we should not apply a language test which might run, at the option of the officer, from English to Chinese. But, again, Sir Edmund Barton pointed out that the Ministry ought not to be distrusted in this matter. He said -

I do not think I ought to consent to an amendment which really has at the bottom of it a supposition that there might be cases in which an officer and a Minister might conspire to defraud an immigrant out of his choice of language. That is not the way in which any such Act can be administered.

But that is the way in which it has been administered. Of course the Ministry may say that we intended the education test to exclude coloured aliens; if that is the intention, I say that it is more in accordance with the dignity of a nation to expressly say so. Some of our strongest critics at home have stated that they cannot see any reasonable objection to a colour test pure and simple, considering that Australia is situated so close to the energetic and teeming millions of Asia. Regarding the case of Stelling, I do not know that he should have fallen under the colour test. The dominant blood there is European. There is an Arabian and European cross. and we all know that in such cases the breed is generally dominated by the higher blood. I do not wish to refer to the case of the six hatters further than to say that though similar legislation exists in America, there is no other country in the world in which labour contracts are regarded as a bar to the admission of subjects of the same Crown. We in Australia, t'or example, prior to federation, would not have tolerated legislation which would prevent a white resident in South Australia from entering New South Wales. Why? Because we are subject to the same allegiance. Then, I ask - Does the mere fact of an individual crossing 14.000 miles of ocean to another portion of the Empire alter the case? Certainly not, if there is anything whatever in. ali this high-flown talk in reference to Imperial solidarity. I think it is probable that if the constitutionality of these provisions were tested from the point of view of applying the test only to British subjects, the Courts would declare that we have no power to enforce them.

Mr Fisher - Notwithstanding the Constitution ?

Mr GLYNN - The Constitution gives us no power which was. not previously possessed by the States. In connexion with the exclusion of British subjects, it has been laid down, apparently by some very able legal writers, that as an inference from the decision of 1747 in the AeneusMac donnell case, the power to exclude British subjects is not amongst those which are delegated to a colonial Legislature. It is really refreshing to turn from the somewhat pettifogging administration of an Act which enunicates a good principle to a remonstrance against the proposed immigration to South Africa of about 200,000 Chinese. The protest forwarded by the Prime Minister was directed against a wholesale proposal to substitute coloured foreign for British white labour in a country whose inclusion in the British Empire was partly secured by the efforts of Australian soldiers against a method of development the opposite of that adopted here under circumstances by no means dissimilar. The admission of these Chinese must eventually lead to the demoralization of the white labouring classes, who alone give stability and permanence to a community. Within the. past twenty-four hours I have looked up the balance-sheets of some of the mining companies whose agitation has resulted in the passage of this legislation in South Africa. Honorable members are familiar with the position of these States constitutionally. The Orange Free State and the Transvaal have each a nominee Legislative Council. The very great majority of their members are nominees of Lord Milner. They are civil servants, and as such, under the rules of official etiquitte, are bound to obey his suggestions. It is certain that if we increase the coloured element in South Africa to any appreciable extent, the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony will 'never obtain representative government. At present Natal has fourteen blacks to every white man, whilst Cape Colony and the Transvaal have four blacks to every white. In the Orange River Colony two-thirds of the population is black, and, on the top of that, it is proposed to introduce 200,000 Chinese. The result must be demoralization of the whites. If these Chinese are admitted; the white residents in South Africa will never obtain the benefit of laws such as operate here - laws relating to the ventilation of. mineS) and which insist upon suitable con ditions being provided for workmen. Realizing this, those- who are interested in the mines have succeeded in getting this particular legislation passed. In Johannesburg there are fifty-three companies, fiftyone of which are in the hands of Jews - principally continental Jews. There are really only two British ownerships, though, in saying that fifty-one of the companies are in the hands of the Jews, I am regarding as to some extent, under Jewish management, the mines of the Rhodes estate. Werner Beit and Co. are, I think, the late Mr. Rhodes' representatives, and, to a large extent, the mines are under Jewish administration.

Mr McDonald - Practically, Cohen owns the lot.

Mr GLYNN - I am speaking upon the evidence of the official returns for 1903. They are the sworn official returns which are published in the mining journals of South Africa. What are the profits derived from these mines? Let us take the four principal mines of the Rhodes group. Last year the net: income derived from them bordered closely upon £500,000, whilst the percentage of profit ranged from a minimum of 10 per cent, to a maximum of, I think, 50 per cent. Upon some of the other mines which are associated with the Rhodes Estate, but which are under the management of another company, the profits reached a maximum of 187 per cent, upon their paid-up capital. It cannot, therefore, be argued with any fairness that these companies were badly situated as regards the employment of labour. ' I find, also, that the manager of one of the mines, Mr. Cresswell, resigned his position immediately the proposal to introduce Chinese was submitted. Mr. Wybergh, the Commissioner of Mines in the Transvaal, also resigned his seat rather than agree to what he described as " this iniquity." ' At home, some of the 'most liberal and sane journalists strongly condemned the movement. The Spectator describes it as practically a relapse into barbarism. For example, I find in that journal of 9th January last the following passage: -

If ive cannot enrich the Transvaal without this, plunge back into barbarism, which we do not believe, the Transvaal may stay poor.

But it need not stay poor on the evidence of the published balance-sheets of the companies. What does the Times say upon this question - the Times, which has been earning a reputation of late by varying its position in accordance with whatever popular breeze may be blowing? It has now, become a protectionist organ, although a few years ago it was one of the strongest advocates of free-trade.

Mr Kingston - It is reforming.

Mr GLYNN - Some twenty years ago the man who, in the opinion of the Times, was bringing about the disintegration of the Empire was Mr. Chamberlain, who is now its legislative idol. The Johannesburg correspondent of that journal, writing on 15th January, 1903, when the proposal for Chinese immigration was first mooted, said -

It is to be hoped that every care will bs taken not to adjust present difficulties at the expense of the future, and to lay up for the country a debt, more serious than a monetary contribution, for which posterity may for ever anathematize this .generation. By admitting the Chinaman into this country we may be laying up for our descendants a heritage of misfortune before which the immediate prosperity of the colony consequent on the step will sink into insignificance.

But the evidence of the position of the mines in South Africa, the wholesale character of the proposed immigration, and the better class of opinion in England, all point to the fact that the remonstrance given by the Ministry, as the Ministry of a part of the Empire, was well-timed and exceedingly appropriate. If the Chinese find their way into South Africa there will be a relapse into slavery, because they will not only be tied to one employer, but tied to one residence. It is an immigration of the males only. We shall have in South Africa a mixed, race - a mixture, say, of mongolians and kaffirs, negro, British, and Dutch, all blending together to produce one effete progeny. It would ill beseem one. on the discussion of an Address in Reply, to dwell at very great length upon the question of preferential trade ; but, as it is somewhat disturbing the political atmosphere at home, and as the position of the States is, I think, misrepresented by Mr. Chamberlain - because he has stated that the response of England is being awaited - I shall make a short reference to it. In common with some other honorable members, and more especially those onthis side of the House, I regret that the Prime Minister has seen fit to invite Mr. Chamberlain to come out and stump this country in favour of the policy. What did the Prime Minister say in the cablegram which he sent last December to Mr. Chamberlain? It was almost an imploratory application to him to consider our position - to consider us as one of the intending partners in the scheme of preferential trade. In what way have we become intending partners? I was always under the impression that a State spoke through its Parliament^ and not only has Australia refrained from speaking through its Parliament, but Ministers themselves have not adhered to the declarations which they made, some two years ago, in favor of the principle. When speaking at Maitland, Sir Edmund Barton gave not a very enthusiastic, but at least a clear, adherence to the suggestions in favour of preferential trade, which had been made at two or three Imperial Conferences. But when he examined the subject he seemed to follow the example which Mr. Chamberlain set, by first declaring his principles, and afterwards seeking what foundation, if any, they had. He told us in this House that he had looked into the question, and had become doubtful of the expediency of some of the proposals ; that he had found that there were questions of reprisals and interference with trade 'treaties, so far as Canada was concerned. We know that his Maitland policy was never followed by results in this House, nor have the Ministry ever put a proposition in favour of the adoption of preferential trade before the Parliament of the Commonwealth. To say, then, that we are intending partners in this scheme is simply a deception in words. If we are intending partners, where is the necessity to convert Australia to the principle? Does it not show that the Prime Minister himself must have some doubt, even as to the efficacy of his own eloquence in converting Australia to this principle, when he seeks the outside help of Mr. Chamberlain's rhetoric? What I would suggest to the Ministry is that instead of embarrassing us by calling .upon us to meet: on a somewhat doubtful platform, Mr. Chamberlain, who at present represents no one, not even himself - because he is not consistent on any policy - it would be far better for them to publish some of Mr. Chamberlain's speeches for the education of Australia. That would be a cheaper way of carrying out what is desired, and it would also prevent political distraction. Mr. Chamberlain himself has republished some of the speeches delivered by him between May and November of last year. If the Ministry would take a few more of the speeches made by him within the last fifteen or twenty years, and publish them broadcast, we should have, with .that impartiality and that fervour which the honorable gentleman throws into every phase of his political belief, a complete, statement of the pros and cons of this question. I would suggest, for instance, that an- extract might be made from a speech delivered by Mr. Chamberlain in the House of Commons on the 12th August, 1 88 1,, in which he stated that "a tax on food would mean a- decline in wages." Then passing over a period of four years, we might have an extract from the speech which he delivered at Birmingham on the 5th January, 1885, in which he said that " property cannot pay its debt to labour by taxing its means of subsistence." There might have been time, perhaps, for even the most sincere politician to develop different opinions in a period of five years. An extract might therefore be published from a more recent speech delivered by Mr. - Chamberlain at one of the congresses of the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire, which was held in London on the 9th June, 1896. At the Conference Mr. Chamberlain again opposed the proposition - which he said came from the Colonies - for preferential trade. A proposition, made, I think, by a Cana.dian, in favour of preferential trade was negatived at that Conference by about thirtysix votes to twenty-five, the colonial representatives voting for it, and the bulk of the others, under the leadership of Mr. Chamberlain, voting against it. On that occasion he said -

This proposal requires that we should abandon our system in favour of theirs, and it is in effect, that while the Colonies should be absolutely free to impose what protective duties they please, both on foreign countries and on British commerce, they would be required to make a small discrimination in favour of British trade, in return for which we are expected to change our whole system and impose duties on food and raw material. Well, 1 express my own opinion when I say that there is not the slightest chance that in any reasonable time this country, or the Parliament of this country, would adopt so one-sided an agreement. The foreign trade of this country is so large, and the foreign trade of the Colonies is comparatively so small, that a small preference given to us upon that foreign trade by 'the Colonies would make so trifling a difference - would be so small a benefit to the total volume of our trade - that I do not believe the working classes of this country would consent to make a revolutionary change for what they would think to be an infinitesimal gain.

Surely mv suggestion is a convenient and a fair one? It is fair to both sides in this country, which has not yet made up its mind, and it is fair to Mr. Chamberlain. It would show that he is capable of forcibly expressing the case on both sides. But even so great an authority as is Mr. Chamberlain may be slightly mistaken in his a priori knowledge of the Australian position. . He states, for instance, that the foreign trade of the Colonies is comparatively small.- As a matter of fact, if we look at the volume and character of that trade, we find reasons for doubting his statement and opposing his policy. So far as its character is concerned, it is one which should appeal especially to protectionists. It shows that we should not disturb the existing trade relations of the Empire, because, on the whole, it will be found that the exports of British possessions to foreign countries exceed the imports. That is the protectionist's ideal of the relations of healthy trade, for, according to our protectionist friends, the moire one sends out of a country, and the less it imports, the better it is for that country. I find that while the British possessions, as a whole, send 43 per cent, of their exports to foreign countries, only 38 per cent, of their imports come from foreign countries! If we take individual communities, what do we find? Let me refer, for example, tothe position of India. Twenty-four per cent, of the imports into India are from foreign countries, but 53 per cent, of .its exports go to foreign countries. Again, let us look at the position of Tasmania. We find that 6 per cent, of Tasmania's imports are from foreign countries, but that she sends 27 per cent, of her exports to those countries. Surely our protectionist friends do not wish to disturb that sort of balance of trade ? Let us now take Germany, which is really the bugbear of the preferntial tariffists. Australia has a large and a rapidly growing trade with that country. .Making some allowance for difference of method in estimating values, the figures are these: During 1903 our exports to Germany, according to the German valuation of those exports, were over £6,000,000 in value, while our imports from that country amounted to a little over £2,250,000. That is an excellent trade, which appeals to the sympathy of our protectionist friends. We know, of course, that the balance must be adjusted somewhere, or at all events we free-traders think that such must be the case. Unfortunately we remain in that state of intellectual cloudiness in which we assume that trade after all is a round-about matter, and that adjustments must take place in the clearing-houses of the world. The British Possessions do not send their exports to other countries merely because of feelings of international beneficence; they know that the balance will be rectified. It will be found, perhaps, in connexion with Germany, that the rectification of the balance takes place in the export to England of some of those very glass bottles .which so much disturb the equilibrium of Mr.. Chamberlain. They may be imported to meet some of the interest debt of England. The fact that England has an export trade to foreign countries amounting to nearly £240,000,000 per annum - the fact that about 75 per cent, of the total trade of England is with foreign countries - certainly suggests caution. It is a trade that we should hesitate to disturb. I mentioned a few moments ago that the volume of our trade with foreign countries is a rapidly increasing and profitable one. Practically until 1861 the whole of Australia's exports went to England. While the increase in our export trade with Great Britain between 1881 and 1891 was 27 per cent., the increase in our trade with foreign countries during the same period was 120 per cent. Between 1 89 1 and 1901 the increase in our export trade with foreign countries was 74 per cent.,, against an increase of only 5 per cent, so far as Great Britain was concerned. Surely those figures -do not justify the proposed interference with trade? Let us look at the position with regard to wool. Until- 1.88.1 practically no wool was sent by Australia to the Continent. In that year I believe there was a shipment of about £54,000 worth, but last year we sent to the Continent over £10,000,000 worth of Australian wool. If we enter into a system of preferential trade with Great Britain, surely our neighbours - who are fairly expert at the game of reprisals, because the system has been tried before and has failed - may include in their scheme of reprisals a tax upon Australian wool. It may be said that our wool is essential to Germany;' but is that the position? I mention Germany because about £4,000,000 worth of our exports of- wool go to that' country, but the wool of the Argentine is now competing with our own in that market.

Sir William Lyne - It is not of the same class.

Mr GLYNN - Experts tell me that it is equally as good as our own.

Sir William Lyne - No.

Mr GLYNN - Experts, of course, may differ. I am not speaking on mere personal suggestion, but I have learned that the-

Argentine wool is gradually competing with the Australian production.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Its quality has not been as good as our own, but it is becoming equal to the Australian production.

Mr GLYNN - Quite so. If the game of international trade reprisals is pushed to its limits, England, under its new protective policy, will have to impose a tax on imports of manufactured articles from Germany. In other words, goods made there from Australian wool may be taxed in England, and our exports of wool will be checked by the very policy which is to industrially develop the Empire. I put it to honorable members that this question requires a little more analysis at the hands, even of Ministers, .than it has hitherto received. The case of Canada will be cited. But what do we find there ? We find growing discontent among the manufacturers of the Dominion at the preferences granted to Great Britain. An official memorandum was issued last year by the Government, and from it I make this extract -

The Canadian Government has been attacked by the Canadian manufacturers on the ground that the preference is seriously, interfering with their trade. The woollen manufacturers have been foremost in the attack, and they have made very bitter complaints to the effect that the industry is threatened with ruin through the severe competition from Britain, brought about by the duties.

We have there on a small scale an instance of the inter-Imperial discontent which will be promoted by the policy of preference. Canada has done a little more than New Zealand in this matter. New Zealand has done the opposite to what Mr. Chamberlain suggests. She has added 50 per cent, to her duties upon foreign imports hitherto taxed, and has placed duties of 20 per cent, upon articles hitherto free, while giving a concession in regard to Indian tea. One of the arguments of Mr. Chamberlain and his followers is that the dumping of cheap foreign products into England must be stopped, and the iron trade has been particularly referred to. I believe that dumping is beneficial to the English- iron trade. I have examined the prices given in the Blue Book which has been published, and I find that, while the prices were up in England about two years ago, and the output in some trades was affected by the dearness of the raw material turned out by the iron foundries, an increase in the importation of foreign pig iron was immediately followed by a fall in prices, which stimulated the industries for which pig iron is the raw material. But what country is it that does the dumping ? Under a system of preferential trade dumping from places within the Empire could not be prevented. Dumping by Canada and by Australia, if we .produced iron for export, could not be prevented, and Canada grants a bonus for the production of iron and has a protective duty to prevent its importation.. In 1902 the total importation of pig iron into Great Britain from foreign countries amounted to 226,000 tons while the local production was about 8,500,000 tons. Therefore not much evil can result from the petty competition of the imported article, some of which, by the way, is iron of a class which cannot be produced locally. But from what country is that iron chiefly imported? I find that the importation from Canada more than equalled the total importations from Belgium, Holland, and France, and more than doubled the importation from the United States, 103,000 tons coming from Canada, 78,000 tons from Germany, Holland, and Belgium, and 45,000 tons from the United States. Those figures show what a big cry has been raised about a very petty evil, if this importation is an evil. In any case, it is an evil which would not be cured by a system allowing the taxation of foreign imports and free importation from other parts of the Empire. We have heard a great deal about the need of assisting our declining mother country. I see no evidence of the statement that the zenith of England's commercial greatness has' been passed, even if it has been reached. A country, a little country with a total foreign trade worth more than ^900,000,000, and with a steam tonnage afloat almost equal to half the total mercantile marine of the world, that is the centre of an Empire with a population of 400,000,000 people, of whose territorial extension it has been proudly said that -

Hermorning drum's beat, wakening with the sun, and keeping company with the hours, encircles the globe with an unbroken chain of martial airs - is not yet upon the list of vanishing powers. If she ever does give signs of failing if, moved by a sense of coming decrepitude, the mother country calls for assistance from her children, I feel confident that the affection which has never yet failed her in times of danger will not require the material stimulus of Mr. Chamberlain's series of pettifogging preferences. Now, to come to a subject which is a little more abstruse, but upon which not very much has been said, I shall make a short refer- |ence to the conversion of the debts of the States. I find that the Treasurer says that the Constitution will have to be amended in order to carry out the policy suggested bv the Conference of Treasurers. In the Convention I several times pointed out that it would be a mistake to follow the Canadian example of taking over the debts of the States as from the date upon which the Constitution came into force.. That course was right enough in the case of Canada, because, the debts of all the provinces were taken over at once, but it cannot be followed here, because there is a balance of debts which we cannot take over, and which at the present time runs to about £25,000,000. In the Convention I urged the necessity for making the provision to make which the Treasurer now wishes to amend the Constitution. I then said -

If you are to limit the debts to be taken over hereafter to the ensuing debts of the Commonwealth, you may subsequently find yourself in this position : that you will be unable to take over any new debts incurred by the States or debts the character of which has varied.

What was the objection taken to that? It was that by taking over all the debts compulsorily under the Constitution we should lose our power of bargaining with the creditors of the States for a premium. I do not think that there will be £1 of premium obtained upon taking over the debts of the States until we have established a reputation for stability and sound financing. Canada took over the debts of the provinces, but there was no sudden rise in the price of her securities as compared with the old quotations. The Canadian 3 per cent, consolidated stock now stands at £97; but. why is that? It is due, not to the fact that the debt is a Federal one, but to the Canadian balancesheet. Surely if a consolidation of securities upon the Federal principle is good, a consolidation upon a unitary principle should be better. But if that be so, how is it that the 3 per cent, stock of France stands much higher than the 3 per cent, stock of the federated German States, the one being quoted at £97, and the other at £90. ' The difference is due to the difference between the balance-sheets of the two countries. Germany- has to impinge upon its _ loan moneys in order to make up deficits in its revenue, while with France things are different. The New Zealand 3 per cent, stock stands at £90, while the Westralian 3 per cents, are quoted at from £85^ to ^88 - because in a mining community prices are always subject to greater fluctuations than elsewhere - while the average price for the States generally is about £86. The difference between the price of New Zealand stock and the lowest-priced Australian stock shows the difference in the estimation of the English public of the value of the two securities. In Canada the land belongs to the Dominion, and so do the railways, with the exception of those which are privately owned. Canada, too, has a population of about 5,750,000, while our population is less than 4,000,000, and we owe, according, to the Treasurer, about £228,000,000 as. compared with the Canadian debt of about £76,000,000, most of which is a Federal debt. Furthermore, we have practically nosinking funds in Australia, and those which we have are almost nominal, while of the interest paid upon the Canadian debt - £2,700,000 a year - about one-fourth - is assigned to a sinking fund. Those facts show why Canadian 3 per cent, stock is quoted at j£>91- If we take over the debts of the States we shall not- get a premium until we have justified, by our financing and development, the confidence which investorsplace in Canadian financing. I favour the taking over of the debts of the States when it can be done, because, although I do not think we shall realise the anticipations of the Treasurers of some of the States, it will be a good thing to havea uniform stock and one authority to deal with the Federal assets. We must, however, put a. limitation upon the borrowing powers of the States. ' It would be suicidal for the Commonwealth to take over the debts of Australia without placing a limitation upon the borrowing powers of the States, because otherwise we should have seven ' authorities dealing with the same assets without any check one upon the other. There are only two more subjects upon which I shall' detain honorable members. The Prime Minister hopes that a stimulus will be givento our development by the encouragement of State immigration, and he referred to the experience of Canada. I would point out, however, that the £100,000 a year spent by Canada became effective only quite recently, when very fertile and valuable land in the north-west of the Dominion was thrown open for settlement. If we can afford opportunities for settlement similar to thosegiven by Canada during the last two or three years, similar results may follow, but, otherwise, we may spend ,£1 00,000 a year without gaining any advantage. The increase of population in Canada was 1 50,000 more in the ten years which elapsed between 1871 and 1881 than in the decade which ended in 1901. It is only within the last eighteen months that it has largely inci eased. Let us induce immigration by attending to the conservation of water as well as to the opening up of land. We should endeavour to settle the rivers question once and for all. But what has the Federal Government done in the matter? Nothing but talk.

Mr Deakin - What is it rests with us to do?

Mr GLYNN - Part of the jurisdiction over the rivers is Federal ; the Prime Minister acknowledged that in his Ballarat speech.

An Honorable Member. - Are the States coming any nearer ?

Mr GLYNN - We are a Federal Parliament. We should not wait upon the States, but should give them a lead in Federal matters. The Prime Minister stated at Ballarat that the Commonwealth has a voice in this matter in its power to control navigation. I wish it were not such a still, small voice as it has been hither to. The Commission reported that no apportionment of water can be made between the States for irrigation and water conservation without regard to the requirements of navigation. We, who represent South Australia, ask that consideration be given to this matter. We should pass a Federal law prescribing the Federal sphere in these matters. It is doubtful whether we can exercise Federal jurisdiction over the rivers until an enactment to that effect has been placed upon the statute-book. Last year I asked the Prime Minister whether the new' Navigation Bill would contain a provision denning the Federal jurisdiction over the rivers.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Surely that would not properly come into a Navigation Bill ?

Mr Deakin - An agreement has been arrived at- between the three States, and it was to have been laid before each of their Parliaments.

Mr GLYNN - But nothing has been done.

Mr Deakin - We are not responsible for that.

Mr GLYNN - But we are responsible for neglecting to act within our own jurisdiction. We have the power to prevent some of the States from drawing off the waters of the upper rivers for the purposes of irrigation to the detriment of navigation. Surely the Prime Minister has the power to protect the interests of South Australia, as well as those of Victoria. It may interest honorable members to know that, up to the 31st March of last year, the actual diversions from the. upper rivers amounted to 50,000 cubic feet per minute, or double the then discharge of the Murray at Renmark. Complaints have been made of the low state of the river at Morgan, at times when, under ordinary circumstances, there should have been ample water for the purposes of navigation at that point. New South Wales has also put forward a number of schemes which would involve the diversion of large volumes of water from the rivers. But these have been ignored by the Ministry. We do not wish to stop the use of water for irrigation purposes, but we desire to see an arrangement entered into that will enable the needs of New South Wales and Victoria to be supplied without interfering with the navigability of the river. 'i'he Government nave taken no action whatever with regard to the suggestion of Federal locking to Wentworth as a start, and two large schemes of conservation which have been proposed by the Commission. I think we are fully entitled to complain of their inaction. The navigability of the rivers means a great deal to the States. Since the railways began to compete with nagivation in England in 1838 the canal system has not been very much developed. Over one-third of the canals now belong to railway 'companies, and have practically fallen- into disuse. If, however, we look to France, we find that since* 1877 no less than ^30,000,000 have been spent in improving the waterways of that country. During the last fifteen years, the length of waterways open for traffic has been trebled ; freights have been reduced 40 per cent,, and the traffic itself has been doubled. This result has been brought about very largely by State expenditure. As a matter of fact, over 40 per cent, of the total goods traffic into Paris by rail and steamer is carried by water, whilst over 50 per cent, of the total traffic by rail and water into Berlin is conveyed by the latter means. The same thing is to be found all over the world. Even in America, I find, from recent returns, that 27 per cent, of the total goods traffic of that country -is carried by water; although the competing railways charge on the whole, rates only about half as high as those which prevail in England. The rate for the carriage of goods from Morgan to Renmark - a distance of six miles - by land is £jo per ton, whereas the charge by river for a distance much greater, is ios. per ton. Therefore honorable members will at once realize what the river navigation question means to South Australia. We ask that the seriousness of both the navigation and irrigation questions shall be considered, and that a scheme fair to all the States be brought about in the very earliest stages of our Federation. Something has been said with regard to the state of parties in the House. Personally I do not feel that there is any reason for public despondency in the fact that parties are so evenly balanced. If Parliament is a reflex of public opinion, the even balance of parties suggests that we should rest upon our oars. According to the proportion of party representatives sent here, there is no momentum ; but of course we know that the introduction of measures will create a majority upon one side or the other. W:e do not want party majorities only, without basic principles or policy; but when measures are placed before the House, and members coalesce around them, the proper lines of differentiation will be drawn. We have heard a great deal about the differentiation of the electors of the Commonwealthinto individualists and socialists. I think it is a pity that the community should be divided upon such general lines. It is impossible for any practical politician to describe himself either as a pure individualist or as a pure socialist. Circumstances often compel us to be a cross between the two - at one time an individualist, and at other times a socialist. We are all to a large extent socialistic. Our differences are less those of principle than of the application of principles. For my own part, I am prepared to test every measure on its merits. Regard for the pure theories of individualism and socialism is all very well; but so long as the Government respect the true line of non-interference by the State, which I hold is really bilateral, and commence* where freedom of contract begins and monopoly ends, they shall receive my ungrudging support.

Suggest corrections