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Friday, 11 March 1904


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable and learned member for Werriwa cannot speak again. He has already taken part in the debate.


Mr KINGSTON - These are the latest figures, and as they are authoritative they are well worthy of our consideration. It seems to me that - speak trumpettongue'd, and all In one way. They prove that New South Wales, in common with all the other States, has profited from Federation and protection, especially as regards her manufacturing interests ; and it seems to me that, with Mr. Wise, we can hope for even better results in the future. I notice that our old friend, the leader of the Opposition, was present on the same occasion, and he did not take altogether the same view that Mr. Wise took, but attributed some of the success of New . South Wales to the enlarged market which she has undoubtedly secured for her manufactures and products under inter-State free-trade. Of course I should not dream of attempting to dispute that that is one of the results of Federation, and that it has had a good deal to do with the success which has been achieved. But I also contend that the figures which I have quoted completely dispel all the gloomy notions and the terrifying pictures' which were drawn by some rampant free-traders as to the possible results of protection.


Mr Wilks - I know of a number of factories which have been working half-time.


Mr KINGSTON - All that I can say is that if some factories have been working half-time, the result is that they have increased the output of their manufactures.


Sir William Lyne - The honorable member is only referring to the importing boot firms.


Mr Wilks - I am referring to engineering establishments which are only working half-time. Where they had 1,800 men working three years ago they have only 600 to-day.


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member for Dalley has already spoken.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not propose to analyze the output of -ach industry. I have quoted the figures which are the most important, and it seems to me that there is no room for doubting these facts. They show that the manufacturing interests of

New South Wales are prospering - that their output, representing, as it does, £25,000,000 - is greater to-day than ever it was. May they go from good to better ! When we remember what is the population of the State, I think that these are figures of which we may well be proud. Instead of there being the disaster and ruin which were prophesied, we have ground for congratulation, and promise of better results in the future, which should remove even the shadow of a cloud from our minds, and induce us to continue, with stout hearts and bright hopes, in the course which is set before us in the interests of a united Australia. The next point to which I desire to refer is the subject of industrial conciliation. Honorable members will probably accept my assurance that this is a matter in which for years past I have taken a very deep interest. In 1890 my attention was particularly directed to the question by the great maritime strike, as well as by the industrial dispute at Broken Hill. I found that there were two things upon which the public mind was practically unanimous. It was recognised, first of all, that strikes and locks-out were much to be deplored. I am happy to say that I have never advocated embarkation on a strike; on the contrary', I have always done my best to prevent men from resorting to this method of securing redress. It seemed to me, at the time to which I refer, that it would be a good thing if strikes and locksout could be prohibited. Then the thought arose in my mind that if we made it impossible for strikes and locks-out to occur we should have to substitute something in their stead, because they were claimed to be the only weapons which masters and men could employ, in certain events, to secure the doing of right. It appeared to me that we could not prohibit strikes and locks-out without providing some other means to ascertain the right, and to secure its accomplishment, and I set to work to draft a Bill dealing with the subject. The view which I took of the position was that whilst prohibiting strikes and locks-out we should recognise that in an industrial 'dispute, as in all disputes, there is a right and a wrong, and that if we wished to provide for the doing of the right it was imperative that we should provide a. means by which that right might be ascertained. That proposition admitted, it followed naturally that we should be able to adopt 'suitable provisions to give effect to it, and to this end I proposed a tribunal in which full public confidence could be placed. I should like at this stage to say that, whilst I am a believer in unionism, I believe in a unionism of masters as well as of men. Strong unions . on both sides are so many steps towards peace. One should not be stronger than the other to an extent which would, justify even an attempt to set aside the consideration of a question in dispute on the broad merits of right and wrong. 'The stronger these unions are - the more closely they approximate in strength to each other - the more likely are we to secure mutual forbearance and mutual respect, and the greater is the possibility of equitable agreement. ' Here I should like to make my position and feeling in regard to one point very plain. I have heard statements as to there being a temporary disposition on the part of certain workers to fail to comply with the conditions of an award of an Arbitration Court. I know, however, that the unions themselves do not encourage anything of the kind, and I understand that, even as regards the Teralba incident, the position is that the terms of the award are now being carried out. Is not that so?


Mr Webster - It is.


Mr Conroy - How was it possible for the men to struggle against the law?


Mr Spence - They went back voluntarily.


Mr KINGSTON - To their honour be it said that they did so.


Mr Watson - Four thousand in the district at once accepted the decision of the Court, although it meant a reduction.


Mr KINGSTON - I am proud to know that there is at present no wilful omission on the part of any man to comply with the terms of an award of an Arbitration Court in any part of the' Commonwealth.


Mr Conroy - Men are not to be free to refuse to work. This is a pretty country.


Mr KINGSTON - What we desire to secure is the continuous employment of our workers. One of our chief objects in legislating as regards arbitration is that an end shall be put to the practices of masters and men in the way of strikes and' locks-out. I put the question to the House, without fear as to what the answer will be : Is there one of us who really wishes to see a strike or a lock-out - who would not do his best to prevent such an occurrence?


Mr Webster - No one who has gone through a strike would wish to see another one.


Mr KINGSTON - Exactly. I am known, I venture to think, for my genuine sympathy with the workers, but I have, at the same time, as keen a desire for justice to the masters. We should take care that provision for the satisfactory punishment of a man who wilfully fails to comply with an award of the Court, is clearly made within the four corners of the Bill with which we are to deal. We should have the courage to do our duty, and, when the need arises, to enforce those provisions, utterly irrespective of whether it is the master or man who breaks the law. The success of a law relating to arbitration depends upon the compliance of both sides with the awards of the Court, and I say " out upon him " - whether he be master or man - who seeks to strike at the foundation of legislation designed for the benefit of all ; who restricts a jurisdiction which is exercised for the benefit of both sides and for the good of the community. Let him by all means, be punished. Let there be no weakness in a matter of this kind. It is necessary for the good of all that there should be none. The man who can see a difference between master and man, as regards the duty of enforcing penalties for a breach- of the law, is peculiarly constituted; he has not that sense of what is true justice which is necessary for a proper appreciation of the manner in which the law should be administered. In this respect, let there be no weakness or wavering as to one side or the other. Let us say to both parties - " You are bound by the law ; if you break it you shall suffer. " A few examples in this respect would be more than justifiable. They would have a wholesome effect, and I think still more highly of the effect . the sense of justice would have upon public sentiment. One and all of us ought to set our faces against this tampering with the foundation of beneficial legislation of this description - this setting at. nought of its provisions. We should do all that lies within our power to discount actions such as those to which I have referred, and to secure their passing away for all time. The success of the effort's which have been made in this direction, which is shown by the non-existence at this particular moment of any example- of defiance of legislation of this kind, will be continued in such a degree that these little temporary episodes, which grieve us and excite us to anger - but which are now so conspicuous by their absence - will shortly pass away, and we shall have a concurrence of public sentiment in the administration of the law, and its observance by all concerned, that will secure in the future even greater unanimity in relation to this particular point. We see elsewhere the effect of State legislation. Honorable members remember the old Broken Hill strike. There we had an industrial dispute. But what happened lately? Another industrial dispute occurred at Broken Hill-


Mr McWilliams - It would have been found difficult to punish all the men in the last-named case.


Mr Watson - All that the men asked in that case was that the employers should comply with their own agreement and grant them a conference. The employers, however, would not do so.


Mr KINGSTON - There might be some difficulty in enforcing the law against a number of men. I have often said that there would be a difficulty in such cases. If a great many men set themselves against a law there will no doubt be difficulty in enforcing that law, but for any Government prepared to do its duty in this respect difficulties of that sort are surely made to be overcome? The honorable member would not suggest that because a number of men combined to break the law as to assault it would not be enforced. The Government might have difficulty in enforcing it, but they would do it. It should be done, and it would be done. The Government, in such a case, would recognise its duties, and Parliament would insist upon their performance, because the Executive would be there to see that' the provisions of the law were carried out, and to give the public the protection which they require. It is one thing, when there is a law against what is deemed an offence, to break it, and it is another thing to do that which is not prohibited. The mere fact that something is prohibited under penalty will secure amongst all civilized communities a degree of observance which would be altogether absent if there were no penalty or prohibition. Civilized communities are law abiding communities, and to say that people do certain things when there is no law against them by no means proves that they will do them if there be such a law. It has been my duty to advise whether certain things were lawful or not andI have found that there is always a disposition on the part of the members of a community, and I do not care who they are, to obey the law, if it be clear and precise. People' will not dream of disobeying a law when there is a prohibition under penalty. I find that where the breach of agreements is declared to be a penal act there is an indisposition to incur the penalty that has a most wholesome effect in regulating general action. We might just as well say in regard to any admittedly desirable provision to be found in the pages of our statute-books, prohibiting this, that, and the other, that there might be a difficulty in enforcing the provision if there were combined resistance, if there were an insurrection, or if there were a revolution. But insurrections and revolutions are things which we speak of only in our wildest moments. There is a respect for the law which regulates the mind of each individual in the community. I ask honorable members whether it is desirable that we should hold our hands in the making of laws, because it might be difficult to enforce them if many resisted their operation? The possibility of resistance is small indeed, and in the great majority of instances obedience follows the making of the law. A suggestion as to the difficulty of enforcement should not be sufficient to. induce us to hold our hand in legislating for the common good, on lines which must commend themselves to all as simply for the ascertainment of the right and the providing for its enforcement. I have had a good deal to do, from time to time, with this question of arbitration, and I imagine there would be a general disposition to accept that scheme which is thought most likely to secure the most just results. I ask honorable members to consider whether there could be anything better than to provide, before the outbreak of a dispute, for a Court to ascertain the right, when the trouble arises. Is it not a good thing, too, that there should be a decision of the question as to what is the right? It seems to me that we should have as President of the Court a gentleman accustomed to the judicial method of hearing, sifting, and weighing of evidence. Shall we not be taking one step towards securing that if we provide that the President shall be a Justice of the High Court? In the natural order of things we should expect on the Bench of the High Court gentlemen of the highest judicial attainments. I venture to think that that expectation would be strengthened by a consideration of the gentlemen who at the present moment occupy positions on that Bench. If we elect a President from that Bench, surely, we shall get the incarnation of judicial talent? We shall have, on the other hand, on each side, gentlemen who may naturally be expected to bring expert knowledge, or an appreciation of business habits, to the assistance of the Court; one representing the masters, arid the other the men. Can any one suggest a Court more admirably constituted? I venture, however, to think and hope that if any improvement can really be suggested as regards the constitution of the Court, the Government would be only too glad to adopt it.


Mr Deakin - To consider it, at all events.


Mr KINGSTON - What I should like to say here, is this: Of course, I know that, in party politics, my name is not infrequently associated with warm partisanship, but we know where party politics should end, and where questions of right and wrong arise, and I do trust that party politics will never be allowed to interfere with questions of justice between man arid man. We should keep the political element, in every possible' way, off the Bench. This is a matter of the hearing of a dispute; it is a judicial consideration for the purpose of the declaration of the right, and it seems to me we shall get the judicial spirit fully represented in the way I have mentioned. A Court, constituted as I have said, will have no object and no duty but that of doing justice, . finding where the right is, and declaring for its enforcement. Then, when the award of the Court is made, my opinion is that we must have a power in the Court to fix the penalties attaching to any breach of the award. Let them be clear and distinct, and let there be no hesitation about the enforcement of the penalties which the circumstances of the case demand. We require an active Court, a just Court, and a Court, the awards of which shall not be waste paper, but which shall have every power necessary for securing due regard for and compliance with its every order. I know that it is sometimes said that the power of enforcement seems to be hard. All I can say- is that I take it that the object of the reference to a Court of Arbitration is to find out the right, and to secure that effect shall be given to it, but, if we are going to stop short, after finding out what is right, of doing what is necessary for the purpose of enforcing it, that will be altogether a mistake, and we shall be wasting our time. We take away the power to strike and the power to lock-out, and we substitute something far better- a declaration of the right, arid its enforcement. In 1890, when I first introduced an Arbitration Bill in the South Australian Parliament, I included in it a provision for compulsory conciliation; enabling it to be applied to all organizations, whether registered or not. Considerable exception was taken to this measure. The .term compulsory conciliation, and a good many other things in it, were objected to, and, after I had carried the Bill three times through the House of Assembly I lost it in the Legislative Council, and had to strike out the provisions for compulsory conciliation. It was contended that it would be sufficient if we were to give the Court a power to make a non-enforceable report. It was suggested that the investigation of a matter by the Court would enable them to declare where the right was, and that, though the Court would not have the power of compelling compliance with the terms of its declaration, public sentiment on the question would be guided by its report and influenced to such an extent that public feeling would call for compliance.


Mr Batchelor - It did not do anything of the kind in practice.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not think it did. I was hopeful at the time that there would be found to be something in the contention. I thought that as regards big strikes, by' which very considerable sections of the community are inconvenienced, it .might have effect. I think it might have had some effect, for instance, in the old Maritime strike and the Broken Hill strike, when many persons not immediately concerned in the disputes were inconvenienced to a great extent. But I am now satisfied that it is a mistake not to provide for direct compulsion.


Mr Fowler - It would be the inconve'nience, and . not the principle, that would decide the matter in those cases.


Mr KINGSTON - There is no doubt something in that, but at the same time public sentiment on the subject would be influenced by an authoritative declaration of what the right was. However, we had not the compulsory power. A case arose - I think Dowie was the name ; I know it was a curriers' dispute - the President of the Court was Mr. Justice Bundey, a Judge whose name will be mentioned with respect anywhere in Australia. There were three representatives of the masters, and three of the men. It was a Court which, I am happy to say, we had the power of constituting, and which was constituted in such a way that no exception could be taken to a single individual forming it. That' Court unanimously came to the conclusion that the men were entitled to 6d. a day more wages than they had been receiving. As there was no power to enforce the verdict, and as the public conscience did not seem to have awakened on the subject, nothing was done, and the shameful wrong was continued. All we had accomplished was the declaration of where the right was, and the continuance of the wrong done.


Mr Batchelor - And the public looked on with indifference.


Sir John Forrest - Did the employer not close up his business ?


Mr Batchelor - No; he got rid of all his men, some of whom are still walking about the streets.


Mr Willis - That occurred fourteen years ago.


Mr Batchelor - Yes, and some of the men are still walking about the streets in search of regular employment.


Mr KINGSTON - I say that the teaching of that difficulty - the teaching of experience - is that if we are to have a Court calculated to ascertain the right, and declare what ought to be done, it should, to be effectual, be accompanied by the power to enforce its award. Else the award will be disregarded, and there will be simply perpetrated this infamy - that in spite of the declaration of a just Court, unanimous in its view on a subject which has been carefully investigated, one side or. the other will have the power to set aside the award and to do as it pleases. I do not think thatwe shall be well advised in this Parliament if we consent to be a party to anything of that sort. Let us make our provisions on the subject complete. When we have ascertained the right - and we shall run little or no chance of making a mistake with a Court constituted as is proposed here - do not hesitate in giving effect to the proper conclusions, in providing for the punishment of those who are not content with the declaration, but seek to defy it. Courts are not constituted to be defied. If we give them the power to declare, we must also give them the power to enforce. I venture to think that when a penalty is attached to non-compliance there will be a willingness on the part of those interested to comply at the earliest possible moment, which will be very pleasing indeed as compared with the instance of an altogether different state of affairs, to which I have ventured to refer. I should like here to say a word to the Government on what seems to me a disposition on their part to wobble on this important question. Surely the principles to which I have referred - to find out what is right and to provide for its doing - are applicable to all cases of industrial dispute. What do we wish to do? We desire to abolish strikes and locks-out ; we are agreed on that, at least. Do honorable members wish to have any exemption in that regard? If they exempted any industries under any circumstances from any provisions in the Bill, what would it mean ? It would mean that the chief object as regards the abolition of strikes and locks-out could not apply, and we should have strikes and locks-out in all the excepted industries. Surely honorable members wish that right should be done in all cases - that the law should apply to each industry. What is the difference? Why should one industry, I venture to ask, be exempted ? Why should the shipping industry, for instance, be exempted ? Let me ask honorable members to recollect that in Australia there has been legislation proposed as regards these matters. I do not think that, as regards an industry of that character, an exemption will be found in the law of any country. Let me tell honorable members that it was as regards the shipping industry that this legislation was chiefly undertaken. I undertook it under the provocation of the shipping strike.It was also undertaken by the Honorable W. P. Reeves under the provocation of a shipping strike. Why should we have one law for one industry, and another law for another industry? I confess that at this particular moment I am speaking with a degree of embarrassment, which I think might have been avoided. I understand that, as regards dealing with this matter by two Bills - one to be introduced here, and the other to be introduced elsewhere - the object of the Government is to save time.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Government are not paying attention to what is being said.


Sir William Lyne - I can assure the honorable member for Parramatta that I, for one, am paying great attention.


Mr KINGSTON - I can assure honorable members that, whilst I welcome any proposal which is likely to be productive of that result, I am doubtful' whether this particular scheme will be. When we are considering the whole question of arbitration, as we shall be shortly, I think it will be very inconvenient to be dealing with the Arbitration Billhere, and at the same time to have the Navigation Bill, laying down some law on the subject as regards our coastal trade, being considered in another place, because we shall not be able to refer to the latter, or to deal with the question completely. I am inclined to think that it would be infinitely better if we hadthe two Bills in this House at the same time. What we want finally is an agreement between the Houses. Will it not be likely to be more readily achieved if one House first deals with the two Bills which cover the whole subject, and sends its whole scheme on to the other, than if we deal in a piecemeal way with one Bill at a time, and are not able to present for the consideration of the other House at the same time what is really proposed ? Possibly some arrangements may be made to provide for a reference to the Navigation Bill.


Mr Deakin - I think it will be quite possible to allude to the proposals of the Government as such, without saying whether they are being considered elsewhere or not. That is all that is wanted.It is not the debates elsewhere which are required to be discussed.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why should our consideration of one Bill be limited by the fact of the consideration of another Bill in another place? It is most irregular.


Mr Deakin - It will not be limited.


Mr KINGSTON - I take it that there is really no desire on the part of the Government to delay.


Mr Deakin - No, to save time.


Mr KINGSTON - I venture to suggest that expedition is more likely to be obtained if the Government will allow one House to look at both Bills at the same time, because until we have dealt with two Bills, we cannot say what are our complete views on the subject of industrial arbitration.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And our consideration will be limited by the introduction of the Navigation Bill into another place.


Mr Deakin - Not in the least.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is determined by that fact.


Sir William Lyne - The honorable member is quite wrong.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is the intention.


Mr Deakin - No, the intention is the opposite.


Mr KINGSTON - Speaking generally, I shall contend for the abolition of limitations to the jurisdiction of the Court. It depends on this question : Is the policy of no strikes, no locks-out, ascertainment and declaration of the right and enforcement of the award, good or bad ? If it be good, let it be applied to all. If it be bad, do not let us have anything to do with it. Broadly stated, the position is this: Do we desire the abolition of all strikes and locks-out, that in lieu of strikes and locks-out, there shall be judicial, amicable investigations and declarations, and enforcement of the right ? If we desire that, how then, may I ask, is it possible to contend for limitations as regards ship-owners, for preferences in favour of over-sea ships? We do not wish men to be sweated. We desire to secure a fair thing. Some of the exemptions which it is desired to introduce would be ridiculous in the extreme degree. We wish to do a right thing between masters and men on ships. Butsome persons will say - " Oh, that is Only when the ships are carrying cargo." Does not the same sort of being man a passenger boat as well as a cargo ship? Is there any difference in the humanity of the men ? Do they not equally resent injustice? Have they not the same rights as have other members of the community ? Is there any difference in the conditions of the work which entitles the master of a passenger ship to sweat a sailor, and deny him his fair wage, while the master of a cargo boat is prevented from exercising a similar power. Surely the main purpose of arbitration laws in disputes between masters and men is to see right done. Is a sailor to be paid £1 per month in the case of a passenger boat, with a few tons of cargo in the hold, when a much larger sum would properly be his reward ? When we think of what the provisions of the Bill are, it is almost inconceivable that there should be such a contention. Why should the proposed law not apply to passenger ships ? I remind honorable members that in New South Wales a common rule is exercised for the regulation of ships, though that rule, of course, has no application beyond the boundaries of that State. The Commonwealth has power only in cases of disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State, and the maritime trade is that which is likely to be particularly affected. I do not hesitate to confess that I have experienced bitter disappointment from time to time at the action of the Federal Government in connexion with this question. It- is fourteen years ago since I drafted the Bill to which I have already referred, and I had not proceeded five minutes with my speech, in moving the second reading, when I contended that Federal legislation would be required for the more effective application of the law to all industrial conditions inAustralia, particularly those prevailing in the maritime trade.

Mr.mc Williams. - Would the right honorable member have provisions to prevent the local shipping companies sweating producers ?


Mr KINGSTON - I should be only too glad to do anything for the protection of producers.

Mr.Mc Williams. - Would the right honorable gentleman insert provisions with that object ?


Mr KINGSTON - I do not think that could be done. Think what the position is. This Bill, it is proposed, shall apply only in case of disputes which extend beyond the limits of any one State, and only when a Court, constituted most carefully and effectively, declares that it is right and just, can an award be made. In order to make an award, the members of the Court will have to make themselves acquainted with the facts, and then decide the question according to equity, good conscience, and the substantial merits of the case. Do we trust the Court ?


Mr McWilliams - In my interjection, I was referring more particularly to the Navigation Bill.


Mr KINGSTON - Of course, there is a distinction to be drawn between a Navigation Bill and an Arbitration Bill. But what I desire is that the Court shall have power to make an award in the case of ships engaged in the coastal trade, similar to that which they have in the case of all other industries on land ; I want no more and no less. In thecase of shipping companies carrying on business in Australian waters in Australian ships, I prefer that the Court should exercise the power I have indicated rather than that any hard and fast lines should be laid down. This Court will be builded so high as to command the confidence and respect of all Australia, and I venture to think that the proposals already made secure that end. And when such a Court, applying the principles of equity and good conscience, decide that it is right that certain conditions should be observed by competitors for our coastal trade, their award should be obeyed. Do we doubt that the Court will do right? Surely not, considering that we give the Court unlimited jurisdiction over all other industries in Australia. As to all the talk about railway servants, do we want to see, justice done? I base my advocacy on one ground only - justice. My desire is to prevent strikes and locks-out by judicial, equitable determination and agreement.


Sir John Forrest - Cannot public servants get justice in their own Parliaments?


Mr KINGSTON - Does the right honorable member not know that a State Parliament has no power except within the limits of its own territory ?


Sir John Forrest - The public servants are the State's own employes. Cannot they get justice from their own Parliament?


Mr KINGSTON - I venture to think that the report of a Court, constituted as I have described, would 'be of great assistance to each member of this House in considering theclaims of public servants in a variety of matters - that it would be invaluable in securing just decisions. In a matter affecting their daily bread the public servants have an equal right to that justice which is meted out to every individual in the community. Is the public servant to be considered a pariah outside the realms of benevolent legislation designed for the protection of every other section of the community ? Public servants generally, honorable as their position is, should be fairly remunerated. Do we wish the public servants to strike? Of course we do not. At the same time, if we exclude them from the operation of an Act designed to prevent' strikes, we fail to apply to' them most beneficent provisions. I am sure that honorable members agree that public servants have a right to the same facilities as are afforded to all other sections of the community in relation to disputes with employers; that is, to have a judicial andimpartial investigation, and a declaration on the merits of their claims.


Sir John Forrest - Does the right honorable member mean to say that the public servants distrust their own representatives in Parliament?


Mr Fisher - Parliament is an incompetent Court.


Mr KINGSTON - Parliament is a deliberative and not an investigating body, not being designed for, and utterly incompetent to carry on, this kind of work. Our time would be fully occupied, indeed, if

Parliament had to hold inquiries in cases of the sort; and, in my opinion, it is most objectionable that attempts should be made, as they are, to bring individual cases and claims before a legislative body.

An Honorable Member. - They become party questions at once.


Mr KINGSTON - A member of Parliament is interviewed by some party to a dispute, and, acquiring a certain impression, represents to the House what he believes to be the facts; but the chances are that he has, and very naturally, been imbued with a very partisan view. The result is confusion and trouble, which well might have been avoided. It is proposed to exempt railway servants from the benefit of the proposed measure ; but, as in most cases, that branch of the public service is dealt with by Railway Commissioners, and is not, to half the extent that other Departments are, directed by the Minister, there are found even in various States Arbitration Acts provisions of an altogether different character from those which the Government have in contemplation. I do not say that there will be many cases under the proposed, legislation, seeing that we have power to deal only, with disputes which extend beyond the limits of any one State. But when no State can deal with a dispute effectively, on account of the limited nature of the State jurisdiction, and the necessary power can be constituted only by Federal legislation, we should take the opportunity to supply the omission, instead of leaving public servants to strike in the absence of any remedy in the way of an ascertainment of 'what their rights are, and a declaration on the merits of their claims.


Sir John Forrest - State public servants have their own Parliaments and Governments.


Mr KINGSTON - Does the right honorable gentleman know that the Bill will apply only to disputes extending to more than one State ? The local Parliaments are powerless to act for the prevention, of such disputes.


Sir John Forrest - It would be better to abolish the States Parliaments altogether than to take away their right to manage their own servants.


Mr Spence - The Bill will not take away any of their powers. It simply provides for the exercise bv the Commonwealth of a power which no State Parliament can have.


Mr KINGSTON - I hope that such jealousy as may now exist between the

States and the Commonwealth will speedilypass away.


Sir John Forrest - Legislation such as the right honorable member suggests will not tend to allay the jealousy of the States.


Mr KINGSTON - This legislation is not a cause for jealousy of the Commonwealth on the part of the States. All that the Bill does is to make provision for the interference of the Commonwealth in cases where the States cannot act. We have no other powers than those given. to us by the Constitution, and the constitutional position is emphasized by the very words of the Bill. The measure applies only to disputes extending to more than one State ; in other words, to disputes with which the States have not sufficient power to deal=-seamen's disputes and other disputes of that kind. We ask that the Commonwealth shall interfere to prevent these disputes, which the States have done nothing and can do nothing to prevent. We are providing for a comprehensive scheme to meet the condition of things contemplated when the Constitution was framed. We are providing against occasions when the States' cannot act, and the interference of the Commonwealth is necessary. There is no taking away of power from the States in this connexion, because they do not possess any. The Commonwealth, however, will, exercise its constitutional powers for the. benefit of all concerned. It seems to me that there will be no difficulty in reading the Constitution as it is intended to be read.


Sir John Forrest - I do not think that the extension of the application of the measure advocated by the right honorable member comes within the provisions of the Constitution.


Mr KINGSTON - When the Constitution was drawn the intention of its framers was clear enough. Let the right to arbitrate be exercised as completely as possible by the authorities of the States. We do not take away from- them that right. All the Constitution does is to confer upon the Commonwealth the power to act in disputes concerning two or more' States-. There will be no interference by the Commonwealth authorities in disputes affecting only one State. It would not' do",- where a dispute affected more than one State, for the authorities of the affected States to attempt to act together. If they did, what would be the result? We should have one decision in one State, and a different one in another. Who is it acts for all the States in matters of common concern? The Commonwealth. The Constitution gives us the opportunity to provide for such action on the part of the Commonwealth, and this is the time to give effect to that provision. Let us exercise it as completely as we can for the common good. Therefore, I say, away with the idea of exemptions ! Various exemptions are proposed which may receive the support of many honorable members. I have heard it said that shipping trading to ports to which ' there are no railways should be exempt from the operation of the Bill until railways are" built to those ports.


Sir John Forrest - Certainly.


Mr KINGSTON - What are we doing ? I take it that the provisions of the measure are intended for 'the fair adjustment of differences between employers and employes. Are we to be told, by the adoption of exemptions of the character suggested, . that no matter what the rights of the case are, no matter how patent the injustice, and no matter how strong the desire of the Court to provide for its immediate remedy, the wretched sweated sailors, however scanty their pay, and perhaps scantier their provisions, must continue to cry aloud for relief? Although the Court may be clear as to what ought to be done, as to what justice, equity, and good conscience dictate and require, there is to be inserted in the Bill the declaration that now, and for a time, there shall be no remedy, no relief, no matter how much nature may be despairing and exhausting. Existing conditions must continue unremedied, lest, perchance, a higher fare be required of those who voyage in the ships. Surely we are safeguarded sufficiently, when it is left to a competent Court to inquire into all such considerations, before it declares the necessity for an alteration ! Do we really desire humanity and right to be considered in the matter? Surely we do. Do we trust our Court? This is what is suggested ' may be the position : A report from your Court of Arbitration that wages are too little and should be increased, and by the legislation now proposed, the shutting of the door in the face of relief. We are asked to say-" No matter if the pay is insufficient, and the provisions neither sufficient nor fit, the present conditions shall continue whatever declaration is made by our tribunal as to their iniquity." It is not in these as in other cases simply a question of what is right between masters and men. Other considerations may be introduced, and we are to declare that no matter what the injustice, it shall continue, lest some one be called upon to pay some little extra fare for what it is to be hoped would be additional benefits accruing to him during a voyage.


Mr Conroy - Does the right honorable member propose to give the people higher incomes to pay for the extra fares ? A few shillings mean a great deal to workmen.


Mr KINGSTON - Yes, and that is the reason why they should not be robbed of them:


Mr Conroy - How does the right honorable member propose to give the people the money to pay these extra fares ?


Mr KINGSTON - I propose to find out what is due to the men employed, and to insist that it shall be paid to them.


Mr Conroy - We should see that our people get what they earn.


Mr KINGSTON - Yes. I wonder what people can earn in certain services.. I should be sorry if it were thought that I advocated that men should be paid what they had not earned. I am as strong upon the point of men earning what they are paid as of their being paid what they have earned.


Mr Conroy - My point is that men are robbed by Customs duties of - what they earn.


Mr KINGSTON - There are various reasons which prevent us from acting in particular cases, as judges of what men earn. Therefore, I say, erect a competent and just Court. Let it be declared by the Court what men ought, to be paid, and when it is declared, let them be paid. Let them receive neither more nor less.


Sir John Forrest - Are we better able to judge than are the members of a State Parliament as to what the employes of that State should be paid?


Mr KINGSTON - Does the right honorable gentleman tell me that a competent Court, constituted of a Justice from the High Court Bench, and of men representing the two interests concerned, who hear the evidence, cannot come to a better conclusion as to what is right than we, who have no special knowledge of the subject-matter- of the dispute? Let these disputes be adjudicated upon by a competent tribunal. Let us try and test the Court as we please ; but let us spare nothing in ascertaining what is right. When the right is ascertained, we should see that it is done. Do not let questions of right between masters and men be complicated by appeals as to .what the effect of a decision one way oranother might be on any particular fare. That, with all other questions, will receive due weight and consideration from the Court. Constitute your Court, trust it, and give effect to its decisions.


Mr Conroy - Why this desire to allow lawyers to decide everything?


Mr KINGSTON - It is rather amusing to hear that question. I do not know if it is intended for a personal taunt ; but in 1890, when I first introduced my Bill, it contained a provision prohibiting lawyers from appearing before the Arbitration Court.


Mr Conroy - Have fewer laws and you require fewer lawyers. We are continually making laws which provide for the employment of lawyers.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not see how that bears upon the opinions I am expressing. I believe that the clause to which I refer was carried.


Mr Conroy - I do not think it would be a good thing to prevent lawyers from appearing before the Arbitration Court.


Mr KINGSTON - I thought then that it was a good thing, and I think so now, and shall vote for it. At the same time I think that a trained lawyer who has become a Judge is a suitable man to preside over the Court.


Mr Conroy - The reason why I would allow lawyers to appear before the Court is because otherwise working men could not secure the proper presentation of their views. Laymen are not practised in legal subtleties.


Mr KINGSTON - I can assure the honorable member that he will find that generally the secretaries or other officers of the working men's organizations are admirably fitted to conduct cases in the Arbitration Court.


Mr Frazer - We get along very well in Western Australia without barristers.


Mr Conroy - But the officers of the unions are not trained in the law.


Mr Frazer - They have not to contend against trained men.


Mr KINGSTON - I shall be found resisting in every conceivable way the exclusion of any particular industry or class of persons from the application of the Bill. I believe thoroughly in the beneficence of the principle of abolishing strikes and locksout, and providing for the judicial ascertainment and enforcement of the right. If this be a good principle let us adopt it, and apply it as generally as we can ; if it be not, let us refrain from applying it at all.

To make the application of the Bill dependent upon the work of the sailor - upon the point whether or not his ship is carrying cargo between Australian ports, or whether there is a railway connecting the two ports between which he is travelling, is to introduce an exemption where exemptions generally are to be resisted, and to make it upon a ground that is really a pretext for striking at the principle of the Act. Such a suggestion must proceed from want of confidence on the part of those who advocate the Bill in the proper working of the great principles on which it is founded, or a desire to cause trouble by want of uniformity. Upon no ground could such an exemption be justified, because in good set terms it would amount to a denial of justice, when justice is demonstrable by the satisfactory declaration of a competent Court. I notice, with some interest, the attitude which has now been taken up by the Government on the subject of preferential trade. I am a believer in preferential trade. I believe that it will be well worth our while to raise our duties against the foreigner, whilst keeping them as they are at present against England. I notice, with surprise, that the Government policy does not seem to be that of the Barton Government by any means. Honorable members will recollect that the matter was referred to during the debate on the Address in Reply last year, when I had the pleasure, on behalf of the Government, of saying something in reference to it.


Sir John Forrest - The question is, whether what the right honorable and learned member said was on behalf of the Government. I do not remember that the matter was very much discussed in Cabinet.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not know what the Minister really desires to say - whether he really intends to suggest that, as a member of the Federal Government, I gave expression at the table to sentiments which had not the authority of an utterance on behalf of the Government.


Sir John Forrest - Perhaps the right honorable and learned gentleman did not speak on behalf of the Government.


Mr KINGSTON - All I can say is, that there is no " perhaps " about it. The Minister should know, if he does not know, that a Minister, speaking at the table, or from the Ministerial benches, cannot get over the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the Government.


Sir John Forrest - He does sometimes; I am afraid.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not wish to have any heated words with the Minister, but I ask him if he seriously suggests that I did anything of the kind ?


Sir John Forrest - Oh, no.


Mr KINGSTON - I am glad to hear that, because the Minister-


Sir John Forrest - I interjected because the right honorable and learned gentleman stated that the Government had changed the policy of the Barton Government.


Mr KINGSTON - There is no doubt about it. Of course, the Government are entitled to change their policy as often as they like.


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How often did they change it.


Mr KINGSTON - This is the way they changed : In connexion with preferential trade they are now announcing their intention to consider reductions in the present Tariff in favour of England. Not only did they not do that before, but, on the contrary, it was distinctly stated that the Barton Government were in favour of maintaining the duties as they are against England, and of raising them as regards the foreigner. And for two reasons. Firstly, because of the loss of revenue that would result from any reductions, and secondly, because so far as our policy is concerned, we had not achieved the degree of protection we desired. There is no doubt about that'. The recurring divisions on the Tariff show it. A further reduction under any circumstances would result in a loss of protection to our own people, which it would be difficult to justify. ' That is undoubtedly the position, and I am sure that the Prime Minister will not suggest the contrary. As I have, said, during the continuance of the Barton Government it was not part of their policy to propose reductions in the existing Tariff in favour of preferential trade with England, but rather to leave the duties as they were against England, and raise them against the foreigner.


Mr Deakin - Personally, I was not aware then that there was any possibility of making reductions, but I find now that there is.


Mr KINGSTON - I was not in the slightest degree commenting on the wisdom of the policy of the Government. I am glad that my statement has been borne out. The position was as stated, and for obvious reasons. I am still of opinion that it would be a good thing to maintain the

Tariff as it is in regard to England. I do not say that I am entirely opposed to reductions in the present Tariff, but I feel strongly that our first duty is to the people of Australia. We deliberately embarked upon our present policy for the pur-1 pose of affording protection to our own manufacturers. As honorable members are aware, we did not succeed in securing the full amount of protection which we thought was desirable, and which we proposed. Under these circumstances I think we were justified in saying that we would not consent to further reductions in the Tariff for the benefit of English manufacturers. At the same time, if there are cases in which, without injustice to both our local manufacturers' and loss to our revenue, reductions in the present duties can be made, well and good. I should like to hear of them. I am of opinion that they must be few and far between. As a member of the Barton Government 1 was not aware of any such instances. If, however, they are matters of subsequent discovery, I' am sure that reasonable treatment will be accorded to them by the House. At the same time I do not mind confessing that I, at least, am inclined to give the benefit to the Australian manufacturer, and I am not disposed to deprive him of a sufficient measure of protection or to needlessly sacrifice revenue.


Mr Lonsdale - Why should he be granted any privilege as against the con-' sumer? Why, by means of a law, should we extend to any class a privilege over another class?


Mr KINGSTON - The question of protection versus free-trade has been discussed on a variety of occasions during the past two or three years, and I do not propose to re-open it now. We know that a majority of honorable members in the last Parliament were in favour of protection, and I hope there is still a larger majority in this Parliament who have a disposition to " hold fast to that which is good."


Mr Conroy - A burglar always endeavours to keep what he gets.


Mr KINGSTON - No doubt the honorable an'd' learned member speaks with more authority upon that subject than I can do.. I do not express the opinions of a burglar. I look upon the matter more from the public standpoint, and I think we were justified in the action which we took in our first session, and that we are not likely to go back upon it now. We will not sacrifice the existing duties unnecessarily for the benefit of the British manufacturer, and to the loss of our own revenue. The latest figures which are before us - I think they were collected by the Imperial authorities; they were quoted by the Prime Minister at Ballarat - show that we certainly cannot be reviled for having extended to our people an excessive measure of protection.


Mr Lonsdale - If it is good, why not have enough of it?


Mr KINGSTON - I should not mind a little more of it, but, having threshed the matter out once, I think that it would be a pity to raise it again. I am sure that the sentiments which we have already embodied in the protective policy of this country are still entertained by a majority of the general public, and of honorable members, and will not be lightly abandoned. It has been shown by the figures which were quoted by the Prime Minister that of the average duties operative upon British staple exports in various countries, that which is imposed in Australia is almost the lowest. The lowest average is that of South Africa, 6 per cent. Australia comes next with an average of 7 per cent.


Mr Deakin - That is after the allowance has been made for the South African reduction of 25 per cent.


Mr KINGSTON - The Canadian duties average 16 per cent. after deducting the 33 per cent. preference which is extended to British exports. Seeing that our average duty is 7 per cent., or 9 per cent. less than the average of the reduced Canadian duties, and 1 per cent. in excess of the reduced South African duty, which is the lowest, I think that very little ground for serious objection is afforded even to those who are opposed to a protective Tariff. There is very little room for us to make any reductions, without reaching the lowest average of the lot. An average of 7 per cent. cannot be complained of. As regards our manufacturers of metal and machinery, I say that a duty of only 12½ per cent. confers upon them very little protection indeed. Though there may be cases in which reductions could be justified, I do not know of any at present, and I shall await with interest, and scrutinize with care, the particulars when they are attempted to be supplied.


Mr Conroy - I may inform the right honorable member that our duties average about 16 per cent., and that the Board of Trade returns are not correctly interpreted.


Mr KINGSTON - All I know is that the Imperial authorities addressing themselves to the consideration of this question have obtained the figures which I have quoted for the purposeof guiding them as to what is the true position.


Mr Kelly - Are they the principal articles of British export?


Mr KINGSTON - They are imports into Australia and exports from Great Britain.


Mr Deakin - The comparison is the same all round.


Mr Conroy - The average of our duties is 16 per cent.


Mr KINGSTON - The average of the duties on Australian imports of British exports is 7 per cent. I say that is low enough. I know of no particular instances in which the measure of protection afforded to our manufacturers is excessive, but perhaps it is just' as well for the Government to allow this margin to come and go upon. If on further investigation they find that there are some articles, the duties on which can be reduced without injury to Australia, well and good. Having thus stated my position, I desire to say that I am altogether in favour of preferential trade between Great Britain and her Colonies. Sentiment is all very well, but sentiment to which we give practical expression by improved business relations is still better. Let us show that our feeling in this matter is not merely a subject for empty talk, but that we are prepared to do something to give expression to it. I should infinitely prefer to deal with Great Britain, and with our fellow British subjects who are all interested in the maintenance and extension of the Empire, than with others who have no similar interests, who are jealous of our position, who have no wish for the goodof our Empire, but whose hands would be raised tomorrow if a convenient opportunity arose for the purpose of trailing our national honour in the mud, and depriving us of the pride and glory, which, as a race, we have achieved I recognise at the same time, though I have every hope as regards the cause, that preferential trade is not likely to be so speedy of accomplishment as we could wish. First it seems that Mr; Chamberlain has to convert the Kingdom, and the two Houses of Parliament. Then the policy has to be adopted by some Imperial Government which, having obtained the necessary authority, will make proposals to the other constituent parts of the Empire. It is difficult to say when that time will come. In my opinion the sooner it comes the better. May we do all that we can for the purpose of speeding its coming. We cannot do much, but nevertheless we can let it be known that

Australia is willing - nay anxious - to do all that lies in her power. She will not, I hope, be backward in coming forward when the time is ripe. May events combine to that end. I think we have good cause to be pleased with the attitude, which, under the guidance of the Government, appears likely .to be adopted by the Commonwealth in this connexion. When the time comes for the consideration of details, may there be no unnecessary haggling, but may a fair regard be shown for both Australian and Imperial interests. This is a business matter which must be inquired into and dealt with by business people upon business lines.' The sooner our trade relations are improved by mutual preferences the better. I believe that to-day public sentiment is in favour of preferential trade relations being brought about as early as possible, and I shall be glad if the Government do not hesitate to take the House into their confidence at any convenient moment, for the purpose of giving complete effect to a principle of which we generally approve. May Providence speed the day for the accomplishment of that end. I should like to make one or two observations in reference to our attitude as to the proposals of Imperial statesmen. I do not like the idea of anything in the shape of an invitation being extended to any Imperial statesman - whether he be a member of the Imperial Government or not - to visit Australia, for the purpose of advocating his cause. It seems to me to be almost a confession of weakness - a confession of weakness I did not expect from this Government, and which was not needed, so far as they are concerned. For instance, suppose there are two high contracting parties, the Commonwealth and the mother country. It is infinitely better that, from the standpoint of Australian interests, the matter should be dealt with by the Australian Government, constituted by and responsible to the public of the Commonwealth.


Mr Deakin - Hear, hear.


Mr KINGSTON - On the other hand, it is better that the matter should be dealt with, from the point of view of the interests of Great Britain, by authorities responsible to the people of the United Kingdom. We do not want to trouble Imperial statesmen unnecessarily in Australian affairs. It is infinitely better that the Australian Government . should make up its mind upon its policy, define it clearly, and then advocate it direct to the people of this country. Then they can convey their views on the subject by correspondence or by any "other method that may seem necessary to the Imperial authorities.


Mr Deakin - But this is a bargain to which there are two parties, the Commonwealth Government and the Imperial Government. We want to know the views of the other party, and they want to know ours. It was pointed out to Mr. Chamberlain that by coming here he would learn the Australian view, and we could learn the British view.


Mr KINGSTON - But look at this position. Mr. Chamberlain at this moment is not even a member of the British Government. -But, apart from that, I venture to consider that the Prime Minister of this country' can express the Australian view as regards .the relations between the Commonwealth and Great Britain. It is infinitely better that the Australian Government, after conferring with the Australian Parliament in the usual constitutional way, should formulate a policy, than that some one should come from the other end of the world to intervene between the Government and the people - to usurp, or almost to usurp, the functions of the Government of the Commonwealth in a case of this sort. I do not like any interference between the Australian Government and the Australian people. There is a right of conference, but I am inclined, almost, to resent the idea that somebody who is under no obligation of responsibility to the Australian people, should come here for the purpose of advising those who should properly and constitutionally be advised by the Government and by their representatives in Parliament.


Mr Deakin - To advise was not the purpose of Mr. Chamberlain's proposed % visit. For instance, Sir John Cockburn, as an Australian, has been speaking . on the platform in Great Britain expressing the Australian view of the question.


Mr KINGSTON - I am inclined to think that the Prime Minister will, on reflection, be disposed to doubt the wisdom of inviting a canvassing of the Australian people, I will not say behind the back of_ our Government, but between and apart' from the people and their constitutional medium, the Australian Government, in a way which might not be in Australian interests.


Mr Deakin - Mr. Chamberlain would put his own views. We should not be responsible for them, nor would he be responsible for ours.


Mr KINGSTON - Would it be altogether a desirable thing in a matter of policy affecting the United Kingdom to send some one from here to England on a similar mission ?


Mr Deakin - There is no reason why we should not. I wish the English people could hear my right honorable friend himself on the subject.


Mr KINGSTON - I should like to carry the point a little further. I think that the people of Australia ought in Federal matters to speak through their duly constituted authorities.


Mr Deakin - Hear, hear.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not like anything which looks like intervention between the people and those authorities. The right mode of expressing Federal sentiment by the people is through their representatives in both Houses of the Federal Parliament, and, of course, the Government acting in execution of the wishes thus expressed. I have noticed in one or two particulars what might be construed into a not too severe regard for this constitutional means of communication.


Mr Crouch - Hear, hear ; there is no doubt about that.


Mr KINGSTON - The Federal representatives and senators are the men who are most entitled to speak as constituting the Federal Parliament. I wish to see preserved the best relations with the States Governments. But the States Governments are not charged with responsibility for the expression of Federal sentiment. The Federal Government and the Federal Parliament are endowed with that responsibility. 1 notice in the Governor-General's Speech some reference to meetings with representatives of the different ' States Governments. I do not like to find fault with methods which tend to preserve harmony, but I. doubt whether anything which gives the Stales Parliaments in Federal matters, by constituted practice, a habit in. the expression of their views direct to the Federal Government, can be justified with due regard to the privileges of both Houses of the Federal Parliament. I think we ought to be jealous - not stupidly jealous, not wishing to find fault, or to discover a source of trouble where none really exists - of our constitutional privileges. Do not let us get into the habit of disregarding the ordinary means of communication between the Government and the people. We are a Parliament, and we have a right to be. treated as such. In Federal matters arrangements ought not to be made, as it were, behind our backs, or without our having an opportunity of expressing an opinion. In regard to these conferences between the Executive of the Commonwealth and the States Governments, must we not be careful lest we establish a practice of going behind the backs of the representatives of the people in this Parliament, and affecting arrangements as to which we have not been consulted and have not had an opportunity of expressing our opinion ? How do honorable members regard the third paragraph of the Governor-General's Speech ?

A discussion by a Conference of State Treasurers,' under the presidency of the Treasurer of . the Commonwealth, has produced a much better understanding of the difficulties surrounding these subjects, and

And then it goes on - a further meeting is proposed, when it is hoped that some mutually satisfactory arrangement will be attained.

What does that mean ? There is to be a further Conference, where arrangements are to be made. Are we not to-be afforded an opportunity in the meantime of expressing our views on the subject ?


Mr Deakin - Of course any such arrangement would only be entered into for submission to Parliament. No Government could do anything without the consent of Parliament.


Mr KINGSTON - I understand that the Prime Minister recognises the impossibility of that ?


Mr Deakin - Oh, absolutely.


Mr KINGSTON - I do not want to be hypercritical, but the Prime Minister notices the expression - when it is hoped that some mutually satisfactory arrangement will be attained.

It might have been more happily expressed. It might have been made more clear that any arrangement was to be submitted for our approval.


Mr Deakin - As a matter of fact, that would have been put in, but we tried to avoid repeating phrases, and the phrase about submitting things for the approval of Parliament occurs very, often in the speech.


Mr Mahon - Does the right honorable member allude to Ministers consulting States Governments or Ministers giving copies of Bills to newspaper reporters in order to get from them their views?


Mr KINGSTON - If that question has any reference to any specific circumstance, all I can say is that there is no comparison; between what the honorable member suggests and what is suggested here; and if he sees a resemblance it is simply a mark of his utter inability to appreciate the true position. I am sure that' the Government and the House wll agree with me that it is highly desirable that there should not grow up -anything in the shape of a habit of curtailing the privileges of Parliament in connexion with Federal affairs, and of giving to other people, be they States Governments or not, an opportunity of interfering, which is not constitutionally conferred, particularly if it may be exercised to the prejudice of the great Parliament to which we have the honour to belong, and which is undoubtedly charged with the duty of giving the most faithful interpretation of Australian sentiment on Australian affairs to a degree which belongs to no other body.


Mr Deakin - Of course, my right honorable friend will see that in matters such as the transfer of the properties of the States the States Governments have to be considered and consulted. The Conference alluded to dealt with the transfer- of properties, the method of payment, and so on.


Mr KINGSTON -I am sure the Prime Minister recognises the principle, and I am simply asking him to acknowledge the possibility of a precedent being established for the exercise by certain people of powers' which do not belong to them.


Mr Deakin - I recognise the principle. But this arises out of the Constitution.


Mr KINGSTON - I am not saying that the precedent has actually been established, but that we have gone close enough to it. I trust that we shall not get any closer, but that the Parliament of the Commonwealth will enjoy to the fullest the power which it was intended to confer upon it by the Constitution - the right to voice for Ministerial guidance, as no other Parliament or persons can do. the Australian wish with reference to Federal affairs. There are one or two other matters to which I desire at this stage to refer. It has been suggested by several honorable members that the proportion of voters to the total number of electors who availed themselves of the privilege of the franchise at the last elections should have been much larger. It is most disappointing to find that in many rases the franchise was not availed of to thi extent that it ought to have been.


Mr Mauger - It was very largely exercised in my electorate.


Mr KINGSTON - And in many others ; but I am inclined to think that there is something in the suggestion that the exercise of the franchise is not only a privilege but a duty.


Mr Deakin - The strict constitutional view is that it is a duty, not a privilege.


Mr KINGSTON - Quite so. The honorable member for Gippsland has stated that he is disposed to support the introduction of legislation for the application of compulsion, so (hat the constitutional view of the matter may be emphasized. In a great many cases the neglect to vote proceeds from laziness. On various occasions efforts have been made to meet the difficulty, but all provisions in this direction have failed. I believe, however, that if we were to impress on the mind of the elector the fact that it is his duty to vote, and that he will not save himself any trouble by refraining from doing so, we should obtain much improved results. As the honorable member for Gippsland has pointed out, a juryman who fails to attend at Court, in obedience to a summons, is liable to be fined. ' The electors are a great body of jurymen who have to deal with national affairs of infinitely more importance than such questions as that of whether John Jones stole a pair of boots.


Mr Conroy - Would the right honorable member compel an elector to read the newspapers in order to see what was going on ?


Mr KINGSTON - I do not propose anything in that direction, but, I think, we might fairly provide for the imposition of a small penalty in the case of an elector who neglects to vote, and fails to file an excuse within a certain period. I should provide that any elector entitled to vote, who did not avail himself of that right, should be liable to a penalty, unless within one month he filed an excuse setting out the reason for his neglect, and paid a registration fee of half-a-crown on filing that excuse. If an elector who, instead of voting on polling day, attends a race meeting, discovers that he has to file an excuse .and pay a registration fee of half-a-crown, he will consider, when the next elections come round, that it is better for him to vote than to go to the trouble of complying with such requirements.


Mr Johnson - But what would the right honorable member do in the case of ah elector whose name had been left off the roll ! Would he provide for. the return of his registration fee?


Mr KINGSTON - The provision to which I refer, could apply only to those who are on the roll. There is power for an elector to apply to have his name placed on the roll up to within a short time before the elections. If a man who refrained from voting were put to as much trouble as if he had gone to the poll, and were called upon, in addition, to lose halfacrown, he would take care to vote at the succeeding elections. That is what we desire to bring about. We' do not wish to injure the electors, but to encourage them to vote.


Mr Mauger - To offer them a mild 'inducement.


Mr KINGSTON - A fair inducement. I do not think that any one of us is satisfied with incomplete polling, which may operate to the disadvantage of one side, and the advantage of the other. It is our desire that all the people shall vote, and thus give clear expression to the sentiments they entertain. In these circumstances I shall be very happy to draft a Bill dealing with the question, and to place it at the disposal of any honorable member who may desire to introduce it. I shall be happy, indeed, to do all that I can to secure the passing of such a measure into law. Let us interest the people as much as possible in our doings; but let us interest them first of all in the elections themselves. Let us do what we can' to secure a distinct declaration of the sentiments of the people.


Mr Johnson - Thousands of people applied to be enrolled, but were left off the rolls. What would the right honorable member do in such cases ?


Mr KINGSTON - My only object is to induce people to take advantage of the franchise. It would be absurd to revive the mistakes which have been made in the past - mistakes such as that of imposing the penalty of disfranchisement on those who neglect to exercise the right. What we need to' do is not to take away from such people the right to vote, but to see that they exercise it. To disfranchise a man because he neglects to vote is a revenge-' ful and ridiculous proceeding.


Mr Batchelor - Because a man's eyes are closed are we to take them out?


Mr KINGSTON - Exactly.


Mr Johnson - Dozens of persons in my electorate whose names appeared on the exhibited lists found in the end that their names had been left off the. roll.


Mr KINGSTON - If we took the step I have suggested it would encourage public officials to see to the careful registration of voters. There would be a more wholesome feeling if we had a more general exercise of the franchise. The sooner we take action in the matter the better it will' be. Reference has also been made to the question of the parliamentary allowance. I have never looked upon ^400 a year as being sufficient for the services rendered by members of this Parliament, particularly in view of the long distances which many honorable members have to traverse, and the fact that they must either keep up two homes or subject themselves to great inconvenience and expense. I have always advocated the larger allowance of ,6500. * did so at the last elections, and it is a question to which attention should be given by the Government. I do not know that they addressed themselves particularly to it at the generalelections, but if they did, arid now see their way to bring the matter before the notice of the House, I shall not depart -in any way from the position I have taken up. Four hundred pounds is not in many cases a proper remuneration for the services rendered by honorable members. I note the statement in the Governor-General's Speech that the Government propose to introduce a measure relating to the encouragement of iron and steel works by the granting of bonuses, and I hope that these proposals will take practical shape at an early date. There is perhaps even greater necessity for the early settlement of the question of bounties to agriculturists, because, in the natural order of things, the granting or withholding of these bounties must shortly affect the actions of our farmers with reference to planting. I hope that the Government will be able to introduce these proposals at an early date, and press them forward without undue delay. We have also a reference in the Governor-General's Speech to the construction of the railway to connect Western Australia with the eastern States. I have left no room for doubt as to my support of that proposal, and I shall strongly advocate it, believing that the line will be highly beneficial. I trust that the scheme will include the construction of a line not only from Port -Augusta to Kalgoorlie, but from Kalgoorlie to Esperance, which I honestly believe would confer on both the east and west double the advantages that would be gained by the mere construction of the main line, with no connexion between Kalgoorlie and Esperance. The overland line, pure and simple; would be chiefly useful for the carriage of mails. and the conveyance of emergency passengers. The requirements in regard to the carriage of heavy machinery and ordinary freights can only be well met by ' full advantage being taken of the comparatively short distance between Kalgoorlie and Esperance - a distance of 225 miles.


Sir John Forrest - Esperance is 230 miles from Coolgardie, arid 1 think it is about 250 miles from Kalgoorlie.


Mr KINGSTON - Is a difference of 10 per cent, worth grumbling about in a matter of 200 miles?


Sir John Forrest - Yes, when it is 10 per cent, over and not under.


Mr KINGSTON - I suppose that the distance will be reckoned from Kalgoorlie as the nearest point?


Sir John Forrest - No, Coolgardie. "


Mr KINGSTON - The distance is 225 miles from the nearest convenient point of contact.


Sir John Forrest - It is 230 miles. Some people say that it is only 200 miles. They wish to exaggerate in the other way.


Mr KINGSTON - I take 225 miles as a fair estimate. We need to be careful in matters of this sort. I take it that we will not be disposed to consent to any Federal expenditure being applied in such a way that it may unfairly advantage one part of a State, or of the Commonwealth, over another. If we require to expend money to improve the means of communication between east and west, let us expend it for the benefit of all. I have no desire at the present moment to go over the various arguments upon this question. I have heard honorable members from the Western Australian gold-fields make the strongest statements regarding the 'inequity, I might almost say the iniquity, of the present state of affairs.


Sir John Forrest - The right honorable gentleman does not say it is an iniquity, I hope? He knows very little about it in any case. It does not become him to say that it "is an iniquity.


Mr KINGSTON - It would better become my right honorable friend if he were to endeavour to control his emotions. At the present time he is distinctly rude, to say the least of it.


Sir John Forrest - When the right honorable gentleman speaks of the Government of Western Australia being guilty of an iniquity it is time for me to say something.


Mr KINGSTON - Is the Minister for Home Affairs sitting in this Chamber as the representative of the Executive of Western 'Australia, or as a member of the Federal Government?


Sir John Forrest - I am here to protect Western Australia against any insinuation which mav be made against that State.


Mr KINGSTON - Any insinuationgood gracious ! And the right honorable gentleman sat here and heard two honorable members from the Western Australian gold-fields describe this thing in well set terms, and in a manner which should have made his blood boil.


Sir John Forrest - I was not here.


Mr KINGSTON - Then the right honorable gentleman ought to have been here. ' It was put by those honorable members that this was done for the benefit of the people of Perth ; that it was a policy worthy of Caligula and Agrippa ; that old men and young children were dying on the gold-fields ; and that it was not a question of convenience, but a question of health and comfort, and even of existence.


Sir John Forrest - Wonderful !


Mr KINGSTON - Wonderful ? Iniquitous !


Sir John Forrest - Considering that they had a railway down to the coast, and have had it for years.


Mr KINGSTON - To Bunbury ?


Sir John Forrest - .No, down t'o Perth and Fremantle.


Mr KINGSTON - That explains what those honorable members have said. They have said that what has been done was done for the benefit of the Perth land-holders, and that children were being sacrificed.


Sir John Forrest - The right honorable gentleman knows a lot about that.


Mr KINGSTON - I "do. Those honorable members spoke with authority, and with warmth.


Sir John Forrest - We take hundreds of children to the coast every year.


Mr KINGSTON - They put it as parochialism in its very worst form - that hard-working men, as the gold-miners certainly are, were not only being inconvenienced, but were being exposed to risks, difficulties, and even danger to life, that the land-owners of Perth might make a profit. That is what they said, and that is what they believed. * Why was it not contradicted before ? ,


Sir John Forrest - I contradict it now.


Mr KINGSTON - The right honorable gentleman contradicts it now, when he is driven into a corner.


Sir John Forrest - No, I contradict it on the first opportunity, when I hear it from the right honorable gentleman.


Mr KINGSTON - What avails the contradiction ? The facts remain. There is no getting away from them.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.


Sir John Forrest - Those who say " Hear, hear " do not know anything about the facts.


Mr KINGSTON - We have the right honorable gentleman's word for that.


Sir John Forrest - And a very good word, too ; one in which the people of Western Australia believe.


Mr McDonald - Yet the right honorable gentleman was only able to secure the return of one representative whom he supported, and that was himself.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is the honorable member talking about? The right honorable gentleman is Western Australia.


Mr KINGSTON - Oh, he is Western Australia ! That accounts for it. I hope that if we spend Federal money we shall do it in a Federal spirit for a Federal work for the benefit of the Federation generally. I trust we shall not be guided by petty and parish motives, which have influenced action on other occasions, for the benefit of one part of a district or of one State as against another.


Sir John Forrest - I hope that people will keep their word.


Mr KINGSTON - And in the interests of the land-owner, and to the detriment, discomfort, and death of hard-working miners.


Sir John Forrest - Death ! This is very different from what the right honorable gentleman told me when he was trying to get Western Australia to come into the Federation.







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