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Thursday, 22 April 1915

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) .- My remarks will follow on lines similar to those traversed by the honorable member for Wentworth. As an Australian believing in adult suffrage, my regret is that every white man and woman of the Northern Territory, when we took over its administration from the brave little State of South Australia, which had borne the responsibility for so many years, was de prived of the right of representation. That, in my opinion, was a backward step unequalled in the most despotic country of Europe. It is almost incredible to me that such a thing should have been done in these days; and I feel sure that the Minister will confer with the Government in order to see whether the Northern Territory cannot be attached to the constituency of some honorable, member, so that the residents there may be able to make their voice heard in this chamber, as they are justly entitled to do. The same step should be taken in regard to Papua. Unfortunately, in Papua the white residents are alongside a darkcoloured race, which is by far the more numerous; and we know that when two such races meet it is always the darker race that suffers. I am sure that the honorable member for Wentworth will agree with me when I say that Germany, in its administration of its possessions, had little sympathy for the coloured race.

Mr Kelly - That was the only disfigurement of their administration.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I take it that no civilized men would really wish to make any coloured people work against their will, provided that they could, in their own native way earn enough to keep themselves and their families. I have in my time visited savage and cannibal tribes, and I must say that those in the southern beas, to their honour, never allow orphans to want - never allow any one. to starve in their villages if there be food enough to go round. The question of giving representation to the white people in our possessions must be dealt with in a spirit of justice. As to Papua, the honorable member for Wentworth might have added that a resolution has been passed in favour of giving the white people there representation. It is an old adage that taxation without representation is a wrong and an infamy; and how much more is it so when an autocrat is placed in control ? No man, I do not care who he may be, can exercise such autocratic power without being the worse for it.

Mr Boyd - The honorable member is not arguing that the blackfellows should have votes, is he?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I wish the blackfellows were sufficiently educated to exercise a vote. This is a difficulty that has had to be faced in the United States; and I remember Mr. Bell, the inventor of the telephone, saying to me that the negroes had had to be disfranchised in Washington because they were so corrupt. I do not say that the Papuans would be corrupt; but we know that they are a subject race, and as yet untried; but, on the other hand, I do not wish to give the few white people there control- over the lives and destinies of the black race. Tt has been the duty, not only of the present Minister of External Affairs, but of his predecessor, to stand by the black races under our control; but, at the same time, the white race ought to have a voice in the election of the Assembly which controls them. I cannot understand, except on the ground that unlimited power spoils any man, how the present dictator of Papua should have changed his opinion in this regard.

Mr Gregory - The people are not even allowed to elect their own representatives to the Roads Boards.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - And trial by jury has been done away with. Surely we have not arrived at that depth of degradation when it can be said that, if a white man is charged with the murder of a black, a white jury cannot be found to convict? If that were once proved to be so, then all power should be taken away from the whites; but I should be very loth to believe anything of the kind. In one case a native was fined between three and four years' wages simply for obeying orders; and it was really the master of a boat, by whom the orders were given, who should have been punished. What kind of a magistrate, what kind of a Judge, imposed such a penalty as that? If the recall were in operation there he would be removed from the Bench; but the people have no voice. It is for these reasons I hope that some member of the House will be appointed to voice the thoughts and desires of our fellow citizens in those far-flung portions of the Empire - the Northern Territory and Papua. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports said that rather than see the land of the Northern Territory handed over to land grant companies, he would do without a railway; and so say I. In Western Australia, the largest of the States, which I have recently visited, narrow-gauge railways are opening up vast tracts of country, and through lands selected only a year or two ago, the lines are running. If I may make the suggestion, the Go vernment could very well follow the example of Western Australia and adopt this system of settling people on the land. If we go to the Lands Office in Melbourne, we find every difficulty placed in the way. Many hundreds of people have applied for land year after year without success, and, sick and tired, have been compelled to go to some other State. Large sums of money are spent in Victoria, and quite rightfully, on Agricultural Colleges, but when the students have obtained their diplomas, they are compelled to go elsewhere in order to find land. If a person goes into the Victorian Lands Office and asks for a map of available land, he is called upon to pay for it, whereas, in Western Australia, such maps are supplied free. Then again, the map sold in Victoria gives no information as to the quality of the land, and other matters of the kind, while in Western Australia, not only is the class of land plainly set forth with other particulars, but, in figures across each block, there is shown the amount of money that the Agricultural Bank is prepared to advance the settler at 5 per cent. What was my experience forty-two years ago, when I took up land in Victoria ? I was a poor miserable little bank clerk, with an idea that I should like to settle on the land ; and I found myself planted by the Government in one of the heaviest timbered areas, some 8 miles south of Warragul.

Mr Boyd - You would have been wealthy had you kept the land !

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - My honorable friend is wrong again. This land, after a great number of years, waa offered as partly cleared land to the Government, at only 10s. per acre over what it had originally been purchased for, and it waa refused. The timber was too heavy, the cost of clearing being over £20 per .acre. The only advantage I got out of my life on the land was a fairly good chest, and a good constitution; and for these I am thankful. But that is not the way to put people on the land. There is no doubt that I should have settled there had I been given a " dog's chance "; but honorable members can imagine what it was to a man of no experience, gnawing away at those huge trees, which numbered as many as twentyfive on a single acre, and were over 8 feet in diameter. I held on for twenty-five years, and then had to give it up. I desire to pay my meed of praise to the

Government, even though it be a Labour Government, which controls Western Australia. In that State, heavily-timbered land, in the Karri country, such as costs £25 an acre to clear in Gippsland, is being cleared, the huge trees being torn out by the roots, at a cost of £3 5s. to £4. 15s. an acre. When the land has been cleared, thirty-furrow ploughs are brought into use, and these have reduced the cost of ploughing from 8s. to 4s. per acre. No other State in all Australia is endeavouring to clear land for future settlers in the same way.

Mr Boyd - What pulls the thirtyfurrow plough ?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - A traction engine; and their success is so great that the idea is to ultimately have fifty-furrow ploughs.

Sir John Forrest - Where is that place ?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Down south in the heavily-timbered country. It must be the desire of all honorable members to do what they can for the benefit of Australia as a whole. Mr. Hedges, a late member of this House, was, I think, the first member to bring under the notice of the Government of the day the fact that if we possessed a bureau of agriculture, it should be one of the duties of that body to find out from every part of the world the character of its herbage, with the object of ascertaining if it were suitable for any part of Australia. In South America, for instance, the plant that is food for the lama, if planted in the dry areas of Western Australia and in some of the central portions of our continent, might become a suitable fodder for our own stock. Tn the wide areas of Western Australia, there is a fodder which, while unfit for sheep or cattle, has proved a useful fodder for the camel. I am satisfied that, with a bureau of agriculture working properly, our dry farming areas, with a rainfall of from 8 to 14 inches, could be profitably occupied. Then there is the problem of the settlement of the Northern Territory. No member of this House will deny that it is the duty of any Government to complete the north-south railway. An honorable understanding was made with the State of South Australia which, for many years, bore the burden of the Territory, and, in fact, acted as a sentinel for Australia against the Asiatic invasion which was taking place. I well remember a report that was obtained on the initiative of the late Mr. Kingston, then a member of the State Parliament, showing the number of ships that called at Port Darwin, the number of Chinese they had as crew, the number on board when the vessels arrived at the end of their journey at Melbourne or Sydney, and the number on board when the ship returned. There was a marked discrepancy between the figures, indicating that a substantial settlement of Chinese was taking place somewhere in Australia, contrary to the law of the land. Every credit, therefore, is due to South Australia for the splendid fight that State made to preserve the Territory from the Asiatic invasion; and can any honorable member deny that that vast area, with its millions of acres, and some of the best rivers of Australia, will not in the future become a great asset to this country ? £100,000,000 ? It is worth far more than that, for it has double the territory of Germany and Franco, and is capable of supporting the white race in comfort. History shows that in the development of the Gold Coast of Africa, where formerly one year's service counted as three, the country has become comparatively healthy, because reasonable precautions were taken to safeguard the people. What was it that checked the genius of de Lesseps in his effort to build the canal across the Panama? The mosquito, as we know, was the effective barrier, but, thanks to the preventive measures taken by Colonel Goethals, when the United States commenced that undertaking, that work has been completed, and the district has become a healthy resort with a death-rate less than that of some of the countries in Europe. By the destruction of the lurking places of the deadly mosquito and other disease-carrying insects, life is safe to the white man, and, as I have said, it has been proved that the white race can hold -its own under these conditions. I look forward with confidence to the future when the brave settlers of the Northern Territory will have a chance to get their produce to the centres of civilisation. When this opportunity is given, settlement will be rapid. The Government should take into consideration the question of settling in the Territory the time-expired men of the Indian Army. These men have had experience of a climate similar to that of the Territory, and therefore it would be well to consider a proposal to bring them out here and induce them to settle in the Northern Territory? The Federal Government could insist that they should keep up their drills and practise their shooting, and by that means we would be able to settle the country, and they would act as a factor in the defence of the country if ever danger came to Australia. I hope the Government will push on with the railway, and I can assure them that I will give no vote for the strategic line until this railway, pledged and promised by the honour of the Commonwealth, is carried to its full and complete settlement.

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