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Friday, 24 November 1905

The CHAIRMAN - I do not think I can permit the honorable senator to proceed with a discussion as to the necessity for an alteration of the land laws of the various States. That would not be in order on the item for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth. It will be admitted that we have resources. The question for consideration is how we should advertise them.

Senator STEWART - I respectfully beg to differ from you, Mr. Chairman. The item is for " Advertising resources of Commonwealth." It will be admitted that one of our principal resources is our land, and surely I am entitled to discuss whether land is available, and where. If it is not available, of what use will it be to advertise it?

Senator Playford - There is no need to discuss that on this item, which really refers to the employment of one man, who will have left the service of the Common.wealth directly. No good can result from the honorable senator's talk.

Senator STEWART - That is very probable. It appears to me that all our Governments since the establishment of the Commonwealth have possessed rhinoceros hides. Nothing said to them seems to do any good.

Senator Playford - We are here to do business.

Senator STEWART - I am here to do business, but the honorable senator is here to get his Estimates through with as little discussion as possible. That is all that any member of 'a Government desires, and I am sorry to say that it is all that many Members of Parliament seem to desire. I propose to be an exception to the rule on this occasion. I wish to know how' this money has been spent.

Senator Playford - I have told the honorable senator.

Senator STEWART - I have been told that it has been given to a Mr. Plummer, who was appointed by Mr. Reid to advertise the resources of Australia. I suppose that he started to "blow" about the vast resources of the Commonwealth.

Senator Guthrie - No ; he wrote this : "The fact is, that labour conditions in Australia do not admit of industrial production on a large scale at even a moderate cost."

Senator STEWART - I have no objection to our resources being advertised. What I am concerned about is that we should have some resources to advertise, and I think I am justified in referring to the land question in this connexion. In dealing with an item of this kind, the question -I have to ask myself is, what is the extent of our resources, and whether we have any land to advertise. I begin by referring to Tasmania, and I show that the amount of land available in that State is infinitesimal.

Senator Playford - The honorable senator should' have mercy.

Senator STEWART - It is not a question of mercy, but of getting right down to the root of Australia's trouble. When I come to deal with Victoria, where is the land in this State?

Senator Playford - The honorable senator could go on for a week on that subject.

Senator STEWART - I could, but I shall spare the honorable senator. I do not propose to go on very much longer than 4 o'clock. I think the subject is of sufficient importance to occupy the attention of the Committee for at least a few minutes. We had a long discussion here last night about cab hire, sleeping berths, and other matters of no importance, and yet when a question the magnitude of which I venture to say overshadows that of every other question that could possibly be brought before the Committee is being considered, I am told that I am wasting time. I shall not, however, go round the various States, and point out the nakedness of the land in each. It is becoming every day more and more clear that there is something radically unsound so far as our land resources are concerned. We find land monopoly existing to a greater or lesser extent in every one of thd States. We find that the conditions which ought to prevail in a country which invites immigrants from other portions of the globe are here entirely absent. They are not absent in reality, but on account of artificial conditions which have been imposed upon the community. The community is, so to speak, bound, and the people have not the courage to turn round, knock their fetters off, and free themselves. I wish to see this artificial scarcity of resources in the way of land put an end to. I appeal to the Minister of Defence who, I believe, loves his country--

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator has said that he wishes to see certain abuses abolished. I submit that he cannot deal with that matter on these Estimates. The question is one of advertising the resources of the Commonwealth.

Senator STEWART - Cannot I discuss the resources of the Commonwealth?

The CHAIRMAN - I do not think the honorable senator will be in order in discussing any proposed legislation or administration which would abolish the evils of which he has been speaking.

Senator STEWART - With all due respect to you, sir, the Committee are now considering an item for "Advertising resources of Commonwealth." I am surely entitled to consider whether those resources exist, and if they do, whether they are available. If they do exist, and are available, there will be soma warrant for spending money in advertising them, but if they do not exist, or are not available, the spending of money on this item will be absolute waste. If I am not entitled to show that there is such a state of affairs in every one of the States as renders land unavailable to immigrants, of what use will it be for me either to support or oppose this vote ? However, I now move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the item "Advertising resources of Commonwealth, £200," by £1.

I make this motion, in order to show that honorable senators do not approve of advertising resources which, if they exist at all, are not immediately available.

Request negatived.

Senator STEWART(Queensland). - I wish to know to whom the contribution of£200 is paid for the investigation of tropical diseases ?

Senator PLAYFORD(South Australia - Minister of Defence). - The item to which the honorable senator refers is an instalment of a contribution we have agreed to make, at the rate of £200 per annum for five years, in connexion with the investigation of tropical diseases. I am informed that -

Schools for the study of tropical diseases have been established in Great Britain, at London and Liverpool. These institutions were inaugurated by funds contributed by the Imperial Treasury, the Royal Societies, and various Crown Colonies. Extensive investigation into malaria and other tropical diseases in hospitals and laboratories in England, and special expeditions to tropical' countries have been made. The schools have been largely availed of by medical officers, the Government service, missionaries, students, and others.

Those engaged upon the work found it necessary and desirable to enlarge the places occupied, and widen the scope of their observations. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, in a circular despatch on the 28th May, 1903, gave a history of the movement up to that date, and outlined the proposal for the extension of the existing scheme, suggesting that any contributions which might be made should be paid into a common fund for the benefit of the work in hand.

Mr. Chamberlainproposed to appoint a board to advise the Secretary of Slate as to how the moneys received might best be allotted, the board to consist of the medical adviser of the Colonial Office, a representative of the Royal Society, a leading London physician, one or more representatives of the Crown Colonies, and one or more members of the Colonial Office.

The Advisory Board has now been completed under the Presidency of the Right Honorable Sir J. West Ridgeway. Up till August, 1904, about £1,600, had been guaranteed by Crown Colonies alone for a period of five years, and a further contribution of £500 for a similar period had been promised by the Imperial Government on behalf of State-aided Protectorates, while it was anticipated that the Indian Government would also make a contribution to the fund.

The matter was considered at a Conference of Premiers held at Hobart in February last, when it was resolved that the Federal Government be asked to provide an annual grant of £200 a year for five years towards scientific inquiry by the Imperial authorities into tropical diseases, the amount to be distributed on a population basis.

Mr. Reidwhen Prime Minister directed that the necessary provision should be made in the Estimates.

The necessary provision has been made in these Estimates.-

Senator CLEMONS(Tasmania). - I desire to ask Senator Playford what will become of the 100 copies of the Year Book of Australia, for the purchase and distribution of which we are now asked to vote £50? It is an excellent publication, but if it is worth our while to purchase and distribute 100 copies it ought to be well worth our while to consider the question of purchasing and distributing 1,000 or 10,000 copies of the book, because it contains useful and reliable information which would help to correct a number of misstatements and errors. Of course we do not want these 100 copies to be distributed in Australia. Frommy point of view, 10,000 copies ought to be distributed in Europe.

Senator PLAYFORD(South AustraliaMinister of Defence). - With regard to this item of £50, I have been supplied with the following information : -

In June last the manager of the Year-Book of Australia asked for authority to supply 100 copies of the Y ear-Book at 10s. 6d. a copy, less 10 per cent., for distribution by the Federal Government in Great Britain, and pointed out that the Y earBook is the only Federal work of its kind, and is accepted by leading English papers as the standard authority on Australia. It was further observed that for many years several of the State Governments, notably that of New South Wales, had been sending copies of the work to England for distribution among libraries -and public institutions, but this has now been discontinued, as the States are evidently of opinion that it has become a matter of Commonwealth interest.

The proposal was forwarded to the late Government by the manager of the Year-Book, but no decision was arrived at. On the20th July the Prime Minister authorized £50 to be placed upon the Estimates to purchase 100 copies of the year book for the current year, when issued in1906, for use and distribution.

The States discontinued the practice of purchasing and distributing copies of this book because they considered that it ought to be done by the Commonwealth. The suggestion from the manager of the publication was that 100 copies should be purchased for distribution. Accordingly, the late Prime Minister placed upon the Estimates a sum of£50 for the purpose of purchasing and distributing 100 copies of the book amongst the various libraries and institutions in Great Britain, which had previously been supplied with the publication by the States. I agree with Senator Clemons that if we had a proper organization in Great Britain to distribute publications containing useful information about the States, we might as well purchase 1,000, or 2,000 copies of the Year-Book of Australia. But. as he will see. its manager only suggested that 100 copies should be purchased.

Senator CLEMONS(Tasmania). - I should like the Minister to ascertain what is a fair charge for the work. Obviously, we could not afford to distribute many thousand copies at10s. each. I donot suppose that the proprietors would ask that price ; but if the Commonwealth could obtain 1,000 or 10,000 copies at a cheap rate, as I think it ought to be able to do. they could be distributed. Will the Minister ascertain the cost at which we could purchase a large number of copies ?

Senator Playford - We could not get the Year-Book at a less cost, I think.

Senator Pulsford - It is a half-guinea book.

Senator CLEMONS - I imagine that it could be produced and sold for much less than that.

Senator Pulsford - It is mostly required for libraries and public institutions.

Senator CLEMONS - In the case of a large order, it ought to be sold at considerably less than the published price.

Attorney-General's Department, divisions 16 to 19 postponed.

Home Affairs : Salaries.

Divisions 20 to 26 {Department of Home


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