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Wednesday, 29 November 1905

Senator DOBSON (Tasmania) - I do not think that Senator Trenwith has quite disposed of this matter. The. honorable senator admits that there is an injustice in the vote as submitted, but he desires that it should "be left to Ministers who have promised to look into it.

Senator Trenwith - Ministers and Parliament.

Senator DOBSON - I was just going to say so. I have more confidence in the Senate, to which I belong, than I have in Ministers who are at present engaged in trying to push down people's throats legislation for which they have no authority. With the item, and the facts before us now, we are as capable of laying down a just rule as are Ministers. There is some logic in the request moved by Senator Mulcahy, and, in default of a. better proposal, I intend to support it. I supported the request moved by Senator Clemons, because I think that all these mail subsidies should! be dealt with as per capita expenditure. The present request, if agreed to, will come before another place, and the principle involved may be adopted. I desire to admit quite candidly that Tasmania! asked for the new service, principally because she desired better accommodation for the tourist traffic. Still, whatever advantage Tasmania has derived, it must be admitted that the Commonwealth also derives some advantage,' and I am, therefore, prepared to vote for the 'request.

Senator MULCAHY(Tasmania).- Having considered the matter further, I think it would hardly be consistent with my first speech on this subject, if I were to persevere with the request I have moved. With the consent of the Committee, I should like to withdraw it. I hope that the next time the matter comes to be dealt with in the Senate we shall consider it as gentlemen dealing with gentlemen.

Request, by leave, withdrawn.

Senator O'KEEFE(Tasmania). - I am disappointed that the request should have been withdrawn. When speaking before, I indicated that if the whole sum of £11,000 was not treated as per capita expenditure, at least the increase of £5,000 should be so treated. I do not believe in moving a request, and immediately afterwards withdrawing it. I propose to give honorable senators, who think that £5,000 of this subsidy should be treated as per capita expenditure, an opportunity to vote in that direction. I, therefore, move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item " Conveyance of mails per Union S.S. Company's vessels under contract from and to Tasmania and Victoria, £11,000," by distributing£5,000 of the amount upon a per capita basis.

Senator CLEMONS(Tasmania).- It has been urged that it is illogical to ask, not that the whole of this amount should be allocated on a per capita basis, but that a portion of it should be so treated. There is nothing illogical in the request, and nothing that is not warranted by what has already been sanctioned in the schedule. The Committee has already sanctioned, in regard to the mail service to the Pacific Islands, an arrangement analogous to that which Senator O'Keefe wishes to have made in connexion with Tasmania. Three thousand six hundred pounds is provided under the head of transferred expenditure for a subsidy towards the mail service between New Hebrides and other Islands, while three other amounts - for additional subsidies on condition that black labour is not used, for the extension of the service, and for its improvement - are provided under the heading of "other" expenditure.

Senator Givens - That is, an external service.

Senator CLEMONS - It is not wholly an external service, seeing that it is a service in part to a Territory of the Commonwealth. The honorable senator in connexion with the vote for that service has approved of an arrangement analogous to that which Senator O'Keefe now suggests.

Senator Givens - I disapprove of that contract altogether.

Senator CLEMONS - At any rate, the Committee has agreed to it, the circumstances being almost identical with those surrounding the Tasmanian service, which, in the first place, has been improved, and, in the second place, is new, and for which an increased amount has been granted. If the request is insisted on, the Tasmanian subsidy will be paid on the same basis as the subsidy for the mail service to the Pacific Islands.

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