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Thursday, 6 September 1906


Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - Whatever views honorable senators may entertain regarding this measure, I think we can all welcome it as one which is likely to clear the ground in the forthcoming electioneering contest in which we must take part. I wish at once to say that I desire to compliment both Senator Pearce and his associates on the perfect candour with which they have presented the Bill for our consideration. We have heard it alleged of late that the cry of those who believe in individual enterprise as against State enterprise is a mere bogy, and that there is no such thing as Socialism, which need not concern us. But we now have a very frank and open declaration by Senator Pearce that this Bill is put forward as a definite socialistic proposal.


Senator McGregor - It is on our platform.


Senator MILLEN - I will come to the platform directly.


Senator Guthrie - Of which the honorable senator helped to lay the foundation.


Senator MILLEN - Senator Guthrie is absolutely mistaken there.


Senator Higgs - Did not the honorable senator represent the Bourke Carriers' "Union ?


Senator MILLEN - I did, andI should be quite willing to represent them again in a matter which they intrusted to my keeping. I may ad'd that it would have been a good thing for my honorable friends opposite, and for those who are associated with them, ifthey had taken the advice that I then gave. It has been urged in support of the contention that the cry of Socialism is a mere bogy that the Constitution itself makes no provision by which the Commonwealth can nationalize anv industry. But Senator Pearce makes it clear that instead of being a bogy, it is something real and definite. He and his party now come forward, in a perfectly constitutional way, to get over the difficulty that stands between them and certain objects which they have in view. I would also, before passing from that point, draw attention to the fact that Senator Pearce, with' the candour to which I have just referred, admitted last night, on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, that this was not merely his own personal Bill. It is a measure intrusted to him by his party . Therefore, it' is made, perfectly clear that this matter of nationalization, which has hitherto been only upon the platform of his party, has now reached the stage at which, in the opinion of that party, it is deemed desirable to put it in the forefront of their legislative work. They are, therefore2 seeking from the electors authority for the nationalization of industries in order, we .may assume, that, if the electors give than a majority, they may proceed to give practical effect to the views embodied in this Bill. I can give to the Senate the assurance that I shall endeavour to discuss this matter without any warmth of feeling. It is a matter of enormous magnitude. It is one upon which I think both sides can admit that there are reasonable grounds for difference of opinion, and for conflicting arguments. And when I say, as I do most frankly, that I am prepared to concede to mv opponents opposite the fullest measure of sincerity in the position that they take up, I think I am not unreasonable in asking that they also shall believe in the sincerity of those who, like myself, think that if this Bill were passed, the Commonwealth would be taking not a progressive, but a retrograde step. I lav particular emphasis upon that point, because it will be necessary for me later on to show, as I think I shall be able to do, whilst in no sense impugning the bona fides and good intentions of my honorable friend. Senator Pearce, that he has allowed his zeal for the cause which he has at heart rather to outrun, not merely his discretion, but his sense of fairness, and certainly to undermine, to the greatest extent, the judicial faculty which, as Chairman of the recent Royal Commission, he was called upon to exercise. I must regret, too, that Senator Pearce absolutely ignored two important principles, which, to mv mind, are the main principles we have to consider. One is the great effect, the vital influence, which will be asserted upon the Constitution itself if this Bill becomes law; and the other is the great economic change he proposes to make. On neither of those points did Senator Pearce say anything. It is quite true that he made a casual reference to the responsibility attached to amending the Constitution; but that reference was made with respect to a minor matter - that which we were discussing yesterday. It is the sort of admission which any one could make, even in regard to the most trivial amendment of the Constitution. But so far as one can gather from his address, he has absolutely failed to grasp what the proposed amendment of the Constitution will mean. He also omitted to refer to the great and fundamental change in our economic system which he proposes to make. He alluded to certain businesses which he thought it desirable to nationalize, but in no case did he go to die root of the whole matter, or refer to the difficulties which would arise from the substitution of State for individual enterprise. In those matters the change which the honorable senator proposes to bring about is so great, so absolutely organic, that I think I am entitled to say that it would be not a. mere reform, but a constitutional and economic revolution. I wish first to deal with the constitutional aspect of the matter. I shall particularly invite the attention of honorable senators to this matter, because so far as I can see, if my view of it is" right, it will mean not merely an amendment of the Constitution, but will prove absolutely destructive of the basic principle upon which the Commonwealth Constitution was brought about. I need hardly remind honorable senators that when the question of bringing the Colonies of Australia into some form of union was under discussion, it was very clearly understood and definitely impressed upon every elector, that there was to be a federation and not an unification. I will show by means of a few quotations what I understand to be the basis of a Federal union. Burgess, a writer of considerable repute, says -

The test pf a Federal system lies in the principle that the central government cannot destroy nor modify .the local, nor the local government the central.

It was a government of that kind. which was offered to the people of the Commonwealth, and which they accepted - one" under which there was to be a sharp division of powers and functions, between the local and the central Government, each being absolutely sovereign in its own domain and independent of the other. I lay particular stress upon this point, because if this Bill is carried, it will be a breach of faith with any State the people of which do not declare for it. At the first Federal Convention, held in 1891, a series of resolutions was submitted. The preamble to those resolutions reads as follows: -

That in order to establish and secure an enduring foundation for the structure of a Federal Government, the principles embodied in the resolutions following be agreed ia.

The first of the resolutions referred to reads -

That the powers and privileges and territorial rights of the several existing Colonies shall remain intact, except in respect to such surrenders as may be agreed upon as necessary and incidental to the power and authority of the National Federal Government.

Speaking upon those resolutions Sir Henry Parkes said -

I, therefore, lay down certain conditions which seem to me imperative as a ground-work of anything we have to do, and I prefer stating that these first four resolutions simply lay down what appear to me the four most important conditions on which we must proceed. First : " That the powers and privileges and territorial rights of the several existing Colonies shall remain intact, except in respect to such surrenders as may be agreed upon as necessary and incidental to the power and authority of the National Federal Government." I think it is in the highest degree desirable that we should satisfy the mind of each of the Colonies that we have no intention to cripple their powers, to invade their rights, to diminish their authority, except so far as it is absolutely necessary in view of the great end to be accomplished, which, in point of fact, will not be material as diminishing the powers and privileges and rights of the existing Colonies. It is therefore proposed by this first condition of mine to satisfy them that neither their territorial rights nor their powers of legislation for the well-being of their own country will be interfered with in any way that can impair the security of those rights and the efficiency of their legislative, powers.

I say that that passage clearly outlines the basis of the union, the compact, the agreement, which was offered to the people of these several States, and which they accepted as a Federal as distinct from an unified form of government. I hold that this Bill is absolutely destructive of that idea. If the Bill were carried, it would mean an advance towards unification. I recognise at once that while the Constitution, based on the principles to which T have referred, does permit of amendment in certain ways, it is possible, by a reck- less use of that power, to take from the States rights and privileges which they would not give up voluntarily. Some stress has been laid by Senator Pearce upon the fact that the Bill can only be passed if it gain the approval of a majority of the people in a majority of the States. That, of course, is quite clear from the wording of the Constitution. But if a proposal were made to take all the lands away from the States, and hand them over to the Commonwealth, it might command the approval of four States, and the requisite popular majority. Yet it would be an act of injustice to the States which declined to fall in with the idea. In that way my honorable friends could secure something which they know perfectly well the States would not have given up prior to Federation. Therefore, it seems to me abundantly clear that we have no right to attempt to amend the Constitution, even although we have the power to do so, in order to make an encroachment upon rights of the States which they are not prepared to surrender. In introducing the measure, Senator Pearce threw it out as a sort of challenge that those who doubted the strength of the socialistic movement should agree to his Bill in order that it might' be referred to the people for an expression of their opinion. But one of the strongest reasons why I object to his proposal is that it is possible to take from New South W.a:les, or any State, something which it would not voluntarily surrender, and which, if it had been made a condition of the original agreement, would have meant that it would have stayed outside the Union. Take, for instance, the Crown lands. Does any one suppose for a moment that New South Wales, or anyState, would have come into the Union if it had been made part of the bond originally that the lands and the mines should be handed over to the Federation? Not a State would have come into the Union on such a condition. Yet by amending the Constitution my honorable friends, I admit, cam take from the States what they would not voluntarily give up. Is it right to do that? Certainly the Constitution gives the power to take that step; but the mere possession of the power is, morally, no justification for exercising it. I wish now to show how great an encroachment the Bill, if carried, would make" upon the' rights of the States, and to what an extent it would launch us on the road towards unification. Even if limited to the carrying on of industries, it would be a considerable encroachment on States rights. To-day the States possess the right to carry on the business of manufacture or production. It has already been exercised in New South Wales, where w.e have clothing factories and also docks. I am not aware whether Victoria has carried out its brick-making enterprise or not, but I think that the machinery is on the ground. In various directions the States, when circumstances rendered it desirable, have attempted certain enterprises of that kind. Therefore, by proposing to transfer to the Federation these powers, it is proposed to that extent to encroach on what is at present the domain of the States. But I do not regard that in anything like so serious a light as I do the effect which the Bill, if it became law, would have on the Constitution - the substitution, to a very great extent of the principle of unification for that of Federation. It may be said that I am taking an unnecessarily alarmist view when certain sections of the Constitution are considered. I ask honorable senators to turn for a moment to sections 128 and 123. I take it that there is no writer on Socialism - certainly none with whom I am familiar - who does not put forward the land as the first of all monopolies. I am not now saying whether it is right or not, but I assert that all socialistic authors have contended that the first and the greatest monopoly of all is the land. It seems to me that but for a provision in the Constitution, it would be possible under the Bill, if it became law, to nationalize the lands of the several States. That brings me to section 128 of the Constitution, which says -

No alteration diminishing the proportionate representation of any State in either House of the Parliament, or the minimum number of representatives of a State in the House of Representatives, or increasing, diminishing, or otherwise altering the limits of the State, or in any manner affecting the provisions of the Constitution in relation thereto, shall become law unless the majority of the electors voting in that State approve the proposed law.

Section 123 provides that the Parliament of the Commonwealth shall not increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of a State except with the consent of the people of the State. According to those two sections, the ordinary majority - that is. a majority of the people in a majority of the States - would not be sufficient where the lands of the State were concerned. In view of that fact, it might seem that if there is a provision to prevent the Parliament from diminishing the area of a State bv taking away a portion of it, therefore we could not take the whole. But, in answer to that view, I turn to paragraph xxi. of section 51 -


Senator Stewart - But that cloes not contemplate taking the whole State?


Senator MILLEN - I hold that but for the Constitution it would be possible under this Bill, if passed, to nationalize any business. I take it that production from the land is the first business, and that manufacture and distribution follow. As regards this easy method of disposing of constitutional objections, when raised, may I remind my honorable friends in the Labour Party that when this proposal was before the Senate previously thev treated in exactlv the same way the objection which I raised that it was unconstitutional. Senator Pearce was very clear and emphatic on the point that it was absolutely constitutional, and although at considerable length I quoted several authorities my honorable friends still dissented from the view I expressed. But now we have them admitting that the position I then took up was perfectly right. The introduction of this Bill is proof that Senator Pearce now admits that in that occasion he was wrong, and thatthe view I put forward was sound. A similar result would follow in the present case. Paragraph xxxi. of section 51 of the Constitution empowers the Parliament of tne Commonwealth to legislate with respect to-

The acquisition of property on just terms from any Stale or person for anv purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws.

If to those purposes we added " the nationalization of industries," theParliament would then have power to secure the land necessary to carry on a particular business. I think it must be perfectly clear that if we said that one of the purposes mentioned in that paragraph was production, then the Parliament would have power to acquire the property necessary to carry out the purpose, whether it was production in the form of farming or grazinsr or mining.


Senator McGregor - Would that be a calamity ?


Senator MILLEN - I am not now arguing whether it would be a calamity or not - evidently my honorable friend thinks that it would not - but I am trying to show that the proposed amendment of the Constitu- tion could not be limited to the mere nationalization of a particular business, but would make such a fundamental alteration in the Constitution as absolutely to lead to unification. Because, to my mind, it 3s impossible to conceive of a Federal Government controlling the lands, and with them the mines, unless we also recognise that from that time forward the State's Governments must become a diminishing quantity until they absolutely disappear. Whether it be for good or ill, we should look well ahead at the road which we are invited to travel, and as I am not prepared to believe that a system of unified Government - one in which all the functions would be centred in a central body, the States Governments would be swept out of existence, and the States boundaries would disappear - would make for the welfare and happiness of the people, that is one of the reasons why I oppose the Bill, and invite the attention of the Senate to the sharp distinction between the Constitution as it stands, and as it would be if this proposal- were carried. The next point I wish to deal with is the fundamental difference between national and private enterprise. On that point Senator Pearce was absolutely silent. He may have considered that it was not incumbent upon him to deal with it. But it seems to me very much better that we should look at the principles1 underlying State enterprise as against private enterprise than that we should devote too much time to the incidents connected with any particular industry or business. Charges are made very freely - sometimes with sincerity, sometimes without it - that the advocates of private enterprise 'are absolutely callous, and would simply stand by the principle of let things alone. No individualists ever accept that as their standard. They hold that the functions of the State should, as far as possible, be limited to the regulation of industry without merging into industry itself. Individualists believe that State enterprise has an inherent weakness, and that therefore it ought to be limited as 'much as possible. On the other hand, my Socialist friends believe that State enterprise is in itself a good thing, and that therefore it ought to be adopted as far, and as fast, as possible. Individualists further believe that where action is taken by the State it should be limited to assisting private enterprise. I think I am correct in saying that my So- cialist friends would destroy private enterprise altogether. That, I think, very clearly defines the position of the two parties.


Senator McGregor - The honorable senator is not justified in saying that his socialistic friends would destroy private enterprise altogether.


Senator Henderson - He has a right to make the statement if he holds that belief.


Senator MILLEN - The two interjections, perhaps, will enable me to correct any wrong impression. I am stating what I believe to be the doctrine of the Socialists, and that is to substitute public for private enterprise. That Socialists to-day, as represented by my honorable friend, propose to immediately nationalize all business, and I do not for a moment believe or pretend, but I assert that the Socialist doctrine is to substitute State for private enterprise. On the other hand, individualists contend that where the State is obliged to take action ft should be simply to assist and not to destroy private enterprise.


Senator Stewart - The honorable senator believes that the State should create a profit, and that private enterprise should scoop up the profit.


Senator MILLEN - I do not believe anything of the kind nor does the honorable senator think that I do. It is a wellunderstood rule, founded upon common sense, that when a change is proposed anywhere the onus of proof lies with those who make the proposal. When my honorable friends brought forward this measure, they should ha;ve recognised that the responsibility rested upon them-of proving that the system of individualism has absolutely failed, and that the system which they propose to put in its place has reasonable guarantees of success. In no case have they attempted one or the other. Senator Pearce made no reference at all to individualism generally, but merely picked ou't one or two businesses regarding which he made some very strong allegations. The honorable senator, however, never attempted to ascertain whether there axe any facts of a sufficiently general character to justify the assertion that individualism has absolutely failed. Certainly, neither by facts culled from history, nor bv argument or reasoning, did the honorable senator justify the assertion or hope that Socialism would succeed. I admit at once that the honorable senator pointed to one or two industries, regarding which he made certain allegations ; and if those allegations are founded* on fact they seem to prove that in those particular industries there are certain defects, weaknesses, or evils - call them what we like. But I am not aware that, because a certain number of individuals suffer from indigestion, there is any particular reason why the rest of the community should starve themselves. Yet that seems to be the reasoning of my honorable friends opposite - that because they have found an industry or two where private enterprise has assumed such a phase as to appear to be productive of evil, therefore all private enterprise should be swept on one side in favour of State control.


Senator Staniforth Smith - Because some people suffer from toothache, every one must have their teeth extracted.


Senator MILLEN - That is a very good simile. I ask for proof that individualism has proved a failure, or t Rat Socialism will prove a success. While Socialism may overcome some of the difficulties which individualism presents, the former system may be accompanied by evils more serious still. I admit at once that a big question of this kind would occupy too much time and research to enable a discussion to be conducted on the floor of this Chamber. But there are certain broad general facts to which I can direct attention, and on which I am content to rely, in proof of my statement that, so far, we have had no evidence that individualism has failed, and that we are actually without proof that Socialism would succeed. It is a remarkable fact that the nations of the world which have led civilization are those which have allowed the largest measure of liberty to individual citizens, while, on the other hand, those nations which have displayed the larger measure of paternalism on the part of the Government - which have been more directly under the control of the Government - have always occupied a second or third rate place. I know of nothing which more vividly illustrates the potency of allowing a large measure of individual liberty than the history of colonization. England, which has allowed its subjects the fullest measure of liberty, is to-day a great colonizing power, whilst the Continental nations, which sent out their explorers and early settlers in leading strings, under the care of Government officials, have proved absolute and abject failures as colonizers. I am not saying that any of the facts to which I refer are at all conclusive ; but they afford a general indication that where the human mind and enterprise are allowed the fullest measure of liberty, there may Le looked for the richest rewards. I take it that both Socialists and individualists, other than those who may have become so absolutely selfish and callous as to have no regard for the common promptings of humanity, desire that in every act of government we shall keep clearly before us the one objective, the greatest good of the greatest number. On the question whether, with that objective in view, individualism has failed, I invite the attention of honorable senators opposite to a few facts. I know that figures are wearying, and therefore I shall condense as much as possible those which I propose to quote. From Mulhall I learn that pauperism in Great Britain is rapidly diminishing. Whereas in 1850 pauperism in Great Britain represented nearly 5 per cent, of the population, the proportion had in 1889 fallen to nearly 2% per cent. - a practical reduction of 50 per cent. Then in 1850 there were in Great Britain 1,308,000 paupers, as compared with 1,000,000 in 1889, although the population had in the meanwhile increased. As a matter of fact, the reduction in the number of paupers in the period mentioned represented 22 J per cent., while the population had increased by over 35 per cent. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, I may say that in quoting these figures I am omitting the odd numbers. Mulhall, dealing with the people of the civilized world as a whole, shows that those who use savings banks - and they are mostly of the working classesadded £503,000,000 to their accumulations in seven years, or about ^72,000,000 per annum. According to the same authority, I find that in America the number of depositors increased from 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 in the seven years from 1889 to 1896 - an increase of nearly 25 per cent., while the deposits increased from i.-363, 000,000 dollars to 1,907,000,000 dollars, or, roughly, 40 per cent. This meant an increase of deposits per inhabitant - not per depositor - of 22J per cent. In Great Britain I find that from 1890 to 1897 the number of depositors increased from 5,576,000 to 7,640,000, and the deposits f romain, 000, 000 to £164,000,000 ; the deposits per head of population, though not per depositor, rising from ^15 to .£24. Turning mv attention to Australia, I find from Coghlan, page 806, that the number of depositors here increased from the year 1861 to 1881 by 100 per cent., which, allowing for the growth of population, means 140 per cent.


Senator Pearce - The. honorable senator will admit that Australia is more socialistic than is Great Britain ?


Senator MILLEN - I do not know that I can make that admission.


Senator Best - I do not think it is a fact.


Senator MILLEN - If Senator Pearce means by the interjection that the Government in Australia are, under the circumstances in which we are placed, called on to take up functions which the Imperial Government are not called upon to take up, I agree with him.


Senator Pearce - Anyhow, the Imperial Government do not take up those functions.


Senator MILLEN - I shall later on deal with the question whether those States' actions in Australia may or may not be called socialistic.


Senator Pearce - According to the figures quoted by the honorable senator, the Australian conditions are better than the British conditions, and, therefore, Socialism is better than individualism.


Senator MILLEN - If thehonorable senator could dispose of the matter in that easy way, there would be something in his interjection. At present it may be admitted that in Great Britain Socialism is not the present economic doctrine.


Senator Pearce - Senator Best has just informed us that it is.


Senator Best - I say that Socialism is more prevalent in England than it is here.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - There is much more municipalization' in the old country than there is here.


Senator MILLEN - However, it must be admitted, I think, that whatever the relative degrees of State action are, the existing economic doctrine in England is that of private enterprise.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The honorable senator's figures illustrative of individualism are just as strong as applied to Australia as they are applied to the old country.


Senator MILLEN - I am trying to show that under individualism, . instead of the poor becoming poorer, there is a larger acquisition of wealth in the hands of an increased number of people.


Senator Pearce - A growing Socialism ; as Senator Svmon pointed out there is a growth of municipal Socialism.


Senator MILLEN - Senator Pearce just now pointed out that the figures showed better conditions in Australia than in England. First of all. the honorable senator affirmed that the figures show that Australia is more socialistic than England, and now he asserts that England is more socialistic than Australia.


Senator Pearce - The figures of the honorable senator show that as Socialism has increased pauperism has diminished in England ; and I accept the statement of Senator Symon that municipal Socialism is increasing in the old country.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What I say is that the municipal Socialism there is equivalent to our State Socialism.


Senator MILLEN - Does Senator Pearce contend that Socialism exists in England?


Senator Pearce - In a limited form, yes.


Senator MILLEN - Are the big producing and manufacturing industries in England carried on by the State or by private individuals?


Senator Pearce - The municipalities carry on a few.


Senator MILLEN - To such an insignificant degree as to be hardly worth talking about, and it is begging the question if we turn aside from the main stream into rivulets of that character. Undoubtedly in England, as here, the economic system is private enterprise; and I am trying to show that under private enterprise, instead of the poor becoming poorer, more people are getting more wealth.


Senator Givens - A large number get nothing.


Senator MILLEN - Exactly ; but that number is becoming smaller under the present system. I admit that the present system is not perfect - no system is. I desire to ascertain' how far the present system has been a failure up to the present time, and what guarantee there is of equal success, or of a larger measure of success under the system favoured by honorable senators opposite. It is the distribution rather than the production of wealth which excites the hostility of Socialists ; and I should now like to quote a few figures which will conclude my remarks on this aspect of the question. In Coghlan there are certain figures which show the number of people in the communitv who have wealth ; and that number is obtained, as honorable senators know, bv ascertaining how manv who die have estates on which duties are levied, and then averaging the values over the whole community. Taking the figures for the whole of the Common wealth, I find that from 1880 to 1884, 11 per cent. - leaving odd decimals on one side - of the total deaths were those of people who possessed property. From 1885 to 1889 the percentage had risen to 12 per cent. ; from 1890 to 1894, to 14 per cent. ; and from 1895 to 1900, to 17.23 per cent. The figures for the next quinquennial period are not available.


Senator McGregor - And we are becoming more socialistic !


Senator MILLEN - Those figures show conclusively, along with the figures as to the bank deposits, that whatever may be the defects of the present system there is a. wider and wider distribution of wealth, with a smaller percentage of absolute poverty. The figures which I have given as to the number of deaths per 100 of the population are in themselves likely to mislead, because there are included a considerable number of infants. In order to determine the number of the adult population who possess property, I have here figures showing that, taking the deaths per hundred of adult males, the number possessing property exhibits the same uniform increase, starting with 34.6 per 100 from 1880 to 1884, and then rising to 37 per1 00 from 1885 to 1889, to 42.1 per 100 from 1890 to 1894, and in the last period for which we have figures, to 46.6 per 100.


Senator McGregor - And if Socialism goes on, they will by-and-bv be cent, per cent.


Senator MILLEN - No; there will be none at all ; because, if the socialists have one object, it is to take private 'property, and not leave it with individuals.


Senator Givens - If a man left a swag, I suppose the honorable member would call that property !


Senator MILLEN - The honorable member knows that, for purposes of probate, a swag would not be called property. The figures in Coghlan are based on the probate returns, and, therefore, Senator Givens' interjection is very wide of the mark. I desire here to quote from the Melbourne Age an extract from an article tearingon the point. I do not quote that journal very often, but there is an admission in the article referred to which touches the subject. We know very well that the Melbourne Age has latterly been attempting to show that the great industries of the country are not as flourishing as they ought to be; and in the issue of the 22nd of last month there was an article commenting on the figures published by the Victorian Statistician. The article went on to say -

These figures testify that in every department of our industrial life we are forging ahead.

Our agriculturists are thriving, and our manufacturers, despite the handicaps they have at present to fight in the shape of ineffective protection, foreign trust competition, and many lamentable holes in our Tariff fence, are beginning to overtake and supply the wants of the people with the products of Australian labour.

To go exhaustively into the whole question, and show that individualism, as a policy, tends towards progress, would be a task far beyond my strength, and would occupy more time than the Senate could afford to devote to a consideration of the subject. But I have put these few figures forward chiefly in order to show that my honorable friends opposite do not venture to attempt to prove that the system they attack has been a failure. I put them forward as showing, in view of all the facts which can be gleaned without too deep research, that the individualistic system makes for- the prosperity of the civilized nations that have adopted it as their economic system. Senator Pearce said something just now about State enterprise being Socialism, but I am rather surprised that, before honorable senators put forward State enterprises as evidence of the benefits of Socialism, they did not look a little more closely into them. First of all, I deny that thev are socialistic in the sense in which our honorable friends opposite use the term. Every one of the enterprises to which they 'have refeirrec has something in it in the nature of a monopoly. We could not have a railway system in the country without granting a legislative monopoly. We give the right to run the railways over people's land. It is that which constitutes the monopoly, and which differentiates such enterprises altogether from businesses such as the tobacco industry, to which Senator Pearce has referred, and which it is competent for one or a dozen men to enter upon if they think fit. I propose to show what strength these State enterprises, or socialistic enterprises, if my honorable friends please, lend to the contention that under Government control our enterprises will produce more wealth for distribution amongst the people in the community than they would under individual control. At the time I prepared some figures on this subject, I was unable to obtain the railway returns for last year in New South Wales, which, I admit, was a phenomenally profitable one, but I find that in New South Wales, for the seven years ending 30th June, 1905, that State lost £1,000,000 on the conduct of the railways. The railways of Victoria, in the same time, showed a loss of £2,500,000. When I take another socialistic service - the Post Office - I find that since Federation was accomplished, allowing for interest on the transferred properties, the Post and Telegraph Department, though we have not yet been federated for six years, has shown a loss of ,£1,760,000.


Senator McGregor - To whom was it lost? Not anybody outside of Australia. The people have not lost it.


Senator Pearce - If the railways had been privately owned, the profit made would have meant a loss to the people.


Senator MILLEN - I . am not dealing with a profit from the railways referred to, but to the loss shown on their work. Honorable senators speak as though this were only a book-keeping loss.


Senator Pearce - So it is, as a matter of fact.


Senator MILLEN - It is only a bookkeeping loss in the sense that the Government, having the power of. taxation, could collect sufficient in that form to make up the deficiency. But what would they do if an attempt were made to carry out all the enterprises of the community on the same basis? If they endeavoured to carry out every enterprise, and did so with the same proportional financial loss, whereS would they land the community? .


Senator Pearce - We are asking that the State should take over the management of some of the payable enterprises.


Senator MILLEN - Before the honorable senator can ask that, he must give some instance of State enterprises which have been conducted profitably.


Senator Givens - The New South Wales railways, for instance.


Senator MILLEN - Which, as I have just explained, show a loss of £1,000,000 in seven years.


Senator Givens - How much was the loss last year?


Senator MILLEN - I have just- admitted that there was a profit shown on the working of the New South Wales railways last year.


Senator Givens - If the same rates were charged as would be charged by private enterprise, those railways would show a profit all the time.


Senator MILLEN - Then the honorable senator concedes my whole point, since he admits that if the business had been conducted by private enterprise a profit would have been made instead of a loss.


Senator Givens - I say that the States would have shown a profit if they charged the same rates and extracted the same amount pf money out of the people who dealt with them as private enterprise would have done.


Senator MILLEN - That is merely a matter of opinion, and I ask honorable senators to consider the solid fact that there has been a loss of £1.000,000 in seven years on the New South Wales railways.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - What is the loss on their tramways?


Senator MILLEN - The figures for the tramways are included in the gross figures to which I have referred honorable senators. These facts indicate that there is no royal road to making a business pay, and that the State has no absolute claim to say that it can conduct a business enterprise with financial success. The obligation to show that it can is upon my honorable friends opposite. I did not bring this matter forward. They have brought it forward as evidence to show what the State can do, and is doing. Despite the picture of success drawn by the lively imagination of my honorable friends, the fact remains that if all business enterprises were under the control and guidance of the State, and were carried on proportionally at the same loss as those to which I have referred, we should, in a verv few years' time, touch the border of national insolvency.


Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator condemn the system of State-owned railways ?


Senator MILLEN - Certainly not. I go a little further to show the wonderful results of the State conduct of business enterprise. I do not know exactly under what conditions country waterworks have been constructed in Victoria; but. although I have not the figures with me, I know that in New South Wales country waterworks constructed under Government control have shown an absolute and appalling loss. They have been constructed under Government control by Government officials ; the Government have provided the money, constructed the works, and have then handed them over to the municipalities concerned, who have been liable for interest on the cost of construction.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - In New South Wales they can do nothing without the Government. They had to get the Government to put up a two-railed fence to keep out ticks.


Senator MILLEN - Senator Dawson, with his large, practical knowledge, will be able to confirm my statement that it would be difficult to give a single instance of State action which does not reveal the ridiculous in some form or other. In connexion with countrv waterworks in New South Wales, there has hardly been a single case in which it has not been shown that the cost of the waterworks, owing to the fact that they were constructed by the Government, represented a financial burden which no single municipality could shoulder.


Senator Pearce - And yet the Kalgoorlie waterworks last year paid working expenses, interest on cost of construction, and £3,000 towards a sinking fund.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator refers to one instance, and I refer, not to one, but to twenty.


Senator Pearce - I quote the biggest waterworks in the world.


Senator MILLEN - And with the most favorable local circumstances. Those waterworks carry water to a place which is expanding, and where the demand for the water is increasing every day.


Senator Best - In Victoria we wrote off a little over£1,000,000 for country waterworks only a short time ago.


Senator McGregor - Because the people using the water would not pay their rates.


Senator MILLEN - It is not merely a. question of neglect to pay rates, because it has been shown that if the country municipalities in New South Wales exacted everv single penny that the properties benefited by the waterworks would bear, the revenue they would derive would still be insufficient to cover the outlay by the Government in the construction of the works.


Senator Pearce - Were they built to make a profit?


Senator MILLEN - They do not even pay interest.


Senator Pearce - Do they not pay indirectly by keeping settlers on the soil?


Senator MILLEN - Keeping settlers on the soil in country towns?


Senator Pearce - The Victorian waterworks have not been constructed merely for the benefit of people in towns.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator must not jump about in that way. I am dealing now with New South Wales country, waterworks, and I say that after Government auditors have examined the accounts of the municipalities concerned they have had to admit that they were not competent to shoulder the overwhelming financial responsibilities incurred by the construction of theworks.


Senator Pearce - Would those waterworks have been undertaken by private enterprise ?


Senator MILLEN - That has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the question. I admit at once that it is necessary that those waterworks should be under State or local control.


Senator Pearce - Then what becomes of the honorable senator's argument?


Senator MILLEN - I accept these things as necessary evils, whilst my honorable friend puts them forward as desirable advantages, which I have shown they are not. I said just now that there is hardl'v an enterprise which the State has touched in connexion with which greater losses cannot be shown than can be shown in respect Of similar businesses conducted by private enterprise.


Senator Pearce - And yet the honorable senator prefers that these undertakings should be carried on by the State rather than by private enterprise.


Senator MILLEN - With all the drawbacks to which I have referred I do prefer that, because I know that the question of the conservation of water is one with' which the public health is concerned, and that is an important factor which the honorable senator has possibly ignored. We had in New South Wales a Fitzroy Dock, and we had a Commission appointed to inquire into it, and to find out how that State enterprise had been conducted. I need only refer honorable senators to the report of the Commission, which should convince any impartial mind that in carrying out such works under State control the least, rather than the most, effective work is obtained from the industry employed in construction. The same thing was proved when theGovernment attempted to build a hospital. It was proved that the price paid by outside contractors for the cutting of stone was something like one-third of the price paid by the Government, and the reason was obvious.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - How was it obvious ?


Senator MILLEN - In the first place, where men are working for themselves they work strenuously and faithfully, and when they are working together for other people the stimulus of work for themselves is absent.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - That argument applies just as forcibly to work done for the outside contractors.


Senator MILLEN - If a man is working for an outside contractor, and does not do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, he knows what will happen. Here is an instance of the results of what my honorable friends would call absolute State Socialism : Some time ago the Government desired to throw open land for settlement in New South Wales, and the idea was suggested by some members of the socialistic party in that State that it would be an excellent thing and a good investment if, instead of throwing the land open to selection in an unimproved condition, the State improved it first, and added the cost of the improvement to the price of the land. The incoming settlers would then, instead of having to spend time and money in getting their land ready for the plough, be able to enter upon an improved property, and start their operations at once. The idea suggested was adopted, the most experienced men in the Department were sent up to the land, and I think I am correct in saving that the assistance of outside practical men was also availed of. What was regarded as a fair price per acre for clearing the land was fixed. The work was let to gangs of men, anc! it was not long before the inevitable agitation arose for better payment. The State conceded the demand, and before the work was completed the cost of clearing the land had run up from £3 to £10 per acre. That sum was added to the price of the land when it was thrown open to selection. But when it was selected the selectors exercised their right under the land law to have the improvements appraised bv the local Land Board The Land Boards in New South Wales, as honorable senators are no doubt aware, are composed of one Government official, and two local men of farming or land experience. The selectors applied to the local Land Board to have the improvements appraised, and they were appraised on the evidence of Crown witnesses, district surveyors, and field surveyors, at prices which ran from 30 to 50 per cent, of the price which the State had paid for having the work of improvement carried out.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - That was in New South Wales- anything might happen there.


Senator MILLEN - Honorable senators can hardly dispose of the whole chapter of incidents to which I refer them by saying merely that these things happened in New South Wales. I have yet to learn that any other State has achieved any larger measure of success where the Government has endeavoured to enter upon those industries which have hitherto been left to private individuals.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - I do not think that any other State can show a gross scandal like that.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator may call it a gross scandal, if he likes; but only the other day I read in one of the Victorian newspapers of an embankment being made in this State to prevent certain land from being swamped, and it was shown that the price paid by the Government for the work was not only many times larger than the price which would 'have been paid by private employers, " but that the result had been an absolute failure when the work was done. I say, therefore, that such cases are not singular to New South Wales.


Senator Givens - Where was it said that the work was a failure when done?


Senator MILLEN - It was pointed out that the water had got through the hank; and now they are trying to pull the bank down to let the water out again. It is not a matter of one State alone. These things, I take it, are associated with practically every Government enterprise throughout Australia. On another occasion, the Government of my State entered upon a socialistic venture. It decided to construct certain drains to carry away the water from a bore. When the work was done, it was found that it would cost £70 per mile, whereas the ordinary contract price would have been £6 or £7. The reason was that the Government preferred to do that work with pick and shovel, as probably my friends opposite would have preferred to do it, on the ground that it would give more employment to labour to do it in that way than to use machinery. If the work had been done by private enterprise, it would have been carried out for a much smaller sum by means of effective plant. I could give many other instances, but it is not necessary to do so, because any one who has taken notice of public affairs, not to speak of any one who has been in public ..life, must know of a multiplicity of such cases similar to those which I have mentioned, where, the moment the State stepped out of its legitimate functions and undertook the work of private enterprise, it was landed in a tremendous failure. In fact, it was only possible for it to do such work at all because, if the Government incurs a deficiency, it always has the chance to fall back upon the taxation of the people to make up that deficiency. When I find that consistently Government efforts end in the way I have shown, is it to be supposed that we shall redeem that weakness, or whatever it is, by a mere amendment of the Constitution, which is going to enlarge the opportunities for Government muddling?


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - That is not the point at all. The honorable senator assumes that those on this side of the Chamber would not use machinery, but would u'se a pick and shovel to do work which a machine could do better.


Senator MILLEN - I will shortly give a quotation from Senator Findley showing, that that is what he does propose to do.


Senator Findley - What is that? Does the honorable senator suggest that I would go hack to stage coaches, and dispense with steam-engines ?


Senator MILLEN - The great evil that I am pointing out in regard ito these State enterprises is that they are not as efficiently or. as cheaply done as when similar works are undertaken by private enterprise.


Senator Givens - There is no doubt that some men have to work too hard to earn a living to'-day.


Senator MILLEN - It might be assumed that, seeing that the Government, in running these enterprises, evidently pays those engaged in them more than it gets out of the works, there would be a spirit of contentment in the Public Service, and that all those engaged in carrying out State enterprises would be happy. But what is the actual position ? We have had in New South Wales an inquiry into the working of the railways, which' proves that not merely amongst the rank and file, but right up to the heads of the Department, an absolute state of disorganization and discontent has prevailed. We have going, on there now an inquiry into the tramway service, as the result of ,al legations By the men that their superior officers have been imposing upon them, that there has been tyranny on the one hand and favoritism on the other. The facts to which I allude amply prove that, under this " ideal " system which mv honorable friends opposite desire to bring about, there will be an element of dissatisfaction and want of discipline which will prevent the successful undertaking of necessary work. These are instances taken from recent editions of the public press. Not long ago there was a Commission inquiring into the office which deals with weights and measures. Allegations of favoritism and incivility,, and even charges of a more serious character, were inquired into. We had also a water and sewerage board complaint as to am, allegation concerning the dismissal of an employe in order to make room for a nominee of one of the members of the Board. We had also, with regard to the City Council, a system which was known as the " Widow's Cart system," which prevailed for many years, and under which the widow of any one who had been at work under the corporation had an opportunity of hiring a cart and a workman to the City Council at a high rate. Then what about the railways in Western Australia? I find that a Commission of inquiry has been appointed regarding the dismissal of a certain officer for the use of Government material, and for doing private work in Government time. I take all these instances out of recent newspapers as showing - though I admit not at all conclusively - that the 'Socialism advocated by my honorable friends opposite would effect a change that: would be not at all to the advantage of the community:


Senator McGregor - Our gaols are full of examples of the failure of private enterprise.


Senator MILLEN - I say at once that I do not dogmatize upon these points. But Senator Pearce gave no evidence to prove that individualism is a failure, and that Socialism would be a success.


Senator Pearce - I took it that every one recognised that.


Senator MILLEN - I am showing that I at least do not. Taking the particular enterprises in point as being socialistic in their character, I inquire how they are being carried on, and I find that instead of an ideal state of things existing, there is dissatisfaction amongst the men employed, and a complete absence of that happiness which we are lead to believe will be one of the features of the socialistic State. Just now I spoke of the inherent weakness of Government Service. In the Public Service - I do not speak of the Commonwealth service particularly, but of all Government services - there are two methods of advancement, one by seniority, and the other by merit. Neither has proved satisfactory. Where we had advancement by seriority, there was an absolute want of incentive to exertion. A man knew that all he had to do was to attend his office daily, and wait for promotion to come.


Senator McGregor - All he had to do was to grow old.


Senator MILLEN - He waited for some one else to die, and he went on step by step, irrespective of fitness. That system was destructive of any good work. The other system, advancement by merit, should, on the face of it, prove to be better. But what has happened ? The moment any attempt is made to lift a younger officer over an older one, the cry of favoritism is raised. When we were passing our own Public Service Act, we strenuously declared our adherence to the principle of promotion by merit, and our determination that the Public Service Commissioner should be left alone in the discharge of his functions. But whenever the principle of promotion by merit has been tried, we have had complaints about what has been attempted to be done. Quite recently questions were put to the Minister with regard to certain cases. I am not saying that the complaints in question were not justified, but I am pointing out that whenever you attempt in a public department to select men. for offices because of their superior merit, there is immediately a suspicion of favoritism; and the result has been that unless you get a strenuous departmental head who is prepared to advance officers on their merits alone, and to stand the risk of public criticism, that principle is rarely brought into play as it is in private employment. That, I say, is an inherent weakness of any public department. For proof of it, I have only to appeal to the experience of my friends around the Chamber, and to ask them whether it is not so. I. do not say for a moment that a man in the Public Service is any different from a man outside. I "take it that if you were to compare ten average men in the Public Service with a corresponding number of people in private employment, you would find a percentage who were similar in ability, and character.


Senator McGregor - You would find ten times more discontent in private employment.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - In private employment, men sometimes cannot call their souls their own. They can in the Public Service.


Senator MILLEN - A statement of that kind may be all very well for the platform, but I do not know where these down-trodden men in private employment are to be found. I do not find any reluctance on the part of manual labourers whom I meet to express their own opinions. I take it that members of the Public Service are just average citizens, neither better nor worse. My point is that if you take a corresponding number of men in private employment you will always find amongst them some men making rapid advancement, some being dismissed for incompetency and negligence, and some being advanced much more slowly. Do you find the same state of things in the Public Service?


Senator McGregor - Yes.


Senator MILLEN - Unless in absolutely disgraceful cases of misconduct, you do not hear of any dismissals - except, of course, when the country is in one of its spasms of economy. You do not hear of dismissals from the Public Service on the ground of slowness, incompetence, or similar causes.


Senator Findley - Let us sell the railways and farm out the post-offices !


Senator MILLEN - I should like to sell my honorable friend, and my price for him would not be very high just now. I do not mind reasonable interjections, but statements of that kind do not advance the argument, and for that reason, are a little disconcerting. Any private emplover will see to it that his employes are reasonably active and energetic in the discharge of their duties ; but any incentive of that kind is absent from the Public Service. For proof of that statement, we can appeal to our own experience. The number of dismissals from the Public Service is so small as to be practically nil.


Senator McGregor - Because the men are picked before they get there.


Senator MILLEN - Just now there was general assent to my proposition, and Senator McGregor cheered the remark' that the men in the Civil Service are just on an average with the men outside its ranks, but now he wants to fall back upon the idea that they are picked men. Were they picked men when they went in as mereyouths? There is no getting away from the fact that the civil servants are just average citizens. They are not to blame, but the system. The absence of fear of unpleasant consequences on, the one hand, and of incentive on the other, is what renders any big public department less efficient in its working than the same men would be if engaged in private employment. If we had State enterprise in matters of industry, and the same spirit prevailing as now prevails in our public departments, we should have an absolute diminution in the general wealth 06 the community. National wealth is the result of national effort. If the effort were lessened, the wealth would be reduced. I take it that my honorable friends opposite are not complaining of the quantity of wealth that is produced, but only of its distribution.


Senator McGregor - We are complaining of the quantity of wealth produced. Every man who is not producing wealth is a burden on the country.


Senator MILLEN - I shall show when I come to the quotation presently that Senator Findley does not propose to produce any more. The complaint of the Socialists to-day' is not that enough wealth is not produced, but that its distribution is, in their opinion, unequal.


Senator McGregor - That is not a fair statement.


Senator MILLEN - If my honorable friend contends that under Government control more wealth would be produced, he is giving a contradiction to all our knowledge of public departments and State enterprise.


Senator McGregor - .We want the highest production.


Senator MILLEN - If so, my honorable friend will become an advocate of the system o,f private enterprise. Have my honorable friends any assurance that if, under State enterprise, as much would be produced as is produced to-day ? If as much wealth would be distributed as at present, it seems to me that because they are Quarrelling with the distribution of wealth, they are trying to attack the method of its production. That appears to me tq be neither logic nor good business. What guarantees are there that under a socialistic system more wealth would be produced? Let me take some of the statements which my honorable friends have made. First qf all, they offer, as they have done during this debate, easier times to the men employed in the industries to be nationalized.


Senator Findley - Hear, hear ! There is no doubt about that.


Senator MILLEN - I thought that the honorable senator would recognise that I was coming to his quotation. The workmen are to lae less hustled, and the temperature in the tobacco factories, which Senator Pearce affirms leads to economic manufacture, is to be dispensed with. With what result? Gould we have easier times for workmen, less hustle on their part, and the removal of a factor which leads to economic manufacture, and still get the same result? When Senator Trenwith made an interjection, Senator Findley said - " We would have more men working less hours."


Senator Findley - Senator Trenwith was not in the chamber at the time.


Senator MILLEN - The remark was made in reply to an interjection, at the time Senator Pearce was speaking. I am correctly quoting Senator Findley. When he said that they would employ more men working less hours, did he mean that they would put in more human effort to get the same result? There is no proposal to increase the output of tobacco, but merely to employ more men to produce the present output.


Senator Pearce - Perhaps he meant to employ more men instead of girls, as the trusts now do.


Senator MILLEN - I shall come to that point presently, and that is one of the instances where I think the honorable senator has allowed his zeal to outrun his knowledge of facts. It is not necessary for him, however, to suggest a meaning of the words I quoted, because Senator Findley does not dispute them.


Senator Findley - I do not remember having, made the interjection. I should like' to see the remark which called for the interjection.


Senator MILLEN - I apologise for detaining the Senate while I look up the interjection in the report.


Senator Findley - If I said it, I shall stand by it, .and justify it perfectly.


Senator Lt Col NEILD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Col. Gould. - The honorable senator might as well admit that he made it, if he is prepared to justify it.


Senator Pearce - It can easily be justified.


Senator MILLEN - There we have an admission that the statement can be easily justified. It is a statement . which, in one form or other, has been made here frequently.


Senator Pearce - From the trust's own figures we can prove absolutely that they /'W. on more girls than men.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend should correct that statement, and say that he can prove that from his reading of the figures.


Senator Pearce - We can prove that from the figures put in by the trust.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable sen'ator cannot prove that female labour has been put on in place of male labour.


Senator Pearce - I shall prove that, if the honorable senator will give me time.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator cannot prove it from the evidence of the Commission, as I 'shall show directly.


Senator Findley - I shall prove it.


Senator MILLEN - What the honorable senator can do is to show that more female labour is employed now than formerly.


Senator Pearce - And less male adults.


Senator MILLEN - According to the figures given in the report of the Commission, the honorable senator is absolutely incorrect.


Senator Pearce - There is no interjection by Senator Findley in the report of the speech.


Senator MILLEN - It has just occurred to me that the interjection was made by Senator Findley during the debate on the Australian Industries Preservation Bill, when Senator Trenwith was present. I took & note of his words at the moment, and I shall show him the interjection in Hansard later on.


Senator McGregor - I remember the interjection, but Senator Findley did not mean what the honorable senator means.


Senator MILLEN - The admission that under Socialism more hands would be employed to produce the same results is a confirmation of my statement that under that system we should be producing less instead of more.


Senator McGregor - No; Senator Findley did not mean that.


Senator MILLEN - I am npt saying what he means, but what he said.


Senator Findley - I shall stand by what I said, and justify it if I did make the remark.


Senator MILLEN - Will not the honorable senator justify it whether he said it or not?


Senator Findley - Time alone will determine that.


Senator MILLEN - It must be remembered that under this so-called socialistic enterprise there is a big check exercised by the great body of the people who are outside the Government preserve. But if all the people of the country were working for the Government it would disappear, and I venture to say that there would then be an interminable struggle between those engaged in one industry and those engaged in another as to the apportionment of wages. At the present time the standard of wages paid in private employment determines to some extent what the wages in State employment shall be, but if all persons came into the employment of the State what standard would there be? The system would bring down the wages to an absolute level, with the result that the cause of incentive which exists to-day would disappear. There is but one form of Socialism which I think has any possibility of succeeding, and that is Socialism under a despotism. Such as for instance existed in Peru. That system can be carried on under a despotic Government, who can tell men to do this, that, or the other, and punish them if they do not obey. But to contend that we could have the system under a democratic Socialism, where every man claims the .right, as undoubtedly he would have, not merely to criticise, but to shape the policy, to determine what he should do, and what should become of the product of his labour, seems to me to be a contradiction in terms.


Senator McGregor - And yet when he has given his vote at the poll he has to shut up-


Senator MILLEN - Have the tramway men in New South Wales had to shut up?


Senator McGregor - They have not had an opportunity to ballot on their grievances.


Senator MILLEN - Then is it proposed to take sectional ballots? Is it proposed to have ballots amongst railway men to determine what wages they shall be paid ?


Senator McGregor - Certainly not.


Senator MILLEN - The same condition would exist then as exists to-day. When the railway employes give their votes to elect their representatives in Parliament does their power end there? Not one bit. Quite recently they have managed to exercise such influence over their representatives in Parliament that the Government have placed upon the Estimates an item for the purpose of making a concession which the Railways Commisioners, who, by Act of Parliament1, are supposed to be outside political control, state that the railways cannot afford to bear. But the Government provided the money out of general revenue. That goes on where there is only a 1 inured section of the people engaged in State employment. If all were so engaged it would simply reduce the matter to a farce - to be taking money out of the pocket of A. to be placed in the pocket of B. and vice versa. I want now to say a few words as to the Bill. I ask the attention of Senator Pearce for a moment, because I am at a loss to understand what he means. It is a Bill to provide for' the nationalization of monopolies. I should like him to define the word monopoly.


Senator Pearce - If the honorable senator will read my speech he will find that I started off with a definition.


Senator MILLEN - If I am to take that definition, then the Bill will absolutely fail to accomplish the object which the honorable senator has in view. It is a Bill to provide for -

The nationalization of monopolies with respect to production, manufacture, trade, and commerce.

If this alteration were engrafted on the Constitution, those persons who would have to construe the Constitution would not turn to the second-reading speech of the honorable senator in order to find out what he meant, but to other sources. They would ask, "What is a monopoly ?" According to the authorities I have been able to- consult, what is termed a monopoly is not what Senator Pearce means by the word. In his dictionary, Chambers defines a monopoly in this way -

Monopoly. - The sole power of dealing in anything; exclusive command or possession; (law) a grant from the Crown to an individual for the sole right to deal in anything.

Monopolise. - To obtain possession of anything so as to be the only seller or sharer of it ; to engross the whole of.

Senator Pearcedoes not mean that. In his speech, he Has given a definition. By the term, he means any business, any corporation, any controlling authority, which secures so large a share of a particular industry as. to become a menace to the public. Where can he find any legal or dictionary interpretation of monopoly to conform to his own? What he means is not the nationalization of monopolies at all. He has admitted that, whilst he calls them virtual or practical monopolies, there is no absolute monopoly in Australia, except one to which I shall refer. In his speech, he made the admission, not once, but several times, that this monopoly is not an absolute one.


Senator Pearce - If the Bill be passed we will take the risk.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator is so willing to take risks that he has at all times been inclined to treat any suggestion of this kind in a light-hearted way, as I reminded him this afternoon. I put to honorable senators, as it appears to be useless to put it to Senator Pearce, what would happen if the Bill were passed ? Suppose that it was attempted to nationalize ia business which Senator Pearce shows is not a monopoly, the High Court would say at once, "You have power to nationalize a monopoly, but what is a monopoly ?" It does not mean what Senator Pearce means; the verv derivation of the word shows what it means.


Senator McGregor - We will strikeout the word " monopolies," and nationalize anything that we desire to.


Senator MILLEN - Exactly ; that is the point to which I bring honorable senators opposite. Senator Pearce, instead of being cross with me, ought to thank me for a suggestion which will improve his Bill.


Senator Pearce - I can assure the honorable senator that I am in the best of temper.


Senator MILLEN - Senator Pearce desires to make this Bill refer, not to the nationalization of monopolies, but to the nationalization of businesses.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator would like such a Bill for electioneering purposes.


Senator MILLEN - So far as I aim concerned, the Bill as it is is quite enough for electioneering purposes. All I have to say anywhere, whether in town or country, is that here is a proposal on the part of the Labour Party to nationalize a monopoly in relation to production. I should not need to go any further - I should be quite satisfied^ with that as an electioneering cry. If I did require an electioneering cry, I should ask the electors to listen to what I have just addressed to the Senate. I should point out that we were invited to put our national destinies in the hands of a party who, wishing to nationalize one branch of industry, brings in a Bill to nationalize another. I do not know that such remarks would be complimentary to Senator Pearce, but, at any rate, they would be justifiable. Senator Pearce can scarcely deny his admission that even the one terrible example of the tobacco business does not present a monopoly. The honorable senator went so far as to admit that there are others outside the combine interested in the industry.


Senator Pearce - What I said was that the tobacco business is practically a monopoly, although there is some slight competition.


Senator MILLEN - The Bill does not say anything about the nationalization of " practical " monopolies, but refers to the nationalization of monopolies.


Senator Findley - The tobacco monopoly is a carbuncle on the neck of the Commonwealth, and it ought to be removed.


Senator MILLEN - If that is the objection, then the phraseology of the Bill ought to be altered. Senator Pearce not only admitted that the tobacco, industry is not a monopoly, but went out of his way to make a statement, fpr which there is not the slightest justification in the evidence given before the Royal Commission. That statement was that the combine allows certain competition to exist in order that they may be able to say there, is no monopoly. Senator Pearce added, " I .can prove that if the combine liked it could crush that competition out of existence." But the honorable senator never ventured to attempt to produce any proof. It is easy to make statements, but it is another thing to prove them. In regard to both the sugar and the tobacco industries, .Senator Pearce said they are not monopolies, but only what he termed " virtual " or " practical " monopolies. If the honorable senator desires to nationalize other businesses, he ought to strike out " monopolies " and substitute "businesses," or insert' a definition of what he means by " monopoly." Otherwise we are asked to pass a Bill, and to put the electors to the trouble of voting,' when we know that the measure can accomplish nothing. If a monopoly did exist, it would always be competent under the Bill for it to keep in existence one or two small businesses in order to avoid being brought within the dictionary definition. I said just now that I know of only two monopolies, and it is important to remember what they are. One monopoly is that of the railways, and the other is that represented by patents.


Senator Trenwith - How can- the railways be called a monopoly when every citizen has a hand in the management?


Senator MILLEN - That does not prevent the railways being a monopoly.


Senator Trenwith - But there is no one outside the monopoly.


Senator MILLEN - There is a. monopoly for the simple reason that we could not run another railway.


Senator Trenwith - We do not, but we could.


Senator MILLEN - We could not. Could the Commonwealth run a yard of railway through New South Wales territory ?


Senator McGregor - Not without the leave of the State.


Senator MILLEN - I think that Senator Trenwith does not quite see the point, because his interjections are usually pertinent. I know of on.lv two enterprises which come within the definition of " monopoly," as I understand the word - as I am entitled to understand the dictionary interpretation. Surely Senator Pearce does not* propose that the Commonwealth should nationalize the railways of the States 1 The honorable senator does not propose, I assume, to take over the monopolies which have been given to persons under the patent laws. And yet these are the only two monopolies to which the Bill would apply. I leave that part of the subject by saying that Senator Pearce must either substitute "businesses " for "monopolies" or insert a definition of the word "monopoly."


Senator Pearce - I shall take the risk.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator may be prepared to take the risk ; but it is ridiculous to ask the Senate to pass a Bill for the nationalization of monopolies when the honorable senator admits that that is not what he desires - that whathe desires is the nationalization of something which he has shown is not a monopoly. Senator Pearce may take the risk, but I am sure the Senate will not. I now desire to deal with the speech of the honorable senator. I almost feel inclined to apologize for referring to the evidence placed before the Royal Commission, because it seems to me it would have been far better to discuss this proposal to nationalize industries without making any particular business the crux.


Senator Findley - There was a Royal Commission, and there has been a report, so that there is some justification for dealing with the industry.


Senator MILLEN - I am going to deal with the report. All I am saying now is that it would have been far better if we could have discussed the question of nationalization quite apart from thosedebatable points which necessarily arise in the case of a particular business. Personally, I should have liked to deal with the matter entirely from the point of view of what I may call first principles. Senator Pearce, however, dealt almost exclusively with the evidence which he alleges was presented to the Royal Commission, and for that reason I feel called upon to follow him through a great number of the statements he then made. I trust I shall not be misunderstood, because in challenging the statements of the honorable senator I desire to make it perfectly clear that I give him credit for making those statements in the best of good faith, and inno sense intentionally seeking to mislead the Senate. At the same time, I feel it incumbent upon me to show that the honorable senator has misled the Senate, and I shall not look to anything outside the report of the Commission for justification of that statement. It is a matter of very considerable regret - and how far I am entitled to say this must be shown by my subsequent remarks - that the honorable senator should have allowed his zeal to outrun his discretion, and to absolutely outweigh that judicial determination which he ought to have brought to bear on the matter.


Senator Pearce - I made the statements in cold blood, and I am prepared to stand by every one of them. They are based on the sworn evidence of witnesses before the Royal Commission.


Senator MILLEN - I am afraid it will be my duty to show that when Senator Pearce submitted the evidence of the witnesses he did one of three things, either of which meant that the Senate was misled; and I desire to trace the history of this matter. Senator Pearce has based his whole case on the report of the Royal Commission, and therefore I wish to show whether, from the history of that Commission, the report is a document entitled -I shall not say to our respect, for we respect it - but entitled to be regarded as having any serious bearing on the matter under review. First of all, this report was signed by Senators Pearce, Story, Findley, and "Stewart. I take it that in an inquiry of this kind the judicial character is supposed to be uttermost; those who take part are supposed to make an inquiry into facts, and to report according to the evidence presented. Those four gentlemen are all members of a party which is absolutely pledged to nationalization - are gentlemen who, I assume, signed, with perfect sincerity, a pledge to adopt nationalization as a plank in their political programme. They have expressed the belief, strong within themselves, that nationalization would be for the national good, and ought to be accomplished.


Senator Pearce - We are pledged to the nationalization of monopolies, and the inquiry was to determine whether the tobacco trade was a monopoly.


Senator MILLEN - My point is that each one of those honorable senators, before he entered into this judicial business, had pledged himself absolutely in favour of nationalization.


Senator Pearce - Nationalization of what ?


Senator MILLEN - Of monopolies, and, further, of the means of production and distribution.


Senator Walker - And of exchange.


Senator Pearce - No.


Senator MILLEN - They had pledged themselves to the nationalization of the means of production and distribution.


Senator Pearce - Here is the Labour platform, and I ask the honorable senator to show a pled.ge to that effect.


Senator Lt Col Gould - No; that pledge was omitted last time in deference to the feelingsof the people generally.


Senator Pearce - The question is what we are pledged to.


Senator MILLEN - May I ask whether the pledges and principles of the Labour Party change with every convention ? Do they one day come forward as the advocates of the nationalization of monopolies, and then,- because there is a scare amongst the electors, throw that proposal overboard, and say they never meant to make it?


Senator Pearce - I never denied that we are in favour of the nationalization of monopolies; but the honorable senator has said that we' are pledged to the national- , ization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and I ask him to show me that pledge on the Labour platform.


Senator MILLEN - May I ask the honorable senator if there wasnot a time when one of the planks in the platform of the party was nationalization, such as I have indicated ?


Senator Pearce - I say I never signed such a plank on becoming a member of this Parliament.


Senator MILLEN - I draw the attention of honorable senators to the qualification, and pass on. I say that there has been put forward a Labour platform, in which is included nationalization-


Senator Pearce - Of monopolies.


Senator MILLEN - Of monopolies.


Senator Pearce - But the honorable senator said: something more - that we were pledged to the nationalization of production, distribution, and exchange. I say that that is not so ; and I have handed the honorable senator the Labour platform, with a request that he will show me such a pledge.


Senator Lt Col Gould .-Does Senator Pearcenot believe in that nationalization ?


Senator Pearce - We are now dealing with what we are pledged to.


Senator MILLEN - If the honorable senator objects to the statement that nationalization of production and distribution is one of the planks of the party-


Senator Pearce - I do not object to that, but I do object to the honorable senator's other statement.


Senator MILLEN - I am at a loss to understand the honorable senator. I will not refer to the Labour Party mentioned by Senator Pearce, but simply to the Socialist Party of Australia; and I ask whether that party, speaking through certain of its organizations,has not adopted a plank which provides for the nationalization of the means of production and distribution ?


Senator Pearce - What does the honorable senator mean by the " Socialist Party " ? Does he mean the Labour Party?


Senator MILLEN - I mean the Labour Party in certain ofthe States.


Senator Pearce - The Federal Labour Party has no such plank. <


Senator MILLEN - Probably the honorable senator is right - the Federal Labour Party is adroit. . But I shall take statements made by the honorable senator himself in order to show that before the Royal Commission was appointed, or a single witness examined, he was pledged to the hilt in favour of nationalization.


Senator Pearce - I was a believer in nationalization.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator was something more than a believer ; he was an ardent advocate.


Senator Pearce - Yes.


Senator MILLEN - Long before the Commission commenced its proceedings, the honorable senator assured the Senate that he had enough evidence to satisfy him that the tobacco monopoly existed, and that it ought to be nationalized .


Senator Pearce - Hear, hear !


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator agrees to that?


Senator Pearce - But I was open to the conviction that there was no monopoly.


Senator MILLEN - I shall show from the statements I am about to quote what chance there was of so convincing the honorable senator. I desire to make it clear that I impute to the honorable senators I have mentioned only that unconscious bias to which all of us are liable. As an illustration, I should like to direct attention to the report of the Tariff Commission. That Commission was composed of an equal number of protectionists and free-traders ; and, on exactly the same evidence and facts, four protectionists came to one conclusion and four free-traders came to another. There is no reason to suppose that either of the two sets of gentlemen acted in any way except according to their conscientious opinions ; but the facts show how absolutely impossible it is for men with preconceived notions to occupy a judicial position and arrive at a judicial determination.


Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator say that, therefore, the findings of the Tariff Commission are valueless?


Senator MILLEN - I (am not saying anything about the findings of the Tariff Commission, but merely pointing out that in the minds of all of us there is an unconscious bias from which we cannot entirely free ourselves. I am sure that my protectionist friends will not dispute the statementthat there are absolutely honorable men in the ranks of the free-traders. But would my protectionist friends trust those free-traders to conduct an inquiry into Tariff matters? Would I, as a freetrader, trust the most honorable protectionist I know to conduct such an inquiry? Certainly not. The unconscious bias would be so strong that, whilst such men might honestly desire to give a mostjudicial decision, their judgment would be warped.

It is the same with all matters connected with race and religion. There is an unconscious bias which warps the judgment to such an extent as to render persons influenced by it ineligible to give a judicial decision. I lay stress on the fact that, whilst there were other members of the Commission, only four signed the report, and each one of them before he took up the work of the Commission was a pledged advocate of the nationalization of the industry. I say that the report loses all value from the fact that those who conducted the inquiry had previously made up their minds as to what they wanted, and believed that the nationalization of monopolies should be undertaken.


Senator Pearce - One of the objects of the inquiry was to determine whether monopoly existed.


Senator MILLEN - I thank the honorable senator for the interjection. He says that the object of the inquiry was to determine whether a monopoly existed.


Senator Pearce - That was part of our inquiry.


Senator MILLEN - I say that before it took place the honorable senator said that he had evidence that satisfied him that a monopoly did exist.


Senator Pearce - I admit that I thought I had.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator said that he believed in the nationalization of monopolies, and that the inquiry was to ascertain whether a monopoly existed, and yet before the Commission was appointed he said that he had enough evidence to satisfy him that a monopoly did exist, and that the profit from the industry was enormous, and ought to go into the public Treasury. Then I ask what becomes of the judicial character of the inquiry conducted by the honorable senator?


Senator Pearce - I do not see that that disqualified me from conducting the inquiry.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator does not see it, but I think that most other people would. I ask him whether he does not think that such an expression of opinion on my part would disqualify me from conducting such an inquiry ?


Senator Pearce - Will the honorable senator read the evidence, and then say that I did notgive the other side an opportunity to prove that there was no monopoly ?


Senator MILLEN - I am afraid that I shall have to show that the honorable sena- tor's attitude on that Commission illustrated very forcibly the bias of his mind, to which I am directing attention.


Senator Pearce - Can the honorable senator show that I refused to call a single witness opposed to the view I held ?


Senator MILLEN - I can show that the honorable! senator put leading questions which indicated the bent of his mind.


Senator Pearce - Can the honorable' senator show that I did not give the other side the amplest opportunity to prove their case?


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator could not shut out those witnesses, but I do not say that he desired to do so.


Senator Pearce - I could have neglected to call them.


Senator MILLEN - It is the smallest measure of justice I can render the honorable senator to admit that witnesses had every opportunity to come forward ; but of what use was it for them to come forward ? Of what use was it for them to give evidence to a Commission, the members of which had made up their minds beforehand ?


Senator Pearce - The evidence is now before the Senate.


Senator MILLEN - And I propose to deal with it, and to. show that, so far as the report of the Commission is concerned, it must be taken only for what it is worth, that is, as an expression of the opinion of four advocates of nationalization, who were in no sense, compelled to that conclusion by the evidence broughtbefore them, but who held that opinion before a single witness had been examined. Let me give honorable senators the history of this Commission. We had, first of all, a motion by Senator Pearce, to this effect: -

That in the opinion of the Senate it is advisable that the manufacture of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes should be a national monopoly.

The honorable senator brought that forward, no doubt believing that everything he said expressed his honest and open conviction. But I direct the attention of honorable senators to the fact that even at that early stage he expressed the view that the tobacco business was a monopoly, and that it ought to be nationalized. I do not propose to quote from his speech on that motion,, because the honorable senator's attitude on the subject is well known, and he had often contended that the tobacco industry in Australia formed a monopoly, and should be nationalized.


Senator Pearce - I admitted that I was going only upon secondary evidence.


Senator MILLEN - The second motion submitted bv the honorable senator was in a slightly altered form, and was as follows : -

That in the opinion of the Senate, in order to provide the necessary money for the payment of Old-Age Pensions and for other purposes, the Commonwealth should undertake the manufacture and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes.

Speaking to that motion, Senator Pearce said -

I amsatisfied with the proof that a monopoly exists, and with the proof that a profit can be derived from carrying on the business. What I ask is that we should say by adopting my motion that it is advisable for the Commonwealth to take over this monopoly.

There is a directness of statement which admits of no doubt as to what was in the honorable senator's mind, and it confirms what I have said, that before the Commission commenced their work the honorable senator and his colleagues were in favour of nationalization generally, and were agreed that the nationalization of the tobacco industry would make an excellent beginning. Senator Fearce, in dealing with the matter, said -

This would be a very goodand profitable commencement to make. . . The revenue which is being raised byit, and the enormous profits which are now Going into the pockets of foreign shareholders, . shall go into the Treasury of Australia. ,

That justifies my statement that the honorable senators who signed the report of the Tobacco Commission are open to the charge that their report is not based on the evidence.


Senator Pearce - That is not a fair charge to make.


Senator MILLEN - I am not saying that it is in conflict with the evidence.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator says that it is not based on the evidence.


Senator MILLEN - I have not come to that yet, but I think I can show that the report of these four honorable senators is a report based on their previously held opinions, and not on the evidence presented to them.


Senator Trenwith - Not merely on the evidence presented to them.


Senator MILLEN - I accept Senator Trenwith's correction.


Senator Pearce - Every paragraph in the report is based on the evidence submitted.


Senator MILLEN - But my' honorable friend picked out the evidence which supported the views held by himself and his brother Commissioners who agreed with him. Might I ask whether I am correct in statingthat during the time the work of the Commission was in progress, and before it h!ad completed its labours, Senator Pearce was the author of a signed article in the Sydney W or ker dealing with the subject ?


Senator Pearce - I was.


Senator MILLEN - While the work of the Commission was. in progress, and when its labours had not been more than half completed, Senator Pearce wrote a most stringent article, which was published in the Sydney Worker, and in which he dealt with this question. It showed that there was no doubt in his mind then as to what ought to be done any more than there was when he addressed the Senate twelve months ago, because the article was an absolute affirmation of nationalization, and that nationalization of the tobacco business was desirable. So far as the report is concerned it is clearly entitled to no more weight than if the four honorable senators who have signed it had had it written without examining a single witness, because long before the Commission was appointed thev were all pledged advocates of nationalization.


Senator Pearce - According to that argument, Senator Gray's minority report is equally valueless, because he had previously expressed himself as being against nationalization.


Senator MILLEN - I admit at once that the reports of all these Commissions, composed of men engaged in the active strife of politics, are weakened and rendered almost valueless because of the preconceived ideas with which the inquiries are undertaken. Will any honorable senator accept the reports presented by the Tariff Commission as affording anything more than information ? They certainly cannot be taken as judicial findings. To that extent the appointment of these parliamentary Commissions leads to much waste of public money. As Senator Pearce has made a reference to electioneering purposes, I admit at once that it might be extremely useful in the conduct of a political propaganda for a man to be able to go upon a platform with an ominous-looking volume, and say, "A Commission inquired and it finds soandso " ; while he says nothing as to how the Commission was composed.


Senator Pearce - We shall not say that. We shall say, ' ' Mr. Jacobs, of the Tobacco Trust, says so-and-so."


Senator MILLEN - I only hope that if the honorable senator does that he will correctly quote Mr. Jacobs.


Senator Pearce - I have done so in every instance.


Senator MILLEN - I propose to refer to some of the quotations the honorable senator has made.


Senator Pearce - I defy the honorable senator to show that I have not done so.


Senator MILLEN - I take it upon myself, and the duty is no pleasure to me, to show that quotations made have 'been torn from their context in such a way as to make the evidence quoted appear to be something quite different from what the witness intended. Senator Pearce, throughout his speech, led the Senate to believe that every statement he was making was based on evidence given before the Commission. I safeguard myself again by saying that I am not impugning the honorable senator's good faith in any way. My contention simply is that he allowed his strong desire for the nationalization of the industry to warp his judgment, and I saythat in the extracts which he gave to the Senate he read into the evidence matter which is not there, he misread some of the evidence, and he selected some portions

And suppressed others.


Senator Pearce - I could not read the whole of the evidence.


Senator MILLEN - The Senate will recognise that in the selection of some evidence and the suppression of other evidence bearing on the same point the honorable senator was consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, misleading the Senate. I. say further that what Senator Pearce has done is this: He based his speech on evidence given by witnesses who f avoured his views, and where witnesses gave contrary evidence which he could not controvert, he immediately impugned their bona fides. Having made these statements, I propose to direct the attention of honorable senators to the quotations given by Senator Pearce, and the evidence appearing in the minutes attached to the report of the Commission.- I do not say that "the honorable senator did these things out of malice or wilfully, but there is evidence that the bias of his mind was such as to lead an honorable senator, usually fair and courteous in his treatment of others, to fall into grievous error. I have said that the honorable senator impugned the good faith of witnesses whose evidence did npt support his view.


Senator Pearce - Is the honorable sena-. tor going to prove the statements he has made?


Senator MILLEN - I propose to do so, and I take the last first. I do not 'think that when I have finished my honorable friend will have any cause to complain ; that I have not supplied the Senate with' abundant material, and with abundant justification for the statements I have made. I have charged the honorable senator that where witnesses differed from his views, and there appeared to be no possibility of getting away from their evidence, he impugned their veracity, their motives, or something else. I take the case of his reference to Mr. Davis, a representative of a tobacco company. Senator Pearce's reference to this witness will be found at page 3265 of Hansard, and I read from the official report so that there may be no mistake about it. He said -

Mr. Davisis not to be regarded, either, as one who is opposed to the combine. His expressions of opinion were friendly to it - so much so, indeed, that I had suspicions as to whether he was not connected with it in some way.

To that statement I interjected -

Is his firm one of the associated firms?

And Senator Pearce replied -

So far as we were able to ascertain, he was not connected with the combine, although he was engaged in the same business.

This was a witness whose evidence directly contradicted that on which ' Senator Pearce relied.


Senator Pearce -^- What did it contradict? I was saying that I based my estimate of the, cost of manufacture upon his evidence.


Senator MILLEN - My point is that Senator Pearce, in his Speech where, the evidence did not suit the opinions which he held - -


Senator Pearce - When did I base my report on that?


Senator MILLEN - ;The existence of another firm outside the combine did not suit Senator Pearce, and he immediately attempted to show that in some way, which he could not define, this Mr. Davis was tobe suspected. ,


Senator Pearce - Why should I want to discredit him when, on page 14 of the report, I base my calculations on his statement? Answer that question.


Senator MILLEN - Here was proof of the existence of manufacturers outside the combine. When this manufacturer came forward as a witness, and his evidence was not agreeable to the honorable senator-


Senator Pearce - It was agreeable to me.


Senator MILLEN - It was not agreeable to have a witness coming forward and saying, " I am outside the combine ; I am an independent manufacturer."


Senator Pearce - I did not object to that in the slightest degree. I regarded him as a valuable witness. -


Senator MILLEN - There is a sort of discredit attaching to the honorable senator when he would seek to cast an imputation upon a witness upon whom he relied.


Senator Pearce - I did not cast any imputation upon him.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator said that he had a suspicion as to whether Mr. Davis was connected with the combine. What right had he to entertain such an opinion regarding a witness who gave his evidence fairly and openly? Mr. Davis swore that he was not connected with the combine; and yet, because Mr. Davis gave some evidence favorable to the combine, and, therefore, unfavorable to Senator Pearce, the honorable senator suspected him of perjury.


Senator Pearce - I did not suspect him of perjury.


Senator MILLEN - How could the honorable senator suspect him of anything else, when the witness swore that he was not connected with the combine, and Senator Pearce suspected that he was?


Senator Pearce - Could I not suspect him of withholding some information?


Senator MILLEN - I do not want to have this jesuitical way of playing with words. Because the witness swore that he was not connected with the combine, Senator Pearce immediately suspected that he was. If he was connected with it, and he swore that he was not, the witness was committing perjury. Was that the judicial frame of mind which should characterize any one intrusted ' with the task of conducting an inquiry of this kind ?


Senator Clemons - Senator Pearce accepted the evidence of a man whom he suspected of perjury.


Senator MILLEN - When Senator Pearce did not like the fact that a witness should come forward, independently of the combine, and yet give evidence favorable to it, he said " I suspect him."


Senator Pearce - What did I suspect him of?


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator has said that he suspected that the witness was connected with the combine in some way.

SenatorPearce. - That suspicion led me to ask him if he was connected with the combine, and he said that he was not. What is more, he produced his roll of shareholders to prove it. Then I had to accept his evidence.


Senator MILLEN - The position is, then - ' ' First of all I suspected him ; then I asked whether he was a member of the combine; and, so far as I could find out, he was not." I am now going to leave that case to honorable senators. I am satisfied that if put before any impartial man, it would justify my statement that Senator Pearce, finding a witness not agreeable to him, went out of his way to impure to him motives - or, indeed, an absolute crime.


Senator Pearce - That is absolutely incorrect.


Senator MILLEN - I come to the next case that I am going to give in justification of the statement I have made that the honorable senator, unable to upset the evidence of certain of the witnesses, impugned them. On page 3268 of HansardSenator Pearce is reported as having said -

The only retailers whom I could induce to give evidence were those in a large way of business - practically wholesalers - who spoke in the most flattering terms of the combine, and perhaps got their reward in better terms in the future.

I wish to ask - what justification has any man, placed in a judicial position, to make imputations of that kind against men who gave evidence on oath?


Senator Pearce - Numberless small retailers told me that they would like to give evidence, but that they would be ruined if they did.


Senator MILLEN -The honorable senator said in his speech -

Scores of retailers told me of the exactions of the combine, but when I invited them to give evidence they said they did not want to be " thrown into the streets."

So that we have this honorable senator telling Parliament that he actually ignored the sworn evidence of witnesses and paid attention to the tittle-tattle poured into his ears at street corners.


Senator Pearce - I gave the reasons why we could not get the small retailers to give evidence, but I based no statements in the report on that


Senator MILLEN - I put the two things together - that the only retailers the honorable senator could get to give evidence spoke so kindly of the combine that Senator Pearce said : " No doubt they will get their reward in the form of better terms in the future" - an allegation that the witnesses were perjuring themselves in some degree in the hope or pecuniary reward ; and' that this honorable senator, occupying a position which ought to have induced him to exercise a judicial mind, On, his own showing, has brought in a report based not on the evidence brought before the Commission, but on the tittle-tattle which retailers poured into his ears, and whose statements he accepted, though they would not give evidence.


Senator Pearce - I challenge the honorable senator to instance one paragraph in the report which is based upon what he calls tittle-tattle. That is a fair challenge.


Senator MILLEN - I am not sure what the report is based on, but I can show that there are statements in it which are based upon no evidence whatever.


Senator Pearce - Let the honorable senator point out statements which are based upon the evidence of retailers who did not give evidence.


Senator MILLEN - I can show that there are statements supposed to be based upon evidence, but there is not a tittle of evidence to support them. And if there is no sworn evidence to support statements in the report, I am justified in saying that the report is based either upon the previouslyheld opinions of the honorable senator or upon tales whispered into his ears by his " scores of retailers." Senator Pearce. - Let the honorable senator quote a statement about ,the retail trade from the report.


Senator MILLEN - I am going to show that there are statements in it to support which there is not a single word in the printed evidence.


Senator Pearce - What are the statements ?


Senator MILLEN - I will come to them directly. My first point was that the honorable senator, where there were witnesses who were not tasteful to him, impugned them. I have given instances of that.


Senator Dobson - Why were not some of these small retailers called, and compelled to give evidence?


Senator Pearce - Because I did not want to ruin them.


Senator MILLEN - Perhaps the honorable senator will show that he had evidence to prove that there was a possibility of that happening.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - If men who gave evidence did so in the expectation of better terms from the combine, would that not be corrupt?


Senator MILLEN - I should suggest that it would be; and, seeing that Senator Pearce took an active part in bringing before the Senate a case in which he said that intimidation had been exercised towards an employ^ of the combine because of evidence given before the Commission, why does he not ask the Government of the day to make inquiries into this alleged corruption ? Because that is what it amounts to - that these men gave evidence corruptly.


Senator Pearce - It would be a big contract.


Senator MILLEN - Does the size of the contract deter the honorable senator?


Senator Pearce - It does, I admit.


Senator MILLEN - Before an honorable senator makes a statement of the kind I ha.ve read, imputing corrupt intentions to witnesses, he should. I contend, be prepared to show that his statements are correct. No one has a right to use his position as a senator, or as chairman of a Royal Commission, to give currency to mere scandals.


Senator Pearce - I did not impute corruption.


Senator MILLEN - I do not know what it was, then. Now I come to the next point with which I wish to deal. I ha.ve indicated four statements in which, it appeared to me Senator Pearce had sought to mislead the Senate. The first I dealt with was his action in impugning witnesses. The one which I now propose to take is my allegation that he has read into the evidence matter which is not there. And by " matter ' ' let me say that I do not necessarily mean words, but that in his presentation of the case before the Senate the honorable senator has given to the evidence a shade of colouring that is not in the evidence itself.


Senator McGregor - That is what the Age did with George Reid.


Senator MILLEN - Probably the honorable senator would commend it in that case. In this case I am condemning such conduct. I come to the statement regarding payments to growers. On page 3264 of HansardSenator Pearce is reported as having said -

The price of tobacco in European countries and in America is greater than it is in Australia, and the cost of manufacture in Australia, while it is higher than in the other countries I have named, is not so much higher as to account for the difference in the retail price. Therefore, the proportion of profit derived from the tobacco industry in Australia is greater than it is in the other countries mentioned.


Senator Gray - The honorable senator knows the price paid for leaf in those countries?







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