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Wednesday, 17 July 1912

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - I am one of those who believe that the debate on the AddressinReply is a waste of time. I agree with the statement which appeared in one of the newspapers the other day, and look forward to the appearance of some strong statesmen who will do away with all these flummeries of Parliament. But one or two remarks were made by the Leaderof the Opposition to which Ithink it is my duty to reply. I was very much disappointed with the honorable senator's speech. I expected to hear something fresh, but I had listened to the same old speech two or three times in the Werriwa district.

Senator Millen - Did the honorable senator hear me speak two or three times?

Senator McDOUGALL - I heard the honorable senator speak twice.

Senator Millen - Then the honorable senator had a liberal education.

Senator McDOUGALL - The honorable senator wished to have me put out of the hall in which he was speaking. He accused me of disturbing his meeting, though I never said a word.

Senator Millen - No, but the honorable senator put up another man to disturb the meeting.

Senator McDOUGALL - The man who disturbed the honorable senator's meeting has forgotten more about politics than Senator Millen ever knew. He is a political encyclopaedia. I could teach him nothing, and I could not tell him what to interject.

Senator Millen - I did not say that the honorable senator was teaching him, but that he was prompting him.

Senator McDOUGALL - I denied at the time thatI was prompting him. I would not think of doing such a thing. I know that many years ago when I was a young man I interrupted a meeting, and I was landed out on my head - I have never forgotten that - and the police were waiting. I was surprised to hear the honorable senator talk about the writing on the wall. I do not know what wall it was. It must have been the sailor's brand - a notice to go. I know that the' honorable senator got notice three years ago that he was going to his political death, and that is the only writing I could see on the wall. He told his audience of little incidents that had taken place since the last Federal elec tion, but he did not record them quitecorrectly. He always said too little or too much in describing them. After twenty years' political experience I do not think the honorable senator has a single mark on the Avail to his credit. He has made assertions that are incorrect, and in some instances absolutely unfair. I think it only right that I should say a few words in defence of certain gentlemen whom he has adversely criticised. In one instance he spoke of a gentleman appointed to a certain position as a second-class man. This was said of a man whose boots the honorable senator is not fit to brush so far as their relative intelligence is concerned. It is unfair for any man to stand behind his parliamentary privilege and say such things of men who are better than himself.

Senator Millen - I did not stand behind any parliamentary privilege. I said what I had to say on a public platform.

Senator McDOUGALL - The honorable senator has said a great many things. Speaking of the gentleman in question, he said in his speech on the AddressinReply

If any criticism were required of the Government Bank, which although nominally started, merely has an office and an office boy somewhere, it is supplied by the failure of the Prime Minister to get a first-class banker to take charge of the institution, notwithstanding that he was willing to pay almost any salary, and by the fact that, after waiting six months, he was obliged to accept the services of a second-rate man.

Senator Millen - From what is the honorable senator quoting?

Senator McDOUGALL - I amquoting from Hansard.

Senator Millen - I did not say that Mr. Miller was a second-rate man.

Senator McGregor - We heard the honorable senator say so.

Senator McDOUGALL - I will read the quotation again for Senator Millen's edification, if he desires it. There are some newspapers in Sydney which support the present Government, and assist them in every possible way. They' publish both sides of any question, but generally it is the same side which is put in each newspaper. It was so on this occasion. Both of these journals declare that Mr. Miller is a firstclass man.

Senator Millen - No, they do not.

Senator McDOUGALL - They do. One of them states -

Mr. DenisonSamuel King Miller, first manager of the Commonwealth Bank, is 52 years of age, having been born on 8th March, 1860, at Fairy Meadow, near Wollongong.

That is a good thing. Mr. Miller is an Australian. If the Government had gone to some other part of the world to select a man for the position to which he has been appointed, no doubt it would have been all right. The journal in question continues -

He is a son of the late Mr. S. K. Miller, a teacher under the Department of Public Instruction in this State.

Mr. Millerentered the service of the Bank of New South Wales in 1876, at Deniliquin, where his father was at the time the headmaster of the public school. In 1882 he was transferred to the head office. About 1893 he was promoted to the position of assistant accountant. Two years later he succeeded to the post of accountant, though he was but thirty-five years of age. Whilst holding that office he obtained considerable Inter-State experience, on one occasion taking charge of the Western Australia business. In 1890, Mr. Miller was promoted as assistant general manager. In due course the office was altered in name to general manager's inspector, and then to metropolitan inspector. Amongst the banking men of the State, Mr. Miller stands in high esteem. He has been a prominent member of the Banking Institute for some years, holding the position of treasurer since its formation. He has assisted the Hospital Saturday movement very materially, and was not long ago created a life governor of the Sydney Hospital and the Children's Hospital.

Mr. Miller,who lives at Cliffbrook, Coogee, only recently returned from a trip round the world, extending over twelve months. It was while he was in Melbourne on his way back to Sydney from this trip that he was approached by Mr. Fisher on the subject of the Commonwealth Bank. "Naturally," Mr. Miller says, "I did not make up my mind in a minute. I considered the question very, very carefully. But it is perfectly true to say' that a fortnight ago I had not the least notion that the post was going to be offered to me."

Senator Givens - From what newspaper is the honorable senator quoting?

Senator McDOUGALL - From the Sydney Morning Herald. The Sydney Daily Telegraph also says -

Mr. DenisonS. K. Miller, who has been appointed Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, is at present chief metropolitan inspector in Sydney of the Bank of New South Wales. Mr. Miller, whose ability is of the highest, began his banking career at Deniliquin in 1876, his father, the late Mr. S. K. Miller, being located there as head master of the public school. Six years later he came to head office, Sydney, and worked his way through the various departments. In 1895, Mr. Miller, then thirty-five years of age, became accountant at headquarters. Later, his experience extended to inspections in South Australia and Victoria, and, in addition, he took charge of the West Australian section of the bank for a time. His next move was to the position of assistant to the general manager at Sydney. A little later he went to the position he at present occupies, and from which he will retire in order to take up the big task of establishing the Commonwealth Bank. Mr. Miller was one of the founders of the Institute of Bankers of New South Wales.

So that, if by any unfortunate circumstances, the general manager of that institution had been called away, Mr. Miller would have had charge of the leading bank in Australia.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

Senator McDOUGALL - We know that it is very difficult for a man employed in a banking institution to reach the topmost rung of the ladder at the age of Mr. Miller. 11 that gentleman had entered some other walk of life probably he would have reached the top earlier than he has done. But the bank with which he was associated thought so much of him that it actually sent him on a twelve months trip through Great Britain, Canada, and America for the purpose of fully inquiring into the banking and savings bank systems in the principal cities 'there. He was given the fullest facilities for gaining the latest information regarding the working of the same. Having quoted the statements of two journals published in Sydney, which are supporters of the Government, I now propose to make an extract from the Australian Insurance and Banking Record of 21st May of the present year. That journal, in referring to Mr. Miller's appointment, says -

The quest for a Governor of the Commonwealth Bank has at last been crowned with success, the Prime Minister, in the exercise of the absolute power devolved upon him by the Caucus, having appointed to the position Mr. D. S. K. Miller, chief metropolitan inspector in Sydney of the Bank of New South Wales. In itself, the appointment is an excellent one, for Mr. Miller will beyond doubt carry into the service he has consented to enter, the conscientiousness, the devotion to duty, and the capacity for organization that he has displayed throughout his banking career. The appointment is, moreover, a guarantee that within the scope of the powers conferred upon the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, the methods and practices adopted will be sound and prudent. Mr. Miller's recent visit to Europe and America, and his inquiries into what may be called the machinery of banking, add to his qualifications for the position.

Possibly the daily newspapers have made too much fuss over the delay in theappointment of the Governor. It was to be expected that the difficulty of finding the right man, and of arranging terms with him would prove to be a serious one. The necessary qualifications are great and numerous. The Governor will have to establish principal offices in all the States, select and organize the staffs, set up or advise in the establishment of a London branch, and arrange for correspondents in every important country. He must have a perfect knowledge of exchange operations, which means an intimate acquaintance with the monetary systems of the world, the moral courage to prohibit the granting of loans without security, a blissful practice desired by many of the Labour voters, and the ability to attract deposits in a proper and legitimate manner. In short, by his accomplishments and personality, the Governor has to inspire confidence. In every respect, therefore, the appointment of Mr. Miller is satisfactory.

I do not suppose that even Senator Millen, who so far forgot himself as. to designate Mr. Miller a " second-rate " man, will have the temerity to affirm that the journal which I have quoted would publish that account of Mr. Miller if it were not correct. The Leader of the Opposition also declared that Mr. Miller was now receiving three times the salary which he had been paid in his former position. He added that Mr. Miller's salary was .even larger than that of the Railways Commissioner of New South Wales. I think that it ought to be. Indeed, it would have paid the New South Wales Government to have sent its chief Railways Commissioner back to the country from whence he came with his salary. If the importations that we get for other important positions are of the same class it does not redound to the credit of those who desire to sit upon Australians. I say that Mr. Miller is a competent officer. Senator Millen, as a land agent in New South Wales, earned more in a single day than Mr. Miller will earn in a month It is upon record that the former received a thousand pounds for a few minutes work. I am. not going to say that he should not have received it, but I do say that he ought not to disparage a man because he is getting a fair salary. The banks in Australia are the greatest sweating institutions in the land. They pay men who have to handle thousands of pounds daily the miserable salary of £120 per annum. I hope the officers in the Commonwealth Bank will receive an adequate salary for the services which they render. I come now to Senator Millen's statement in regard to the appointment of Mr. Clarke to the position of Director of Agriculture in the Northern Territory. The honorable senator said -

I venture to say that Mr. Clarke, whilst he has proved an excellent office man, has shown no capacity - indeed, he has had no opportunity of showing his capacity - and has had no experience to fit him for the class of work that he is called upon to undertake.

I had the pleasure of Mr. Clarke's company for a few days in the Northern Territory, when we traversed some of the finest country that I ever saw. He then gave me to understand that he was reared upon the land, and had every qualification to fit him for his office. He has had literary experience, academic experience of agricultural matters, and upon inquiry I ascertained not only that he is a practical farmer, but that his brothers and relations are all upon the land. Before Senator Millen made the statement which he did, he should at least have taken the precaution to institute inquiries as to Mr. Clarke's fitness for his present position. I believe that he is the best officer the Government could have chosen. He is a young Australian, and is full of life and energy. He has laid himself out to make leasehold settlement in the Territory productive. If that can be done at all he will do it. I compliment the Government upon his appointment. There is just one other matter that I should like to mention. Perhaps there is no honorable senator who is better acquainted with the case to which I am about to refer than I am. In the course of his remarks, on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, Senator Millen said -

There we have had the notorious case of a Ministry, for the first time in the history of constitutional government in ' this country, as far as I am aware, absolutely dispensing with the services of a member of the Water and Sewerage Board - Mr. Garrard - and placing upon it instead a gentleman whose only claim seems to be that he had been chairman of Mr. McGowen's election committee.

I wish to say that that is an absolutely incorrect statement, as no man should have known better than Senator Millen himself. The New South Wales Government have not dispensed with the services of Mr. Garrard. He was appointed for a certain period. The Board is constituted of two members who are nominees of the Government, whilst the rest are elected by the councils of the city and adjoining suburbs. Mr. Garrard was appointed to the office of President of the Board for a term of four years. He served his term, and a better man was put in his place by the Government of the day, which was not a Labour Government. Then Mr. Garrard was again placed on the Board as an ordinary member. His term expired, and he was appointed once more. He has, therefore, had three terms of four years each, to which he had no more right than any other- citizen.

Hisfinal term having expired, he goes out of office, and the Government have appointed another man, as they had every right to do. Mr. Garrard's appointment, in the first instance, was purely and simply political. He was once a Labour man, but deserted our cause, and went over to the other side. When he was defeated in his constituency he was appointed to this Board by the Liberal Government of the day. The appointment was made purely for political reasons, though we did not complain about it. Now, however, his term is up, and a man has been appointed who, in my opinion, is more competent. Senator Millen is, or ought to have been, aware of these facts. I believe that he knows as much about the matter as I do, and is well aware that his statement was not correct.

Senator O'Keefe - In any case, what has the matter to do with the Federal Government ?

Senator McDOUGALL - It has nothing to do with the Federal Government, but as Senator Millen's statements are on record I thought it just as well to answer them. Mr. Garrard is a personal friend of mine, and I have nothing to say against him. He worked with me years ago in an engineer's shop, and when he had done his eight hours' work he attended his place in Parliament at night. He was either the first or the second Labour man elected in New South Wales, and he has been a trades unionist all his life. I think he is president of the Trades Hall Building Trustees today, and no man has taken more interest in the building than he has. I make no complaint against him, but I maintain that the New South Wales Government had every right to appoint another man if they chose. I should like to say a few words with re gard to the Northern Territory. As far as I can see, the appointments made by the Government there have been anything but partisan. Certainly one gentleman has been appointed to the head of the Railway service who is no friend of the Government. He goes about the Territory denouncing Ministers and members of Parliament. I heard him at Darwin, with a crowd around him, denouncing this Government and everything connected with it. He has every right to hold those opinions if he likes, though I do think that a man in his position ought, at all events, to be more discreet. But I do not think that that appointment can be said to have a partisan character. As to the gentleman appointed to the position of Director of the Territory, I can say, from what I saw of him, that I believe him to be the right man in the right place. He holds the same opinions as I do as to the capabilities of the Territory. Some members of the House of Representatives went on a visit to the Territory during the recess, and I joined them. Every member of the party had the same opportunities of seeing the country as I had, but some were either too lazy or too tired to take the trouble to go about much. After we had made one trip to the Katharine River, another journey was organized to the Daly, but Mr. Ozanne and myself were the only two members of the party who undertook the journey. We saw there some of the finest country I ever saw in my life. I never thought that there was such beautifully watered and richly productive country in Australia. I observe that a gentleman who has a seat in the other House said that he had not full opportunities of seeing all he desired. Evidently he was too tired to go on this expedition, for he had the same opportunities as I had. Professor Gilruth is, in my opinion, an admirable man for the position of Administrator. I do not think that a better one could have been found. He is a scientific man, and his knowledge with reference to animal life and diseases will be of great assistance, for the prevalence of these diseases is one of the great drawbacks to advancement in the Territory. Professor Gilruth has the necessary skill to diagnose such cases, and to discover the proper treatment for them. If his scientific skill can get rid of or minimize horse and cattle diseases, the benefit to the Territory will be enormous. While I was there one thing that struck me more forcibly than anything else was the manner in which the whole of the business of the place has drifted into the hands of the Asiatics. When we arrived at Darwin the Administrator, in his democratic way, inaugurated a garden party to welcome us. He did not, in the orthodox fashion of Governors, send out blue and white tickets to distinguish between different classes of visitors, but made no distinction whatever. He simply notified that he would like the residents of Darwin to meet the Minister and members of Parliament, and they came along at the appointed time. There were people of all colours there - blacks, yellows, whites, browns, pie-balds, skew-balds, and all sorts and descriptions ; some dressed up in their best, some wearing dress coats, and some with no coats at all.

Everybody was there. When one looks at the population of this place one realizes what might have been the condition of the southern States except for the advanced legislation passed years ago. The main street of Darwin is the most squalid, contemptible place I ever saw. The business is entirely in the hands of Chinese and Syrians, or other Asiatic peoples. They have captured the whole place. Some of the Chinese were born in the Territory. A number of Chinese and half-caste children came down to meet us, singing, " God save the King ! " It was very nice, of course, and I have nothing to say to the detriment of these people. They are there, and we have to hail them as brothers as long as they are there. But we must take care that no more of that class come into the Territory. After I came back, I had some controversy with a gentleman, in the Sydney newspapers, with regard to the climate of the Territory. Some people contend that it could only be populated by alien races. Dr. Arthur made a statement to that effect, and we have another gentleman lecturing in England contending that the Northern Territory can only be developed "by coloured labour. I rejoice, however, to think that this Government will do its duty, and is determined to keep Australia white. I say that white men can thrive there. On the Daly River I made the acquaintance of two young men who went without assistance to the Territory, and now have one of the finest farms it was ever my good fortune to see. They grow magnificent maize, and their only trouble is that they cannot get their produce to market. Directly the Government see their way to make roads, or to improve water communication, I have no doubt that the settlers in the Territory will do well. It will become one of the greatest sugar-cane growing districts in Australia. They have cane growing on the Daly flats which has reached a height of 12 feet in four months. We are told by some sugar experts that the rain -descends too heavily at particular times for the sugar crops, and that sugar requires periods of dry weather between the periods of rainfall. I have no doubt, however, that sugar-growing will be successfully accomplished. The dews are so heavy that even when rain does not fall they are suffiCient to produce good crops. When the grass grows very high, and is burnt down by the settlers, the result of the dews is -that, within a week after burning, beautiful green grass springs up again. We are told that the grass is not good for cattle, because it is too coarse. Of course it is when it grows to a great height, but it fs wholesome and fattening when it is young. At present there is not sufficient stock fo eat it down. I thoroughly commend the Government for the appointments which they have made in the Territory. I am surprised that the Leader of the Opposition has not ventured to tell us what his party would be prepared to do if they got into office at the next election. Senator Millen professes to believe that they will obtain power. He has not told us whether they would repeal the Socialistic legislation of which we have heard so much. We have not heard a word on that subject, but have simply been treated to the abuse of the administration of the Government. I do not think that the administration has been of the very best. I am not altogether satisfied with it. In fact, I am very much dissatisfied. But the policy of the Government is good, and the measures that they have placed on the statute-book are those which the people of Australia put them in office to pass. There never has been a Government that has not been guilty of some foolish acts of administration. I am not altogether satisfied with the administration of the Defence Department. I fear that the Department is putting up too great a barrier against the freedom of the people. The day may come when the youths who are being trained to-day will refuse to be used as they are being used by the upstart officers who are training them. The day may come - it ma}' be distant - when the' people will insist on reversing the decision of Parliament in the matter of compulsory training. I say that we are building up a sort of army which. is between a permanent army and militia. We have volunteers who are being trained by permanent men. The Government in their administration of the Defence Department are making a mistake. I intend, at a later period, to speak still further on that matter, but will not do so to-night. I think that the Leader of the Opposition, with his great political experience, should have given us an idea of how his party would like to rule the Commonwealth. But they have not done that. They have simply alluded to acts of administration by the Government. They have allowed their womenfolk to formulate a programme for their guidance when they get into power. I beli?ve that the womenfolk have sent to the Parliamentary party the programme which they desire to have translated into legislative Acts next session. It has been handed to me by a friend, and I believe that the information is more reliable than was that of Senator Millen when he made the charges against the Government. The programme includes -

Introduction into Australia of indentured coloured labour.

Repeal of the Federal Arbitration Act.

Repeal of the Commonwealth Bank Act.

Repeal of the Australian Notes Act.

Amendment of the Defence Act to dispense with compulsory training.

Amendment of the Old-age and Invalid Pensions Act to reduce expenditure.

Senator Long - To do these ladies justice, they have more courage than the members of the Opposition possess.

Senator McDOUGALL - That is what I am trying to say. I believe that this is the programme which the ladies have formulated and sent along to my honorable friends opposite.

Senator Millen - Is the honorable senator serious when he says that he believes that?

Senator McDOUGALL - I am always serious ; I was never more serious in my life than I am at this moment.

Senator St Ledger - From what document is the honorable senator quoting?

Senator Millen - He is quoting the fruit of his imagination.

Senator McDOUGALL - It is like the honorable senator's imagination.

Senator Millen - I am here longer than the honorable senator is.

Senator McDOUGALL - I dare say that the honorable senator has been here longer than I have been; but he may not be here as long as I shall be. Although he has been for a long time in the State Parliament and this Parliament, I have not seen one thought of his placed on the statute-book. I may not do any better; but he has not one Act opposite to his name, so far as I know, and I have watched his career fairly well, though he has something opposite to his name which I would not like to have opposite to mine. We have also had other men forgetting their social positions so far as to abuse this Government and condemn their acts. We had them only so late as last week inSydney applying to this Government and their legislation terms which they ought to have kept to themselves. They ought to strike out in a different direction. They ought to follow the example of the religious men in America., who are trying to do good by legislation for tens of thousands of men. They would do well, in the clerical line, to follow the dictates' of that great man in America who said -

Let's quit talking and go to work. Let's do all the evangelizing we can, but let us wake up the men of America until they will abolish childlabour, tear down fire-traps, shut up tenements that have bad sewerage, bad ventilation, insufficient light. Let's arouse the religious spirit throughout this nation until all the children in every city have playgrounds, until public opinion closes immoral shows, until employers and employes alike are compelled by public sentiment to treat each other fairly; until the divorce epidemic is checked, and the integrity of American family life is once more assured.

That is the programme of the Christian men of America to-day. That is the programme of the Labour party in Australia to-day. That is what we desire, and I would advise those who have attacked us in the manner in which they have done to follow the lead of those men in America, and let their religious instruction go in a way which will be good for the community, which will be good for the oppressed, and will help to make useful citizens of those who have not the wherewithal to do much for themselves.

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