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Thursday, 10 October 1912

Senator ST LEDGER (QUEENSLAND) - A whole lot of cats are now coming out of the bag. If that is the way in which it is proposed to develop trade in the Pacific, the sooner the Government make that intention clear and definite the better for them; and I dare say that the people of Queensland, as well as the people of Australia, will give them a proper answer.

Senator de Largie - We are not foreign traders. We want trade in Australia.

Senator ST LEDGER - Did you, sir, ever hear a more irrelevant interjection? What on earth are we here for but to legislate in such a way that our tradeand commerce, not only internal, but external, will develop? To what markets do our great primary industries look? To the markets of the world - the United States, and Canada. The mail service to 'Canada has been abandoned, and we are told by some strong Government supporters that we will look after our internal trade. The people of Australia will not stand that kind of thing. In 1907 we imported from Canada - mostly food stuffs of animal origin - goods to the value of £40,000 ; in 1908, £49,000; in 1909, £55,000; and in 1910 , £101,000. Other portions of our imports showed a gradual increase. This goes to show that, even if the trade was not remunerative, it was promising.

Senator Guthrie - What were the exports from Australia?

Senator ST LEDGER - The honorable senator can very easily ascertain the facts, and if they in any way alter the inferences which I think are inevitable from the figures he may devotehis attention to the matter.

Senator Guthrie - The ships were going away in water ballast.

Senator ST LEDGER - Canada, the United States and Australia talk about their Tariffs. One Government is approaching the other by means of its Tariff machinery to promote reciprocity, and the object is, of course,to increase trade. Of whatuse is it to resort to, this course if the means of carrying on trade is not simultaneously developed ? Of what use is it to talkofestablishing closer trade relations withCanada orthe United States, which we all desire, unless we give some practicablemeansby which we can bring about that reciprocity ? If we are to develop traderelations with Canada, we must have a mail service.

Senator de Largie - What have those two countries done to increase the exports from Australia? Nothing.

Senator ST LEDGER - They may not have done much. From one point of view, the Tariffs themselves may be barriers to an increase oftrade. There can be no practical result in this matter of Tariff re ciprocity until theGovernment give substantial help towards the main factor in carrying on trade. All this talk about our position in the Pacific, and developing reciprocaltrade relations with Canadaand the United States is mere" hot air " unless we subsidize a mail service in some form.

Senator Guthrie - Not a mailservice.

Senator ST LEDGER - May I ask the honorable senator whether the Australian subsidy to the Orient line is not given very largely for trade purposes, although it never goes intothe Pacific? If we wish to develop close commercial relations between the United Kingdom and Australia through the Suez Canal, the necessary complement to that policy, it seems to me, is to develop in the Pacific the trade between the Commonwealth, the United States of America, and Canada.

Senator de Largie - But what will 'be the position when the Panama Canal is opened ?

Senator ST LEDGER - How will this attitude help us to get over the difficulty ? To refuseto promote a mail service seems to me to be worse than for a man to cut off his nose to spite bis face. Indeed, much of the finance of the present Government is of that character. I propose to read one or two short 'Communications which have been addressed to the Chambers of Commerce, and through them to Ministers, in order to show them the great importance of this trade. In June, 1910, Messrs. Baynes Bros., large meat exporters in Brisbane, addressed the following letter to the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce: -

We may say wehave repeatedly tried to get space for frozen produce in these steamers and were always told here that all refrigeration space had been booked in Sydney for some months ahead, consequently we have had no opportunity to work up a business at all.

That is pretty strong evidence, not only that the trade was increasing, but that the facilities for the exportation from Queensland of one of our most valuable commodities were insufficient.

Senator de Largie - That does not follow. The refrigerating space may have been manipulated.

Senator ST LEDGER -Could the manipulation of the refrigerating space affect the statement of this firm that they wanted space and could not get it? I do not think that any one will attempt to cast any aspersionson the accuracy of the statement. The service, in any case, was unequal to the growing demands made upon it, and, from that point of view., there could scarcely be a stronger argument for increasing facilities. Again, Mr. Johnson, a dairy and export agent, wrote -

I have engaged space in those steamers from October, 1909, to March, 1910, for 1,000 boxes of butter per month, and if the present service is continued I intend to apply and pay for the same amount of space in each steamer from October, 1910, to March, 191 1.

The two items with which these two exporters deal, meat and butter, are certainly two of the most important exports which Australia has. The matter is a serious one, and cannot be evaded by the Government any longer. We have a right to know what their policy is regarding the Vancouver service. The facts, to concentrate them shortly, are that Queensland and New South Wales pioneered the service, and paid for it for a number of years. The trade was steadily increasing. The two States were anxious that the service should be continued. Chambers of Commerce, and other representative men, again and again, pointed out that, it seemed likely that the service would be abandoned, but they were assured that they need have no fear. Finally, the service was abandoned as predicted, and has now apparently gone to the care of His Satanic Majesty.

Senator Clemons - Does the honorable senator mean that he is the only tenderer now?

Senator ST LEDGER - I do not think there is any other tender. We do not pay a penny for any service. The present position is that Canada and New Zealand have subsidized steamers to trade between Vancouver and Auckland. But that does not meet our requirements.

I should like to call attention to a few matters relating to the Defence Department. It would appear from the report of the InspectorGeneral that the registration of cadets, under the Defence Act, is not in a satisfactory position. The report alludes to the matter in these words -

The falling off of the registration of the 1898 quota cannot be attributed to a lower birth rate.

I should like to know whether the Minister has any explanation to offer on this fact? The falling off in registration is evidently going to give some trouble, and will require watching. Otherwise our defence system will be weakened. The InspectorGeneral also states in his report that -

The Commonwealth Military Journal requires a permanent editor and an increase in original contributions, and a department for the discussion and examination of practical and strategical problems as recommended by Lord Kitchener.

I regard the proper conduct of the Military Journal as one of the most important factors in connexion with the defence scheme. Unless we have well-trained, and wellinformed officers, it will be impossible even in times of peace to have a well-trained army. I hope that the Minister will appoint an expert editor for the Journal, which should be to military officers' what the Lancet, and other medical publications, are to the medical profession. It is a most important factor in the education of officers.

Senator Chataway - There is very little original matter in the Journal; the articles are nearly all quoted from other publications.

Senator ST LEDGER - That ought not to be so. The editor should be a man qualified to furnish original information and guidance as to our own military development.

Senator McGregor - The officers ought to read Hansard. They will get a lot of information there !

Senator ST LEDGER - I am afraid we could not use Hansard to fight battles. If soldiers went into battle with Hansard I am afraid they would soon be food for powder.

Senator Chataway - Bullets would never go through Hansard !

Senator ST LEDGER - Perhaps if we could get the enemy tied up and make them browse on Hansard a capitulation of their forces would speedily follow. It is generally understood, nowadays, that given well-trained officers on the one side, and ill-trained officers on the other, a war is pretty well over as soon as it is begun. It was said in connexion with the American Civil War that the officers who came out of West Point Military Academy were worth a whole army corps. I trust that the agencies used for the training of officers in our army will not be starved. I draw attention to another feature which makes me rather uneasy. The Inspector- General reports that 643 officers and 7,973 other members of the Citizen Forces attended camps for manoeuvre purposes, but that only thirty-three officers and 1,058 others, or a total of 1,091, remained during the manoeuvres. In other words, of those who went into camp only 13 per cent, took part in the manoeuvres. There may be some explanation.

Senator Guthrie - Business engagements.

Senator ST LEDGER - I presume that these people went into camp for training purposes. Camps, nowadays, are not supposed to be a sort of picnic. It was understood that we had abolished that sort of thing. Camps are intended to familiarize our soldiers with manoeuvring. If it is not compulsory for those who go into camp to take part in manoeuvres, the sooner we re-cast our Defence Act the better. I am sorry that the Minister of Defence is not present when we are discussing these matters. We have a right to expect him to be here.

Senator Guthrie - No one can say that the Minister of Defence neglects his duty.

Senator ST LEDGER - I did not say so.

Senator Guthrie - That was the inference.

Senator ST LEDGER - If the Minister of Defence needs a certificate from anybody I may as well express the opinion that he is very attentive, not only to his Department, but to Parliament. But I am entitled to say that, unless there are extraordinary circumstances which prevent him being present, he should be here when we are asked to vote thousands of pounds for his Department.

Senator Guthrie - If possible.

Senator ST LEDGER - If it be not possible he cannot be here. The Minister of Defence is perfectly well able to take care of himself, and does not need Senator Guthrie to jump in to defend him. In fact, I am afraid that the more the honorable senator jumps in, the worse it will be both for the Minister and himself. Major-General Kirkpatrick reports -

No progress is yet apparent in placing the arrangements for the construction and maintenance of fortifications, barracks, store buildings, and ranges, on a satisfactory footing calculated to give the military authorities control comparable with their responsibilities, and the preparation of Australian engineers for their work in war.

If, as a mere student, I understand anything about military matters, that is a serious warning to the Government by the most responsible officer of the Defence Department. What is the meaning of that report ? What is it that the Major-General is striking at? We are entitled to know what is being done to remedy the very important defects to which the InspectorGeneral here directs attention. As the Minister of Defence is now present, perhaps he will be good enough to inform honorable senators what he is doing in the matter, and whether the condition of affairs reported upon by Major-General Kirkpatrick has, in the meantime, substantially altered for the better. I have noticed also that the Inspector-General refers in his report to an accumulation of comparatively useless material in various stores, which is causing him and some other officers of the Defence Force considerable trouble.

I propose now to bring forth the " King Charles' head," which 1 have exhibited on many occasions in discussing Supply.

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator has no " King Charles' head " ; his remarks cover every subject.

Senator ST LEDGER - Why should they not? I believe that the reason I was sent here was that those who had been sent here before did not go into these things properly, and it was thought as well that a change should be made, and that some one should represent Queensland who would go pretty extensively into things. The subject I intend now to refer to is immigration. What are we doing in connexion with it? It is evident that the State Governments are doing something, but what co-operation is there between the Commonwealth and State Governments in connexion with the matter? We are voting money for advertising the resources of Australia, but the Government are not spending half the money voted for that purpose. Let me point out what other countries of the same race and similar conditions to ours are doing in the matter of immigration. From a report of the Board of Trade on "Emigration and Immigration," dated May, 1912, I take the following particulars. I find that between 1906 and 1911, the persons of British nationality who went to the United States of America numbered in 1906, 85,941 ; in 1907, 99,944 ; in 1908, 31,451; in 1909. 56,377; in 1910, 73,569; and in 191 1, 49,732. I find also that the number of persons of British nationality who went to all foreign countries during those years was - in 1906, 194,671; in 1907, 235,092; in 1908, 91,156; in 1909, 139,693; in 1910, 233,7°9; and in 1911, 261,809. In the year 1910, the total immigration to Canada was 311,084, and the Canadian authorities estimated that in 1912 the number would be increased to 450,000. In 1910, 121,084 persons went from the United States into Canada. I believe that these people are a desirable class of settlers for Canada and the United States, and if they are going to those countries in such large numbers, why cannot Australia secure some of them. There is only one answer to the question, lt is that the Commonwealth Government do not want to get them. Australia is as attractive as any place on earth. There is no country on God's earth where a man has a better show to bring out what is in him than he has in Australia. If Canada can secure 300,000 or 400,000 immigrants in a year, and the United States of America about 1,000,000 each year, why is it that some of these people do not- come here? It is because they are not invited, or, if they are, they are not invited properly. There is only " hot air," and no more.

Senator Pearce - We are spending more than the Fusion Government did in inviting them, anyhow.

Senator ST LEDGER - That is the only " get out " that the Government have. I admit the statement right away. But the Minister of Defence knows well that when I sat on the other side supporting the last Government, I spoke just as strongly on this matter, and commented just as sharply upon their administration in connexion with immigration. The Minister is very prone in making excuses to hope that two blacks will possibly make a white. There is this answer to his interjection, that, so far as the present Government are concerned, while they have more money than any other Government of the Commonwealth has ever had for this purpose, and they can find, money to lavish on many other purposes, in the matter of immigration, which is the very life-blood of the nation, and- without which we cannot hope to ad.vance, they are entirely indifferent. We know that time and' again resolutions are passed' by various Trades Hall Councils, and1 conveyed' to us, directly or indirectly, to the effect that a policy of immigration must pui! down wages in Australia. We are told that to bring immigrants to the country at the expense of a State or of the- Commonwealth is to introduce labour which must compete with local labour, and thus bring down the wages of the working classes The present Government appear to be compelled to bow down to that delusion. In other words, they are afraid to face their masters in this- matter. We are told that the Trades Hall Councils- pass no condemnatory resolutions, and there may be some saving clauses in- many of their resolutions, but, in this matter, the Government are following, and' seem prepared to go on following, a lead that is given them, not by this. Parliament, or by the people of Australia, but by the TradeUnions. Why dd we not hear from the Prime Minister and Treasurer a refutation' of that awful economic fallacy that the increase of population in the country is a menace to the worker ? There- is no country in which wages are higher for city or Eurail workers to-day than they are in the United State of America and Canada. That is due to the fact that, with the increase of population, the resources, of a country aredeveloped, capital is invested, and increased development and the investment of capital must benefit the worker to some extent. It is about time that we ceased playing with this important question. If wedo not settle it very shortly, some outside nation will give us no chance of settling it, but will settle it for us in their own way. I am reminded' by Senator Shannonof a matter which supports my argument. When the Maternity Allowance Bill was under consideration in this Chamber, it wasseveral times pointed out by honorable senators opposite that the Australian baby is an. asset to the country. If that be so, surely its adult population must be a morevaluable asset B The reason, which was assigned by the Government and their supporters for. granting a maternity allowance was a desire, to develop' the asset which is represented by the child-life of this, coun-try. But when we; talk about the subject of immigration; we are expected to approach it with our hands encased) in velvet gloves, so to> speak.. The two positionsare absolutely inconsistent. If. it is de

I note with some pleasure a remark whichwas made by the Prime Minister, in Sydney, the other day, in- regard to the Commonwealth note issue. It was to the effect that out of the profits of that issue money would be reserved to build up a fund' withwhich to deal with the State debts question. That report was published in the Argus of 5th October, and- I have no reason to doubt its, accuracy. In one sense, the note issue is not a source- of profit te the people of Australia. That issue merely represents the transfer of one source of profits from the States, to the Common- wealth. From the very beginning it has been very properly contended that when the Government established a note issue the proper purpose to which to apply the profits arising from it was to build up a fund with a view to paying off the State debts. I hope that policy will be further developed. The question of the State debts must be faced, .and faced very shortly. I congratulate the Treasurer upon the beginning which he has made in that direction, small though it may be. It is the only way to deal with the profits accruing from the note issue. In this connexion I take it that the criticisms of members of the Opposition in both branches of the Legislature is having a 'beneficial effect.

I come now to some appointments in the Northern Territory. In regard to the appointment .of the Administrator, I have nothing to say against the gentleman who was selected to fill that high office. He may be the ablest Administrator .that we have : ever had. and we all hope .that his .appointment will be followed by complete success. But it is somewhat remarkable that, though there were .a large number of applications for the position, every one of .those applications was turned down.

Senator Chataway - Was Professor Gilruth amongst the applicants?

Senator ST LEDGER - No. Amongst all the applicants, therefore, the Government did not consider there was one who was competent to administer the affairs of the Territory. No other conclusion can be drawn from the circumstance which I have cited. I beg to express my dissent from that view. I know of one man who has had long experience, and who is a capable and trustworthy administrator. There is no man in Australia who possesses more knowledge of the difficulties of administration in the Northern Territory than he does, and no person, in my opinion, knows better than he does how to grapple with them. He was trusted by more than one Government, and yet, at the first opportunity he had of exhibiting his ability, the Government turned him down.

Senator Chataway - Mr. Justice Herbert?

Senator ST LEDGER - Yes. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the Northern Territory, when he was good enough to recount some of the difficulties which had been experienced there, and to forecast the difficulties of the future. No man has impressed me more favorably than he did.

Senator Chataway - Does not the honorable senator know that he was turned down because of some " tiddly winking " officials ?

Senator ST LEDGER - All I know is that he was turned down. When there are any plums in the form of responsible positions in the gift of the Government, it is not fair that such men should be turned down. It is not conducive to faithful work. It was rather a poor reward for such excellent service as Mr. Justice Herbert had rendered to the South Australian Government for many years, and of the service which he had also rendered to the Commonwealth Government.

Senator Chataway - They are now using him in a subordinate position in Papua.

Senator ST LEDGER - I am not expressing dissatisfaction with the appointment of Professor Gilruth, who may be one of the ablest men for the position which he fills. But I mention this matter more particularly because of the reasons which the Government assigned for turning down Mr. Justice Herbert. When the VicePresident 'Of the Executive Council was brought to book by the Leader of the Opposition over this matter, he said that in making appointments the Government necessarily had to choose officers who were in accord with their policy. I admit that there is something in that contention, which the Vice-President pressed very strongly. It was his trump card when this and other appointments in the Northern Territory were questioned. What was that policy? The leasehold principle. Then the Leader of the Opposition renewed his attack upon the Land Ordinance, which the 'Government published as embodying their land policy in the Territory. That Ordinance received such a severe hammering, not only from members of the Opposition, but from many Government supporters in the Senate, that it left this Chamber an absolute cripple, and is now laid up for repairs elsewhere. Even the supporters of the Government are anxious to get it out of the hospital, in order that they may have another go at it. So that this leasehold principle was not the settled policy of the Government, and when we were told that the appointment of Professer Gilruth was justified on the ground that he was in accord with that policy, the statement was more or less in the nature of a blind. There is another appointment in the Northern Territory which calls for some explanation/

The other day I_ ascertained, as a result of a question that there are two schools in the Northern Territory, and three classified teachers, and that the total average attendance of scholars is seventy-three. Yet the Government have appointed a school inspector there at a salary of more than £600 a year.

Senator Chataway - That is very valuable. Let the honorable senator think how it will help settlement.

Senator ST LEDGER - It is valuable to the inspector. If there be any position of ease and dignity in the Commonwealth, it must be that of a school inspector who has only three classified teachers and two schools to look after. To me, the appointment appears to be a piece of pure political patronage, and to have had its origin in a desire to find a billet for somebody. It is idle for the Minister of Defence, or anybody else, to tell me that a school inspector is required to overlook two schools and three classified teachers. Further, the classification of a teacher carries with it the assurance that he or she is competent to discharge his or her duties. It is a further guarantee that when teachers are appointed to responsible positions they may be trusted to loyally discharge their duties. Otherwise they will not be classified. It is a maxim in modern education, even in primary schools, that the less the inspection of the school, and the more skilful the teaching, the better, and that inspection in the past, as carried out in every country, was rather a drag on the schools than a help to them. If you cannot trust your teachers, and they have not sufficient ability to carry on alone the work of education, inspection and inspectors do not enable that work to be done. I know of nothing more striking *han an appointment of this kind. I should like to hear from the Minister how the Northern Territory was able to get on for so many years without a special school inspector, what extraordinary circumstances have suddenly developed to cause this appointment of an inspector at a large salary, and, in the face of the answers given to my question, what is the justification for the appointment? These appointments seem to be flung about with a reckless hand.

Senator Chataway - It is like the appointment of Mr. Ryland as Director of Lands in the Northern Territory.

Senator ST LEDGER - Applications were invited from persons willing to fill that position at a salary of £650, but the

Government turned down the applicants, and subsequently increased the salary of the office to £800. Fresh applications were received, and Mr. Ryland was chosen. For many years, this gentleman sat for Gympie in the Queensland Assembly. He had no practical acquaintance with the administration of the Lands Department, nor had he engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was a worthy man, both as a member and a personality, but his capabilities as a Lands Director in the Northern Territory have yet to be revealed. We have had no reason given to us, and I dare say no reason will be vouchsafed, as to why a salary of £650 for a position for which there were applicants was raised to £800 and given to Mr. Ryland. In conclusion, 1 wish to express my strongest censure upon the Government for its treatment of Queensland, especially in the matter of the Vancouver mail service. There is a story told of Byron that he went to bed one night and woke up in the morning to find himself famous. Senator Givens is doing something for me for which I wish to express my thanks. He is helping to make me famous.

Senator Pearce - Did you need any help ,

Senator ST LEDGER - That is a kindly interjection from the Minister, which I much appreciate. Many a man has been accused ; even such great men as Gladstone, Disraeli, and others have had the same kind of treatment meted out to them in very much more scathing and effective terms, and probably with more reason, than Senator Givens had to deal with me. Perhaps that marks a difference there.

Senator Chataway - But not by such distinguished men as Senator Givens.

Senator ST LEDGER - Exactly.

Senator Pearce - It is easy to see that he is absent.

Senator ST LEDGER - I have remained here all the time. If he chose to go away when he might reasonably have anticipated that I would deal with his attack in some form, that is his lookout.

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