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Thursday, 23 October 1913


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) . - Surely a Minister is going to offer the Senate an explanation in regard to these Budget-papers? The Minister of Defence has got into the habit of waiting until other honorable senators have spoken, and, when there is no opportunity of replying to him, he makes misleading statements about what has been said. Apparently it is his intention to repeat that practice on this occasion. SenatorClemons, in laying the Budget-papers before the Senate yesterday, said that a practice had grown up of submitting the motion " That the papers be printed," in order to afford honorable senators an opportunity of having something to say about the financial position of the Commonwealth. But SenatorClemons established a new record in this respect. He is the first Minister in the Senate who has laid the Budgetpapers on the table without giving us any information whatever.


Senator Clemons - I told the Senate that when the Appropriation Bill came before us I would make a statement.


Senator PEARCE - Senator Russell has made a statement in regard to the expenditure on Naval Bases. He has challenged the Minister of Defence to make an explanation on the subject. Surely the Minister should have taken advantage of this opportunity to get up and reply to what Senator Russell said. But it does not suit him to do so. He prefers to wait until no other senator has an opportunity of replying to him. Otherwise he is prepared to allow the motion to go without speaking at all.


Senator Russell - The Minister's action amounts to a denial of information to the Senate.


Senator PEARCE - It shows how confident Ministers are of their position. First of all, I think it is only right that we should point out whilst we have the opportunity what this Budget really means. It is the Budget of a Government that went to the country denouncing the late Ministry as being guilty of a financial orgy. The late Government were described as extravagant, as having spent too much money as having been reckless. Ministers posed before the electors as the champions of economy. They certainly have economized in some directions, but in others they have been more prodigal than any other Government that has ever sat on the Treasury bench. The directions in which they have curtailed expenditure are not evidence of sound economy. It is not economy to spoil the ship for a halfpenny worth of paint.


Senator Guthrie - A halfpenny worth of tar.


Senator PEARCE - I defer to the honorable senator's superior nautical knowledge. In regard to naval expenditure, the Government have certainly put in the pruning knife to some effect. In my opinion, what they propose amounts to baby-farming our infant Navy. Whether that be the intention or not, it is going to be the effect.


Senator Clemons - That will not be the effect. We want the baby to grow into a strong man.


Senator PEARCE - Ministers are going the right way to work to starve the infant.


Senator Millen - To starve it?


Senator PEARCE - Yes; Senator Russell has shown that.


Senator McGregor - They are taking away the feeding bottle.


Senator PEARCE - The Naval Bases are the feeding bottle of the infant Navy. Ministers have, as I have said, put in the pruning knife to a serious extent. Let us examine the figures. Last year the total expenditure of the Commonwealth was £21,899,413. Senator Millen and his colleagues denounced that as reckless extravagance. Sir John Forrest said that it was a " financial debauch." Similar terms were flung around all over the Commonwealth during the elections. Let us see what the present Government are going to do. They are going to spend £24,115,223 out of revenue and savings. That is to say, they are going to spend all the revenue they receive from the current year, together with £2,653,223 left over by the late Government. In addition to that, they are going to borrow £3,080,000, so that the total expenditure of this economical Government- this Government which has come in to restore confidence in finance - is to be £27,197,223, or nearly £7,000,000 more than the total estimated revenue for the year.


Senator McGregor - Where will they get the money ?


Senator PEARCE - They will take whatever money there is in the Trust Funds, and they are also going to borrow from somewhere else.


Senator Millen - Is the honorable senator advancing these. . figures as evidence that we are starving the Departments ?

Seantor PEARCE. - I am going to show .that the Government are spending money lavishly in some respects, whilst in other and more necessary respects they are not spending the money that ought to be spent.


Senator Clemons - The honorable senator is not arguing that we are not right in borrowing, is he ?


Senator PEARCE - The late Government were able to borrow from themselves, but the present Government are entering so recklessly upon expenditure that they will not have sufficient money to borrow from themselves, and will -have to go into the open money market.


Senator Clemons - I thought the lat* Government borrowed from New South Wales.


Senator PEARCE - We lent moneyto New South Wales.


Senator Clemons - What about the* transferred properties.


Senator PEARCE - New South Wales borrowed more from us than the value of the transferred properties would cover. Coming to this loan expenditure, we find' that it is proposed to spend £1,400,000 on the construction of a railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, £400,000- on the construction of a railway in the Northern Territory from PineCreek to the Katherine River, £60,000 on the construction of a railwayfrom Port Moresby to Astrolabe and forthe construction of wharfs at Port Moresby and Samarai, Papua, £170,000- on purchase of land for post and telegraph purposes, £300,000 on land for Defencepurposes, £425,000 on the construction of conduits and the laying of wires underground, £175,000 on machinery, machine shops, and construction of wharfs at Cockatoo Island, and £150,000 on theerection of London offices. That makes a total of £3,080,000. I agree with Senator Russell that a policy of starvation of theNaval Bases is indicated. On page 265- of the Estimates for additions, new works, and buildings for 1913-14, we have the following item appearing under the heading " Naval works, &c." - Naval works, including labour and material - £98,000. Under that heading the late Government spent last year £172,695 - and, remember, those works were then inthe preliminary stages. The Fleet is now here, and the need for Naval Bases isgreater than ever it was. The present - Government, however, are not going tospend even this amount in more than a nominal sense, because, as I will show, this is only a fictitious item. Even however, if they spent the whole amount on works entered upon this year, it would only be about one-half the expenditure of the late Government last year. The Estimates for machinery and plant is £112,000, and for the Naval College- £5,721. I venture to say to the Minister- - and I do not think that he can successfully contradict me - that of this es- timated expenditure 90 per cent, is already mortgaged.


Senator Millen - Which expenditure?"


Senator PEARCE - I am referring to the vote for machinery and plant. That machinery and .plant is already on order.


Senator Millen - But not paid for.


Senator PEARCE - That is so, is it not?


Senator Millen - We have to pay for orders which the late Government" placed.


Senator PEARCE - So that the Government cannot save a penny out of that vote for machinery and plant, for which £112,000 is appropriated, in addition to £5,721 for machinery and plant for the Naval College. Practically the whole of that money is mortgaged.. Honorable senators will see later on why I am stressing that point. The vote for machinery and plant, together with £98,000 for naval works, makes a total of £215,721. But the next line says, "Less amount which it is anticipated may not be expended during the year, £50,000." As the machinery and plant is ordered, as the £112,000 is mortgaged and has to be paid during the coming year, that sum of £50,000 has to be saved out of works. Therefore, you have to deduct that amount from the £98,000, which leaves the magnificent sum for the whole of the Naval Bases of the Commonwealth of £48,000. I asked the Minister yesterday whether he would give us the items of expenditure on the separate Bases to-day, in order that we might discuss the matter.


Senator Millen - I did not understand the honorable senator to say that he wanted the information to-day.


Senator PEARCE - We shall have another opportunity of dealing with the matter when we have the Works and Buildings Bill before us. We have, therefore, £48,000 for naval works. That sum has to be spread over Cockburn Sound, Flinders Naval Base, Port Stephens, Sydney, and, I understand from a statement made in another place, some money is to be spent in Brisbane, and some in the Northern Territory.


Senator Millen - How much does the honorable senator say is available for these purposes ?


Senator PEARCE - £48,000. That is to say if the Government are going to save £50,000. The total for the division is £165,721. Out of that sum the Government will have to pay for machinery and plant on order. It will be. delivered long before the end of . the present financial year. That includes' the cost of the dredges °which have been on order for nine months, and the plant for the Naval College, which is also on order. We have to deduct the £50,000 from the £98,000, leaving the magnificent sum of £48,000 for the whole of the Naval Bases. I am aware that some works at the Naval Bases, in the shape of buildings and so on, have to be done by the Home Affairs Department, but no matter how much is spent on them they will be of no value unless the work to be done for the Navy Branch, in the shape of dredging and the construction of wharfs, is proceeded with.


Senator Millen - We cannot do any dredging without a dredge.


Senator PEARCE - Certainly not; but the Minister of Defence should know that, unless the contractors for the dredges are beyond their time, their delivery is about due.


Senator Millen - They are not available now, and the honorable senator's statement was that the other works would be useless until the dredging was done.


Senator PEARCE - No; the two kinds of work might be proceeded with contemporaneously, and there is work for the Naval Department which could be proceeded with before the dredging is done. We were informed that the Government intended to vigorously prosecute these works subsequent to the receipt of Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice's report. We had yesterday placed before us the papers in connexion with that gentleman's appointment. In the exchange of cables it was pointed out that it would be necessary to obtain certain data. One of the preliminary inquiries which Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice made in arranging the terms of his appointment was as to whether he would be expected to supply the preliminary data, and the reply was that it would be provided for him. One place about which he is to be asked to report is Jervis Bay. The Minister condemned the Labour Administration for the policy they had pursued in regard to Cockburn Sound, and said that, notwithstanding the fact that twelve months' work had. been put in in making surveys, borings, and tidal and other observations there, they were not warranted in going on with the work, and were not even then in possession of the proper plans. But what do we hear now? Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice is to come to the Commonwealth to tell the Government where they should establish a dockyard in Jervis Bay, and not a solitary observation of any kind has been taken in Jervis Bay. There is only the Admiralty survey and the Lands survey, which is to be obtained in every State. There is not a scintilla of the information about Jervis Bay available which the Minister says it took us twelve months to procure for Cockburn Sound. Yet we are invited to believe that this gentleman can come here, and, in the sixth part of six weeks, go to Jervis Bay and tell us where to establish a dockyard. I shall look forward with extreme interest to see what Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice has to say when he is presented by the Minister of Defence with the Admiralty chart, and told to be prepared, in the space of three or four days, to inform the Government where a dockyard should be established at Jervis Bay.


Senator Clemons - He is the man the honorable senator called an " understrapper."

SenatorPEARCE. - So he is, compared with the man who reported on Cockburn Sound in 1891. The firm of Coode, Son, and Matthews reported on Cockburn Sound, and Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice is not the head of that firm. I may say that a reference to Who's Who, for which, I understand, people are invited to supply their own biographical notices, will show that, although Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice has been associated with sewerage work and other engineering work, he has never, until quite recently, been associated with any naval work.


Senator Millen - We are getting a hint now as to the kind of literature the honorable senator studies.


Senator PEARCE - When I heard the name of Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice mentioned I went to the only source of information readily available to find out who and what he was, and that is what I found. I have here the correspondence leading up to the appointment of this gentleman. I find that the first cable reads as follows: -

Government desirous obtaining services eminent Harbor Civil Engineer to visit Australia at an early date to advise regarding construction naval docks and harbor works. Open negotiations to this end.

On the 5th September there is this cable -

With reference tomy telegram of 22nd August, urging that services of expert Harbor Civil Engineer should be obtained, as recommended by Admiral Henderson, to report on site for Cockburn Sound Naval Works, and for dredging Success and Carmelia Banks. Telegraph name of expert you recommend for appointment, and fee to be paid for examination and report. Coode, Son, and Matthews reported on dredging channel through Success Bank for the Government of Western Australia in 1891. Telegraph reply with least possible delay.

Then there is a cable from the High Commissioner on the 5th September -

With reference to your telegram of 22nd August, and your telegram of 5th September, have already consulted Admiralty, who recommend firms Coode, Matthews, Fitzmaurice, and Wilson, or Sir John Wolfe Barry, Flister, and partners. Both Sir William Matthews and Sir John Wolfe Barry recognised as heads of their profession. At this time people out of town ; difficult to arrange interviews. Have seen Barry, and have appointment with Matthews Monday. Appears, however, further information necessary as to what surveys exist in each case, and to what scale, what observations exist as to soil, tides, winds, and all physical features, what material available in each locality for works proposed, and all such relevant information. Everything depends on such points. If all suggested information ready visit might be soon ; if not, such information should be preliminary to visit of eminent engineer, whose time very valuable; but who could organize staff to prepare above preliminary information if not already existing. Indeed, engineer would greatly prefer send his own staff out for preparatory information. Is report to be confined works mentioned in your telegram?

I say deliberately and advisedly that as regards Jervis Bay none of that information exists. So far as I can learn from these cables, that fact has never been made known to Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice. When he arrives here he will, no doubt, ask that he may put a staff to work to collect that information, and I suppose we shall later on have a nice little bill for "extras." There is next in the correspondence the reply to the cable I have just read -

Confidential. - With reference your telegram 5th September, am obtaining from Coode and Matthews offer of their partner, Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, an eminently qualified engineer, to. go out at once. Fuller telegram follows.

Then on the 11th September there is the following : -

Confidential. - In continuation of my telegram, 10th September, Fitzmaurice willing to undertake work and visit Australia at once. He is Chairman Admiralty Committee on works in connexion with Naval Base actively engaged in reporting for Admiralty on naval bases, Chatham, Rosyth, and Dover, and is strongly recommended. Matthews cannot go, nor can Wolfe Barry. It is pointed out that whole staff of Coode firm willbe employed on their return in workingout Fitzmaurice's schemes up to point of submission. For all work from first to last ask 4,700 guineas, to include consultation with Matthews on return Home, and firm's staff charges and all expenses,- everything in fact, except Australian assistance from Government staff for survey and collection of local engineering data. These latter better after inspection. Fee based on a stay of six weeks. If more time, some allowance to be added. If less, some deduction to be made. Was going to Singapore harbor works November ; but can leave for Australia 10th October, and go Singapore afterwards.

Then there is the further cable -

With reference to your telegrams of 5th, 10th, and nth September, Government accept Fitz.maurice's offer. Information you have mentioned as being required in cable of 5th September will be available on arrival Fitzmaurice at Fremantle.

That is a sporting offer. I should like to know how the Government are going to get all this information regarding Jervis Bay by the time Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice arrives at Fremantle, when it took twelve months to obtain similar information in regard to Cockburn Sound.

Advice required particularly as to Cockburn Sound and Western Fort, and, generally, as to Cockatoo Island, Jervis May, and Port Stephens.

The present Government denounced the Labour Administration for going on with the works at Cockburn .Sound after spending £16,000 in some twelve months with a large staff of men surveying, boring, and exploring the site there. There is the secret of the proposed expenditure of only £48,000 this year. The fact is that nothing is going to be done in connexion with the Naval Bases this year, but the Government have not had the courage to say so. They have adopted a policy different from that of the late Government. Whether they are right in doing so or not is beside the question; but they should have had the courage to come out into the open and say that they do not intend to go on with the Naval Bases this year. They are going to spend this money in examinations and preliminary surveys, and do not propose to go on with the work ; but they are trying to bluff i>e people into believing that they do intend ,;9 go on with the work. Sir John Forrest is telegraphing to Western Australia that the Cockburn Sound base is to be established with all expedition, and that it h only hung up until Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice sends in his report. As soon as he does so the Government are going ahead at full speed, and yet they provide this year a sum of £48,000 for the six Naval, Bases.


Senator Russell - The amount is only £18,000 when the commitments for Spectacle Island and Garden Island are deducted.


Senator PEARCE - Let us consider what is being done at Port Stephens. There is a small staff engaged surveying at that place. It "is practically in a state of nature, and will require a hugh expenditure. It is intended to be the destroyer and submarine base for the eastern part of Australia. It is recognised as undesirable to have submarines in Sydney Harbor. Port, Stephens would appear to have been designed by nature as the covering harbor for Newcastle and Sydney for submarine services. If the late Government had remained in office they would have pushed on with the works there in order that as soon as possible after the arrival of the submarines that base would be ready for them. The present Government are going to do nothing there. They intend to wait until Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice makes his inspection and sends in his report. He is to have six weeks within which to carry out his investigations, but he will not report then. He is to go back to the Old Country, and the work of preparing plans and recommendations must fit in with the other work which his firm has in hand, and we may have to wait for years before anything definite will be done. The course followed by the present Government is an acknowledgment of the ignorance and helplessness of the Navy Office staff. If the members of that staff are unable to carry out the duties for which they are paid, their services should be dispensed with. What is the use of paying them if they arc not competent to do this work? There are civil engineers among them who have been appointed because they produced testimonials to show that they are competent officers, yet, apparently, we must go away to the other end of the world and introduce a whole staff to carry out this work, because that is what the Government's proposal means. This investigation is only the beginning. After it the data secured will be taken to London and worked up by a staff there.


Senator Russell - Is the honorable senator not aware that if Senator Millen dismisses an officer the other members of the Government ,make him take that officer back again ?


Senator PEARCE - I think that in this matter the Government have adopted a mistaken policy. I frankly confess that, although one naturally feels somewhat chagrined and annoyed to see one's policy set aside, it is quite the right thing to do if the incoming Minister is satisfied that the policy is wrong, but it does seem to me that he has not had the courage of his convictions. When he decided that the policy was wrong, why did he not say, " The late Minister has got together, on the advice of the Naval Board, a works staff and an engineering staff to do this work. I do not believe that they are competent. What is the logical thing for me to do ? It is to get rid of them. I will import an expert from England, and hand over the work to his firm.' Why on earth does Australia want to be importing a staff to do the work? Let us do one thing or the other. If we are going to farm out our work to the firm of Coode and Matthews, wipe out the local staff if they p.re not competent, though I believe that they are. I do not think that there are the extraordinary difficulties which the present Government say exist. I think that under every State Government there are men carrying out just as big works as we proposed to carry out under the Naval vote. There is nothing mysterious or superhuman about the proposals that we made. The harbors were certainly not in use. Port Stephens was not in use, nor was Cockburn Sound in use. How many harbors are there round Australia? Many of them are not used very much at present because of parochial influence - because of the policy of centralization. Supposing that the Government of Western Australia decided to use Cockburn Sound, do honorable senators think that they would send all over the world to get an expert at a fee of 5,000 guineas, after having had, as they have had, preliminary reports by his very firm on that particular port? Supposing that the Government of New South Wales proposed to open up Port Stephens, do honorable senators think that they would intrust that work to a firm in London? If they considered their harbor staff not competent, they would get rid of them. In this matter the whole attitude of the present Government is one of blue funk. They have not confidence in themselves, or in Australia.


Senator de Largie - There is a great deal more than blue funk in it.


Senator PEARCE - I believe that the Australian engineer is as good as any other engineer. The fact that he was born in Australia does not make him less competent than another engineer. He may not have had experience in some lines, but who shall say therefore that the Government should send all over the world for harbor engineers ? All our harbors were not used a hundred years ago. During that period every State has had a staff which has been trained in opening up harbors which were never used before. If honorable senators compare our harbor engineers with those of any other part of the world, they must recognise that our men have had to blaze the track. What did the other men have to do ? They simply had to improve existing harbors, to continue docks, to simply carry the track a bit farther. Apparently the present Government have so little confidence in our staff that they must send for men on the other side of the world who have never had the difficulties that our men have had to face, admit our helplessness, and say that they are to carry out the whole of this work for us.


Senator Maughan - In Queensland we have had five harbors opened up by Queensland engineers.


Senator PEARCE - Yes; there are harbors in every State in the Commonwealth. I think that in this matter the Government are not only not carrying out a helpful sort of policy, but are going to seriously injure the naval defence policy. We cannot have an efficient Fleet 'without efficient Bases. At present there is only one Base in Australia, and that is Sydney. It is not laid out under the most uptodate conditions, and, therefore, has to be altered in several respects. It was essential that we should push on as quickly as possible with the provisional Bases. The late Government commenced the work, and the Fleet is here. Not only are the present Government not pushing on with the work, but they are absolutely stopping everything. It is a policy of stand still, which means that in time of peace the Fleet, except for a passing visit anywhere, must be based on Sydney, and in time of war the Fleet dare not leave Sydney. Its supplies, its docks, and its repairing shops are there, and once the Fleet is cut off from Sydney it will be useless. It will be cut off from all possibility of repair or docking.


Senator Henderson - This is very interesting, sir, and we might have a quorum to listen to it. There is only one honorable senator on the other side. [Quorum formed.']


Senator PEARCE - The Government have applied the pruning knife to the works. Let us see what they are doing in the ordinary Estimates as regards expenditure, and remember there are two ways by which the Australian Navy can be made unworkable, and can be discredited. One is by starving the expenditure on the necessary works, and the other is by loading up the expenditure on the unnecessary or secondary works, and the latter is being done. Whilst the works are being starved and cut to the bone, the establishment of officials is being loaded up to the utmost. On page 99 and the following pages of the Estimates will be found what the Government ask the Parliament to vote for the establishment of Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Garden Island, with the depots at Darling Harbor and Spectacle Island. Under the State Government, before Cockatoo Island was transferred to the Commonwealth, the number of, the staff was twenty-one, and that number, I may say, included one officer in charge, who was at Newcastle, but was on the books for the island. The expenditure on salaries for the staff was £6,416. It is proposed in the Estimates for this year that Cockatoo Island Dockyard shall carry a staff of forty-five, at salaries totalling £14,006. Again, take the Navy Yard at Garden Island. When it was under the Imperial Government, in 1912-13, there were on the staff six victualling and clothing officers, twenty-nine ship-builders and repairers, five naval armaments or ordnance men, or a total of forty, with salaries amounting to £12,911. This year's Estimates, to carry on practically the same work, provide for a total staff of seventy-one persons at salaries totalling £15,311. But that is not all the increase. That is merely the increase to the staff. In addition, a large number of men arc to be kept there, consisting of the following: - Two lieutenants, an engineer commander, two engineer lieutenants, a staff paymaster, an assistant paymaster, a chief gunner or gunner, a chief boatswain, a boatswain, and 100 petty officers and men, or, in all, 110. A footnote to the page informs us that the provision is for " portion of year only." These 110 officers and men are to ba paid for a sea-going force, but to be kept there, for what purpose I am absolutely at a loss to know. I know that an explanation has been given in another place that the men are to be there for police duty. They are to be there for nothing of the kind, because, in the Estimates, provision is made for a naval depot, a dockyard, an ordnance department, and a victualling yard,- one sub-inspector of police, one sergeant of police, eight seniorconstables, and twenty -thi ee constables. These are the men who are charged with the duty of guarding that property. Take the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. When the late Government agreed to take over that establishment, the staff consisted of twenty-one, with salaries totalling £6,416. The late Government asked the State Government to lend that staff to the Commonwealth, and that was done. There were two men, however - the secretary and the accountant - who were approaching the retiring age, and whom it was decided that the Naval Board should inform the State Government they proposed to replace, and their places were filled. There were minor appointments made to the clerical staff. But when we look at this year's Estimates, we find that there are to be a general manager, a shipyard manager, an engineer works manager, a secretary and accountant, a dockmaster. an establishment engineer, a foreman erector, a foreman machinist, a foreman blacksmith, a foreman patternmaker, an engineer foreman, a foreman turbine engineer, a foreman boilermaker, a loftsman, two assistant shipyard overseers, and an assistant foreman shipwright. In view of the statements, made by other honorable members, I wish to make clear what is happening in regard to Cockatoo Island Dockyard. First, the late Government decided not to take over permanently as manager of the dockyard the present superintendent, and advertised throughout the world for a manager. No salary was put down, although the statement was made elsewhere that that was done. Applicants were invited to state what salary they expected. A committee was appointed in England to go through the applications received there, and make recommendations, and it reported just prior to the late Government going out of office. It is obvious, therefore, that the late Government did take 4he responsibility of making an appointment. I, for my part, laid it down that there should be no reorganization of the dockyard until a general manager was appointed, in order to give him the opportunity of carrying out the reorganization and appointing the men whom he thought necessary to carry on the work. Therefore, we were to carry on with the existing State staff. 1 am well aware that members of the Naval Board made proposals for the appointment of certain officials, and that those proposals were approved by me for draft Estimates. I wish honorable senators to thoroughly understand that Estimates come forward from sub-Departments to the Minister, but the Minister can neither approve nor disapprove of them until he has before him complete Estimates for the Department. Therefore, I have no doubt that the statement made by a Minister in another place, that from a docket he finds that certain proposals were approved by me for draft Estimates is correct. But he cannot find where the appointments of the additional highly-paid officials on the technical side, who are provided for on these Estimates, were finally approved by me as Minister of Defence.


Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator mean such officials as the shipyard manager?


Senator PEARCE - Yes. The Government of New South Wales appointed certain experts in different branches of that dockyard, and the question arose as to whether the Commonwealth would take over those men. Speaking from memory, I think that an intimation was given to them that they would be taken over. But they were already on the staff - they were not additions to it.- There is another criticism which I wish to offer at this stage. From the way in which these Estimates are presented it is absolutely impossible to know exactly in what branch of the service these various appointments are, or what is their purpose. In a dockyard such as that at Cockatoo Island there are three main branches, which are distinct from one another. First we have the administrative branch, secondly the engineering branch, and thirdly the ship-building branch. Yet all these branches are mixed up in the Estimates in a most confusing way. For instance, provision is made for a constructor overseer, an engineer overseer, an engine works manager, a secretary and accountant, and a naval draughtsman. I contend that these Estimates could be broken up under three main heads. We should then be able to see where the superfluous officials come in. I find that there is a general manager for the whole dockyard. Then there is a shipyard manager, who is in charge of one particular branch, and a constructor overseer. There is also an engineer overseer, an assistant to the engineer overseer, an establishment overseer, an assistant shipyard overseer, a foreman erector, a foreman machinist, a foreman blacksmith, a foreman patternmaker, an engineer foreman, a foreman turbine engineer, . and a foreman boilermaker. There is still a further division which includes an assistant shipyard overseer and an assistant foreman shipwright. All these men may be necessary, but before they were placed on the permanent Estimates of the Department, the general manager of the dockyard should have been appointed. Had the late Government remained in office we intended to appoint a general manager, and, before finally approving of the Estimates, I proposed to satisfy myself that that general manager approved of these positions. But the present Government ask Parliament to approve of these appointments, and they intend to appoint the general, manager subsequently. I take it that the names of these men are going down on the permanent staff of the country.


Senator Millen - The honorable senator knows that that statement is not correct.


Senator PEARCE - We know that it takes a prety stiff haul to get any public servant out of his position, no matter how incompetent he may be. I venture to say that if these officers are appointed it will be very difficult to get rid of them. I know of one case in the Defence Department in which we appointed a man to a position for twelve months only. At the end of that time he was discharged, and it cost us £300 a little later. It is more easy to move a mountain than to move a public servant when once he has obtained a position on the permanent staff . The Government, I repeat, intend to ask Parliament to vote this money, and to appoint a general manager afterwards. When that general manager arrives here, he may find that he has got a lot of men on his staff whom he does not require. Before finally committing ourselves to an expenditure of £14,000, I say that the Government should have appointed the general manager, and should have acted on his advice.


Senator Maughan - Is the honorable senator speaking now of the Fitzroy Dock ?


Senator PEARCE - Yes.


Senator Maughan - What is wrong with the acting manager 1


Senator PEARCE - He has never had experience of building warships. I admit that he has had considerable experience in building small boats, and that he is a very good man so far as his experience goes. I have nothing to say against the. present superintendent of the dock. I was prepared to retain him in the service, with a view to allowing him to obtain that experience which would afterwards prove of great value to the Commonwealth. That is my criticism so far as the Cockatoo Island dockyard is concerned. I come now to Garden Island. During the period that I filled the office of Minister of Defence, propositions were submitted to and approved by me for draft Estimates in favour of continuing the dockyard repairing staff of engineers at Garden Island. If honorable senators will turn to the Estimates they will see what a similarity there is in the positions filled by the different officers there. For example, we have a naval store officer, a victualling store officer, a chief engineer, an inspector of boilermakers, a foreman of shipwrights, a foreman of fitters, hired artificers and labourers, and artificers of the Fleet. All these officers and men were required for effecting repairs to the Fleet. The position which has hitherto existed has been that the Imperial Government had a Fleet here, but did not have Cockatoo Island. It was necessary, therefore, that they should have their own workshops at Garden Island. Now the situation has entirely changed. We have Garden Island, and we have also Cockatoo Island. Had the late Government remained in office, what I intended to look into before final Estimates were approved by me was whether we could not concentrate this repair work at Cockatoo Island. Before final Estimates were submitted to Parliament that question would have been faced and decided. I cannot understand why we require two separate repairing shops. I cannot understand why repairs cannot be effected at Cockatoo Island. If the Minister has raised that question, I should like to know what reasons were given for duplicating an engineering staff at Garden Island and at Cockatoo Island.


Senator Millen - The duplication, if any, is the honorable senator's, and not mine.


Senator PEARCE -=-That statement is absolutely incorrect, and the Minister knows it.


Senator Millen - I will produce the minutes.


Senator PEARCE - The honorable gentleman can produce no minutes dealing with final Estimates. He knows perfectly well that when Estimates come in from his sub-departments he does not deal with them. No final Estimates had been dealt with before I left office. Therefore, the Minster must accept responsibility for these Estimates. It is idle for him to endeavour to shelter himself behind me.


Senator Needham - I think that we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.']


Senator PEARCE - I do not know whether I ought to apologize to the Senate for occupying so much time in dealing with this matter. I trust, however, that I am not wearying anybody. I come now to another feature of these Estimates. There is a series of votes for the Naval Depot and Dockyard, Naval Ordnance Depot, and Naval Victualling Yard, Sydney. In that connexion, I" wish to draw the attention of the Minister, in all friendliness, to the Estimates as they are presented to us. They seem to be absolutely unintelligible. I have had a pretty good gruelling in the Defence Department, similar to that which I suppose the Minister is going through now; but I frankly confess that these Estimates are difficult for me to unravel after three years' experience of the Department, and I venture to say that it is absolutely impossible for an ordinary member of Parliament to understand them. In this one division, 56, I have endeavoured to pick out the officers for the three establishments - the Garden Island establishment, the Victualling Yard, Darling Harbor, and the Ordnance

Branch. I believe that last night, in another place, an attempt was made to make party capital out of the vote for the captain-in-charge, £1,000. The Minister there might have been candid enough to say what was the reason why the captain-in-charge was appointed. The former officer was an Imperial officer in charge of the Garden Island establishment. He was about to return to England, and we were about to take charge of the establishment. We had not actually taken it over, but it became necessary to appoint an officer as a successor to Captain Rolleston. The only question was whether the Imperial Government should be asked to send out a successor, or whether one should be appointed here. We appointed Captain Henderson. That is the whole secret of the matter, about which great disclosures were sought to be made elsewhere.


Senator Millen - The point is that the expenditure is due to the late Government's arrangements.


Senator PEARCE - No expenditure was incurred for an additional officer.


Senator Maughan - Is not Captain Henderson a decided bargain - for Australia ?


Senator PEARCE - I believe he is. At all events, I have not heard that he is incompetent; although I should like to have a certificate as to his qualifications from the present Government. It seems necessary to have a certificate as to any naval officer now, because they are showing such a lack of faith in all of them that one does not know what officers they believe in. Captain Henderson has general charge. Then there is the naval store officer, £750. He is a new officer entirely. He belongs to Garden Island.


Senator Maughan - The appointment is not made yet, is it?


Senator PEARCE - I do not know.


Senator Millen - The honorable senator ought to know.


Senator PEARCE - I do not. The victualling store officer, £750, belongs to Darling Harbor. The position in regard to that officer, or the officer in charge of Darling Harbor, was this: When we took over the harbor we appointed the officer who was in charge for the Imperial Government at the place. I dare say that the Minister will accuse me of having made this appointment. I plead guilty. I. appointed the officer who was already there. But there is also a. new appointment here, an officer nob taken over from the Admiralty. There is a chief engineer at a salary of £700.' Where he is to belong to, I do not know, and as these Estimates are framed, it is impossible to find out. Next comes the deputy naval store officer, £600 a year. I think he belongs to Garden Island. If he does, I wish to point out that there isalready a captain-in-charge. We have here a naval store officer, a deputy naval store officer, and a foreman of victualling storehouse. Apparently, theGovernment are going to have plenty of admirals in charge of this establishment! We come to the naval ordnance officer, £450. He belongs obviously to Spectacle Island, and yet,, on these 'Estimates, he is sandwiched in amongst all these others. Next we have the assistant victualling store officers, £400. They belong to Darling Harbor, and they are sandwiched in between the naval ordnance officer, who belongs to Spectacle Island, and some naval staff clerks, who may belong to anywhere. Next we have some messengers, a sub-inspector of police, a sergeant of police, 5 senior constables, and 28 constables. They are for guards for these places. Then we come to the inspector of boiler makers, £400 a year. We alrea'dy have a similar officer at Cockatoo Island, and why on earth the inspector of boilermakers at Cockatoo Island cannot do the work of an inspector of boilermakers at Garden Island, I cannot imagine.


Senator Mcdougall - What has he to inspect in regard to boilermakers?


Senator PEARCE - Senator McDougallought to know if any one does. Next we have a foreman of victualling storehouses, £340, and a foreman of ordnance storehouses; £325. The latter was on the Estimates last year. We also have a foreman of shipwrights, £300. I should like to know what work he has to do. A shipwright is generally associated with ship-building.


Senator Maughan - What are the policemen wanted for at Garden Island ?


Senator PEARCE - They are wanted because we have valuable stores there. There are also explosives stored at Spectacle Island. These things need to be protected. I do not think that any complaint is to be made about the number of police, because it must be remembered that we save the cost of a number of marines.


Senator Clemons - The honorable senator seems to be expressing surprise at what he took over.


Senator PEARCE - According to the Imperial Estimates, the staff which the Imperial Government had consisted of forty, and the salaries amounted to £12,911, whereas now the staff consists of seventy-one. I do say that there is evidence that a number of these officers are duplications.


Senator Clemons - New appointments?


Senator PEARCE - Yes.


Senator Clemons - How many?


Senator PEARCE - I have been drawing attention to the fact. Of course, I am assuming that these Estimates are correctly drawn up. If they are not, what I have been saying is beside the mark. But if honorable senators look at the columns printed in front of the Estimates they will see that the number of persons employed in 1912-13 is compared with the number of persons employed in 1913-14. According to these columns there was last year no naval store officer, no chief engineer, no deputy naval store officer, none of the naval staff clerks set down here, no inspector of boilermakers, no foreman of victualling storehouse, no foreman of shipwrights, no foreman of fitters, no foreman of storehouses, and no armourer. If Senator Clemons tells me that this information is incorrect, I advise him to quarrel with the Treasurer for submitting incorrect Estimates to Parliament. But if my statement is correct, I think I am justified in saying that these officers represent an increase in the establishment. Senator Millen cannot shelter himself by saying that I approved of these appointments, because no final Estimates had been approved when I left office. The only Estimates brought before me were the sub-departmental Estimates. It is only when Estimates have been dealt with finally, and a Minister submits them to the Cabinet, that he becomes responsible for them. He is not responsible for Estimates submitted to him by his officers. A new Minister coming to a Department has before him all the draft Estimates, and has to take the responsibility for the Estimates which he submits to the Cabinet. My criticism is that when it came to a question of the final Estimates - when the Minister had to decide upon these points - when he had to decide whether he was going to duplicate all these officers, he dealt with the question as if there were two navies, and not one. He dealt with it as though the Commonwealth had not taken over the Cockatoo Island dockyard. These questions came before the Minister of Defence for settlement, and he has not settled them. He has continued the establishments as carried on by the Imperial Government, without having regard to the fact that they are now to be carried on by the Commonwealth Government. I leave that point, and desire to say a few words with respect to statements which have been made by the Minister in answer to questions as to cadet training. The late Government announced that they proposed to amend the Defence Act to provide that a certain proportion of the cadet training now done in the spare time of the cadets should be done in the working hours, and that they proposed to provide pay, so that these lads should not lose their earnings for the time when they were undergoing training. The late Government intended to carry out that policy. Had the referenda proposals been carried we should have placed proposals before Parliament for the purpose. There are some employers who are patriotic enough to arrange that when lads leave work to undergo a portion of their training their pay shall not be stopped. But I am afraid that those employers are in a minority.


Senator Millen - The honorable senator is referring to training on statutory holidays.


Senator PEARCE - It was our intention, if our referenda proposals had been carried - Mr. Fisher made this absolutely clear in his policy speech - to amend the Defence Act to provide funds to enable cadets to do a portion of their training in working hours, the Government recompensing them for the time lost. I think that, as experience has been gained in reference to cadet training, it has shown that the time has arrived for a departure of that kind to be made. I am not one of those who say that the lads are badly dealt with at present. But, at the same time, there are some trainees who think that they are suffering a grievance in comparison with others. There are some who are able to undergo a portion of their training after school hours, whilst there are others who, by reason of the circumstance that they have to go to work, are compelled to do their training in recreation hours. This appears to them to be an injustice. That is to say, they do not appear to be treated in the same way as are youths whose school days, on account of the position of their parents, are prolonged. Those who have to go to work in the daytime have to be compelled to train at night. It certainly does seem to a lad who is working all day rather hard that he should have to drill at night and on Saturday afternoons, when he sees the son of a well-to-do man training after school hours, and not at night or on Saturday afternoons.


Senator Millen - That only applies to the school battalions.


Senator PEARCE - It can only apply to them. As I have said, the other lads sometimes think that they are unjustly treated. I have always pointed out, when the grievance has been brought before me, that the way to remove it is not to compel the lad who goes to school to train at night and on Saturday afternoons, but to give the other lad an opportunity of being trained in working hours, and to recompense him for lost time. Of course, I am not referring to trainees of adult, age.


Senator Clemons - What does the honorable senator mean by adult age?


Senator PEARCE - Lads attending secondary schools who do not have to become trainees until they attain eighteen years of age. They usually go to the universities after eighteen years of age, unless they are too stupid.


Senator Clemons - There are hundreds of boys in Australia who remain at secondary schools after eighteen years of age.


Senator PEARCE - Those lads go into the Citizen Forces, and do not remain members of school companies. I do not know of a school company in Australia in which there are trainees over eighteen years of age. Of course, there are schools at which there are companies of cadets who are not trainees. As I have said, we hoped that our referenda proposals would be carried, and then we intended to place some of the burden on the shoulders of the employers.


Senator Rae - Why not all of it?


Senator PEARCE - At the first blush the condition of things that I have described is open to the suspicion that there is something unfair. I do think that, whilst everybody in Australia has something to defend, those who have property have a little more to defend than others. That is to say, the employers can generally be taken to be representative of the property-owning class. I believe that the poorest man in Australia has something to defend. During his youth he should be trained to defend it. I. believe that those who possess property, in addition to citizen rights, have another obligation. Those who employ these lads are, I think, called upon to pay a little more to the general defence of the country, and should pay the wages of the lads between the ages of fourteen years and eighteen years whilst they are at drill. I do not think they should be asked to do so after the lads have reached the age of eighteen years. I venture to say that no class in this community is getting more benefit from the universal training of our youths than are the employers of Australia. The training is making the lads physically stronger, mentally more alert, and better workmen all round. I venture further to say that the employer who is patriotic enough to say to the lads whom he employs that they will lose no money because they have to spend some of their working hours at drill will be studying his own interests. I think we can absolutely justify the proposal, and that a considerable number of our employers would feet it no hardship to be compelled to pay the lads they employ for the working time lost at drill. There is one other matter of importance to which I desire to refer, and that is the attitude of the Minister of Defence in regard to the question of the disposition of the ships of the Fleet. I say that, in my opinion, the Minister has made a blunder in this matter. It is all very well to say that the Fleet is small, and what is done now does not matter very much. That may be, to some extent, true so far as present consequences are concerned, but I say in all earnestness that the Minister of Defence is now laying down the principles on which we shall build in the future. One of the principles on which they deal with the question of the disposition of ships of the Navy in the Mother Country is that the Executive are the masters of the disposition of the ships.


Senator Millen - So they are here.


Senator PEARCE - The reason of that is obvious. The Navy is a powerful factor in international politics, and unless the Executive retain absolutely, and not merely passively, in their hands the disposition of the ships, a momentary alteration of the disposition of certain ships might at any time involve the nation in war. It is, perhaps, now a day of small things with us, but I hope that within a few years we shall possess a Fleet which will have to be reckoned with in the Pacific. Assuming that we give the Admiral in charge of the Fleet the disposition of the ships, let us consider what might happen. A situation might arise from which there might be strained relations between Great Britain and France, and the mere placing of our ships of war by the Admiral in command in the vicinity of New Caledonia might bring about a conflict.


Senator Rae - It might be looked upon as a menace.


Senator PEARCE - That is so. It is for this reason that the British Government have always jealously guarded the right to dispose of their ships, and have never parted with that right to any one. The Government decide where the Fleet shall go.


Senator Maughan - After consultation with the Admiralty.


Senator PEARCE - Yes; of course, after consultation with the Admiralty, of which one of the members of the Executive is a member, as the Minister of Defence here is a member of the Naval Board. I cannot understand why the honorable senator has violated that principle.


Senator Clemons - He has not done so.


Senator PEARCE - I say that he has. All Governments govern directly, or delegate their powers to others. The late Government, in laying down principles under the Naval Defence Act, delegated certain powers to the Naval Board, of which the Minister of Defence is a member. One of the powers delegated to that Board is the power which reposes in the Admiralty in the Old Country with regard to the disposition of ships. Their disposition is always subservient to the will of the Government of the day, through the Minister, who is a member of the Naval Board. What has the present Minister of Defence done? The honorable senator has set on one side the Naval Board. He will not give to the Board the disposition of the ships, but has delegated his power, and the power of the Board in this matter, to the Admiral in command;. The Admiral is the servant of the Naval Board, and not their master', and he should never be thought of as their master. There is a very important reason for the observance of that rule, quite apart from the possibility of international complications, to which I have just referred. That reason is that we charge the Naval Board with responsibility for the administration of the naval vote. Parliament places at the disposal of the Naval Board certain moneys for providing coal, oil, and other stores necessary to make the Fleet effective.


Senator Guthrie - And wages also.


Senator PEARCE - Yes, and wages. If the Naval Board is to be held responsible for the expenditure of that money, obviously the Board must be in a position to say where, how, and when that money shall be spent. In the statement which appeared in the press the other day it was mentioned that Admiral Patey, on the authority given him by the Minister, had intimated that he was going to take the Fleet to Port Lincoln. I have no quarrel with that, as Port Lincoln is an excellent port. Of course, if that announcement had been made by the Minister as a result of either a recommendation by Admiral Patey, concurred in by the Naval Board, and approved of by the Minister, I would say that it was perfectly right. But, coming direct from the Admiral, without consultation with the Minister and the Naval Board, I say that it is absolutely wrong. It is wrong for this reason : If the Admiral can, without consultation with the Administration, choose the port to which he will take the Fleet, and decide how long he shall remain- there, what becomes of the power of the Administration over the expenditure of the money? At one port there may be stores of coal, oil, and everything requisite for replenishing the Fleet; at another port it may be necessary to send all these supplies by ships specially chartered for the purpose. Who is to decide at what port the Fleet shall rendezvous - the Admiral in command, who has nothing to do with administration, or the Naval Board, who are responsible for the administration to the Minister of Defence, who is in turn responsible to Parliament? The present Minister of Defence has said that the Admiral in command shall say where the Fleet is to go, and the Naval Board shall not. I wish here to absolutely dissociate myself from all sympathy with a Fleet to be looked upon as a show Fleet, to be used to make regattas popular, or to add to the attractions of a race meeting. I hope to find that the Minister of Defence will take a strong stand in this regard, and will say, " Away with all your regattas. We shall send the Fleet to those places at which training can best be carried on." The training of the Fleet must be considered above everything else.


Senator Clemons - That is exactly what the Minister has done.


Senator PEARCE - I am not saying whether Port Lincoln is the best place for naval evolutions or not, but I do say that if the present Minister of Defence believes that the Naval Board are not to be trusted with the disposition of our ships, because they would send them to grace regattas, that is merely a reason for shifting the Naval Board. The Minister has the power to give the Naval Board their policy. The Naval Board does not give a policy to the Minister. The Minister is in a position to say to the Naval Board, " You are to dispose of the ships where the men of the Fleet may be given efficient training." He might go -so far as to say to the Naval Board, " You are to ask Admiral Patey's advice as to where they can be best given that " training," but I do say that the disposition of the ships is not the province of the Admiral commanding the Fleet, but is the province of the Minister of Defence. He has delegated his powers, so far as taking the advice of the Naval Board is concerned. .He ought to take their advice, whether he accepts it or not, because he has to look to them to be responsible for spending the money. Suppose that in any financial year it is found that sufficient money is not available, that more coal has been burned, or more oil used, than was anticipated? The Minister of Defence will turn to the Board and say, " You told me at the beginning of the year that the vote for which you asked would provide sufficient stores for the year." Under the principle now sought to be laid down, the Board will be in a position to say, " So it would if you had carried out our advice, but you never . asked us about the -sending of the ships to Hobart, or to

Port Darwin. Admiral Patey sent the ships to Port Darwin, and he should be held responsible for the increased consumption of coal and oil."


Senator Millen - I did not know that the honorable senator possessed so lively an imagination.


Senator PEARCE - I am not imagining anything. I am dealing with a statement by the Minister which appeared in the press, and which has not been contradicted or corrected. If the Minister says that the report of his statement is incorrect, I shall be very interested to hear him. It is quite time that he said so if the report is not accurate. The statement of the honorable senator, as reported in the Argus of Tuesday last, was that he had decided that, as Admiral Patey is responsible for the efficiency ofthe ships, he should have the absolute disposition of them. If that is not a correct report of the Minister's statement, why did he not contradict it? I raised the question in the Senate. I asked whether the report was correct, and the Minister informed me that it was.


Senator Millen - I did not say that the newspaper paragraph was correct.


Senator PEARCE - No, but I repeated what was contained in the paragraph, and the Minister said that the statement I attributed to him was correct.


Senator Millen - If they are looked at closely it will be found that there is » difference between the newspaper paragraph and the words in which the honorable senator put his question to me.


Senator PEARCE - I said what the Minister was reported as having decided to do, and the honorable senator said that it was correct, and that the Admiral in command was to have the disposition of the Fleet. There is in this matter a very important principle at stake, and I advise the Minister of Defence to reflect upon what he has done. If he has been incorrectly reported, and if I have misunderstood his policy, I, of course, apologize to him, but he has' not, so far, intimated that I have put before the Senate an incorrect view of the .position he takes up. I hope that the honorable senator has not been correctly reported. We are at the beginning of our Navy, and we should start on sound and right lines. It will be very much more difficult later on to make a change if we have adopted wrong lines. I say that, above every other thing in naval or military affairs, we should assert the predominance of the civil power. We should keep the civil power on top. I do again complain that in submitting this motion the Honorary Minister made no reference to the expenditure, thereby treating the Senate with contempt.


Senator Clemons - That is not correct.


Senator PEARCE - Every other Minister in submitting a similar motion has always outlined the proposals of the Government in relation to the expenditure.


Senator Clemons - Every other Minister has not done so, and I -did not treat the Senate with contempt. You were not justified in making either statement.


Senator PEARCE - I suppose that when I sit 'down, and so will not have an opportunity to reply, the Minister of Defence will get up and deal with the statement of Senator Russell?







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