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Tuesday, 5 September 1911

1.   It is my pleasing duty, on this my first opportunity of meeting with The Parliament, to congratulate the people on the continued general prosperity of the Commonwealth.

2.   Important measures for the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth will be submitted for your consideration.

3.   Owing to the absence of the Prime

Minister and his colleagues the Minister for External Affairs and Minister for Defence at the Imperial Conference, and their attendance in London with the delegation from this Parliament specially invited to the Coronation of His Gracious Majesty King George V., you have been summoned somewhat later in the year than usual.

4.   The results achieved by the Imperial

Conference are of great importance to the destinies of the United Kingdom and the Oversea Dominions. Matters of vital moment were discussed and settled in a spirit of freedom, trust, and unity. The Conference emphasized the strong ties of kinship and common ideals of the various nations composing the Empire, and made for the maintenance of Peace. A notable feature and marked advance upon previous Conferences was the action of the British Government in taking the Oversea Dominions' Representatives into. their full and unreserved confidence regarding their foreign policy. The Naval Agreement arrived at after conference between Commonwealth Representatives and the Admiralty is extremely satisfactory, embodying the policy formulated by the Government, and approved by the people of the Commonwealth.

5.   The general Treaty of Arbitration, recently concluded between the Governments of Great Britain and the United States of America, is hailed with great satisfaction as a step in the direction of the peaceful settlement of international disputes. The renewal of the Anglo- Japanese Treaty for a further period of ten years is an additional guarantee of the world's peace.

6.   Last year the Prime Minister visited South Africa as the representative of the Commonwealth at the opening of the Parliament of the Union of South Africa, and conveyed to the people of that Dominion the cordial congratulations of this Parliament. Your representative was cordially received by the Government and people of South Africa; and a resolution of the Union Parliament expressing appreciation of your action will be brought under notice.

7.   Steady progress is being made in the construction of the ships for the Australian Navy.

8.   During the recess the system of universal training under the Defence Act has been successfully inaugurated, and the patriotic response by the youth of Australia to the call to prepare themselves for the defence of their country is very gratifying.

9.   In pursuance of the policy approved by this and previous Governments, provision has been made for the manufacture of small arms and cordite; and My Advisers have further extended this policy to the erection of factories for the manufacture of postal, naval, military, and other departmental requirements.

10.   The result of the operations of the Australian Notes Act is most satisfactory. The question of amending the Act in order to extend its usefulness is receiving attention. ir. On the 1st of January last, in accordance with Section 125 of the Constitution, and the Acts passed by the Federal Parliament in pursuance thereof, the Territory for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth was acquired and possession taken. Good progress has been made with detailed surveys of the Territory, and with roads and other preliminary works, and competitive designs for the laying out of the Federal City have been invited. Other works necessary for the establishment of the City will be proceeded with without delay.

12.   The effect of the Tariff upon Australian industries is being carefully watched by My Advisers with a view to revision wherever the information obtained by them shows this to be necessary.

13.   A Bill will be submitted to provide for the establishment of a Commonwealth Bank, and for a uniform Banking Law.

14.   A Bill will be introduced to amend the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1 904- 1 910 in several respects, and especially to validate the registration of certain organizations under the Act.

15.   A Bill to provide for the construction of a Trans-continental Railway, with a gauge of 4 feet 8£ inches, connecting the West Australian railway system with those of the eastern States will be submitted for your early consideration.

16.   Negotiations with the States are proceeding for a uniform railway gauge between the capital cities of the mainland.

17.   On the 1 st of January last, in pursuance of the Acts passed by the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of South Australia, the Northern Territory was acquired .and taken over as a Territory of the Commonwealth. You will be invited to consider measures to provide for the government and development of the Territory.

18.   A Bill will be introduced to provide a uniform system of Bankruptcy Law and administration for the Commonwealth.

19.   A code of Criminal Law, to deal systematically with . offences against the Commonwealth will be submitted for your consideration.

20.   Bills will be introduced to amend the Acts relating to Trade Marks and Copyright.

21.   A Measure will be submitted to deal with the matter of compensation to the States for the properties transferred to the Commonwealth in connexion with the transferred Departments.

22.   My Advisers have under consideration the establishment of reciprocal trade with New Zealand and Canada.

23.   A Bill to provide for Compensation to Seamen will be introduced.

24.   It is intended before the session closes to pass the Navigation Bill through its remaining stages.

25.   The revenue from Customs and Excise and from Land Tax exceeded the estimates. The surplus was placed to Trust Funds for Invalid and Old-age Pensions, and for the construction of the Australian Fleet Unit.

26.   My Advisers regret the result of the Referenda vote in April last. They are very strongly of the opinion that the everincreasing exactions of the Trusts make an extension of the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth imperative.

27.   The experience gained by the Members of this Parliament who were enabled to visit Papua during the recess should prove of benefit in dealing with the questions relating to the development of that Territory.

28.   You will be invited to consider Bills for the amendment of the Electoral Act, the Public Service Act, the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, the Papua Act; and to approve a re-adjustment of electorates in accordance with the Census returns, as required by the Constitution and provided for by law.

29.   The purchase of a site and the erection of a suitable building in London for the High Commissioner's Office, and also providing accommodation for the States, is an urgent necessity. Proposals to that end will be submitted at an early date.

30.   A Bill will be introduced for the purpose of giving the public servants of the Commonwealth the right to appeal to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court.

31.   The introduction of penny postage throughout Australia on the 1st of May last completed the true federation of the postal services of the Commonwealth, and, whilst involving a loss of revenue, will provide greater compensating advantages. The system has also been extended to all parts of the British Empire.

32.   Consideration is being given to the question of life, fire, unemployment, and invalidity insurance.

33.   The progressive tax on land values is having a satisfactory effect on land settlement, and is attracting a desirable class of immigrants.

34.   My Advisers regret that no settlement of the question of the consolidation of State Debts has been arrived at. The matter continues to engage the most serious consideration of the Government.

35.   I leave you now to your important duties, and earnestly hope that, under Divine guidance, your deliberations may promote the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.

His Excellency the GovernorGeneral having retired,

The President took the chair at 2.46 p.m., and read prayers.

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