Slike strani






(Comprising the period from 17th September to 22nd October, 1903.)


Printed and Published for the GOVERNMENT of the COMMONWEALTH of AUSTRALIA by
ROBT. S. BRAIN, Government Printer for the State of Victoria.

190 3.


[blocks in formation]

What arrangements have been made by the Government for a final fight between Albury and Tumut, and what is meant by the statement that it is to be a "fair go"?

Sir EDMUND BARTON.-I ask my honorable friend not to found any opinion upon a newspaper paragraph of that character. We all know that these statements are sometimes the result of mere speculation and political kite flying. The motion of which I have given notice, and which will be gone on with, provides for what has been termed a "fair go by means of an exhaustive ballot, the regulations for which are to be drawn up, with the concurrence of both Houses of Parliament, by the President and Mr. Speaker. I have not the slightest doubt that under them honorable members will be able to give effect to their opinions by their votes with the utmost fairness.

NEW MAIL CONTRACTS. Mr. WILKINSON.-I wish to know from the Prime Minister if he has any further information to give the House in reply to the question I asked him yesterday concerning the regulations passed at a meeting in Brisbane about the new mail contracts, a copy of which I handed to him then?

Sir EDMUND BARTON.-I have no more information on the subject, except that, upon making inquiry in my Department, I ascertained that no letter covering such a resolution had been received up to this morning. MEDICINE CHESTS: TELEGRAPH OPERATORS.

Mr. KIRWAN asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice—

Whether medicine chests (with instructions as to the use of the medicines) are provided at the cost of the Post and Telegraph Department for telegraph operators at isolated stations where there is no medical officer within reasonable dis

tance; if not, will he see that such necessaries are provided?

Sir PHILIP FYSH.-The answer to the honorable and learned member's question is :

Medicine chests and instructions for the use of medicines are not generally supplied at such stations. The question of supplying medicines and instructions will be considered, either in connexion with the district allowances provided for by Public Service Regulations 168 and 169, or otherwise at an early date.


In Committee of Supply:

Sir GEORGE TURNER (BalaclavaTreasurer).—I move


That a sum not exceeding £658,500 be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the As I mentioned last night, I am anxious to services of the year ending 30th June, 1904. obtain supply for two months, and it was then my intention to ask honorable members merely to agree to the formal stages of a Bill, and deal with it finally to-morrow. understand, however, that there is a general desire that we should not sit to-morrow, and that the Prime Minister is willing to consent to an adjournment until Tuesday next if the General Estimates and the Works and Buildings Estimates are passed to-night, the one clause of the Naturalization Bill which has to be recommitted dealt with, and the second reading of the Patents Bill moved. Under these circumstances, I shall later on ask to be allowed to put the Bill through all its stages during the present sitting. I have already circulated a statement giving the details of the proposed expenditure. All I ask for is a vote to cover the ordinary services of the Departments.

Mr. BROWN.-Is it proposed to put the whole of the Estimates through to-night?

Sir GEORGE TURNER.-I understand

[blocks in formation]




It was stated by the honorable and learned member that a large number of the men belonging to the Royal Australian Artillery were being kept in Melbourne, instead of being stationed at the forts at the entrance to Port Phillip. The inference I gathered from the honorable member's remarks was that the number of men now in Melbourne was larger than formerly, and that these soldiers would be better employed in looking after the guns at the forts. find that there are 232 men on the establishment of the Royal Australian Artillery in Victoria. Of these, 142 stationed at Port Phillip Heads, 85 are at the Victoria Barracks, and there are five vacancies. I am informed by the General Officer Commanding that there are thirty less Per manent Garrison Artillerymen now in Melbourne than immediately prior to Federation. This small detachment of eighty-five men is now kept in Melbourne for the purposes of guarding Government House, forming guards of honour, escorts to the Governor-General, performing technical duties, and giving instructional services in connexion with the schools of instruction recently established for the Militia and Volunteers. With regard to the case of Sergeant-Major Coffey, who, we were informed, had died of phthisis and from disease contracted in South Africa, I am informed as follows:

Sergeant Major Coffey served with the first Victorian contingent, and was invalided suffering from phthisis. He was granted a temporary pension of 3s. 6d. per diem by the Imperial authorities on 5th August, 1901, and the State Government supplemented this by another 3s. 6d. per deim. He died on the 18th September, 1902, and the widow was granted £10 for his funeral expenses, and has since been in receipt of an allowance of 21s. per week from the Patriotic Fund Committee. The conditions attached to pensions provide that unless the soldier dies within twelve months of the date of contracting the illness, no pension is granted to the widow or relative. Sergeant-Major Coffey did not die until two years after contracting the disease. A representation with regard to Mrs. Coffey has, however, been sent to the Imperial Government, on 22nd May last, asking their favorable consideration as regards the case of the widow.

Mr. BROWN.-What was the nature of

the reply received from the Imperial

Government ?

Sir JOHN FORREST.-No reply has as yet been received. With regard to the statement that the pay of the Permanent Artillerymen in Victoria had been reduced, I find that the following are the facts:New rates of pay for the Permanent Artillery were adopted from the 1st of July, 1902, to apply

to all new appointments, and to those serving only when re-engaged or promoted; and these rates were in accordance with the rates of pay recommended by a Pay Committee appointed specially to consider the same. These new rates of pay, as compared with the old rates of pay in the three large States, where there are the largest establishments of Permanent Artillery, viz., New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, are an increase on the average daily rate for non-commissioned officers and men ; but involve a decrease in Victoria in all ranks except that of warrant officer. They are an increase on the old rates in New South Wales and Queensland. Therefore when non-commissioned officers or men at present serving, finish their period of engagement, they lose in pay in Victoria, except in the case of of New South Wales and Queensland. warrant officers, but gain in all ranks in the cases The honorable and learned member entertains the view that officers are treated better than the men under the new Pay regulations. That is not so.

I find that the

facts are as follow:With regard to officers, the new rates of pay adopted for them are less than the former prevailing rates for the respective ranks in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. Whereas

no non-commissioned officer or man has been

brought on the new rates unless he is re-engaged or promoted, all officers were brought on the new rates of pay at once, and fourteen of them in consequence suffered a reduction in pay, the rule being adopted that where the officer's salary was above the maximum of the new rates, it was brought down to the maximum.

Concerning the remarks of the honorable and learned member in reference to the reduction

of 6d. per day in the pay of the carters in Victoria, I find that

When the new rates of pay were adopted, all the rates or allowances for special duty pay were revised by the artillery officers, and whilst two carters in Victoria previously received Is. special duty pay per day in connexion with carting the stores, they now, under the new special duty pay, receive only 6d per day. The total pay, however, with these allowances, amounts to 4s. per diem, or 28s. per week, and this is, of course, exclusive of their rations, uniform, quarters, fuel, light, and medical attendance. These privileges may certainly be said to equal, at least, 2s. per diem more, which would give a total remuneration equivalent to 42s. per week (68. per diem, as they are paid for Sundays). It is understood that the usual pay of carters employed civilly is not so high as 42s. per week. As a general rule, the amount of carting done for the Victorian Artillery is not very onerous. This information was supplied to me only this morning, and I thought it would prove interesting to honorable members, and especially to the honorable and learned member for Corio, to whom I shall be very glad to furnish a copy.

Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).-I had intended speaking at some length upon

[merged small][ocr errors]

various matters which are included in these Estimates, but as there is a general desire to adjourn over to-morrow and to secure an early division upon the amendment which has been indicated, I shall make my remarks exceedingly brief. Concerning that amendment I merely desire to say that, having appointed a military expert-and, consequently, having decided that an expert's services were necessary-it is a serious step to take the management of the forces out of his hands. I quite agree that it is for us to outline the policy which should be pursued, and to state definitely the amount of money which we are prepared to expend for military purposes; but having done that, it is scarcely desirable that we should take the details relating to the control of the forces out of the hands of the General Officer Commanding. If we wish to do anything in that direction we should deal either with the Minister or with the expert when the term of his engagement has expired. For these reasons I do not think it is advisable-especially as the saving which would be effected is a very trifling one-for the Committee to interfere in mere matters of detail. I am strongly in favour of the exercise of economy in connexion with our Defence Forces. But with that economy I think we should have efficiency, and under the present arrangement I fear that we are not getting efficiency. For instance, in connexion with our arms-our guns and rifles-and with our forts we have not that perfection which is essential if we are to be secure against a sudden attack. If the South African war has proved anything, it is that under conditions such as would exist in case of an attack upon Australia, we require not so much highly trained men as troops possessed of a certain amount of efficiency in military movements, and experienced in the use of the most perfect weapons which can be placed in their hands. If we do not secure that, our whole defence system rests upon a rotten foundation. I have in my possession some data which I had intended to place before the Minister, but in deference to the desire of the Committee, I shall reserve it till next week, when I shall have another opportunity of addressing myself to this matter. At the present moment, how ever, I shall content myself with saying that all the forces upon which should have to rely in time of warwhether they be partially paid, volunteer, or reserve forces, the last named consisting


largely of the members of rifle clubs—should be armed with the most up-to-date weapons. The only way in which they can be so equipped is by the Government providing the arms. They are beginning to provide them in the case of volunteer and partiallypaid forces; but they seem to have made up their minds not to do so in the case of that branch of our Defence Forces whose services are specially devoted to attaining proficiency in rifle shooting. I think that is a wrong policy. I am sure that, whilst keeping down expenditure in all directions in which a fair return for the outlay is not forthcoming, this Committee is sensible and patriotic enough to vote any sum that is necessary to provide those munitions of war without which all our defence expenditure is practically valueless. That is the position which I had intended to put before the Committee at greater length, but in deference to the general desire to adjourn over to-morrow and to secure an early division upon the amendment which has been outlined, I shall not occupy further time.

Mr. WILKINSON (Moreton).-If I rightly understand the temper of this Parliament concerning matters of defence it is that the Commonwealth forces shall consist of the adult male population of the Commonwealth. Indeed we have gone a little further than that. We have decided that it shall comprise all our male population from eighteen years of age upwards. In perusing the report of the General Officer Commanding, I notice that he speaks very highly of the cadet corps and the rifle clubs. But when I come to examine the provision which has been made in the Estimates for these branches of our defence, I find that his words represent so much empty sound. Very little money has been appropriated for their encouragement. I am thoroughly in accord with all that has been said by the honorable member for North Sydney, and with much more that he might have said in regard to the treatment of these two branches of our defence force. I would specially direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that a very large number of the men who have devoted their time, and a considerable portion of their substance to qualifying themselves as expert marksmen, have purchased their own weapons. But, as honorable members are aware, the barrel of a rifle is serviceable only for the discharge of about 13,000 rounds of ammunition. Time after time the Department has been approached

« PrejšnjaNaprej »