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4-421 (Text)

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Speaker:
author,male,Turner, George,46 addressee
ns1:discourse_type
Oratory
Word Count :
8790
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Speech Based
ns1:texttype
Minutes
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/South_Australia
Created:
1897
Identifier
4-421
Source
Federation Debates Adelaide, March 24
pages
37-50
Document metadata
Extent:
48257
Identifier
4-421-plain.txt
Title
4-421#Text
Type
Text

4-421-plain.txt — 47 KB

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Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
I am pleased indeed that the honorable the Speaker of New South Wales has told us that in dealing with these resolutions we are not, and ought not, to be debarred from dealing with questions of detail, because I feel that if the committees we are to appoint are to do their duty properly they ought to be able to know the minds of the majority of the representatives here assembled, and, that being so, I feel much regret that the three gentlemen who have already spoken have not given us the benefit of their past experience.
Mr. PEACOCK:  
Hear, hear.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
And the great knowledge they undoubtedly possess, and that they seem to desire that those who are comparatively new to this movement should express their views without having had an opportunity of hearing from those who have had a much larger experience in dealing with these matters than many of us who are present. But as they have taken that position, then I think it devolves upon those who have endeavored to make themselves acquainted  with the facts to place, as far as possible, before the representatives their views with regard to matters of detail which have hereafter to be dealt with. The Hon. the Speaker of New South Wales has said that we ought not to attack our friend Mr. Reid for his past opinions. We have come as representatives to this Convention, and will have the benefit of hearing the views of other members, and no member ought to be attacked should he see reason to change his views and should he see that the arguments be has had the opportunity of hearing have shown him that his preconceived views were wrong. The very object of adjourning for four months is for the purpose of getting as much light as we possibly can, and if we change our views we are perfectly justified in doing so. I also regret that Mr. Barton, in bringing forward these resolutions, has not dealt with them in more detail than he appears to have considered wise. However, perhaps it is beneficial that these resolutions should be somewhat vague, because we can then pass them unanimously and have no recorded votes. I do not altogether agree with that, for seeing that we have the right to change our views, it would have been better if we had had some distinct statements which would form a foundation on which to base the various arguments. The first consideration which we all ought to keep before us is to accomplish Federation, if we possibly can do justice to the various colonies we are sent here to represent. We ought to bear this fact in mind: we are not legislating here; we are merely negotiating. Whatever we do we have to take back to the respective colonies, and their Parliaments will take opportunities of discussing the matter and suggesting amendments, and then, having discussed those amendments and having given them the full weight they deserve, we have to go back to those who sent us here and ask them if they are prepared to agree to what we have done. We are free and open in this matter, knowing that we are not passing an Act of Parliament binding the people we represent. One point to keep in view is that we ought to deal with all matters in a fair and equitable manner, and take care that we properly represent the States which will form the various parts of federated Australia. We also by some means should represent the people directly as individuals - as individuals combined into one body. So that whatever laws may be hereafter passed by the Federal Parliament will require assent by two bodies - one as representing the States, and the other as representing the people. Therefore I quite agree with Mr. Barton that it is absolutely necessary that we should have two Houses. I do not think it will be argued, or even attempted to be argued, that only one House will be necessary, and therefore I will not bring forward any arguments why we should have two. Then as to the question of the Governor-General, upon which such stress was laid by Mr. Barton, I agree with him that the appointment should be made by the Queen, and therefore I need spend little time discussing that particular portion. With regard to the senators and the members of the House of Representatives, it will be necessary for us to ascer- tain what qualifications will be required by those we have to send there to represent us. One matter should be definitely and distinctly laid down, and that is that there should be no property qualification required for either of those Houses, or for the electors. With regard to the numbers, I do not know that this is very material. We have before us certain suggestions in the Commonwealth Bill, but I do not altogether agree with these, because the numbers, at all events at the commencement, should be reduced as much as we can, in order that we may make this new body as little expensive as absolutely necessary. It will, no doubt, be wise to provide, as this will be a democratic body, we hope, that those whom we send there, and who will have to devote a large amount of their time to carrying out  the work of the Federal Parliament, should receive some reasonable remuneration for the work they will have to do for the people of the colonies. It will be admitted on all hands, I think, that if we are to induce the smaller States to throw in their lot with us we must show that we are not in any way afraid of their action hereafter. That being so, whether it be theoretically correct or not, we must be prepared to allow them to have equal representation in the Senate. If we look at other places we will find, perhaps, that that has not been followed out in its entirety. In America there is an equality; in Canada there is a kind of equality; in the German Empire we find there is not equality; and if we say it exists in Switzerland we must admit it does not exist in the same way that we are prepared to see it here. Although, the larger States might fairly claim to have larger representation in both Houses, seeing that what we must keep before us is the welding of the colonies into one whole, we must be prepared to make some sacrifices. The larger colonies must be prepared to give to their smaller neighbors equal representation in the Senate body. One other important question is how we are to elect the senators and the members of the House of Representatives. With regard to the senators I am not prepared to give the power to the Parliaments of the different colonies to choose those who should represent the people in the Senate. The Commonwealth Bill did make that provision, but when we come to consider the proposal we will find that there are many difficulties. In the first instance, if we gave power to the Parliaments to choose, how is that choice to be carried out? We in Victoria have two Houses. Are we to say to one House, "We will allow you to select a certain number," and to the other House, "We will allow you to select the balance." So far as my view is, I think we should not allow more than six senators from each of the colonies, two retiring every two years, so that our Council would have to elect one senator and our Assembly the other-and we would not agree to that proposal. If we say it is to be a unanimous choice we may have grave difficulties. When one body has passed certain names as being the gentlemen who should be selected, and the other says, "We will not agree with you in that choice," then there will be a block. In America such difficulties appear to have frequently arisen, and Acts of Parliament have been passed that where such a difficulty arises the two Houses should meet as one body to make a selection. That enables the representatives of the Upper House to combine with the members of the Opposition in the Lower House to over-rule the Government party in that House. I know that might occur in our colony by twenty-four members of the Assembly out of the ninety-five agreeing with the forty-eight from the Council; and so they would be able to over-rule seventy-one members who are supposed in their House to represent the views of the people. There being these grave objections to this proposal, I think it will be unwise to place any provision in the Bill which will enable the Parliaments to make this choice. The argument in favor of it is that we will then have a body which will be the elect of the elected. That is a very good, high-sounding phrase, but is it true? We know that in many of the Upper Houses we have no elected body at all, but a nominated body; and I feel perfectly certain of this, that we will not agree to have a nominated Senate. I am sure it will be very hard to persuade the people of Australia-I know it will be to persuade the people of Victoria-that they are to allow anybody to have the right of electing for them those who are to represent their interests in the Senate. We must, of course, provide some means of dealing with the first election, and that, I think, we can fairly do by saying that as we have thought it well to elect this Convention by the vote of the whole of the people in each colony we cannot go far wrong if the  Senate in the first instance be chosen on exactly similar lines. Then afterwards, as the States are to be represented as States, I would unhesitatingly give them the power of determining how their representatives are to be chosen. When I speak of States I must have it distinctly understood that I do not refer to the colony as a piece of land, but I refer to those who possess the States-the people for the time being. And holding that view, I say whatever choice be made by the States should be made by the people of the States, and not by any Parliament that might be elected or nominated.
Mr. REID:  
Hear, hear.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
In our colony I should certainly advocate that while we were fixing the mode of electing or selecting our representatives we should allow the people as the occasion arises to make the selection themselves. That would be my view; it might not be agreed to by others, but I should certainly think the people should choose either by the whole colony in one constituency or divided into a few large constituencies. Preferably I would say have one constituency. At the same time, to prevent any class being shut out from representation, we should endeavor to arrange such a mode of proceeding as would allow of minorities as well as majorities being represented, so that all classes would have full representation in the House. Then as regards the House of Representatives-perhaps we should not call it the Lower Chamber because its members might not consider it the Lower Chamber-I think in all the colonies, and in all parts of the world, the tendency for some years past has been to enlarge the franchise, so that every person who should be represented has an opportunity of being represented.
Mr. REID:  
Hear, hear.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
It would never do to allow in this Federal Parliament that those representatives who are elected upon the most liberal franchise possible should be outvoted by those who would be elected by a very limited franchise indeed. As this may fairly be regarded as the National House, representing the people of the various States as a nation, we ought to have uniformity in the franchise. We must leave it to the Federal Parliament to say what the franchise should be. At the same time, as some colonies have given the right of voting to those who have not that right in other colonies, it would be unfair and inequitable to take from any who have the right, and therefore whatever uniformity is determined upon we shall have to allow the innovation that no person, man or woman, who has the right to vote shall be deprived of exercising that right, even so far as the elections to the Federal Parliament are concerned. I would go the length of saying that everyone who has the right in the various colonies,!if they!desire uo exercise theis franchise, should have!the opportunity of doing so. I hold myself strong views with regard to the question of one adult one vote; but even though I hold those views, and even though if that principle were proposed here I would have to vote for it, still I do not consider that this is the proper place to settle the question. I think that each colony should be allowed to frame its own franchise, based upon the franchise of the more numerous House, until we have a uniform franchise framed by the federated Parliament, itself. Under some Constitutions the power is given to frame a uniform franchise. It has been done in Canada, and there is a similar power in Switzerland; but I would not lay down hard and fast lines. There is one point on which I think we are all agreed, that is, in having the election in the first instance on the qualification of the electors for the more numerous House, and thereby we follow the only course we consistently can, but we ought to make one declaration, and that is that whoever has  the right to vote should vote once and no more. That has been determined in the Parliament of Victoria in discussing the late Federation Bill, and it was determined also in the Parliaments of New South Wales and South Australia. I do not know how the other Parliaments dealt with the matter, but the three colonies I have referred to resolved that they should have the principle of one adult one vote, or one man one vote, as the law of the land might be for the time being. Then we have to fix the proportion of representation according to the number of the population. A suggestion has been made of one member for every 30,000 of the population, but I think, in order to reduce the expense, it should be one for every 40,000 or 50,000.
Mr. BARTON:  
One for every 40,000 will give us the right-sized House.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
I think that would be ample. I should like it to be distinctly understood that, as far as I am concerned, I do not intend that we shall take 40,000 people wherever we can find them and say, "You shall have one member," as in many of the colonies, and particularly in Victoria, if we did so we would do a grave injury to the country and confer a benefit on the towns. I understand we are to allow each colony to fix what may be considered fair constituencies and allot the colonies one member for every 40,000 of their population. We should also endeavor to make some provision for the settlement of deadlocks between the two Houses. We have found in all the colonies the difficulty of settling questions which may come into dispute, and therefore we should endeavor if we possibly can to lay down some reasonable lines to settle the matter. Both these Houses will represent the people of the colony as their servants, and the people will be the masters. When the two Houses cannot agree the proper course would be to let the people settle the dispute. We might try other means of doing this. We might try both Houses meeting together for the purpose of coming to a vote, but I object to that proceeding. If we have to ascertain the views of our electors at present we have to dissolve the unfortunate House of Assembly, whereas the cause of the trouble may be the other House. Let us have power to dissolve both Houses, and let us ascertain the views of the people, and if they can agree they will send back a majority on one side or the other; and if they cannot agree we may have another deadlock. The only true way of dealing with the matter-it is a novel proceeding and it is a proceeding which is not in force in any English -speaking part of the world, but if we can adopt it in a workable form we should - will be by a direct referendum to the people; not that we should take a mass vote, but should ascertain the wishes of the people by finding out whether a majority of the States are prepared to take a certain course, and see if they contain a majority of the people. If we do that we will get back to bedrock. The best mode to settle deadlocks between the Houses will be to allow both Houses to go back to their constituents, either by double dissolution or referendum, and ascertain if possible what their views may be; but before taking such a step it would be wise and proper to see that both Houses have had full opportunity to confer and negotiate so as to obtain a compromise, and only when such an effort has failed should they go back to the constituents. The next important point upon which I desire to express my views is with regard to the powers to be conferred upon the Federal Parliament, and I may say here at once that I agree almost entirely with the provisions of the Commonwealth Bill. I think they have been very carefully framed, and we may safely give those powers to the Federal Parliament; but we ought to scan them very carefully and see that we are doing no injustice, because we must bear in mind that the powers we give to the Federation will be the foundation upon which the whole structure will rest. While we  should be prepared to give them every reasonable power, we must see that these powers do not interfere too much with the domestic legislation of the States. In Canada and the United States entirely different modes of procedure were adopted. In Canada they gave the States certain specified and limited powers, and retained to the Dominion all other powers not specifically conferred on the States. In the United States they gave limited powers to the new body, allowing the States to retain power over all matters which they did not voluntarily give up. That latter course was followed in the Commonwealth Bill, and it is the course that we, if we are sensible, will endeavor to carry out in framing the Constitution for the Federal Parliament. I am prepared to give the fullest possible power of taxation and borrowing to the members of the new Parliament. We must take care that when the necessity arises they have the power to do what is required. If they have not, and if they cannot raise the money, either by taxation or by borrowing, then when they most require to be strong they probably will be found to be weak, and I am prepared to trust them. Seeing that they are elected by ourselves, and represent us, I am prepared to entrust them with the fullest possible powers to raise money either by taxation or by borrowing. We must see that the new body has absolute control over the Customs and Excise duties and bounties. There are other matters which I need not go into. There is defence and quarantine, and similar matters, which will be placed under the Federal Government, and, in fact, we may say all matters relating to the external affairs, internal commerce, defence, and general government can safely be placed in the hands of the new body, and the States can retain all the other powers which they now possess. One question, which is one of great difficulty, and to which we will have to give our earnest attention, is how to deal with the railways of the various colonies. We have differential rates, and if we allow these to continue the result will be that any colony through its railways will be able, if it so chooses, to practically nullify, or nullify to a great extent, any intercolonial freetrade which may be determined upon by the Federal Parliament. If this is so, we must have some means to prevent any one colony injuring another colony's interests or acting contrary to the wishes of the other colonies. The mere construction of ordinary lines is a matter that I do not think we could hand over, for it is closely associated with the land policy of each colony. We build our railways, not for the purpose of getting profit out of them, but to open up territory in our own colony, and for the purpose of settling the people on the land. Therefore, I think, we could not, in justice to our colony, hand over to anybody the requirements of any particular part of the colony. If we come to deal with intercolonial lines, that might be on a different footing altogether. As far as their construction is concerned, I have no fear in saying, that, as the whole of the colonies would probably be interested in the building of any particular line, then the whole of them might be fairly consulted with regard to that matter, and, therefore, we might be able to abolish the want of a uniform gauge which exists at the present time, and do away with the unfortunate cut-throat policy which obtains with regard to the railways in all the colonies. Thereby we would be able to benefit the people of the colony, and be able to make large savings which will go far to meet the amounts we will have to raise under this Commonwealth. Another knotty point we will have to discuss is what are to be the powers of the respective Houses with reference to Money Bills. When we speak of Money Bills we use a term capable of the widest interpretation, and in connection with all these measures with which we are familiar the term "Money Bills" is used for the want of a better denomination. With regard to the ordinary legislation, I have no hesi-  tation in saying that each House ought to have equal powers. When we come to deal with the question of money I cannot go with those who desire to provide that the Senate should have co-ordinate rights with the House of Representatives when dealing with money matters. In all the colonies except Tasmania the Assemblies claim the right of having control of the purse. In South Australia the Council is allowed to suggest amendments, and, no doubt, the representatives of that colony will give us information on the point as to whether it works well or ill in the general management of their colony. I believe that in Tasmania power is given to the Council to make alterations in Money Bills, but if we look at the Constitution of the mother of Parliaments we will find that the Commons claims to have full control over all expenditure, and imposition of taxation. I will admit at once that the Senate in this new Parliament will occupy a somewhat different position to that occupied by Upper Chambers in our ordinary Legislature. Is the difference so great as to justify us in giving up what is, the law in nearly all the colonies and in Great Britain?
Mr. HOLDER:  
A radical change.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
It is not of sufficient weight or influence to make us do that. I am prepared to listen to all the arguments to show me that my preconceived ideas are not correct, and, if they are of sufficient weight, I will be glad to fall in with them. It is admitted on all hands that the power of initiation should rest with the House of Representatives alone, but to my mind the better course will be to give to the Senate the full power of rejecting any proposal, but not give them the power to interfere with the details decided upon by those representing the people? The Commonwealth is in a somewhat peculiar position in one respect, and it will afford food for reflection for many of us represented here-the lawyers. (Laughter.) We know by one of the provisions that the courts of the Federation have full power to decide as to the validity of all the laws which may be passed. It is said that ordinary Appropriation Bills cannot be amended. It is very difficult for a Treasurer-indeed, I do not know that there is any Treasurer here who will be able to do so-to give us a definition of an ordinary Appropriation Bill, because in nearly every appropriation we have for the year there are matters which may be regarded, as far as that year is concerned, as extraordinary. Then we are asked to provide that the imposition of taxation should be dealt with in one Bill, and that only one matter should be included in the Bill. Therefore, if by some unfortunate slip, both Houses being willing that a certain tax should be imposed, two of a slightly different nature were included in one Bill it might, and probably would, be held by the courts, which are always conservative, that that law was ultra vires. Seeing the difficulties which stand in the way I think it is wise, at all events at the commencement, to see how it will work, and to follow out the old lines on which we have worked, and which have been fairly satisfactory, and to say that there should be that great distinction between the two Chambers, and that the ultimate power of dealing with all Money Bills should rest with the House of Representatives alone.
Mr. PEACOCK:  
This is the way to get it all out.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
It is said that we ought to give the power of suggestion. Well, I have had no experience of that, but I do think if I were a member of the Senate, and, after fully thinking over a matter and debating it, the Senate had come to a conclusion and made certain suggestions to the other place, and the other place had treated them as they, might-and possibly would-with contempt, I should feel I was much more belittled than if I had only the power of  rejection. Rather than take the responsibility of swallowing what I altogether did not approve, I would much prefer undertaking the responsibility of rejection. So far as I can at present see, the right of suggestion is a power which I do not think it will be beneficial or advisable to give to the Senate. If deadlocks do arise-and they do and will arise on financial as on other matters-let them be settled in the mode we have provided for the settlement of ordinary difficulties. Let the people, as the final arbiters, say what their representative should do, and no harm can be done if the people decide, deciding not only as a people, but as colonies.
Sir WILLIAM ZEAL:  
When have these deadlocks arisen?
Mr. REID:  
And where?
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
They have occasionally and unfortunately arisen in the colony of Victoria.
Sir WILLIAM ZEAL:  
When?
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
During the last few years.
Sir WILLIAM ZEAL:  
Of what character?
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
Do not let us quarrel amongst ourselves. (Laughter.) We ate in Opposition here apparently. Let us oppose everything from the Government side - (laughter) - and let the Government quarrel among themselves if they like, but the Opposition should never quarrel. (Laughter.) I desire, however, to pass an as rapidly as I can, as it is not fair to detain the Convention any longer than is absolutely necessary. The next question to consider will be the constitution of our Executive. There we shall have the Governor-General selected for us in the way referred to by Mr. Barton, and if we start with five Ministers we will have ample for the work to be done, instead of the seven, as has been proposed. They will have to hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General, which means they will hold office so long as they can control the expenditure of Federation-that is, so long as they possess the confidence of the House of Representatives. We are told that if we have responsible government it will kill Federation, or the Federation will kill responsible government. But are we to assume at once that responsible government will kill the Federation? I am not prepared to do that. I am prepared to give it a trial. If we are to assume that, and say we will have no responsible government, but we will allow this new body to start on altogether new lines, we will be entering on a course of which we know nothing. We have the experience of the other mode of proceeding, and we may very wisely and sensibly commence on this particular line. If we find in a few years' time that these difficulties have arisen, then we have the power to alter the Constitution, but in the first instance I consider that the wisest course to pursue is to allow the Government of the Federation, as in those of the various colonies, to be what we all know popularly as responsible government. Give it a fair trial, and if those difficulties have arisen and responsible government is going to kill or injure Federation, then I am perfectly certain that the people will be only too glad to make the alterations and start on another line which experience will have taught us we ought to have begun with.
Mr. REID:  
Hear, hear.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
We must have Federal Courts of Appeal to deal with federal matters, and also have A Court of Appeal to deal with matters from the Local Courts. The only question is whether we ought to make the decision of the Federal Court final. The right of appeal to the highest tribunal in the land is looked upon as the cherished right alike of the poor and the rich. It may be that sometimes the rich use it harshly against the poor, but whenever possible a man has a right to appeal to the highest tribunal of the old country. That is a link we ought to be loth to break. The links are few now. One link is the selection of the ruler for the time  being, and another is the right to appeal to the courts of England, and these are links we ought not to lightly break. Before we adopt any measure which would result in a change in either of these two principles we should give careful and cautious consideration indeed to the whole question. As to the election of the Governors in the various colonies, I say again that it would be unwise to give the Ministry the power of appointment or the people the right of election. If we gave it to the Ministry they might desire to give the place to a faithful supporter, or to get rid of a dangerous opponent, and in any case the occupant of the position would be regarded as a party man. If he were a Governor elected by the people he might say-"I am elected by all, and your Parliaments are elected by simply a portion of the people," and difficulties might arise between him and his responsible advisers. It would be almost impossible to have a Governor elected by the people. With regard to that particular course, we should again go by a well-known and beaten track, and not start any innovations. One of the most important questions to be dealt with is finance, and at the present time we have not before us the fullest information we could desire, which we possibly could get by the appointment of committees to consider this particular question. We may look upon the question from a particular standpoint, but if we are to have a lasting basis we ought to endeavor to fully consider and grapple with it, and to get a safe foundation. We have to frame a Constitution fair and equitable to all the colonies. We have to see that it will be useful, not only at present, but in the future, so that it must be elastic, and we have also to see that, while we take from the various States ample money, to carry on the Federation, we must leave ample means to the Governments to carry on their own domestic work. That being so, first, of all we have to, look at what liabilities we are going to place on the new body and what revenue we will give them. We will give them Customs revenue, which will be far and away more than sufficient to deal with the ordinary expenditure, and will leave them a large surplus. I do not know whether any of the Treasurers here have had the pleasure of ever having had a surplus, but it is a dangerous thing to have to deal with. If we are wise we will keep that temptation out of the hands of the Federal Treasurer. Many proposals have been suggested which no doubt will be thrashed out here and afterwards. We can start with this one certainty: that none of the colonies can afford to hand over all of this money without getting a large part of it back. We are all too poor to attempt to do that. This course was pursued in America, and there they have such an overwhelming surplus that they find it difficult to decide what to do with it. 
Mr. PEACOCK:  
Not now.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
Well, they used to have. We are not in a position to do it, and we may dismiss that particular portion from consideration without giving it much thought. Another mode is that adopted in Canada, where they give certain subsidies, which in the first instance were looked upon as fixed amounts. What has been the result? Agitation sprung up, and agitation continued, and when the Treasurer brought in a surplus the States thought they ought to get a little more of the plunder, and if we adopt such a system it must necessarily be so here. We know from experience that our municipalities are always pressing the Government to get as much as they can possibly get for their various works, and if we adopt the Canadian system we will find that the States here will follow a similar coarse and make frequent demands for "better terms." The unwisdom of giving to any Legislature the expenditure of money which is not all raised from the people is apparent, and strong pressure would  always be brought to bear on the Federal Government to expend the money they bad in their hands. I have seen it stated in one place that we should transfer other departments to the Federation-the Education Department, for instance-but it seems to me that when we are dealing with the powers of the Federal Parliament and the departments of the State, we should not deal with them as a financial question, but on the broad question as to whether it is a good thing that the Federal Parliament should have control of various departments. One other matter is that of allowing the Federal Parliament to have this surplus and divide it. if we allow the Federal Parliament to have the surplus we will have extravagance. We allow them to deal with defences and post office matters, and undoubtedly strong pressure will be brought to bear by every colony to have extra facilities with regard to the post offices and extra money spent on defences, and we can easily realise that when the Treasurer has plenty of money to spend there will be a strong temptation to spend it.
Mr. BARTON:  
Defence should cost less under the Federal Parliament.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
It probably will cost less, but that does not alter the position that the various colonies will .demand to have extra money spent in order that the money may be expended in them. There will also be the temptation to court popularity by reducing taxation 'while they have money in their hands, and seeing that there are all these objections I have come to the conclusion that we will be making a grave mistake if we allow the Government to have a surplus with which they can deal as they like. There is only one other course that I can .see, and that is that we shall take care that the expenditure we place on the shoulders of the new body shall be at least equal to, if not a little greater than, the revenue we are going to give it. We can start with that, and as the revenue will rapidly increase, even if we are giving the Federal Parliament a little more expenditure than revenue at the start, it will catch up the deficit. To do that I think we should transfer to the new body all the debts of the various colonies. The proposal laid down in the Commonwealth Bill, and which was looked upon as a very good one at the time, but which has since been shown (to be unfair in its incidence. provided for a scheme of payment of expenditure according to population and the division of the surplus on the basis of the amounts contributed by the various colonies. There is much to be said against a division of expenditure on the basis of population. Wine charges on a population basis would be fair and others would be unfair, and the result worked out in figures would show -that some of the colonies would benefit very largely and benefit too at the expense, of the other colonies. We have another proposition, called the accounts scheme, in which it is thought to be wise to keep some sort of accounts of the receipts and expenditure for each colony. On the face of it that seems fair and feasible, but I do not think it would work We would have to keep distinct records; -we would have to keep a Customs-house on the borders of -each colony, not to collect a tax, but to collect information, because we are told if duty is paid in our colony and the goods are ultimately exported to New South Wales that New South Wales must get the duty which is paid in Victoria. How accounts are going to 'be kept to do that, considering that raw material may be brought into one ;colony and duty paid on it and then exported after it is manufactured into another colony, I fail to see. How could the proportion of the duty to be taken by each colony be fairly apportioned? I cannot see how correct accounts could be kept, and I may say that I have had some experience as Commissioner of Customs. It would lead to an expensive system of book-keeping, and it would lead to an increase of the expenditure, which would be  unwise. There is another objection. It would take away that supervision over the expenditure which is necessary, because if the money is simply collected and the proportion of the expenditure charged to the colony interested, the other colonies, not having the same degree of interest in keeping down expenditure, might agree to any expenditure, reasonable or unreasonable, which the colony more interested proposed to make. Then again, we would have one body-the State-practically finding the money, and another body-the Federal Parliament-expending it, which would necessarily give rise to friction. Again, at any time, supposing a levy had to be made, a State might turn round and say, "You have been squandering the money given you. If you had guarded it properly you could have carried on with the means at your disposal, and we will not give you any more." That position might be taken up by the Government of the day, or by the local Parliament, who might say, "We will not tax our people to repay you money which has been squandered." On full consideration we will find that that scheme is impossible to adopt, though I think from the figures I have seen the colony of which I have the honor to be one of the representatives would have no cause to complain, because a large amount of duty would be credited to it, and it would be impossible to ascertain the full amount thereof to be credited to the other colonies. Then we must not forget that when we have a uniform tariff it will make a difference in the amount of money to be collected. We will have a certain amount which will have to be raised, but although we raise the amounts now, we raise them on varying tariffs which each colony has adopted, and when we take them all into one we may collect more or we may collect less. It will all depend on the basis on which we frame the uniform tariff, and, therefore, it is not wise to say that the amounts we receive from Customs are so much, and to calculate that in the future it will bear the same ratio in each colony. In the post offices also there are certain services which are charged in one colony and not in another. So that one colony will probably lose and another may have to collect more, but in either circumstance the Federal Government will not receive the exact amount which is being collected at present. Another great difficulty is that we lose all our border duties, as they will no longer be collected. The loss has been put down at from £500,000 to £700,000.
Mr. WISE:  
£900,000.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
There is no doubt the colonies will be able to send goods manufactured in one colony into another, and the colony importing from abroad and at present paying duty will cease to pay. We will be sending from one colony to another a far larger amount of goods than we are sending at present, and where these goods are dutiable at present we will in the future lose that amount. To be on safe lines, we should put the loss down at much closer to a million. There are other matters, such as the interest on the bonded debt to be taken over; and then we will have to provide for all the expenses of the Federal Parliament. We are told that we will save a large amount on our interest bill. Of course eventually we can save a large sum, but we must not calculate that we will save the whole of the difference between £3 17s. per cent. on £180,000,000 and £3 per cent. on the same amount, because in the conversion we will have to pay a large bonus, as we will have to pay the market price of our stock and heavy expenses, and so we will not save the whole of the interest. We will be benefited, however, if we can have this conversion, as we will be able to have a stock in which trustees can deal, as they will be allowed by the Imperial Parliament to invest in the federal consols which will come into existence. We will also get a better price and a better market value, because when we are floating a loan there will be more customers. If we can make an interminable stock we will make great savings; but, looking at all the circumstances, we must remember that  in the first instance the savings will be small, and we will have also to provide a sinking fund. I believe that the wisest course is to have as little disturbance in the State finances as possible, and we should avoid friction between the State and the federal authority. If we can we should devise some means by which the whole of the various debts can be taken over, and that appears to me to be the course we should endeavor to pursue. I do not go the length of saying, nor do I concur with the views of those who say, that it is necessary to transfer the assets. It appears to me that the British moneylenders do not lend us money on our railways or public buildings, but that they lend on the general credit of the colonies, and that being so, there is no necessity to transfer the assets. I do not believe that for this purpose we need do it at all; but for other reasons it may possibly be wise for us to transfer the railways, or to give some controlling power over them. In taking over the debts of the colonies, I feel satisfied, at the present time, that we can easily leave the matter of the assets out of consideration. In all these matters we must try to follow out one rule, and as we know that there are richer colonies and that there are poorer colonies, the former must be prepared to make some sacrifice to allow the latter to enter this Federation. I do not mean that the richer colonies ought to be plundered or give up a large sum. but they ought to be prepared to say, "We are desirous, honestly and earnestly desirous, to have this Federation brought about and to bring our smaller States in with us, so that all of us may reap the benefit. We are prepared, to obtain that larger end, to make some reasonable sacrifice as far as we are concerned." We should speak with one voice, and all communications, either from the Federal Parliament or otherwise, should go through the one channel-the Governor-General for the time being. An important point, no doubt, will be the question of the federal capital, and it is a matter which we dare not attempt to fix at this time. It might be argued that it should be perambulating-wandering-from one colony to another.
HON. MEMBERS:  
No.
Sir GEORGE TURNER:  
Wandering from one colony to another with no fixed home. I do not believe in that; but I believe if we can leave the question of the uniform tariff to the new Parliament we can safely, and without fear of injustice to anyone, leave the question where the Federal Parliament is to have its home to the Federal Parliament. There is another important point I wish to speak on. We know we must not expect that all the colonies will come in at once with us, and therefore provision should be made in the hope that in the near future colonies which at first remain outside may come in; but we should not make the way either too easy or too strict. This is a matter upon which I am not prepared at the present time to express a decided opinion. It is a difficult matter to be thrashed out. We are going to enter into a bargain, and that bargain should be made binding as far as it should be reasonably binding, but at the same time we must not forget that difficulties will arise in the working of the Constitution, and troubles must ensue. Therefore we should take care that we have some reasonable mode for providing for amendments that may hereafter be necessary. If we make it too rigid we will have a Constitution that will not bend, but will probably break. The States must have a means to ascertain whether amendments may be made, or else we may have a repetition of what has happened in other places, and bloodshed may ensue. If the States desire some amendment which they cannot get the opinion of the other States upon, it may involve their desiring to leave altogether. I do not think we should make a Provision for the States leaving, for once they join they should join for all time, but they ought to know whether an amendment can be made. The Bill with  which, an a rule, I hold very strongly, provides that any amendment-the slightest amendment-has to obtain an absolute majority of both Houses of Parliament, and then by Convention has to obtain the majority of States. Well, I believe we would be perfectly safe if, instead of having an absolute majority, we left the matter to be decided by a simple majority in each of the two Houses. I would consult the people, but not by the roundabout method of a Convention, for men would be elected to the Convention frequently upon mere personal grounds, not upon the one particular point that might be at issue, but because he was personally popular, or because he was a gentleman who, desiring a seat, was in a position to travel throughout the length and breadth of a colony and advertise himself. If we want to ascertain whether any amendment ought to be made we can ascertain it by referring the matter directly to the people. I would be perfectly prepared to give to the people full control over all these amendments. It may be that if the one House desired to make an amendment the other House would block it. On the other hand neither House may make any move in the direction of amendment, and in either of such cases, if the colonies think the amendment ought to be made, there is no reason why we should not give to the State Parliaments the power to move in that direction. If a large number of States decide in their respective Parliaments that amendments in the Federal Constitution in a certain direction of the States must agree to amendments. Mr. Barton referred to the Swiss, to whom we can look for many useful lessons in dealing with this matter. If the two Houses under the Swiss Constitution agree that an amendment ought to be made, it is referred to the people by way of the referendum. If a majority of the cantons and a majority of the people decide that the amendment is a proper one it is made. Apart from that, under this Constitution 50,000 inhabitants still have the right to call for the referendum to decide whether a change shall be made. It the referendum decides that there is to be a change, both Houses give up their position, and an election takes place. If the new Parliament decides that the amendment should not be made, the matter will probably rest there; but if they agree as to what should be done, it is only when the people approve of the amendment that it becomes law. This is a simple mode of procedure, and one that we might adopt here. We ought not to give power to the federal body to alter the representation of a particular State unless that State agrees to the alteration. Here we have laid down a principle that the people are to frame the Constitution under which they are to live. Those who are to frame the Constitution should have full and ample power when an amendment is necessary to make such, just as they have the power to formulate the Constitution finally. Those, briefly, are the views I hold with regard to the main principles upon which our Federation should be based. There are many other details I would go into if I had the time, but it would be improper to delay the Convention, and I reserve the full right to myself, after hearing the arguments from those who have had greater experience than I have had in this matter, to change the views I am now giving the Convention. I am here only as a negotiator, not as a legislator, and if I find that other opinions that will be advanced during the debate are more acceptable to the people of Australia,  I will be only too glad to help to frame a Constitution in accordance with the wish of the people.

http://ns.ausnc.org.au/corpora/cooee/source/4-421#Text