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LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24. The Speaker took the chair at 4.30 p.m. MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY. The Premier laid on the table the report of the committee of the Museum and nrc Gallery for the year 1909-10. NOTICES. The following notices were given: Mr. Bath, to move for leave to introduce a Bill to amend the bread Act, 1903. Mr. Horan, to ask the Minister for Rail ways :-Does the Railway Department con template the removal of" the West Perth Loco. Depot to East Perth or other suburban station?" Mr. Horan, to ask the Minister for Mines: -"Is he satisfied that the present backward state of the geological survey of Western Australia warrants the granting of four months' leave of absence to the State Min ing Engineer?" aIr. Draper, to ask the Premier:-"Will the Government bring in a Bill this ses sion to amend the Public Service Act, 1904, with respect to (1) The payment of annual increments within a class up to the classifi2d value of the position; (2) The re-constitu tion of the Appeal Board?" Mr. Draper, to ask the Premier:-'L Have the Government refused to grant pen tions under the Superannuation Act to any persons for any reason other than miscon duct? (2) If so, under what authority and what are the names of the persons so re fused?" REPLIES TO QUESTIONS. The Minister for Railways, in reply to Mr. Swan, said that the alterations and ad ditions to the Railway Salaried Staff Regula tions, as per weekly notice 19, 1910, gazet ted during April, 1910, had been laid on the table of the House that afternoon. They were overlooked at the beginning of the scesion. The Premier, in reply to Mr. Piesse, said that he was aware that some local govern ing bodies, had protested against the !evy under the District Fire Brioadeas Act, 1909. In no instance were the focal authorities individually consulted before assessment otherwise than through their legally consti tuted representative on the Board. He sas not aware that the Fire Brigades Board had resolved to take legal proceedings against defaulting municipalities and Dis trict Roads Boards. The Colonial Secretary was at present in conference with the Board in regard to giving relief to the loca bodies. THE MARRIAGE ACT. Mr. Murphy obtained leave to introduce a Bill to amend the Marriage Act. 1894. The Bill was read the first time, and the second reading fixed for the next sitting. DISTRICT FIRE BRIGADES. Mr. Piesse moved:-"That there be pre pared and laid upon the table of the House a return showing (a) The municipalities and District Roads Boards that have been scheduled as contributors under the District Fire Brigades Act, 1909, setting forth the amount of contribution assessed against each local authority for the present year; (b) The basis upon which such contribution has been arrived at." He had, he said, brought forward the motion as a result of complaints made throughout the country districts. Only quite recently the Katanning Roads Board were called upon to pay £14U as a contribution towards the District Fire Brigades Board. He did not think that a District Roads Board should be called open to make such large contributions in view of the fact that the revenue at their disposal ,was very small and was required for road making. He could not see that under the present Act the Mipister had power to ex empt any districts from payment, and, if that were so, it would be necessary for the Government to bring forward an amending; measure so that relief might be provided in certain cases. Mr. Scaddan Laid that he must object to the motion by Mr. Piesse being placed first on the list of notices, seeing that it was not a formal mot~n and had been given notice of only on the previous day. The Premier pointed out that Mr. Piesse had given notice of the matter in the form of a question, and he (the Premier) had suggested that it should be put in the form of a motion. He did not anticipate that the hon. member was going to make any comment on it when it was placed on the top of the list. Personally, he was not pre pared to discuss the matter at the present time, and would have no objection to treat ing it as a formal motion. Mr. Brown said that as chairman of the Fire Brigades Board he had instructed the secretary to prepare the return, and he would be only too glad to give it to the hon. member. Mr: Jagoby, said that he hoped the House would agree to the motion. Mr. Taylor secured the adjournment of the debate. REVENUE FROM THE GOLDFIELDS. Mr. Collier moved :--'That there be laid upon the table of the House a return show ing: (1) The total amount of dividend tax collected last year. (2.) The proportion paid by companies operating on the eastern goldfields. (3.) The proportion of the revenue raised from the issue of licences for the manufacture and sale of beer, wines, ani spirituous liquors, collected on the east ern goldfields, or from persons or companies operating thereon. (4.) The amount of in come tax payable last financial year by persons living on the eastern goldfields." The Premier said that if the fourth para graph in the motion was omitted the other mformation would be procurable. Mr. Honlman moved that the fourth para raph should be deleted. The amendment was carried, and the mo tion as amended was agreed to. REPURCHASED ESTATES. Mr. Taylor moved;-"That there be laid upon the table a return showing the name, number, and acreage of estates purchased by the Government since 1902 for land set tlement purposes, with the price paid in each case, together with the name of the vendor. The motion was agreed to op the voices. FAICHING AND THE RAILWAY COM MISSIONER. Mr. Gill formally moved thte following
motion:-"That all Sles m connection wren the case of Faiching v. Commissioner for Railways, that recently came before the Perth local Court, be laid on the table of the House." The Minister for Mines said he would pre fer not to lay the papers on the table of the House, because there were certain mat ters contained in them dealing with wages and so forth, which should not be made public. He would be pleased to show the papers to Mr. Gill in his office. Leave was given to postpone the motion for a week: THE AVONDALE ESTATE. Mr. An"win formally moved the following motion:--'Tht all papers, including the report of the Land Purchase Board dstealing with the purchase by the Government of the Avondale Estate, situated in the Beverley district, from Messrs. Butcher Bros., be laid on the table of the House." The Minister for Lands said he. had no objection, and the motion Was agreed to. STATE SECONDARY SCHOOL. Mr. Daglish moved the following mo tion:-"That all papers relating to the ap ointment of the headmaster of the Secca dary School be laid upon the table of the House." In doing so he said his object was to enable members of the House to see if there were not already men on the staff of the department fit for the position. In that instance a man had been appointed from outside the State, comparatively young and inexperienced, and without any previous training, as the principal of an educational establishment. He was, of course, a highly educated gentleman, and fully qua lifieA from that aspect, but his capacity to organise a new and important institution snch as the State Secondary School was of necessity problematical. Mr. Collier: Was he appointed by the Public Service Commissioner? . Mr. Daglish said that the papers would show. At all events the gentleman lacked the experience which a large number of officers in the service undoubtedly possessed. If it were possible he should like to see in matters of that kind prior consideration given to those deserving officers who were already in the service. The Minister for Education said he would not oppose the motion, but thought the pro per time for a discussion would arrive when the papers were laid on the table. He would say, however, that in making the appoint ment regard was paid to the qualifications of officers already in the service. He was entirely at one with the mover in agree ing that other things being equal a local officer should be appointed. Unless, how ever, there were positive instructions to the department that in making its choice it must not go outside the State then he con tended that it should in making its selection endeavour to obtain the gentleman who seemed in every way most suited to the ap pointment. The particular gentleman m question had the highest qualifications, and the greatest promise of filling the post suc cessfully. The primary consideration was not so much the claims of the candidates but the advantages that would be likely to accrue to the school by the selection of this man or that. Mr. Murphy said that the question raised at once brought to mind that other ques tion of the grievances of civil servants. The preference, should, he contended, always be given to those servants who had faithfully carried out their duties for years past. The .thought of that promotion was an incentive to our civil servants to do their best: In many instances civil servants had been passed over in favour of outsiders. For in stance, a gentleman had recently been ap pointed over the heads of Government men equally qualified to the post of master of
the Old Men's Home. Then there had re cently been some peculiar transactions in connection with the Harbour Trust at Fre mantle. Mr. Daglish: All roads lead to Fremantle. (Laughter.) Mr. Murphy: And why not? It is the pivot of the State. Continuing, he pro ceeded to relate the circumstances surround ing the appointment at Fremantle of Pilot Clarke (late of the s.s. Koombana), who, he said, had had but little experience of the port. Mr. Collier: Why don't you include that in the motion? Mr. Murphy: I intend to move as an amendment that these papers also should be laid on the table. Mr. Bolton: Who appointed him? Mr. Murphy: It was not the Government. Continuing he said it was unfair on general grounds that State officers should be over looked if they were in any way fitted for positions that were vacant. He hoped that the papers would be laid upon the table, and that the civil servants would understand that they were to get as good a deal as any one outside. Mr. Bath agreed that the interests of those who were to receive instruction should be taken into consideration primarily, and if there were officers in the service of the State who were competent to fill the position, the fact that they had been in the service rlould be considered. It was remarkable to hear from the Minister that in the Education De partment there were not those who were competent to fill this position. The Minister for Education: I never made that admission. I said that the gentleman appointed was, in my opinion, the most competent. Mr. Bath said that seemed to be only characteristic of what unfortunately was too common throughout Australia. That was the depreciation of Australians, and in this instance it was the depreciation of the o..i cers of their own Department. The question of degrees acquired either at Oxford or Ade laide was not the only consideration in mak ing such an appointment. Mr. Daglish: It is the teacher, not the scholar Mr. Bath said that in the Education Do pertment there were many officers who had also secured degrees, and they had an addi tional advantage. The estabhihient of this secondary or modern school would be an other link in the educational system of the State, and he contended that the man who was best fitted to fill the office of head master of the school was the man who. had had experience in the educational work of the State. He (Mr. Bath) was not convinced that the fact that the selected applicant had secured degrees at Oxford was evidence of his qualifications to carry on the educa tional work as they knew it in this State. Western Australia was in some respects in advance in pflmary education compared with the old country and other parts of Australia and he believed there were gentlemen in that department whose qualifications so far as their training to be teachers was con cerned, and, more important still, their ex perience in local conditions and circum stances, rendered them superior for this special appointment to any other applicant from outside. That being so he held that the best selection had not been made. Mr. Jacoby: Can you spy that without seeing the applications? Mr. Bath said from general knowledge he could say that the qualifications and experi ence of the local applicants rendered them superior, and he did not think the Minister had appointed the gentleman who was best fitted for the position. He did not want to disparage the qualifications of the gente man who had been appointed, but he did believe that there were officers already in the Department who were specially and peculiarly fitted for the position. The Minister for Works thought that members would do well to wait until the papers were tabled before they discussed the merits of the appointment. He knew that chis appointment had been carefully con sidered by the Inspector-General and by the Public Service Commissioner, and the papers were closely scrutinised by the Minister. He oelieved when members saw the papers and evidences of the care that had been exer cised they would conclude, although they were all desirous that their own people should have the preference, all things being equal, that a very wise appointment had been made. He agreed that University de grees should not be;the only consideration, and that there were many other qualifica tions required for a successful headniaster of a secondary school, and they could not af ford to make any mistakes in extending the education system out of sentimental con sideration for anyone. Mr. Jacoby held that many disappaint ments had occurred in this State and in other parts of Australia by trusting entirely to written credentials and recommendations, but he thought it would be found when the papers were scrutinised that the appoint ment in this instance was a wise one. In the Inspector-General, the Civil Service Comi missioner, and the Minister for 'Education they .had a qeIectidi board that it would Sb impossible to improve upon, and they cbuld have every confidence in the appoinment which they had'made. Mr. Daglish aid his contention was that the gentleman appointed had not had that practical experience in organisation or in school control that was necessary. The member for Swan had stated that there had been numerous instances of failure through appointing officers merely because they were in the service. No one was advo cating such a course as that. His conten tion had been that no man should be de barred from an appointment merely because he happened to belong to the State. He argued also that it had been possible to make an appointment from the officers of the Western Aust-alian service. He under stood that the Minister had made a physiog nomical assay of the appointee before ac. cepting his credentials. (Laughter.) When he had an opportunity of'perusing the papers he would again refer to the subject. The motion was agreed ,to. THE LIQUOR TRADE. Mr. Murphy moved that a return be laid upon the table showin--(1) The capital Ivalue (approximate) of the premises ustd in the manufacture or sale of beer, wines, and spirituous liquors in the Stat:; (2) the num ber of employees engaged in the liquor trade in the State. He said that the inforniatios would be easily obtainable, and would be mefu1 in tha rChamber laet on.
ýMr. Daglish moved as an amendment that the return should also show the rental value. Mr. Murphy accepted the amendment, which was not seconded. Mr. Foulkes then moved the addition of the following words:-(3) The amounts paid as annual rent and ingoing for licences with respect to houses licensed to sell liquors, and the amounts paid to the State annually for such licences by the licenisees. Mr. Angwin hoped that the effect of the motion. if it were adopted, would not be to delay the Licensing Bill. The Attorney-General: I am afraid it will. The Minister for Works said that the re turn would take a long time to prepare, and would possibly cost a considerable sum of money. There was some information in the possession of the Department already, although it was not nearly so complete as what this return was designed to supply. The magnitude of the task would be recog nised when they remembered that there were 1,200 licences throughout the State. Ho very much feared that the information would not be ready for consideration along - with any measure introduced that session. " Mr. Bath commanded the mover of the motion to possess his soul in patience until 1911, when the information he sought would be compiled in connection with the census. b Mr. Muiphy said he would accept the I amendment moved by Mr. Foulkes. The question was of sufficient importance to justify them in asking that information from all standpoints should be submitted to the House. At the same time he did not want to see the Bill delayed. Let the Gov ernment proceed with the measure, and he would have to be satisfied with what in E formation was available. Mr. Foulkes asked whether the informa tion collected by the Crown Law Depart menb with regard to the amounts paid for rent and ingoing in respect of a certain number of licences would in the meantime be laid on the table. The Attorney-General replied in the af firmative. The motion as amended was then agreed to. WORKERS' COMPENSATION BILL. Mr. Hudson moved the second reading of the Workers' Compensation Act Amendment 1 Bill. which he had broueht forward in ore vious sessions. He said that last session a Bill exactly the same as that before the House had reached the Committee stage. As the Bill had been fully explained on previous occasions he did not intend to speak at length on it. He. however, urged upon the Government the necessity for giving an op portunity for the earlv assage of the Bill this sission. The principles of the parent measure had not been departed from. A few amendments had been rendered by experi ence in the administration of the Act, and 1 the Bill made provision for the enlarge ment of some of the definitions, so as to extend the operations of the Bill. Tho principal one was in regard to. the number of, persons who would be affected by the measure.when it became law. A similar provision with regard to the defin?tion of S'worker" was included in the English Act of 1906. and we Lad the experience of its operation in England. Another amendment was the extension of th; benefits of the " Act to persons suffering from disease con tracted in an industry. This had particular application to the mining industry, but it referred only to those who lost their lives or contracted diseases peculiar to that indus - try. The measure had been working sati. factorily in England. The Minister for Mines said that the mea " sure, although small in compass, fairly brist
led with amendments of importance to vari ous industries. There was only one pro vision of the amending Bill he desired to deal with. That was the clause which would enable a worker who contracted dis ease to recover compensation from the em ployer for whom he was working at the time he became affected with the complaint. He felt sure that the hon. member was try ing to do some good to the persons working in a very big industry, but the question was whether they were going on the right lines. He had never heard of the death of a person being ascribed to silicosis or an, thracosis. It would be an extremely diffi cult thing for a doctor to swear that any patient was suffering from those diseases. He was very much under the impression that by having the proposed clauses in the Act they would cause an enormous amount of trouble at first between the employer and the employee. He was afraid that the employers would refuse to engage men un less after medical examination it was proved that they were not suffering from or were not likely to contract silicosis. At the pre sent time he had power under the Mines Regulation Act to draft regulations dealing with the examination and exclusion from the mines of persons likely to be aected by . tuberculosis and other diseases, but he had purposely refrained from taking such ac tion. It was a moot point whether they had not acted wrongly in not insisting that any person suffering from tuberculosis should not be allowed to work underground. Until some provision was made for men who would be prevented from following their usual calling, he did not like to take any action. He had always felt, however, that in the interests of those who had good health something should be done to prevent others suffering from the disease from work ing underground beside them. He felt sure that the workmen would refuse to undergo a medical examination, with the result that they would be bound to have labour trou bles throughout the goldfields. The Gov ernment were not in the position of the New Zealand Government of having an accident insurance company of their own. So far as he could read the Bill, it appeared to him that it would cause nothing but trouble all round. Silicosis, he understood, was a difficult disease to diagnose. It was a slow insidious complaint, and a person might be suffering from it for 10 years and be able to go on with his ordinary avoca tion without showing any bad result. Yet the person who was employing the man at the time he suddently discovered that he was suffering from the disease would be com pelled to pay compensation, although the disease might have been contracted in an other part of the world, or in an adjoining mine. The Bill set out that the employer could sue somebody else who had previously employed the man, but the whole of the difficulty would be upon the person who had last employed the man. In regard to the clauses dealing with the 'ihalation of gases, he thought they would be starting in the wrong way if they adopted them. He did not know that they were not wrong in re gard to the whole principle of the Work men's Compensation Act. He thought it would be possible to initiate some system by which .both the employer and the employee and-he was only speaking for himself-the State also should subscribe to a workers' compensation fund. The man who was pre pared to battle for himself, such as the prospector and the small mine-owner, was not protected in any sense under the Act. it was only the wages man who was pro tected. If instead of limiting the amount payable in the event of death that amount could be increased, there would be no difli culty so far as the mining. companies were concerned in accepting the proposition. If they had a measure such as that they should try to shake it apply to the person who was working his own mine m the event of his contracting disease or accident the same as the man who was working for wages. When they had litigation there was always a certain amount of feeling. It had been pointed out that when an accident occurred, and the manager had come for ward with assistance, and sent a man away for the sake of his health, it had been held in cases of action being subsequently taken to be an admission of liability. The result was that in cases of accident the managers were afraid now to give assistance in the early stages. Mr. Hudson: There is an opportunity here to make a short amendment to rectify that. The Minister for Mines said he had not consulted the Premier on the question, but it seemed to him that it would be advisable to have the subject dealt with by a Select Committee, so that they would get the best possible measure. As it was at pre sent the Bill would do a lot of injury to the mining industry, and he would not be prepared to support the second reading. The second reading was agreed to on the voices, and the Committee stage was fixed -for Wednesday next. TRIBUTERS BILL. Mr. Walker moved the second reading of the Tributers Bill, the object of which he said was to give some relief and some se curity to those workers who were classed as tributers on the goldfields-those who were not owners of mines or leases, but who did .most of the developing dnd prospecting work. Those tributers were too often treated some. what harshly. Considering the good they did the mining industry m keeping many mines going, the department charged too much in the way of a licence fee. The Bill, therefore, proposed to reduce the fee from £1 to 5s., which was a fair sum and would not mean any loss to the revenue. It also provided that tributes should be in de finite written form, and that there should be a penalty for not signing tributes. Again, any special development work, over and above the conditions of the agreement, done at the request of the owner or lessee, should be paid for in cash at the current rate of wages. Too often the tributer was turned off a mine as soon as he struck payable" stone, and the Bill proposed to obviate that by enacting that the tribute should be for at least six months. One of the main fea tures of the Bill was clause 8, which, for the purpose of the Workers Compensation Act, said that tributers should be workers in the employ of the other party to the tribute. This was a reasonable prevision, seeing that many a mine would have to be forfeited if it were not for the fact that the tributers were deemed to be workers ful filling the labour conditions. The Bill fuir ther proposed a species of compulsory in
surance to cover tee owner or lessee aganst liability under the Workers Compensation Act. To that end a fixed scale of weekly payments in proportion to the tributer's es timated average weekly earnings was pro. vided for, and it was stipulated that the compensation be paid on an estimate of the tributer's weekly earnings. There was also a penalty for contributions otherwise exacted. The Bill if passed into law would be of vast benefit to a large number of miners on the goldfields. The Minister for Mines said that any question affecting the granting of tributes had to be approached very gingerly. Trouble had arisen in Victoria where Bendigo had dsired a certain line of action to be fol lowed with reference to tributes, while Bal. larat favoured a different policy. Tributers, be thought, should be able to apply to the warden for an extension of their tribute in the event of development work occupying longer than they had at first anticipated. A tributer under a six months' agreement might spend the whole .of that period in purely development work, the benefit of which would then accrue to the leaseholder. He had had in contemplation the framing - of a regulation empowering a warden under such circumstances to grant an. extension of the tribute. The tributer as a rule was a splendid type of man, and as a class the tributers had done a good deal to stimulate the mining industry. They took responsi bilities and risks and were deserving of every encouragement. If they were to bring them under the Workers Compensation Act it would probably be found advisable to as sess the compensation according to the weekly earnings of those following a simi lar calling, namely, mining. As to the measure as a whole it would be desirable to obtain an expression of opinion from the gcldfields. The second reading was agreed to, and the committee stage was fixed for Septem ber 7. GERALDTON MUNICIPALITY GAS SUPPLY BILL. ,Mr. Carson, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said that its object was to em power the municipality of Geraldton to ao quire the Geraldton Gas Works from the Colonial Gas Association, Ltd. Some 14 years ago the right to supply gas to the town was given to the Association, the agreement being for 21 years, with a pro vision that the municipality could purchase the works at the expiration of 14 years on giving 12 months' notice. This notice had been given, and the present Bill was neces. sary to complete the contract with the com. pany. The gas works were a paying con cern, and the proposition was a good one for the municipality of Geraldton. There had been no objection raised by the rate payers to the purchase of the works, and it was now only necessary to get the Bill through. The second reading was carried on the voices, and the consideration of the Bill in committee was fixed for Wednesday next.L ADJOURNMENT. At 9.35 p.m. the House adjourned to 4.3C p.m. on the following day.