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The Gatton Tragedy Exposed At Last. An Examination Of The Secrets And Lies.
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Percy Galbraith V Frederick Urquhart
In the aftermath of the shearers strikes of 1891 and 1894 the government in all its wisdom restructured the Police Force and on the 29/04/1897 announced the following promotions, &c, in the Police Force of the colony will be notified in Saturday's "Government Gazette": -First-class Sub-inspector Frederick Charles Urquhart to be a second-class Inspector; second-class Sub-Inspector James D. Nethercote to be a first class sub-Inspector, to take effect from 1st July proximo.
Both of the above officers to be assigned to the Brisbane sub-district.
First-class Sub-Inspector John Warren White to be assigned to Brisbane sub-district; first class Sub-Inspector Herbert Rowland Pasley Durham to be assigned to the Darling Downs sub-district; and third-class Inspector D. Toohey to be assigned to Charters Towers sub-district.
Of these Urquhart, White and Durham were promoted over the heads of far more experienced officers resulting in a great deal of ill feeling in the Queensland Police Force.
Tyranny and Hatred
By late 1898 Percy Dumas Fead Galbraith, the ambitious 45 year old Irish born 2nd Class Sub Inspector is quietly harbouring an intensely deep hatred for the tyrannical and domineering 1st Class Inspector Frederick Charles Urquhart, who has over stepped his authority and is now all
but running the police force right under the nose of Commissioner William Edward Parry-Okeden (who reluctantly accepted the position) and his ineffectual deputy Chief Inspector John Stuart.
As a member of the powerful Masonic order Urquhart is determined to keep the Catholic Irish in their place in the force.
The hatred started early in 1897 when Urquhart enlisted the services of a henchman Sergeant Denis Shanahan to spy on the rank and file of the police, primarily the Irish.
One long serving member of the force and a good friend of Galbraith, Detective Thomas Seymour objected to these underhanded tactics and in a drunken rage assaulted Urquhart’s spy Shanahan and threatened to kill him.
Detective Seymour was handcuffed and placed in the cells.
At the ensuing police magistrate hearing Urquhart underhandedly urged Seymour to plead guilty and accept whatever fine was awarded and the matter would be finished.
Seymour was later fined £2, and contrary to Urquhart’s promise Seymour was later dismissed from the force.
A harsh punishment for a man with a long and unblemished record in the force.
With Galbraith’s assistance by way of a written recommendation Seymour managed to gain employment as a wharf detective.
Urquhart however got wind of this and on the very same day Seymour began his new job Urquhart had him sacked and Seymour retaliated by suing Urquhart for defamation in the following manner: -
The hearing of an action by Thomas Seymour, an ex-member of the Criminal Investigation branch of the Police Force, against Inspector F. C. Urquhart was commenced in the District Court yesterday, before his Honour Judge Parr and a jury of four.
The plaintiff claimed £200 for slanderous words alleged to have been used about him by the defendant.
Mr. E. Lilley (Instructed by Mr. J. B. Forde) appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Feez (instructed by Messrs. Thynne and Macartney) for the defendant.
Elliott Bland, joint manager of the B.I. and A.U.S.N. Companies, stated that the plaintiff was engaged as a wharf constable to the A.U.S.N. Company, and commenced his duties on 21st March. Later on the same day Inspector Urquhart called upon him, and asked if it was a fact that he had employed a man named Seymour as a wharf constable. Witness said he had. He then asked who had recommended him, and witness answered that he
believed Sub Inspector Galbraith had done so, but he believed it was a departmental recommendation. The defendant asked if be knew that the plaintiff had been dismissed from the Police Force for a serious offence. Witness said he did not. The defendant then stated that the plaintiff had been dealt with by a bench of magistrates, and witness might have seen it in the papers. He added that the recommendation was not a departmental one. Witness had given
instructions that any new wharf constable should be engaged under the auspices of the police, and when the plaintiff appeared with a recommendation from Sub-inspector Galbraith witness accepted his services. The defendant stated he felt satisfied that the plaintiff would not work in with the police. After that witness gave instructions for plaintiff to be dismissed.
Cross-examined by Mr. Feez: Inspector Urquhart did not give witness the details of the offence for which the plaintiff had been dismissed, but he informed witness that the plaintiff had been handcuffed and placed in the cells.
Re-examined by Mr. Lilley: He dismissed the plaintiff because he thought that he would not work with the police. The paramount point with witness was to have a man who was in touch with the police. When he saw that plaintiff could not fulfil that requirement he dismissed him.
Thomas Law Johnston, master mariner, and at present acting marine superintendent of the B.I. and A.U.S.N. Companies, stated that the plaintiff was employed as a probationary wharf constable. Prior to engaging him witness had asked Sub-inspector Galbraith to recommend him a good smart man for the position of wharf constable. Subsequently the plaintiff came to him with a letter from Sub-inspector Galbraith, and he was engaged as a
probationer, at a salary of £2 10s. a week. After the plaintiff had commenced duty Mr. Bland informed witness that it would not do for them to keep him on as a serious charge had been made against him by Inspector Urquhart. The latter stated on that occasion that plaintiff had been before the magistrates on a serious charge. Mr. Bland instructed witness to discharge the plaintiff, and be did so.
Cross-examined by Mr. Feez: After his dismissal plaintiff said he would not take the billet then if it were offered to him. Witness had asked Sub-inspector Galbraith to recommend him a man merely because he happened to meet that gentleman casually.
Sub-Inspector Galbraith stated that after Captain Johnston had asked him if he knew a suitable man for a wharf constable be wrote a letter recommending the plaintiff to him. When he did that he did not know all the circumstances connected with his dismissal.
Cross-examined by Mr. Feez: He had nothing to do with the Criminal Investigation Branch. Seymour had never been under him, but he knew him by his work. On the facts, as he knew them, he thought he was justified in writing the letter recommending the plaintiff. There was an inquiry being held into witness's technical right to give a recommendation of that sort.
The letter was not written officially. It was a private letter from himself to Captain Johnston. He did not know that Inspector Urquhart's conduct in going to Mr. Bland and making the statement about plaintiff bad been approved by the Commissioner of Police and the Chief Inspector of Police. He believed it had been approved by the latter.
Henry M'Cosker, private detective in the employ of Messrs. Wm. Howard Smith and Sons, Limited, also gave evidence.
Thomas Seymour, the plaintiff, stated that he was a member of the Police Force for ten years, and was dismissed on the 3rd February last. On the 3rd March he was engaged as a wharf constable by the A.U.S.N. Company. He commenced work at 9 o'clock on the 21st March, and he was dismissed at 1 o'clock on the same day. The statement that he would not work in with the police, or assist the Criminal
Investigation Department, by giving information, was not true. He never said anything to Inspector Urquhart or any one, else to lead them to believe that he would not assist that department. The result of Inspector Urquhart's action had been that he had lost his billet, and considerable injury had been done to his reputation.
Cross-examined by Mr. Feez: He was dismissed for a breach of the Police Act. He pleaded guilty to having assaulted one of his superior officers. He believed he threatened to shoot Sergeant Shanahan, the officer in charge of the muster-room, and next to Inspector Urquhart, in the Criminal Investigation Branch.
Re-examined by Mr. Lilley: He had had no personal differences with Inspector Urquhart.
This closed the case for the plaintiff.
Mr. Feez moved for a nonsuit on the grounds that there was no case to go to the jury, and that the words used by the defendant were privileged.
His Honour declined to nonsuit.
Inspector Urquhart, the defendant, stated that the plaintiff was dismissed from the police service. The actual cause of his dismissal was that he was convicted of an offence before the Police Court. The offence of which he was convicted was drunkenness, and assaulting and threatening a superior officer.
The plaintiff was very drunk and violent, and reluctantly witness had to have him put in the cells.
Plaintiff pleaded guilty before the Police Court, and was fined £2. Witness had often been consulted as head of the Criminal Investigation Branch by Mr. Elliott Bland about the work on the wharves, to detect pillaging, &c. When he heard that Seymour had been appointed as a wharf constable he was told that his name had been used in connection with the matter, and he went to see Mr. Elliott Bland. He had no ill-feeling toward the
plaintiff, but on the contrary on previous occasions when his conduct had been brought under his notice was very lenient to him.
Mr. Bland informed him that plaintiff had been recommended by Sub inspector Galbraith, and witness asked if he regarded that as a police recommendation. Mr. Bland said he did, because he had sent out instructions that police recommendations were to be brought by persons applying for the position of wharf constable. Witness asked if he knew that Seymour had been dismissed from the service. Mr. Bland said he did not; that the
recommendation stated that he had left the force. Witness replied that that was not the case, as Seymour had been dismissed for misconduct. He added that plaintiff had left the service on such terms with a number of the members of the Criminal Investigation Branch that he felt sure that he would not work cordially with that branch.
Plaintiff was especially on bad terms with Shanahan, who was next to witness in executive charge of the branch. What was the cause of the trouble between them he had not heard, and he never knew. His object in going to Mr. Bland was to ascertain by whom the recommendation had been given, and whether his name had been used in the matter.
Cross-examined by Mr. Lilley: He went to Mr. Bland entirely of his own accord. He found that his name had not been used. He regarded Mr. Galbraith's letter as a departmental recommendation. He did not go there for the purpose of getting the plaintiff removed. Up to February last the plaintiff's record had been a very good one.
His Honour, at the request of Mr. Feez, directed the jury that the onus of proof of bad faith in the matter did not rest with the defendant. It was for the plaintiff to show a want of good faith.
The jury, after deliberating for some time, answered questions put by his Honour, as follows: -
Mr. Feez moved for judgment for the defendant.
His Honour entered judgment accordingly, with the costs of six witnesses.
In retaliation for this action Urquhart arranged for many of Seymour’s sympathisers to be transferred and knowing the power Urquhart now wielded some even feared for their physical safety.
It was now Urquhart and Shanahan under the cover of Stuart and Okeden, on one side and the rest of the force on the other.
Worse was to come for Urquhart, at a Parliamentary sitting he was publicly remonstrated and described as black-hearted tyrannical leader, despised by many in the force.
This is borne out by the following extract from a Parliamentary sitting on the 22/09/1898: -
The Estimates were further considered in Committee in the Legislative Assembly yesterday.
On item-"Police, £172,478,"
Mr. BROWNE asked why it was so many policemen were required in the Southern division, while a much less number was placed in the Central and Northern districts?
Mr. DICKSON said the decision as to the distribution of the force was left to the Commissioner of Police. No instructions were issued by the department as to the concentration of men in any particular localities. The greater populations in the Southern districts necessitated a greater number of police there. Throughout the colony there were 262 stations, and this showed that the police were well distributed. The Commissioner must be
entirely unfettered, and he (Mr. Dickson) would be sorry to bind him to any hard and fast rules.
The numbers of police on 30th June last were:-In Brisbane and West Moreton, with a population of 93,200, 251; Toowoomba and Darling Downs, 61; Roma and Maranoa, 36; Charleville and Thargomindah, 41; Wide Bay and Maryborough 71; Rockhampton and Port Curtis, 70; Longreach, 65; and so on.
In New South Wales, with a population of 1.323.460, there was a Police Force of 1506, or as one to 702, the cost per inhabitant being 5s. 01/2d.
In Queensland there was one police to 578, the cost being 6s. 11 1/2d. But in considering the large extent of territory, it was found that while there was one policeman in New South Wales to every 602 square miles, in Queensland there was only one to every 797 square miles, showing that the numbers in reality were very reasonable.
Mr. GLASSEY said it was quite right for the Minister to throw the onus of attending to the Police Force upon the Commissioner, but he thought there was a very large Police Force throughout the colony. The fact that there were 250 odd men in the locality of Brisbane for 92,000 of people showed that pressure had been brought by the men to be allowed to remain in the vicinity of the metropolis. He might be erroneous in his conclusion,
but it was regrettable to see such a large increase. Unless the Commissioner of Police, through the Minister, could convince the House as to the necessity for this increase of men and money, he could certainly not concur in it.
Mr. DICKSON said that the Commissioner of Police had reported that the Brisbane district had been considerably undermanned, and the men were worked to such an extent that they could not be in that state of efficiency desired. This was upheld by complaints, which had reached him from various suburbs. He gave the Commissioner credit for an earnest effort to create a creditable body, both physically and morally, and he would not have
sanctioned the small increase had he not considered it necessary.
Mr. GLASSEY said he thought it well that the Minister should have a wholesome check on the department. They were there to watch with a jealous eye any increased expenditure, and members must be observant to see that every increase was justified. In the Winton district, where they were told there was a deal of crime, and to which attention had been drawn some few years ago, there were but fifteen men, and so in other such districts. If
the House agreed to grant this increase, then he would not stand in the way; but he viewed it with alarm, and particularly this perpetual amount of £500 to the superannuation fund.
Mr. SMITH did not consider that the material at hand to strengthen the force was sufficient, and the matter of suitable horses, too, should be considered. He would like to know if the wants of his district had been attended to.
Mr. DICKSON said the Commissioner in formed him that additional police had been sent to Bowen. In answer to the remarks of Mr. Glassey, he said he held in his hand reports from inspectors and sub-Inspectors regarding the deficiency of police. One from Inspector Urquhart referring to the necessity for seventy more constables. They need not delude themselves with the idea that while new centres were developed, the force was to remain
stationary. The majority of the public were law-abiding citizens; but the precautions were necessary.
Mr. SMITH noted with pleasure the appointment of a Northern Inspector.
Mr. G. THORN was sure that the distribution of police was safe in the hands of the Commissioner. He thought the population of the Brisbane district was underestimated, and it must be remembered that Brisbane was the training-ground of the force.
Mr. KERR said he understood that under this vote he would be in order to refer to a police officer who was also an electoral registrar. He would prove to the Commissioner that this officer had made a threat to a certain businessman that if he voted for him (Mr. Kerr) he would make things too hot for him. There was also the officer at Isisford acting as electoral registrar. As to his (Mr. Carmody's) capabilities, he had nothing to say;
but he had refused to attest claims to be placed upon the roll. The ground for doing so was that he did not know the men the requisite number of months that they were supposed to have resided in the electorate.
Mr. DICKSON said he thought it was undesirable that charges of this kind should be made against a public officer until the officer had had an opportunity for explanation. The previous night Mr. Kerr charged men, if not with partisanship, at least with conducting themselves in a manner that would not advance public business. But before he brought his charge he ought to have let members hear what the officers had to say.
Mr. Kerr said they declined to attest; for men at Tambo.
Mr. KERR: That there was a threat against a man at Tambo.
Mr. DICKSON said if Mr. Kerr would get information he would have an investigation made. He did not think charges should be made in the House without good grounds, because it might prevent men from doing their duty. Registrars had a certain course of rules to follow. If the registrar had conscientious objections, and was satisfied, he could not be blamed for objecting. But if a man declined to attest out of spite, and it was proved, he
would promise not only censure but removal. As to the Tambo officer, he understood he was only placed there quite recently.
Mr. KERR: He is only acting.
Mr. DICKSON said it was quite possible this officer did not fully recognise what were his duties. It was quite possible he might not have satisfied himself as to the applicants' claims.
Mr. KERR: I am not referring to him at Isisford.
Mr. DICKSON said he would like to hear what the other side had to say. Let Mr. Kerr supply him with charges, and he promised that the fullest inquiries would be made. But be would not censure an officer unless he knew he deserved it.
Mr. KERR said he was satisfied with the reply of the Home Secretary. The gentleman affected was in Brisbane at the present time, and he would get him to sign the complaint and forward it. He desired now to ask about the item of fencing police paddocks, in which there was an increase of the vote. Who were supposed to use the paddocks?
Mr. DICKSON said the paddocks were supposed to be exclusively kept for the police. If the police magistrate wanted to put his horses in, he had to ask permission. There appeared to be some history attached to the paddocks in the Barcoo district.
Mr. KERR said he was not particularly referring to the Barcoo paddocks; but representations had been made to him that policemen in charge of stations had allowed drovers to put their horses in the paddocks. He also pointed out that some police officers kept a large number of horses in the paddocks.
Mr. DICKSON said if this occurred it was very irregular. But the Commissioner had received no complaint about the matter.
Mr. KERR said the reason no complaint was made was that he did not know it the practice was regular. Now that he knew, he would place his information at the disposal of the Commissioner.
Mr. M'DONALD asked if it was intended to allow police officers to attest claims? In some cases there were no justices of the peace within a radius of miles.
Mr. DICKSON quoted from the Act to show the persons who were allowed to attest claims, and said he could not go outside the four corners of the Act.
Mr. DUNSFORD discussed the statement in the Commissioner's report in which he said that the percentage of the convictions to arrests was steadily increasing, and he questioned whether the reason was that the police were coping with crime. He also pointed out that the Home Secretary had not divulged his intentions with regard to Sunday trading, concerning which the Commissioner had reported the ineffective efforts of the police to put
it down, owing to the organised system adopted.
Mr. DICKSON said he believed that the greater number of convictions was due to the greater efficiency of the force. He could not at present outline any policy for the suppression of the Sunday liquor traffic. He had not so far been impressed with the necessity for opening the houses for period on Sundays. Some persons would always defy the law. A system of private detectives would have a flowering moral tendency, and it had to be
considered, too, whether the punishment of people found drinking in the houses could be compassed. He could do no more than say that the Government had expressed the desire that the matter should receive very full consideration.
Mr. M'DONNELL said dissatisfaction existed as to the way some of the promotions carne about. The Commissioner in his report condemned outside influence; but the position was peculiar. If cases were brought up in the House, the men suffered. Amongst other illustrations he stated that in connection with the enforcement of the "move on" clause in Brisbane, a gentleman charged with an offence had waited upon the Commissioner,
and the case had been hushed up. He also spoke of the Jubilee Fund, to which, it was said, 92 per cent of the men had contributed; yet the constables were not represented on the board of administration. Another matter was the dismissal of ex-Detective Seymour. He did not question anything that had taken place in the dismissal, but the officer had always borne a good character previously. Seymour, after his dismissal, had obtained a civil appointment, from
which he had been dismissed on the representations of Inspector Urquhart, and this action deserved strong condemnation. This inspector was regarded as a most tyrannical officer. An action at law had been taken by Seymour against Urquhart, but he had lost the case.
Mr. DALRYMPLE: Did he not get justice?
Mr. M'DONNELL said the evidence of the, inspector had some bearing.
Mr. FOXTON: Give us the summing up.
Mr. M'DONNELL commenced to read the whole case; but, amidst a small storm of interjections, changed his mind, and read the evidence of Inspector Urquhart bearing on Seymour's previous good character. In face of the evidence, Inspector Urquhart had acted in a manner, which merited the condemnation, at least, of the Committee.
Mr. FOXTON: He was able to defend himself very well.
Mr. M'DONNELL: But he had to admit that up to the time of the row the man bore an excellent character in the force. Public opinion in Brisbane was that the man had been harshly treated. It was the feeling of some members that a reduction in the vote should be moved to mark their displeasure at this man's action. He would not have mentioned the matter, but for the fact that the inspector had made the lives of many men under him very
unpleasant it appeared, from same occurrences, that the Inspector dominated the Commissioner.
Mr. DICKSON said charges had been made under three heads, favouritism by the Commissioner, the Jubilee Fund, and the Seymour case. Mr. M'Donnell was too prejudiced. He gave credence to statements without ascertaining if there was any foundation for them. The charge of partiality against the Commissioner was unjustifiable, and he (Mr. Dickson) resented the accusations without some foundation being shown. The Commissioner gave the
matter an emphatic denial; the circumstances of the case were never brought under his notice. It was too bad that a man holding such a responsible position should be condemned merely upon rumours.
Mr. M'DONNELL: I do not advocate political patronage.
Mr. DICKSON said the Commissioner had been charged with partiality, and the charge bed not been maintained. With regard to the Diamond Jubilee Fund, the report stated that 92 per cent of the force voluntarily contributed to it. The sum collected was now in the bank. It had reached £600, which the Commissioner thought too small as yet to make a proper start with. But the Commissioner had informed him some time ago that as soon as the
fund had reached a greater amount trustees would be appointed.
Mr. KEOGH: Why did the department interfere?
Mr. DICKSON said the desire of the company had been to employ a man actually connected with the department, and it was a knowledge of this, which had led to the action of the inspector, who was not, however, responsible for what had followed.
Mr. LEAHY: Was it not the inspector's duty to communicate with the head of the department? He is not the head of the force.
Mr. DICKSON read the Commissioner's memo, to him on the matter, in which the action of Sub-inspector Galbraith was regretted and condemned. The whole thing was summarised in a memo, placed in his hands by the Commissioner that day. He subsequently offered to lay all the papers on the table. In reply to subsequent inquiries, he said Galbraith had been censured. He could see nothing reprehensible in the conduct of Inspector Urquhart; he
acquitted him of any bitterness against Seymour. He likewise acquitted the Commissioner of partiality. He had conducted a difficult inquiry, and had been called upon to censure an old and trusted officer.
Mr. M'DONELL: Has Urquhart been censured also?
Mr. DICKSON said he saw nothing to censure him for. He went on to read Mr. Urquhart's application that the costs of his action should be paid by the department, and on this a report by the Commissioner to the Chief Inspector. In this report the Commissioner stated that Inspector Urquhart should have reported the circumstances to the Chief Inspector, as action ought have been taken through the department and not by any officer on his
own initiation. The Commissioner stated that did he not think that the inspector had been prompted by his sense of duty, he would not recommend to the Minister that the costs be paid by the Police Department. Further than this he (Mr. Dickson) did not think Inspector Urquhart was deserving of any censure.
Mr. M'DONNELL said the last document proved that he was justified in bringing the matter forward. He pointed out that partly through Inspector Urquhart's action the results had followed Seymour since he had left Brisbane in search of work. With regard to the other case, his information, he believed, was as reliable as it could be, and he declined to accept the statement of the Commissioner. Cases were sent on to the Transit Board, of
which the Commissioner was a member, and they were thereby suppressed.
Mr. DICKSON: The Commissioner maintains that the case had never been brought under his notice.
Mr. M'DONNELL said he intended to mark his displeasure of the action in connection with the Seymour case by moving a reduction in the vote. He would do so at a later stage,
Mr. KEOGH thought the man Seymour had been unjustly treated. He also maintained that members in the lower branches of the service had not received justice from the Commissioner. He did not think the promotion of officers had been carried out irrespective of influence.
Mr. DICKSON. You are bringing influence to bear now.
Mr. KEOGH said a commission should be appointed, not to allow the Commissioner and his underling to air their views, but where the men could be heard. He would not repeat the expressions of the Commissioner, Mr. Parry-Okeden, which had been addressed to him after the House adjourned for tea.
Mr. HAMILTON: You are afraid. Mr. KEOGH: I am not.
Mr. HAMILTON said the passage between Mr. KEOGH and Mr. Parry-Okeden had arisen through the hon. member saying that the Commissioner had never given men of his race or creed a show. The Commissioner had replied that if this had been said outside he would say Mr. Keogh was a liar; and he (Mr. Hamilton) thought he could not have said less. He did not think appointments should be made so much on the recommendations as by virtue of the
merit of the men, and he asked the Home Secretary if he would have the papers in connection with the whole matter printed.
Mr. DICKSON: I will do so.
Mr. LEAHY regretted the introduction of the sectarian element by Mr. Keogh, and said, from a lengthy acquaintance with Mr. Parry-Okeden, be considered he was not in any way bigoted. Everyone was dissatisfied with his position, and this was not confined to the police, because many of those present thought they should be on the front benches.
Mr. BROWNE: Do you speak feelingly? (Laughter.)
Mr. LEAHY spoke of what he regarded as the injustice done to Seymour, and said he considered the regret of the Commissioner at the hasty action of Inspector Urquhart the severest censure that could be passed. The public thought that an eye should be kept on this officer, who he did not consider should hold his present position, because be was wanting in that finer human feeling which should be possessed by one in charge over his
fellows. He hoped, however, that the proposed reduction of salary would not be pressed. It would be just, but pernicious in its effect, and would place the House, the highest court of the colony. In the position of a pettifogging tribunal.
Mr. TURLEY said the Home Secretary had endeavoured to excuse Inspector Urquhart while he condemned Sub-inspector Galbraith, though their actions in not having consulted their superior officer were the same He thought the injustice came in when Seymour was not allowed to show if he would work for the company with the officers of the department. He was not by any means going to say the man should not have been dismissed, but he took
great exception to the action by which an endeavour was made to prevent Seymour getting a living. He (Mr. Turley) contended that members on his side did not approach the Commissioner with regard to the promotion or in the interests of members of the force.
Mr. DALRYMPLE said no one had succeeded in showing that Inspector Urquhart had been actuated by other than pure and straightforward motives. He did not accept the interpretation that Urquhart went to the officer of the company for the very purpose of doing Seymour out of his work. It was his duty to substitute a correct report for a report, which was not correct, because part of the truth was suppressed.
Mr. LEAHY: That was his duty, but he did not do that.
Mr DALRYMPLE said a man was entitled to decide in his own mind what was his duty. He held that the recommendation given by Galbraith had its force simply because that gentleman was Sub-inspector Galbraith. Had he remained Mr. Galbraith the recommendation would not have been considered. When it was found that the department was pledged on a false warrant, Urquhart was quite justified in trying to set it right. He ridiculed the idea
that the Commissioner was "run" by any other man in the force.
Mr. M'DONALD said that after the last speech there was nothing for the Home Secretary but to dismiss Sub-inspector Galbraith, because it was held that he had suppressed information. He wished to know why the department had paid Mr. Urquhart's expenses when it practically censured him. Though he admitted it was not right to take up small matters, it was the only opportunity they had.
Mr. DALRYMPLE explained that he did not wish to charge Galbraith with knowingly writing a false report.
Mr. KIDSTON said the Home Secretary had censure only for Galbraith, who had possibly acted through over-kindness, while he screened Urquhart. The conduct of the men was exactly on the same plane; in having not acted through their department He considered it far from right that the department should have paid the costs in the defamation action.
Mr. GLASSEY said he thought some remarks had been made which members would on calm reflection regret deeply. Such would be the case with Mr. Keogh. It was possible that everyone had faults; perhaps the Commissioner had some. But be did not think bigotry and intolerance belonged to that gentleman. He was a humane man, and desired to do what was right between man and man according to his lights. Though the man Seymour had done wrong, he
had been punished, and should not have been followed when he desired to earn an honest living. What Galbraith had done was to recommend to an old friend a former colleague. If Galbraith did wrong, it was only through good-heartedness. He appealed to the Minister to give Seymour another opportunity, and all aid and assistance to get another position. He also hoped Mr. M'Donnell would not go on with his proposal to move a reduction in the expenses to
Mr. DICKSON said he had already expressed his regret that Inspector Urquhart's action had brought about the dismissal of Seymour from the company; but he could not undertake to move for his readmission to the department seeing that he had been dismissed from it for misconduct, because it would open the doors to readmission of many who had been guilty of other offences. But he was prepared to inquire into the antecedents of the man,
and if there was any supernumerary position in any department, he would try to get his colleagues to give him a show. This was as far as he could go. The whole circumstances were very unfortunate; at the same time he wished to maintain the discipline of the Police Force.
Mr. M'DONNELL said be was satisfied with the promise made by the Home Secretary. Acceding to the request of his Labour colleagues, he would not press his amendment further.
Mr. DICKSON, in reply to Mr. Drake, said the delay in acceptance of tenders for police uniforms was due to an effort being made to deal out justice to all tenderers It was intended to try to obtain locally manufactured cloth, with a desire to encourage local industries. There were tenders for venetian serge and khaki uniforms There was an expectation at first that the Ipswich factory would have been able to undertake the manufacture,
not only of the serge, but of the venetian cloth. As members were aware, when all things were equal, the preference went to the contractor who had previously given satisfaction. On these grounds the venetian uniforms had gone to Mr. Clark, and the serge to the Ipswich Woollen Company for a locally manufactured article, and to Messrs. Pike Bros, for khaki. The police had to be consulted, because they paid for their own uniforms, and they were quite
Mr, BROWNE said the rate of wages paid at Croydon was only 1s, per day more than in Brisbane, and this was not in accordance with the difference in the rate of living. Another thing commented on in the Croydon Press was the employment of a Chinaman to clean out the courthouse there. It was said there that the amount allowed would not permit of others being employed.
Mr. DICKSON said the employment of the Chinaman would be inquired into at once. In the question of allowances for living, he would consult the Commissioner, and if any inequalities existed he would see what could be done to rectify them.
Mr. HAMILTON said be would like to know how it was that Mr. Douglas had been appointed to the position of senior inspector of the North over the head of Mr. Fitzgerald, who was his senior in the service, and a most popular man.
Mr, DICKSON said that Mr. Fitzgerald had been removed to a position at Roma, a fine, healthy locality, as a mark of appreciation of his services, and he understood that he was grateful for the recognition.
Mr. JACKSON asked for an explanation of the application of the amount of £388 under, the head of Executive, for the "additional annual pay of men attached to the Criminal investigation Branch."
Mr. DICKSON explained that certain changes had been made by the Commissioner in connection with the older members of the Criminal investigation Branch. They were made members of the force; but at the same time, so that they should not lose their remuneration, they were granted a certain amount of pay to bring their position up to what they had before. Their future positions would not be altered so long as they remained in the force.
Mr. JACKSON asked a question as to the working of the Aborigines Protection Act, on the reference made to it in the Commissioner's report.
Mr. DICKSON said he was, informed from reports that the Act was working well, and was correcting abuses not only in connection with aboriginals, but in, the sale of opium. It was the intention of the Commissioner to visit the stations, up North and make a comprehensive report. He quoted an excerpt from the report of Mr. Meston, and said he had taken the responsibility of instructing Mr. Meston not to interfere with aged aboriginals
who were in a position to get a living and remove them from their present, associations so long as they did not prove troublesome. Efforts were made, however, to see them well cared for.
Mr. HARDACRE characterised Mr. Meston's report as a romance, and not a true statement of the condition of the blacks. He said the Premier had called the Act an idiotic one, and he (Mr. Hardacre) pointed out that its working to a large extent prevented people from employing the aboriginals; but, acting on a suggestion, he withheld his further remarks till the aboriginal vote came on.
Mr. STEWART considered the vote was growing too fast. He thought that applications for police protection should be fully considered before being granted. The Committee should have particulars of the distribution of Crime and its extent in the various districts. Again, the police seemed rather anxious to make arrests. Of the arrests made, 60 per cent of drunks were discharged, 33 per cent of disorderly characters, larceny 25 per cent.
There were 366 arrests and 192 discharges for vagrancy.
Mr. DICKSON said the idea of more detailed statistical information was a commendable one, and in the next report it would be given effect. He did not think that in saying they were over-policed the hon. member had considered the multiplicity of the duties those officers performed, and which could not be so inexpensively done by any outside officers. The territorial extent of the colony should be considered, and the fact that there
were only ten more officers now than there were six years ago.
Mr DICKSON said that returns and statistics were now being provided for a complete actuarial investigation in connection with this matter.
Mr. TURLEY was glad that this investigation promised two years ago was to be made. It was proper for them to know the full extent of liability, and not to go on until they might be asked to make the amount £25,000. He would be glad to know if further information was available.
Mr. DICKSON said a mass of information was required, and he wanted to obtain a report that would command the fullest confidence of the House. He questioned if they could get it this session.
Mr. KEOGH here expressed his regret at anything he might have said in a heated moment earlier in the evening regarding Mr. Parry-Okeden, who, he believed, had always carried out his duties efficiently. He was sorry Mr. Hamilton had introduced the words used.
Mr. TURLEY asked if the Home Secretary could tell them the amount which would be required if all the officers who were entitled to do so took advantage of the Superannuation Fund?
Mr. DICKSON said he had not provided himself with further information, as he had hoped to have the actuarial report.
MESSAGE FROM THE COUNCIL.
Mr. GLASSEY asked when they were likely to get the Mining Bill and other important measures mentioned in the Governor's speech.
Mr. DICKSON said they hoped to give the Mining Bill next week. He regretted that owing to the illness of the Premier they had been unable to go on with other business. But the Mining Bill was completed by this time, and required the consideration of the Cabinet before being placed before members.
At 10 55 the House adjourned till the usual time on the following day.
From this day forward Percy Galbraith was considered by Urquhart as a mortal enemy as he was the main reason he had been called before parliament and belittled and shown to be the heartless inhumane character that he was.
Bitter personal ill feelings were harboured by both men.
Identifying him as a troublemaker Urquhart quickly arranges the transfer of Galbraith (against his (Galbraith’s) wishes) he is removed to Ipswich in December 1898 only weeks before the impending tragedy.
Although currently defeated, Galbraith determines to get rid of Urquhart by any means at his disposal and at any cost, before Urquhart has a chance to destroy his career.