2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30. p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. McCAY laid upon the table the following papers : -
Amendment of regulations, Naval Forces, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 59.
Amendment of financial and allowanceregulations, Naval Forces, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 60.
Amendment of regulations, Military Forces, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 61.
Addition to financial and allowance regulations, Military Forces, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 62.
Motion (by Mr. Groom) agreed to -
That the time for bringing up the report of the Select Committee on Electoral’ Act Administration be further extended to Friday,28th October next.
Debate resumed from 27th September (vide page 4973), on motion by Mr. Watson -
That the present Administration does not possess the confidence of this House.
Mr. Spence the other day pointed out the advantages of land nationalization. There -are only two ways in which the State can get possession of the land - buv it or confiscate it. I am sure Mr. Spence would not advocate confiscation.
I shall be very glad if the right honorable member will tell me where they are, because I do not know. The statement that I discussed land nationalization in my speech is absolutely untrue, and the arguments which follow, and which the Minister of Trade and Customs attributed to me, he should discuss with the honorable member for Lang at the next caucus meeting of the party, when, I venture to say, he will get rather the worse of the argument. I think that it is only right that I should call attention to these’ inaccuracies before the matter goes further. I am sure that the Minister does not desire that my remarks should be misrepresented by him, particularly after what he said in the early part of his speech; but, on re-reading my own speech, I know that I have been misrepresented.
– It has been stated by Ministers and supporters of the Government that no reasons have yet been alleged why the present Administration should not continue to hold office ; but, before I resume my seat, I shall try to give a few such reasons. Some persons may think that they are not very strong ones, but in my opinion they are very strong. I cannot deal with the matter, however, without repeating to some extent the remarks which I made about a -fortnight ago, when my speech was abruptly brought to a conclusion by the count-out, though I shall not do that to any greater extent than I feel to be necessary. In the present unique condition of affairs, I think it right that the history of this session should be stated, especially since the Minister of Trade and Customs had the temerity to say last night that the Watson Administration was fairly treated.
– I think I said “indulgently treated.”
– I think that the honorable gentleman used both words ; but either word would have been incorrect. If honorable members will cast back their minds to the commencement of the session, when the Deakin Government introduced the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, excluding the railway servants from its operation
– Excluding all public servants.
– I hardly think that all public servants were excluded, though I am not sure about that. At any rate, the railway servants were excluded. The members of the Labour Party, however, had gone to the country in favour of the inclusion of the railway servants, and they and some other honorable members were returned to support that provision in the Bill. It was scarcely to be expected that members so pledged would turn round upon the promises which they had given to the electors. I know, not only from the statements made by members of the Labour Party and by its leader, but from other statements which I have heard, that it was furthest from the wish or the intention of that party to destroy the Deakin Government. But they would have been recreant to their pledges to the electors regarding the inclusion of the railway servants, and would not have been fit to retain their positions, if they had voted other than they did. Who was it who really destroyed the Deakin Government? Although the right honorable member for Swan tries, whenever he has the opportunity, to place the blame on the shoulders of the Labour Party, it was not that party, but the present Prime Minister, who was lo blame.
– I shall have to make a personal explanation in reply to that statement. I voted with the Deakin Government. If I had voted against them. I should have been sent . for by the Governor-General to form a new Administration.
– The right honorable gentleman, in an interview published in a Sydney newspaper, stated that he intended to vote with the Deakin Government, tout that he wished his followers to vote according to their consciences.
– Hear, hear. That is what the honorable member does not understand.
– The right honorable gentleman said a little more to the same effect, which gave a very strong hint publicly to his followers - and I have no doubt that they received equally strong hints privately - to vote against the Government.
– Not once did I do anything of the kind.
– Although the right honorable gentleman said that he would not prevent his followers from voting according to their consciences, two or three of them stated publicly that th’ey intended to vote, and did vote, against their conscience; and their action was no doubt instigated by the Prime Minister, who wished at all hazards to destroy the Deakin Government.
– That is untrue.
– Will the Prime Minister withdraw that statement ?
– I will say, not that it is untrue, but that it is absolutely without foundation.
– I do-not know if the right honorable gentleman wishes it to be inferred that the statement that some honorable members said that they would vote against their consciences is without foundation, because Hansard will bear me out in it.
– They did not do so at my instigation.
– If my conscience had been as elastic as that of some of the right honorable gentleman’s followers^
– The honorable member never had a conscience.
– And if I had been a follower of his, and had such a convenient conscience, I would have done as they did, acting on the hint he had given ; but my conscience is not so elastic. Although the right honorable gentleman voted with the Deakin Government, he was hoping that his followers would vote against it, and was instigating them to do so.
– That was the reason of the defeat of that “Administration.
– What the honorable member suggests was never done by me.
– What about those who left the Deakin Government, and voted against it?
– If the right honorable member has a conscience, which I begin to doubt, and he had been returned pledged to vote in any specific way, would he not vote in that way? Take the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs,, who was as good a supporter of the Deakin Administration as they had, but who was pledged to his constituents to vote for the inclusion of railway servants in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill-
– And who voted in the same way before the election as he did afterwards.
– Yes. Does the right honorable member refer to that honorable and learned member?
– He was pledged to support the Deakin Government.
– He was also pledged to the inclusion of the railway servants in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. When we recollect that it was only with the assistance of the Labour Party that the Barton Government, and afterwards the Deakin Government, were able to remain in office for three years, it ill becomes any member of either of those Ministries to object to the action recently taken by the members of the Watson Government.
– Who turned us out of office?
– We were turned out as the result of a combination of forces, and the present Prime Minister had most to do with that. The right honorable gentleman was practically waiting on the steps of Government House in the expectation that he would be sent for to form a Government.
– He voted with the Deakin Government.
– He often votes against his conscience.
– I thought that the honorable member said that the Prime Minister had no conscience?
– He has a very elastic one.
– I understood the honorable member to say that the Prime Minister voted against the honorable member’s conscience.
– I am very glad that the honorable and learned member credits me with the possession of a conscience. The Prime Minister, after having waited about - after the Deakin Government had been defeated - in the expectation that he would be called upon to form a new Ministry, went to the press and complained like a great schoolboy that he, and not the honorable member for Bland, should have been sent for by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
– Yes; I cried bitterly about it.
– After the Deakin Ministry had resigned, the right honorable gentleman was running about the House-
– I certainly did not run.
– And telling all his friends “ I shall be the Prime Minister to-morrow.” Altogether his conduct was childish in the extreme. When he found that the honorable member for Bland had succeeded in forming a Ministry, he at once began to intrigue against them, because he felt quite sure that he would have the next show. How did he achieve success? By one of the worst actions - I would almost venture to call it a trick - of which a politician has ever been guilty?
– The vote was taken in a full House. There are no more bridges to be built here.
– The right honorable gentleman will require a bridge presently. He must not cry out too soon. I shall “bridge” him before I have finished.
– The honorable member knows that he can get nothing from me.
– No one in the House could build a bridge strong enough to carry the Prime Minister.
– What was the cause of the late Government going out of office ?
– Their sense of duty.
– That consideration will never induce the right honorable gentleman to leave office.
– I have taken the trouble to make a smallprecis of the facts in order that the public may clearly understand the circumstances under which the Government went out of office.
– What Government?
– The last Government, which the right honorable gentleman intrigued against, and tilted out of office by atrick. The right honorable gentleman made statements to His Excellency the Governor-General that will not be borne out, and thereby induced His Excellency to give him the Commission to form an Administration.
– That showed His Excellency’s good sense.
– It showed the anxiety of the Prime Minister for office, and nothing else. The’ Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, as introduced by the Deakin Government contained the fortyeighth clause with a provision for preference to unionists, without any qualification, and precisely the same words are contained in the clause at present, namely, “ preference shall be given to such members (meaning unionists) other things being equal.” Those words were in the Bill as introduced by the Deakin Government, and fathered by the right honorable member for Swan.
– That is most unfair.
– The Bill was introduced by the Deakin Government, and the honorable member as a member of that Ministry had to father it.
– Did the honorable member father the inclusion of the railway servants ?
– Unfortunately I had to vote against them when in the Government, but I voted in their favour when I was free to do so.
– My position, in the matter of preference, is exactly the same as that of the honorable member in regard to railway servants.
– The Bill, as introduced by. the Deakin Government, also contained a provision that its scope should extend to the agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, and dairying industries.
– I suppose I was always in favour of that provision, too?
– I do not know. Thank goodness, I am not the right honorable gentleman’s keeper. When the Bill left the hands of the Watson Government it did not contain the provision including agricultural labourers and others, but it embraced the provision for preference to unionists, modified by the proviso inserted at the instance of the Minister of Defence, which was as follows: -
Provided that no such preference shall be directed to be given unless the application for such preference is, in the opinion of the Court, approved by a majority of those affected by the award who have interests in common with the applicants.
The alternative amendment, proposed by the honorable member for Bland was -
The Court, before directing that preference shall be given to the members of an organization, shall be satisfied that the organization substantially represents the industry affected in point of the numbers and competence of its members.
It was on the question as to whether the Bill should be recommitted with a view to the consideration of the amendment proposed by the then Government, that the Ministry were defeated. They were denied that consideration which is always extended to the Government by an honorable Opposition. That is the point upon which I join issue with the Minister of Trade and Customs, who stated that the late Government had received fair play. I consider that thev were treated most unfairly.
– They were defeated by thirty-eight votes to thirty-six, and I consider that that is fair play.
– They were defeated with the assistance of the vote of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, who had introduced the Bill containing the preference provision, and also the proposal that the agricultural industry should be brought within the scope of the measure. The honorable and learned member voted against the provision of his own Bill. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat stated that he had been charged, on behalf of the Opposition, to assure the Watson Government that the utmost fair play would be extended to them. That statement was made imme- diately after the honorable member for Bland had announced the formation of the Ministry. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat also said -
I think we must all agree that if (the Government) can only be maintained, even temporarily, by that honorable granting of fair play to which I have already alluded, by that extension of consideration from one side of the House to the other, which enables us to discharge our common duties to the public.
In the face of that statement, I do not think that it redounded to the credit of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, or of those who were following him, when they turned round and failed to extend the fair play that was promised when the Watson Government took office. “
– It all depends on what the honorable member calls fair play.
– I do not think that fair play was extended to the Watson Government at any time. I do not complain of the action of the right honorable gentleman, because at the very first opportunity that presented itself, he attacked the Government in the most vigorous and vicious way.
– Not in a vicious way.
– Yes, in a vicious way. I know that the honorable member for Bland would not have takenoffice if he had not been assured that he would receive the support of some honorable members who were outside of his own party.
– Who gave him that assurance ?
– I have just read the assurance given by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. That statement was made after the formation of the Ministry was announced in this House. I have stated the circumstances as concisely as possible, in order that the general public may understand the position that has been taken up by certain members of the Opposition, and’ the mariner in which the late Government were ousted from office.
– They occupied the Treasury benches for six weeks after their def 6£lt
– I think that that is an unfair way of putting it. They stayed on the - Treasury benches for six weeks after the amendment proposed by the Minister of Defence was carried. The leader of the late Government was perfectly justified in stating that he could not accept the -amendment, and that he would ask the House to recommit the clause in order that the whole matter might be reconsidered.
– Did the Deakin Government do that?
– We had not a similar opportunity.
– We could have done it.
– I dare say we could. The vote upon the amendment proposed by the Minister of Defence was taken in a small House and without debate, and, in view of the fact that the decision was arrived at upon a catch vote, the late Prime Minister was perfectly justified in asking for its reconsideration, and for a fuller debate. The present Prime Minister, who voted with the Deakin Govern ment against the inclusion of the railway servants within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration ‘Bill, has accepted the measure with that and other provisions which were highly objectionable in his eyes, and has sent it on to the Senate, presumably with a desire that it shall become law.. I should like to know what the public will think of a Prime Minister who can so absolutely reverse all that he has formerly done in order to secure office.
– This is verv funny.
– The right honorable gentleman has spoken very strongly upon the subject of States rights, but I should like to know where the States rights party is now? They seem to have very easy consciences with regard to States (rights, the inclusion of railway servants within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and, in fact, everything else in connexion with that measure. I would ask honorable members : What is the present position? The Protectionist Party is severed in twain, and this will probably lead to its destruction.
– The honorable member has left it.
– I shall deal with that particular question presently. I do not think that we are the seceders, but that the section of the party which is supporting the Government has deserted its principles. As a matter of fact, the right honorable member for Swan had no right whatever, at any time, to claim to belong to the Protectionist Party, because throughout his connexion with the Barton and Deakin Ministries he stood by himself, and never was a Protectionist. Turning for a moment to the speech delivered last night by the Minister of Trade and Customs, I venture to think that Wis remarks were instigated by some other mind, who desired that the split in the Protectionist Party should continue and widen. The Minister dealt with several subjects with each of which I shall’ deal separately. .First of all, he was rather indignant because ont; honorable member stated that h? had not been in favour of granting the franchise to women. The Prime Minister was in favour of that reform, but, strange to say, he never passed any measure relating to it. Had he occupied his present position at the commencement of the Commonwealth that law would not now have been placed upon the statutebook of the Commonwealth, because my experience of the right honorable gentleman in the New South Wales Legislature leads me to say that had he remained in State politics until to-day he would never have extended the franchise to the women there. I venture to affirm that if he had had his way the suffrage would never have been extended to the women of Australia. It is a fortunate circumstance that when the first Commonwealth Parliament met, a Government was in power which insisted upon extending the franchise to the women of this continent, despite the opposition, of some honorable members. I have already pointed out the unfair treatment which was meted out to the last Government. Last evening the Minister of Trade and. Customs dealt with the question of old-age pensions, but I do not think that his heart is in his subject. Certainly the heart of his leader is not in it. When the present Prime Minister was in State politics, and had an opportunity of submitting a Bill relating to that matter to the New South Wales Parliament, he failed to take any action. The question of old-age pensions is one. however, which cannot be permitted to lie dormant. It must be dealt with by this Parliament in some way or other, in fairness to the continent of Australia. It is all very well to urge that it is a State matter, but it must be recollected that at the present time two of the largest States have old-age pensions schemes in operation, and I think that the Commonwealth should take some further action. My own opinion is that, if we cannot pass a law without first obtaining the consent of the States, then New South Wales and Victoria should allow the money now being disbursed by them for the payment of old-age pensions to be deducted by the Commonwealth from the Customs and
Excises revenue instead of being returned to them in accordance with the financial provisions of the Constitution. If they agreed to that arrangement, we could enact a uniform law for the whole of Australia. But unless an energetic move be made, such a consummation will not be reached. I know that it has been held up as a bogy that the money required for the payment of a national scheme of old-age pensions must be raised by direct taxation. Well, in New South Wales, and most of the other States, a land tax is already operative. What is the difference between a land tax which is imposed by the States and a land tax which is imposed by the Commonwealth Government ?
– Is there not a difference in duplicating it?
– The States might repeal their own land taxation, if it was necessary for the Federal Government to raise the money to pay old-age pensions.
– The honorable member is advocating a duplication of the tax.
– I am not. There should be no taxation for the sake of taxation, and there should be no land tax upon small land-owners. Last evening, the Minister of Trade and Customs tried very unfairly to put words into the mouths of several honorable members. I never before heard him treat his subject in such an unjust way. I am not in favour of duplicating land taxation. But the land taxes imposed by the States can be removed by them, if that is to be urged as an objection to a national system of old-age pensions. That is a matter for the States to consider.
– Suppose that t’he States will not repeal their land taxes?
– The. States should be asked to allow the necessary money for the payment of old-age pensions claims to be deducted from the Customs revenue, with a view to avoiding the duplication of land taxation, The Minister of Trade and Customs also referred to the alliance which has been entered into between the Labour Party and the Liberal Protectionists. He declared that there were only three planks in the platform of that alliance, and that the protectionist section of it had received no concessions whatever. I venture to think that if he will only be fair, and allow his mind to reason in the ordinary way, he will find that the protectionists have secured a great deal. It is not to be supposed. f or a moment that they could at once obtain everything which they desired, but I happen to know that the’ very provisions to which he referred so graphically, in attacking the honorable and learned member for Indi, are not to be taken advantage of in the way that he suggested. For instance, in respect of the provision that .each member of the alliance is to be allowed to vote on the Tariff as to whether a high duty or a low duty shall be imposed-
– Or any duty at all.
– No. Members are to be allowed to vote upon the question as to whether a high or a low duty shall be imposed upon specific proposals.
– What a lot of intriguing there must have been !
– It is the Prime Minister who has done the intriguing in his little room. He must not talk of intriguing. He has attempted bribery, too.
– I have not enough money for that.
– I do not refer to money. The statement of the Minister of Trade and Customs, in regard to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, was not correct. The arrangement is that all members of the alliance shall vote for the taking of that Bill into Committee, and that those who desire the industry to be controlled by the State shall have an opportunity of voting in that way. If, however, they are defeated, they are not to destroy the Bill, but are to assist in passing it in another form. Surely that constitutes a great advance?
– Does the statement of the honorable member refer to the whole of the alliance?
– Who killed the proposal of the Barton Government?
– It was not killed ; it was postponed, because there was not a majority in favour of the industry being controlled bv private enterprise.
– Do I understand that the whole of the alliance will vote in that way?
– That is the arrangement, and effect Will be given to it. Consequently the Minister of Trade and Customs was wrong in his statement to the House. I have been asked who killed the measure submitted by the Barton Government? There were a good many who rendered assistance in that direction, and the strongest assistance came from the leader of the present Government. Upon many occasions the present Postmaster-General dared me to bring the Bill before the House-
– And now he is embracing Mr. Sandford.
– Yes, and Mr. Sandford is embracing him.
– He is a very good man.
– Every individual who will do as the Prime Minister tells him is good, and every man who will notdo so is bad. Those who have known the right honorable gentleman very long are used to his statements, and will pay no attention to his slimy remarks. I have already referred to the two principal questions which were touched upon by the Minister of Trade and Customs last evening. I have no doubt that the arrangement by the alliance in regard to preferential trade will be loyally adhered to.
– To “ discuss “ it ?
– Yes, but not to discuss it in an antagonistic manner. I hope that the Government will soon have an opportunity of seeing that the party, which is so much distrusted by them, are as honorable as are any members of this House. I am satisfied that the alliance will give effect to the arrangement which has been arrived at better than will the coalition opposite carry on any alliance.
– Which way is the honorable member going to vote - in favour of a or b ?
– Last night the Minister of Trade and Customs, in attacking the protectionists who occupy seats in this corner, called them by some nasty names. He said that they were “seceders.” He need not have done so, seeing that it was the other party which seceded after they had enteredinto a definite compact in caucus to. refuse any coalition with the right honorable member for East Sydney. Then the honorable gentleman referred to the plank of Tariff revision, which appears in the alliance programme, and to the notice of motion for the appointment of a Royal Commission given by the honorable and learned member for Indi. I have noticed that, in speaking at Ballarat on Monday night, the Prime Minister declared that he is quite prepared to sanction the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire’ into the working of the Tariff. But what sort of a Commission does he suggest? A Commission to unearth every item in the Tariff or any matter out of it ?
– Certainlynot. The Commission would only hear complaints.
– The right honorable gentleman knows perfectly well that the work of such a Commission could not be concluded in less than several years.
– It is a fact, and that is why the right honorable gentleman is willing to sanction the appointment of a Commission.
– And “anxious” to do so.
– Yes. Such a Commission would be of no value so long as He occupied the Treasury benches. He is not prepared to agree to the appointment of a Commission to deal with urgent matters in the Tariff.
– Mention the list which the honorable member has ready, with a view to excluding other industries from consideration ?
– A list could easily be supplied to the Prime Minister, but he does not require anything of the kind. He merely wishes to play a game of bluff. During the course of his remarks the Minister of Trade and Customs stated that in my election campaign I declared in favour of fiscal peace.
– If the honorable member will deny that statement, he will deny anything.
– My statement was that I favoured fiscal peace; but when the practical working of the Act shows where anomalies exist, then action must be taken.
– The honorable member is reported as having said that he was favourable to fiscal peace during the operation of the Braddon section of the Constitution.
– The Minister is quite wrong in taking that literally.
– The newspapers published that statement.
– Never mind what the newspapers said. They are sometimes inspired by the honorable member. But what was the Prime Minister doing during the election campaign? He was fighting me for all he was worth. He was travelling through my electorate raising the question of the re-opening of the Tariff from the lowest to the highest item it contains.
– Will the honorable member kindly take his seat? There are on the business-paper two notices of motion which seem to me to cover nearly all the ground relating to the Tariff. One is the notice of motion by the honorable and learned member for Indi, and the other the notice of motion - which has been partly discussed - by the honorable member for Bourke. Whilst these appear upon the business-paper, I cannot possibly allow the detailed discussion of any matter which relates to either of them. Therefore, while incidental reference may be made to these points, and while I am very anxious to allow the utmost liberty that I can, I must ask honorable members to defer the detailed discussion of any matter which may be included in them, or in any other notice of motion.
– I think that I may crave the indulgence of the House in this matter, because I wish to refer to a question upon which I have been attacked. Some references have been made to speeches of mine, and I was dealing with what have been alleged to be quotations from what I said, and with the action of the present Prime Minister during the campaign.
– I have already allowed incidental references of considerable length, and any such as that to which the honorable member for Hume now refers I should certainly allow. I was afraid lest he was beginning to discuss the question in its broader issues, and to do what the Standing Orders absolutely prohibit, namely, anticipate debate on motions, notices of which appear on the business-paper. I admit that it is unfortunate that there should be three or four notices of motion on the paper, which considerably limit the scope of the debate ; but I am bound to administer the Standing Orders as they are. I shall not unduly restrict any honorable member, and the honorable member for Hume is perfectly entitled, as is every other honorable member, to reply to any allegations made by previous speakers.
– The present Prime Minister, during the elections, was fighting me in my own electorate on the fiscal question, and trying to raise it in every possible way. Amongst the other statements which he made, the right honorable gentleman said that if he could get a majority, he would repeal the present Tariff absolute! v.
– That is not correct; it is near enough though.
– It was in reply to such statements that I said I was not in favour of re-opening the Tariff. There had been a statement made about the desirability of fiscal peace.
– A statement ! It was the policy of the honorable gentleman’s leader.
– But that was only to continue until anomalies -were found in the Tariff. I maintain that it is not ripping, up the whole Tariff to deal with anomalies of so serious a character as those which have been discovered, and which, at the present time, are destroying industries in some parts of Australia, and causing the dismissal of a large number of men.
– Did they only begin to destroy those industries within the last few months ?
– The honorable member for Wentworth does not know anything about it, and he ought not to interrupt. I shall not, at this stage, deal further with the Tariff, but I shall probably have occasion to deal with it at another time. The Minister of Trade and Customs went on to question, and, I am sorry to say, to misinterpret remarks made by the honorable member for Darling, on the subject of land resumption. I should like to know whether the honorable gentleman is in favour of land resumption. Last night, at first, he said that he was, and then that he was not. I believe that the same difficulty exists in all the States, but I know New South Wales better than any of the other States, and I say that the only thing which will tend to relieve the congestion of population in the cities and distribute it over the country is land resumption. With that object, I believe that it is necessary to resume a portion of the alienated lands in New South Wales.
– What can we do in that matter?
– The matter has been referred to in connexion with Socialism. In my own electorate, there are some twelve large stations. I do not in any way blame those who have secured them, nor would I take their land from them without paying more -than its value ; but I say that, in the interests of the people of Australia, there must be considerable resumptions in all the -States. The Minister of Trade and Customs last night said that he was in favour of land resumption, and the division and sale of the lands resumed. I wish to know of what use it will be toresume land and then sell it with a title and conditions which will not prevent its beingagain included in large holdings.
– What would the honorable gentleman do with it ? Would he makethe State the landlord ?
– I should give a title to it, but I should impose such conditions that it could never go back into large holdings again.
– There could be no objection to that at all.
– There is no reason why we should sell the land outright again after resuming it, when we might get a rent from it sufficient to pay interest on borrowed money, and thus obviate any incubus upon the taxpayer resulting from the resumption. The question is one of very great importance, but I should not advocate the resumption of any land if it were to be sold again under conditions which would permit of its reverting to large holdings such as we have at the present time. We have the Legislatures of some of the States telling the people that there is any quantity of land open for selection ; but the land referred to is very often but arid plains, and it is a criminal thing to send men with wives and families on to such land, without giving then an area sufficient to live upon, because it means giving them over to ruin, starvation, and death. The land resumption question is of the first importance, and there can be no doubt that a great portion of alienated land, in districts blessed with a good rainfall and fit for cultivation, will have to be resumed, and converted from sheep-walks into agricultural farms of sufficient area to keep a family. According to the statements of the Minister of Trade and Customs last night, the land when resumed should be sold to farmers, and if that course is pursued we may rest assured that it will again go back into large estates.
– The honorable gentleman did not say that it should be sold without conditions of improvement.
– Of what use are conditions of improvement as a means of preventing the land going back into large estates?
– I have helped to subdivide a great many estates, and in no solitary instance has any subdivided block since been included in a large estate.
– I am not prepared to contradict the honorable gentleman with respect to a matter affecting his own district. But I know what has happened in New South Wales. I know that men, who first of all took up land along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers^ sold nearly the whole of their selections, and to-day are to be found at Coonamble, Walgett, and on the Namoi, with areas of from 10,000 to 20,000 acres, whilst the land which they took up first has gone back to the large owners.
– That has happened in tens of thousands of instances.
– It has happened in thousands of instances.
– Not where the full value of the land has been paid for under closer settlement conditions.
– I am in favour of land resumption by the Government, because the Government is in a better position than are private individuals to offer good terms to intending settlers. To cut land up and charge a big price to a man desiring to obtain it, is but to put a millstone round his neck, which will keep him in poverty for ever. The Government could charge a small deposit and rent, and give a long lease, perhaps of ninety-nine years, or sell with certain restrictions, and settlers taking up land under those conditions could hope to live happily on it. This is why I am in favour of land resumption by the Government, instead of the cutting up of land by private syndicates, as has been done recently on the Richmond River. The honorable member for Richmond knows that it would be better for the people who have gone into dairy farming on the three large estates recently subdivided on the Richmond River, if the Government had resumed the land, and had then dealt with settlers. I am connecting this question with the question of Socialism. I am aware that honorable members sitting in this cor-_ ner are favorable to the resumption of land by the States. I have in my own electorate twelve or fourteen estates, containing something like 1,000,000 acres of as good land as may be found anywhere for agricultural purposes, and some of which might very well be resumed. When honorable members opposite accuse the Labour Party of Socialism, I ask them to say whether this proposal for land resumption is not Socialism in its purest and most simple form.
– There is not a trace of Socialism in it ; it is a purely. business matter.
– Is there any Socialism in the Government holding the railways of the country?
– Or in the Government owning and controlling the tramways of the country ?
– I shall show the honorable gentleman that there is. The tramways in the city of Melbourne and suburbs are owned and controlled by a private company. The tramway system in Sydney, I am glad to say, is owned and controlled bv the Government, and in that city the public can travel for twothirds of the fare charged on the tramways in the city and suburbs of Melbourne. Honorable members opposite will say that there is no Socialism in this matter, though the whole of the people secure the benefit of a fare decreased by one-third, the difference, in the case of the Melbourne tramway system, going to the shareholders’ profit. That shows the difference between the two systems. Honorable members can find no loop-hole by which to escape from that comparison.
– The honorable gentleman is making a mistake.
– I am making no mistake. The honorable and learned member knows that by buying tickets he can go from here to Spencer-street for 1½d., whilst he can go from Circular Quay to the Redfern Railway Station for id. on the Sydney system.
– Twice as far.
– It is nearly twice as far. The same difference extends throughout the tram system.
– The city of Melbourne will get the tramways back free. Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- Yes, when they are worn out. I say, further, that the Melbourne tram system is not to be compared with the electric system of Sydney. I am sorry that the Minister of Trade and Customs is leaving the Chamber. It is evident that he does not like what I am saying on the subject of Socialism. All these proposals to which I have referred are forms of Socialism, and I am in favour of the application of the principle in every case where it can be reasonably and justly applied. I think that it is very much better, in the interests of the people of Australia, that the railways and tramways should be in the hands of the State.
– Was not the honorable gentleman in favour of. selling the Sydney tramways?
– I was, before I cut my political eye-teeth. The honorable and learned member has perhaps not cut his yet.
– It does not suit the honorable gentleman to cut certain of ‘his teeth at the present time.
– I honestly confess that when I first entered Parliament, I was in favour of selling the tramways. I had had no experience then of the administration of Government.
– Was not the honorable gentleman Minister of Works at the time?
– No, I was not. I have had considerable experience during many years since. I have tried to consider the matter reasonably, and my conclusion is that in certain matters, though not in everything, it is better in the interests of the people for the Government to have control.
– Do we not all say that?
– I do not think so. I do not think that the right honorable member for Swan, the honorable member for Gippsland, or the Conservative honorable member for Kooyong say that. If they do say that, I should like to understand why they speak against such State Socialism as I have described. Applications by farmers for assistance for roads and bridges, and subsidies for their various industries, are but forms of Socialism.
– There is no analogy whatever.
– What would the honorable member call such assistance?
– What benefits the farmers benefits the whole community, because the farmers are producers.
– Matters of the kind I have referred to benefit the whole community also. Honorable members need not be afraid that I am in favour of the Socialism as applied to the unit, or in favour of anything in the direction of the redistribution of wealth. I may say that I was yesterday told by a lady that the Labour Party is in favour of the redistribution of wealth once or twice a year ; and honorable members will probably recollect that a statement to the same effect was recently made by a speaker at one of the Womens’ League meetings.
– The honorable gentleman and I would get’a little then.
– No, we should not. I remember that at one time, years ago, there was some talk of Socialism in Sydney, and a member of the State Parliament, named Eckford, at the time was very much in favour of the redistribution of wealth. He had£1,000, and when some one told him that a careful calculation showed that his share would be about£69, he said, “ No more redistribution for me.” That would be the feeling in my case. With Socialism, as affecting the individual, I am not in accord ; but I am in favour of the application of the principle to matters affecting the community generally. I wish to know what honorable members object to in the seven items which appear in this Federal labour programme, about which so much has been said. Does any one object to the maintenance of a White Australia?
– Yes; the honorable and learned member for Parkes.
– And the honorable member for Robertson.
– Does any one object to compulsory arbitration?
– Yes ; all the wreckers of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– Does any one object to old-age pensions?
– Yes ; all on the other side of the Chamber.
– Does any one object to a volunteer defence force, or to the restriction of public borrowing? I know that the right honorable member for Swan objects to any stringent alteration of the navigation laws; but the majority of honorable members, and the country, are in favour of navigation legislation. Let me add another word about Socialism. Suppose that the immense American Morgan trust, which bought up so many steam-ship lines, had purchased all the steamers trading to Australia, and had raised freights to the injury of the producers and others in this Continent, would honorable members have said that the Government was not justified in stepping in and running a line of steamers with a view to destroying the trust, or of bringing down freights ?
– That trust destroyed itself.
– Would the Government also be justified in establishing a tobacco factory?
– I am glad to believe that there is one honorable member on the Government side of the House who appreciates something like reason. I was going to refer to the tobacco monopoly. Personally, I do not know enough about the workings of that monopoly to give an opinion on the subject; but I know that behind it is one of the largest financial “rings” in the world, and that it has spread its octopus-like grasp all over this Continent, so that now it controls the whole of the tobacco trade of Australia. I am informed that there are only three tobacconists’ shops in Melbourne where one can buy certain brands of tobacco and cigars, and that the public have to pay nearly twice as much for tobacco now as had to be paid before the trust was formed.
– A letter of denial is published this morning- which is really no denial at all.
– A meeting of retailers was held in Sydney which unanimously protested against statements such as that which the Honorable member is now repeating.
– The writer of the letetr to which I refer admits that the tobacconists have raised their prices, and he says that they did so because formerly they were selling too cheaply. That is not a satisfactory reason to give, and, no doubt, if a Royal Commission is appointed, it will be proved that there is a great deal of truth in the statements which I am making. If the tobacco monopoly is injurious to the people of Australia, action should be taken by the Government, either by the introduction of an anti-trust Bill or by the Government taking control. I am not prepared to say what step should be taken, but it would certainly be a proper, right, and just thing for the Government to consider the matter.
– Does the honorable member also advocate the establishment of Government breweries?
– I have given one or two instances in which I think the nationalization of monopolies should not be objected to. If it were proposed to proceed to extremes, and to introduce individualistic Socialism or anarchism, I am not there.
– What is the honorable member trying to prove ?
– I am proving that those who have railed so much against the Labour Party, because of what they call their socialistic principles, forget what the word means in its true sense, and do not know what they are talking about.
– No one objects to the honorable member joining the Labour Party, if he wishes to do so.
– The right honorable member knows I have not done that. I wish, in this connexion, to read a word or two from a lecture delivered in Sydney the other day by the Anglican Bishop of Hobart, who, referring to the socialistic movement which is now taking place all over the world, said -
He wanted to warn the Anglican Church in Australia as to what . . . might happen in the future if they gave another instance of absolute indifference to a huge social movement, and not merely indifference, but positively putting their weight wholly on the other scale. There was something here before them which demanded their most careful scrutiny, and their most Christ-like sympathy. He did not dispute that there was much in the movement that was exaggerated and wild, and that many of its proposals were dreadful, but, nevertheless, the movement was in evidence in every civilized nation of the world, which surely should convince them that there were forces deep down in it, that it was not superficial, or a mere stir on the surface of the water, but that there was a great mass of sentiment and hopefulness behind the movement.
He went on to say that the subject had so far entered the hearts of a large number of people, that in an English town the Socialistic Party had founded what they called Labour churches, as a substitute for the Church of Jesus Christ, because they thought the latter had no place for them, and gave them the cold shoulder. He continued -
All who bore the name of Christian should study social problems sympathetically in the light and in the spirit of the incarnation, and help to realize the ideal city in the world, as it was.
Then he added that -
He had had eight years’ experience in the slums of London, and if any man realized the enormous amount of suffering and degradation there was among members of the human race at the present time, if he had any sympathy at all with the Saviour of mankind when he looked on the multitude in the wilderness, he must have compassion on them ; and he believed that there was at the heart of the socialistic movement of the present day genuine compassion for the multitude, and a determination to raise the standard of life for the submerged mass of the race.
I wish to emphasize, before passing away from the subject, the statement that where monopolies are injurious to the public, and State interference would do great good. I shall be on the side of humanity.
– Why does not the honorable member sign ‘the platform of the Labour Party?
– The honorable member should sign something which will give him a little common-sense.
– No doubt he is waiting for the honorable member for Hume to draw it up.
– I hope that we shall not hear too much about the socialistic principles of the Labou’r Party, because honorable members opposite are trying to gull the public by clouding the real issue which, as it is put in one of the three manifestoes published by the Prime Minister, is an’ attack on labour. Now that honorable members opposite lind that that cry is not very popular, they are trying to represent it as an attack upon Socialism j but any one who reads between the lines of the right honorable gentleman’s manifestoes, will see that it is an attack upon labour that is intended.
– What are the exact words to which the honorable member refers?
– The manifesto is rather long, and I have not marked the exact passage which. I have in my mind ; but the honorable member can read it for himself. The present fight is one between conservatism and liberalism, and I think that the alliance between the Liberal Protectionists and the Labour Party, on the honest and straightforward lines which have been published, which do not embrace any objectionable form of Socialism, will be a great step in the direction of liberalism. I venture to say that the alliance will form the nucleus of a Liberal Party, which will oppose the conservative element I see on my left supporting the Government.
– What about the exemptions under a and b ?
– At any rate, we have no conservative A’s and B’s. The Prime Minister said in one of his manifestoes -
We thoroughly believe in progress, a fearless forward policy ; but not on roads leading to Socialism and insane extremes.
– That is exactly what the honorable member says his views are.
– Yes; but I should like to know what item of progressive legislation the right honorable gentleman has placed on the statute-book. If he goes back through his history he will not be able to point to one. Although for five years he promised the people of New South Wales liberal legislation, all he did of importance was to impose a land tax and to take off Customs duties.
– He also passed an Alien Immigration Restriction Act.
– He adopted the Natal Act.
– The honorable member is speaking wide of the mark, and he knows it.
– I am not. The honorable member for Parramatta cannot point to any real, progressive legislation which has been placed on the statute-book by the Prime Minister. Whenever progressive and humane legislation was proposed in the Parliament of New South Wales the right honorable ‘gentleman fought to prevent it from becoming law. That is his public history. Let me now read what he. put at the tail of his manifesto. He deals with Western Australia and Tasmania in a postscript. After writing his address, he remembered that he had not referred to them, and therefore he adds the following postscript : -
I wish to add a postscript, addressed to the people of Tasmania and Western Australia. I much regret that no representative of either State is included in the new Ministry. I hope you will, as long as this state of things continues, accept me as the representative of both States in the Government, and I offer my services in that capacity to all the representatives of the two States, irrespective of party differences.
He had the impudence to write a postscript casting a slur upon the two States mentioned in it, and to say that he will represent those States. So far as Western Australia is concerned, the only representative of that State who supports the Government is the right honorable member for Swan.
– Tasmania, at any rate, is pretty well represented just now by the honorable member for Wilmot.
– I think that that is very doubtful. Some of the representatives of Tasmania support the Government, and surely they do not require the assistance of the right honorable gentleman. I regret very much that the proceedings at the protectionist caucus were divulged last night. Secondly, I regret that the honorable member for Bendigo misunderstood what I said last night. What was in my mind was that at the caucus meeting of the Protectionist Party he was the only member who moved any motion in connexion with the extension of the fiscal truce.
– I did not move a motion.
– Then the honorable and learned member suggested it. I admit freely that he and. the honorable member for Barker were two of the strongest opponents of coalitions of any kind.
– And yet the honorable gentleman has joined another coalition.
– And the honorable and learned member has joined a coalition on the Government side.
– No, I have not.
– Now that this matter has been broached, I think that perhaps it will be as well to give some further particulars. Two or three meetings of the party were held, and it was unanimously decided, with the information before the party, that on no consideration should they follow the lead of the present Prime Minister. There was a unanimous vote on that point.
– I do not remember it.
– I cannot be held responsible for lapses of memory on the part of the right honorable gentleman. Other members of the party will remember it, and the fact that the right honorable gentleman does not do so proves nothing. When the last meeting was held, an understanding was arrived at that before action of any kind was taken another meeting of the party should be called. There has not been any further meeting of the party to this day, and those honorable members who are sitting with me in the Opposition corner have acted absolutely in accord with the decisions arrived at at the last meeting.
– By. entering into an alliance with the Labour Party?
– The resolution arrived at by the party was against an alliance with- the present Prime Minister.
– Or with the Labour Party ?
– I should not have referred to this matter but for the remarks which fell from the Minister of Trade and Customs last night. When half the truth is told it is as well to state the whole of the facts. I regard the coalition which has been entered into with the right honorable member for East Sydney as a particularly unholy one, and I am afraid that it has been brought about to a very large extent by anxiety for office.
– How many portfolios have been promised’ to the protectionists with whom the honorable member is associated ?
– The Minister had better wait until I break away from my protectionist principles, as he has done. He will then have the right to attack me.
– The honorable member was the first to break up the Protectionist Party.
– I am not likely to enter into any alliance or arrangement, or to take any portfolio, unless I can feel assured that due regard will be paid to the principles for which I have fought for so many years, and to which I am steadily adhering to-day. The alliance is in the interests of protection. The members of the Protectionist Party who have joined the present Government have done a great deal towards destroying the Protectionist Party of Australia. Whilst the wedge is being driven more deeply into our ranks, with the idea of widening the breach, what is being done elsewhere? The Freetrade Association in Sydney has been organizing ever since the split in our party took place, and the same may be said of the Melbourne Association.
– I have heard nothing about the Svdney Association.
– I have the particulars, which I can give to the honorable member.
– The Free-trade Association in Melbourne is not a very strong organization.
– I also find that the manufacturers have enrolled themselves as an Employers’ Union, and that they are bent upon destroying protection. Some of them have obtained all the protection they want, and do not seem to think very much about any one else. What is now taking place is enough to make one gravely suspicious of and distrust human nature. Men who have professed to be the staunchest protectionists are now doing their best to injure the cause.
– The honorable member is now turning upon the men who supported him throughout his political life.
– If my strongest supporter turns traitor I shall say what I think of him. What are the importers doing in Svdney? Whilst the Protectionist Party is being strangled they are displaying the utmost activity. I find that a deputation, representing the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, recently waited upon the Railways Commissioners of New South Wales/ and asked them to increase the freights upon iron and coal between Eskbank and Svdney, with a view to giving the importers a chance to still further injure the great industry, which an attempt has been made to establish at the former place. I am glad to say that Mr. Oliver, the Chief Railways Commissioner, said that the Commissioners were not prepared to do anything to cripple the Eskbank industry. He stated, further, that so long as assistance could be rendered to an important industry, with due regard to the interests of other people, such assistance would be forthcoming. As soon as the importers found that a free-trade leader was in power, they endeavoured to excite the sympathy of the State Government. The present Government in New South Wales is really the old Free-trade Party revived, and no doubt the Chamber of Commerce believed that the Prime Minister would have great influence with it.
– One of the organizers of that deputation is a great protectionist friend’ of the honorable member’s. The honorable gentleman says that it is a free-trade movement, and I contend that it is nothing of the kind.
– The report states that a deputation from the Chamber of Commerce, representing Sydney’ importers, waited upon the Railway Commissioners to protest against the preference given to the Eskbank Iron Works, Lithgow, in the matter of railway rates.
– Does the Sydney Chamber of Commerce represent only, the importers ?
– Yes. It represents the Sydney importers.
– What about the honorable gentleman’s friend, the Hon. A. W. Meeks, who is one of the pillars of the protectionist party in New South Wales ?
– Is it to be supposed that one ‘ member can govern the whole of the Chamber of Commerce in Sydney ?
– There are scores of other members who are protectionists.
– At present the importers are active everywhere in endeavouring to secure alterations in the law and its administration, which will give them advantages in connexion with their business.
– The movement to which the honorable gentleman has referred is not a fiscal matter, and he knows it.
– A great deal has been said against the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, on the ground that it will do great injury to many industries, by imposing undesirable restrictions upon the operations of employers. We find by the reports in the newspapers that recently the unionists in England expressed themselves as unfavorable to the introduction of compulsory arbitration laws, because such legislation would put an end to strikes. Our object should be to pass any measure which will have the effect of putting an end to strikes, and all their attendant troubles. The unionists of Great Britain believe that strikes afford them the best means of redressing their grievances; but we believe - I hope I am right in saying that we all believe - that it is better to prevent strikes, if possible, and, therefore, if a good Conciliation and Arbitration Bill would have that effect, we should pass it without any hesitation. We should do everything we can to prevent a repetition of the shearers’ and maritime strikes of a few years ago, which inflicted such injury upon the community.
– Would the honorable member vote in favour of including the agricultural industry within the scope of the measure?
– I voted against that proposal, and I have not been in favour of it.
– Would the honorable gentleman vote for it, now that he is allied with the Labour Party ?
– I am not allied with the Labour Party, except so far as is indicated by the published terms of the alliance which has been made public. The honorable member for Corangamite has been opposed to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill from the outset, and yet he is now supporting a Government which is doing its best to pass the measure.
– I am in favour of a Bill which would provide for conciliation and arbitration in connexion with the shipping, shearing, and mining industries only.
– I desire to say a few words with reference to the attack made upon me by the Prime Minister in connexion with the report of the Committee of Public Accounts in New South Wales. The attack of the right honorable gentleman was directed ostensibly to the honorable and learned member for Corio; but was really aimed at me.
– The honorable and learned member for Corio, had another barrel loaded to fire off at the honorable gentleman.
– I have had a good many barrels fired off at me, but -I have always come up smiling. In the first place, it was stated that I had ‘ appointed the Committee referred to. Technically, I did so; but Mr. G. R. French, and Mr. T. A. Dibbs were nominated by the Prime Minister, across the table of the Legislative Assembly in New South Wales. The right honorable gentleman was attacking me in connexion with my financial statement, and said, “Why do not you appoint a Commission - why do you not appoint such men as Mr. Russell French and Mr. Thomas Dibbs?” I said, “I will appoint them both.” The right honorable gentleman was about to suggest another name, when I interrupted him, and said that I thought it was only right that I should have a chance to appoint one member of the Committee. I selected Mr. Yarwood, one of the ablest accountants in New South Wales.
– Had not Mr. Dibbs already expressed an opinion adverse to the right honorable member?
– I am not aware that he did so; but that does not affect the question. All the gentlemen who have been named stand so high iri public estimation, and hold such high positions, that even if they had expressed opinions previously, I should have been perfectly satisfied with their decision after they had heard- all the evidence.
– Mr. Yarwood’ s appointment thoroughly suited the honorable member.
– I did not know Mr. Yarwood, until I asked him if he would act upon the Committee. I had only obtained reliable information as to his capacity. I wish to show honorable members how this Committee originated. The origin of this Commission was mainly an attack made by the strongest supporter of the right honorable gentleman in the Parliament of New South Wales.
– -Who was that?
– I shall give his name when I have quoted his utterance upon this subject. He said -
Now, I come to an examination of the public accounts, and I think it only fair to the Colonial Treasurer that I should at once formulate my charges which, before I sit down, I shall prove right up to the hilt. I will not attempt to use any unnecessary rhetoric. I will not take any figures from outside sources that cannot be depended upon. I will take my figures entirely from the quarterly Gazettes published in this country and from information supplied by the Treasury. I have taken the pains to go back from the present time to the beginning of 1SS9, and I have ‘carefully collated my facts, and I will stand or fall on them. I charge the Colonial Treasurer, in the first place, that during the whole period of his financial administration he has consistently and persistently misrepresented the real state of the* public accounts of this country. I charge him, in the second place, that he has consistently and persistently misrepresented and maligned his predecessors, and tried to put upon others a great deal of the matter arising out of his own administration. I charge him, in the third place, with having deceived this House in passing a Treasury Bills Bill, which, if it had known the whole facts of the case, which can only be seen clearly now in the retrospect, it would havebeen recreant to every sense of honour and public duty if it had allowed that Bill to become law. And I further charge the honorable member, that when that Bill was going through the House, and when it was necessary, after remarks of mine, to prove a certain position, in order to secure his own position, he absolutely misled the House by statements in order to carry that Bill into law.
– Who said that?
- Sir William, then Mr., McMillan.
– The man who is most cordially supporting him to-day.
– Is that the gentleman who was member for Wentworth?
– When the Treasury Bills Bill was under consideration, Mr. McMillan was the only member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly to grasp exactly what was being done, and he made this statement -
Now, however, the Government are asking the House - that is, on the statement of the 30th June - to cover with Treasury Bills an expenditure which has not been expended, which, I think, is exceedingly wrong in principle.
At that stage the present Prime Minister interjected -
The amount which has not been expended is not worthy of notice in comparison with the total amount.
That statement was made twelve months after the Bill had been passed. Later on, Mr. McMillan said -
It is a very serious charge against the Colonial Treasurer to tell a member of this House, when he brings in a Bill covering Treasury Bills to the amount of£1,174,000, that the whole of the amount was practically expended, because if there is any meaning in words, that is what it meant, and, at the same time, £426,000 had not been expended by the end of the year.
Mr. McMillandealt with the matter in detail, and gave the whole of the figures. It was his statement that supplied me with a key to the whole position, and induced me to get skilled accountants to analyze it. What was the result? I found that Mr. McMillan had understated the position. The report of the Finance Committee proves that it was understated, and that instead of £426,000 being unexpended, there was no less a sum than £550,000 unexpended. Indeed, the exact amount proved to be considerably in excess of that.
In other words, more than half the sum for which the right honorable gentleman obtained Treasury Bills was unexpended at the time.
– He was merely carrying out the expressed intention of the honorable member.
-The Finance Committee say, in addition -
Leaving for the four years a net deficiency of £737,532.
They add -
During the whole of this branch of our inquiry we have invariably, where we could conscientiously do so, given the Administration of that time the benefit of any doubt in connexion with any matters which have arisen ; but we cannot help coming to the conclusion that the accounts for 1895-6 should have been submitted in such a manner as would have enabled the public to form a correct judgment of the effect of the change of system on that year’s accounts. We recognise that the accounts, as they were submitted after the change of system to what has been termed the “Cash” basis, conformed to the programme sanctioned by Parliament and embodied in the Audit Act Amendment Act of 1895, and the Treasury Bills Deficiency Act of the same year. The accounts, as so made up, brought out a surplus; but, from a business point of view, we cannot see that any such surplus really accrued to the period, but the contrary, as we have shown, and, we think, this should have been clearly set forth at the time the accounts were submitted. In other words, the result of our inquiry shows that, under all the circumstances of the case, the issue of Treasury Bills, to the net amount of£1,024,700, as covering liabilities of previous years, and representing an ascertained deficiency at the 30th June, 1895, was unnecessary, and had the effect of considerably and unduly lessening the expenditure charged to the next ensuing year, and was, therefore, in our opinion, misleading, inasmuch as thereby the subsequent real condition of the finances was not made apparent.
The report of the Finance Committee emphasizes every word which I quoted from the speech of Mr. McMillan. I would further point out that the accounts were manipulated through paying the total amount of money received from trust funds into one particular bank, upon which general cheques were drawn. As proof of the way in which the accounts had been manipulated, I may mention that I was called upon to pass a Bill to legalize expenditure to the extent of £1,278,940. Every penny of that amount had been illegally expended, and’ that expenditure was unknown to the public and had not been before Parliament. I was compelled to pass an Act to legalize that expenditure, which the present Prime Minister had no right to so pay.
– And the honorable member was also obliged to legalize all his subsequent expenditure.
– I say that the expenditure to which the honorable member refers was incurred in despatching contingents to South Africa.
– The Government of which the honorable member was the head appropriated millions of pounds worth of trust funds after that.
– I asked the New South Wales Parliament to idemnify me for doing so. I told the House that I intended to spend money in eradicating the bubonic plague - I did not expend it behind the backs of Parliament and the country. I claim that it is a disgrace to the Federation that an honorable member who has been guilty of such financial manipulation and blundering in New South Wales, and whose administration has been censured by such a board of experts, should hold the position of Prime Minister of the Commonwealth.
– Is thehonorable member going to speak of the other board ?
– I do not know much about that board. Its members were appointed privately by the present Prime Minister. One of its members wrote to me asking me to appoint him in conjunction with Mr. T. A. Dibbs and Mr. Russell French. As a result, I concluded that he might just as well be omitted from consideration. I know, however, that he visited the right honorable gentleman at his private house, and there discussed the question of the finances.
– I do not believe it.
– It is absolutely true. The second Board was merely appointed for the purpose of white-washing the right honorable gentleman.
– It consisted of the three best accountants in Australia.
– No; I had the services of the three best accountants. There is one other charge which I wish to make against the Prime Minister, and one other objection which I desire to urge against his occupancy- of his present position. He was deposed from office in New South Wales practically as the result of bribing a member to support his Government. These are hard words to say, but I have all the particulars at my command. Upon a critical division one member of the New South Wales Parliament who came into contact with the Prime Minister, who was then Premier of that State, changed his attitude towards the Government and abstained from voting against it. I dis covered some months afterwards that he had been paid the sum of ?350, and I have not the slightest doubt that that payment was responsible for his altered political attitude.
– For what was that amount paid? Will the honorable member be good enough to tell the House?
– Yes. When a certain Member of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales was about to visit England, the Premier was asked by the Chairman of a Select Committee, which had been inquiring into some matter - I think it was the desirableness or otherwise of establishing a system of old-age pensions - whether that member would be paid by the Government. In reply, the present Prime Minister stated -
I do not know if I can be interrogated by the honorable member as Chairman of a Select Committee of the House. I will answer his question as that of an ordinary member of the House. I do not exactly know what the honorable- member means by a commission. I think we intrusted one of that kind to him.
Mr. O’Sullivan. We are doing our duty, zeal- ‘ ously and persistently.
– I am glad to hear it, or rather, I am surprised at it. With reference to the subject of the question, I desire to say that the honorable member for Paddington, who is about to visit England, has been empowered by the Government to make such inquiry, but he has consented to do that without the slightest remuneration, either in the way of allowance for expenses or otherwise. He will do so without the slightest expense to the Government.
Had he not given that reply a motion of no-confidence in the Government would undoubtedly have been submitted. The member to whom I have referred visited England, and upon his return railed against the Government, and announced his intention of voting with the Opposition. As the result of an interview with the Premier, however, he did not vote at all. I suspected what had taken place, and accordingly I consulted the Auditor-General, who showed me that ?350 had been paid to the honorable member in question.
– Was that expenditure not shown upon the Estimates?
– I discovered it in the Auditor-General’s report. It was not stated as a gift to the honorable member in question, and I could not ascertain where it was shown, but the Auditor-General enlightened me upon the point. He showed me where it was included, and that is how I discovered that the payment had been made.
An Honorable Member. - Was not that money returned to the Treasury ?
– I believe that those responsible for its payment became alarmed when the motion of censure was projected, and repaid it into the Treasury.
– That is the worst feature of it.
– Yes. I am not going to be mealy - mouthed on the question, and I would point out that the person who did that was the right honorable gentleman who .is Prime Minister of the Commonwealth to-day. Nothing on earth would ever induce me to support a man who has been guilty of what that right honorable gentleman has been guilty of.
– The honorable gentleman is saying now what he dare not S.9 : outside. It is very plucky of him.
– I dare not say it outside? I have said it many times. I have said that he paid money as a political bribe.
– The honorable gentleman dare not say that outside.
– And the? New South Wales Legislative Assembly, believing that to have been done, defeated the right honorable gentleman by thirty-three votes.
– Let the honorable gentleman say it outside, where he can be answered.
– The Assembly defeated the right honorable gentleman, I say, by thirty-three votes, and it was not because of the £350, but because of the way in which it had been paid, and the purpose for which it was paid.
– It is a plucky thing for the honorable gentleman to talk of a man who is not .here to answer him.
– Order. The honorable member for Parramatta must not continue his interruptions.
– I have felt bound to refer to the matter, as it has been brought up. I do not think it was wise for the right -honorable gentleman to bring up the matter. I should probably not have referred to it at all if he had not done so, but as he has done so I am bound to make a reply.
– And the honorable gentleman has given a complete misrepresentation of the matter now.
– I desire simply to add that, so far as the members of the Labour Party are concerned, they know as well as I do that the alliance on this side is open and above-board. There is nothing of a socialistic character of which I disapprove in that alliance. ‘ They are aware that I go a very great way in support of State Socialism, in the prevention of monopolies, and in support of all that is humane, and in the interests of the flesh and blood of the community. I do not approveof trading in the flesh and blood of the country. I believe that we are bound to stand by the weaker portion of the community, whilst the strong can stand by themselves. There is, to my mind, a very great deal underlying the statement recently made by the Bishop of Hobart. If others of the church would pay more attention to work for the benefit of humanity, it would be better. It is the absence of effort in that direction which has really created the Salvation Army. In my opinion that organization does a great deal more of good than we can entirely estimate at the present time, and that is so because some of those in the various churches do not give ‘attention to” certain classes to whom they should give attention.
– Why does not the honorable gentleman go into church and help them?
– I depute that to the honorable member for Parramatta, who is in the pulpit very often.
– That is what the man outside the church always says.
– I know that an attempt is being made to frighten the people of Australia by raising this cry against Socialism. I do not think there is the slightest danger that we shall be troubled with extreme Socialism. I agree with what the Bishop of Hobart has so graphically said on the subject, and I should hesitate before allying myself with the extreme phase of Socialism. I believe that the Labour members of the House have received but scant courtesy, and, indeed, unfair play. I think that the people of Australia like to see fair play. Also, they do not like to see a political party cut in two, and severed in such a way by graspers for office that if may never be joined together again. The free-trade engineers on the other side have been successful in cutting the Protectionist Party in two. They are using every endeavour, and will lose no opportunity to still further divide the party and advance their own cause. I should like to know what position a party can hope to be in if it does not stand solidly to its guns all the time in opposition to the solid battery on the other side. Members of the Protectionist Party who are now to be found on the other side are not standing to their guns. If they are not careful they will find, when they go before the electors, that the party has been so cut in two that it will have little chance against the strong phalanx of those opposed to it. I do not know whether my hope will be realized, but I do hope that better counsels will in future prevail, and that a time will come, and that before long, when a truly Liberal Party, which should embrace twothirds of the members of this House, will fee found voting in the interests of the people of Australia for protection, which is the only policy by which we can insure that a proper labour wage shall be paid.
– It has been stated that in a debate of this description every honorable member is entitled to speak his mind. I take it that every honorable member is entitled to speak his mind on all occasions in Parliament, and to speak it in that euphonious, gentle, and courteous English which we have heard from the honorable member for Hume. I understand that in this debate I am permitted to go this far, and no further : I am permitted to charge those opposed to me with corruption and with bribing their friends to vote in a certain way. I hope that the honorable member for Hume will not’ leave* the chamber for a moment, as I have a word, or two to say to him.
– I do not pay the slightest attention to what the honorable member says.
– I believe that the honorable gentleman will find it advisable to pay some attention to what I shall’ say. before I have done with him. It is well understood that what we say in public life, or within the walls of this Chamber, has no bearing upon any man’s private character, and that anything we say here is said purely in a political sense. Though we might know something which would not redound to the private character of our political antagonists, we should not be entitled to make use of incidents connected with their private life for any political purposes. The appeal which the honorable member for Hume makes to the House, and to the country, is primarily an appeal in defence of protection. The honorable member is the great protectionist - the man who stands before the people of New South Wales as the incarnation and great exemplar of protection. Let me tell the honorable gentleman, or let his friends tell him for me, as he did not see fit to remain, that the man who has ruined protection in New South Wales is the honorable member for Hume. I am sorry to have to say this kind of thing in the absence of the honorable gentleman ; but it is not my fault that he is not present. Protection in New “South Wales had a case which it did not possess in any of the other States. The potentialities of all the States were great, and undoubtedly the capacity of the people to make good use of them was considerable ; but the position in New South Wales differed materially from that in the other States, inasmuch as she possessed the motive power for industry - she had the coal. On that account there was in no other State anything like the opportunity for establishing a protectionist policy that there was in the mother State. We had got together a very considerable, a fairly representative, and a tolerably intelligent Protectionist Party, when the honorable member for Hume joined us. It was like making ensilage. The Protectionist Party in New South Wales had got together a splendid heap of men, capable of stating their case intelligently and reasonably, and with a good case to state, when the honorable member for Hume crawled on to the top of the heap. As honorable members are aware, in making ensilage, as soon as you have a sufficiently large heap, you parbuckle, by means of bullocks, a heavy log on to the top of the stack. There was no need to parbuckle the honorable member for Hume on to the protectionist stack in New South Wales; he climbed there. He got on top of the heap, and, to the destruction of protection in that State, he has sat there ever since until the party has sunk so low that at the present time there are only four representatives of protection in the mother State in the Federal Parliament. The others have been destroyed by the honorable member for Hume. The honorable members for Eden-Monaro, Riverina, and myself, are amongst the four, and every one of us knows that every time the honorable member for Hume touches the question of protection he does so to its destruction.
– I do not subscribe to that.
– I ask the honorable member where is the Protectionist Party of New South Wales? When Kuropatkin falls back upon Mukden with half an army, what is it that they want to know ? It is useless for him to say that his guns were not good enough, or that his soldiers were not fit to fight - the general must accept the responsibility of failure.
– He should not go over to join the opposing forces.
– Where is the Protectionist Party of New South Wales to-day? Where are the men who have been identified with the honorable member for Hume for the last few years, and who have really carried the honorable gentleman, put up with him, and tolerated him until now, when he has made a blind bolt for Socialism, and when they have to tell him that they must leave him? Where are those men now - Where are the men like Beale, Sandford, and others - the bulwarks of the Protectionist Party in New South Wales, who did all they possibly could for protection? Their position has been destroyed by the honorable member for Hume. I have no desire to be unfair or unjust to the honorable gentleman, and I therefore speak of him temperately and reasonably, _ when ^ I might make an indictment against him which would be very serious.
– One which the honorable member ‘would regret.
– I understand that certain things may be said, and that certain other things should not be said. I shall say no more about the honorable member for Hume at this stage, because I understand the honorable gentleman is shortly leaving the country. It will probably be news for honorable members to hear that they may not see the honorable gentleman in t’his House for very much longer. I have heard that the Japanese are experiencing a very great deal of trouble in taking Port Arthur. Their guns have made but very little impression upon it, and it is hoped that if the honorable member for Hume can be induced to sit on the top of Port Arthur, he. will smash it as effectually as ‘he has smashed everything he has so far had to deal with. In his absence, I must be fair to the honorable gentleman’s political failings.
– That is something new for the honorable gentleman.
– It is something new for me? Honorable gentlemen opposite do not understand me, because I have a capacity for forgiving them. I do not propose to deal with the alleged corruption by the present Prime Minister, the statement about his having given a bribe to secure a vote. I thought that I should get from the speech of the honorable member for Hume some thing to which I might reply, but I find that there was absolutely nothing. I took notes of the honorable gentleman’s speech, but he said only three things to which a reply may be made. It appears that the honorable gentleman is much in favour of electric tramways, but the most violent opponent of electric tramways in New South Wales was the honorable member for Hume. That is point number one; but it does not matter very much. Then the honorable gentleman tells us that he believes in Socialism, but he was himself the most persistent advocate of the sale of the tramways in New South Wales. Again, the honorable gentleman believes in the State purchasing estates for the purpose of closer settlement. I have been to some extent identified with the purchase of estates for closer settlement on the Richmond River, which has resulted in great good to the district. Before dealing with this matter, I thought that it was the right thing to do to ask the State - and the honorable member for Hume was leader of the State Government at the time - to take up the question. The honorable gentleman’s Government said that they would not purchase the estates. This can be borne out by reference to the late Under Secretary for Lands in New South Wales. So on the three minor points to which the honorable gentleman made reference it is clear that he made no remark that is worthy of consideration. *
– The honorable member knows that the State Government had not the legal power to resume those estates at the time he asked them to do so.
– We have not the legal power to do anything if we do not desire to do it. I desire to address a few words to honorable members with regard to the position of protectionists. The charge against many honorable members on this side to-day is that, being protectionists, we have no right to be here. It is not for me to make clear the attitude of the free-trader. It is not necessary for me to make any special reference to the attitude of the Socialistic Party opposite. It is necessary for me at this stage only to point out why, being a protectionist, I find myself here to-day. First of all, the protectionists did not sink the fiscal issue - it was the people who sank it. When this Parliament was elected, as I stated once before, Federal politicians were, like Gaul, “ divided into three parts,” equal in numbers, although not equal in intelligence. The
Protectionist Party was, of course, the most intelligent party. I am sure that protectionist members opposite will still permit me to make that statement. The protectionists numbered twenty-five, and who but a madman would, with such a following, have made a fight in a House of seventy-five. The Prime Minister, with a similar following, recognised that it was impossible to continue the free-trade fight, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat saw that the protectionist fight could not be successful.
– It was not impossible to continue the fight.
– It was impossible to win. What is the use of fighting when nothing but blows are gained? What we desire is to secure a fiscal policy which will be of advantage to the interests of Australia; but’ under the circumstances it was useless to go on fighting. Still, we remain in possession of that policy, and, that being so, what possible abandonment of protection has there been? It was not office that we were seeking ; it was the establishment of protection, and we have maintained that policy. Only one-eighth of the representation of New South Wales in this Parliament is protectionist. The six senators from that State are free-traders, and only four out of the twenty-six representatives which itsends to this House are protectionists. But we still retain our protectionist policy, and, under the circumstances, what more could any one who had as much sense as an opossum ask for? Going a step further, I ask, who is in charge of the Customs Department at the present moment? Honorable members heard him speak last night - an adroit, young, romantic, able, and intelligent protectionist. And who is in charge of the Treasury ? A protectionist, the right honorable member for Balaclava; whose figures the present Prime Minister, even when opposed to him, never questioned ; a man who when he says that a thing is true is believed all over Australia. The protectionists were elected to support those men, under the leadership of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, a gentleman of whom I do not like to say in his presence what I think. He has endeared himself to us all by his private character, while his oratory is something to be emulated by the growing generation, and his self-denial absolutely paralyzes politicians of the type of the honorable member for Hume. We are now asked to abandon these men, who are the only hope of protectionists throughout Australia, and to follow men who caused the Labour or the Socialistic Party to hold their political nostrils while dealing with them in negotiation. The reason that the honorable member for Hume gives for being in the camp of the Opposition is that it is a protectionist camp. Let us examine that statement. There is no excuse for the small selvage of the Protectionist Party being in Opposition unless they are with protectionists. But has any one of its members ever said that the Labour or Socialistic Party, as its members glory to call themselves, is a Protectionist Party? No. What, then, is the excuse of the honorable member for Hume, and the honorable and learned members for Indi and Darling Downs? What are the facts with regard to the fiscal views of the Socialistic or Labour Party ? They have an ideal which they place above free-trade or protection. They believe that Socialism is identified with the good of the human family, and’ they scorn the idea of being swayed by the doctrines of free-trade or protection. They say that the socialistic policy is as high above the fiscal policy as thesky is above the earth. Therefore, the honorable member for Hume and others are endeavouring to lead the protectionists, not into a protectionist alliance, but into a socialistic alliance. The honorable members for Perth and Canobolas, and the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, who are members of the Socialistic Party, are. free-traders who have made some of the ablest speeches in defence of free-trade which have been heard in this Chamber. The adroitness and more than wisdom of their party is shown in this, that its policy allows “its members to talk free-trade on the wharves of Sydney, and protection in the streets of Melbourne.It eliminates fiscalism, and welds together those of different fiscal faiths. At the last elections the members of the Labour Party promised their free-trade constituents that they would not have anything to do with protection. They said that they were not a protectionist party.
– That is not correct.
– The honorable member knows that hundreds of free-traders voted for him, while the honorable and learned member for West Sydney delivered to his constituents on the wharves at Sydney speeches which were even more free-trade, if possible, than those of the Prime Minister. The Labour Party promised their free-trade supporters that they would not become a protectionist party, and if they do so now they will break their promises. Honorable members know that those are the facts. I find no fault with the man who is a Socialist, if he believes in the doctrine of Socialism ; but the honorable member for Hume and the honorable and learned members for Indi and Darling Downs should make it clearthat they are endeavouring to lead the protectionists into a socialistic, and not into a protectionist, alliance. It is unnecessary to dwell on the point that the Labour Party area socialistic party.. Every member of that party in the Senate has proclaimed himself to be a Socialist, and I believe that every member of the party here claims to be one. The honorable member for Hume has characteristically proclaimed himself to-day as at the same time a Socialist and an antiSocialist. The platform of the Labour or Socialistic Party has been described as 25 per cent. practical politics and 75 per cent. bird lime, and plank No. 4 provides for” the nationalization of monopolies. Let the protectionists who have allied themselves with the Labour Party listen while I endeavour to show what will be the effect of a caucus on a party which has no fiscal principles. As honorable members know, the greatest of all monopolies is the land monopoly. No political economist who writes on the subject fails to point out that the origin of wealth and of existence is in the land, and that land is essential to production. Therefore, land nationalization or confiscation is one of the first objects of the Socialist. The Prime Minister when Premier of New South Wales knew what the views of the Labour Party were on this subject, and as he was anxious to obtain revenue from the taxation of land, he agreed with them for their support to a land tax in consideration of the removal of Customs duties. That proposal was made to and accepted by the members of a party concerning whom it is now claimed by some that they have protection bubbling out of them as oatmeal bubbles out of a Scotchman when his skin is cut. This party was approached by the Premier of New South Wales, who asked, “Will you vote to destroy the protected industries if I give you a land tax of one penny in the pound?”
– Although the Prime Minister was then so eager to destroy protection, the honorable member is now following him.
-The right honorable gentleman never claimed to be a protectionist. If my antagonist comes out into the open I am prepared to fight him. I am ready to break in an untrained colt, but I object to be kicked by the family mule. The right honorable gentleman went to the Labour Party - this great Protectionist Party - and, in response to his offer, they said that they were prepared to destroy every industry in New South Wales for the sake of a land tax of one penny in the pound. Land nationalization hung in one scale, whilst the industries of the country were on the other side of the balance. Members of the Labour Party wanted to secure a land tax, which they regarded as the thin end of the wedge of land nationalization. The honorable member for Darling and the honorable member for Yarra shout at the top of their mellifluous voices the moment that a land tax is mentioned. Land nationalization is one of their principles, but protection is not. I ask the honorable member for Bourke and the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs to look at the platform of the Labour Party. I want to know the reason why those honorable members left the Protectionist Party. The Labour Party declare themselves not to be protectionists, and there is not one word of protection in their platform. Yet the honorable members to whom I have referred have joined them.
-Has not the honorable gentleman joined another party?
– The honorable member knows full well that if he had stayed with me he would have felt more comfortable now. If I had to leave political life tomorrow, I would sooner go out in the company of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat than stay for ever with the honorable member for Bourke.
And how can man die better,
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods ?
If the Labour Party were a protectionist party the position might be serious, but they are. a socialistic party pure and simple. I find that on all matters affecting the farmers in the Parliament of New South Wales the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, the honorable member for Bland, the honorable member for Barrier, the honorable member for Canobolas, and the honorable member for Newcastle voted solidly against protection. Did they not abandon protection in order to gain a land tax of one penny in the pound as a first step in the direction of land nationalization ? I would ask any representative of Queensland what was the action of the Labour Party in New South Wales with regard to the sugar duties. Dominated as they were by miserable little coteries from the great cities, what did they care for the sugar-workers? They abandoned them in. order that they might place a land tax of one penny in the pound upon the farmers. They voted against the sugar duty, and against the duties on timber. The party is entirely without fiscal principle. It is like a ship without a rudder. The Labour Party voted solidly against the duty on timber, ‘ being utterly indifferent to the interests of the timber-getters or the workers in the saw-mills. They voted against the farmers every time.
– What did the Prime Minister care about them?
– He was an open antagonist all the time. But the Labour Party went upon a free-trade debauch. The great protectionists in the Labour Party entirely ignored the interests of those who were working upon the land. When the labour unions send their delegates among the workmen in my district, and tell them that they are in favour of giving preference to unionists, and at the same time intimate that they voted to give preference to foreign timber and sugar, they will have a very lively time. The electors in my constituency, who are as intelligent as any in the world, may be relied upon to show their resentment against those who are doing their best to deprive them of the means of earning their livelihood. Who defeated the timber duties when they were submitted in this House? The honorable member for Barrier.
– In the interests of the miners.
– The honorable member for Darling claims the farmers as a sacrifice in the interests of the miners.
– The farmers are not timber getters.
– Even so, the timber getter was sacrificed in the interests of the miner.
– What about the honorable member for Kooyong, who is sitting alongside the honorable member?
– He has received absolution for anything he may have done. Eight members of the Labour Party voted against the proposed timber duties. The timber getters work as hard as any men in the world, and yet the representatives of labour, who profess to have such a keen regard for the interests of working men voted against giving them a reasonable amount of protection. I recognise to the full that politics makes us acquainted with very strange bed-fellows; but when honorable members vote to destroy industries in which my constituents are engaged, and ask me to believe that they are thus studying the best interests of labour, they put my credulity to too great a test, and I cannot ally myself with them.
– Where is the honorable member now?
– We have entered into a compact which has made our policy secure.
– What is the compact?
– That the fiscal policy which was good enough for the honorable member and the whole Protectionist Party when the Deakin Government were in power, shall remain intact.
– It is a case of “ the lion and the lamb lying down together.”
– We have all heard that-
There was a young lady of Riga,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride with the lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger.
The honorable member is now the inside passenger. I would ask honorable members who destroyed the Protectionist Party? With all their defects and shortcomings and failures, the Protectionist Party formerly stood firm underthe leadership of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, the Minister of Trade and - Customs, . and the Treasurer. We stood as a solid party until we were destroyed by honorable members opposite. Upon the one side was the question of protection to native industries, which we all held so dear, and upon the other hand, there was the question whether the States should control their own railway servants. The Labour Party threw their weight in the scale against the maintenance of States rights, and destroyed our party. It did not matter to them that it was unconstitutional for us to interfere with the rights of the States. They butchered the Protectionist Party, and this was not the first time that they had shown themselves utterly regardless of the consequences to others, so long as they could achieve their own ends.
– The honorable member is now sitting behind the Government which has taken up a Bill containing the provision to which he has expressed his objection.
– That is another story.
– I always try to do right.
– Such a number of stupid people do that. When a rogue, or a scoundrel, is working with you, he will not kick, but the stupid man kicks all the time, and finally upsets the apple-cart. With regard to the question of sinking the fiscal issue, we heard a pathetic statement by the leader of the corner Protectionist Party. The honorable member for Hume made an impassioned appeal to honorable members upon the subject of sinking the fiscal issue. Any one who has any knowledge of electrobiology is aware that in one aspect spiritualism is sometimes said to rest upon the power of one person to project his intelligence into the crannies of another person’s brain and find out what is there. I propose to give honorable members the result of an examination of ‘ the brown tissues of the brain of the honorable member for Hume. The honorable member has stated thatthose who have sunk the fiscal issue are criminals and traitors. Now this is what I gather from a scrutiny of the brown tissues of the honorable member’s brain. He says, in effect - “ I am out of office, and it now occurs to me with special force that the products of prison labour in other parts of the world are swelling our imports to the detriment of our local producers.” It is cheering to be able to say something pleasant with regard to the honorable member for Hume. I have said many things which are absolutely true of the honorable member, and I wish now to say something, pleasant of him. He has always been consistent in sinking the fiscal issue. That should be counted to him for righteousness. He has always sunk the fiscal question when in office, but has never sunk it when out of office.
– That is not fair ; he was a member of the only Government which submitted a protective Tariff in New South Wales.
– In order to meet the sensitive feelings of the honorable member, I will say that, with one exception, he has always sunk the fiscal question when in office, but never when out of office. In 1899 Federation was so close to an accomplished fact that a considerable number of protectionists thought it unwise to raise the fiscal issue at all. At that time the leader of the Opposition was the member for Hastings-Macleay, Sir Edmund, then Mr., Barton. He had pledged himself to sink the fiscal issue in order to secure the consummation of Federation. The honorable member for Hume, who was then in Opposition, was indignant. He declared that we were traitors to sink the fiscal issue, and that we ought to be lynched as renegades to the protectionist cause. I have no desire to discuss caucus secrets, but I may mention that the honorable member for Hume was then elected leader of the Opposition, and was able to displace the Government. Upon the 25th November, speaking in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Mr. Henry Clarke, the member for Bega, made a statement concerning the honorable member, who now charges us with a special crime in haying sunk the fiscal policy. Mr. Clarke said -
I consider the honorable member for Hume and his colleagues did not act fairly in the course which they took to get into power. Upon the meeting of Parliament, after the last prorogation, two meetings of the late Opposition were held. At the first of these, the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay, who was then leader of the Opposition, and had’ convened the meeting, explained that he was afraid that he could not continue to hold that position, as he had made a promise not to interfere with the fiscal question during the existence of the present Parliament. A great many of the members of the Opposition, including myself, and the honorable member for Queanbeyan, were not satisfied that that promise should have been made. It was stated that the probabilities were that we should not have a Federal Tariff for two or three years to come, in which time, unless there were an interference with the fiscal question here, this Colony would be flooded with goods which would come in duty free, and which we should be prevented from exporting to the other Colonies,because of their prohibitory Tariffs. The honorable member for Hume, and other members, stated, however, that they were not bound by any such promise, and that the only promise they had made was not to raise the fiscal question until the Federation Bill had been dealt with.
Mr. See. It is not a very usual thing to, disclose what takes place at these meetings.
Mr. H. CLARKE. I do not care whether it is or is not a usual thing. I shall do it, because of the treachery and intrigue that has been displayed.
Those are the very words which the honorable member himself now uses. The extract continues -
At the next meeting of the Opposition, upon the following day, the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay resigned his leadership.
An Honorable Member. - Why did he do that ?
Mr. H. CLARKE. Simply because he could not break the promise which he had made. He acted a manly part, and no one can find fault with him for what he did. I was in the chair during the second meeting, and the honorable member for Hume was, I believe, unanimously elected leader in succession to the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay, honorable members being under the impression, because of what he had stated on the previous day, that he was not similarly bound. But, on the same evening, when a question was put to him by a member of the Government, he stated that he was prepared to sink the fiscal question, and he thus put himself in the position in which the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay stood when he thought it necessary to resign. I have been a strong supporter of the Protectionist Party since I entered the House, nearly thirty years ago, and I was never a free-trader, though’, only a few years ago, many of those who are now strong protectionists were free-traders. I submit that the Premier and other members of the Government have sold the Protectionist Party.
A reply to that statement has never been forthcoming. The honorable member for Hume accepted the leadership of the Protectionist Party, under a promise to raise protection, but the moment he obtained office he sank the fiscal issue. It would require the Rontgen rays to discover his protectionist principles when the honorable member holds Ministerial office. I would remind him that when Premier of New South Wales he took Mr. B. R. Wise and Mr. Lionel Fegan - two free-traders - into the Government with him. Now, however, he is astounded that a free-trader and protectionist should sit together. He selected the two free-traders whom I have mentioned as a guarantee that the fiscal issue would be sunk.
– Where is the honorable member?
– He is saving a good deal of injury to his feelings by being absent from the Chamber. There are two planks in my policy. First, I believe that the main elements in our national life should be close loyalty to the mother country and the encouragement of Australian industry. My next consideration is to get as far away from the pernicious influence of men like the honorable member for Hume as I possibly can. Of course, I am referring to his political career. In looking through the Vice-Regal speech, dealing with the business which was to be submitted to the New South Wales Parliament by the Government of which the honorable member was the head, shortlyafter he had been elected leader of the Protectionist . Party, one would require a microscope to discover any reference to protection. I find that it contains allusions to the soldiers of the Queen, and to what Lord Roberts said of our colonial troops.
There are three paragraphs devoted to the bubonic plague, and others to the Rocks resumptions, but not a word to protection. The honorable member at the time was sitting, cheek by jowl, with free-traders, and yet he now professes astonishment that a protectionist could be associated with a freetrader under any circumstances whatever. The honorable member is truly consistent. I hold in my hand the speech delivered by the Governor-General at the opening of this Parliament on the 2nd March of the present year. The honorable member was in office then. Is there in that Vice-Regal utterance any reference to the fiscal policy? Not a word. Every member of the Deakin Government had agreed to sink that issue. Nobody would have dreamt of dealing with it with only twenty-five supporters behind them. Every honorable member upon our side of the House was pledged to sink the fiscal policy and to sanction preferential trade. Again, the Tariff was good enough for the honorable member whilst in office.- But the moment he is not a member of the Government he repeats his old statement, “ I am out of office, and cheap labour in other parts of the world is destroying the industries of this country.” I will not say anything of the caucus or corroboree which the protectionists held in endeavouring- to arrive at an arrangement for a coalition.
– It was a meeting of the party.
– The difference between our caucuses and those of honorable members opposite is that whereas they are bound by the decisions arrived at we merely meet for discussion. At that meeting it was obvious what would happen. It was perfectly apparent . that about six honorable members would join the Socialists, whilst the others would stand together as the Protectionist Party. I knew that the honorable member for Hume would never cross to this side of the House. When men, by a long chapter of accidents and errors, have endeared themselves to the public, and become high politicians, they usually develop fat. One result of a long public career is that a man grows very stout. It was obvious when the present Prime Minister laid down in the political trough that there would be no room for the honorable member for Hume. I realized that the honorable member for Hume and the honorable and learned member for Indi would not support the Government. There were so many able lawyers round the Prime
Minister, and he objected to crowding. Some honorable members were so startled by the appearance of the socialistic banner over the political horizon that they were bound, to join the Labour Party. There is no need, therefore, to make any special reference to what happened in the caucus. In my judgment, there were two occasions upon which the honorable member for Hume would have done well to sink the fiscal question. He has never sunk that issue when it would have been good for protection, but he has always sunk it when it was good for himself.
– Did the Prime Minister sink it when he voted for the duty upon sugar ?
– The honorable member himself voted in the same way.
– I was not a professed free-trader.
– No; the honorable membet was a pledged labour representative. He voted, it is true,, in the Parliament of New South Wales, to destroy industries.
– That statement is as inaccurate as the honorable member usually is.
– I have the records, which cannot be incorrect. I wish to cite one or two occasions upon which it would have been wise to sink the fiscal issue, but upon which the honorable member for Hume refused to do so. When we secured the Dibbs Tariff in New South Wales - a Tariff which was not a very satisfactory one, but which was the best we could get, because the protectionists of that State were always hopelessly defeated when associated with the honorable member for Hume-
– Did not the honorable member sink the Dibbs Party for a railway upon one occasion ?
– Not at all.
– The honorable member was one of the four northern members.
– With regard to that railway
– Does the honorable member think that the railway has anything to do with this question?
– I do not think it has, Mr. Speaker, but you will agree .with me, that I was not the first to import it into the debate. It was incontinently dragged in by the leader of the Opposition, and I need only say, with respect to it, that I am very proud of it, and New South Wales is, too.
– New South Wales has had to bear the brunt of it.
– I knew a great deal more of the subject than did the people who opposed the railway. To-day every one is in favour of it, but for a long time I and my colleagues advocated it in politics almost alone.
– New South Wales is losing £30,000 a year on it, I understand.
– What is that to New South Wales? Why does the honorable member not say £1,000,000? In other words, I do not intend to further discuss the question. Having done a great deal of work in connexion with other phases of political life, Sir Henry Parkes, as honorable members are aware, was anxious to finish his public career by bringing into existence an Australian Union. He came to us as protectionists, when we had the Dibbs’ Tariff in New South Wales, and offered to maintain that Tariff if we would help him with Federation. When that offer was made I knew perfectly well what would happen at the next election, and said so, as did other protectionists, and we urged the honorable member for Hume in every way we could to accept the offer, but he said, as usual, “ I am out of office. Foreign labour is flooding us with cheap goods,” and all the rest of it. If the honorable gentleman then had sunk the fiscal issue New South Wales would have come into the union without such a bigoted feeling in favour of free-trade. She would have been to some extent accustomed to protection, and would not have had to make such a change as has been necessary, and New South Wales would also have had the advantage of the Dibbs’ duties till union was accomplished. Again we could see what Federation would do. We were Australian protectionists, and we reached out our hands to men like the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. We could see that they were our allies. The honorable member for Hume had destroyed us in New South Wales, but we knew that we had friends over the border in Victoria1, and we opened our arms wide to them, and reached out to them with both hands. Honorable members are aware that we could not get more than four men to represent protection in New South Wales in the Federal Parliament, and if we had had to depend upon feeling in New South Wales alone, protection was hopeless. What did we do? We turned to our brother protectionists in the other States, and held out our hands to them. But what did the honorable member for Hume do ? The honorable gentleman opposed the movement in every way. He opposed it bitterly, and he spoke of the people of Victoria in a way which I do not care to repeat. If according to the honorable gentleman, protection was the only thing necessary, and the only thing which made his blood tingle and his hair to stand on end, why did he not help us to union? The honorable gentleman broke up the Protectionist Party in New South Wales, and he has smothered the Protectionist Alliance in his blind bolt for Socialism. When he could have sunk the fiscal issue, and maintained the Dibbs’ Tariff in New South Wales, he refused to do it. If we had followed the honorable gentleman’s example, every industry in New South Wales would to-day be in the full blaze of the ruin caused by free-trade, and the sugar industry and the timber industry would have crumbled into dust. This is the honorable gentleman’s record, and I therefore refuse to follow him. It is not pleasant to have to say these things, even in the kindly and euphonious language in which I have expressed them. I have referred to the honorable gentleman absolutely in a political sense, and if he had been present I should have been tempted to be a little more severe. It is no pleasure to me to have to say these things, but when, as a protectionist of New South Wales, I am called upon to decide between the honorable member for Hume and a tried leader like the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, what sort of a man should I be if I were to abandon the leader I was elected to support, in order to follow the honorable member for Hume. The honorable gentleman has said that he does not trust the present Prime Minister. As a protectionist I do trust the right honorable member’s word. I have known him for many years. No man has ever opposed him more bitterly than I have done on the fiscal question, and the time may come when it will be necessary to fight the right honorable gentleman again on that question. But I must say that I have never known the! present Prime Minister to break his plighted political troth. Other honorable members could say these things perhaps better than I can, but it is just as well that I should say them. On the question, for instance, in connexion with which the right honorable’ gentleman has been referred to as a “ Yes-No “ politician, the course h pursued was as magnanimous, as honorable, as straightforward, and as discreet as any statesman ever pursued.
– The honorable and learned member for Indi knows that, too.
– The honorable and learned member for Indi knows also that in political life a man generally states but his own side of a case. When men have studied questions, and have come to the conclusion that free-trade or protection, or prohibition, or anything else, is right, they use arguments calculated to sustain the position they take up. But what did the present Prime Minister do? He told the people frankly that there were two sides to this case, as to every case. The present Prime Minister took the people of New South Wales into his confidence, and he said - “ This is for it, and that is against it.” He stated both sides honestly, and the right honorable gentleman 1 never stood higher in my estimation than when he had the courage to state the case of an antagonist in a fight in which he was himself engaged. If every man in political life plainly stated both sides of a question, the result might be disastrous in some respects, but it would lead to a better condition of affairs in the political life of the country. Although honorable members may talk derisively of “yes-no,” protectionists and free-traders alike believe in their hearts that the right honorable gentleman did what was right in that matter. I desire to say a word or two to the leader of the Opposition on the subject of Socialism. The honorable gentleman claims to be a Socialist.
– The honorable gentleman has always believed in Socialism for the North Coast.
– I shall tell the honorable member what I believe in before I sit down. He will permit me to say that we have not the slightest evidence of Socialism, in Australia. When I hear some of these half-articulate noises I wonder how far evolution has got. Disraeli at one time said that he did not know whether we were fallen angels or advanced apes. I am not quite clear on the point myself. The leader of the Opposition is a Socialist. For a downright, double-barrelled, copperbottomed, bevelled-edged egotist, give me a Socialist.
– Hear, hear. They can always put the world right.
– Yes, and put themselves wrong. The honorable member for Bland is an extremely good man for the purpose of lulling people to rest, and if the members of his party have any sense they will keep the honorable member as leader. They do not want a figure-head like one of the Maffia society, with a charge of dynamite and a stiletto, and I repeat that ‘ the honorable members of his party will do well to keep him where he is. According to the honorable gentleman, factory laws, ‘ development of the country, and old-age pensions, are all forms of Socialism. I may remind the honorable gentleman that every one of these things has been won in countries which have never heard of a Labour Party.
– That is no argument to prove that they are not socialistic.
– Honorable members opposite confuse democracy with labour. We stand for democracy, and honorable members opposite stand for Socialism and slavery. Who were the men who centuries ago made a stand at Runnymede? There was no Labour Party there.
– What does “ Peritonitis “ say about it ?
– This party of mushroom growth, which has come into existence only during the last few years, claims to have done everything. What is democracy but the control and rule of the people by the people - making as broad as we can the basis of the social pyramid? What is it but that every man should to the utmost of his ability and power improve the conditions of life. This has been the work of men who have never identified themselves with the Labour Party, and who have never signed a pledge. But no man can get the support of honorable members opposite unless he signs their pledge. They are prepared to destroy even their allies. Alliance with them is like an alliance with an American Indian. He may fight with you, but pretty soon after the battle he will scalp you if he gets the chance. Socialism means taking from those who have and giving to those who have not. If it means anything at all it means that. It means, for example, taking the land from the farmer. The honorable members for Barrier and Yarra admit that it means taking the land from the farmer by means of a land tax - not by paying for it, as other honorable members have suggested, but by bursting up private estates by heavy taxation - by taxing the farmer’s land until it becomes of no value to him, and the State takes it.
– The proposal is to take the land from the squatter in order to give it to the farmer.
– The honorable member for New England and the honorable mem ber for Lang propose to do what the honorable member suggests.
– I do not care who else proposes to do it - it is what is proposed by the Socialists.
– It is proposed by the Single Tax League.
– That is the whole basis of the socialistic creed.
– What are the Government to do with the land when they get it?
– The honorable member for Darling who spoke for five - it seemed fifteen - hours might allow me to say a word or two. The Socialist has discovered that it is cheaper to steal cattle and sheep than to breed them. They believe in dividing up everything, and under their system we might have a man sent up to the country from Sydney to divide a team ‘of bullocks, and to take the pin bullocks, the polers, and the, leaders and leave the rest to the owner. Do honorable members opposite mean to tell me that Social/ism means the burdening of the State with hundreds and thousands of millions of debt in order to buy what the State can take? Of course it does not. It reminds one of Janus. The Temple of Janus, the gates of which were closed in time of peace, but remained open in time of war, contained an idol possessing a head facing two ways. The Labour Party has such a’ head. One of its faces bears the features of the astute and extremely friendly member for Bland. His views are merely democratic and humane. But the other face has the features of the anarchist and Socialist, who would divide up and share the possessions of other people.
– :The honorable member knows that that is not correct. He knows more about economics and Socialism than his present speech discloses.
– If the honorable member does not believe in these views, why does he contribute towards (the preaching of them ?
– Mr. Tom Mann was never guilty of the idiocy of preaching such views as the honorable member speaks of.
– I will give proofs of my statement by quoting from Mr. Mann’s speeches next time I rise. If I had a lecturer in my employ, he would speak as I told him to do, whether I sent him to Klondyke or anywhere else. Mr. Mann, indeed, has said that he would not work for the party unless it was a socialistic party, that he would not take a penny from any other party. But what is a Socialist? He has been well described in the following lines : -
What is a Socialist? One who is yearning
For the equal division of unequal earning ;
Idler or bungler, or worse, he is willing
To fork out his penny and pocket your shilling.
– Those lines are pretty old; but the honorable member knows that they do not truly represent the views of the members of our party.
– The lines are nearly as old as Socialism, and so, too, is human nature. If you take from the industrious and give to the careless, inconsiderate, and lazy ; if you give to the man who will not work the results of the labour of the man who does work; if we tell our boys who are growing up that there are no rewards for intelligence in this country, that if they wish to sell the work of their brains they must take it to another country, because here intelligence will mean nothing, but all must be on the dead level of mediocrity, the best of our population will leave Australia. I understand that the honorable member for Melbourne is to follow me, and no doubt he will have a great deal to say about the sin, the sorrow, the misery, and the disease to which the human family is subject. But do not honorable members know that the lash of circumstances is more cruel than the lash of any master, that every man contains within himself the germ of death, and is gradually though surely decaying? We all know that poverty, misery, and wretchedness walk our streets, and that the end of all is marked by the white tombstones of our cemeteries. But shall we remedy that state of things by refusing to the industrious the rewards of their labour, or to those who possess brains the prizes of intelligence? Honorable members have asked upon what issue will the people be appealed to. The issue will be Socialism versus freedom. Honorable members opposite say that no man in Australia who does not contribute to the socialistic funds should get work.
– That is as nearly correct as it is usual for the honorable member to be.
– The honorable and learned member for Indi will see my meaning, without any explanation. We, on this side, hold that every man should participate in the wealth of the country in proportion to his merits, his industry, and his character. Those are the two platforms between which the people of Australia will have to decide.
Honorable members of the Labour Party have declared themselves to be Socialists. They claim that no man who is not a member of a union is entitled to get work. Is that correct ?
– Then, I will say that they claim that no man who is not a unionist is entitled to get work unless there is more work than the unionists can do. They would give to the free labourer the scraps and crumbs from the table. Now, no man can belong to a union unless he contributes towards its funds ; and, lastly, the funds of the unionists go to provide the sinews of war to help the Socialistic Party to win seats in Parliament. Those facts prove the conclusion I have just stated. We, on this side, do not wish to force working men to contribute out of their wages to socialistic movements, unless they wish to do so. We are on the side of freedom. I heard with surprise the honorable member for Bland speak about the Socialism which at present exists in Australia, and I say that there is not the slightest evidence of any desire for Socialism here.
– There are none so blind as those who will not see.
– The management of the railways by the States has been referred to as an instance of Socialism. But that is not Socialism at all. The railways have been constructed for the development of the lands of the States, and for the use of their people ; but they have been constructed on a financial basis which pays regard to the amount likely to be derived from freights and fares, and to the possibility of profitable working. That is State commercialism, not State Socialism. Those who use the railways pay for the services which they employ, whereas if the railways were socialistically managed, those who did not use them would have to pay for them. Then honorable members say, “ Look at the Post Office; is not that a socialistic concern?” I say again, “ No ; it is another example of State commercialism.” Your socialistic writers would laugh to scorn the statement that the Post Office is an example of Socialism. The Post Office is a paying concern, and those who use it pay for the carriage of their letters. If those who did not use it paid for the carriage of the letters of those who did, it would be Socialism. Then honorable members have referred to the Socialism of the’ right honorable member for Swan, in giving a water supply to the people of Coolgardie, who, before his great intellect and noble courage appeared on the scene, had to be1 content with a dry blow, and a scrub down with a corn-cob or a currycomb. Now they are able to bathe themselves, and they show their gratitude by voting against the man whose bravery, courage, and intelligence, have given them the great boon which they enjoy. But those waterworks are not a socialistic concern ; they are only another example of State commercialism. They- would be socialistic if the water was paid for, not by those who use it, but by persons in Tasmania or elsewhere who do not use it. Similarly the acquirement by the Government of pastoral property, with a view to settling agriculturists upon it, is another instance of State commercialism, because those who use the land pay for it. The man who sends cream to a co-operative factory, and is paid in money for the butter manufactured from that cream, is taking part, not in a socialistic, but in a commercial concern.
– Who gets the bonuses?
– I shall not refer to that matter; but the evidence which we have read in regard to i£ shows what a. mess the Government makes of these things. If the man who spends his time expectorating on the footpaths in- Sydney or Melbourne came in for a share of the money won by the dairyman elsewhere, it would be Socialism; but, as it is, the arrangement is purely a commercial one. Now let me say a word or two with regard to the marvellous dreams of the Socialists. They tell their audiences that they will all live in palaces, and that there will be no more trouble with regard to money. There will be an abundance of money, with horses and carriages,, and everything else you like. But do not honorable members opposite know that the total income of Australia is about £212,000,000, an amount which gives an average of about £46 per head to every man, woman, and child in the community? Honorable members opposite, who are drawing £400 a year, and who are not keeping a wife and seven children each, are robbing some one else, according to their own principles. The money is not available. What is the use of nationalizing land, and the means of production, unless you also nationalize tha brains of the community ? Australia had fine resources, great, opportunities^ magnificent potentialities, in the time of the blacks. But what developed the country ? Not only the labour, but; the brains of the white man. You must nationalize the brains of the community ‘ if you nationalize everything else1.
Once you refuse to the brains and the industry of a country their full reward, that’ country becomes as poor as Lazarus. Take the flower of a country’s intelligence out of it, and there will be nothing to divide. One word in regard to .the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, and the other protectionists who are sitting with him. I wish to reiterate that there is no protectionist flag flying oh the Opposition benches. The honorable and learned member for Indi, the honorable member for Hume, and others claimed the right to cross the drawbridge with their flag flying, and their band playing. But the Labour Party said, “Oh, no.” Then the honorable members tried to build bridges in order to get over. But the Labour Party still said “No.” Then they, with their small following, tried to get through the scullery. But still the Labour Party said “No.” Was there a rat hole left through which they could get ? Not one. The honorable members I have alluded to prayed on their knees, looking up fervently into the eyes of the Labour Party, to be allowed to fly a little flag of their own. They said, “ You are here under the black banner and the skull and cross-bones of Socialism, and that does not suit us ; let us put up a little flag of protection just as an excuse.” But the Labour Party persistently said “ No. To do that we should have to turn out some of our best men, and to abandon our principles.” To-day the honorable members to whom I have referred stand there only under the flag of Socialism ; no flag of protection is flying. They cannot excuse themselves to their constituents on that score. There are only two parties in our politics to-day - the individualists and the Socialists, the freemen and bondsmen. When I have to sign a caucus pledge, when, after being elected by my constituents, I have to come to Melbourne and find a number of men meeting together in a room, who will tell me, whatever my views or the wishes of my constituents are, that I must abandon them, and vote as the caucus directs - when that time comes, my political career will be closed.
– The honorable member knows that that is not correct.
– The’ honorable member tells me that that is not correct. But what is the platform of the Labour Party?
I hereby pledge myself not to oppose the candidate -
How frightened they are of being opposed.! As if. a man’s defeat or success meant anything at all. Individually it may be an important thing to him, but what is it as compared with the importance of the affairs of the country ? They are frightened at the idea of being opposed, and are crawling along with the condition that there shall be no opposition. “ Let them all come,” so far as I am concerned.
– The honorable member knows all about crawling.
– I do not allude to the honorable member for Bland, of course. When we fight a political issue out in the full breath of heaven, and before the face of our constituents, why should we pledge ourselves in this fashion -
I hereby ‘pledge myself not to oppose the candidate selected by the recognised political organizations, and, if elected, to do my utmost to carry out the principles embodied in the Federal labour platform, and on all questions affecting the platform to vote as a majority of the parliamentary party may decide.
I came to Parliament as a representative - a free man. My constituents empowered me to come, and they trusted me. I accept the responsibility for every vote which I give, and when I go back to them, even if I have made a mistake, they always forgive me, and vote for me again, because they knowthat I am always first for them and their interests. I have, already said that ‘ there is a good deal of trouble in the world, but totally dissent from those who say that there is no chance in this country for the poor man. Let honorable members look around this House, and say whether there is not room in Australia for the poor man. We are poor men’s sons, every one of us. The Prime Minister came from ‘ the manse. Honorable members opposite came from laudable occupations. Where they are going to goodness knows ! Honorable members were all brought up in poor men’s houses, and it is through their own habits of thrift, their ability, their self-reliance, their belief in themselves, and their knowledge that they had to work if they were to improve their’ lot, that they have reached their present position. This is absolutely a poor man’s Parliament. I do not think there is a man in this House who is not a poor man’s son.
– Except the honorable member.
– Except me? My home in the early days, though a pure and a good home, was as poor as that_ of any man in this House, and my position here, and all that I have got, are due to the intelligence of my constituents, and to my own industry. I do not like to say that honorable members opposite are here because of the imbecility of their constituents, because that would not be fair, and. I do not think it. But is there any country in the world - is it possible elsewhere to find such a state of things - where a poor man with merit has a better chance than in Australia? Our leading men in trade, in commerce, in law, in a>rts, in the church, are almost without exception poor men’s sons. The honorable member for Kooyong is a poor man’s son. They tell us that there is no chance for a poor man in Australia, but Sir Henry Parkes, one of the greatest of Australian statesmen, a man who would have been considered .great ‘in any Parliament in the world, came from an English agricultural labourer’s cottage, and rose to power from a small toy shop in Hunter-street, Sydney. My opinion of Australians is that they respect merit. If a man has raised himself by his own natural ability, by his prestige, and by his wisdom, to a high position, Australia is proud of him, and the humbler his origin the more gratified we are. A rich man, in the political life of this country, has, indeed, a heavy load to carry. The feeling in Australia is in favour of ability and industry every time. Under Socialism our great artists, great reformers, great inventors, great sculptors, politicians, and industrious men in every sphere of life are to be placed in shackles, and made content with £46 a year and a Justice of the Peaceship. What would every honorable member opposite do if he had a son with ability under the conditions of Socialism which they themselves desire to establish? He would send him out of a country which handcuffed intelligence and legironed ability. Socialism means nothing less than that; and the fight in the coming election will be between men who believe that we should not handcuff ability and destroy talent, and those who believe that the industrious man has no chance in this country, that we should divide up the land of the farmer, distribute the cattle and the sheep, and that every one should be equal - and fit for a lunatic asylum ! We are asked’ why the free-traders and the protectionists have come together to-day. Why? .Because they are free men; because they believe that to put shackles upon intelligence would be disastrous to the country and inimical to our civilization, and would reduce our Commonwealth to a great Sahara of imbecility and sand- We intend to stand together to resist a policy which would bring calamity to our homes and ruin to our civilization.
– I thank the honorable member who has just resumed his seat for the good-tempered way in which he has addressed himself to the motion before the House, because he has perhaps provided me with a larger audience than I should otherwise have had. Speaking with the best of good-fellowship, I should say that the honorable member must have been giving us a few passages from the .novel with which I understand he intends to favour the world. I can well imagine that he has been enacting the part of the hero of that piece of fiction. I do not suppose that any member of the House - not even the honorable member who is the sole representative of Western Australia on the Government benches, or the honorable member who is the sole representative of Queensland - will deny that the question of protection and free-trade was before the people at the last- election. I am quite certain that the Minister of Trade and Customs will not contend that the fiscal issue was sunk in the two recent campaigns in the electorate of Melbourne. The honorable gentleman knows very well that that question was to the front throughout those elections, and that it was a live one. Not only did I not sink it, but I would not permit any one to compel me to sink it.
– The Labour candidate in my constituency sunk the fiscal issue ; he placarded the district with “ fiscal peace.”
– I did not-
– I think the honorable member’s name was on the list of those who went for fiscal peace at the general election.
– Oh, no.
– There were fifty-two names.
– The honorable gentleman has known me in political life for about fifteen years, and he knows that the flag of protection has never been hauled down by me.
– The protectionist flag is flying now.
– Yes, on this side ‘of the House. An old colleague of the honorable gentleman’s in the State Parliament once said from the Ministerial corner of this chamber that, given the help of one newspaper in this community, he would fight any constituency in Victoria. That newspaper to-day is maintaining its splendid rule as far as protection goes, and has stamped those who are not sitting’ with us as seceders from the Protectionist Party.
An Honorable Member. - Are they all protectionists on the Opposition benches?
– The real protectionists are here, and a few more will come over before the division is taken. The Age has truly said that the caucus is not new, but dates back to early times. The right honorable gentleman, who led a victorious party so long in the Victorian Parliament, used to meet his supporters in caucus.
– Only once, and they were all at sixes and sevens. I never tried it a second time.
– I have in my possession no less than five notices.
– Oh, but I have. I think the right honorable ‘gentleman’s memory is not to be depended upon at the present moment. On the 9th inst. the Age wrote -
Mr. McLean’s attempt to extenuate his betrayal of the policy on which he was elected was not worthy of his past reputation. It was the stereotyped fiction that the fiscal peace and preferential trade on the Ministerial programme meant a truce of three years.
Who empowered the honorable member for Gippsland or any one else to make a truce for three years on the fiscal question ? There is only one way of obtaining the opinion of the people, and that is by means of a referendum, but the honorable gentleman would not take that course. I remember when he came along and stabbed the right honorable member for Balaclava in his back. I am using the very words of the latter when he accused his late colleague of avoiding a straightforward fight, and stabbing him in the back.
– Never !
– Well, after that, the honorable member, if he really meant what he said, would say anything. I shall be obliged to him if he will not interject. I am using this incident as an argument against- the tactics which have been employed in this House, whereby self-termed protectionists are bound hand and foot to free-traders. I1 have a much higher admiration for the leader of the House than I have for honorable members who have sunk their politics for the sake of obtaining a seat on the Treasury bench. The right honorable member for Balaclava will recollect the conversation I had with him when I told him that the honorable member for Gippsland. was going to act traitorously and oust him from his position. “ What !” he said, “ Old Mac do that ! I don’t believe it.” He did not believe that it would be done, and he honestly expressed his opinion.
– The honorable and learned member for Corinella did so, too.
– The honorable and learned member for Corinella was bumped out by his colleagues, but, like a brave man, he accepted his gruel. I always admire a brave action. The honorable and learned member is now trying on the same game here. I guarantee that if he had the courage to resign his seat and go before his constituents to-morrow, he would not come back to this Chamber.
– How can the honorable gentleman guarantee that? Is not that in the hands of his electors?
– I am using this argument when I find that a similar action is now being tried on here, and that an attempt is being made to avoid a straightforward fight. Even the right honorable member for Balaclava must agree that he was defeated in a cowardly fight, and not on a straight-out motion of no-confidence. We did not have a straightforward motion like that which has been moved by the leader of the Opposition here.
– The Treasurer gave a pair in favour of the Government.
– I am sorry to hear that statement. I know that throughout Victoria there are many persons who are very sorry that my honorable friend has voted in that way. I regret that the second head of this Government has gone away. The right honorable member for Balaclava will remember that he was the first one who was to be “ equal in all things and good in nothing” with that sinuous man whois now out of our political life, and who as a Svengali used the honorable member for Gippsland as his Trilby. The right honorable member for Balaclava was displaced in a cowardly fashion. At that time he said that the honorable member for Gippsland had betrayed the liberal principles in which he had believed. The honorable member for Parramatta seemed to doubt a statement I made just now. I have not come here unarmed with authority, because I never make a statement which I do not believe to be true. When the honorable member for
Gippsland moved to oust the right honorable member for Balaclava from his position he did not join issue on any great plank of policy, or on the administrative acts of five years’ leadership, but on a mere question of privilege. I propose to make a quotation from volume 93 of the Victorian Hansard. On page 2736, the right honorable member for Balaclava was interrupted in his speech by the honorable member for Gippsland, with this remark -
If there are any personal obligations the balance is on my side.
I state fearlessly that I have never heard so many aspersions thrown upon the butter bonus as I have upon the Maffra sugar concern. What is the opinion of the right honorable member for Balaclava, who, unlike the honorable member for Gippsland, who has retired, is courageous enough to sit here? If some honorable member would be so good as to tell the honorable member for Gippsland what I am about to quote, and ask him to return to the Chamber, I should’ very much appreciate his action.
– I think that we ought to have a quorum. (Quorum formed.)
– In answer to that interjection from the honorable member for Gippsland, the right honorable member for Balaclava said -
I know this, that had it not been for the unbounded faith that I had in the honorable member, I probably would never have landed this Colony in the loss of ?62,000, and I would not have allowed the unfortunate shareholders in the company to lose ?31,000 of their money. We all know what gratitude is.
The honorable member had submitted his motion in a ‘half-hearted way. He could not attack the right honorable member for disloyalty.
– Does the honorable member intend to connect his remarks with the question under discussion ?
– Yes. The right honorable gentleman received exactly the same treatment as the Labour Party has received in this House -
Mr. Murray Smith. Not gratitude for wasting the public money.
– Gratitude for the care and interest I took in regard to that matter, and gratitude for the unbounded trust I unfortunately placed in the honorable member’s knowledge.
And yet he is supporting him to-day. I certainly am surprised at the quarter from which the attack comes. My honorable friend says that he was not aware of any intriguing going on when I threw out a challenge the other day. Then he must have been blind or deaf, because we know very well that it has been common rumour throughout the House.
I followed the right honorable member at a magnificent meeting in St. Kilda, where, according to the Argus of 22nd December, 1899, he is reported to have said that -
He could have understood the attack on his Government if it had come from the front, but it came as a stab from the back - (Shame) - and no Britisher liked that. (Cheers).
These remarks appeared in the Argus on the same day, and I challenge the right honorable member to deny that the present second head of this Government is the only man in Victoria ‘ who has earned the name of a back-stabber in our political life. He is betraying the protectionist cause in Victoria to-day. as he betrayed his old friend and colleague in the State Parliament. The right honorable member for Balaclava also said at St. Kilda-
It was said that for months past there had been dissatisfaction in the ranks of his supporters, but if those gentlemen had had the liberal interests of the country at heart they would have approached him with their complaints…..
Their action had had the result of splitting up the Liberal Party, and, in addition to creating some bad feeling, they had coalesced with their natural political enemies, the conservatives.
But one of the strongest reasons was that a personal set had been made against him, as had been shown by the venomous speech of Mr. Shiels, at Bairnsdale. (Boohoos. ) Then a number of supposed liberals, who, like Japhet, were hunting for a father, managed to collar Mr. McLean, and if that gentleman were in the Palace of Truth, he would say he was heartily sorry at having undertaken the job. Mr. McLean and his colleagues in liberalism, depended for their very existence upon the vote of the conservatives, and upon the support of the newspapers, who had hitherto only supported those who held conservative views.
What newspapers are supporting this Government to-day? The conservative press of Melbourne. Whom have they got at their back? Is there a conservative representing Victoria on this side of the House? Not one. They are all sitting on the other side. The right honorable member for Balaclava knows, as well as any honorable member who is here to-night, that if ever there was a feeling of bitter disappointment experienced by a majority of the people of this State it was when he agreed to throw in his lot with a Government which his leader - and he acknowledged the honorable and learned member, for. Ballarat as his leader - had discarded. The right honorable gentleman was leader in the State Parliament, and why should he “knuckle down” even to the honorable and learned member for Ballarat? But having accepted the honorable and learned member for Ballarat as leader, why did he not follow that gentleman, who, when he could not agree with the Ministry, took a corner seat in the back benches? I have shown clearly what manner of men are getting together in this Government. To me it seems something terrible that protectionists should be allied with free-traders in this way. I am not speaking against the honesty of freetraders - their honesty goes without saying. Men can be as honest in political life, holding different political faiths, as they can in other affairs; but those to whom I object are the men who tamper with principles. The Free-trade Party have not abated one iota of their opinions, but the same cannot be said for the protectionists who are supporting the present Government. The Protectionist Party have always been supported by the Melbourne Age. I have not much to thank that newspaper for, but in my bitterest anger, I have never accused it of, for one moment, wavering in its advocacy of protection. Never in the sixteen years of my political life have I found that paper to waver in its- fealty and loyalty to protection. And what stand does that paper take now? Is it supporting the honorable members, the protectionists,’ who are sitting behind the Government? No; it is advocating protection by means of an honorable alliance. It is interesting to turn to a little page in history, in which, at all events, the honorable and learned member for Balaclava will be interested. When in Victoria, the McLean party “ wiped out “ the Turner Ministry by a “ stab in the back.” the new Government had forty-seven votes against thirty-six. There were three pairs on each side, which made the votes fifty as against thirty-nine, showing a majority of eleven. What did the new Government do when they got into power? An appeal was made to the country; as I hope an appeal will be made in the present instance if the Opposition fail to get a majority of six. In such case, I am sure Victoria will speak in no uncertain tone. Out of- the fifty politicians who voted to unjustly turn out the Turner Government, thirty have disappeared from public life, while out of those who voted for the Turner Government, only nineteen have disappeared. Of those who voted for the McLean ‘ Government, thirteen now have seats in the State House, with an equal number of those who voted for the Turner Government. In the Federal’ Government, there are seven from each side; so it will be seen that political death has overtaken nearly 60 per cent, of those who voted for the motion which the present honorable and learned member for Balaclava characterized as a “ stab in the back” from what he deemed to be a friendly hand. What can we expect from the present combination under the circumstances? What can people outside expect from the combination? In the State general election to which I have referred, three members of the McLean Government disappeared before the next general election, amongst them the present honorable and learned member for Corinella, who, as a Minister, failed to secure return on appealing to his constituents.
– The ambitious young man !
– The honorable and learned member for Corinella is a man of great brain power, and he will never rise higher than I wish him to rise, though I hope he will change some of his tactics. We all’ admire a man of courage, even if he be wrong; and in the last dying song of the defeated candidate, he declared to the people of Castlemaine that he still claimed to be a good liberal. When the people declined to take that view, he bravely declared that though he was a beaten man, he would “take his licking standing.” I honour the honorable and learned member for those brave words, but I am afraid that in this Parliament he has been carrying out the same tactics that he did when the “ stab in the back “ Ministry, of which he was a member, was returned to power. I doubt whether the honorable and learned member would have done what he has done on the present occasion, if under the Federal Constitution, Ministers had to seek re-election; and I challenge him to resign his seat and ask the approval of his electors.
– The honorable member is mistaken this time; I followed my leaders on the present occasion.
– Just as the honorable and learned member thought he followed his leader on the last occasion ; but the people knew he was playing the “same old game,” and he got his reward.
– I was sitting in Opposition on the present occasion, whereas five years ago, the charge against me, justly or unjustly, was that I sat behind the Government, and deserted them.
– I throw out a challenge to the honorable member. If fie will resign his seat, I shall take a similar step, so that we may see what the opinion of the country really is; and I back my opinion that the1 people of Castlemaine would not return him to his office in the present Parliament. There was another Minister of the “ stab in the back” Ministry, Mr. Fink, who tired of the unholy combination of conservatives and renegade liberals, and honorable members may perhaps be astonished at the following extracts from his observations. On the 24th December, 1899, Mr. Fink, in a letter to the Melbourne Argus, said -
It was not arranged, however, that Mr. Shiels should deliver any part of the Ministerial programme, or inaugurate a period of bitter and malignant personal strife. His expressions “ political Boers,” “ Cain,” and “ Judas Iscariot,” used as similes to illustrate the conduct of Sir George Turner and other ex-Ministers - those are the terms which Svengali Shiels applied to the honorable and learned member for Balaclava - profoundly shocked the great mass of the community.
It shocked the community so much that when the opportunity came this hybrid collection of conservatives and renegade liberals were swept out of existence, and the Turner Government came back to power. The letter proceeded -
The position Mr. Shiels has taken up of an equality in leadership will entitle him to persist in the course .objected to by me, and his asserted intention to so persist leaves me no alternative.
The honorable and learned member for Balaclava will recall the little tiddleywinking excuses to get letters inserted in the Argus and Age newspapers; the letters commencing, “My Dear Mr. McLean,” and “My Dear Mr. Shiels.” These were all “fixed up” in one little parlour - not a bar parlour - and sent out as squibs to fool the public. But the public were not to be fooled. Mr. Fink went on to say -
I cannot refrain from expressing the conviction that violent outbursts of vituperation must tend to lower the moral tone of public life, and there is nothing in the conduct of public affairs in Victoria to justify them. . . . But the line of personal attack adopted and justified by Mr. Shiels can only create an impassable gulf between members of the party, all of whom are pledged to advance liberal measures, and tend to substitute a desire for personal triumph for anxiety for national progress.
The present Treasurer knows that when the big Liberal upheaval came at the first opportunity, and swept his opponents into oblivion, another Minister lost his seat - a Minister who had assisted to give “ the stab in the back.” Mr. Watt, who was the first Minister who had represented
North Melbourne for many years, failed to get returned. Where is that party who opposed the Turner Government, although it came into power stronger than any party under the British flag? While I differed from the present Treasurer on many occasions, I know that his acts were liberal, and his instincts always kindly and humanitarian; but the Ministry which came back as the reform Ministry, with a majority of thirty-eight in a House of ninety-five, did not pass a Women’s Suffrage Bill, and did not want to pass such a measure. That Ministry, however, placed on the statutebook an infamous measure not equalled in fifty years’ coercion of Ireland. Where is that party now ? When they faced the electors, the majority of thirty-eight dwindled to a majority of eight ; and when they face the country again I do not know what will become of them, unless the good temper of Mr. Bent, with his unfailing faculty for seizing the opportunity, may carry them through. When the Minister of Trade and Customs was addressing the House, I mistakenly thought that he was making an accusation against myself, and I interjected - though I must say that the interjection I made was true. It was my privilege to introduce the first Women’s Suffrage Bill in any British Legislature, but on that occasion I could not get a seconder. The present honorable and learned member for Ballarat would, I believe, have supported me so far, but I could not ask him to do so, because I was the first member to “ peg out ‘ ‘ my seat in opposition to the Deakin-Gillies Administration. Ultimately. Lt.-Col. Smith, to whom credit must be given, seconded my effort to get a measure of the kind passed; but that is as far as wc got. On the next occasion, I “was seconded by Mr. Shiels; but where was the help of the present Minister of Trade and Customs ? That gentleman, however, now boasts that the measure was brought in by the Government of which he was the head. The fact was that the Minister of Trade and Customs dare not throw the Bill out, because it was accepted by the previous Government, although it was afterwards rejected by the Upper House. The Victorian Government, which was “ equal in all things’ “ gave the people nothing; and I promise that much the same result will be seen in the Federal Parliament. I well remember the Victorian Attorney-General, when the Upper House had thrown out the Women’s Suffrage Bill, as it had done five or six times before, say- ing to me, “Well, Maloney, those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.” I have shown that the Minister of Trade and Customs stabbed in the back his chief political friend.
– Order ! So long as the honorable member was quoting that expression I did not raise any objection, but I do not think that he is in order in accusing another honorable member of having stabbed a friend in the back.
– Good Highlander as is the Minister of Trade and Customs, I believe that he has given up carrying a dirk, and, as for stabbing any one in the back in. a personal sense, I do not for one moment suppose that he would be capable of such a thing. He joined the Ministry which was known as “ the equalinallthings, good-in-nothing “ Government, and succeeded in ousting a useful Liberal Administration. The Minister resented some remarks I made with reference to the Maffra Sugar Works, and he stated that I had been the means of robbing some hundreds of working men of their means of livelihood. The Minister hoodwinked me, in the first instance, into voting for a project which involved a very great loss to the country, and I had to fight very hard indeed in order to secure provision for a fair wage and fair hours to the workmen. But for the innate justice of the then Premier, Sir George Turner, I do not think that I should have succeeded. I never heard any reports in connexion with the butter industry prior to the appointment of the Butter Bonus Commission to compare with those which have been in circulation with regard to the Maffra sugar industry. I should very much like an investigation to be made of all the circumstances connected with that enterprise, “and to know who has been in charge of the works during the last five years. I desire to quote what was stated by the Treasurer with regard to the project. Alluding to the honorable member for Gippsland, he said -
There is no doubt he did, at the commencement of this session, and later on, when I gave him an opportunity of replying to the strictures which were passed upon the administration of that company, attempt, in my opinion, to shift whatever blame there was for that failure from his own shoulders on to mine, and I naturally resented it.
Any honest man would resent having the blame wrongly placed upon his shoulders.
– Does the honorable member think that these charges have anything to do with the motion before the Chair?
– Certainly I do. Tactics similar to those employed to bring into power the double-headed State Administration were followed in securing office for the present Government. In one case liberalism was sacrificed, and in the other protection was, sold. The Treasurer went on to say -
He knows the duty that rested upon me to investigate the matter ; and he knows also, that I sat up till 4 o’clock in the morning to prepare the necessary objections to the company’s proposal. He knows that I was too firm then, when I made those objections. There was no weakness or vacillation then. When I insisted upon the interests of the country being protected, he considered that I was too firm.
– If there are any personal obligations, the balance is on my side.
– I know this, that had it not been for the unbounded faith that I had in the honorable member, I probably would never have landed this Colony in the loss of £62,000, and I would not have allowed the unfortunate shareholders in the company to lose £31,000 of their money. We all know what gratitude is.
My statement with regard to the Maffra Sugar Works will stand, and I hope that an inquiry will be held, so that we may ascertain beyond any doubt who brought hundreds of workers to grief. The Minister of Trade and Customs twitted the honorable member for Darling upon the references he made to the care of children by the State, and suggested that he was an advocate for taking away children from parental control. I do not think that the Minister quite understood what he was talking about. He could never have read the splendid record of South Australia in regard to the care of child life, or he would not have been so flippant in his comments. The honorable member for Darling is a wide reader and a careful collater of facts, and is, perhaps, as well posted upon most .subjects as is any honorable member in this Chamber. Whenever he makes a statement with regard to the care of child life, or the welfare of men or women, I pay the very greatest respect to it. Perhaps I may be permitted to read from a return, showing what has been done in South Australia, with a view to showing that we can have very Tittle hope of improving the conditions in connexion with the care of children whilst the present Ministry occupies the Treasury benches. The death rate amongst infants in South Australia, under the best system of child management in the world, is 101 per cent., whereas in West Garton, near Manchester, of every . 1,000 children born, 757 die before they reach the age of twelve months. I was delighted when I had an opportunity to inspect the admirable institution which they have in South Australia, in which the children are artificially fed and most carefully looked after, and I only wish that we had similar establishments in all the States.
– And that work is carried on by the State.
– Yes, it is a form of Socialism. I am sure that under a proper system of State care for children, the death rate would be reduced to an enormous extent. It is not to be supposed for one moment that we shall be able to secure improved social conditions whilst the present Government remain in office. I should prefer to see a purely free-trade Government upon the Treasury benches. I have had sent to me the report of the State Children’s Department in South Australia for the halfyear ended June 30th, 1904. It contains the following statements : -
How to deal with the multitude of men who are responsible for the existence of hundreds of children of unmarried women in each year is another question which must also be faced.
When I endeavoured to move in this direction in the State Parliament of Victoria, where were those honorable members opposite who profess that the good of humanity is their chief concern ? They were certainly not fighting for me, but the majority of them were voting against me most of the time. The report continues -
Is it that men and women cannot, because of poverty, marry, or is it because they will not undertake the responsibilities of wedded life, and think to evade them? Is it possible to so alter the law as to compel a man proved to be the father of a child, such as is now called illegitimate, to own the child exactly as if born in wedlock, and to be responsible in a precisely similar way ?
Is there one man in this House who would not give to these children opportunities equal to those enjoyed by children born in wedlock? A child is in no way responsible for the circumstances of its birth, and no penalty should be inflicted where the individual has been guilty of no wrong. The report goes on to say -
The class “ neglected “ child, however, includes those who, while children of married persons are bereft of one, sometimes both, parents by desertion. Usually, however, it is the father. To deal with this matter appears to need Federal legislation, enabling an order made in one part of the Commonwealth to be collected by a Government officer in another part, and the proceeds remitted.
How could we hope to apply such a remedy whilst the present twin-headed Government remains in power? The Minister of Trade and Customs has been condemned by one of his colleagues for his lack of regard for the interests of the community generally, and, therefore, we could not expect him to show any special sympathy with a movement such as that which has been attended with successful results in South Australia. Yet he comes from a country - Scotland - which, in its regard for women and children, stands head and shoulders above the other parts of the Kingdom. The Weekly Scotsman of February 20th, 1904, referring to the question of large families-
– Does the honorable member think that that has anything to do with the subject before us?
– Yes, because it will be impossible to deal with these important social matters, whilst the present Ministry remain in office. Upon the question whether children are a blessing, a coachman in Edinburgh states his case as follows : -
I wonder how many have found children to be a curse instead of a blessing. I don’t mean those children who have grown up and turned out badly. I am a coachman, but, unfortunately, I am blessed with a family of four. In the many places I have applied for, my family has been the only drawback. Ministers very often reject any applicant because he has a family. If a minister wants a man he must be one without a family, so that his wife may help in the manse, on the many occasions when thev are without a servant ; at the same time his family is increasing to such an extent that we have to help find the funds to build additional bedrooms at the manse. How can any reader see in what way we are to go through the training of the stables with the ultimate hope of having our children a blessing? Can our Parliament do nothing in such a case? Any man who has a family ought to be given all the privileges of a free-born British subject.
– Does he say that “ unfortunately “ he is “ blessed “ ?
– Yes. ‘ The honorable member knows that when the worker’s family increases it frequently happens that more than one child is compelled to sleep in a single room. That is one of the infamies of our present social system, and it is an evil which is well worthy of removal. As bearing upon this point, I should like to quote from the following letter which I have received : -
Bishops Perry, Moorhouse, and Goe were all childless, and it is stated that Bishop’s Court was found large enough for them. Bishop Clarke has a family, and additional bedrooms had to be built for his family, by money subscribed. If the working man’s family increases no public subscription is made to enlarge his home. It seems utterly unreasonable to wish that working men should have large families. It is very well for the Bishop to quote from the ancient Jewish Psalms that “children are a heritage of the Lord.” The working man, earning from 36s. to 60s. a week, is not fool enough to wish for more children than he can feed and clothe, or subject his wife in this sub-tropical climate to excessive child-bearing or nursing.
Never in my life has my brain originated a thought, my mouth uttered a sentence, or my hand written a single word for the purpose of holding any religion up to scorn. Frequently, however, I have had occasion to strongly criticise the members of various churches, and I say that the statements made by Bishop Clarke must have been made without thought. Speaking of a White Australia, he is reported in the Age of 27th September to Have said -
All men of colour are brothers of ours. Can no place be found for them in the work of this vast Commonwealth? The British flag protects and welcomes many races, giving them rights and exacting duties. Are we alone to exclude them from districts and employments where they are more fitted by constitution and nature to live than are ourselves? History shows that a Nemesis overtakes nations which do unrighteously- There are hundreds of square miles in Australia where the climate is best fitted for the coloured man, and where he can develop his usefulness under the control of the intelligence of our own race.
What is the position in India to-day ? The missionaries there will not employ Christians, because they allege that they are thieves. One schoolmate of mine from the Scotch College has publicly preached against the infamy of these missionaries of Christ refusing to employ Christians. Bishop Clarke would be better employed in looking after the child-life to be found in the slums of this city than in writing about a policy upon which this House by a large majority has definitely decided. I notice that the Prime Minister is absent to-night. I desire to thank him for many kindly hints and words. No one questions his honesty of purpose and definiteness of decision upon the question of free-trade. I know that he would rather vote for a straight-out protectionist than for a weathercock free-trader, who would become a protectionist to-morrow if he could win a seat in Parliament by so doing. I embrace this opportunity to offer him my meed of thanks. At the same time I wish that the gentleman who desires to pose as the leader of the Protectionist Party - I refer to the honorable member for Gippsland - had as good a record ‘as has his leader. I wish that he had a record equal to that of the honorable member for Hume. So that the honorable gentleman may not entertain the impression that I am speaking without data, I intend to quote some of the measures which his leader placed upon the statutebook in New South Wales. These include the land tax of 1895, which falls upon unimproved values at the rate of a penny in the pound, with an exemption of ,£240. I wish that the honorable member for Richmond would take a few lessons in land taxation’ from the honorable member for Lang. But what can be said of the land tax which was proposed in Victoria by the honorable member for Gippsland? It is not to ‘be mentioned in the same breath. Then the Prime Minister was successful in passing the Income Tas Act of 1896, which imposed a tax of sixpence in the pound, with an exemption of ^200. He is also responsible for the Act which conferred the suffrage upon the police, whereas in Victoria the Ministry which succeeded that of which the honorable member for Gippsland was the head, have robbed the public servants of the franchise, and have placed them in a position of less honour than that which is occupied by a naturalized Chinaman or a convicted criminal. When the criminal is released from gaol he is at liberty to vote for the return ‘of members to the Commonwealth and the States Parliaments, but under the Act which was passed at the instance of the Irvine Government the civil servant in this State is denied the privilege of voting upon the same terms as other citizens. The Prime Minister also placedupon the statute-book the Workshops and Factories Act. I admit that the honorable member for Gippsland by one stroke of statesmanship for which I have always commended him was responsible for the passage of an amending Factories Act, and I acknowledge that he brought twenty-two trades under, its operation within three months. For that action, I thank him. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that he had the loyal support of the Labour Party. No Minister ever required to be told how the labour representatives in the Victorian Parliament would vote. The planks of their platform were as plain as are the ten commandments, and I know that the right honorable member for Balaclava will indorse my statement. The Prime Minister also enacted the Coal Mines Regulation Act, the Selectors’ Relief Act, the Re-appraisement of Special Areas Act, the Perpetual Leasing Act, the Navigation Act, and the Elections Act Amendment Act, which allowed any elector, who changed his residence, to retain his vote in his old division, until he became eligible to exercise it in the division to which he had removed by reason of a residence of one month. Further, under the leadership of the right honorable gentleman, it was agreed that the exclusion of inferior races from New South Wales should be effected by means of the educational test. That is a big record, compared with that of the Minister of Trade and Customs; but it would not have been so large had the Prime Min- ister not commanded the loyal support of the Labour Party. The late Sir Joseph Abbott, who occupied the distinguished office of Speaker in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, in alluding to the party of which I am proud to be a unit, said -
The members of the Labour Party have been the most attentive to their duties, the most amenable to the rules of debate, and, as a body, the best behaved in New South Wales.
That is a record which is well worth quoting. No growing party can be attacked unjustly without adding to its strength, and the more virulent the attack, the more vituperative the sentiments which are expressed, the more slanderous the statements which are made, the better will it be for that party. The Labour Party to-day is strong in every State and is fighting well. In Queensland and also in South Australia it is joined in a splendid alliance. Let us look at the record of events since the 30th March last. During my election campaign, the three planks of my platform speeches were the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, Protection, and a White Australia. The candidates were a gentleman who was converted to protection a few years ago, and myself. That election was keenly contested, and the result was to give two votes to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. ‘ In the memorable division which took place in this chamber upon the White Australia policy, only four honorable members had the temerity to vote against it, and the electors have since wiped out one-half of them. In the present House, the only opponents of that policy are the member for Oxley and the honorable member for Kooyong. I give my meed of praise to them for their courage in dividing the House upon the question. Since the 30th March, in Western Australia, five labour members have been returned unopposed. In the last State election which I fought I was the only member of the Opposition who was returned unopposed.
Then my constituency was wiped out, and under the Government which succeeded the McLean Ministry the strength of the Labour Party increased from n per cent, to 29 per cent, of the House. To-day, the Labour Party constitutes the straight-out Opposition there. Similarly, in Western Australia, the members of that party have increased to twenty-three out of a total of fifty, and they have swept into oblivion the party which professes to follow the right honorable member for.. Swan. In New South Wales, instead of constituting only 11 per cent, in a House composed of 125 members, the strength of the Labour Party has increased to over 27 per cent, in a House containing ninety members. That is the result in spite of the great reform movement approved by the honorable member for Gippsland and his lieutenant. The wonderful Kyabram movement returned thirty-eight representatives in Victoria, but the number has since been reduced to eight. In New South Wales, notwithstanding the fact that all the organs of the press fought against the Labour Party and their allies, the late Government, the present Government were able to gain a majority of only two. It is wonderful that there should always be these majorities of two - quite utterly too too that a Ministry, which cannot keep a quorum in this House, should have a majority of two, and that another Ministry in New South Wales, which is also opposed to the Labour Party and its allies, should have the same majority. In Queensland the people gave their verdict on the 27 th of August last. Formerly the Labour Party in the Queensland House of seventy-two members numbered thirty-one, but now they number more than forty-eight, which is more than both their allies and their opponents combined can muster. The Queensland alliance too, has been strictly and honorably observed, and affords an answer to those who say that the Labour Party here will not keep their pledges. If the members of this House have to face the country, the honorable alliance between the real protectionists - not the revenue tariff - isa - and the Labour Party will, I believe, sweep this State. Sir Arthur Rutledge, who was the cause of the Queensland Parliament being sent to the country - and he a reformer - was swept1 out of political existence, there being a majority against him in every division of his electorate. That is how Queensland spoke in favour of labour, although that State has .the vilest franchise under the British flag. The Victorian system of plural voting, which is bad enough, was never so bad as that of Queensland, because, in Victoria, the electors must vote in the electorate for which their votes are recorded, whereas in Queensland a man holding property in each of the State electorates can record a vote for all without leaving Brisbane. What did the honorable member for Gippsland, who poses as a liberal and as a splendid protectionist, do in Victoria for the principle of one man one vote1? He knows that he did nothing. At the present time a property owner in Victoria can record his vote for any one of the sixty-five State constituencies. This hero of the Maffra sugar busine’ss knows that to-day Victoria does not enjoy the advantages of the one man one vote system. In New South Wales, under the regime of the right honorable! member for East Sydney, twelve democratic Acts were passed, but under the honorable member for Hume much, more and much further reaching legislation was passed. The honorable member can also claim to have given the women of the State the right to vote. The honorable member for Gippsland, however, and his lieutenant, although they had the biggest majority ever known in the Victorian Parliament, did not give the women of Victoria the right to vote, because their party never really wished to do so. With a majority of thirty-eight in a House of ninety-five, they could have forced a Bill through the Legislative Council. They might have profited by the example of that splendid man, whose name rings throughout the length and breadth of Australia - the right honorable member for Adelaide. When the Upper House in South Australia claimed to represent the1 views of the people more fully than did the lower and more democratic House, the right honorable member asked the people themselves to decide the question. The honorable member for Gippsland had there a splendid example to follow. He could have obtained a dissolution from the Governor in Council, and the people would have supported him to a man. I had the pleasure of being a fellow student, though there were many years between us, of the father of the present GovernorGeneral. Professor Stokes was his teacher and mine, “and I am perfectly certain that the Governor-General must have gathered a large stock of political wisdom from the experience of his father. He must have had good reason for permitting the right honorable member for East Sydney to form a Cabinet with a possible majority of two only.
– The right honorable gentleman at the time had a letter in his pocket from one of his followers, saying that he would not in future support him.
– I know nothing about that. I am inclined to think, though I hope it is not so, that the personality of the Prime Minister had something to do with the Governor-General’s decision. I do not think that it was wise of the right honorable gentleman to visit the GovernorGeneral before being sent for to form an Administration. However that may be, if this party obtain a majority of two - I believe that we shall win by six - the same right should be extended to us. If we do not win, but are sent to the country, I know that Victoria will return three or four more labour members than now represent it in this House. The record of every coalition Government is the same. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was connected with the first coalition Government of which I have had experience - the Gillies-Deakin Government - and we have not yet got rid of the curses left behind by them. They stopped the progress of the State for years. Political life was a curse during their term of office, and honesty of policy was known chiefly by its absence. I am sorry that the honorable member for Echuca is not here. He had the temerity to interject, when I was speaking on the 48th clause of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and I asked what Act for the benefit of humanity or for the uplifting of the race had been successfully placed on the statute-book by the honorable and learned -member for Ballarat, “What about the first Factories Act?” Poor man! He has been in political life for twenty-five years, and yet thinks that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat introduced the first Factories Act. It is only right that we should not forget the names of old members, now dust and ashes, who in the past tried to uplift humanity and to benefit the race. I hold in my hand a Factories Act which was introduced by Messrs. Orr and Garratt on the 9th July, 1873. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat did not enter politics until a much’ later date. To the honour of those two men, let me say that they would not allow a child under the age of fifteen to be employed in a Victorian factory. Mr. Deakin, in 1885, introduced an Act which allowed children over the age of thirteen to work in factories ; but no one under the age of twenty was to be employed unless he had acquired the degree of education required by the Act of 1873. Eight hours was made a day’s work, with a limit of forty-six hours a week. Twelve years afterwards an Act was passed by the honorable and learned member and the late Sir Graham Berry, which allowed children over thirteen to work in factories if they had acquired the necessary education; otherwise they must be fifteen. Forty-eight hours was made the limit of the week’s work for women and youths, but the hours for men were in some cases unlimited. No boy under fourteen, and’ no girl under sixteen, was to be employed between 6 o’clock at night and 6 o’clock in the morning. A majority of two for the present Government will have very different results from those which would be obtained if we had a majority of two, because we should have no difficulty in keeping a House. I do not complain of the non-attendance of honorable members, but I find1 that during the present session three members of the Reid party and eleven members of the Opposition have attended every sitting. One member from each side has attended less than thirty sittings, while of the Government representatives one has attended less than forty and, more than thirty, five less than fifty and more than forty, and seven less than sixty and more than fifty. Only four on this side of the House have attended less than s’ixty and more than thirty sittings. Of all who have attended less than sixty meetings this session, fourteen belong to the Government side and five to the Opposition side. I have taken no notice of the attendances of the honorable member for Riverina, the honorable member for Wilmot, and myself, because it has been impossible for us to attend the f ul 1 number of sittings. Those figures speak volumes for the attendance of honorable members on this side of the Chamber, and show that if we were in power your attention, Mr. Speaker, would never be called to the state of the House. Going back to last session, I find that nine members attended the seventy-eight sittings. They were, Mr. Speaker, the honorable and learned member for Corio, and the honorable members for Wide Bay, Melbourne Ports, Kennedy, Darwin, Yarra, Balaclava, and Moreton.
– With the exception of Mr. Speaker, all those members live in Victoria.
– I will come to that. I do not wish to be unjust. Eight of those members belong to this side or the House, and only one - the right honorable member for Balaclava - to the Government side. Three members belonging to this side of the House attended every sitting but one. The first session of the first Parliament extended from May, 1901, to October, 1902, and only three honorable members, all of whom belong to this side of the House, attended the whole 220 sittings.
– If there are many more debates like this, it will take a team of bullocks to bring me here.
-I dare say the honorable member’s ‘constituents will be able to find another representative who will please them just as well. Three members of the Opposition attended all but one sitting. I am sorry that these facts should disturb honorable members opposite.
– -Not at all; my temper is very good.
– The members were Mr. L. E. Groom, Mr. Mauger, and Mr. O’Malley.
– What time did they spend in the chamber when they were here ?
– I have quoted these facts from an official paper recording .the attendances of honorable members.
– Is the honorable member aware that many of those honorable members who figure oh the list from which he is quoting simply come into the chamber and go out again, and nothing more is seen of them for the remainder of the day ?
– What the honorable member says may or may not be true, but if he complains of the present system, I would recommend him to propose that we should adopt in this Parliament the system which is carried out in Switzerland, and which is well worthy of being copied. In Switzerland a member is fined for nonattendance, and there must be a majority of the House as a quorum. They begin early in the morning, and sit till 1 o’clock ; then they adjourn until 2 o’clock, and sit till 6, meeting again at 8 o’clock the next day. Any member who is absent from a division is fined. If the honorable member for Parramatta would propose the adoption of that system in this Parliament he would have my hearty assistance.
– If that system were adopted here more Victorians, would be fined than others.
– A remarkable speech was lately made by Mr. Swinburne, the Victorian Minister of Water Supply, in regard to State-aided irrigation, which we believe in, socialistic as it may foe. He showed that in Victoria £5,634,000 had been expended upon an irrigation policy that was initiated by the Gillies-Deakin Coalition Ministry. How much of that money has been repaid by the people who have benefited from the policy ? Only £1,116,000, leaving £4,518,000 owing. That sum has been paid principally by the workers in the cities, because one-half the population of Victoria reside in the cities of Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo. Even the English Times would never speak of Socialism in the way I have heard it referred to to-night by the honorable member for Richmond. I have already said, and I repeat, that he must have been quoting from the novel which he is understood to be writing. If his novel is as good as the splendid little lyric he has written about the woodcutters in his own district, I shall certainly buy the work, and expect to enjoy it. The honorable member must have been acting the part of the hero in his story in fighting against Socialism and the Labour Party. I do not believe he means half of what he said. He is too good a fellow to do so. It is a strange thing that, whereas every political economist in Europe previous to 1850 condemned all factories legislation, and said that it would mean ruin to the manufacturers, there has not been a single political economist since 1865 who has ventured to deny the advisability of passing Factories Acts. I have been twitted with having spoken about the sufferings of children. Why should I not speak on that subject, if the children are suffering? Is it not my duty as a member sent here to try and better the condition of every man, woman, and child in our midst, to do my best to relieve those sufferings? Is it not better to endeavour to succeed in that direction than to involve the country in a loss of .£65,000 upon an enterprise like the Maffra sugar business?
– What is this Maffra sugar business?
– Let the honorable member move for an inquiry, and I will vote for it. I have said that the political economists before 1850 condemned factories legislation as likely to . lead to the ruin of manufactures. A Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the House of Lords to examine into the condition of the factory workers in England. That Commission found that in one room 18 feet by 23 feet, where there was only one little opening 12 inches square for purposes of ventilation, fortytwo men and fourteen boys - fifty-six human beings in all - had to sleep. Commissioner Mitchell said that, though no one had slept in that room for 72 hours, on the night when he went into it, the stench was unbearable. Yet it was said that the removal of conditions like these would mean ruin to the manufacturers of England. Within the memory of living men there were manufacturers in England who could get twenty children from the parish to work in the mills, provided that they took one idiot and supported him. God only knows what became of the idiot ! We know what became of the children. They were made to sleep in beds that were never allowed to grow cool!, since directly one child was whipped out of bed to go to the mills another child was put in. Some children employed in the mines in those days never saw the daylight from Monday morning until the following Sunday.
– I have been in that position myself.
– Then I am sure that the honorable member must feel for these little ones. I know that his voice would be one of the first to be raised if any child was sent into the Newcastle mines and made to work like a beast. It was said that children had to be taken young for this work, because when they grew older the spines of their backs would not allow them to get into the proper position to make the good miners that were re- quired in the mines. In those days no matter if a mine was unsafe, or whether the timbers were unsound, miners had to go to work or to prison. When 40.000 miners in the Durham neighbourhood went on strike, Lord Londonderry threatened the tradesmen who were helping “these poor people that if they gave credit , to his rebel workers, as they were called, their places of business would be taken from them.
– Can the honorable member connect these remarks with the question under debate?
– Yds, I am giving these instances as a reason for the passing of an Arbitration Act which would make impossible that curse of our civilization - a strike.
A great American writer, in a phrase which has become classic, has spoken of New Zealand as “ a country without strikes.” We want to make Australia a continent without strikes. I was sent to this Parliament to use every effort to attain that end. I hold in my hand a photograph of as fine a man as my finger has ever touched, or my stethoscope ever examined. This fine young fellow went to work in a factory where no adequate provision was made for guarding the work-people against the effects of poisonous fumes. Within six weeks his body was one mass of festering sores. ‘And there is no law here to prevent it. I know that if that great and splendid man who rules the Health Department of Victoria had the power he would not allow such things to continue for one day. Even in Germany, strong as the power of the autocratic Emperor may be, a Commission appointed by him recommended that two and a half hours work was enough for any person engaged in a factory where’ there were poisonous fumes. Yet in chemical works at Rutherglen - no woman who enters which will ever bear a child again - people work for ten hours a day. In Germany the Commission fixed as the duration of a day’s work for different trades, two and a half, three, five, six, eight, ten, and twelve hours. The figures are at the disposal of any honorable member who may wish to see them. We want an Arbitration Act. If we had an Act the workers could combine and insist upon bringing their complaints before Parliament, and the Government would then introduce a measure which would cause proper scientific precautions to be taken in order to save the health of these persons. The honorable member for Gippsland said that we wish to confiscate the land. It seems to me that he has somewhat neglected to read the history of Europe, otherwise he would know that in the second half of the nineteenth century, almost one-third of the best lands of Europe were confiscated. Take the race which is considered the most degraded in Europe, and about which its enemies have lied so much. I sometimes pity them, and ask myself why they do not read the splendid books which true Englishmen and brave writers have produced. In his great book, Mulhall shows how the freeing of over 4,000,000 slaves by the AngloSaxon race in America, at a cost of over £1, 200,000,000, was the means of killing and wounding close upon 500,000 men, and how, at nearly about the same time, Russia freed 40,000,000 serfs, changed 11,000,000 of them into landholders, and divided 68,000,000 acres of the finest land it holds amongst those people without the loss of one single life, so that in future any head of a- family, father or mother, could claim 10 acres of good land for nothing. By that means no less than 6,000,000 acres were taken from the nobles, and not one penny-piece was paid to them. The balance of the land which was taken was divided into holdings of 35 acres, and let at a rental of 6d. per acre per year. The land was bought on the condition that the freed serfs should pay 12s. per male head of a family during a period of forty years. I do not advocate a policy of confiscation, and no member of the Labour Party ever did ; but we do contend that the State or the Federal Government should have the right of resuming any land or property based on a fair valuation - that is, the valuation on which the owner is willing to pay rates and taxes. What is the position at the present moment ? A man sells to the Government, and the State is fleeced, not only in this country, but elsewhere. In England the landholders fleeced the railway companies to the extent of £50,000,000. I do not know how much money has been fleeced from Victoria, but I know that it runs into four figures.
– Under the Constitution we have no power to deal with these matters, I think.
– The honorable and learned member may see with his legal eyes what I cannot see.
– I am not asking about the justice of the policy, but the law on the subject.
– I want justice, and not law. In Russia, £60,000,000 worth of land was taken away from the nobles and divided amongst the people. When I compare Great Britain, which has only 180,000 land-owners in a population of 40,000,000, with Russia, which has 11,000,000 landowners, I wish that we had a law so that any head of a family could ask for 10 acres of good land and get it. The honorable member for Gippsland knows how unfortunate village settlers were sent to hills where the land was so poor that it would hardly keep a goat. If they had had the right of getting 10 acres of good land at that time, there would have been thousands of more homes in Victoria today owned by those brave fellows than there are. Even in. Great Britain it is not an unknown thing to take land without the permission of the owners, and to reduce rents. Take Ireland,’ which was confiscated first by Elizabeth, next by Cromwell, and then by William III. In 1850 the Encumbered Estates Court sold 4,930,000 acres at an average of ,£ii per acre, and the average size of a holding was 400 acres. There was a lively chance for the head of a family to get 400 acres at £11 per acre. Under Mr. John Bright’s Act, from 1870 to 1880, the tenants bought 49,000 acres, at an average of £17 per acre. I do not think that very much land can be got at that price. Under the Church Act, from 1870 to 1885, 6,000 tenants were settled at a cost of ,£1,676,000, of which the Government advanced 75 per cent, or £1,200,000, and to the honor of those persons who bought from the Government, in 1888 only £6,000 of the purchase-money remained unpaid. Compare that debt of £6,000 with the debt of ,£4,000,000 odd owing to Victoria, in connexion with irrigation. Under Mr. Gladstone’s Act of 1 88 1, in seven years the rents of 243,490 farmers were reduced by 20 per cent. ; that is, a fifth of the rent for 243,490 farms was reduced, and there were then 61,300 cases pending. We need a true system of land taxation throughout Australia. If the States will not act, it is the duty of this Parliament to intervene. Under Ashbourne’s Act of 1885, in four years the tenants were enable’d to purchase nearly 3 per cent, of Ireland, as measured by the rental. In 132 years the Act would settle the agrarian question, says Mulhall, whose statement I am willing to accept. How small is that result compared with what barbarous Russia did between 1861 and 1870, when she settled 11,000,000 persons on the land, and how few we are settling in our splendid Australia. Referring to the tirade against Socialism from the honorable member for Gippsland, let me point out that in 1819 the position of the serfs in Austria was the same as in Russia. They had to give two days out of every week, and also 11 per cent, of their products, to the owners of the land. But by 1849 the ownership of one-half the Empire had changed. Our newspapers never publish these facts, and we have to garner the information from expensive books’ which the public cannot consult. It is to such authorities that we have to refer in order to show how the land system is changing. If Napoleon, who as a leader of men in warfare was unequalled, said that the soldiers fight on their bellies, I say that the people must live on the land, and we must work in that direction in order to secure a better time for the people than they have had.
– Are people better off in those countries than here?
– I am perfectly cer. tain that the honorable member who interjects so much would feel much better off if he were there, and, if he would not, I should.
– I wish to know whether, in the Constitution, we have power to make this change, supposing that it is ah advisable one to make.
– If the honorable and learned member could address that question to the Right Honorable W. E. Gladstone, I dare say he would get an answer. I understand that under the Constitution we have power to impose a land tax. In 1801, 614 nobles owned the whole of Denmark, and they could buy and sell human beings, whom they called tenants, just as farmers can buy and sell cattle to-day. But in 1840 the tenants had acquired one-half of the kingdom. So that half of the kingdom changed hands, and the tenant slaves became free men. In Holland there are 100,000 farms averaging eighty acres, which are cultivated by the owners. In the province of Groeninger there are tenant farmers, called meejers, and the landlord of a farm can never raise the rent or disturb the tenant. There is no need for a Distress for Rent Bill ‘ in that country. Between 1818 and 1840, the peasants of Sweden bought 16,000,000 acres, at an average price of is. 5d. per acre. Even we have not so infamous a land system as exists in Great Britain. I am informed that the London properties of a Royal Duke, several other Dukes, and the Marquis of Salisbury, are taxed on the valuation of over 200 years ago, when the lands were open fields on which cattle grazed.
– The laws for the tenant are very much better in Great Britain than they are here.
– Let that be a stimulus to the « honorable and learned member to help us to make our laws better than they are.
– I have blamed the Labour Party for some time for not moving in that direction.
– Beware of the gifts of the Greeks, for they mean trouble. In the United Kingdom there are only 180,000 land-owners, and of that number one family owns more land in fee-simple than even the great Tyson, when he held a large portion of territory in several States.
– In Queensland his holdings exceeded Great Britain in area.
– In fee-simple?
– Pretty well.
– I shall be very glad to correct my statement when the honorable member shows me that the land was held in fee-simple. But I am quoting from a record which I obtained from the Queensland Lands Department, and upon which I rely. France has 3,226,000 land-owners; Germany has 2,436,000 land-owners; Russia has 11,336,000 land-owners, with an average holding of 31 acres; Austria has 6,150,000 land-owners, with an average holding of 20 acres; while in the United States there are 4,005,000 landholders, with an average of 134 acres. Great Britain, with its average of 390 acres, leads every country in the world. In Australia the average is only 380 acres. We are told by economists that where the land is most divided, there it is most valuable, and there production is greatest and poverty least. Only yesterday I was speaking to a friend of mine, -who at one time was connected with the consular service, and has lived in every country in Europe, and also in every Australian State. I asked him whether, from his experience, he could say where the ordinary artisan, such as the bootmaker or cabinetmaker, had the happiest life, and he replied, “ In a country of which I am not very fond - France.” As one who can live in Paris on 25s. a week, and have a good time, I can say that I know of no happier country^ ; and yet we find in France what is called Socialism. Every fisherman who catches sardines or bigger fish in the Bay of Biscay can, on completing twenty-five years work, claim a pension from the Government. We have not yet reached that stage in Australia; indeed we are growling about old-age pensions. Let me say a word to those who speak of French tobacco, manufactured under a State monopoly, as the worst on earth. The tobacco of France is manufactured to suit the educated palate of the French people. I repeatedly met Australians in London, who complained1 that they could not get good tobacco there ; but the fact is that their palates were not educated to the English taste. In order to pay as little duty as possible, tobacco is imported into England in a dry st.ate, and then artificially moistened, whereas American tobacco is brought straight on to the
Australian market. As a proof of the correctness of the position which I take up on this question, I can give an illustration which will appeal to every intelligent member of the House. In Holborn, one of the principal streets of London, there is at the present moment a tobacconist’s shop where nothing but French tobacco is sold, not only to the French residents, but to English art students, who have studied painting and sculpture in France, and who have become accustomed to the tobacco of that country. Those students finish their education in Paris; indeed, the Academy compels the winner of the medal to continue his studies in the French capital.
– I hope the honorable member will connect his observations with the subject under discussion.
– I want to show that the French system of tobacco manufacture has good results; and that there is a shop in London to provide the tobacco for English art students. French tobacco is sold at two francs or two francs and a half per kilogramme, equal to two pounds and a tenth, in the mercantile marine and on the war-ships. In places in France, adjoining Switzerland and Belgium, the tobacco is sold at a lower rate in order to keep down smuggling. The State production of tobacco not only gives a revenue amounting in one year to £16,000,000, or an average of over £12.000,000 per annum, but enables the Government to provide pensions for the widows of men who have fallen in battle, or lost their lives in .trying to save others. Those widows are given charge of the small tobacconists’ shops, and the pensions are provided from the Government stamps which enclose every packet of tobacco, cigars,. cigarettes, and matches. The Labour Party have never had a fair chance under the State franchise of Victoria. No one with fairly liberal ideas could possibly win the Melbourne seat in the State House, because every Tom, Dick, and Harry with an office in the city has a vote. Under the Federal Electoral Act, however, an elector can vote only for the place at which he lives, and, further, the franchise has been extended to women, though, in the State, the latter are still regarded, from an electoral point of view, as in- the same category as lunatics and criminals. Under the State franchise, the Melbourne Club exercises over 200 votes, but under the Federal franchise the same institution has only fifteen votes, including six waiters, four housemaids, two labourers, one clerk, one coroner, and one bank manager. I suppose they keep the coroner in order to hold -post-mortems on the departed glories of Ihe franchise. A gentleman who is privileged to be a member of the Tramway Company has, under the State franchise, a vote in every one of the nine divisions which make up the Federal constituency of Melbourne. This gentleman is a surveyor, a civil engineer, and heaven knows what else. Then it is said that the Labour Party are Socialists, and that, in consequence, our credit is very bad in the old. country. But let us see what great English newspapers have to say on the question. The Morning Post, which is a conservative newspaper, not likely to be favorable to the Labour Party, contains the following: -
The one great error and offence with both the Federal and State Governments unhappily is the freedom and ease with which the mercantile and landed classes are allowed to plunder the Treasury.
Let the engineer of the Maffra sugar business remember that.
Fraud and trickery of the meanest and most despicable kind permeates the commercial life of the country. And this re-acts in turn upon those representatives in national and municipal institutions who are elected by the votes of these disreputable citizens. Consequently, the changes that are taking place are as beneficial as the most scrupulous tactician could desire to its moral force and political power. The Labour Party is a party of law and national progress. . . . All these things show in a manner, which it may be hoped is unmistakable, that national honour, no less than the necessity of avoiding the collapse of commercial credit, make it absolutely necessary for the Labour Party to persevere.
Is that not a complete answer to critics inside and outside, who, supported by the press, are abusing the Labour Party ‘day by day? The extract I have quoted may not be sufficient to convert the honorable member for Richmond as to the errors of his statements, and, therefore, I propose to quote from the Pall Mall Gazette, which is liberal in politics. The newspaper says -
Now, the question we are bound to ask ourselves is, “ How will Australia pay her heavy indebtedness to English bondholders? “ It is not only that her finances are rotten, but the tone of public and commercial life is deplorable. These are facts. The evidence, and the arguments in the Times article, are perfectly conclusive upon the point. One time in England we were accustomed to look for commercial brigandage and acts of dishonesty that would disgrace the scum of Whitechapel among those Armenian merchants who carried on the Levant trade with England. To-day we are sorry to state the Armenian is outstripped by the Melbourne British Customs thief. It is humiliating to think that Australia is peopled by the British race. Fortunately for society, the working classes and the farmers are taking a deeper interest in the political life of the country. Although no party has lived through more abuse than the Labour Party, still it contains, and has for supporters in the country, the only stable elements in society. Their ideals are purity of public and municipal life.
I may say th-at a gentleman, who has filled a very high position in the Ministry of the State of Victoria, stated that if he had charge of the Butter Commission, he would lock up every one implicated on the charge of conspiracy- I should now like, to quote from the “ Thunderer,” of Printing Housesquare - the Times of 5th April, 1904. The quotation, which is headed “ An Australian Loan Policy,” bears on the question of Socialism, and, therefore, I hope the honorable member for Richmond will give me his attention -
The so-called “ anti-Socialistic “ crusade of last December was not a great matter, because nearly every one in Australia is a Socialist, so far as is implied by asking for Government help at every turn, while in the Continental sense hardly any Australians are Socialists. There was, therefore, nothing in the measures advocated by either party to send voters rushing to the poll. As for the men, Australian distances considerably limit the choice of candidates. Barring a few rich people, who spend most of their time in England or on tour, this is a population of working men, business men, and artisans. A Federal member of Parliament gets £400 a year, which does not tempt the good business man to leave his work, and offers little temptation even to the better class of artisans. Consequently, the. candidates come, as a rule, from less desirable classes, especially the non-artisan candidates j and in two States already I have been told by leading “ antilabour” politicians that, man for man, the labour candidates in December last were distinctly the best of the bunch.
I do not wish to labour this question too much, but I desire to point out that some of our critics are not altogether free from reproach. I find it recorded in a little red book called A Relic of the Boom Times, that one Mr. F. T. Derham, who ‘failed for £548,000, had assets of about £97,000, and paid to his creditors a dividend of one penny in the pound.
– Did he stand for the Senate?
– I should not wonder if he had cheek enough to go anywhere. If he went up to Heaven he would probably ask for a special pass from Saint Peter, on the ground that he had paid his creditors one penny iri the pound. The Labour Party have been charged with desiring to seek special advantages for a particular class, but not one member of the party would vote in that direction.- We desire to establish- a system of old-age pensions, under which pensions will be paid to the millionaire and to the poorest man in the community alike, so that no indignity shall rest upon the latter. Some time ago, in Victoria, before the introduction of the old-age pensions system, a man was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment for vagrancy, although he was able to show by’ means of an old bank-book that he had dispensed ,£10,000 in charities. When the land boom was at its height the Victorian Legislature increased the pensions to civil servants to the extent of £100,000 a year, but when we suggested that old-age pensions should be provided for we were asked where the money was to come from. We might have answered at a later stage that the money was to be derived from the same source as the Maffra beet sugar bonuses. It is absolutely necessary that we should have a Conciliation and Arbitration Act, because until such a measure has been passed we shall not be able to fight with any chance of success against combines and trusts. At present the prices of the tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, and kerosene consumed by us are regulated from America. The great Rockefeller combine controls the whole of the oil product of the world. It has laid its grasp upon the Russian oil mines, but I trust that the Russian Government will check its operations. At one time there were engaged in the oil industry in America 4,000 different companies, with 4,000 separate managements, but to-day a small group of eight men con. trol the oil production of the United States. With our splendid franchise - the highest and the greatest in the world - we shall be able, under an Arbitration Act, to fight the trusts for the benefit of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. When it was first proposed to grant the butter bonuses, I suggested that facilities should be offered to the citizens of Melbourne to purchase butter at the cool stores at the London market price, but I was laughed and jeered at by the companions of the Minister of Trade and Customs. If the inquiry into the alleged abuses in connexion with the butter bonus is not carried out in the most complete manner it will be the duty of the Australian Parliament to interfere and see that justice is done to the community at large. I hold in my hand photographs of some of the largest cheques that have been paid over in connexion with the operations of trusts and combines. The amounts range from the £11,000,000 paid by China to Japan, to £3,000,000 paid by Ernest T. Hooley, the great financial swindler and company promoter. I am perfectly sure that if we nationalized the tobacco industry we could reduce the prices of tobacco by fully one-half, and, therefore, we should do good work if we swept aside the present monopoly. When I was in Sydney, recently, I was informed that a combine was being formed with a view to securing the control of the tramways in some of the larger cities. I trust, however, that the movement will not be successful, because I think we should take pattern from the municipal Socialists of Great Britain. The company to which I have referred is to be floated in London at a profit of £[30,000. What will become of the unfortunates in. London, who may speculate in the company, if it does not pay? If the Labour Party had their way, they would require that all tramways should be built and controlled by the municipal authorities, so that the public might derive the benefit of any profits. Capital is so fluid, and is controlled by such a few person’s, that its power for evil is almost illimitable, and evil consequences generally result from its use bv large combinations and trusts. Little by little the real objects of the present Government are being divulged. I am forcibly reminded of an adage which is current in India, which runs somewhat as follows: - “ Never believe in anything until it is officially contradicted. If a statement be untrue, it is not worth while to contradict it, but if it be true and inconvenient contradiction is always resorted to.” I do not think that honorable members, who sit behind the Ministry - know where they are. I have come to the conclusion that, sooner or later, they will find themselves left as was the party to which I have alluded, when the Premier of Victoria was unfairly ousted from office by the Ministry of which the Minister of Trade and Customs was the leader, a Ministry which brought upon Victoria the greatest curse which it has ever had to bear. In connexion with the White Australia question, no man is entitled ‘to more homage than the right honorable member for Adelaide. I hold in my hand the record of his efforts, as far back as 1893, to induce the other Australian Governments to assist him to maintain a White Australia. At that time it was shown that, in connexion with the trade from the north coast of Australia to the south, there was a discrepancy in one year of 616 between the number of Chinese on board the boats when they called at Port Darwin, and the number who left that port on the return voyage from Adelaide. Many of .these Chinese were placed upon the ships’ articles with the cognizance of the owners, who were parties to the swindling necessary to secure their admission to Australia, although they were passengers.
– The same swindling is being carried on still.
– To the right honorable member for Adelaide belongs the credit of having taken the’ first practical steps towards securing a White Australia. In a circular issued by the Victorian Steam-ship Owners Association, it was claimed that the Chinese were not employed as seamen on account of their cheapness. It was pointed out further that coloured alien immigration might be diminished if the authorities declined to issue hawkers’ licences. The question, however, is how the1 coloured aliens already here could live if such a step were taken. My feeling is that those who have settled down here should be welcomed as brothers, but that we should stand firm as sentinels between Australia and the yellow races beyond the seas. The yellow peril may overshadow and may eventually engulf us, but we must do our best to keep it from our shores. How the people of the United States would have thanked their forefathers who fought for their liberties in the old days if they had stood as sentinels between them and the black races of Africa. What misery and suffering would have been avoided ! Not a week passes but two or three negroes are burnt at the stake in America. That is one of the penalties that the people of that country are paying for the coloured invasion of their States. If we stand firm as sentinels between Australia and the yellow races, our names will be handed down in history with .all honour. Two honorable members of the last Parliament who voted in favour of retaining kanakas upon the Queensland sugar plantations were rejected at the last election, and I am sure that the feeling of the majority of honorable members is perfectly sound upon the necessity’ of closely safeguarding our shores against an invasion of .coloured races. No member of the Labour Party has spoken so strongly against the Peninsular and Oriental Com- pany as have same members of the British House of Commons. I propose to quote from a report of a debate in the House of Commons upon the question of voting £772,000 for the Post Office packet service, published in the London Times of the 12th May, 1900. Mr. Williams, in his work Made in Germany, showed that German goods were brought from that country, transhipped’ at British ports, and conveyed to Australia at rates of freight 50 per cent, lower than those charged for the carriage of goods direct from English ports to these States. He stated that that company was receiving over £1,000 a day - a very good subsidy. Yet, forsooth, it provides the vilest accommodation for its seamen !
– But the English steamers will carry Germans to America at a cheaper rate than they will Englishmen.
– That is very wrong of them. Lord Tollemache asked Mr. Gladstone whether the shipping companies would allow their ships to land hostile troops in Great Britain. His reply was, “I think if they could carry enemies to Heaven itself for the sake of lucre, they would do it.” Mr. Havelock Wilson declared that there are 40,000 lascars in the British mercantile marine, and that the number is increasing, while that of the British is_ diminishing. The wages and maintenance of two lascars, he affirms, do not equal the cost of one British seaman. I understand that 120 cubic feet of air space is insisted upon in the case of the British sailor, but the Peninsular and Oriental Company provide only 36 cubic feet. That is equivalent to 6 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet - a space not much larger than a decent-sized coffin. The company was repeatedly fined for this.
– The Board of Trade prescribes an air space of 70 cubic feet.
– I have always understood that the Board of Trade regulations provide for 120- cubic feet. I have never heard that statement questioned before. Let us hear what a conservative says- Admiral Feild. He declares -
In these days of keen competition, ship-owners manned their vessels in the cheapest manner ; but, as a naval man, he condemned the Government in the strongest way, because they did not insist, as foreign Governments insisted, as a condition of companies enjoying State subsidies, that they Should employ a certain proportion of national seamen. (Hear, hear.) It was a grievous mis take for the Government to shut their eyes to the fact that our mercantile marine was fast decaying - (hear hear) - that apprentices were few - (hear, hear) - and that 40,000 or 50,000 foreigners had displaced Britain’s own sailors. (Hear, hear.) Foreigners and lascars would not fight England’s naval battles, and landsmen could not man her fleet, for they were not trained seamen. He would not do anything to weaken his own Government, would not vote against his Government, but he would not vote for them, as he held they had neglected their duty in neglecting to make the employment of British seamen a condition of mail contracts.
We wish to see Britishers on British ships, and as a unit of the Labour Party, I shall always fight to gain that object.” Those who desire to see coloured men employed upon these vessels are all upon the other side of the Chamber. Then we hear a lot of talk about Tom Mann, but I would rather have his chance when he faces his Maker than that of some of those who sign cheques, and rob the widow and the orphan. Tom Mann stands for the purity of home life. But what does the paid agitator of the Employers’ Federation advocate? He considers that marriage is a luxury, and that the common working man should not have a wife. The statement has been made that Mr. Walpole has denied having made that assertion, but I am credibly informed that if he dares to sign a sworn declaration to that effect, he will be prosecuted for perjury.
– What do some Socialists say on the same subject?
– We stand for the purity of home life. Then there is another gentleman of whom I’ wish to speak, not because I desire to hold his miseries up to scorn, but merely because his case points the greatest argument that I can use. The honorable’ member for Richmond says there is no “ poor man,” that we are all poor men’s sons, and that everybody has a chance to make a good living. I allude to the paid organizer of trie farmers and producers - Mr. Sievwright-
On the platform he denied the existence of devitalizing conditions to which his own family were victims; he declared there was work for all, when his own relatives could not obtain enough to earn their bread, and he himself held only a temporary engagement after touring the Continent in the fruitless search for employment. There is no sweating, yet his brother slaves as a law clerk on 30s. a week, and his daughter, a young woman of 17, draws a weekly salary of 2s. 6d. His sisters, educated ladies, have done their best to earn a livelihood, but failed ; while his father, wellknown in the “ legal profession and in business circles “ - no doubt a man of probity, capacity, and thrift - is compelled to accept the State dole.
Yet that man could not spare from his £5 per week to help his old father. Personally, I object to any son being compelled to support his father. This country is great enough to support its aged people without compelling them to be dependent upon their children.
– In justice to him I think it should be said that he contributes £1 a week to his mother.
– That is so. He contributes £1 a week to his mother and sister, and I am sure that the Almighty will bless him “for it.
– But it was a contemptible thing to show him up in that way.
– Exactly. The Commonwealth has no hope from a Government whose conservative tendencies must inevitably (bring it to harm. Before concluding, I wish,. as an avowed protectionist, and one who upon every opportunity has voted in favour of that fiscal creed) to indorse the splendid article which appears in to-day’s Age, and which deals with the question of the appointment of a Tariff Commission. It says -
Mr. Reid professes an entire willingness to appoint a Royal Commission for Tariff inquiry. At first sight that looks like an agreement with the demands of the Opposition. But the Prime Minister insists on a Commission which would enter into the whole question of fiscal, policy. That protectionists will not accept. The general fiscal battle was fought and won in the establishment of the fiscal peace. The protectionists do not want to rip up the whole Tariff. That is what Mr. Reid fought for and lost.
I have sat upon various Commissions, and from that experience I have come to realize the truth of the words used By a German economist, who said, “ If the Almighty had put the making of the earth into the’ hands of a Commission it would never have been built.” To me a Commission is synonymous with delay. I say that honorable members, fresh from their constituents, should know what the majority desire, and be prepared to act accordingly. To say that there shall be fiscal peace for one year, or two, or even three years, is, an absolute absurdity. I regret that the right honorable member for Swan is not present. I informed him that I intended to speak, because I wished him to be present in order that he might contradict any statement which he disputed. I know that the reign of the “six families” in Western Australia was very hard on the average t’othersider. But the t’othersiders have gone to Western Australia, and with the ferment of right and ‘justice have swept the noble six families into oblivion. The right honorable member for Swan is responsible for any conservative provisions which may be contained in the Constitution. He took to the Federal Convention ten valiant representatives of Western Australia. Those delegates were selected by the State Parliament, and were, in reality nominated by the gentleman who* bore the title of “ King of the West.” Where are those delegates now? Is there a single supporter of the right honorable member for Swan in this House ? Not one. ‘ Indeed, I am credibly informed that in neither branch of the Commonwealth Legislature is there a member who acknowledges the right honorable member as his chief.
– He is a lone bird.
– But he is not singular iri that respect, because the honorable member for Oxley occupies a similar position. Let us see how they returned the members there. East and West Kimberley used to have an average of 107 electors on the roll, and thirty votes would generally return a candidate. That is the type of supporter which the right honorable member had in Western Australia. In the Kalgoorlie electorate, on the other hand, over 5,000 miners, who made Western Australia known to the world by the amount of gold which they tore from the earth, had but one representative. % That “ infamy was permitted for many years, by the great and glorious Government of which the right honorable member was the leader. In the Ashburton electorate, there were seventy-nine electors on the roll. That electorate returned the AttorneyGeneral, Mr. Burt, the right honorable member’s lieutenant, while the goldfields with an adult male population of over 50,000, returned only three members. The right honorable member, when Premier of the State, tolerated and perpetuated that abuse until 1897, and yet he has the splendid audacity to pose here as a Liberal. If it were not for a certain burly, goodtempered way which he has, he would not be taken so seriously. Then what was his treatment of the unfortunate natives of Western Australia ? To his Government is attributable the criminality of reinstituting flogging in the State. Flogging had been abolished, but the Government of the right honorable member permitted the flogging of unfortunate natives, who were treated worse than the beasts of the field probably, because the latter had a greater money value.
The British Government were always disinclined to hand over the care of the natives to the Government of Western Australia. Now that the Labour Party are in power, Hogging will not be allowed. The members of that party will not allow the iniquities which were practised by the squattocracy, with very few exceptions, to continue. The Queen, in 1861, told Sir John Young, then Governor of New South Wales, that his duty was to prevent and restrain all acts of violence and injustice towards the natives. That was always the desire of that great and good woman- When I visited that State a short time before the elections, and went into a church there, I heard a priest at the altar say that a collection would be taken up for the aborigines. During my forty years’ experience I have not known that to be done in Victoria. Then, again, the law that no justice of the peace interested in a complaint against a native should sit on the bench was rescinded by the Government of the right honorable member for Swan. Hansard bears me out in that statement. The law to which I refer is section 4 of the Act 47 Victoria, No. 8. In 1892, two years after the inauguration of responsible government in Western Australia, the Government rescinded the provision that justices of the peace might not try cases in which they were interested, and for the first time flogging was permitted. Up to as many as twenty-five strokes could be given to a male,- while a single magistrate could impose a term of two years’ imprisonment. Previously, it was necessary for a resident magistrate, and a justice of the peace, that is, a paid stipendiary magistrate, to be present. “But, Lord love us ! those concerned, were only niggers, and what cared the right honorable member for Swan about them in those days? If they appeared to be under sixteen years of age, the flogging was limited to twelve lashes. Then, under the Act of the 18th March, 1892, this was done. Honorable members may not be aware that the natives of Western Australia, like those of other places, I believe, have periods of unrest, which are known as walk-‘about “ periods, and Jones, J. P., would run in his mob of human beings to Smith, J. P., who would sentence them, and perhaps order them lashings; and whet the mob of Smith, J. P., became unruly a little - later on, and wanted to walk about, they were sent to Jones, J. P., and so honours were easy.
– The honorable member must connect his remarks with the question before the Chair.
– It is felt that the aborigines of Western Australia have, not been properly protected.
– The question before the Chair is whether this Government possesses the confidence of the House. The honorable member must address himself to that question, and not discuss the question whether some one or other has properly protected the aborigines of Western Australia.
– I wish to show that there is no chance of the aborigines of Western Australia having their conditions of life ameliorated by a Government of which the right honorable member for Swan is a supporter. Moreover, my remarks bear on the question of a White Australia, which I was returned, not later than last March, to support. We, in Victoria, protect girls who are under the age of sixteen years ; but the right honorable member for Swan does not think that girl’s over the age of twelve years are worth protecting, and he gave his vote to carry that view into effect. He has appeared on public platforms in Prahran, South Melbourne, St. Kilda, and other places before audiences of ladies whom he is professing to educate in politics. But if they knew what he had done in the way of introducing into Western Australia the flogging of unfortunate natives after flogging had been abolished there, and lowering the age of consent to twelve years, they would hiss him as heartily as the miners of Coolgardie did. We are being asked to continue* in power a Government which is supported by a man who believes that girls of the age of twelve years and one month should not be protected. Every honest man and woman outside will scout the idea. I do not ask honorable members to take my word alone for these facts. I have them here in black and white. How can the present Government call itself a liberal Administration ? The honorable member for Gippsland would have spoken until he could stand no longer against those infamies had he been in the Western Australian Parliament. Attorney-General Burt said, however, “ Whin them.”
– I call ‘the attention of the honorable member to the Standing Orders. which require some relevancy of debate. I have already informed him again and again that he is not speaking to the question before the Chair, and .while I am loth to take the steps required by the Standing Orders, I must insist upon his conforming with the” rules of debate. He must discuss the question before the Chair, and not the matters upon which he is now speaking.
– I accept your ruling, sir, and thank you for the courteous way in which you have drawn my attention to the matter. I was returned to support a White Australia, but I found, during my electoral campaign, that’ the forces most actively ranged against me were the so-called liberal and conservative interests. I must own that there are some good Democrats behind the present Government; but it is not a liberal Government, because it depends for its support upon conservatives. Every conservative in Victoria to-day is behind it, and it is a conservative Government in every sense of the word. Life and property in our community are not safe while a Government is in power with the support of a man holding the opinions of the right honorable member for Swan. I hope I am in order in saying that the welfare of the women and children of Australia should be the concern of every man and woman in Australia. If I called a meeting at the Town Hall for to-morrow, and told the people what I have told this House, the vast gathering would say that girls above twelve years of age should be protected. The right honorable member for Swan, who is continually attacking the Labour Party, and who says that we wish to destroy the sanctity of the home, is opposed to that. It must be remembered that it is the daughters of the workers who need protection, because the children of well-to-do people have governesses and companions to go about with them. I am not here to speak against any class. I try to represent all classes. I wish the world to become brighter and happier. I do not desire that men who are willing to work should be unable to find occupation. My duty is to better the conditions of humanity. But will Australia benefit by the continuance of this Ministry in power ? Let any member of the Ministry call a public meeting in Melbourne, and see what public opinion is here. Let the so-called head of the protectionist movement, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, do so. What was the compact into which he entered with my opponent? He knew that I- was a steadfast protectionist, having being a fellow Member of Parliament for years. In the nobility of soul, which seems to sway him when .he gets going, he did himself the injustice not to explain that my opponent was going to stay in Parliament only one year, thus permitting the construction to be made that the Prime Minister of Australia entered, into a compact with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne to delude the electors by withholding the fact that the latter would remain in politics for one year only. These men Liberals ! These men protectionists ! He, the leader of the Protectionist Party, knowing that I was a protectionist, supported my opponent. There is no man in this House with such a gift of eloquence as the honorable and learned member possesses. He can speak 1 thoughts that breathe and words that burn “ to greater effect than any man in this country. For twenty-three years he has had behind him the power of the mighty Age dominated by that grand old man and gray who owns it. In season and out of season that organ has supported him ; and if he had only worked as well for protection as he has spoken, this country would have had a decent Tariff at the present time. I am speaking from no enmity to the honorable and learned member. He could have had me as a- soldier, fighting behind him, and I would have given my life to carry out any direction that he asked me to undertake. But when he was asked to do something to remove sweating, he merely said, “ You cannot do it.” When the abominable Gillies-Deakin Government was swept into oblivion, and a new Ministry which was put in its place was also removed, and when also the Patterson Government was turned out! of office by the present Treasurer of the Commonwealth, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, Achilles-like, sulked in his tent, and would not take office. He will not take office now, but he says that he will give the present Government his support. He supports them, knowing in his heart of hearts that the kernel and the brains of the Protectionist movement are to be found in the Opposition corner. The whole of the fighting capacity of the Protectionist Party is on this side of the House. I do not blame the present Prime Minister for taking office when he had the opportunity. He has had a hard political life before attaining to his present office. - But It is to be remarked that he has only attained to the Prime Ministership of Australia after twenty-four years of political life, and .after previously having experience as Premier of his own State. Compare his position with that of the leader of the Opposition. The present Prime Minister is the only one of the four Prime1 Ministers of Australia who had previously been Premier in his own State. Sir Edmund Barton was never a Premier in New South Wales. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was never a Premier in Victoria. The honorable member for Bland was never a Premier; yet, whereas the Prime Minister, after twenty-four years of political experience, and after having been Premier of his own State, attains at last to the’ Prime! Ministership of Australia, we find that the honorable member for Bland, as leader of the Labour Party, after only nine years of political life, was able to occupy that high office. It took the honorable’ and learned member for Ballarat twenty-three years of political life, with all the splendid power of the Age behind him, to attain the Prime Ministership. He has had a career which is splendid on account of its wonderful eloquence, but there is no splendour in his record of Acts passed. There is no man in this country who has a greater power of swaying the masses at a public meeting. Yet the Acts which he has put upon the statute-book for the benefit of the people are exceedingly few. There is more to praise in the Acts of the present Prime Minister, small as they are, however, in comparison with those of the honorable member for Hume, though greater than those of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.
– His heart is better than his head.
– His heart is good. He is a splendid fellow. He has high ideals. If he started a church, I think I would take a pew. But somehow he fails when it becomes a matter of putting Acts upon the statute-book. I have now dealt with’ protection, with conciliation and arbitration, and with the White Australia policy. Those were the three cardinal points in my platform at the last election. I will now conclude!. I might apply to the present situation almost the words that were used by Cato concerning Carthage, Delenda est Carthago - Carthage must be destroyed. I say that this Ministry must be removed and destroyed ; and when we face the electors of Australia, and come back again to this Parliament, we shall’ no longer have in power the present sham liberal and sham protectionist two-headed Government, which will find itself consigned to the abyss of oblivion.
– After the three very long and elaborate speeches which have been delivered to the House this afternoon and evening, I am afraid that honorable members must be somewhat tired and exhausted. Probably their inclinations will be somewhat similar to my own, after waiting such a long time to get a little innings in this debate. I think it can hardly be expected that I should enter upon the debate with a view to conclude my remarks to-night. I should like to congratulate the honorable member for Melbourne upon his oratorical capacity, and his powers of endurance. I should also like to compliment him upon the very vast stores of information with which he has favoured us. Some passages of his long speech were very eloquent, some were very pathetic, and the whole was bristling with detail ; but I venture to say, with very great respect to him, that a large part of it was utterly irrelevant to the debate now proceeding, although no doubt his observations were made with ‘the very best intentions. Mr. Speaker thought it necessary several times to direct the honorable member’s attention to the fact that the question before us is as to whether the House has confidence in the present Administration, and I think that any speech which is directed fairly and squarely towards the main issue may assist honorable members. But a speech that rambles over the history of Victorian and Australian politics generally, is scarcely calculated to attain that end. This much, however, I should like to say in fairness to my honorable friend, the member for Melbourne - that he certainly set a good example to even more experienced’ and distinguished members than himself in avoiding personalities. Whilst he found it necessary to attack the head of the Government, he did not deem it to be necessary to descend to the depths of vituperation and abuse, and he also found it to be consistent with his political position as a member of the Labour Party to do justice to the Prime Minister in several matters, for which he gave him credit. The honorable member, as a labour member in particular, is also to be commended for not seeking to introduce any of the old feuds and vendettas of New South Wales into this debate. A considerable amount of time has been wasted in that way. I do not think that such allusions are calculated to elevate the debates of the Federal Parliament, and I do not believe . that they will influence a single vote. Honorable members have a’ sufficient grip of the present situation to deal with it on its merits as a Federal question, without dragging in and raking up any of the antiquarian episodes of the New South Wales Parliament. Judging from some of the allusions which have been made to it, one would think that the New South Wales Parliament must have been a very terrible place in times past ; certainly the persistency with’ which these ancient feuds are being revived is anything but gratifying or calculated to elevate our discussions. I am glad, indeed, that the leader of the Labour Party, in accordance with all his previous history, endeavoured to give a high and respectable tone to it, and to direct attention to political issues, avoiding altogether personal considerations. So far as I am concerned, these references and allusions, betraying an animus against the Prime Minister, irrespective of Federal considerations, are rather calculated to excite disgust than to prejudice me in any way against the right honorable gentleman. I, in common with’ other protectionists, have, in years gone by, deemed it to be my ‘duty to fight him hard and fast on public grounds and for just cause; and if, at the present juncture of affairs, any want of confidence motion were tabled, and were justified, I should undoubtedly feel it to be my bounden duty to support it. But, in the absence of good cause, in the absence of argument, to support such a motion as has already been submitted, I deem it to be my duty to record my vote against the motion of want of confidence. I should like to draw the attention of honorable members to the present political situation, which, it appears to me, is without parallel in the history of parliamentary government. ‘ Within nine months of a general election, we have had no less than two Ministries displaced from office, and we are now faced with a motion of want of confidence in a third Government: The position is certainly one which should make us anxious for the safety of our Federal institutions. Such incidents as these, so unparalleled in the history of parliamentary Government, may well be calculated to shake our Constitution to its very foundation. I think that the dangers connected with the situation should induce honorable members of a thoughtful disposition on both sides to subordinate their own ambition, or what they may consider their interests, to the good government and welfare of the Commonwealth. Of course, in every situation a certain amount of selfrestraint is necessary. I think that if the leader of the Labour Party had shown a capacity and disposition to sink what may be, perhaps, a natural feeling of disappointment and resentment at being displaced from office, until a future occasion, when better cause might have been shown, it would have reflected greater credit upon his capacity as a leader, and would, I am sure, have won him greater esteem and respect in the country. Only a few weeks ago, he was beaten in a straight-out division on a detail of a Bill.
– And the honorable and learned member cannot show a parallel case.
– The honorable member for Bland deemed it necessary, advisable, and consistent with his honour and dignity as Prime Minister, to resign office. He did so- freely and voluntarily, without any pressure, so far as I am aware, unless it was from outside.
– There was no pressure from anywhere.
– I would point out that the honorable member resigned after unsuccessfully applying for a dissolution.
– We shall have one now, so it is all the same.
– It may be that the honorable member felt sanguine of obtaining a dissolution, and that he did not expect that in the ordinary course of things he would have to resign. But having failed to obtain a dissolution, he did. There was nothing in the course of the situation which, in my opinion, called upon him to resign. Having resigned on a detail of a Bill, a devolution of government necessarily had to take place.
– The business of the House was taken out of his hands.
– The King’s government had to be carried on, and the Governor-General, in the exercise of his prerogative, commissioned the right honorable member for East Sydney to form an Administration, and no sooner had he done so, and come down here and outlined his policy than the honorable member for Bland rose in his place and gave notice of a motion of no-confidence. In other words, having resigned voluntarily only a few weeks before, he did not allow the new Government to develop their policy or even to have anything like a fair innings. For what purpose did he immediately table a” motion of want of confidence? To get back into the office which he had resigned freely and voluntarily?
– Would not the honorable and learned member have resigned if the control of business had been taken out of his hands?
– The honorable member for Bland had a perfect right to resign, if he thought fit. I am not challenging his judgment, but contending that he was not called upon to resign.
– Was not the control of business taken out of his hands?
– No. Now observe the difficulty of the situation.
– It is very difficult for some persons.
– The Bill in respect of which the honorable member resigned office still remains in the Parliament. It has not been disposed of. It is true that it was removed to another Chamber, but it will inevitably come back to this House for further consideration.
– Will the honorable and learned member vote against it?
– I shall tell the honorable member how I shall vote when it comes back. In the meantime the honorable member for Bland apparently desires to resume office.
– With a new team.
– Apparently the honorable member desires to resume office, with or without a change in personnel. He would still be in possession of the difficulty in respect of which he resigned. He would again have to advise the House what to do, and it may be assumed that those honorable members who voted against him on the last occasion might feel called upon to vote against him again and again. If they did, would he then resign?
– What about the provision relating to State servants?
– I am merely pointing out a difficulty in the way of the honorable member for Bland resuming office. I venture to think that, having resigned, he might as well have waited until a development of events took place, or at any rate until the Arbitration Bill was disposed of in some way or other, before he made an attack. So far as I have been able to analyze in a general sort of way the arguments which have been presented in support of this motion of no-confidence, they may be summarized under three headings. In the first place, it. is alleged that the Ministry has no policy. In the second place, there are expressions of vague apprehension that a certain traditional and well recognised policy previously adopted by the House, is in danger of being attacked by the Ministry. And in the third place, there is an allegation, or a suggestion of a general antipathy to the Prime Minister. Dealing first with the question of no policy, I would ask the leader of the Opposition what time the Ministry has had to develop a policy ?
– Longer than we had.
– Undoubtedly Ministers have had only a few weeks to consider the surroundings. They were suddenly brought into office, without any political association, or opportunities for considering a programme. They were not like the Labour Party, which came into office with a programme ready cut and dried. Ministers have had only three weeks in which to look around and take stock of the situation. Having done so, they found certain Bills on the notice-paper. They decided to take up these residuary fragments of previous Ministers, lick them into shape, and pass as many of them as they can. Surely honorable members on the other side cannot expect a newly-combined team like that to come down with a complete programme, at the fag end of a session.
– We expect nothing from them.
– It is too big a task for them.
– They say in one breath that we have no policy, and in another breath that our policy is the same as theirs.
– And yet they will not give the Ministry an opportunity of considering, developing, and evolving a policy. Again, it is said that the great democratic ideals of our Commonwealth, such as a White Australia, and the Immigration Restriction Act are in danger. What do we find? We find the late Minister of External Affairs coming down here and making an attack upon the Prime Minister because, forsooth, his own decision is not reversed. He makes it a positive grievance that his own decision is not reversed by his successor.
– Oh no !
– The late Minister of External Affairs makes it a grievance that his successor does not stand to his colours.
– The honorable and learned member for West Sydney taunts the Prime Minister, and does his best to goad him on to reverse his own decision.
– He says that the Prime Minister is inconsistent; that is all.
– I do not see where there is any inconsistency about the matter. The Prime Minister expressed certain views about some provisions in the Immigration
Restriction Act in times past, and if he had a majority, I daresay he would endeavour to carry out his promise and try to modify the provisions; but he never said that he would refuse to obey the law.
– He said that he would try to alter the law.
– The Prime Minister is sworn to obey the law, and he dare not refuse to enforce the Immigration Restriction Act or the White Australia policy.
– Why did he not say that about Sir Edmund Barton when he enforced the law in the case of the six hatters?
– What did he say about the Petriana case?
– In regard to those cases, I understand that the principal ground of criticism and attack was, that the Act was not enforced, in a businesslike manner, and that its administration was allowed to drift. That point does not arise here.
– Yes. it does.
– The point is that members of the Labour Party are endeavouring to frighten people into thinking that the White Australia and Liberal policy is in danger. The greatest and strongest security that the policy to which we are all attached - at least those of us who are liberal protectionists - will not be in any way interfered with or prejudiced, is the presence on these benches of liberal protectionists. The tenure of office of the Government is dependent on the liberal element on this side of the House.
– And just as much on the conservative element.
– So far as personal antipathy to the Prime Minister is concerned. I venture to hope that this House will ri-e superior to any such considerations - that the House will judge public men connected with this Parliament according to Federal politics and Federal principles.
– Bribery !
– The honorable member for Hume is delivering his speech over again, here in the corner.
– His conduct is disgraceful.
– The PostmasterGeneral, the honorable member for Parramatta, and the honorable member for Hume, must be conscious that they are breaking the Standing Orders, and are doing so in spite of the fact that I have called attention to the matter several times. I hope that those honorable members will not further transgress. When honorable members of such experience disregard the Standing Orders, I cannot be expected to call to order honorable members not possessed of similar experience.
– I am very sorry, Mr. Speaker, but really the honorable member for Hume is, in an undertone, delivering his speech over again.
– It is quite unnecessary for the honorable member for Parramatta to make any remarks. I regret that I have had To call the attention of honorable members to the Standing Orders. I hope the honorable member for Parramatta will show his regret by obeying the Standing Orders, and refraining from interrupting.
– As to the “ nopolicy “ of the Government, I think that a certain amount of indulgence might reasonably be allowed to the new Ministry in the first few weeks of their existence.
– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Hume’ is hurling accusations of bribery and corruption across the chamber, and it is impossible for order to be kept if trie honorable member conducts himself in that unseemly and disgraceful way.
– In support of the point of order raised by the honorable member for Parramatta, I desire to say that the remark I made was in consequence of the charges levelled by the honorable member for -Hume at honorable members on this side of the House. When an honorable member is allowed to make such charges, it is no wonder honorable members interrupt.
– I made the charge of bribery this afternoon.
– Against whom? .
– Against the leader of the Government. I shall say nothing more than what I said in my speech’, and have proved bv documentary evidence.
– The honorable member is an authority on bribery, I believe?
– I do not wish to disturb the harmony of the speech of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, but 1 was surprised when I heard him say he was going to support a gentleman who has such records against him.
– I did not hear any remark from the honorable member for Hume. Naturally honorable members nearer to that honorable member would hear him before
I might, or otherwise I should have asked him to refrain from those interruptions, and to withdraw the remarks objected to. But, in any case, if such remarks are made to which honorable members take exception, it is their place to ask that I shall rule them out of order. They should not tate the law into their own hands by interjecting, or by carrying on conversations across the chamber, which are especially disorderly.
– As you, Mr. Speaker, have intimated that honorable members should refrain from interruption, and should appeal to you if disorderly expressions are used, I draw your attention to the words used by the honorable member for Hume, who has accused the Prime Minister of bribery. I ask whether those words are to be permitted in this Chamber without withdrawal. It is a most serious charge, which no honorable member should make against another in this Chamber, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– The charge, which was made this afternoon, was based on words used in connexion with reports of a certain proceeding in the New South Wales Parliament some years since. It was impossible for me to require the honorable member for Hume not to use the words, as they were a part of the reports on which he relied, and from which he was quoting ; he could not quote without using just those words. I did not hear the honorable member for Hume use the phrase complained of Just now, or,, as I said before, I should have required him to withdraw it.
– -I must express my regret, and I am sure the regret of every honorable member, that such strong language should be used by the honorable member for Hume respecting a public man in this House. I know nothing of the history of the case, but I decline to believe an ex parte statement.
– I proved it by evidence.
– I have no doubt that the Parliament pf New South Wales was capable of dealing with the case referred to, and that it was dealt with according to justice and law. It is a scandal to introduce those matters into, the Federal Parliament so persistently. Such a course is not ‘calculated to assist this debate, but merely to excite prejudice, and it may be to do injustice to individuals. I hope that the Opposition, as a body, will not countenance or encourage any such unfair tactics.
Motion (by Mr. McLean) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– In reference to the statement made just now by the honorable. and learned member for Bendigo, and to the lecture delivered by him against myself principally-
– Will the honorable member kindly take his seat? Not even on a motion for the adjournment of the House is it permissible to refer to a debate pending.
– I am not referring to the debate.-
– The honorable member is expressly referring to the remarks of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, and under the Standing Orders he must not refer to any part of a debate pending. If’ the honorable member desires to refer to any other matter he may do so.
– What I wanted to refer to was the origin of a statement I made a few minutes ago. The leader of the Government introduced the question of his financial action in New South Wales ; I was not responsible-
-Will the honorable member take his seat? The question to which the honorable member now refers is distinctly a part of the debate which has just been adjourned. -That question has been dealt with in the course of the debate by several honorable member’s, and is certainly not now open to discussion.
– May I ask whether, when the House meets to-morrow, I shall have an opportunity to make a personal explanation’ in view of the attack on’ me tonight by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo.
– On the question of personal explanations, it may be as well for me to say at once, that a personal explanation in relation to what somebody else has said, is not in order. A personal explanation can only be made concerning some matter with which an Honorable member himself has dealt, and concerning which he himself has been misunderstood. A personal explanation cannot be allowed as a reply to what some other honorable member has said in the course of the debate. H the honorable member desires to- make a personal explanation’ concerning a matte* with which he himself has dealt, and has been misunderstood, he may do so.
– That is good enough for me.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).When speaking the other night I made the statement that the Denton Hat Mills were fully employed, and that statement was challenged. I then said I would produce the letters on which I based my statement, and these letters are in my hand now. The first is from Mr. Edward Shaw, the manager of the Denton Hat Mills, to a customer on the 20th July, 1904, asfollows : -
We duly received your letter of the 21st inst. asking us to furnish you with a set of samples of Victorian made hats. We should be very pleased to do so if wesaw our way to give execution to any orders with which you might favour us, but our hands are at present so full that we are afraid in the meantime to undertake new business lest it should result in disappointment through our inability to give delivery. In the hope that in some future time we may have the pleasure of doing business with you, we are.
That bears out my statement that these mills have not suffered by the reduction of the Tariff.
– That letter was written two months ago.
– If their orders are exhausted now, it is very extraordinary. A second letter is from Mr. T. Shelmerdine, of the Yarra Hat Works, Abbotsford, to a customer, on the 15th July, 1904, as follows : -
With reference to your request for samples, we understand from our representative that you require a special list for your own use. We regret that at present we are so busy that we cannot manage to make a fresh set, but will give your request our best attention as soon as we have a spare set or time to make them.
It will be seen in both of these cases that’ the Tariff has not injured the industry. As to the nail industry, I endeavoured to get information from the Department of Trade and Customs, but I found, from men who are in the trade, that no nails are imported into Victoria at the present time.
– I said the other night, by way of interjection, that the Denton Hat Mills were at the present time exceedingly slack, and that the men were working only four days a week instead of full time. The orders refused in July were season’s goods, which were wanted immediately, and such a refusal might occur in the dullest season under the most adverse circumstances.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040928_reps_2_22/>.