House of Representatives
7 October 1904

2nd Parliament · 1st Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 5345

PERSONAL EXPLANATION

Mr MAUGER:
Melbourne Ports

– I desire to make a personal explanation bearing upon some remarks utlered by me during the course of my address on the motion of want of confidence, when I stated that it was the policy of the party with which I have been allied to sit in the Ministerial corner, and act towards the Watson Administration as the Labour Party had acted towards the Barton and Deakin Administrations. The Argus, in commenting upon that statement, said -

Mr. Deakin, instead of bearing jMr. Mauger out, gave the statement a flat contradiction. “ Never, never, npt even discussed,” he said emphatically. Mr. Mauger “understood” that was the object of the Deakin party., but’ not even his faithful backer, Mr. Hume Cook, came to his rescue. Sir John Forrest and Mr. Chapman denied Mr. Mauger’s statement.

To bear out my statement, and to show that the matter was publicly discussed between the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and myself, I wish to quote an extract from the columns pf the Melbourne Herald of the 22nd August.

Mr Liddell:

– What have we to do with this?

Mr MAUGER:

– When a man’s word is doubted, he has a right to make the facts clear.

Mr Johnson:

– Send the correction to the Argus.

Mr MAUGER:

– I arn going to make the correction here. On the 22 nd August, during a public discussion of the matter with the honorable and learned member for Ballarat many weeks ago, I made the’ following statement : -

Further, I knew it to be the policy of the Protectionist Party to sit in the corner and support the Ministry that was to succeed’ the Deakin Ministry, in order to prevent the free-trade leader securing the Treasury benches. I have no knowledge as to who is responsible for the change in that policy. To that change, however, is to be attributed any trouble in the Protectionist Party that has subsequently arisen.

I have since spoken with the honorable and learned member, and he now admits that the conversation did take place. His policy was, had the right honorable member for Adelaide been sent for, to sit in the Ministerial- corner, and actively support him while negatively opposing the Reid party ; but, if the right . honorable member for East Sydney were stent for, to sit in the Opposition corner, ifor the purposeof opposing him. The only difference between the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and myself is -

Mr McLean:

– That one was right and the other was wrong-.

Mr MAUGER:

– -The fact is that the proposal to sit in the corner was discussed.

Sir John Quick:

– By whom ?

Mr MAUGER:

– By the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and myself.

Sir John Quick:

– The honorable member was not the party.

Mr.MAUGER.- The fact that the matter had been discussed was denied, and the Argus is trying to make out that my statement was a fiction, and that the conversation did not take place. The only point of difference between the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and myself was that, if the honorable member for Bland had been sent for, it was his policy to- sit in the Opposition corner to keep his party together, and to keep the Free-trade Party out of office. That is all I have to say; but I think that honorable members will acknowledge that there was every warrant for my statement.

page 5346

QUESTION

MOTION OF WANT OF CONFIDENCE

Debate resumed from 6th October(vide page 5345), on motion by Mr. Watson -

That the present Administration does not possess the confidence of this House.

Mr CHANTER:
Riverina

– When the House rose last night, I was about to investigate the cause of the new-born zeal of the. Prime Minister in the interests of the farmers.

Mr Johnson:

– He has always been a friend of the farmers.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Yes. The honorable member for Riverina knows what he ‘ did for them in New South Wales.

Mr CHANTER:

– The only political friends which the New South Wales farmers have had were the protectionists, who sheltered them from the unfair competition of the world, and raised the. price of wheat by1s. a bag without making bread any dearer than it was iri Victoria. The Prime Minister was never a friend of the farmers. He was their worst enemy, and at one pf the largest meetings which he has addressed in the Town Hall in Melbourne, he told the farmers and stock fatteners of Victoria that if he had the opportunity he would expose them to the cold’ southerly winds of the world’s competition. Did he not know at the time of the great disadvantages under which the farmers in the interior suffer? How, for instance, could the wheat-growers in the Mallee districts of Victoria compete with the wheat-growers of

California ? When the right honorable gentleman removed the New South Wales duties on grain, ship-load after ship-load of wheat was poured into Sydney, at a freightage of 10s. a ton all charges paid, whereas it would cost the Mallee farmers twice that amount to send their wheat by train to Melbourne.

Mr Johnson:

– Does not the honorable members know that Mark-lane rules the prices of the world ?

Mr CHANTER:

– I know more of farming than does the honorable member, because I have been a practical farmer, and for thirty years have lived on the Victorian and New South Wales border, where I have had an object-lesson as to the advantages of protection. The farmers of New South Wales without protection never got to within 3d. or 4d. a bushel as much for their wheat as the protected farmers of Victoria got ; but the duties imposed by the Dibbs Government broke up the ring of shippers and millers in Sydney, who would not go into the interior to buy wheat, because they could import it at a freight of 10s. per ton. The farmers never had a worse political enemy ‘than the right honorable gentleman.

Mr Johnson:

– They never had a better friend.

Mr CHANTER:

– Can the honorable member point to . one thing that the right honorable gentleman has ever done for the farmers ?

Mr Johnson:

– He cheapened their implements.

Mr CHANTER:

– The honorable member says that the right honorable gentleman assisted the farmers by enabling them to secure implements at cheaper prices. I would ask what was done by the farmers during the time that they were exposed to the cold southerly winds of the world’s competition at the instance of the right honorable gentleman? Where did they go to buy their implements? Into the protected State of Victoria, where they could obtain what they required more cheaply than from abroad. Moreover, the implements made in Victoria were better adapted to their requirements, and were infinitely preferable to the imported shoddy.

Mr Fuller:

– And our farmers obtained them at prices lower than those at which they were sold to the farmers of Victoria.

Mr CHANTER:

– Even in the district represented by the honorable and learned member for Illawarra, the farmers, who were onlv a few miles from the ship’s side. preferred to send to Victoria for what they required. The present Tariff has already had injurious effects upon the implementmaking industry of the Commonwealth and these would be intensified if the Prime Minister had his way. One of the best machines ever invented, which is now being copied in all parts of the world, was brought into existence under protection in Victoria. I refer to the Sunshine harvester, which is manufactured by the McKay Harvester Manufacturing Co. of Ballarat. Before the protective policy was introduced in Victoria the farmers had to buy implements, in many cases utterly unsuitable to their’ requirements, sent to them from other parts of the world. The ploughs would fly in pieces the first time a root was struck, and other implements were found to be equally defective. The protective policy adopted in Victoria resulted in the growth of a sturdy class of manufacturers, who sent their agents throughout the country in order to find out exactly what was required. They made improvement after improvement in their implements., and today they are manufacturing all that the farmer requires. If the Prime Minister had his way he would sweep away all our protective duties and expose our manufacturers to the cold southerly winds of the world’s competition. I ask, is this the policy that would be adopted by a statesman? With what class of farmers has the right honorable gentleman allied himself? There are farmers and farmers. The class with whom the right honorable gentleman has thrown in his lot are the large landed proprietors of the squatter class, whereas the farmers of whom I am speaking are the men who hold a few acres of land, and have to work very hard in order to make a living. These are the men who have some claim to be protected from outside competition. The stock fatteners are not farmers, but squatters who hold large areas of land. What was . my opponent at the last election ? He called himself a farmer, but I should be very glad to be a farmer such as he is. He is reported to own 118,000 acres of freehold land, which, if placed upon the market, would realize about a quarter of a million. Is the Prime Minister aware that even under the present Tariff our stock-growers’ are being brought into competition with the outside world? A ship-load of hides from China has been landed in Melbourne with a view to ascertain whether they can successfully compete with the locally-produced article.

The Prime Minister is telling the farmers that he is “the chap to save the country,” and will study their interests ; but if they look back at the history of the protectionist movement they will see that it has enabled them to build” up their homes, and that they could not have done without it. The farmers have never received any benefits at the hands of the right honorable gentleman, and they have nothing to look to from him in the future, because, under his policy, they would be left to take care of themselves.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– The Minister for Trade and Customs will look after that.

Mr CHANTER:

– He represents only one-half of the Ministry, and I desire to see in power a wholly protectionist Administration. I do not wish to say one word against the Minister of Trade and Customs, because I know that in his heart he agrees with everything I have said. How can we express confidence in an honorable gentleman who tells the farmers that he will sweep away all the benefits they at present enjoy, and at the same time endeavours to persuade them that he is their true champion.?

Mr Salmon:

– There was nothing in the Ministerial statement with regard to that matter.

Mr CHANTER:

– There is no Ministerial statement ; I am waiting for an announcement of the policy of the Government. I have heard only the false cry of Socialism - that the Labour Party are Socialists and in favour of land confiscation. The Prime Minister has repeatedly addressed meetings of farmers in terms such as I have indicated. His main thorne at the Kyneton meeting was what he chose to term “Socialism.” One or two honorable members, including the honorable and learned member for Angas, have given us definitions of Socialism, but the class of Socialism which the Prime Minister endeavoured to fasten upon the Labour Part);,- when addressing the farmers at Kvneton, was not that which any member of the party desires to see put into practice. Members of the Labour Party are neither anarchists, communists, nor confiscators. There are honorable members sitting upon the other side of the House, protectionists, who, in years past, joined with- me in a tacit alliance with the Labour Party for the purpose of securing land for the settlement of small farmers, and of taking it from those who had mono polized it under the world’s free competition which the Prime Minister advocates. Did the right honorable gentleman tell the Kyneton farmers that he would deprive them of the privilege of having their produce conveyed to the metropolitan markets upon the ground, that the control of the railways by the State was a socialistic enterprise, and because some of the lines were not paying, and were not likely to pay ? No. He made no allusion to that. Did he inform them that the Post and Telegraph offices and the State public schools for the education of their children were also socialistic institutions?No. Instead, he assured them, again and again, that if the Labour Party came into power, every man who possessed an acre of land would have it taken away from him. I say that such a statement was a slander upon the Labour Party.

Mr Henry Willis:

– Do not the Labour Party believe in the nationalization of land ?

Mr CHANTER:

– Because one or two irresponsible individuals make certain statements in addressing the people-

Mr Mcwilliams:

– The honorable member’s allies in this House say that they believe in it. They do not deny it. They are honest enough to admit it.

Mr CHANTER:

– I have never heard one of them admit that he is in favour of land confiscation. Upon many occasions I have endeavoured, with the assistance of the leader of the Labour Party, to obtain land for the small farmers, and from those who have grasped it. I have never heard any member of the Labour Party attempt to persuade the public that that party desires the confiscation of land. They would doubtless acquire it by fair and honorable means - by enacting legislation which would have the effect of bursting up large estates in order that the people might gain access to them. In Victoria, have we not evidence of this ? What is the object of the Closer Settlement Bill ? What did the present Prime Minister do in New South Wales in this connexion? He never made any legitimate effort to secure land for closer settlement. He has always been antagonistic to the small farmer, and in favour of the large farmer.

Mr Fuller:

– How is it that so many honorable members have been returned to this House to support him?

Mr CHANTER:

– I anticipated that question from the honorable and learned member. The Prime Minister’s support is obtained from the Sydney Domain farmers. Surely the honorable and learned member does not regard the tenant farmers upon the south coast, who are within a stone’s throw of the capital, as the real farmers of New South Wales? Are the men who are compelled to go cap in hand to the large capitalists, and to say - “ Please will you allow me to enter upon your land, and your rent shall be onehalf of the produce that I obtain from it” - the real producers of Australia?

Mr Fuller:

– Where does that take place ?

Mr CHANTER:

– All over New South Wales, and especially in the southern and western districts. Does the honorable and learned member know anything about the halving system?

Mr Fuller:

– There is none of that in my district.

Mr CHANTER:

-What the Labour Party desire is the creation of a class . of sturdy yeomen, who have a right to the land upon which they live - not a class of rack-rented tenants. During the whole course of his political career, the Prime Minister has never assisted the small farmer. His policy - as can be proved by reference to the Statistical Register of New South Wales’ - has always been diaimetrically opposed to the interests of the producers. The latter have to study many things, and they have always been connected with the Liberal movement, particularly in New South Wales and South Australia. They desire that their home market shall be conserved to them, but that result cannot be accomplished by exposing them to the “ cold southerly winds of the world’s competition.” Does not the farmer realize that the home market is his best market? Does he not rely upon, it? Most assuredly he does. He wishes to secure as large and profitable a home market as he can. He is also intimately connected with the manufacturing industries of the Commonwealth. He purchases his machinery from them, and, in return, they take their food from him. Thus the circulation of capital is confined to the realm in which it was earned. The Prime Minister has evidenced his desire to assist the farmers of New South Wales by removing a protective duty which put into their pockets one shilling for every bag of wheat they produced, and then taxing their land. Even his land-taxation scheme is anything but equitable, and requires ad justment at the earliest possible moment. Under its operation the owner of 200 acres is placed in exactly the same category as the individual who possesses 200,000 acres.

Mr Fuller:

– Is the honorable member in favour of a Federal land tax.

Mr CHANTER:

– I am in favour of a different class of land-tax from that which operates’ in Victoria and New South Wales. I am not in favour of penalizing the men who have the heart and courage to go on the land and endeavour to build up homes, while large property-holders in the metropolitan areas escape taxation.

Mr Kelly:

– That has not been the policy in New South Wales.

Mr CHANTER:

– That has always been the policy in New South Wales, the politics of which are dominated by the two leading newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph, against the dictates of which no politician has yet had the. courage to rebel. The policypursued in New South Wales has been for the benefit of Sydney and suburbs, and not for the benefit of the State generally.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– Why did not the honorable member alter that state of affairs when he was a member of the Government of New South Wales. ?

Mr CHANTER:

– Because I had not time. One of the allies of the present Prime Minister was guilty of another unprecedented action, when, immediately after the election at that time, he absolutely caused supplies to be refused to the Government. That trick, however, was not successful, because the late Sir George Dibbs had the courage to pay the salaries of the public servants on the Governor’s warrant. Honorable members on both sides of this House know that from the time I entered the Parliament of New South Wales I raised my voice week after week, and year after year, in the interests of the farmer, in order to enable him to make a living for those depending on him. That was my history in the politics of New South Wales, and it will be my history in this Parliament ; and I hope this question will be seriously taken in hand by the Commonwealth Government. We are here to legislate for the commonweal of the States, and the matter I am now discussing is a very simple one. The Commonwealth should take control of the revenue and expenditure, and return a certain amount to the States, taking care that the burden of taxation is placed on the shoulders of those best able to bear it. What has the right honorable member done for the workers of New South Wales, another class with whom I have . strong sympathy? Can any honorable member now supporting the Prime Minister point to one legitimate act on his part in the interests of the workers?

Mr Fuller:

– He removed taxation from their shoulders.

Mr Watkins:

– And gave them a tea tax !

Mr CHANTER:

– What the right honorable gentleman did when Premier of New South Wales was to borrow money with which to employ the starving poor in shifting sand from one part of a paddock to another. No legitimate work was to be obtained, because enterprise had withered under the “cold southerly wind of the world’s competition.” In the great mother State - though, by the way, it is not the mother State - which is regarded as the centre and hub of Australia, the right honorable gentleman had to feed the starving unemployed with money he borrowed, and has left posterity to repay. He is now associated with a colleague who, in order to develop the industrial enterprise of Australia, more particularly in New South Wales, endeavoured to improve the breed of stock. What did the honorable gentleman do? He sent an agent home, at great expense, to purchase stock with borrowed money.

Mr Fuller:

– And the scheme has turned out very well.

Mr CHANTER:

– This heaven-born statesman, who desires to lead the Commonwealth, could not raise sufficient money out of the revenue of New South Wales to provide the paltry sum necessary for the purchase of stock. He could not even furnish’ the visitors’ house at Jenolan Caves without resorting to the use of borrowed money, and that system he carried out, until in that State there has been built up the largest public debt in any State in the Commonwealth. What has the right honorable gentleman to show for all this expenditure ?

Mr Mcwilliams:

– He has a big majority behind him in New South Wales.

Mr CHANTER:

– No doubt the right honorable gentleman has a big majority behind him in Sydney and its suburbs. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, the honorable member for Richmond, the honorable member for Hume, and myself, and a number of others were always opposed to the right honorable gentleman and his policy ; and his supporters consist of representatives of Sydney and other places in the county of Cumberland, where not’ only fiscal influences, but other influences of a degrading nature, were exercised.

Mr Fuller:

– What about the honorable members for Robertson, Macquarie, and Werriwa?

Mr CHANTER:

– I have never heard of any farmers’ association who approved of the policy of the honorable members referred to.

Mr Kelly:

– The farmers in the Hume constituency are not unanimously against the Prime Minister.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– In the Senate the supporters of the right honorable gentleman’s fiscal policy received more votes than the opponents of that policv.

Mr CHANTER:

– The constituency represented by the honorable member who interjects is as but a flyspeck on the Commonwealth of Australia.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– What my constituents lack in number they gain in intelligence.

Mr CHANTER:

– The honorable member for Franklin, who is a follower of the Prime Minister, knows that no State has built up its prosperity under protection to a greater extent than has Tasmania. Honorable members opposite preach freetrade, but practice’ protection.. Let us have either one policy or the other for the Commonwealth. There will be no hope of any settled policy from a Government, one half of which is antagonistic to the other. There is no possible hope of any benefit to the workers and farmers from such a’ Government. Theremight be some hope if a free-trade Ministry occupied the Treasury benches, and endeavoured to put into force a free-trade policy, because then the electors would awaken. But as matters are, this new nation has neither one policy nor the other - it has only a sit-still policy, which I do not feel inclined to support.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– What is the policy of the honorable member’s present party as regards protection?

Mr CHANTER:

– Every one of the party with which I am associated advocates protection- for the individual, protection for the manufacturer - -protection for the whole body politic of the Commonwealth. There is no division amongst us - we stand or fall by that policy. If we sit here only ten or a dozen strong, we intend to be true to our pledges and our convictions, and advocate the policy which we believe to be the best in the interests of the people.

Mr Fuller:

– Will the honorable member for Canobolas subscribe to that policy ?

Mr CHANTER:

– The honorable member for Canobolas is not of my party - he is of the Labour Party.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– Then the Labour Party is another party?

Mr McCay:

-Has the honorable member for Riverina no connexion with the Labour Party?

Mr CHANTER:

– There is an honorable alliance with the Labour Party, but there is no fusion of the two parties.

Mr Kelly:

– What is the bond of alliance?

Mr CHANTER:

– I answered that question last night, when the honorable member was not here. The alliance desire to pass an Arbitration Bill on, as nearly as possible, the lines of the Bill introduced by the Barton and Deakin Governments. That was one bond of alliance. Another was that they should do all they could to arrest the ruin and decay in the manufacturing industries of Australia.

Mr Kelly:

– Is that what the honorable member for Canobolas says?

Mr CHANTER:

– I am not the keeper of the honorable member for Canobolas. I am the keeper of my own conscience. The honorable member for Wentworth will have a subsequent opportunity to question the honorable member for Canobolas if he pleases. But what I understood him to say was that he would act honorably and fairly in accordance with the terms’ of the alliance.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– He said that he will be no party to increased duties.

Mr CHANTER:

– I heard the greater portion of the honorable member’s speech. What the Labour Party have undertaken to do, and what I believe they will do, if the result of the Commission of Inquiry shows that the destruction of industries is driving out labour, and reducing wages, is to remove those evils by their votes. I have sufficient reliance upon their honour to believe that they will be bound by any agreement which they have entered into. There is an agreement upon a particular programme, but there is no fusion of parties. There is no intention to fuse the Protectionist Party with the Labour Party. The right honorable member for East Sydney is not a man who, I think, should be at the head of affairs in Australia. He is a provincialist now, as he has always been. He was a strong provincialist in New

South Wales, and he is just as strong in the same direction now. Another reason why he should not be at the head of affairs is that he makes promises which he does not keep. He may have no intention at the time that he makes promises not to keep them, but if the exigencies of his position make it convenient for him not. to keep his promises, he makes no effort to do so. He promised the people of Australia that if he came into power he would not permit any delay in the survey of the Transcontinental railway, but would take steps to build the line straight away. Does he say that now? He has since come into power, but has taken no step to carry out his promise. His action in regard to Federation was similarly unsatisfactory. At first he was diametrically opposed to it. But when he found that public opinion was coming over strongly to the side of Federation, he said, “ Oh, well, I think it is a good thing to have it.” Even then he made an exhibition of provincialism by saying that he would not enter into Federation unless the Federal Capital were conceded, to New South Wales. What justification had he, in forming his Ministry, for ignoring some of the States of Australia as he has done? When Sir Edmund Barton formed his Government he took into consideration the Ministerial representation of the various States. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat did the same. But the right honorable member for East Sydney practically says that there are only two States in this union - New South Wales and Victoria. Those two States,, as is well known, happen to hold diametrically opposite fiscal views. The right honorable gentleman has so blended his colleagues as to make it absolutely impossible to carry out either the one policy or the other. That is not a position which the electors of Australia can regard, with any hope.

Mr Wilks:

– It is a Scotch mixture.

Mr CHANTER:

– It is one of those Scotch mixtures of which, if a man takes too much, the result is that he reels about, and ultimately finds himself in the gutter. While ruin is being wrought amongst the manufacturing industries of this country the administration of the right honorable gentleman’s political mixture will have the effect of hastening their downfall. What hope have the farmers of Australia from the present occupants of the Treasury bench with regard to the question of preferential trade? Day after day we see from the cables in the newspapers what is going on in England. Australia ought unquestionably to do what Canada and New Zealand are doing. The voice of Australia should be pronounced one way or the other. We should say either that we are or are not in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain. But the right honorable gentleman is utterly careless of what is taking place, and will not reach out a helping hand to Mr. Chamberlain, who is fighting so noble a battle in Great Britain for this great cause. He says, “ We will wait until Great Britain makes a request to us.” Would it not be better for Australia, and particularly for our producers, if Ministers made our wishes known to the British Government ?

Mr Fuller:

– How can the honorable member say what the opinions of the people of Australia are?

Mr CHANTER:

-The Prime Minister could invite the House, which . represents Australia,, to express its opinion.

Mr Wilks:

Mr. John Burns, who represents the working class of England, says that they do not want preferential trade.

Mr CHANTER:

– Let us make it clear to the working classes of England that preferential trade would not mean any increase in the price of their commodities. Mr. Chamberlain has told them clearly that while preferential trade may mean an increase in the taxes on some articles to the extent of£8,000,000 or£9,000,000 per annum, he would take off taxes on other commodities to the extent of£10,000,000, or £1 2,000,000, so that there would be no increased charge upon the people. The cablegram published this morning shows that it is the foreigner who will be made to pay toll in order to enter the markets of Great Britain. The foreigner at the present time is entering those markets free and unfettered, destroying the old established industries of England, and driving out English workmen. This great missionary, Mr. Chamberlain, has gone forth to create a healthy opinion in the minds of the people, and is leading them to see what their duty is under present circumstances. He holds out his hand to Australia, but Australia will not respond. The only man in this country who has power to respond is the Prime Minister, and he will not invite this House to express an opinion as to what Australia desires in this direction. What hope is there for those who desire to see the advance of industrial enterprise in Australia’ in the right honorable gentleman’s attitude towards the establishment of the iron and steel industry ? Previous Ministries have proposed to deal with the matter of the introduction of the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, under which it was proposed to give a bonus to assist the establishment of the industry. But, as honorable ‘members are aware, the right honorable gentleman now at the head of affairs, and his free-trade supporters, are entirely against that measure.

Mr McWilliams:

– Is the alliance in favour of it?

Mr CHANTER:

– Yes, it is. We are prepared to secure the establishment of the iron industry, either by the imposition of duties for its protection or by the payment of a bonus upon its output. Honorable members opposite declare that they will not help it in any way, and that, like everything else, it must be exposed to the cold southerly winds of the world’s competition. There is not an honorable member on this side who does not desire to see that industry established in Australia.

Mr Fuller:

– The leader of the Opposition and the honorable and learned member for West Sydney signed a report which was opposed to the granting of a bonus.

Mr CHANTER:

– I speak in the presence of the members of the party to which those honorable gentlemen belong, and subject to correction, if what I say is not correct. Those” honorable gentlemen have expressed their desire for the establishment of the industry, but they believe in State control of what they think’ will be a monopoly.

Mr Page:

– That is correct.

Mr CHANTER:

– They are not opposed to a bonus for its encouragement, but they think that the industry is one which should be controlled by the State. We look upon it as one of the finest industries that could be established in Australia, and, as protectionists, we are prepared to give every assistance necessary to secure its establishment, whether in the form of protective duties or a bonus. We should be prepared to give a bonus if the industry were established by private enterprise, but we shall be perfectly content to secure its establishment under the control of the State, if that be thought desirable by the majority. We want to see it established in some form - to bring about the investment of capital in an industry which will provide employment for the people. One half of the members of the Government are pledged not to assist the establishment of this important industry, whilst the other half are in favour of it. In such circumstances, what hope can there be that they will submit a strong policy in support of the manufacturing industries of Australia?

Mr Mcwilliams:

– Would the honorable member give a bonus to shipbuilding ?

Mr CHANTER:

– I should be prepared to give a bonus to any industry, the establishment of which could be shown to create work for the people ; and to protect it from the competition of the products of other countries, which are assisted by State bonuses. I am free to admit that it would have a very great effect with me if the present Prime Minister in these, the latter days of his political life would openly confess that he has been wrong in the past, that his theories are not practicable, and that he is now prepared to help these industries. But the right honorable gentleman will not make any such statement. All he is now prepared to do is to allow the honorable member for Eden- Monaro, or some other honorable member, to take up the question. He will not say that he will give his support to any proposal submitted to deal with the matter.

Mr.Fuller. - That is what the last Government did. They agreed to give the honorable member for Hume the same opportunity.

Mr CHANTER:

– If the honorable and learned member refers to the Watson Government, my answer is that they had no time to do anything. They were no sooner in office than they were garotted. What did the preceding Governments do? They asked this House to establish the iron industry. They made it a Government matter, and the present Prime Minister and his free-trade supporters did what they could to destroy the measure thev proposed.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– We are going to have it now, or something will break.

Mr CHANTER:

– I should like to ask if I am right in assuming that the Minister of Trade and Customs said that the protectionists asked the honorable and learned member for Ballarat to induce the present Prime Minister to re-open the Tariff? If that be so, as one of the party, I must say that I never heard that any such request was made.

Mr McLean:

– I never said so.

Mr CHANTER:

– I took a note of the matter when the honorable gentleman was speaking, and I refer to it now in order that I may not misrepresent the honorable gentleman in any way. If he says that he did not say so, I must have misunderstood the statement he made at the time.

Mr McLean:

– What I did say was that the general wish expressed was for a longer truce than that offered by the right honorable member for East Sydney.

Mr Mauger:

– It was not a generally expressed wish.

Mr CHANTER:

– Taking the humanitarian point of view, what have the people of the Commonwealth to hope from the present Prime Minister in the matter of oldage pensions ? The right honorable gentleman tells us that he will enter into negotiations with the States; but in the meantime many old people are dying. A case came under my notice only yesterday of a man who has been fifty years in Australia. He is a Hanoverian by birth, but under the laws of the land of his nativity he has ceased to be a Hanoverian subject, and he is not a British subject. He is eighty years of age, and was in receipt of an old-age pension for two years, but immediately it was found ihat he was not a British subject the pension was taken from him, and he has been left to starve. I have directed the attention of the Minister to his case. Surely, if there is one matter which the Federal Parliament would dowell to consider quickly it is that of providing pensions for aged people.

Mr Fuller:

– How is it that honorable members opposite did not have that on their programme ?

Mr CHANTER:

– It is on my programme.

Mr Fuller:

– It was not on the programme submitted . by the honorable and learned member for Indi until he combined with the Labour Party.

Mr CHANTER:

– It has been suggested that the honorable and learned member for Indi has drawn up several programmes, but I have seen only one. I quoted from it last night, and it is now the same as when it was first submitted to me. One of the planks of that programme is to make immediate provision for old-age pensions. It must be patent to every member of the House that these old pioneers of Australia, though they may not have resided for twenty-five years in any one State, should not be allowed to die without a helping hand. The Commonwealth should rapidly bring into force a law to grant immediate relief without reference to the wishes of the States. How easy would it be for the Treasurer of the Commonwealth, who is entitled to retain 5s. out of every £1 collected from customs and excise duties, to deduct from the returns of Victoria and New South Wales the amounts spent in those States upon old-age pensions ! On behalf of those who sent me here, I have to consider what my duty is in regard to this Government. When I am asked whether I have confidence in the Government, I can only answer in the negative. Let them inspire that confidence which I do not now possess. Now that the tension has been relaxed, and there is apparently to be no immediate appeal to the people, let the Government declare their policy, and show whether the protectionist half dominates the free-trade half, or vice versa. I shall be always true to the programme of the alliance into which I have entered, but, at the same time, if the Government propose an)’ legislation which will tend to maintain existing industries and establish others, provide work for workers, and raise the prosperity of the people of Australia, they shall have my support. But let them bring in this liberal legislation as quickly as possible, and not seek to get into the haven of recess - and no doubt it will be of long duration - in order to arrange a programme. I hope that I have made my position pretty clear to honorable members. And, in. conclusion, I would say to the” farmers of the Commonwealth, “ Be careful what you are doing ; be not beguiled by the sophistries and statements of the Prime Minister as to what he will do. Wait until he shows in some practical form what he proposes to do.” The right honorable gentleman can best serve this country, not by adopting a hesitating policy in regard to preferential trade, but by saving the farmers and stock-fatteners from the “ cold southerly wind of the world’s competition,” by holding out a protecting hand to them, and showing that his first consideration is for the people of Australia, and not, as in the past, for foreigners with whom we have nothing in common.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– I am quite aware that the honorable member for Wilmot has taken a great deal of the vim out of this debate - to the great relief pf honorable members generally, and I think to the relief of the taxpayers. In the first place, I wish to reply to a statement which has just been made. The honorable mem ber for Riverina has stated, as his leader has stated, that the Prime Minister has been guilty of such trickery and misdemeanour in his own State that its people cannot follow him, and that he is not worthy of the position which he holds. I shall take the verdict of the masters of the honorable member for Riverina, and the honorable member for Hume. What is the position of the House to-day ? If the Prime Minister has been an unmitigated fraud in his own State, what is the verdict of its people, who know him? If I were to come here as a stranger, and had no means of proving the absolute inaccuracy and the venom of the speeches delivered by certain honorable members, I should say immediately, “ George Reid is not worthy of the support of any honest man.”

Mr Webster:

– If the honorable member knew him, he would say so still.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– What is the verdict of the people of New South Wales ?

Mr Webster:

– Let the Government appeal to the people, and the honorable’ member will find out.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member’s face was as long as a fiddle while he thought that the honorable member for Wilmot intended to vote for this motion. No one in the House looked more relieved than did the honorable member when the verdict was given last night. He is like honorable members who sit behind him.

Mr Watkins:

– The Government are not out of the wood yet.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Honorable members on the other side remind me of the little boy, who, when passing the graveyard, used to whistle very loudly in order to keep up his courage.

Mr Webster:

– If I had come here by the smallest majority of any man in the House, I might be afraid to go to the country.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If the honorable member comes back it will not be by so many votes as he did previously, if the electors judge him as this House does. Let us take the verdict of our masters. New South Wales has sent into the House seven Labour men, whose support cannot be claimed by either the honorable member for Hume or the Prime Minister. The honorable member for Hume has one solitary representative from New South Wales to keep him company In the Opposition corner, the honorable member for Riverina, who stands here to condemn the Prime Minister, and says that the people of New

South Wales know him. I presume that they also know the honorable member for Hume. Let us take the members for New South Wales, in which State it is said the Prime Minister has played such a despicable part, and see what its verdict was. Seventeen members; from that State are following him.

Mr Watkins:

– The honorable member should remember that they were not returned to follow the Prime Minister ; he ought to be fair.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928

– I expected this challenge to be thrown out, and, therefore, i am prepared with a reply.

Mr Watkins:

– I am referring to the present following of the Prime Minister.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I am referring to the verdict of the people, which is of infinitely more value than that of the honorable member or myself.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– They went for freetrade, and now thev have got it sunk.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– What did the honorable member go for? He pledged himself to fiscal peace, and glories in breaking his pledge for no other purpose than to save his political skin.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– I was returned for the policy which the Government have before the public now.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Let us take the verdict of New South Wales at the Senate elections, in which there were no divisional lines. The honorable member for Riverina said that the Prime Minister got his support from Sydney, the Sydney Domain, and tenant farmers who had to crawl for permission to get on the land. At the Senate electfons, the right honorable gentleman got a verdict in the electorate of Riverina.

Mr Chanter:

– I did not refer to the tenant farmers in Riverina.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member said that the Prime Minister got his support in this House from Sydney and the Sydney Domain.

Mr Chanter:

– That is right, but I did not refer to the tenant farmers in Riverina.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Let me apply the test of the polling at the Senate elections for New South Wales. There were three candidates who stood as supporters of the Prime Minister.

Mr Watkins:

– And the Daily Telegraph.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If there ‘is not a loophole for honorable members on the other side, they will make a rat hole. They talk a great deal about the verdict of the people, and when it is given in plain black and white, they will not submit to it. Three candidates for the Senate stood as supporters of the policy of the Prime Minister, and I will show the House how they polled in the rural districts of that State, and how the three men next on the list polled. If the right honorable member for East Sydney has been an enemy to the farmers of New South Wales, the figures which I am about to read will show what splendid Christians they are, because they evidently love their enemy.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– What is the circulation of the Sydney Daily Telegraph ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If honorable members think that the Sydney Daily Telegraph rules the Commonwealth, why do they not hand our affairs over to it, and thus save waste of time in the making of speeches such as we have heard during the last three weeks? Let me take first the rural district of Bland, which is represented here by the leader of the Opposition. There the three Reidites polled 11,000 votes, and the next three 7,500. Were those the votes of Sydney Domain men ?

Mr Chanter:

– No; of Dill Macky men.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– That is an exceedingly poor compliment for the honorable member to pay to his leader. It is what I would not say of him. In the rural district of Canobolas, which is represented here by a labour man who, three nights ago, said that he would be no partv to increasing the duties on the Tariff, the three Reidites polled 10,000 votes, and the next three men only 2,000 votes.

Mr Webster:

– What does the honorable member mean bv the “next three men “?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The candidates whose names stood fourth, fifth, and sixth on the list at the conclusion of the polling.

Mr Webster:

– Why does he not take the labour vote, pure and simple?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I am giving the labour vote combined with the other votes which were cast against the Reid candidates.

Mr Webster:

– The comparison is not a fair one.

Mr.Mcwilliams.-I think that it is absolutely fair. If I had taken the candidates lowest on the list, the honorable member might well say that. In the rural district of Cowper the Reidites polled 20,000 votes, and the next three 9,000. In the district of Eden-Monaro the polling was 9,000 for the Reidites and 8,000 for the next three, while in the Gwydir district it was 10,000 for the Reidites, and 9,000 for the next three men.

Mr Webster:

– Who was at the top of the poll in the Gwydir district?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The labour candidate, Mr. Griffiths, polled 4,041 votes, and the next man, a Reidite, 3,347 votes. The first four on the list in that district each polled over 3,000 votes.

Mr Webster:

– The labour man there was on top without any newspaper support.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The Hume district was the only rural district in which the Reidites failed to get a (majority. There the voting was 14,000 for the Reidites, and 15,000 for the next three men. In the Hunter district, the Reidites polled 22,000 votes, and the next three 9,000 votes; in the Macquarie district, the voting was 19,000 against 13,000 ; in the New England district, 20,000 against 12,000 ; in the Parkes district, 49,000 against 6,000; in the Richmond district, 11,000 against 9,000; and in the Riverina district, which is so ably represented in this House by the honorable member who last spoke, 11,000 against 9,000 votes.

Mr Tudor:

– Then, how Avas it that the free-traders could not win that seat in the House of Representatives ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member for Riverina had a much closer run than I should like to have. He has told us that the right honorable member for East Sydney gets no support except from the loafers in the Sydney Domain, and from the tenant farmers who have to crawl to their landlords. The figures which I have read disprove those statements. In the Werriwa district the Reidites polled 119,000, while the next three polled only 6,000 votes. Taking the voting for the whole State, the three Reidites who were elected senators polled respectively 189,000, 188,000, and 185,000 votes, while the candidate next on the list polled only 1 07,000 votes. Still honorable members opposite have the audacity to say that the Prime Minister is not trusted by the people of New South Wales. Then, if we take the representation of the next great State in the Commonwealth, Victoria, we find that, including the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne amongst the labour members, the alliance has four Victorian labour representatives and four

Victorian protectionists, while the Government are supported by fifteen representatives of that State.

Mr Tudor:

– There are only three Victorian labour representatives in this House.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Then the alliance contains three Victorian labour representatives and five Victorian protectionists, or eight altogether, as against fifteen supporters of the Government.

Mr Wilks:

– A “substantial majority.”

Mr.Mcwilliams.-i think that the supporters of the Government may be taken to “substantially represent “ the opinions of the people of Victoria.

Mr Storrer:

– The Government have not a verv substantial majority.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– They have a more substantial majority than the last Government accepted on a test question. If my memory serves me rightly, there was a great cracking of the whip, and then the honorable member for Bland announced that the numbers were up. But his majority was only a solitary one, which is the number of the following now possessed by the honorable member for Hume. Honorable members opposite are playing a hollow farce. They talk about the coalition on this side, but there has never been such bare-faced audacity displayed before in any Parliament as that of honorable members sitting in the Opposition corner.

Mr Page:

– The honorable member should go to Queensland if he wants to find instances of bare-faced audacity.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If there is more bare-faced audacity in Queensland than here, I do not wonder that my honorable friend preferred to come into this’ Parliament.

Mr Page:

– I did not choose to come; the electors chose to send me.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– And they made an exceedingly good choice, with which I do not in any way quarrel. The speech delivered by the late Prime Minister was one of negatives. He submitted a grab-all motion, but made absolutely no charge against the Government. I did not hear his speech, but I have gone carefully through the report in Hansard, and, so far as I can see, his indictment against the Government was summed up in the complaint that they had not announced any policy for next session. The honorable member for Hume, who was then sub-leader of the Opposition- but who, I am afraid, has been jockeyed out of his position - then rose and made an affirmative speech. He put forward a very distinct programme, and a fair one, too. He said, “ We are going tq challenge the Government because they will not give us more protection,” and almost before the sound of his voice had faded away, honorable members sitting in association with him said that they would be no parties to increasing the duties under the Tariff. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat expressed his dissatisfaction with the Government solely on the ground that they held out no hope to the protectionists, I asked him whether protection was the policy of the alliance, and I understood him to say that it was. I have asked several members of the Labour Party if they are prepared to support a protectionist policy, and they have replied in the negative. There is only one labour representative in the House at the present moment who is a free-trader; I refer to the honorable member for Maranoa. I asked him if he subscribed to protection, and he gave me his authority to say that he did not. What has the honorable member for Riverina to say to that? It is perfectly farcical for honorable members belonging to the alliance to say that they intend to go to the country upon a protective policy in order to save our industries from being strangled, whilst some of the men with whom they are allied are far stronger free-traders than I am. As honorable members are doubtless aware, I do not hold suqh pronounced free-trade views as do some other honorable members.

Mr Page:

– Did the honorable member for one moment suppose that I was going to the countrv as a protectionist?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I did not. There is no honorable member in this House in whose honesty I have greater faith than in that of the honorable member. When he tells the House that he regards all bonuses as bare-faced robberies, I believe him.

Mr Watkins:

– He did not oppose the sugar bonus.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– And the honorable member did not object to the” subsidy for the mail service between Melbourne and Launceston.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– No, I was not in this House, but I should have done so, because I object to all subsidies and bonuses. I hope that I shall not be a protectionist for my own State and a free-trader in regard to other States. Although some of my personal friends are interested in the proposed iron bonus, I have announced my intention to vote against it. I shall not countenance any proposal which will result in the people being robbed, whether it be by the State or by private individuals. We have no more right to give bonuses for the encouragement of the iron industry than to offer them for the assistance of those engaged in wheat growing, in the timber industry, or in any other enterprise. When some honorable members tell us that they are going to the country upon a distinct policy, whilst honorable members with whom . they are allied, and with whom they profess to . be fighting shoulder to shoulder, tell us that that policy involves robbery of the people, the hollowness of their pretensions is exposed. I regard the honorable members who are sitting in the Liberal Alliance corner as having left their, party. Their position reminds me of that of the Scotchman who always had the misfortune to sit on a jury with eleven obstinate men. Here we have four, five, or six members blaming some fifteen or sixteen others for having deserted them.If majority rule is to be accepted as a sound principle, one would think that those who were in the majority should decide the fate of the party.

Mr Webster:

– But the majority ignored the terms of their own resolution.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I should like to know under what flag the members of the alliance will fight if the motion now before us is carried. Will the honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports appeal to the electors as advocates of the Manufactures Encouragement Bill and a protective policy, whilsi other members sitting in alliance with’ them are telling the electors that protection amounts to bare-faced robbery ?

Mr Watkins:

– I suppose that the Prime Minister will defend the present Tariff?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I hope sincerely that the Prime Minister will abide bv the agreement into which he has entered.

Mr Tudor:

– What agreement?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The agreement that the Tariff shall be allowed to remain intact during the life of the present Parliament. Although’ I hold that there are many anomalies in the present Tariff, I told my constituents - I did not enter into a specific pledge - that I thought the Tariff should be left alone for the life of the present Parliament. Whilst the late Government were in office not one word was said as to the necessity for an immediate revision of the Tariff. When four protectionists and three free-traders sat on the

Treasury bench as members of the Watson Ministry, not a voice was raised by members in the Liberal corner in favour of ejecting the Ministry from office because they would not revive the fiscal issue. They had no excuse for saying that they did not understand the position of the Ministry, because in his speech on the AddressinReply the honorable member for Bland stated with perfect clearness that in his view there could be no revival of the Tariff question during the life of the present Parliament. Further, when he addressed his constituents at Wagga only a few days before he retired from office, he made a similar statement. Why was not a protest entered at that time? How is it that it has dawned upon honorable members only within the last few days that a revision of the Tariff is necessary ?

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– It certainly is necessary.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– We know too well the object of the proposal. It is only a sham and a farce - a bare-faced scramble for office. That is what it means. Have not a great majority of those who have spoken made the Prime Minister a sort of King Charles’ head ? If any individual, other than the right honorable gentleman, were leader of the Government they would follow him, I suppose?

Mr Webster:

– What would be the financial position of Tasmania under freetrade ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– What Tasmania is suffering from at the present time is a serious loss of revenue, caused by importations from the other States. We are very largely importing from Victoria articles upon which we formerly levied revenue-producing duties ranging from 12½ to 20 per cent. For example, the market for the rougher kind of boots - workmen’s boots - has practically been captured by the Victorian manufacturers.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– We know that.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– And in Tasmania we know it to our cost, because whilst the boots are no cheaper to the consumer, that State is losing the revenue which it formerly collected upon them. That is one of the ramifications of the Tariff which will require to be carefully considered whenever its revision may be undertaken.

Mr Mauger:

– How does the honorable member account for that condition of affairs? Is it due to the fact that Victoria possesses better machinery ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I think that it is due to the larger turnover in Victoria. This States possesses very much larger ‘manufactories than does Tasmania. As a result, their output is larger, and, with their higher class of machinery, they could put better value into the cheaper class of boots, than can the small factories of Tasmania, other things being equal.

Mr Mauger:

– There is no duty upon the importation of Tasmanian boots into Victoria.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I repeat that because of the larger Victorian factories and their greater turnover, the latter manufacturers can produce boots cheaper than can those of Tasmania. Prior to Federation, Tasmanian factories were doing only a limited trade for a limited number of people. Consequently the establishments themselves were limited. In Victoria, however, the Melbourne manufacturers had a larger population to work upon, and with the assistance of a prohibitive duty upon boots, were able to monopolize practically the whole of the local trade. When the markets of the smaller States were thrown open to them, they were naturally in a better position than were the local manufacturers. I do not grudge them their success for a moment. I am merely stating the facts, so far as the falling off of the Tasmanian revenue is concerned. Whereas formerly we were accustomed to receive 20 per cent, upbn all the heavier class of boots imported into that State, we now collect no duty whatever. That is one of the conditions which we foresaw-

Sir Philip Fysh:

– The same remark applies to hats.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Exactly. It applies to all those! goods in which the Victorian manufacturers have a larger turnover. The Tasmanian revenue is suffering to-day not so much on account of the operation of a high Tariff or a low Tariff, but by reason of the fact that we are excluding goods from other parts of’ the world, and importing them from the manufacturing centres of Victoria absolutely free of duty. We are thus losing the revenue which we formerly obtained from that source. I was one of those who opposed Federation, because I believed that Australia was not ripe for the large scheme of union into which we have entered. I was defeated upon the question, and of course accepted the result with good grace, but I make bold to say that the proceedings of this Parliament during the present session have gone far to prove that the judgment of those who held my views was correct. There has never been a Parliament in Australia which has put up such a bad record as has the Commonwealth Parliament during the current session.

Mr Mahon:

– The honorable member ought not to foul his own nest.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– It is not a question of fouling one’s own nest, but of facing, as it were, a cancer, in the hope of cutting it out. Are the people of Australia at the present time in a position to decide an issue between the two Houses ?

Mr Tudor:

– I wish that they had a chance.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– That is the old whistle. Let us examine the present position. It was pointed out the other evening that, in a little more than twelve months there have been elections for the State Legislatures in Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, in addition to a general election for this Parliament.

Mr Tudor:

– There has also been a byelection in South Australia.

Mr Page:

– And there was a general election in Queensland last month.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– That is so. Yet we are asked to go to the country upon what ?

Mr Page:

– We are not going now.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– But we are asked to go, because I presume that this motion was tabled seriously. We are asked to deliberately vote to bring about a dissolution - to go to the country upon a scramble vote, because it is well known that the rolls of Australia are in a state of perfect chaos.

Mr Tudor:

– Whose fault is that?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I presume that it is the fault of . those who have had control of them. Surely the blame cannot be laid upon the shoulders of the present occupants of the Ministerial benches. I do sincerely hope that before there is a general election for this Parliament some very drastic alterations will be made in the Electoral Department. I hope that neither candidates nor electors will have to face the possible injury they had to face last election. My complaint does not apply so much to my own State, in which, owing to its being small, and having an exceedingly good man at the head of affairs, the rolls were in a much better condition than many of us had anticipated. But we hear from New South Wales and Western Australia that tens of thousands of electors were left off the rolls, many of them through no fault of their own.

Mr Webster:

– Do not exaggerate.

Mr Tudor:

– The rolls were in a better condition in Victoria than at any previous general election.

Mr Robinson:

– Not at all; at any rate, not in my electorate.

Mr Storrer:

– I did not hear of tens of thousands of electors being left off the rolls.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– We heard from New South Wales that the number of names left off the rolls amounted to over tens of thousands.

Mr Webster:

– The honorable member is wrong.

Mr.Mcwilliams.-I do not thinkI am wrong. The evidence given before the Electoral Committee-

Mr Mauger:

– Will show that the honorable member is wrong.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The evidence will show that I am not wrong. I have it from representatives of Western Australia that the rolls there were in a very incomplete state.

Sir John Forrest:

– And polling places were deficient.

Mr Page:

– Why, the right honorable member was the Minister who had the “ bossing of the show”! This is rich !

Mr Tudor:

– Who was the Minister of Home Affairs at the time of the last election?

Mr PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920

– The right honorable member for Swan.

Mr Tudor:

– That gentleman is now sitting on the same side as the honorable member for Franklin.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member for Wide Bay, in giving credit to the late Government for what they had done, pointed especially to the enormous improvement made in the Defence Forces. In Tasmania the cost of the Defence Forces “is 50 per cent, to 100 per cent, larger than when under the State, but they are in a state of chaos. South of Oatlands there is practically no defence force, and in the north the force is in a very unsatisfactory condition - a condition that should not be permitted to continue a day longer than can be helped. I have to thank the Minister of Defence for an, assurance that, if the Government get into recess, he will visit Tasmania and make inquiries. A personal visit of that kind will, I am . sure, convince the Minister of the absolute necessity for, at least, putting the Defence Forces in that State on a sounder footing. There is one important question as to which I find myself very much in accord with some honorable members on the other side - that is the question of preferential trade, if, of course, their idea of preferential trade is the same as my own. I am an out-and-out supporter of preferential trade within the British Empire. Nothing could tend to bind the Empire closer, and nothing could be better for the producers, and all classes of the community in Australia, than n preferential trade arrangement with the rest of the Empire. But the preference must be an honest one. To place duties on English goods and practically shut them out of the market, and then to impose duties 20 or 25 per cent, higher on foreign goods, is a shaim. I am prepared to support a preferential trade, under which the duties on British goods shall be reduced 5 or 10 per cent., as the Tariff will allow, and a corresponding increase of 5 or 10 per cent, duty imposed on goods from other countries.

Mr Mauger:

– What would the honorable member take off the duty of 12½ per cent, on machinery?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– As regards manyclasses of machinery, I should take the whole 12½ per cent. off.

Mr Storrer:

– Tasmania would then lose almost all her revenue.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The people of Tasmania would, I believe, be willing to bear the loss of the 12½ per cent, duty at present levied on . agricultural . machinery. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked me a fair question ; and, in reply, I have to say that I am not prepared to place a heavy duty on many articles used in the primary industries. If the States want revenue, I aim prepared to support a revenue Tariff of 10 or 12½ per cent.; but I cannot support a Tariff which would completely destroy the revenue of States which do not produce the dutiable articles - and all for the sake of improving the industries of some other State.

Mr Mauger:

– I am afraid that the honorable member is not very Federal in spirit.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member for Bass asked what the effect on the Tasmanian revenue would be, if the dutv of 12½ per cent. on machinery were removed. But where would the revenue be if the duty were so high as to shut out all British and American goods, and force the people to obtain the whole of their machinery from Victoria ? There would be no revenue then.

Mr Storrer:

– That is another question.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– It is a question we have to face.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is the question.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– It is a great misfortune that in dealing with Customs matters in Tasmania We are compelled to have regard to considerations of revenue. The honorable member for Denison, with his long . experience in the Tasmanian Parliament, will bear me out when I say that in all our dealings with the Tariff in Tasmania, the revenue has had to be kept in view. Nearly all the revisions of the Tasmanian Tariff were in the direction of securing more revenue.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The duties in Tasmania averaged about 20 per cent., I think.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The average was, I believe, less than 20 per cent.

Mr Storrer:

– About 15 per cent.

Mr Watkins:

– That is a fairly high revenue Tariff.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– It was; and it gave Tasmania nearly£100,000 a year more than that State now receives.

Mr Watkins:

– Such a Tariff would be called high protection in New South Wales.

Mr Wilks:

– And free-trade in Victoria.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member for Bland is a protectionist in New South Wales, but in Victoria he is a freetrader, or worse - he is regarded as a “ strangler ‘ ‘ of irdustries. That honorable member’s idea of protection contemplates, I think, duties of 15 or 20 per cent. While we in Tasmania have to consider the question of revenue, I think the people of that State are prepared to make some little further sacrifice to assist in a small way - and, necessarily, it must be in a small way - to secure preferential trade within the Empire. Such reforms cannot be obtained without some little sacrifice. Before I conclude I should like to make some reference to the conduct of business within this Parliament. The honorable member for Coolgardie has said that we ought not to foul our own nest by speaking disparagingly of the work we have done ‘here. I cannot help saying, however, that the present session is not one of which any honorable member can possibly be proud ; and it is my intention, before the session closes, to test the feeling of the House on the question of restricting the length of speeches. If honorable members, who occupy four or five hours in their deliverances, were to sub-edit their speeches - or, what would be much better, get some friend to do so- they would better secure the attention of the House, would speak with greater effect, and would save inordinate expense. If we are to have a general election every twelve months, and sit in Melbourne for the balance of the year, it means that the legislative work will drift into the hands of two classes - the absolutely wealthy, who have nothing to do, and adopt politics as a hobby, and the unemployed who are glad to Jive on the parliamentary allowance. This is a very serious matter to men who are not prepared to become absolutely professional politicians. It is serious to men who are not prepared to spend - or, indeed, waste - so great a time in the Federal Parliament House. Honorable members who live in Melbourne are not so much concerned. They may devote their attention to private business during a great portion of the day, and saunter up to Parliament House when their own offices are closed. But to members from the other States, who have to give the whole of their time to Parliament during the session, the inordinate, useless length of the session - if the present session is to be a standard for future sessions - is of serious importance.

Mr Watkins:

– What does the honorable member propose as a remedy ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The same remedy as has been adopted in some of the States of America - that there should be an absolute time limit of the speeches of honorable members.

Mr Robinson:

– Can the honorable member explain why it is that the long speeches all come from New South Wales members ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– No, I cannot. After the views which I have expressed, I suppose it is needless for me to say that it is my intention to vote against the motion of the leader of the Opposition. But I will add that the condition of parties in this House is notsatisfactory. I say deliberately that Iam not satisfied with the position that was revealed last night. I am not satisfied that the Government should carry on with a majority of one. I should like to see the electoral rolls put thoroughly in order during the recess. The Government, in recess, should prepare a well thought out and clearly defined programme. Let them plate it before Parliament, and let us have a vote upon it. If we are to have a dissolution, let us go to the country either for the Govern ment policy or against it. Let us know exactly what we are doing. That is the only way in which a straight-out issue can be placed before the Commonwealth. In view of the unsatisfactory condition of parties, I think that it is the duty of the Prime Minister to follow that course, and not to introduce new measures at present. The right honorable gentleman should endeavour to get through the session as quickly as possible, get into recess, and then pre’pare - I repeat it - a definite and proper . programme to place before the country.

Mr Tudor:

– Did he not have a policy when he appealed to the electors at the last election?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– A great many honorable members had policies, and they are now endeavouring to get away from them. The . policy chiefly advocated in Victoria was one of fiscal peace during the life of the present Parliament.

Mr Tudor:

– I did not advocate that.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The honorable member is not Victoria, though he is a very able representative of that State. I do not desire to see a scramble at the next election ; I do not wish to see the honorable and learned member for Indi standing on the policy of absolute protection, while Mr. Tom Mann - who is allied with his party - advocates a land nationalization, scheme. I have had opportunities of hearing Mr. Tom Mann on several occasions, and I admire him for his ability. So far as I can see, he is going to be a prominent figure, if he enters the Parliamentary Labour Party. But take the position of the honorable and learned member for Indi. It is generally understood that Mr. Tom Mann is to oppose the honorable and learned member for Ballarat at the next election. We all know that when persons are fighting side by side, they are, iri elections, apt to exchange programmes. Let us imagine the honorable and learned member for Indi taking Mr. Tom Mann up into an agricultural electorate to advocate land nationalization.

Mr Wilks:

– He would not take Mr. Tom Mann up - he would take him down !

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– It would require a much smarter man than the honorable and learned’ member for Indi to take down Mr. Tom Mann. We have heard a good deal about the press in the course of this debate. As an old pressman, I must say that I have never known the press to be so intensely honored as it has been in this Parliament. I feel quite proud of the fact that I am an old quilldriver, when I see the deference that is paid to it. I am now going to give honorable members a little extract from a newspaper which was issued to-day. The Tocsin is, I believe, the recognised organ of the Labour Party in Victoria.

Sir John Forrest:

– Is it?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I know that honorable members opposite are exceedingly non-committal, but I think that they will not venture to deny that the Tocsin is the recognised organ of the Labour Party in this State. The issue of the journal this morning contains an interesting little . cut with the letterpress : -

Senator McGregor’s famous satirical lecture, entitled “Good as a labour man,” has been hastily withdrawn, pending further instructions from the managers of the alliance.

It is rather a good cut of the senator who, presumably because of the suppression of that exceedingly able lecture of his, does not look happy. The Tocsin also contains a leading article on the subject of the alliance.

Mr Tudor:

– Does the honorable member wish to get the extracts into Hansard?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The worst feature of associating with a certain class of individuals is that they will persist in judging every one by their own standards. The honorable member for Yarra yesterday wished to get some exceedingly long extracts into Hansard, and he thinks that other people are actuated by the same desire. I am not so proud of my speeches in Hansard as the honorable member is of his. I do not take so much interest in them.

Mr Tudor:

– The honorable member has made ten speeches for every one that I have made this session.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– The article is headed “ The Alliance Reviewed.” This organ of the Labour Party reviews the alliance that has just been formed between the Labour Party and the protectionist wing of the Opposition. After some introductory remarks, the article proceeds : -

The controlling authority, which alone can bc regarded as voicing the opinion of Victorian labour, did not denounce the alliance; it did not censure its own representatives for having entered into unforeseen obligations without first consulting their constituents. It simply declared that its action would be in no way affected by an agreement to which it was no party, and that its several branches would act as if such irregular compact had never existed.

The article proceeds a little further down -

The defeat of the Barton Administration led to a party advance, as did also the overthrow of Mr. Deakin ; so, too, would the ejectment of Mr. Isaacs, if he held office.

Mr Watkins:

– Will the honorable member tell us what some of the papers have said about the coalition on the other side?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Perhaps the honorable member will allow me to play myown innings. I am giving honorable members now what the masters of the Labour Party outside are going to say at the next election. We see the honorable member for Bourke looking pleadingly to the front Opposition bench, and asking his friends there not to oppose him at the next election, but we know that not . one of them dare get on to the honorable member’s platform and say a word for him if a labour man is run against him. Why? Because I believe they will keep their pledge. I think it will be admitted that they pledge themselves not to oppose the selected candidate. If a selected candidate is run against the honorable member for Bourke, there is not a member of the Federal Labour Party who can mount the platform and say a word for him without violating his written pledge. And yet honorable members opposite talk of an alliance. The masters of the Federal Labour Party are those who intend to select the candidates for the next election. No honorable member sitting on the opposite side knows at the present moment whether he will be a candidate for the Labour Party or not.

Mr Spence:

– We are selected already.

Mr Watkins:

– Does the honorable member know that he will be a candidate ?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I know that I am in a position to defy any little clique, and to appeal straight to the electors. The honorable member cannot do that. He has first of all to put in his nomination and to have it decided whether he shall be the selected candidate of his league before he can go to the electors for support. I am not in that position.

Mr Tudor:

– Does the honorable member know of any man who has been true to the platform and pledge who has not been selected ?

An Honorable Member. - Ex-Senator Barrett.

Mr Tudor:

– He was not true to the pledge.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

Senator Trenwith.

Mr Tudor:

Senator Trenwith never signed the pledge.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

- Senator Trenwith was a better representative of the labour classes than the honorable member for Yarra is ever likely to be, and he did more for the working people of Victoria than all the honorable members sitting on the other side, and yet the me’mbers of the party turned on him, and butchered him at the last moment. Why, Senator Trenwith is a Tasmanian !

Mr Spence:

– What is his opinion of honorable members on the Government side?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Let me read further from this article in the Tocsin. Honorable members may see that the copy I have in my hand is yet wet from the press. This is not ancient history.

Mr Wilks:

– It is wet with tears of distress, I think.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– There are more than tears of distress in this article. This is what is said of the men whom the Federal Labour Party has taken to itself ; and is to help at the next election. This is what the masters of the Victorian members of the party say -

Public servants were excluded from the Bill which labour members have agreed to pass “ as nearly as possible” in its original form. On 2 1 st August the House divided on the question whether the Bill should include State servants. Of the ten “Liberal”-

This word “ Liberal “ is quoted, and this is a nasty jar which a newspaper man gets in when he wished to be particularly severe -

Of the ten “ Liberal “ members of the House of Representatives - Sir Langdon Bonython, Sir William Lyne, Messrs. Hume Cook, Groom, Isaacs, Storrer., and Wilkinson, voted against the proposal. These are now “ at liberty to adhere to their votes already given.”

Now listen to this -

And the railway servants of Victoria are handed over, gagged and shackled, to Thomas Bent.

This is, what is published in the organ of the party to which the honorable member for Yarra belongs. I invite him at the next pleasant Sunday afternoon at which Mr. Anstey is present, to denounce this newspaper. If the honorable member agrees to do so, I shall endeavour to be there. I think that when the terms of the alliance were read out the honorable and learned member for Indi displayed modesty, and, at the same time, a little pride in its composition. This newspaper, under which the honorable and learned member is going to fight the next election, refers to several of its clauses in this way -

So much is flapdoodle and padding.

Mr Mauger:

– As an old’ pressman will the honorable member say what “flapdoodle “ means?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I believe that when children hear a story in which they do not quite believe they say “ skittles.” I should think that “flapdoodle” has very much the same meaning. It means a farce, nonsense, a mockery, a sham. That is exactly what we think of the alliance agreement, and it is exactly what the newspaper the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is going to fight under next time, though he did not fight under it last time, also thinks of it. That is what the leader of the Victorian representatives of the Labour Party says. The article from which I have quoted further says -

Strictly construed, the agreement releases every labour member from his Federal pledge on the most important issues. ‘ Each pledged himself “ to vote as a majority of the parliamentary party may decide at a duly constituted caucus meeting.”

Is that a true interpretation of the pledge?

And the parliamentary party has decided that “ any member of either party …. may decide for himself.” Labour members will not regard their pledge as dissolved, but they cannot close their eyes to the fact that they have not pledged any one else to amend the conditions of labour. Branches of the Parliamentary Labour Council may well hesitate to countenance, even by an inoperative resolution, an alliance with men who refuse to give any satisfactory assurance of their assistance to secure fair conditions of labour, and seven-tenths of whom are admittedly opposed to extending to State servants the benefits of Arbitration.

I think I am quite fair in saying- that the Tocsin is the representative of the Labour Party in Victoria. It describes the alliance with the LiberalProtectionists as a sham. It charges the men “whom the Labour Party has taken under its wing with having handed over, gagged and bound, the railway servants to the tender mercies of Mr. Bent. In labour circles no greater condemnation than that could be uttered. If a labour man wished to send a railway servant into a place , on this earth that was bad, I think that he would say “ I’ll hand you over to Mr. Bent.” And yet we are now asked to fight the elections on the propaganda of this alliance.

Mr Watkins:

– Was the honorable member in favour of the inclusion of the railway servants?

Mr.Mcwilliams.- No.

Mr Watkins:

– The honorable member is now supporting their inclusion.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I am not. The honorable member is not quite fair. An interjection was made yesterday that I was one of those who voted to defeat the Deakin Government. i did not. Although i was then practically in the party now occupying this side of the House, I announced my intention of voting with the Deakin Government, because I did not believe that the railway servants should be included in the Bill. Can any honorable member say that the present Prime Minister used his influence with, or coerced his followers into voting against the Deakin Government simply for the purpose of defeating them? I give the House my solemn assurance that, although he knew well that I was going to vote with the Deakin Government, never by word or by implication was I asked to vote against them.

Mr Wilson:

– Hear, hear, and the same with many others.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928

– And the same with many others. I did vote against the proposal, as I shall do whenever it comes up, because I believe that the States should control their railway servants.

Mr Tudor:

– Why did not the honorable member oppose the third reading of the Bill?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I recognised that the party was beaten in a fair and square division. It may suit some honorable members to pose before their electors and say, “Look at what i did.” But when a wise man has made his fight in a House of Parliament, and is beaten, he ceases to become an obstacle in the path. He savs, “ No, I am beaten, let the decision stand.” That was my position.

Mr Watkins:

– The honorable and learned member for Ballarat did not do that.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I am not responsible for the honorable and learned member, who is quite competent and able to answer for himself.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Honorable members on the Opposition side are very ready to try to stab the honorable and learned member now.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– I think that these constant little stabs come with bad grace from men who were once very glad to get the assistance of the honorable and learned member. Honorable members on the other side have poured out their venom upon the Prime Minister, but they did not condemn him at the last election, when they were glad to get his assistance to win votes on their behalf. The regrettable features of this debate have been the slanders and the low tone which have been introduced, chiefly by the honorable member for Hume, in his reckless attempts to degrade the Prime Minister in the eyes of this Parliament and of Australia. I hope that the motion of no-confidence will be lost, and that the Government will take an early opportunity to get. a clear and well defined issue between the two sides. And when we do go to the country let us go on that well defined issue, so that the men who are fighting under each leader can fight for one’ policy. We do not want an advocacy of Socialism in one electorate, antiSocialism in anotiher electorate, the Manufactures Encouragement Bill in another electorate, or protection in another electorate. We do not want to see men on either side supporting a leader while denouncing his policy. If it would clearly define, once and for all, the position of parties in the House I should be glad to see this motion carried.

Mr Page:

– What does the honorable member think they should bo - Reidites and Labourites?

Mr Mcwilliams:

-I think that the

Labour Party should occupy either the Ministerial or the Opposition benches.

Mr Page:

– So we are.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– No ; the honorable member knows that he is allied with men who talk of going to the country on a policy which he would honestly oppose on every possible occasion.

Mr Page:

– We cannot help that.

Mr.Mcwilliams.- No; but the Labour Party can help being allied with men who are voting to put out the Government, because they want to go to the country on a policy of protection. Very nearly one-half the members of the Labour Party are honest and able advocates of an entirely opposite policy. If we went to the country tomorrow, and the Reid Party came back in a minority of one or two. what policy would we see put before the House? Should we get an iron bonus policy, or a high Tariff policy? The honorable member for Maranoa, who intends to follow me, knows that he would not be prepared to support a policy which he regards as bare-faced robbery. Because I think that this motion of no-confidence is merely a bid for office ; because I believe that if the House were dissolved, there would be a personal scramble, a kind of save-your-skin election, and that parties would come back as hopelessly confused as they are now, because I believe that the majority of the people of Australia do not want a dissolution-

Mr Page:

– We do not.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Because I am quite confident that the honorable member and myself, and I think an overwhelming majority of this House do not want a dissolution, I shall vote against the motion.

Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle

– I think, that no self-respecting Government, after listening to the last speech, and to oneor two other speeches which have proceeded from the other side of the House, would attempt to carry on the business of the country. I do not propose in my remarks to refer to the political history of leading men from the various States, because I can hardly see what relevance that can have to the present position in Federal politics. The so-called replies which have come from the Government side have largely been a condemnation of the action of the Labour Party in forming an alliance with certain honorable members. Not one word have we yet had in defence of the want of policy of the occupants of the Treasury bench. We have had the miserable excuse put forward that, on account of the length of the session, it is desirable that Ministers should bring forward one or two little noncontentious measures, and then get into recess, with a view, as is said, of developing a policy which might be acceptable to this House; but, as I think, to add to their majority, if, indeed, they possess one. I do not undervalue the strain which has been imposed upon those honorable members who have come here from distant States. On the other hand, the position of Australia to-day is such that we cannot afford to sit idle and do nothing. There are too many persons out of employment for us to go into recess without having accomplished something.

Mr Wilson:

– How can we give them employment ?

Mr WATKINS:

– I have my ideas on the subject, as the honorable member probably has his. We could at least attempt to do something. In myopinion, we might complete the Federal Tariff. Any one who says that that Tariff was completed by the first Parliament says what is incorrect, be cause part of it was postponed, and has been allowed to remain unfinished.

Mr Wilks:

– No.

Mr WATKINS:

– In the honorable member’s electorate there are industries of which any State might be proud.

Mr Wilks:

– They are in a worse condition now than they were in before the Federal Tariff was imposed.

Mr WATKINS:

– That is because they have in the past depended on work obtained from the State Government, or the chance of a ship meeting with an accident. At the present time they are appealing to the State Government for more orders. If the members of the Government are satisfied with the present situation, they are entitled to my sympathy, rather than to anything else. A Government which could stand the withering condemnation which this Government received from one of its supporters last night would stand anything. He told them plainly that he does not believe in their inactivity, and that they should come down with something in the nature of a policy. If they think that they have a majority on which they can depend, and proceed, I am surprised. Honorable members opposite, and even the honorable member for Dalley himself, have admitted that the present state of parties in this House makes progress impossible. Yet they are going to vote for the Government, in order that this state of things may continue. To my mind, that is neither consistent nor honest. I ask honorable members to listen to what the Government organ in New South Wales, a newspaper which has supported the Prime Minister throughout his political career, has said on this subject. On the 22nd August last, the following statement appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph: -

It is instructive to be told that the statement issued by the new Federal Prime Minister is a manifesto. That information was much needed ; for most persons, on reading the document, find themselves sorely at a loss for a word to describe it. Mr. Reid is nothing if not bold ; and the lengths of yes-no-ism, to which his boldness has been known to carry him, quite account for the extra amount of it which he has shown in issuing the manifesto under notice. He starts out by informing the people of Australia that they must contain themselves in patience until he has had time to incubate something in the way of a policy. He excuses this tardy incubation on the ground that he has not yet had time to consult with his colleagues. Of all limp excuses, this is perhaps the limpest. Mr. Reid formed this Ministry ; and before he could form it, he had to consult every individual who became a member of it. Are we to suppose that his colleagues simply bolted the bait of office, without so much as inquiring the intention of the angler?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– That was published before the Prime Minister made his statement of policy in this House..

Mr WATKINS:

– Those who heard the right honorable gentleman know that he did not add much to the statement published in the press.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Every measure previously mentioned was outlined, and’ some others were referred to.

Mr WATKINS:

– The programme of tha Government is merely to pass the Trade Marks Bill and the Papua Bill, and then, as the honorable member for Wilmot said last night, to go to sleep for some months, preparatory to maturing a further policy. In my opinion, no Government can pass any practical legislation in the existing position of Federal parties, and that, I think, is known to honorable members generally. An appeal to the people is the only solution of the difficulty. We have been told that the electoral rolls are not in a satisfactory state; but we were told that prior to the last elections, and since then, the Department is supposed to have amplified and corrected them. No doubt we shall always hear statements of this kind on the eve of a dissolution. I wish now to make a further quotation from the Sydney Daily Telegraph, . the official organ, of the Ministry. In speaking of the manifesto issued by the Prime Minister, the Telegraph says -

Boiled down, this alleged manifesto consists of ‘ a laborious essay on majority rule, as represented by Mr. Reid and his new following, and minority rule as represented by all those who are not included in his fold.

It has been stated that the Deakin Administration were ousted from office by the Labour Party, who are responsible for the present position of affairs. I would point out, however, that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat resigned office owing to an adverse vote upon the question of including public servants within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. He was opposed on that occasion by members other than those belonging to the Labour Party. The question was one upon which the Government had. appealed to the people, and the verdict went against them. My own feeling is that when the honorable and learned member met the House after the elections, he should have recognised that he was in a minority, and have tendered his resignation. I contend, further, that he should have adhered to the position which he assumed at the outset. He claimed that the question upon which he resigned office was one of high principle - as I believe it was. The Prime Minister should at all times be prepared to carry out the wishes of the people as expressed by the will of the majority, or relinquish office. The honorable and learned member took the view that the provision to which he objected would be unconstitutional, and he would not listen to the suggestion that the High Court should be left to decide that point. He has now consented to accept the Bill which embraces the objectionable provision, and is willing to allow the High Court to decide as to its constitutionality. What a lot of trouble we would have been saved if the honorable and learned member had taken up that position from the first? What is a good thing to-day should be equally good six months ago. I do not. wish to say anything with regard to the split which has occurred in the Protectionist Party. Some honorable members have been blamed for joining hands with the Labour Party, and they may be left to make their own replies. . I have yet to learn, however, that the Prime Minister has the sole right to enter into coalitions. The leaders of the coalition on the Government side are apparently prepared to swallow all the provisions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, to which they formerly expressed their objection. Their sole object, apparently, is to establish themselves securely in office. If the provision relating to the public servants of the States was unconstitutional six months ago it should be open to the same objection to-day, but honorable members opposite are prepared to ignore every consideration but that of retaining their hold of office. We have been told that the Labour Ministry were very much put out at having to resign office, and that they desired to regain their positions on the Treasury bench at any cost. I would, however, direct attention to the fact that when they resigned, both the Prime Minister and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat gave them credit for the way in which they had conducted the affairs of the Commonwealth, and for relinquishing office upon a question of principle. Why should they be told now that they desire to regain the Treasury bench at any cost? I should be quite content to leave the country to judge as to the respective merits of the programmes put forward by the Government and the alliance. I do not know that any honorable members desire to remove the present Government from office with a view to securing an increase of

Customs duties. The main charges against the Ministry are, first, that they secured their present position by the adoption of unfair methods, and, secondly, that they have no policy worth speaking of. I wish now to deal with the so-called political machine which it is said governs some members of this House. No doubt that machine has been successful, possibly to the dissatisfaction of honorable members opposite. Indeed, so successful has it been, that at the last general election the great free.trade party, .every member of which is supposed to be free and unfettered, actually emulated the methods of the Labour Party, and notwithstanding the fiscal peace to which its members are committed, they are prepared to again employ those methods at the next election. We have been assured that they are committed to a fiscal truce, but they are careful to say that it is merely for the life of the present Parliament.

Mr Carpenter:

– Only whilst they are beaten.

Mr WATKINS:

– Yes. I shall deal with that aspect of the matter presently. I repeat that at the next election it will be open to the Free-trade Party to renew the fiscal fight. If we desire any evidence of that, we shall find it in the statements supplied by the joint secretaries of that party to a representative of the press. For instance, upon being interviewed by an Argus reporter last month, the honorable member for Lang furnished a comprehensive statement regarding the methods adopted by the Free-trade Party at the last election. He pointed out that, in conjunction with the present PostmasterGeneral, he acted as secretary to that body, and amongst other things he stated - .

In the nomination of candidates to carry our banner, we left the selection, as much as possible, to the local branches of the league. Where there was no difference of opinion the central executive indorsed the local nomination. Even where there were no local branches, and the central executive made a selection, the opinion of influential adherents of our cause in the electorate was sought, and it was always with their approval that the selection was made. Speaking generally, loyalty to party selection was shown both by candidates and electors. The result was that in eighteen contested seats we won sixteen seats.

These methods are a copy of those’ which the Labour Party has so successfully employed in the past.

Mr McDonald:

– What about the pledge in relation to another organization which candidates had to sign ?

Mr WATKINS:

– Who were the “influential adherents “ in the local centres to whom reference is made ? Were they “in fluential” in a political sense, or were they not the leaders of all the “ isms “ who could be induced to take the free-tra’de side? The honorable member continued -

We are preparing now a new constitution, with a view to thorough organization of the electorates and sustained effort.

Honorable members opposite who have had so much to say regarding the alliance upon this side of the House, should understand that the Free-trade Party at the present time is framing a new constitution, with a view to renewed and sustained effort at the next general election. The interview continues -

We hope in this way to form a permanent fight-‘ ing force, which may be used with effect when election day comes round.

That statement is fully corroborated by a telegram from Sydney, which is dated the 30th August of the present year, and which reads -

There are signs that the protectionists will shortly have cause to regret having entered into even a temporary truce with the free-trade party. While Mr. Reid is giving every assurance that he and his party were bound to respect the compact entered into with certain of his fiscal opponents the Australian Free-trade League is making vigorous efforts to strengthen and unite the free-trade party in every electorate. The council held a meeting in Sydney to-day, and came to the conclusion that no reliance could be placed on the pledges of the protectionist party, and that any suspension of propaganda or organizing work would be most dangerous. It was resolved, therefore, that the present situation made the work of the league doubly important, and that arrangements should be entered into forthwith for the purpose of strengthening the free-trade party throughout Australia.

Mr Wilks:

– That is a six potters yarn.

Mr WATKINS:

– It is the statement of the secretary of the Free-trade Party. If it be admitted that we cannot believe him in this particular, I trust that we shall hear no more approving “hear, hear’s” when he is affording information to this House. The telegram adds -

A manifesto is being prepared, and after submission to the league, it will be issued throughout the Commonwealth.

I think that honorable members occupying that position- should be the last to accuse other parties in this House of a want of honour. If it be fair and honorable for them to’ enter into a coalition for the purpose of combating Socialism, surely others may enter into an alliance from equally honorable motives. We have been told that the coalition was formed, not because the party which previously occupied the Treasury bench had done any wrong. or because their programme was of a reactionary character, but because of the advance which would take place in a socialistic direction if they were permitted to remain there. All I have to say is, that if, as we believe, State Socialism is growing every day, and if the movement will afford a large measure of relief to the producers, irrespective of whether they produce with their brains or their hands, we should certainly aim at accelerating its progress. Honorable members opposite never object to Socialism so long as it is confined to a section of the community. When the States of Australia were suffering financial stress, who were the people to first ask the States Governments to stand by the financial institutions?

Mr Henry Willis:

– Was not that in the interests of the community?

Mr WATKINS:

– That is all we claim for the Socialism we advocate. The difference between honorable members opposite and honorable members on this side is that, while the former believe in Socialism for a section of the people, we believe in it for the whole people. Honorable members opposite say that the State control of railways and of the Post and .Telegraph Department is State commercialism. No matter what name is applied, we regard that control as State Socialism; and it is certain that honorable members opposite would not dare to vote for the railways or the post and telegraph systems being handed over to the control of private individuals. We have no right to _ say that those two particular undertakings only should be brought under State control. In England and America the railways are privately owned; and if railways may be taken under State control, so may any other large monopoly. Ask any retail tobacconist what have been the results of the tobacco monopoly in Australia. Are tobacconists free to do to-day all that they were free to do before that monopoly was created? It has been asserted that the policy of the Labour Party will lead to the ruin of the Commonwealth- that we propose to ‘take away the liberty of the individual, and to confiscate land and all industries. Whether honorable members who make these statements actually believe them is no concern of ours, but no intelligent man in Australia places any reliance whatever on assertions of the kind. In New Zealand there has been considerable legislation of the class which the Labour Party of Australia desire to see passed. In New Zealand prosperity is shown on every hand, . and no one in that country complains of the socialistic measures which have been put in force.

Mr Henry Willis:

– If New Zealand is all right, why is a Labour Party being organized there?

Mr WATKINS:

– There was. a Labour Party in New Zealand before there was a Labour Party in Australia; and, moreover, New Zealand was, so to speak, in a state of insolvency before any socialistic measures had been passed. The honorable and learned member for Angas, in his splendid address on the ethics of Socialism, said he believed in socializing monopolies. The honorable and learned member expressed the opinion that electrical and other similar power should be owned by the State - in short, he believes in municipal Socialism, such as has been carried out by the County Councils of England, and the Corporation of Glasgow. If the honorable and learned member believes in municipal Socialism, he ought to know that in Glasgow there are municipal laundries and municipal lodging-houses, and that out of the public funds workmen’s dwellings have been erected in the place of the squalid rookeries of the past. The scheme, which is being carried out by the Glasgow Corporation will, in fifty years, make that city entirely free from local taxation. Is the honorable and learned member for Angas prepared to support Socialism to that extent? I care not what a man’s political opinions may be, if he is a conservative, let him be an avowed and consistent conservative. On the other hand, if he believes in the policy of the Labour Party, let him vote according to his convictions, and not speak one way and vote another. An honorable member ought not to tell the electors, in his speeches here, that he believes in the principle of Socialism, and then record his vote in favour of those who are averse to any experiments of the kind. The honorable and learned member for Angas holds that we ought to experiment in that direction, and yet on this motion he intends to vote with the party whose avowed object is to prevent any such policy being carried into force. If any undertaking under State control shows a financial loss for the first one or two years, that is seized upon as proof of failure. But in how many cases do large private investments absolutely fail? One safeguard is that when the State makes a mistake, it is speedily found out, and the matter put right.

Would honorable members, for instance, abolish the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, which in four years and eight months has made a profit on stock and sheep amounting, to ^28,223? Is that good or bad for the State of Victoria? Again, the Melbourne City Council has landed property from which it derives a revenue of ,68,000 per annum. These are examples of municipal and State Socialism. Honorable members opposite, in decrying and condemning Socialism, are careful enough to point to cases of failure where State-owned concerns have been politically managed. I do not agree with political management in State concerns. There is a vast difference between the State controlling an industry; and political management. The Governments of the States own the railways, but they are managed on commercial principles. So it ought to be wherever the Government attempts to regulate an industry for the benefit of the people. A great deal has been said about preference to unionists, and perhaps there is very little that is fresh to be* added. Hut that question has been raised as a bugbear to frighten, so to speak, the electors against some innovation which it is held will secure to the few rights which they ought not to possess. But all the large trade union organizations -in Australia had secured preference for their members before1 we had any conciliation and arbitration legislation. The granting of preference is no innovation. As the unions have gained preference by their own power, it would not be just to take from them that right by means of legislation which we profess to pass for their benefit. Honorable members opposite wish to rob unionists by legislation of that which they have already, and at the same time to bind them to work on conditions prescribed by an Arbitration Court, no matter what its verdicts may be. The Prime Minister himself condemned the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella in unmeasured terms when it was1 first proposed. He pointed out that it would ruin the clause to which it was attached, and that it would be impossible for a majority of workers to, be obtained where a dispute extended over the whole length and breadth of Australia. But though he condemned it then, he endeavoured by means of it, to supplant the late Government, and now he is trying to carry the Bill through, embodying a clause which he knows to be unworkable. I come, by way of conclusion, to. the dramatic speech delivered last night by the honorable member for Wilmot. Without wishing in any way to offend honorable members opposite, I say that they have no reason to feel proud that they are likely to win. by one vote. During the whole of my political experience, I have never witnessed a more degrading situation than the present one. The vote of the honorable member will make the result rather a defeat than a victory for the Ministry. It is humiliating for them to know that they are kept in office by the vote of a man who told them plainly that they ought not to be on the Treasury bench, and who intimated that, although he intends to vote with them on this occasion, they cannot depend upon him for twenty-four hours. Is this the majority rule that the Prime’ Minister was to establish? Is this the majority rule bymeans of which progressive legislation was to be carried, and responsible government restored? Let us examine the position. We have the honorable and learned member for Bendigo telling us that although he will vote with the Government on the present occasion, he does not know what he will do next session if they do not bring down a progressive policy.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Hear, hear; I am right with him, too.

Mr WATKINS:

– Then we have two honorable members who expect from the present Government a progressive policy, though the honorable member for Wilmot said last night that he would not vote with them if they did not undo the democratic legislation which some honorable members opposite assisted to pass.

Mr Austin Chapman:

– Let them try it on.

Mr WATKINS:

– Here is an absolute admission that if next session the Government meet the House with a progressive policy they will absolutely be in a minority. I sympathize with the Government. It must be galling to them’ to think that one who has supported their party through thick and thin, should have degraded himself in a political sense as the honorable member for Wilmot must appear to them to have done.

Mr Wilks:

– It shows how free honorable members are on this side to speak and vote as thev like.

Mr WATKINS:

– The Minister of Trade and Customs tells us through this morning’s newspapers that the Government propose to carry on if they secure the anticipated majority of two, because that is the position which’ they occupied when they first took possession of the Treasury bench. I say that the position will be entirely different. When they took possession of the Treasury bench they had a clear majority of two, but, according to the speech which was made by the honorable member for Wilmot last night, that majority has been reduced’ until now it is not more than a majority of one-and-a-half. The Ministry propose to retain office by the support of an honorable member who, referring to the Prime Minister, said -

He brought forward a policy which is practically the same as that which the Labour Government had proposed. But he says, “ Only let me get into recess - let me have one of those sleeps lor which I am so famous - and I will come down next session and astonish you.” That is practically what it amounts to, and nothing else. Then, when the leader of the Opposition brings forward a motion of no-confidence, the Prime Minister, in his own defence, says, “ If I had the power I would repeal a certain section in the Post and Telegraph Act, and also a certain section in the Immigration Restriction Act; but I have not the power.” Well, if he has not the power, what right has he to be there?

The Government are kept; in office by the vote of an honorable member, who says they have no right to be there, and that he will assist to keep them there only if they will consent to do that which more than threefourths of their supporters will not agree to. Will the honorable member for Dalley record a vote in favour of either the amendment or repeal of the Alien Immigration Restriction Act? Will any honorable member on the opposite side do so? If we are to believe press reports of the honorable member’s statements, he said a fortnight ago that he proposed’ to vote in such a way as to bring about a dissolution. At that time it appears the honorable member did not care what condition the rolls were in, and whether the Labour Party was organized or not. The honor.orable member- subsequently paid a visit to his electorate, and we now find that his only reason for recording his vote in the way he announced last night, is that he is afraid to go to the people. Honorable members on the other side talk much of majority rule, and their respect for the verdict of the people ; but the honorable member for Wilmot has admitted that he is afraid to go before the people, and he has candidly confessed his belief that if the party opposite were to go to the country at the present time, the people might decide against them. After speaking of the results of two or three recent elections which have been in favour of honorable members on this side, the honorable member for Wilmot, referring to the Labour Party as the “unionists,” said -

Further, I know that the unionists are thoroughly organized. I know, on the contrary, that the liberal-conservatives, -

I really do not know what party that can be- with whom I have been associated so long, and the liberals themselves are not thoroughly organized. In the interests of fair play, and with a strong desire to see the best side win when the fight takes place, I shall vote on this occasion with the Government.

That is the honorable member’s bald excuse for his conduct during the last two or three weeks. He thought of voting for a dissolution a week or two ago, but he is now afraid to trust the people. I have shown that the party opposite has been organizing in just the same way as the Labour Party, and its members are as prepared as are those of any other party in this House. It is therefore a miserable subterfuge for the honorable- member for Wilmot to say that he will not give a vote to bring about an appeal to the country until parties are on ah equal footing in this regard. The honorable member is prepared to risk the passing-of legislation to which he is deadly opposed, to see the Commonwealth ruined, and to witness our downfall in any direction so long as by delay he thinks he will be able to bring about a state of affairs in which he and his party would be likely to win. I wonder whether the news flashed to us by ‘ the cables this morning, that already there is a gentleman Waiting to contest his electorate with him has had anything to do with the determination to which the honorable member has come? The present Administration is living absolutely by virtue of a minority on questions of general policy. It is not sufficient to say that they should be allowed to go into recess in order to mature a policy for next session. The free-traders in the party opposite possessed their own policy, and they now have also the policy of those with whom they have combined, and I say, therefore, that the object is not that they may go into recess for the purpose of maturing a policy to bring down next session, but simply that in the lapse of time they may gain strength to enable them to carry on with their do-nothing policy. That being the position, I trust that if the motion is defeated, the Government, without attempting to get into recess, will come down, as they have often promised, with some legislation, which will be for the benefit of the people.

Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).The honorable member for Newcastle has closed a very excellent speech by saying that he hopes that the Government will come down with good legislation during next session. I am inclined to think that the motion of want of confidence has given honorable members an opportunity to speak to their electors at very considerable length. I have no objection to their doing so.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– The honorable member is going to do so himself.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– As the honorable member says, I propose doing so myself. Every honorable member, I suppose, speaks on behalf of his constituents when he is addressing the House. He is speaking to the people as well as endeavouring to carry out the legislation which he was sent here to pass.

Mr McDonald:

– But honorable members on the other side say that we represent only unions, and not the people.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I am quite certain that that is what the members of the Labour Party do represent. If the honorable member is familiar with the literature published by the Socialist Party in England, on the Continent, and in Australia he will know that their advice is to always use the Labour unions for the purpose of advancing Socialism. That is the main plank of the Socialist movement. The Labour Party has now come out into the open and declared itself for Socialism; but it is only during the last few years that its members have announced themselves as. the extreme socialistic revolutionaries they are now known to be. When the honorable member for Boothby first entered the House, he was not looked upon as a Socialist of the deepest dye. He was known to be a reasonable man, and I suppose that he owed his election and his great popularity to the fact that he was known to be a reasonable man who was not prepared to go the same length as the honorable member for Kennedy - a Socialist of the Karl Marx brand. This discussion has been remarkable not only for the fact of honorable members speaking to the electors with a view to a general election, but also for the fact that the war has been carried into the camp of the enemy. From the beginning to the end the Opposition Party has been on the defensive. Its members are apologising for their policy. If they believe in. their policy, why should they offer an apology? Why do they not go into the highways and by-ways and bring in all those labourers who are not unionists, and tell them what a good thing their policy is?

Mr McDonald:

– So we do.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The members nf the Labour Party are going into the highways and by-ways to bring in those who are not unionists, so that, having the unions in the hollow of their hands, they may be able to use those men for political purposes. The position I took up originally was that the members of the Labour Party were the mouth-pieces of the unions.

Mr Spence:

– Evidently the honorable member has a very low opinion of the working man.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I have a very high opinion of every working man. To a very great extent, however, the working man is quite unfamiliar with the policy of the Opposition, and the honorable member who speaks so much about Socialism actually denounced Mr. Tom Mann.

Mr Spence:

– I never did.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– In the two speeches which the honorable member delivered he repudiated Mr. Tom Mann.

Mr Spence:

– I did not, I said that we accepted him.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member for Kennedy came to the honorable member’s rescue, and’ said, as Hansard shows, that Mr. Tom Mann was doing a good work.

Mr Spence:

– The honorable member will find from Hansard that I said I accepted what Mr. Tom Mann said, and supported him.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

- Mr. Tom Mann is the mouth-piece of the Labour Party, and receives their emoluments for his services, and I hope that he will not be repudiated after the exposition he has given of their ultimate aims.

Mr Spence:

– We stand by him, and honorable members opposite stand by Mr. Walpole.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– According to their own statement the members of the Labour Party are in the stocks. They feel that they have committed an offence, and I believe that the offence is that of not telling their constituents what their socialistic aims were, merely posing as representatives of labour - from the washerwoman. I think, up to the man in the counting house. We know very well that the first, act of Labour members when they came here was to denounce non-unionists by such epithets as “ black-legs.” But if. their election had depended upon the votes of only the unionists of Australia, they would not have been able to make those denunciations here.

Mr Bamford:

– We admit that.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The members of the Labour Party have used the unions, as Mi. Tom Mann has stated, as a means to an end, and that is, to get into Parliament, and to so legislate as to give preference to their members.

Mr McDonald:

– I was returned as a Socialist the first time I ever stood for Parliament, and that was twelve years ago.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member has never denounced Socialism. He has always been ready to uphold its adoption. He is one of the most extreme men in the Labour Party, and another member who would go to the same length, is the honorable member for Barrier, a recent convert. I am rather grateful for these interjections, because they are of very great assistance when one is trying to nail down to- the counter the counterfeits who. pose as representing the people and not being extremists, but who really are extremists, as far as they are able to understand the subject of Socialism. The leader of the Opposition said that this debate would be a means of clearing the atmosphere. I have no objection to the tabling of this motion of no-confidence. It was very necessary, I think, that we should know where honorable members sit, and what their convictions are, so that we might obtain some satisfactory legislation, and honorable members might be depended upon to support their party. When I came into the House last evening, at the close of an address delivered by the honorable member for Wilmot, I looked round to see if he had made an announcement. I thought I might get an inkling of the nature of it from the faces of honorable members, but they were all smiling. It turned out that he had announced that he would vote in favour of the Government, and yet to-day be is denounced on all sides. Including myself, not one honorable member. I think, desires a dissolution at the present moment, and for this reason, that while the organizations of the Labour Party are at work, our organizations throughout Australia are not active. I was very pleased however, to hear that they are active in New South Wales. While I sit on the cross-benches I am prepared to support generally the legislation of the coalition, but I am not prepared to swallow anything and everything which may be brought forward.

Mr McDonald:

– Oh !

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I am sent here for a purpose, and that is to legislate for the good of the whole people, and if there is any tinge of conservatism in the legislation which is proposed I certainly should not support this Government, and an appeal to the country I hope would be the result. In my opinion, that appeal should not come until there is a quarrel with another place, and we could have a double dissolution, so that the parties might be better able to carry on in another place, as we hope they will be able to carry on here. The Labour Party is organizing in all directions. In some of the States the protectionists and the free-traders are well organized, but in other States they are not, because a number of honorable members on the other side are pledged democrats. “Democrat” is a word upon which I think most politicians gain support in South Australia. These honorable members, by the pledges they have given, have obtained support from friends of mine who, I am certain, would not. go the full length of their policy. Therefore, I say, let us organize in all directions, and prepare ourselves for a fight. Then, if the Labour or Socialist Party obtains a majority, let the majority rule. But I think that when the people of the country know that the aim of the Labour Party is to make the Commonwealth a socialistic State, the working men, and the community generally, will rise up, and denounce the tactics of those who have obtained seals by a pretence. Honorable members will be nailed down to the convictions which they have expressed here - to statements such as that of the honorable member for Barrier, who said that he is a full-blown Socialist. Honorable members opposite have advanced ideas, and, as Mr. Tom Mann says, they would go further, but for the fact that they find they are not supported by the workers. That is a severe charge to make against them. They regulate their movements by the amount of support which they obtain from their constituents. He says that he knows them to be honorable men, who are firm in their convictions, and that they would go as far as the revolutionary Socialists on the Continent if they were supported. The alliance between the Labour Party and a section of the Protectionist Party is one of which I heartily approve, because it has broken up the strongbody of extreme protectionists in this House. Those! protectionists would even have gone the length of voting for prohibition, but the Labour Party has introduced itself like a wedge, and split them in two. Now that they are divided, I hope that we shall be able to defeat them in sections. But while there are protectionists in the alliance, I think that thev are supporting the Labour Party, not to obtain assistance in furtherance of the objects of protection, but to protect themselves from the opposition of Labour candidates. Honorable members like the honorable and learned member for Indi, and the honorable members for Melbourne Ports and Bourke should, when they go to the poll, declare themselves as labour members.

Mr Page:

– Or as Reidites.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– We would not have them ; they are opposed to us, and are fighting against our cause. Whilst they have allied themselves with the Labour Party, there is a savour of insincerity about their action. I hope that if they do not offer themselves as labour candidates they may be defeated.

Mr McDonald:

– The honorable member’s leader said that he would accept assistance from any one, even from Old Nick himself.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If the honorable members to whom I refer are returned as labour representatives, they will be honestly entitled to their seats; but I think that . the Labour Party will come back in a minority.

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– They are going to turn the honorable member out.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I have no fear on that score. At my first election, I fought one of the leading labour men and Socialists, one of the ablest men in the public life of the State of New South Wales, and a man of great influence in the electorate.

Mr McDonald:

– Who was that?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

- Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald/ He was a labourite and a State Socialist, and stood well with the Protectionist Party. It would be impossible to send a stronger man against me, and I beat him. Prior to the last election, three or four candidates were sent to my constituency, but they left in despair. One man, who knew every corner of Robertson, stood against me, and I beat him by nearly 3,000 votes. Nothing delights me more than to fight an election, and if honorable members opposite will send a good man my majority will be increased, because my friends will rally round me in greater numbers than before. It seems to me that the protectionist members of the alliance are between the devil and the deep sea, . and do not know which way to turn. They are afraid to go before their constituents as protectionists, and the Labour Party outside will not countenance them. The manifesto of the alhance shows that the protectionists who joined it stuck out for one thing only, and that was that they should not be opposed by labour candidates.

Mr King O’Malley:

– They did not ask for that; we put it in the programme out of good, Christian, brotherly love.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If they are labourites, they should label themselves as such. It appears to me, however, that the alliance is only a tentative one, and will last only so long as it suits the Labour Party, which will be until this debate closes. It is known now that there will be a majority for the Government. The Labour Party has crouched for a spring. Having tasted the sweets of office, it has tried to again get possession of the Ministerial benches, with the assistance of some of the protectionists. The honorable member for Perth has stated clearly that he has no sympathy with the alliance, because if the Labour Party came into power with the assistance of the protectionists, it would have to make concessions to them, and, therefore, could not carry out its full programme. The honorable member is a Socialist, and if he cannot carry out his full programme he is willing to wait for an opportunity to do so.

Mr Ronald:

– He is a free-trader

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– How is it possible for a man to be a Socialist, and not be a free-trader?

Mr Ronald:

– Is it possible to be a free-trader without also being a Socialist ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– These are some of the anomalies that we find in the ranks of the Opposition. The alliance manifesto is worthy of some attention. The third clause of the alliance programme reads as follows: -

Each party to use its influence individually and collectively with its organizations and supporters to secure support for and immunity from opposition to members of the other party during th;; currency of the alliance.

That appears to be the chief concession made by the members of the Labour Party to their protectionist allies. The alliance agree to pass the

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill as nearly as possible in accordance with the original Bill, as introduced by the Deakin Government, but any member is at liberty to adhere to his votes already given.

The Bill as introduced by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat embraced many provisions which have since been excised. Yet the Labour Party, for the sake of office, threw over the original Bill, which provided for preference to unionists, and also for the inclusion within the scope of the Bill of the agricultural industry and domestic servants. That measure was drafted by the right honorable member for Adelaide, a democrat of democrats, and a Socialist of the most pronounced type. He made provision for everything that the Labour Party demanded, and yet the measure was sacrificed by them. This shows that those honorable members have not been faithful to the trust reposed in them by the electors who sent them here.

Mr Frazer:

– Were they not pledged to support a provision for including railway servants within the scope of the Bill?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Were they not also pledged to support preference to unionists ?

Mr Frazer:

– Yes.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Is not the question of preference to unionists regarded as far more vital than that’ of including railway servants within the scope of the Bill? The extension of the provisions of the Bill to railway servants involves a constitutional question, and it is just possible that it might have been decided that under clause 62 they would be entitled to the same rights as were conferred upon other citizens. Honorable members have sacrificed the main principles of the Bill which their masters desired them to uphold. They were required to secure preference for members of unions.

Mr Frazer:

– How can the honorable member say that we sacrificed that principle in view of the fact that the Watson Government relinquished office rather than give way upon it?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

-The Bill,- as amended, gave a preference to a majority in a trade or calling, but the Watson Government desired a preference for a minority. I should like at this stage to refer to an article published in the Age of 27th July, and which reads as follows : -

Preference to unionists must mean the dismissal of non-unionists; and this must take place on a very extensive scale if the principle of preference is to be applied in anything like the way proposed by the Watson Government.

According to this, non-unionists are to be thrown out of employment in order to make room for unionists, and yet the members of the Labour Party claim to represent all classes of the workers. The article continues -

Extreme State Socialists, who are concerned in the working of the Political Labour Councils, are acting quite logically in setting great store by the preference clause. A Trades Hall Council, bitting in judgment to determine who was to be thrust out of employment in favour of its nominees, would be almost an exact counterpart of the socialistic rulers whom such theorists as Marx and Lasalle would have installed in absolute control of the universal State industry. But the more this kind of scheme is realized in actual life, or in proposals which have been advocated in th: arena of practical politics, the less it commends itself to common-sense people who retain their ordinary notions of justice and humanity.

That is very strong language, and affords evidence that the Age is alive to the fact that the Labour Party are following upon the lines of the policy laid down by that great writer Karl Marx, and are also largely guided by the writings of Morris on the tendency of State Socialism. The men. in authority at the Trades Hall are those upon whom Marx and Morris would confer the power to so regulate affairs that their ideals might . ultimately be realized. The Age, in a leading article published on 1 2th August, says further -

Nothing could be imagined more repugnant to the spirit of British liberty and toleration than to permit any kind of labour organization to use a Court of law as the instrument for offering to those who differ from it the alternative of joining or being dismissed.

Would it not be shameful if the Labour Party were empowered to place men in such a position that they would be forced to join unions or give up their employment? The honorable member for Southern Melbourne shakes his head. I am quite satisfied that he has no faith in such a policy, and that if he did himself justice he would leave the ranks of the party with which he is now associated. The article proceeds -

The more formidable and insidious attack on all outside the unions will have the effect of alienating the sympathies of many thousands of electors.

That is the day to which I am looking forward - when the electors will wake up and tell honorable members opposite that they have deceived them; that they have been using them as tools in order to attain their own political ends, and as a means of securing positions in Parliament in order that they may_ the more effectively act as emissaries of the Continental revolutionaries, whose mouth-piece in Australia is Tom Mann - one who prides himself upon having been expelled from the principal countries of Europe, because he was a malcontent and stirrer up of discord who would possibly cause a revolution. The Age further remarks -

There are a very large number of men who are compelled 10 vary their employment, and who cannot possibly belong to a union for each class of work which they must take up.

That is one of the strongest reasons why the proposal for granting preference to unionists should be combated. A man who is a non-unionist might travel from place to place and be unable to secure a job because he was not a member of a particular union. He might not have the money necessary to pay his entrancefee into the union connected with the calling in which he was seeking work. He would be condemned to. walk along the highways and starve, and his wife and little ones would be deprived of their means of sustenance because their bread-winner could not find the money necessary to enable him to become a unionist.

Mr Frazer:

– The honorable member is talking absolute rot.

Mr Kelly:

– Honorable members opposite do not like it.

Mr Frazer:

– Of course not, because it is not correct.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– That is the kind of legislation upon which honorable members opposite pride themselves. I believe that when the constituencies are organized and the people realize that those who are outside of trade unions are to be ostracised and deprived of their means of earning a livelihood, they will exclaim, with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, “ Rot !’’

Mr McLean:

– And the Labour Administration relinquished office because they were not able to enforce their demands.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Exactly. When they face the electors they will be compelled frankly to avow that they are the representatives of trade unionists only.

Mr Frazer:

– Only the cowardice of an honorable member upon the other side of the House prevents us from appealing to the people. ‘

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It struck me when I entered the chamber last evening that honorable members opposite were very desirous of keeping away from the electors. They were simply beaming with pleasure in their knowledge that a dissolution had been averted. In regard to the White Australia legislation, the aim of the alliance is to maintain existing Acts in their integrity and to effectively support their, intention by faithful administration. In his speech the other day, the honorable member for Carling declared that everything depended upon the manner in which those Acts were administered. I agree that a very great deal depends upon it. That is one of the reasons why I am prepared to sit behind the joint leadership of the present Prime Minister and the Minister of Trade and Customs. I believe that under them we shall secure honest administration of the legislation enacted by the first Commonwealth Parliament.

Mr Frazer:

– Notwithstanding that the Prime Minister does not believe in some of it?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The Prime Minister has urged no complaint against those Acts in themselves. His complaint has had reference to the administration of them. Now that he is at the head of affairs, I trust that his administration will be such as will admit of no cavil. Whilst I claim that the members of the Labour Party represent only the Trades Hall, I credit them with a’ desire for extreme legislation. It is true that they were able .to drive the Deakin Government whilst they held the balance of power, and as a result they obtained very much more in the nature of concessions than they otherwise would have done. We know that the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, Sir Edmund Barton, administered these statutes in a way .that was acceptable to the Trades Hall. It is notorious that the members of that body ran round Melbourne with the six hatters for ‘the purpose of .gaining information from them. Those men were imprisoned and prevented from landing upon our shores, until they had obtained the permission of the then Prime Minister.

Mr Ronald:

– He simply administered the law.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If a man comes to Australia under contract the law declares that that contract shall be null and’ void upon his arrival. In the case of the six hatters the contract into which they had entered in England was null and void when they arrived here. Under such circumstances, what right had Sir Edmund Barton to imprison them? Mr. Anderson, the gentleman who engaged them, personally assured me, within the precincts of this House, that the agreement under which they were brought here was void, and that fresh contracts were drawn up and signed with a full knowledge of the condition of the trade in Sydney, and of the existing law. What we want is honest administration of the Act.

Mr Frazer:

– That is exactly what we cannot get.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I claim that when the Labour Party ceases to dominate Parliament we shall secure honest administration. I find that the alliance programme embodies the following aims : - “ Preferential trade legislation, including the Tariff revision shown to be necessary to develop Australian, resources, to preserve, encourage, and benefit Australian industries, primary and secondary. A Royal Commission is to be at once appointed to inquire into the necessity for a revision of the Tariff. Its personnel is to be approved by Parliament, and the Commission is to report in sufficient time to enable any . desired legislation to be introduced next session.” In this connexion I would point out that at the last general election the Deakin Government announced that the issues upon which it appealed to the people were fiscal peace and preferential trade. They were successful at the polls, and the verdict of the people was accepted by the respective leaders of the three parties in this House. In support of my statement, I would point out that immediately after Parliament opened, the then Prime Minister said -

The fiscal issue is dead and buried during this Parliament at all events.

Thereupon the right honorable member for East Sydney interjected -

I recognise that that is the verdict of the constituencies.

Similarly, the honorable member for Bland, speaking upon the Address-in-Reply, said -

I share the gratification of the Prime Minister that, with the last election, the issue, as between free-trade and protection, has disappeared for some time to come, at any rate, so far as the Tariff is concerned.

Later on he said -

The fiscal issue is dead, at any rate, so far as this Parliament is concerned.

At Albury the honorable member for. Hume also announced that the fiscal question should not have been raised” during the last election, and that it must be sunk until the expiration, of the Braddon section of the Constitution. Yet we find that some of the protectionists who followed the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, and some of the free-traders who supported the present Prime Minister, have now gone back upon that understanding, and formed an alliance for the purpose of re-opening the Tariff. They claim that certain industries should be specifically referred to the proposed Commission for consideration, and when that consideration has been extended to them, legislation is to be enacted to prevent their destruction. I maintain that there is nothing to warrant the insertion of such a clause in the compact into which they have entered. I would further point out that they propose that this Tariff legislation shall be brought forward next session. Should they achieve all that they desire, what is to prevent any honorable member from proposing that a larger measure of protection “shall be given to any industry if he is of opinion that it ought to receive it? In all probability, those industries, which have hitherto been considered finally settled in relation to the Tariff, would occupy the attention of the House, and we should have another prolonged discussion.

Mr Frazer:

– Both the honorable member’s leaders are agreeable to a Royal Commission.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member for Bourke bases his chief argument on the importation of fleshing machines, which are, however, very little used in the trade.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There is only one man in the Commonwealth who produces those machines.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– And I can confidently say that very few are used. But if thev were in general use, and were of great advantage to the tanner, would that not enable the latter to produce leather more cheaply ? And would the competition not reduce the price of the leather to the manufacturer of boots and shoes, thus conferring an advantage on the consumer? But honorable members opposite contend that protection should be universal ; and if protection could be given to every industry and every individual in the community in equal measure, there would be no objection to the policy. But it is because protection cannot be regulated so as to give every man the same measure of advantage that we freetraders advocate making exchange as easy as possible, so that raw material may be obtained at the lowest possible cost. And that would be the result, so far as the boot manufacturers are concerned, if fleshing machines were introduced mme extensively. It appears that a large order for cement has recently been placed in Melbourne. Cement can be produced at the Commonwealth Cement Works, New South Wales, at a lower cost than it can be produced in Victoria. The Federal spirit, however, appears to be dead in the. latter State, where there is a willingness to pay more money to a local manufacturer for cement, rather than purchase it in New South Wales. The Commonwealth Cement Works Company of New South Wales had invested £250,000 before Federation was established ; and I believe that they had to pay duty on a large shipment of machinery, which did not arrive in time to escape the Federal Tariff. At these works there is the most up-to-date machinery, which in the opinion of those who believe in free-trade, is of great advantage, not only to the manufacturer, but to the consumer. Obsolete machinery is in operation in Victoria, and the manufacturers are unable to compete with the Commonwealth Cement Works in New South Wales. To the credit of the business men of Melbourne, it ought to be said that the tender from the latter works was ultimately accepted.

Mr Kelly:

– The Age does not like that.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The proprietors of the cement works in Victoria simply ask for more protection, whereas the manufacturers in New South Wales, who can supply at a cheaper rate, desire that the exchange shall be as free as possible.

Mr Mauger:

– The New South Wales manufacturers are pleading hard for protection.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The New South Wales manufacturers believe that there should be a unified Tariff - that there should be no barriers between one State and another.

Mr Ronald:

– They are asking for protection, anyhow.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It is stated that the Denton Hat Mills Company are asking for more protection. The manager of .those. 9 a mills, on the 21st July, 1892, gave evidence before the Tariff Commission of Victoria, and said that an increase of one shilling in the duty on hats would be sufficient protection, and that a duty amounting to 50 per cent, would be prohibitive. I wish to emphasize that statement that a. duty of 50 per cent, would be prohibitive.

Mr Ronald:

– That is ancient history.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The duty on hats was increased to 3s. a hat, or an average of 75 per cent. The half-yearly meeting of the shareholders of the company took place on the 27th January following, and the chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, pointed out that the company had made a profit of £2,000.

Mr Mauger:

– Marvellous, is it not?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The chairman went on to say that the wages list had been reduced from .£9,380 to £7>443> as compared with the same period of the previous year. This is the industry to which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports desires to give greater protection.

Mr Mauger:

– It is the best industry in Australia ; every man and woman engaged in it is a unionist.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– That is the company which sent its representative round with the six hatters in’ order to gain information with a view to preventing those men’ being allowed to enter the Commonwealth, because they were to be employed in a factory which would compete with the Denton Mills.

Mr Mauger:

Mr. Shaw, the manager of the company, gave evidence to Sir- Edmund Barton in favour of these men coming in. The honorable member is misrepresenting the facts.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The papers were laid on the table, and the evidence shows that a representative of the Denton Hat Mills was taken round by the honorable member for Yarra-

Mr Mauger:

– The honorable member for Yarra has not any shares in the Denton Hat Mills Company.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member for Yarra took this gentleman to the Prime Minister, and they succeeded in their efforts to “squeeze” that right honorable gentleman.

Mr Mauger:

– That was the secretary of the Hatters’ Union, and not a representative of the Denton Hat Mills Company.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– This is one of the industries, I suppose, that will be marked out for a larger measure of protection oil the ground that it is languishing.

Mr Mauger:

– Who said that?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports on the floor of the House is constantly asking for a larger measure of protection to. this industry.

Mr Mauger:

– I never mentioned such a thing.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I saw a letter that was not private, but which was sent here to be used if necessary, and it contained the information that owing to stress of business, a large order had been refused by the Denton Hat Mills.

Mr Mauger:

– Will the honorable member not admit that he knows nothing about the matter ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If I knew as little as does the honorable member, and if I were interested as much as he is, I would say nothing about the hat industry.

Mr Mauger:

– What do you mean by “ interested “ ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I thought thai the action which the honorable member took in connexion with the hat industry when the Tariff was under discussion was simply dis- gusting

Mr Mauger:

– I rise to a point of order. The statement has been made before that I am monetarily interested in the Denton Hat Mills.

Mr SPEAKER:

– That is not a point of order.

Mr Mauger:

– The point of order I raise is that I am accused of advocating a duty on an article in which I am monetarily and personally interested, and thus seeking to benefit myself. The honorable member knows well that that is not so..

Mr Kelly:

– On the point of order, I desire to say that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has told us- that he does not advocate a further duty on this particular article.

Mr Mauger:

– I did not say that.

Mr SPEAKER:

– What is the point of order ?

Mr Kelly:

– I do not . know whether I aim within my rights in discussing the point of order, but I understood the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to say that he is not asking for an increase of duty ; and consequently could not be held to be interested, other than in the general sense indicated by the honorable member for Robertson.

Mr SPEAKER:

– There is no point of order in the matter raised. The honorable member for Robertson is well within his rights.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I had no intention to suggest that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports had any pecuniary interest in the Denton Hat Mills. Indeed, the Denton Hat Mills Company, which is a very close corporation, composed of not so many men as I have fingers, will take good care that the honorable member has no share in such a “good thing.” Moreover, if the honorable member for Melbourne Ports deals with the company, they will see that he sells no hats but those they manufacture, because that is their plan amongst their customers. If the honorable member were known to be in favour of introducing competition in this particular industry the company would take away his opportunity to sell their hats. As they had a monopoly of that industry until the Tariff came into operation, in all probability the honorable member would: have to shift his place of business from No. 66 Bourke-street.

Mr Mauger:

– The honorable member does not know what hs is talking about.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Perhaps I know more than the honorable member imagines. I have read volumes of evidence on this subject.

Mr Page:

– Does the honorable member insinuate that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has done something corrupt ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– No,. I am not here to make personal charges. I am pointing out how the honorable member for Melbourne Ports would be persecuted by that company,, if he dared to say what I am saying, about it.

Mr Mauger:

– I. have not the faintest connexion with the company.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It is said that the tobacco industry has disappeared from Western Australia. I think it will also be found that several, industries- have disappeared from other States. Many of them had gone to Sydney before the Commonwealth was established. One of Mr. Speaker’s constituents informed me that he was- about to establish a branch in Sydney of large works which are now conducted in South Australia Why are manufacturers taking their business to Sydney ? It is because of the- natural facilities which Sydney offers. There they can have water, tight up to their places of business, a plentiful supply of coal at low rates, and all the advantages in connexion . with manufacture and exchange to a greater degree than elsewhere. These advantages must tell against the other States, and in favour of New South Wales. If the people of Victoria thought that in consequence of their high protective Tariff, before the Commonwealth was established, they would continue after Federation to do the trade of New South Wales as they did previously, they were bound to be disillusioned.

Mr Mauger:

– We do more trade with New South Wales to-day than we ever did.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The trade of New South Wales must continue to increase in volume because of the natural advantages possessed by that State over every other State in the Union. Much has been said concerning the fiscal truce. I trust that that truce will continue to be honored, to the end that we may get on with some useful domestic legislation. I also hope that we shall soon get into recess, so that honorable members may have an opportunity to follow their ordinary avocations, instead of being kept lounging about Parliament House for months together. If the Federal Parliament falls into disrepute, it will be because business men cannot afford to waste their time here for the greater part of the year.

Mr Mauger:

– Who ‘has made the honorable member lecturer-general ? ‘

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I do not speak unless I have something to say, and when I speak, I do not swell myself out to make believe that I am a more important person than I really am. T hope that when I have anything to ‘say, I shall say it intelligently, and I am not always interjecting in order to get paragraphs about myself in the daily papers. It would ‘not further my interests in my constituency to be known as an obstructionist, and a general ‘ interjector of nonsense, or as a man with a big voice. The honorable member reminds me of an Arabian’ proverb, which says that if houses could be built by means of a loud voice, the ass could build three houses every day.

Mr Mauger:

– Just fancy that !

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The honorable member for Hume has given .notice of his intention to submit a motion in favour of opening up negotiations with the Imperial Government, with a view to establish’ preference in trade between Great Britain and Australia. I remember a declaration that was made by Sir Edmund Barton when he returned from England after the Coronation Conference, in which he said that a certain understanding had been arrived at between the delegates to Downing-street, and Mr. Chamberlain. The honorable member for Hume then declared himself to be opposed to preferential trade. But I have no objection to his moving in favour of it, and shall be happy to discuss it with him.

Mr Groom:

– It is out of order to discuss it now, as there is a motion upon the paper.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It is u proposal that will receive the attention of the House. The manifesto of the alliance contains the item, “ Preferential trade to be discussed by the joint parties at an early date.” I intend to discuss it at this date. On the 6th of this month, exactly a year had passed since Mr. Chamberlain delivered his famous speech at Glasgow.

Mr Mauger:

– Is not the honorable member out of order in discussing a matter concerning which a motion appears upon the notice-paper?

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is quite correct. I was .looking up the notice-paper when he rose, and was about to call the attention of the honorable member for Robertson to it. If he looks at page 352 of the notice-paper, he will see that there is a contingent notice of motion standing in the name of the honorable member for Hume. That notice precludes any detailed discussion of the same question. As other honorable members have, ^however, referred to the subject, the honorable member for -Robertson can allude to it incidentally, but not in detail.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I shall bow to your ruling, sir, .and shall refer to the subject only incidentally. It is part of the indictment against the Government that they have not brought forward a policy of preferential trade. It is said that the Deakin Government hae! declared itself in favour of that policy, and that the constituencies supported it. In his Glasgow speech, Mr. Chamberlain pointed out that the industries of Great Britain were languishing, and that trade had fallen off to the extent of some £46,000,000, in -consequence of the lack of [protection to British industries. He said that Great Britain’s Colonies were better customers than the whole of the European nations put together,; that he had initiated his .new policy in ‘order that by making arrangements -with -Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, 9 a 2 and the other British Possessions, the trade of England might be resuscitated; and that while ,£40,000,000 represented the trade at present done with Great Britain, that trade could be increased very considerably by a compact with the Australian people through their representatives in Parliament. At the Conference held during the Coronation period, Mr. Chamberlain h~ad certain admissions from Colonial Prime Ministers to the effect that they were prepared to make concessions to Great Britain in the way of preference. He says that the necessity for it comes now, that the opportunity, if allowed to pass, will not occur again, and that in twenty years it will be too late. The United States of America, he adds, is practically selfcontained, and has a trade of not more than 6s. per head of her population, and that state of things may become the rule in Canada and in British North America. In order to prevent the establishment of new industries, a compact should be arrived at with Australia and other British Possessions, so that this trade for the future should be retained for Great Britain, for, while the population is now not more than 11,000,000, in the course of years it will amount to 40,000,000, and the trade will equal in volume that of the United States. So he says that a great opportunity presents itself - at this moment. We must remember that Australia will not always be a onehorse country with a single industry, and no diversity of employment ; so we should say to the Australian people, “ Do not increase your Tariff walls against us, but pull them down where that is necessary to the success of this policy, to which you are committed.” Every industry established in Australia is to remain as it is. We are not to increase our Tariff walls, nor are we to establish any new industries. We are to allow our tin-plate and” iron industries to remain in abeyance, so that our trade with Great Britain shall be in the products of those industries, and of others which have not yet been established here.

Mr Mauger:

Mr. Chamberlain corrected that afterwards.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Just as the United States of America has covered all the ground of the primary and secondary industries, so in Canada they have covered all the ground of the primary industries and a great deal of the ground of the secondary industries. But in Australia, while we have covered some of the ground in the primary industries, we have so far covered very little of the ground of the secondary industries ; and therefore Mr. Chamberlain would say to Australia, “You should stop; you should raise your Tariff no higher.”

Mr Mauger:

– “ Against us “?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Exactly; against Great Britain.. His contention is that we should allow our industries to remain as they are, and should establish no new industries.

Mr Mauger:

– He corrected that afterwards.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– If the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has read the compilation of speeches . delivered by Mr. Chamberlain to which I am referring, he will find that that statement has never been denied or corrected in any way.

Mr Mauger:

– I beg the honorable member’s pardon, it has.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I give honorable members my word of honour that I have looked for such a correction in vain, because I knew that protectionists when they were driven into a coiner would say that Mr. Chamberlain had changed his mind. Looking through this compilation of his speeches, I cannot find that Mr. Chamberlain has ever said anything contrary to what I have stated.

Mr Mauger:

– Does the honorable member assume that because he has not seen a correction of the statement, no such correction has ever been made?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I may tell the honorable member that there is a preface by Mr. Chamberlain himself to this compilation of speeches, in which he says that he has corrected them all, and yet there is no correction of the statement to which I have referred.

Mr Mauger:

– He has made the correction in a later speech.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

- Mr. Chamberlain further says : - “ Do this as kinsmen - without regard to your important interests.” “This,” he says, “is the parting of the ways.” In twenty years’ time it will be too late, and if no action is taken Canada will fall to the level of the United States of America, and Australia and South Africa will ultimately follow. He says tha’t in return for moderate preference the Colonies will give Great Britain substantial advantages. This is his statement, made from one end of England to the other, and he has no intention that Australia should raise her Tariff against Great Britain, or establish any industry which she has not already established.

Mr Mauger:

– “Utter rubbish.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– He says, further -

They will not arrange for Tariffs in future to start industries in competition with those which are in existence in the mother country.

He agrees that they will maintain their existing industries, but says that they will not establish others. What, then, becomes of this profession of belief in preferential trade by honorable members led by the honorable and learned member for Indi?

Mr Isaacs:

– Does the honorable member ‘ for Robertson oppose preferential trade ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I shall tell the honorable and learned member for Indi what I am in favour of at a later stage. Just now I desire to say something about what the honorable and learned member is himself in favour of. Mr. Chamberlain further says that, according to the Board of Trade, what he proposes will result in the employment in England of 166,000 men at 30s. a week. How are more men to be employed unless there are more manufactures? Does this not mean that there should be increased employment in industry? Honorable members will read in to-day’s newspapers that in Bedfordshire, Mr. Chamberlain, on the 6th October, repeated the very same argument. He inquires what it is that the Colonies ask for, and he says that Great Britain cannot give them a preference on raw material. This is common-sense on Mr. Chamberlain’s part. When he is dealing with protection he is not so foolish as to propose to tax raw material required by the manufacturer. A few days ago, I met a manufacturer in Sydney, who was talking free-trade, and I said to him, “ I thought you were a protectionist.” “ 0,h, yes,” he replied, “ we get 12$ per cent, under the Tariff, but I find that I could do much better under free-trade.” This gentleman is Mr. Wearne, whose industry is the manufacture of fireproof safes, and he has found that owing to the duties imposed, the increased cost of the material he uses in the manufacture of his safes more than balances the protection he is given on the manufactured article. It is foolish of protectionists to try to protect everybody, because it is impossible to give every man protection without doing injustice to some. Every man is protected when commerce is untrammelled. It appears to me that Mr. Wearne’s industry will be stamped out by the taxation which has been imposed on the raw materials he uses. Mr. Chamberlain proposes to increase the duties on importations of flour in order to re-establish the milling industry in Great Britain. So that our milling industry must suffer under this policy of preferential trade, because Mr. Chamberlain desires to retain the manufacture of flour for Great Britain - an industry that has gone very largely out of existence, because -of the importations to that country.

Sir John Forrest:

– Flour is not exported now - wheat is.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Exactly ; but from other parts of the Empire which do supply breadstuffs it is quite possible that flour might find its way into Great Britain.

Sir John Forrest:

– It does now.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– However, in investigating the matter, Mr. Chamberlain finds that it would be necessary to stipulate that there should be a duty on flour, so as to re-establish the milling industry. But under his scheme, the bacon industry would receive no consideration. There would be a preference given to Colonial wines. It is shown that the wine industry of Australia does not amount to £200,000 per year, so that the preference to Australian wine would not be great. Mr. Chamberlain expects to receive about £^9,000,000 on manufactures from foreign countries, but my chief consideration at this moment is to show who would have to pay for this preference given to the Colonies, and that Australia would not benefit to any great extent ; indeed, she would lose,’ and would be detrimentally affected in every way under his proposals. The duty on foreign manufactures is nor to exceed an average of 10 per cent, ad valorem, and presumably Colonial manufactures are to be .admitted free: The fallacies of the scheme are exposed in the Daily News of 8th October by Mr: Chiozza-Money. Taking food alone the imports in 1892 from self-governing Colonies were: - From Canada, £13,381,000; from Australia, £3,01 1,000; from New Zealand, £4,839,000; and from South Africa nothing. It is clear, therefore, that Mr. Chamberlain’s scheme would do nothing for South Africa, and chiefly concerns Canada. Taking the corn tax of 2 s. per quarter, the Treasury would receive 6d. per cwt. on the foreign supply, representing a sum of only £3,300,000; the consumer would pay 6d. per cwt. on the whole supply, representing £8,175,000 ; but the Colonies would get only , £875,000, Australia getting less than one-seventh. Taking the meat tax of 5 per cent., the Treasury would receive 5 per cent, on the foreign supply only, equal to £1,350,000 ; and the masses of the people would pay on the whole importation £3,975,000; but the Colonies would get only£375,000.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I am afraid that the honorable member is . entering rather into detail.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– It is necessary to give so much detail, because I intend to show presently what all these sums amount to. Taking the dairy produce tax of 5 per cent., the Treasury would receive 5 per cent, on the foreign supply only, amounting to £1,300,000 ; and the consumer would pay on the whole importation , £4, 1 50,000 ; but the Colonies would get only £350,000. To sum up in a sentence, the consumer would pay £16,300,000 to give the Treasury only £5,950,000 and British Colonies only £1,500,000. To put it in another way, the British people would have to pay £11 to put £1 into colonial pockets, or more truly, into Canadian pockets, as Australians would receive but 2s. 6d. of this sum. This is the amount of taxation’ upon the foodstuffs of Great Britain for the benefit of the Colonies. In the course of his remarks, Mr. Chamberlain went onto show that in Great Britain, where breadstuffs are raised to the extent of one-half of the consumption, the proposal would give to the land-owners the opportunity of gaining a larger amount of rent for their holdings, and it might to some extent be the means of putting larger areas under cultivation. But he says further that while the tax would be paid on all foreign imports, the duty would be paid by the foreigner. That fallacy, of course, is exploded. If the foreigner is to pay the duty on these breadstuffs, does it not go to show that the Australian people would get no higher price for their goods. The whole scheme has broken down under its own weight, and the people of Great Britain are not likely to grant to the Colonies a concession of such a character as would penalize the masses of the people of Great Britain to the extent of depriving the poorest of them of their daily bread. Karl Marx, the great apostle whom the labour members follow, says that when free-trade came in in Great Britain, between the forties and the sixties, it wasfound that, in the trade union centres, where the artisans of the highest class were employed, the men were not receiving sufficient nourishment from the food they were able to procure with their earnings ; in fact, they were getting even less than sufficient to prevent diseases caused by hunger. We are asked to put back the clock. After their great fight, the repealers of the corn laws put away their battle-axes, and disbanded their union. For a second time the union has had to be brought into existence for the purpose of preventing the people of Great Britain from losing the privilege of gaining their daily bread at the lowest possible cost, so that their wages might be relatively raised. Let honorable members listen to a protest recently cabled to the honorable member for Bland by the trade unionists of England, and published in the press here under the headings - “ Preferential trade. Appeal by British workers to their Australian brethren. Higher “ motives than Tariffs. Chamberlainism refuted. The feeling of mutual kinship. Is it based on sordid considerations?” It is as follows: -

In connexion with the attitude of the Australian Labour Party towards preferential trade, Mr. John Burns (Radical member in the House . of Commons for Battersea), has cabled as follows to Mr. J. C. Watson, ex-Prime Minister of Australia, and leader of the Australian Labour Party : - “ I adhere to the facts and the appeal set forth in the manifesto issued by the British labour representatives in the House of Commons in August, 1903, to the labour representatives in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Mr. Chamberlain’s proposals for preferential Tariffs,’ whatever their application to Australian products, would undoubtedly mean a rise in the price of foodstuffs for British workers.”

Yet honorable members of this Parliament who claim to represent the masses, are pledging themselves in favour of preferential trade proposals which will put £16, 000,000 of taxation on the people of Great Britain, or, if the remission of the tea and sugar duties suggested by Mr. Chamberlain takes place,, a taxation of £9,009,000. Mr. Burns goes on . to say -

I still believe that the Australasian workers will not ask for anything, imposing this disability upon the workers of the mother land. I appeal to them to seriously bear this in mind when considering fiscal proposals of any . description.

Is the appeal of this great leader to be in vain ? Are honorable members greater than their leaders? Mr. Burns continues-

I do not share Mr. Chamberlain’s assumption that preferential Tariffs provide the only system which will keep the Empire together. I would be surprised to hear that the kindly feelings which Australians entertain towards the mother land were based on such sordid considerations.

Those are the sordid considerations of the party in alliance with the honorable and learned member for Indi -

A feeling of mutual kinship, when it does come, must spring from higher motives than Tariffs can ever possibly supply.

Then Mr. Richard Bell, M.P., and chairman of the Leeds Trades Union Congress, cables -

I feel sure that the Australian Labour Party does not desire to adopt anything which, while it might offer some little advantage tothem, would entail tremendous sacrifices upon British workers and their families. I believe that labour, both in the Colonies and in the mother land, does hot desire to gain anyadvantage for itself, in each instance at great expenseto the other.

These men speak on behalf of the masses of England. They speak for many who are practically in a state of starvation, because the number of deaths from starvation in England to-day isappalling. Mr. Bell continues-

I appeal to Australian workers to respect the feelings of their British comrades, so emphatically expressed at the Congress, where representatives of all sections of British labour unanimously, declared against any system of preference.

These leaders of the working people of Great Britain say to the honorable member for Bland and his party, “ You either do not understand the facts, or you are insincere.” In their cablegramsto. their Australian comrades-

Mr SPEAKER:

– I have been listening for some time past to the honorable member’s remarks, to see if he was referring only incidentally to this question; but as it appears to me that he is discussing it very fully, I cannot, in view of the fact that there is upon the business paper a notice of motion dealing with the question, allow him to proceed further on his present line of argument.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I ask leave, Mr. Speaker, to continue my remarks on the. next day of sitting.

Leave granted ; debate adjourned.

House adjourned at 4.18 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 October 1904, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19041007_reps_2_22/>.