3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Bill returned from the Senate without request, and assent reported.
Mr. BAMFORD presented a petition from ninety six residents of New Zealand, who formerly lived in Australia, praying that a referendum be taken on the question of the unification of the States.
– When I made certain charges against the honorable member for Wimmera last week, I was very properly asked to read the circular to which I then referred, but as I had not a copy of it I could not do so. Having now a copy of that document, which I find is not a circular, but a letter in the handwriting of the honorable member’s partner, I shall read it for the information of the House. It is as follows : -
Seeing that we have now secured a bi-weekly mail to Kellalac, and can offer you a larger paper than the Post, at the same price, we hope to see you reinstated on our list of subscribers.
Sampson & Co.
The residents of the district - and I agree with them - think that this letter, if issued without the cognisance of the honorable member, and repudiated by him, should be publicly withdrawn. A correspondent, writing in the Warracknabeal Post on the 23rd March, and speaking on behalf of the people of Kellalac, says -
In the Herald of Friday last, Mr. Sampson, M.H.R., makes what he considers a reply to the statements made at the meeting of residents of Kellalac. Well, he might consider it a reply, but other people do not, and least of all do the people of this district, who are well acquainted with all the facts-
– I take it to be a rule, which is almost universally observed, that new matter should not be introduced into a personal explanation. I submit, therefore, that the honorable member has no right to read now the comment of a newspaper correspondent upon the question with which he is dealing ; that he has the right to explain anything in regard to which he considers himself to have been misunderstood, but that he may not bring fresh evidence in support of his position.
– I took it that the honorable member was following out his statement, that, having been challenged to produce certain information which he had only just obtained, he would proceed to give it to the House. If he goes beyond that, it will be my duty to rule as the Minister of Defence suggests ; but I do not think that he has yet transgressed the limits of a personal explanation.
– I was asked to substantiate the charges which I had made, and I am now merely reading the statement of a resident of the district, which practically repeats what I have already said.
– If the honorable member is reading comments which simply repeat that which he has already said, and go no further, I do not think he should continue to do so. If the letter which he wishes to read supplies fresh information, supporting his case, I shall not prevent him from reading it.
– The honorable member wishes to read merely the letter of an anonymous correspondent.
– I wish to make a plain statement of the case to the House, and the letter which I was proceeding to read is simply a substantiation of whatI have already said. I think, however, that the letter written by the honorable member’s partner is sufficient for my purpose, and, therefore, I shall not conclude my quotation from the newspaper.
.- I have nothing to add to the statement which I made on Friday last, which is borne out by the publication of the papers relating to the case in possession of the PostmasterGeneral, which were made available on Saturday. As I have said, the letter which has been read was sent out by my managing partner without my knowledge. I have since consulted him about it, and have ascertained that it was written, like many similar communications, in the ordinary way of business. The mail service referred to was established in a perfectly regular manner.
– In compliance with a petition signed by people of the district.
– That has nothing to do with it. No one denies that fact.
– As the honorable member ought to know, the use of the plural “ We “ is general in newspaper offices, not merely in editorials, but also in business communications. That is all I have to say about the matter.
.- I have a personal explanation to make, which I should have made on Friday2 had there been an opportunity, at the close of any of the speeches, when the Leader of the Opposition was present. Last Friday week, during the speech of the honorable membet” for Kalgoorlie, it was said that I had sent a wire to the Leader of the Opposition last year, containing the words, “Will serve under Fisher, but not under Lyne.” If the former, who is now present, and to whom I have addressed only one telegram in my life, will deny that I despatched such a message to him, it will be needless for me to proceed further, notwithstanding that the statement that I did so has been emphatically repeated by other Labour members. It must be known to him that no such telegram ever reached him from me; and, therefore, I cannot but regard his silence in the matter as unfair and unjust. I have really been waiting until the statement was repeated by a responsible person. Hitherto, it has come from members of the Opposition only ; but the Labour Call of the 1st July, makes »his further statement - which shows how a lie grows -
When coalition was discussed, and the question whether Lyne or Fisher should be
Premier was brought up, Crouch sent a wire saying, “ Will serve under Fisher, but not under Lyne.”
The Labour Call is the official organ of the Labour party in Victoria, and, as I regard the Opposition as mere marionettes, who dance as the wires are pulled by persons outside, I take it, therefore, that that statement is now indorsed by responsible persons. As the Leader of the Opposition is still silent, I wish to explain that I have taken the trouble to obtain an official copy of the telegram that I sent to him j but, before I read it, I shall explain the circumstances leading up to its despatch. In April of last year, as honorable members well know, the Deakin Government lost control of the House for about five . minutes, some of the members of the Labour party voting against the Ministry on a question of adjournment. The Government regained control shortly afterwards, but I. believe that the GovernorGeneral, who was in another State, was sent for, and that there was what was called a temporary crisis. The House adjourned for three or four days, and during that time, so far as I know, as a member of the Liberal party, the present Prime Minister refused to remain in .office unless he could control the House.
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable gentleman was going to resign, and we understood, as a party, that the honorable member for Hume, then Treasurer in the Deakin Government, desired very much to carry on, and was to have an opportunity to try to form a Ministry. The honorable member did try to form a Government. On Saturday, nth April. I was at Warburton on professional business, and, whilst there, learned to my surprise from newspaper reports that the honorable member for Hume was conferring with the Leader of the Labour party - the honorable member for Wide Bay - with a view to forming a new Administration. It was also reported that the honorable member would be able to take with him the whole of the Ministerialists. I knew that there were several Ministerialists who would never accept the honorable member as their leader, and consequently, on nth April, I sent, a telegram to the honorable member for Wide Bay, the wording of which was very different from what was currently reported among the Opposition.
The following is an official copy of the telegram - 11th April,1908.
Myself and several Ministeralists refuse support Lyne, leader, under any conditions.
I certify the above to be a true and correct copy. - J. Mason, Accountant.
– Very different.
– There is nothing in it to cheer about.
– If honorable members opposite cheer that statement, they would cheer anything.
– Some people will never cheer the truth. I do not expect honorable members of the Opposition to do so. The statement made by the honorable members of the Opposition in regard to the telegram that I sent has been considered sufficiently important to be repeated in the Labour papers, and I think that it calls for an explanation. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie, when speaking in this House a few days ago, said that he had in the House proof of the actual telegram sent.
– I did not. I referred incidentally to the matter.
– I well remember the honorable member saying that he had in the House proof of his statement.
– I said that I had in the House proof of my statement that the honorable member sought, on a particular occasion, to join with the Labour party.
– There is a great differonce between “ joining with the Labour party “ and “ joining the Labour party.” It is absolutely inaccurate to say that I at any time desired to join the Labour party or to sign its pledge. I have been asked on many occasions to do so, but have always refused. T repeat, that it is a distinct inaccuracy to say that I attempted, offered, or wanted to sign the Labour pledge or to join the Labour party.
– The honorable member crawled to try to get into the Watson Government.
– It is true that during a Ministerial crisis I received from the honorable member for Corio a telegram which reflected on one of his colleagues - on an honorable member with whom he was working. I thought so little of it, however, that I made no use of it whatever.
MINISTERS, laid upon the table the following papers -
Census and Statistics Act - Official Bulletins - Trade, Shipping, Oversea Migration, and Finance No. 28, April, 1909.
Population and Vital Statistics, No. 13 - Commonwealth Demography, 1908, and previous years.
Ordered to be printed.
Defence Acts - Military Forces - Regulations No. 6oa Added and No. 106’ Amended (Provisional) Statutory Rules 1909, No. 66.
Post and Telegraph Act - General Postal Regulations Amended - No. 3 - Commonwealth Electoral Papers - Statutory Rules 1909, No, 70.
Debate resumed from 2nd July (vide page 814), on motion by Mr. Fisher -
That the. Government does not possess the confidence of this House.
– Before the order of the day for the resumption of the debate on the motion of no-confidence is proceeded with, I think I may, without undue trespass, even upon this question, invite honorable members on both sides of the House to be good enough at this stage of public business,to condense their remarks as much as possible.
.- When we adjourned on Friday, I had been adducing certain reasons why I desired, first of all, the adoption of the elective system of Ministries ; secondly, the adoption of the principle of the referendum, so that the people themselves would dominate the Parliament, Cabinet, and the GovernorGeneral ; and, thirdly, an amendment of the Electoral Act, to provide either for the adoption of the principle of the second ballot, or for preferential voting. I pointed out that if either of those systems were adopted,- we should not have any honorable member representing only a minority of his constituents. I do not know an honorable member on this side who does represent a minority, but I know of some on the other side who do. I propose now to put before the House a few quotations emphasizing the “absurdity of the present system of party Government, and the almost criminal waste of time arising from the fights of the “ ins “ and the “ outs.” The British House of Commons, which is called the ‘’ mother of Parliaments,” has given us an example in this regard. It is im- possible even to find seating accommodation in the House of Commons for the whole of its members, let alone to provide for their representing their constituencies by taking part in the debates. In the late Mr. David Syme’s work on Representative Government in England, we find at page 90 the statement -
So far from being of any assistance, in my opinion, party Government is a positive hindrance to legislative action.
As one of the oldest members of Parliament on this side of the House - as one with twenty years’ experience of political life - I do not hesitate to say that party government has an injurious influence on all legislation. At page 91 of his book, Mr. Syme wrote -
Like the dogma of the Divine rights of kings and passive obedience, party government came to the front during the stormy period of the revolution. The system is indeed so monstrous that it could only have found acceptance <it a time when national animosities ran high, and the people were in an abnormal state of excitement.
One more quotation, and I shall have finished with this book, which I wish that every Australian would take the trouble to peruse. On page 92, speaking further of Party Government, the author says -
Had it been the design of its authors to demoralize the public mind, to impede the public business, to create natural animosities and general anarchy, they could not have better accomplished their end than by the introduction of such a system as this.
If we had elective Ministries, we could then perhaps devise some process by which the expense of even general elections could be avoided. For instance, a member could sit in the House contingent upon his good behaviour, and upon the pledges which he made to the constituents being kept; and his constituents could have the same power of immediate dismissal over him if he did not carry out their wishes as the King has over the Ministry. As to the future of Party Government, if it is not killed by an enactment which the present Government can cover themselves with glory by “introducing, I am convinced that these words, spoken by the elder Pitt when the British House of Commons was in a somewhat similar position to that with which we are faced to-day, are very apropos -
Before the end of the century either Parliament will reform itself from within or be reformed with a vengeance from without.
When we go back to our constituencies, unless there is a second ballot, or a pre.ferential voting system, the present ab surdity will be perpetuated. I am certain that the Prime Minister will agree with me that if the House consisted of members every one of whom represented a majority in his constituency, it would be possible to arrive at some sort of. an agreement or understanding to do the work of the country in a much more sensible way than obtains at present, with two, three, or four parties. I have here a detailed statement showing the history of the referendum in Switzerland, and I would ask that it be embodied in Hansard without my reading it.
– The honorable member will not be able to have the extract printed in Hansard unless he reads it.
– It is a statement giving in detail the referenda held in Switzerland up to 1897, and any honorable member is at liberty to inspect it. It shows that Switzerland has, on the average, about one referendum a year, but by those means every debatable subject has been settled. They get through their business properly in Switzerland, and if we had a system of elective Ministries, as they have, your position, Mr. Speaker, would be much more pleasant to yourself, and still more beneficial to the community, because you would witness the passage of many Acts that cannot be passed under our present system. In Vincent’s Government in Switzerland, page 182, it is stated that -
The daily sessions begin in summer at 8 o’clock in the morning, and in winter at 9 o’clock, and continue as a rule for five hours.
The roll is called, and any absent member is fined. Honorable members speak at times of the over-representation of the Australian people by members of Parliament, and I wish that the present Government could see their way to take a referendum of the people on the question of the abolition of the State Governors and Legislative Councils. If in such a referendum the voice of Australia declared, by a large majority, that the time, had come to wipe out the State Governors and the second Chambers, surely they would, after the fashion of the Japanese, commit the happy despatch, and leave only one House in each State. But in some of the local Parliaments of Switzerland, there is one member to every 300 men, women, and children in the community, and, therefore, I shall never agree to the abolition of the popular Assembly which goes before the voters of each State every three years, until a good trial has been given to that system.
I propose to speak to-day upon a matter that has been brought more pertinently before my notice than before that of any other honorable member in the House. I refer to the contemptible and pitiable system by which- such a huge number of questions are asked of those whose only fault is that they are Christlike in their poverty, and .who are applicants for old-age pensions. If ever I resented the action of red-tapeism, I did so in regard to those innumerable and infamous questions. No one gainsays that the management of the Victorian system of old-age pensions is an example in many ways to every other system in the world, especially on the score of economy of administration. I admit that, when the aid of the Law Courts was invoked, the justices of the peace misbehaved themselves, and discredited their positions by the manner in which they dealt with the old people, but the questions asked were simple in the extreme, humane, and civilized, and were not the abomination that has emanated from the Commonwealth authorities. Under the Victorian system an applicant who could not write was not forced to run round to find somebody who could write for him. All he had to do was to go to the Clerk of Courts, who would read out about twenty-three questions, and ask him to attest the’ answers as the true statement of the facts. That form, when filled in, was handed to the Government, and then an officer was sent round, who asked twenty-one questions himself, and filled in the answers. The applicant was not compelled to do what he has to do under the Commonwealth system. That form was also sent’ in. Every one of those questions was, in my opinion, justifiable, but let us compare now what is done under the Commonwealth system. Many a time have I prophesied from the public platform that when the Federal Government had the control of old-age pensions the applicants would be. treated like men and women, but I am sorry that I lied as often as I spoke. I did not foresee what would occur, or I should never have paid that compliment to this vile list of questions, which could only have emanated from the London* poor-house system. Those responsible must have gone back fifty 5’ears to get some of them.
– Who framed those regulations ?
– I suppose that the Department did.
– The Act required what was done in the regulations.
– The Act ! If I were a lawyer I could get a thousand questionswithin the four corners of the Act. I say hang the Act that would give rise to such infamous questions as these. There are forty-two of them, and an applicant whocannot write must get some one to write for him.
– - It is an outrage.
– It is an insult to civilization. Not only that, but he must get two friends who have known him for twenty-five years to answer thirty questions. Then for fear that these old people have not enough to torment or insult them, the condition is appended that -
No person shall by any wilfully false statement or representation aid or abet any person in obtaining or claiming a pension certificate or pension or instalment of a pension. Penalty : “Six months’ imprisonment.
To my knowledge, some old people have refused to sign this document, because they did not know whether, in doing so, they might not place themselves within the law. Of course, I know that there is a saving clause that if those who are appealed to have not known the applicants for twentyfive years, persons of shorter acquaintance will suffice ; but that is not sufficient to allay the alarm of the old people. There are altogether some sixty questions to be answered ; and, if a lawyer were consulted, he could no doubt add 600 more. Under the Victorian Act, the only questions to be answered were by word of mouth, in reply, to the Clerks of Courts ; whereas, in addition to the sixty I have mentioned, there are the other forty-two questions, making altogether 102 011 the six pages. Under the Victorian Act, which is the most economical in the whole of Australia, an officer went round, asked the questions, and filled in the information for the old people. Under the Federal Act, two declarations have to be made, whereas under the Victorian Act, there is only one; and there are eighteen pages of questions which have to be filled in by friends of Federal applicants ; whereas, there are no such questions under the Victorian Act. I know it will be said that some of the heads of the Department do their duty, and do it splendidly ; but I hold a different opinion. No doubt, these officers perform the duties to perfection’, in their own opinion ; just as the men who crucified Christ 2,000 years ago thought that they did their duty. But it is cruel to inflict this unnecessary pain on the helpless and aged poor. I hold in my hand a letter written by a student of life, who has watched the world, for many years ; and he says -
Thinking of your speech to-morrow, will you allow me to remind you of another way of putting the question? When there are men wanted to fight Cor the Empire, there is no question asked as to the character. The wife-beater, or wife deserter, is as much thought of as the most upright in character; therefore, when they come to the pensioning age, there should be only three questions asked - naturalization, age, and length of time in the Commonwealth.
The question as to how much an applicant is in receipt of might be asked ; but to torment the poor people in the way I have shown is an infamy and a disgrace to those men who draw high salaries for formulating the questions. It may be said that the questions will be asked only once ; but then it may be necessary for a man to be run over only once to be killed. The following extract shows a case to which my attention was drawn by the honorable member for Maranoa : -
Strange Pension Case.
A woman applicant for an old-age pension who is alleged to have been repeatedly convicted of offences so impressed a member of the Federal Parliament with the genuineness of her case and the purity of her past career, that he wrote a strong recommendation to the Federal Treasurer that the pension might be granted, referring to the would-be pensioner as having led a “ Christlike existence.” Two other citizens of Melbourne went so far as to formally declare that the applicant was of good character. Inquiries are now being made into this case by the Federal Attorney-General to see if a prosecution would lie under the Old-age Pension Act against the two citizens who made the declarations. The Act says that “ no person shall by any wilfully false statement or misrepresentation aid or abet any person in obtaining or claiming a pension certificate or pension or instalment of a pension. Penalty, six months’ imprisonment.” Of course, the makers of the declarations may have been deceived, and have acted throughout in good faith.
If such declarations have been made, it is the duty of the Attorney-General to take action, and not to allow cases of the kind to leak out and give cause for alarm. The impertinence of some petty underling in the red-tape Department is keenly resented by me; though I know that the Attorney-General is too kind-hearted to permit any injustice.
– I never heard of the case. I was asked about it; but it never came before me.
– I know that the AttorneyGeneral is too kind-hearted to do anything of the kind. Then, again, we have the following extract from the Melbourne Age of 5th July : -
The first court under the Federal Old-age Pensions Act was held yesterday, and was presided over by the P.M. (Mr. W. W. Harris) and Mr. G. Anstey, J. P. A man and his wife who applied could furnish no proof of the date of their birth, and said they could only guess their respective ages. None of their four children had been baptised. They did not know the year they arrived in Victoria, and they both guessed their ages when they were being married. As there was a doubt as to their respective ages, their applications were postponed for a month.
Why did the magistrates not ask whether the children of the applicants had back teeth? What had the desired information to do with the needs of the applicants? If a man is. sixty-five years of .age, and is without any income, and unable to earn his livelihood, he has a right, at all events, to some assistance from the State; and no justice of the peace or stipendiary magistrate has the right to ask impertinent questions. We have liberty of conscience in Australia; and we should not allow any magistrate to tamper with it in the slightest degree. I compliment the Presbyterian Church on the way in which it pays stipends and pensions; and it would be well if the same kindness of heart were shown in the administration of the Old-age Pensions Act. I only wish that Mr. Weire were at the head of affairs; and I am sure that Mr. Allen could, if he would, reduce the number of questions. Our kind-hearted AttorneyGeneral and the Government will, I ‘ am confident, make, the conditions lighter and easier for the old people, because we desire no poor-house system in Australia. When the Treasury is rich enough I hope the only questions asked will be whether a person has reached the age, and has been in Australia for the requisite period, and that the pension will be granted, whether the person be a millionaire or a destitute. Only such a system will remove the stigma of poverty; and I .contend that an oldage pension should carry with it no such stigma, but should be the right of every old citizen of the Commonwealth. As a suggestion to bring grist to the mill, .1 asked certain questions of the Treasurer. They were in reference to the profits derived from the coinage of silver. .1 desired to see the way made clear for the nationalization of our silver mines in Australia, so as to enable the profits derived from the coinage of Australian silver to be used for public purposes. We could obtain a huge income annually at nominal expense from this source. On the 14th. October of last year I asked the then Treasurer, the honorable member for Hume -
Whether in view of the fact that silver is quoted in the Age of 12th October at 2313-16d. per oz., would he inform the House what would be the profit of the minting of one million pounds (£1,000,000) worth of Australian silver at such price ?
A schoolboy could make that calculation in a few minutes. The reply given was -
The profit after providing for rehabilitation of the coins would be about £440,000.
That answer had to be corrected afterwards. I could not be content with so inaccurate a reply. Accordingly, on the 29th October, I asked the then Treasurer -
Is it a fact that one oz. sterling silver will mint 5s. 6d. worth of currency? If so, is the answer of his officers given to question No. 4, on 14th October, correct, namely that the profit on one million pounds worth of Australian silver at 23 13-16d. per oz. would be only four hundred and forty thousand pounds?
The answer on this occasion was very different. It was that the gross profit would be £1, 771,654 - about four times as much as the amount mentioned in the previous answer.
– Is that the profit on minting £1,000,000 worth of silver?
– . £1,000,000 worth of silver bullion could be converted into coin having a face value of . £2,771,654, and the gross profit would be £1,771,654. That is currency which would not be refused by any Australian. Again, on the 3rd December, I asked the then Treasurer, the present leader of the Opposition -
What the profit would be on the minting of £1,000,000 worth of Australian silver at the price quoted in the Age of 2nd December, namely,1s. 10 5-16d. per standard ounce?
The answer was -
The gross profit on coining £1,000,000 of silver bullion would be . £1,957,983.
I also asked -
What would be the cost of minting same at the usual rate of 3 per cent. ?
The answer was that the cost would be £88,739.I further asked -
What would be the net profit on such purchase after deducting such stated cost, or any other contingent expense?
The reply was that the net profit would be £1,354,555; but I dissent from that estimate altogether. The only amount that would be deducted is the 3 per cent, for minting., and, as I reckon, the profit would be, roughly, , £1,750,000 at the price mentioned in the Age on the day quoted. That is to say, for an expenditure of £1,000,000 we could issue coinage to -the extent of £2,750,000 to enable us to build the Federal Capital and undertake any other public work. In our Federal Capital we shall have to have coffee palaces, hotels, private houses, clubs, and so forth. They could be built from this currency, and the Federal Government could charge 5 per cent, for rent. In a very short time we should have the Federal city built and be deriving a huge revenue without the expenditure of a single penny piece. In a previous Parliament 1 sought to induce the Government to initiate a system of Federal notes as legal tender supplementary to gold for the execution of revenue -producing public works. Any one who will study the map of Australia will be struck by the huge blank space in the north which we call the Northern Territory, and must know, notwithstanding what the newspapers may say, that that is the part where we are most liable to attack. Those who have been there report that there is a vast quantity of rich land in the Northern Territory, and that there are rivers larger than those we have in the south. In fact, the wealth that is to be obtained from the Territory no one can estimate. No wise man would venture to foretell its potentialities. Suppose we were to build a railway line to the Territory costing £3,000,000. For that purpose, what I should like to see the Treasurer do is this. We should issue Federal notes guaranteed by the security of the Federal Government, making- them part of the currency of the country. They could be earmarked for the purposes of a railway line to Port Darwin, The notes would have the special security of the land on which the railway was built, of the permanent way, and of every piece of rolling stock on the railway ; and behind all would be the guarantee of the honour of a continent, which I venture to say would be the best guarantee in the world. Compare the way in which the existing banks of issue deal with notes and the way in which they are dealt with by the Bank of England. Five, pounds is the lowest denomination for which notes are issued by the Bank of England, and each note is only issued once. Whenever a note comes back into the bank it is destroyed. Consequently, if there is a forgery it is almost certain to be detected early. But the same notes are issued time after time by the Australian banks of issue. The method of rejection is that if a. note does not go easily through the second and third fingers of the bank officer, and a particular note is found to be too_ foul and stained to be handled, it is cancelled. When a. note is thus rejected, the bank authorities mark it off in their books. If it is found that a note corresponding to the number of the note about to be marked off has already been cancelled, an entry is made on the margin. But the note previously marked off may have been a forgery. It is very difficult for bank officials in this country to detect forgeries, but in the Bank of England it is easy.
– How would the honorable member redeem the ,£3,000,000 on account of the Northern Territory railway ?
– Those notes could be paid to the public servants of the Commonwealth, or issued in other ways. The honorable member for Gwydir will understand that in taking the Northern Territory as an example I am citing: the project least likely to pay.
– The honorable member wants to build a railway so that the Japanese or the Chinese may more rapidly get to the centres of civilization in this country.
– No, I want the railway so as to be able ,to send troops to prevent an enemy from coming down. Suppose the honorable member borrowed £3,000,000 at 3 per cent., he would every year have to pay £90,000 in interest, and that money would be saved under the system I am describing by the issue of these notes. The notes would be currency, and whatever the return from the investment might be, whether £500 or £5,000 a year, notes to that value might be burned.
– Would the honorable member not have them payable on demand?
– No, they would never be redeemable with gold. They would have to be accepted as currency, just as Bank of England1 notes were for upwards of twenty-two years, when it was impossible to get gold for them. Let me tell honorable members that the Bank of England was tottering to a fall on three occasions, and each time was saved by a National Bank - twice by the Bank of France, and once by the Bank of Germany and the Bank of Russia. I can give honorable members an instance of the way in which the system would work from the history of the allied States of Great Britain. The Channel Islands were never conquered by England, but are allied
States of Great Britain. Until a comparatively recent time their currency and forms of government differed from those of Great Britain, and there are certain forms of government existing in the Channel Islands at this date which do not prevail in Great Britain. I should like to impress on honorable members the fact that works dealing with forms of currency have been removed from libraries throughout the world, and at the present time certain books dealing with the subject have absolutely disappeared. It is believed that this has been due to certain financiers, who saw the danger to the capitalistic system should such a system of currency as I am describing be adopted. John Jacob, in his Annals of British Norman Isles, published in 1830 bv Simpkins and Marshall, London, and A. and W. Galignani, Paris, tells us -
For many centuries the markets in St. Peters, Guernsey, were held along High-street, as far as the bottom of Castle-street. The inconveniences arising from this confined situation had been long felt. In the year 1726 a committee of the Legislative Assembly was appointed to select a site for a new market building. Again, in the year 1777, an attempt was made by private individuals to secure the same object. Up to the year 1822, the butchers sold meat in open stalls, but the population increasing, this market became too confined, and the inconvenience was increased bv the prohibition to the butchers against opening butchers’ shops in other parts ot the city. In 1830 measures were again taken to build a new meat market, and the present handsome building was opened during October in the same year, at a cost of upwards of ^4,000.
Now, to show honorable members how it was done -
The estimated cost of the new meat market being about ^4,000, how to raise that amount became the immediate question with the promoters of the scheme. Numerous consultations were held, the upshot of which was that instead of borrowing gold, the promoters determined to issue “ Market House Scrip,” or legal tender notes of their own, founded on the credit of the Island. The politicians of the day called them a set of pestilential innovators, for adopting a course so opposed to common sense and ancient custom ; but notwithstanding all opposition, Market House Scrip to the requisite amount, and of various denominations, was ultimately issued by the authority of the House of Assembly, when Daniel de Lisle Brock was Governor of the Island. The materials were found, the men put to work, the market erected, and the stall? rented. Every month’s rent reduced the total of the scrip, and in less than ten years all the scrip was paid back into the public Treasury, stamped, cancelled ; and thus ended the life of the Guernsey Market House Scrip. But the rents have to this day continued, and are applied to local improvements.
In that little island of Guernsey, ami throughout Jersey and Alderney ‘ that is the plan by which they avoid the payment of interest and the accumulation of public debts. In Guernsey one day in each year i-s celebrated as a public holiday, and on that day notes covered by the rent paid oy stall-holders are burnt, amid feasting and joy. To such an extent is the system availed of that even for the building of a water mill notes are issued, which are subsequently paid off and burnt as the returns from the investment come in. I take as an illustration the railway from Melbourne to Sydney, which pays fairly well. If we had built that line by the issue of these notes we should never have had to pay away the huge sums in interest that we have been paying up to this date. The cost of the line would have been paid off by this time, and we should now have a revenue -earning line, without any money ac all having been expended. When I brought this matter before the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, in the late nineties, we had borrowed in this State something like £53,000,000, and up to that date had paid back nearly £53,000,000 in principal and interest, and still owed about £50,000,000. The system which I have described, if adopted, would have prevented all that borrowing and payment of interest, and we should not be in the hands of the moneymongers of the world, as Australia is today.
– The honorable member’s statements appear to be all right as applied to paying concerns, but what would happen in the case of non-paying concerns?
– I could give two examples, one of which is a non-paying railway line, constructed for purposes ot defence.
– There would be no holiday for the burning of notes in that case.
– That is where the honorable member and I disagree. We have lands in the north, capable of more intense culture than any lands in European countries, and we might look forward to their settlement by a teeming population in. the immediate future if this Parliament only woke up to its duty, and prevented the destruction of child life that is now going on in Australia. If we had a population settled on those northern lands, .the productions of the soil would be sufficient to make the railways pay.
– It is a grand picture that the honorable member is painting.
– Let the honorable member for Maranoa paint a better if he is able.
– What does the honorable member for Maranoa mean generally by a non -paying railway?
– I must let the honorable member for Adelaide settle that with the honorable member for Maranoa. In answer to an interjection I said that T would not have these notes redeemable, because they should be made currency, and would have the best security behind them that ever backed up a note issue. It is sometimes interesting to look back to the history of older countries. The Bank of Venice existed for 626 years, and for 500 years it was carried on by what is known as a system of fiat money. There was no gold provided to redeem, the note issue, and that bank would have lasted up to the present day if it had not been swept out of existence when Napoleon took Venice. I have spoken at greater length than I intended on the currency question, but there is one thing which I should like to impress upon honorable members, and it is this : Let them take into consideration a line of railway with which they are well acquainted, and which is a paying line, and I ask what better security could they have for a note issue than the land upon which the railway is built, every penny spent on the permanent way and rolling stock, and at the back of all, for the first time in the world, the honour of a Commonwealth and continent? The history of national banks is that no such bank has ever failed, and if it were not for the national banks of Europe the Bank of England, which is itself a. semi-national bank, would have . ceased to do business long ago. I do not know whether the Government intend to propose the imposition of a progressive land tax. If it does, I can assure it that it can obtain some splendid examples from two countries that I shall mention. One of these - I refer to Japan, which has recently achieved so much in the realms of military glory - seems to have inherited all the genius of past ages. It is a nation that in less than the life of a human being - within the term of the present -Mikado’s reign - has become so advanced that it possesses to-day the most scientific Tariff in the world - a. Tariff that can be amended in shorter time than can any European Tariff. One brief example of this must impress honorable members. The great tobacco combine of
America, which makes the price of almost every pipeful of tobacco and every cigarette that is smoked in Australia, held Japan in the hollow of its hand. It ridiculed the idea of anybody competing with it. It taught the Japanese to love the cigarette, and, as a result, its profits were extremely large. The Japanese Government - seeing that a huge profit was being made out of this monopoly, and requiring revenue for warlike expenditure - approached the combine, and asked it to sell its works. A shout of Homeric laughter ran through the’ combine. Japan thereupon levied a duty of 50 per cent, upon the products of the combine, and this impost it shortly after increased to 100 per cent. Still the great Tobacco Trust of America merely smiled. Then Japan increased the duty to 150 per cent., and by a single clause in its Constitution decreed that all articles to be used in a Government monopoly should be admitted1 free. The combine did not smile then, but asked for a large sum for its manufactories and machinery. That was in 1905. In 1906, Japan increased the duty to 250 per cent., and thus broke up the combine. The latter then begged the Japanese Government to take over its works. But the Government answered : “ When we made you a fair offer, you refused to accept it, and now we do not require your works.” At the present moment, Japan, from Russian Siberia in the north to Bombay in the east, is beating the combine with its own weapons. The country to which I have been referring has gone so far in the matter of its imposition of a land tax that if our Government wished to learn anything from it they could learn the lesson’ very well. In the kingdom of Prussia, too, duties as high as 25 per cent, have been levied. Some of the probate duties in England are as high as 20 per cent. This circumstance recalls the fact that when I was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, in 1892, and Mr. Isaacs, the then Attorney-General, was introducing amended probate duties, I suggested that in Committee he should agree to a small amendment to the effect that the duty of 10 per cent, upon an estate valued1 at £100,000 should be continued in the same ratio. It was late at night, and honorable members were tired, so that it is not surprising that only one man saw the position in which the adoption of that amendment would have placed the Government. He said 10 per cent, upon an estate valued at £100,000 would mean £10,000, and on an estate of £200,000 would be equivalent to £20,000. He declared that he would not object to that, but that he would object to an estate valued at £1,000,000 be: ing seized by the Crown. After that, my amendment had no chance, and although thirty-two honorable members voted for 20 per cent, on £200,000 and over, it was defeated by twelve votes. It is a far cry from 1892 to 1909. Yet in England to-day, probate duties as high as I have indicated are being levied. There, one estate valued at £12,000,000 will contribute to the exchequer a sum of between £2,500,000 and £3,000,000. I cannot see. any reason why a country which permits a man to accumulate as much as £12,000,000 should not become possessed of the half of that value upon his death - especially in view of the desire which permeates Australia that our lands should not continue to be locked up as they have been. The Labour party has been accused of being in favour of confiscation. But the accusation is so false that the individual making it must be influenced either by ignorance or a desire to calumniate. I do not suggest that the New Zealand Land Tax Act is a perfect measure, but I contend that it would be absolutely fair to allow the State the right to resume lands atf (the valuation placed upon them by owners for taxation purposes. If such a system obtained here, I am satisfied that we should not find so many sons of our farmers leaving Victoria. Of course, I recognise that the loss which this State suffers in an exodus of population is usually the gain of another. But to my mind it would be far better if we could make the family life - for which the Anglo-Celtic race is so famed - as close as possible. The strongest tie - that of the home - is weakened by the sons of our people being forced to go abroad into other States. I do not intend to weary Bie House by quoting figures in reference to land monopoly, but I should like to mention that a splendid series of articles upon a land tax recently appeared in the Age - articles which the Government should peruse carefully if they desire to retain their places upon the Treasury benches. I wish also to bring under the notice of honorable members a statement which appeared in the public press last month to the effect that the new Commonwealth electoral rolls for Victoria contain 25,000 less names than appeared on the old rolls. I am glad to see all duplicate names wiped out, because I recognise the truth of what Ruskin wrote, “Life is the only wealth.”
In New South Wales the number of voters has increased by 28,900. In Tasmania also the number of voters has increased, while other States have lost slightly. Of course, I understand that the decrease in Victoria has resulted from the infamous system of plural voting under which it has suffered for so many years. As regards the scarcity of land, with the exception of Western Australia, South Australia, including the Northern Territory, has a far larger area than has any other State. Yet, for 127 blocks of land a little outside Adelaide there were about 1,000 applicants, that is just upon 870 men were disappointed at being unable to get land. Sir, that should be the keynote to our defence policy, for without population we shall never be able to defend the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Adelaide has kindly handed to me a statement that, according to a message from Sydney, on the 1 st July there were 380 applications for two blocks of land in New South Wales. Another example of the unsatisfied demand for land was furnished this morning, in a mesage from Uralla, to the effect that 300 applications had been received for two small blocks. The town is blocked in by large estates. There lies the wrong to the people. As it was in the days df Isaiah, who spoke with the words of a prophet against land monopolisers^ so it is to-day all along the line in Australia. Here are we transplanting the English system of land tenure. So venerated is the land tenure of England that no human being has ever been considered fit to hold the franchise there except in virtue of ownership or tenancy. Would to God that England, with her mighty heart, had such a franchise as we in Australia possess ! ‘ Then Democracy might have a chance to reachits goal. It may be interesting to honorable members to know how Japan deals’ with the question of income tax. In some parts of Japan a yen - a com worth two shillings and a halfpenny - is frequently the equivalent of a pound in Australia. I believe that I am fairly within the mark when I say that an income of £100 in Japan is far more valuable than an income of £500 in Australia. According to the Financial and Economic Annual of Tapan for 1908, the tax on an income of £100 is £r 10s., but under an extraordinary tax which may be levied, that amount is increased to £3 9s. If a . man receives an income of £300, he pays, not three times, but four times, the rate levied on an income of £100, that is £6, which is increased to £13 16s. under the special tax. If a man receives an income of £1,000, he pays a tax of £30; and a man who gets an income of £10,000 pays a tax of £550. Under the extraordinary tax the tax of the man receiving £1,000 a year becomes £75, and the tax of the man receiving £10,000 a year becomes £2>°35- Compared. with a man in receipt of an income of £100, a man with an income of £1,000 pays 100 per cent, more, while a man with an income of £10,000 pays 366^ per cent, more, showing a large progressive increase. The increase under the extraordinary tax is ever so much more than is the increase under the ordinary income tax. Compared with a man in receipt of an income of £100, a man with an income of £1,000 pays 217 per cent, more, while a man with an income of £10,000 pays 589 per cent. more. That is an illustration of the operation of a progressive tax, and the Treasurer, if he is in great need of money, might very well follow the example of Japan. With regard to the land tax levied in that country, it starts at 2 *</inline> per cent, of the assessed value of the land, but it may run from 3 to 17J per cent., according to the value of the land. In Prussia, if I remember aright, the income tax has been as high as 50 per cent, on very large incomes. In England, dreadful Budgets have to be prepared in order to raise more money for the army and navy. They cannot raise much more revenue from the common people. According to
– Perhaps it is intended as a halo.
– I have never heard of a red halo, and hope that I never shall, if red is to be regarded as symbolic of bloodshed. I compliment the honorable gentleman on his change of attitude, because it is charming to hear him speaking from the right, whereas, when he spoke from the left of the Chair, it made 01’ r nerves jump. It is stated in this np’A spaper that in England the idea of Empire is not held so strongly as in Australia, and that therefore it’ is not to be wondered that the conceit halls have not been_ full. In The People, a newspaper published in Sydney, there occurs an article published over the name of Elizabeth Roth, which contains some statements which I think need indorsing. It has been claimed for the British flag by one of our Ministers of Defence that to it is due our high standard of civilization. I say that it is due rather to the innate sense of wrong in the hearts of those who left the Old Land to settle here. It took
T25 years to establish the ballot system in Great Britain, and that country has not yet extended the franchise to women. We, however, have given the women the right to vote. In Great Britain, to their unutterable disgrace, they not only refuse the franchise to woman, but have hurled insults at her because she is fighting to get her rights. Is it forgotten that there were thirty-two men killed in the effort to extend the franchise to men, that castles and gaols were burnt down, and mud thrown in the face of the King in the . streets of
London ? 1 am sorry that the Prime Minister, when asked to send a message pf sympathy to the women of England, could not make a better reply than he did. It is stated, in an extract which I have here, that in Great Britain thousands of little children who are ill-fed and ofttimes cruelly handled, toil on without hope and without future. From the time of the Chartist, or rather, from the time of the first Reform movement, there has been an agitation in Great Britain for a wider franchise, and I wish the women of England success in their efforts to secure the right to vote. It is considered in England improper for women to gaze upon the proceedings of the House of Commons, except through the bars of a cage, known as “ the grille.” Woman is considered so vile that in a church at Harrow she- is hardly permitted to look upon those who pay pew rents. In Great Britain, women are classed with the criminals and lunatics, so far as the franchise is concerned. I resent that. It is to the splendid fighting instinct which we Australians have derived with our British blood, that we owe the liberties which we have; we do not owe them to the example of the Old Country, with her limited franchise and abominable land laws. I am the son of an Englishwoman, and love the land that gave her birth ; but I deeply resent the fact that during a sixandahalfyears’ residence there I was denied the right of manhood, and not permitted to vote. England must depend upon her people, yet, as I shall show later on, her death-rate from starvation is the highest in the world. I. hope that what I have said in regard to the opening up of our lands will sink deep into the hearts of the Ministry. Even if they refuse to take action in this Parliament, the Government of the da.y in the next must be prepared to provide for a progressive land tax, and a progressive income tax. It must be prepared to provide also for the Commonwealth power being dominant so that we may control Australia for the welfare not only of the people already here, but for the well-being of our children and of every member of the white races in the over-crowded countries of Europe. I object most strongly to the system under which the High Court is empowered to knock an Act of Parliament, so to speak, “ sky high.” The members of the Bench do not take their brains from the horse, but they certainly take their head adornments from the tail of the horse, and I object to their having power to declare an Act inoperative. Before I deal further with this question, however, I think, sir, that we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.) I object to the High Court having power to controvert and override the intentions of this Parliament. Surely the many legal gentlemen in the present Ministry should be able to draft a Bill declaring that a decision against the spirit of an Act passed by this Parliament shall be merely suspended, and shall prevail only until the Parliament has amended the law. I have in my mind more particularly the decisions of the Court in regard to. our anti-trust legislation. I certainly think that decisions at variance with the evident wish of this Parliament as shown in the parliamentary debates, should be suspended until we alter or amend the law on which that decision is based, il regret that our effort to apply the principle of the new Protection to the harvester industry has been held ultra vires, on an appeal to the High Court by Mr. McKay, a gentleman who, as the result of our Customs duties, has been enabled to reap a huge fortune. Mr. McKay is so ungrateful that he is prepared to take any point of law in order to best us. I have here some figures which I have obtained from the exMinister of Customs showing the beneficial effect which our legislation has had upon the local manufactures of harvesters. In 1906. 491 stripper harvesters, of the value of £20,000, were imported into this State. In 1908, however, after the passing of our harvester legislation, only 3 were imported, and during the first five .months of the present year only one was imported into Victoria. It seems to me that if we desire to see those engaged in the industry paid reasonable wages and the machines sold to the farmers at fair prices, the only course now open to us is to provide for their manufacture in the Government railway workshops at Newport. By the adoption of that course farmers throughout the length and breadth of Australia would be able to obtain for £32 10s. a machine for which they have now to pay from £71 to £72. I am satisfied that we should have the farmers with us if we adopted that system. It is, to say the least, remarkable that, notwithstanding that we experienced last year one of the most bountiful seasons that we have ever enjoyed, a combine was able to raise the price of bread. The more bountiful the harvest, it would seem, the dearer the bread. That is a matter that must engage the attention of the Government; if the State Governments refuse to take action, then the Federal Government must step in. In the State which you, Mi. Speaker, represent so well, the Government take the farmer’s sheep, and convert it into mutton ; they take his lambs and prepare them for export; they convert the waste into fertilizers; they ship the mutton and Iamb to England, and so enable the farmers to obtain the full value of their In bour bv avoiding; the charges of the middlemen. That is a form of Government action which, if proposed by honorable members on this side of the House, would be described as Socialism, but no one will deny that it has been productive of great good to the people on the land. I wish now to raise my protest against the use of expensive uniforms in connexion with our military system. We find that even Senator Pearce - that gentleman of sterling worth who won honour in the office of Minister of Defence - had a curb placed upon his desire to lessen the expense of officers’ uniforms. I see no reason why in this connexion I should not quote certain words vised by the honorable member for Richmond, when Minister of Defence - words that will live as long as the military customs which they condemn prevail. Speaking of what the honorable member for Darwin describes as our “gilt-spurred roosters,” the honorable member said -
T do not wish to say anything disagreeable ; but honorable members who had an opportunity of seeing the gorgeous spectacles on the occasion of the visit of the American Fleet must have been struck by the view of decent, respectable, inoffensive gentlemen, appearing arrayed like escapees from the Madhi’s harem. It is astounding to me that men should desire to get into such uniforms. I can understand men in China, in times gone by, assuming great masks in order to frighten the enemy, or gorgeous costumes being resorted to by savages, or the rainmakers of Africa; but I cannot conceive that any respectable, middle-aged man, who has lost his waist, can desire any such costume.
– Does the present Minister of Defence indorse those sentiments?
– I think he will when he begins to think of the matter. The burghers of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, when they faced the mighty army of England, wore a uniform like the ordinary costume of an Australian bushman, and yet they were able to move about with a mobility which even the khaki-clad men of our own ranks could not cope with. 1. am sure the Minister of Defence will agree with me that the uniform in which a man is willing to fight, and, if need be, to die for his country, ought to be good enough to eat his dinner in. I remember the gorgeous displays we used to have at the opening of the Victorian Parliament in this building, when a certain Major or Colonel Watson was the most glorious spectacle of them all, and for the life of me I could never imagine any one being afraid of him in uniform or otherwise. But I know he took advantage of his position to be unfair to the citizens of Australia who unfortunately were employed under him. I would ask the Minister to order that, in regard to any entertainments with the invitations to which he has anything to do, if officers wish to come in uniform, they must wear the uniform in which they are willing to fight and die for their country. The present uniforms are absurdities. At the last opening of Parliament I saw men wearing under our bright Australian skies head-gear that gave no shelter. Every medical man in Australia would laugh it to scorn, and the Minister of Defence himself would be the first to object to wearing it if he were asked to do so. If he did have to wear it for an hour or two in the sun he would feel like shying it into a corner when he got home. I should like to quote to the House some interesting extracts from literature published by the Peace Society regarding the great German nation, with which the press of this State and the press of England are too apt to make us quarrel. If any one had told me that what appears in these columns was possible, I should - have regarded it as a fairy tale. I find that there are 77 Peace Societies in Germany, and that at their first national congress in May last the following resolution was carried : -
This congress disapproves of all attempts to conquer new territories for the German Empire. It recommends, on the contrary, for immigration of surplus population from Germany, the arranging of treaties with foreign nations which possess suitable territory. It demands that colonial administration of Germany should safeguard the rights of native peoples, and conform to the laws and customs of civilized beings.
It is also stated that -
Twenty-five French students from Paris visited Berlin, and were the guests of twenty-five German students for six weeks, and 25 German students visit Paris and are the guests of 2^ French students for six weeks. The German Emperor appoints a committee, with the president of the Prussian House of Lords at its head, to bring about a new feeling of cordiality “between Germany and France. Richard Strauss sent with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to Paris ; programme consisted half of German music and half of French music, and played in the Paris opera house, where 20 years ago a piece of German music was hissed off the stage.
German socialist congress at Nuremberg unanimously passed a resolution warning the German Proletariat against the criminal agitations which incite two highly civilized nations like England and Germany against each other.
British labour members of the LP. Union present address from the workers of Great Britain to those of Germany, signed by more than 3,000 representatives of labour in Great Britain, including 48 members of the House of Commons. The address denounces the attempt by the press to stir up war between Britain and Germany, and was followed by a resolution pledging British and German workingmen to work together for peace.
What puzzles me isi that England has lagged behind on the question of making private property in merchant ships safe from attack in times of war. If she had proposed that, she would have been backed up by America and by Switzerland, which is the home of arbitration. If she endeavoured to make all goods carried on private ships free from the risks of war, the danger of the English people starving in six weeks, if ships with food supplies could not reach their ports, would be removed. But the last time I read about that matter I noticed that England was against the proposal, and in that sense she was very foolish, for she stands to lose most if the seas are ever held by an enemy. No one would care to have himself judged by the opinion of his enemy, but it is well sometimes to judge an opponent by what his opponents think of him, and so let us see what a Frenchman said of Germany. Victor Hugo, than whom no sweeter singer graced the literature of France last century, said that -
She is a nation, and one of the most generous. . . If the German spirit had as much will as power, she could at a given moment lift up and save the race. Such as she is, she is sublime.
What did Victor Hugo say of the murder of men by war ? As for war, I hate it. I cannot imagine how ministers of the Christian religion do not thunder forth against its curse and its infamy, yet when one European Christian nation declares war against another, the ministers from their pulpits ask God to bless their armies. How can He bless the army on two sides, with two Christian churches asking him for help? It has been estimated that in less than fifty years 1 7,000,000 men lost their lives in war. Victor Hugo says -
With these seventeen millions of men the European population of Australia might have been formed. With the eight hundred millions of English pounds sterling shot from the cannon’s mouth, the face of the earth might have been changed, civilization planted everywhere, and’ ignorance and poverty suppressed throughout the world.
If God ever looks upon the horrors of war, it must be with a grim amusement at how little the ministers of the Christian religion have done to prevent it. I heard of one minister in Melbourne saying that to do away with the Yellow Peril that threatened us from the East, we ought to Christianize the Chinese ; but has the Christianizing of the European nations prevented war? Do we not know that they are straining in the leash, ready to attack and destroy one another? One proposal of the Ministry gave me a throb of joy, namely that there shall be a Federal Labour Bureau and a scheme of insurance against unemployment. It has been my misery during my public life to know two men who sought to take their lives through want of employment. One of those men, who attempted to shoot himself on the steps of Parliament House about thirteen years ago, told me a year afterwards that he thought his act would draw attention to the question, and, perhaps, induce the authorities to do something for his poor wife. The second case was that of a man of whom the following was written : -
Liverpool, N.S.W., 15th July, igo-.
Mr. Emilio Vincenti has been personallyknown to me in this district for the last 20 years. I am very pleased to attest to his personal integrity, and his many estimable qualities as a citizen. He has evinced a commendable interest in every social movement for the advancement and progress of the town, and has borne his part on all occasions where philanthropy and advancement of his fellows were needed. I regret Mr. Vincenti is leaving, and hope that he may soon return in renewed health.
Senior Government Medical Officer, State of New South Wales.
This man, one-armed as he was, was one of the most smiling and bravest I have ever known, and yet he, getting tired of life, shot himself in the public gardens. I wrote to the Treasurer of the Colony of Victoria in reference to the case, and I have to thank that gentleman for providing a compassionate allowance on which with other assistance the poor widow is, under the circumstances, fairly happy. But is it not infamous that a manshould be willing to work and that there should be no work for him? Such a condition of affairs could not be found in Germany ; and if there be anything to lessen the bitter feeling against that nation, it should be that there is to be found a system of assurance against unemployment. Sir John Cockburn, late AgentGeneral for South Australia, in a report issued of the Social Insurances International Congress at Rome in 1908, furnished, I believe, at the desire of the present Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, said -
The gaol proves to be but the commencement of another course. When the various insurances against illness, accident, invalidity, and old-age are affected, there remains the problem of insurance against unemployment. In commerce and in the business world generally, it is customary to insure against every untoward event, however unlikely, which may happen. To the workman, able and willing to work, enforced unemployment is, of all calamities, the most dreaded. It is not only a condition of misery in itself, but it brings all other privations in its train.
From Denmark, that little State, which takes from Great Britain more sovereigns for dairy produce than the amount of gold produced in all Australia., we have a lesson in this connexion. I hope I shall never again know of any one in Australia who will try to kill himself in order to bring attention to his distressed condition. When a man who has filled a good position, been charitable to his fellow-men, and held records of good-will in a community such as that of New South Wales, feels impelled to suicide because of want of employment, we have the most severe criticism of our present so-called civilization, and a terrible indictment of the management of our social and industrial affairs. I am now going to speak on a question which, more than any other, stirs me, and should stir the democratic spirit of Australia. We have provided pensions for the old men and women, with the support of honorable members on all sides of the House ; if there is a difference of opinion it is chiefly in regard to matters of detail. But there is a section of our community, even more feeble than the old people - the children. It has been said by a man, whose lovableness of heart has won my admiration time after time, that our best immigrant is the Australian baby. But how many hundreds and thousands of valuable child lives are we losing owing to their miserable conditions of life?
– W - We! have lost 65.000 since Federation.
– Never do I speak on this subject without giving my meed of praise ‘to the splendid efforts of South Australia, which, in this regard, is preeminent, not only in Australia, but in the whole known world. Under the conditions which have been brought about in that State under Government control, the average loss of helpless child life is so small as to bring into horrible prominence the picture that can be drawn “ of the older countries of the world. My only regret is that in South Australia the Government do not devote more money to this great work. The report of the State Children’s Council of South Australia, for the year ending 1902, contains the following -
On ]une there were 103 licensed fostermothers, compared with in on the same date last year. During the 12 months 16”; applicants were licensed.
The licensed foster-mothers had in their care during the year 1S8 infants under 2 years of age, and of this number only q (or 4.79 per cent.) died. Last year the death rate was 8 per cent., and that rate was very low. In this State the mortality for 1900, among all infants under one year of age, was 9.96 per cent., and in England for the quinquennium ending 1899, the rate was 15.75 per cent-
The death rate among foster infants for the year under revision may be regarded as phenomenal, when, compared with the death rate “ among illegitimate infants in other countries.
The death-rate amongst these children was actually less than the death-rate amongst well-to-do children; in fact, the former have a better chance of life j and a greater compliment could not be paid to the system. The same report, in reference to Manchester, shows a horror, unequalled, ‘I believe in any part of the world.
In Manchester, for instance, the Medical Officer stated “ that out of 1,000 illegitimate children born in 1900, 432 died, and in West Gorton, the death rate among illegitimate infants readied the enormous rate of 815 per 1,000.”
The low rate of mortality of infants with our foster-mothers is due to the care taken of infants by the licensed foster-mothers, and to the rigorous and careful supervision of fostermothers and infants exercised by the Inspectors of the Department.
If anything would induce honorable members to think on this problem, it is surely the picture that out of 1,000 children on the 1st January - children that the Christ of 2,000 years ago would have taken in his arms and blessed - 815 were dead by the end of December. I say, as a medical man, with a medical man’s experience, that the greater part of those 815 children died from want of proper food, shelter, and clothing. The pulpits of England ought constantly to thunder out that fact, until the shame is wiped away. The life of the child, and too frequently the mother’s life, is sacrificed in this country also. Why do we not set an example to the older countries of the world in this respect, as we have done in regard to our splendid franchise? Why have we not foundling hospitals such as there are in France, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere? We should have a foundling home to which a mother could go three months before the birth of her child, and where she could remain for six months afterwards if she chose. Money spent in that way would not be wasted. There is a splendid system being carried out at the Waitara institution in New South Wales, and all the money that is spent upon it is well spent. As long as I represent my constituents, my vote will be given to any Ministry that deals with this problem effectually. Why do we not have a child pension as we have an old-age pension? Then we should be doing God’s work, work for humanity, and work for civilization. Life is coming to be recognised as more valuable in this age than it has ever been regarded before. We have heard of the golden age, the silver age, and the iron age. This age will be known as the age of humanity. I tell this Government now, that if converts have been made of those who used to sit in Opposition, good has been done ; and if those converts will follow the example which history shows is usually pursued by the convert, who is generally the most enthusiastic person in carrying out what he has recently accepted, good will be done to the country. The supporters of the Government now profess to believe in the new Protection. I tell them that the Protection that will have to be carried out in this country in some directions, is not Protection of 10 or 15 per cent. Japan attacked the strongest tobacco monopoly in the world, and beat it; but that was not done with 10 per cent, duties. It was by duties of 100 per cent. Those who have recently accepted Protection must agree with me that the Protection of to-day is very different from the Protection of a decade ago. The new Protection, to state its objects in a sentence, means Protection to the manufacturer against unfair competition from outside, Protection to the employe by the minimum wage., and by limiting the hours of labour, and Protection to the purchaser, the citizen of the Commonwealth, against any combine or monopoly. If the new converts will be as earnest in the cause as I wish them to be, I shall have no fear for the new Protection. But if they are not, let me remind them that behind this House are the people of the country, who are becoming more and more educated, and will insist on effect being given to this policy. If the Govern ment will only endeavour to give effect to such measures as I have suggested, this Parliament can make such history as no Parliament in the world ever made before. It has already passed measures such as have not been equalled in Europe in a thousand years. I thank honorable members for listening to me so patiently while I have endeavoured to instil into them the necessity for saving the child life of this country - for giving the woman a chance, and for giving the children whom they bear better opportunities in life than they have at present.
– I have listened with care to the remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne. He has dealt with a large number of topics somewhat voluminously. But I venture to think that his speech is more notable for what he has not, than for what he has, said. During the whole time that he has occupied he has not given us the slightest indication why honorable members sitting in Opposition at the present time should be regarded as more capable of carrying into effect laws which will be beneficial to the Commonwealth than are those who sit on this side of the Chamber. The Labour Opposition having tabled this want of confidence motion, I have risen to give some reasons why it should not be carried.
– - We are afraid that it will not be carried.
– Knowing, that, it is strange that so much time should be occupied by this debate. In the GovernorGeneral’s speech laid before Parliament by the Fisher Administration, and in the Ministerial statement of the present Government, defence forms a prominent feature. When the people of Australia sanctioned the formation of the Commonwealth, and the various State Legislatures passed, their enabling Acts, the object they chiefly had in view was that of providing more effectively for the defence of Australia than was done by the separate States. Consequently, we are confronted with the problem of de-, fence as our greatest responsibility. It is impossible for us to discharge our duty in that respect, at all events adequately, until we have multiplied our population at least tenfold. In order that the population, of Australia should be thus increased, it is necessary that there should be a large inflow of immigrants. Honorable members opposite will agree with me when I say that if we are to induce a large number of immigrants to come to Australia, the lands of this country must be made available for them. I venture to say that the present Government could do vastly more to secure the lands of Australia for the settlement of immigrants than honorable members opposite could have done had they remained in power. The policy of the Labour and Socialist party has all along the line been one of antagonism to the States; and the States control the lands of Australia. The attitude of the present Government is one of the utmost friendliness to the States.
– Of deference to the States.
– Of subordination to the States.
– I say that as the State Parliaments control the lands of Australia, a Government friendly in their attitude towards the State Governments would be able 10 secure better terms, and arrange better conditions for the settlement of immigrants than could a Government that was bent upon opposing the State Governments in every possible way. There is nothing whatever to prevent the present Government approaching the various State Governments, and submitting to them a well-considered scheme under which some portion of the territory of each State would be made available for occupation by immigrants when they arrive in Australia. Let me remind honorable members that only last year the Victorian Parliament passed a measure, setting aside certain areas for immigrants. If that could be done in Victoria, we know that it could be done much more readily in the vast State’s of Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales. The Federal Government must tell the State Governments plainly that in this Parliament we are bent on fulfilling our mission, to provide an effective defence for Australia, and that that involves an increase of our population, partly to share the cost of defence, and partly to carry arms. The Government must, in unmistakable terms, make it clear that if people are to be brought here, the obligation is laid upon the State Governments to establish systems of land settlement which’ will justify united action on their part and ours.
– And if the State Governments will not assist?
– I venture to say that the State Governments could be relied upon to assist a Federal Government that is friendly to them, whilst they would resent the approaches of a Government opposed to them, and determined to usurp their control of the lands of Australia. Thus the attainment of the object we have in view might be frustrated for a considerable time.
– How would the States do what the honorable member suggests?
– My scheme would be this : Let the State Governments set aside certain areas for occupation by immigrants. 1 venture to say they would be willing to do so. Let them give the necessary guarantees that the area set apart would command an adequate water supply, and that as soon as settlement took place, means of transit to the seaboard would be provided Let every farm be properly surveyed and properly described, and the description sent to people of the right class whom we wish to attract to Australia. -By the adoption of a well-considered scheme of this kind, I say we could induce thousands of the very best type of people to settle in this country. They would be coming here in thousands to take possession of the land ready for their occupation, if only it were made available, as it might be if the Commonwealth and State Governments set about this work in a determined way. I think I have submitted one good reason for believing that the present Government, being friendly to the State Governments, might hope to accomplish much more in this direction than could be accomplished by a Government antagonistic to the State Governments. Some time ago I quoted a telegram from the Premier of Western Australia, in which he said that they had then 650,000 acres surveyed in advance of selection, suitable for mixed farming, and I have referred to-day to a land measure that was passed in Victoria last year, dealing with this question. Let me tell honorable members now that in Queensland 4,000,000 acres were selected last year, and there are millions of acres more open ‘ to selection in that State.
– Two thousand additional farmers were established on the land in New South Wales last year.
– And last year more people left that State than went into it.
– Might I be permitted to submit yet another reason why I think the present Government is more to be trusted than any Government that might be formed from amongst honorable members on the other side?
– Does that need demonstration ?
-One would hardly think so, but some people in the country may have been deceived by the rash statements which have been made by honorable members opposite. Last year this House voted £250,000 for naval defence, and I remember that when the matter was being considered there was a great deal of opposition to the passing of that vote.
– By whom?
– I think it was opposed bv honorable members of every section with the exception of the direct Ministerial following. The vote was allowed to pass ultimately on the clear and distinct understanding that the money was not to be expended until a scheme of naval defence had been submitted to this Chamber.
– Now let the honorable member give us his opinion of the offer to spend £2,000,000 without any authority at all.
– I venture to say that the Government, who, in the face of such an understanding as that to which I have referred, undertook to actually spend money voted under those conditions, was unworthy of the trust and confidence of any Parliament or people.
– Do not have a naval policy at all; only talk about it.
– No; let us have a naval policy, but let it be a well-considered policy. It is not so much that I object to what has been done, although I think my rights as a member of this Parliament were trampled on by the way in which we have “been committed to the expenditure of that money. But I direct the attention of honorable members to what the exAttorneyGeneral had to say in connexion with the vote to which I have referred. I refer honorable members to Hansard of 22’nd May, 1908, page 11,415. They will find that the honorable gentleman said : -
It appears to me that nothing more is being asked of us, than that we should assent to this ‘ vote, with the knowledge that we shall have another opportunity of considering details anc! of vetoing the whole thing if we think fit.
Those remarks were made by the honorable member for West Sydney, the AttorneyGeneral of the late Administration, It would be interesting to this House to know whether that legal light - in the face of the statement which I have read - advised the late Government that it was well within its
Tights in expending that money. If he did so, he certainly merits some of the accusations which he has so indiscriminately levelled against honorable members upon this side of the Chamber. It is well for the country to recollect that the gentlemen who are’ anxious to declare that they have no confidence in the Government are really the mouth-piece of the late Ministry which distinctly flouted the will and determination of this House so clearly expressed during last session. I come now to the proposal to present a Dreadnought to Great Britain. I admit that it is an open question whether a majority of the people are in favour of that proposal. I believe that they are, but honorable members opposite think that they are not. It must be borne in mind, however, that in making the offer which they did, the present Government were not hampered by any expression of view by this House as were the late Government in expending £250,000 upon the purchase of torpedo boat destroyers. The proposal to present a Dreadnought to Great Britain is one of the greatest importance. Admitting for the sake of argument that it might be possible for Australia to defend herself from invasion, we must recollect that according to official Year-Books, our oversea trade is valued at £120,000,000 annually. Who is to defend that oversea commerce f Are we to depend upon the people in the Old Land, who are already so over-taxed? Are we to rely on the taxpayers of Great Britain, who contribute 14s. or 15s. 6d. per head for defence purposes as against our own contribution of about 2s. ? If we include specie and bullion in our oversea trade our ocean-borne commerce is worth about £170,000.000 annually. In view of these circumstances, it is our bounden duty to contribute something to the maintenance of the great Navy upon which the safety of that oversea traffic depends. That is another reason why, in my judgment, the present Government are more worthy of support than any Government which might be formed from the ranks of my honorable friends opposite. Coming to the question -of the new Protection I feel justified in complimenting the Ministry upon their determination in this connexion, whereas, in the policy of the late Government, we could not fail to detect the cloven hoof so far as the States were concerned. That Administration desired to secure an amendment of the Constitution with a view to vesting in the Commonwealth the control of the factories in the States. On the other hand, the policy of the present Government is to utilize the machinery for which the Constitution provides - the services of an Inter-State Commission - to remedy improper industrial conditions wherever they obtain in the States, in the interests of the masses of the people. That object, I venture to say, is within measurable distance of accomplishment, whilst the accomplishment of the scheme of the late Government would have been very remote. It appears to me, too, that something ought to be said concerning the attitude of the honorable member for West Sydney towards the Broken Hill trouble. I say that it was unwise in the extreme for a gentleman filling the important office of Attorney-General to send telegrams to any person indicating that he had a biased mind upon that matter. The action of the honorable member for Barrier, who was also a member of the late Government, is not calculated to inspire confidence either in this Rouse or in the country. Rightly or wrongly, the men at Broken Hill were under arrest. They had been tried by a Court and had been committed to stand their trials before a higher tribunal.
– Many a perfectly innocent man is committed for trial.
– I admit that. But what I hold is that persons charged with the administration of our laws should not under any circumstances put themselves into friendly communication with those who have been adjudicated guilty of wrongdoing, and certainly should not commit themselves to expressions of sympathy which are calculated to prove embarrassing to those charged with the administration of justice. Some outrages committed at Broken Hill are reported in the Argus of 4th January. A paragraph from that newspaper reads -
One rather sensational episode occurred to-day. Mr. Delprat’s coachman, when attempting to get on the mine, was surrounded by the pickets ; they forced him to accompany them to the. A.M. A. offices, when he was made to enroll as a member of the Association. Now that he is a member, he will be unable to go on to the mine for Mr. Delprat or any one else.
The sacred cause of liberty was at stake. A man who has as much right to his freedom and liberty as has any man in the Chamber was taken possession of, and forced to do something which subjected his will to that of other men. On the 6th January, fifty yards of railway were pulled up and thirteen mine officials maltreated, several of them severely. On the 13th January, on a request by mine-owners that pickets be withdrawn, the honorable member for Barrier said -
As regards the picketing, it is either a matter of dignity or principle with the Proprietary Company when it asks for the removal of the pickets and the men have as much right to stand on their dignity or to maintain a principle by keeping the pickets there.
– Does the honorable member object to that? “I think it was most admirable.
– I will tell the honorable member what I object to. There was a man sick nigh unto death; his life depended more or less upon getting* necessary comforts and medical attention. For what purpose were the pickets stationed there, and how did they act? For all they cared - such is the inhumanity of man to man, such are the atrocities perpetrated in the name of liberty - this man, though sick and suffering, was not permitted to have the attention which was necessary for the restoration of his body to health.
– Who were the culprits ? What is the argument?’
– The argument is that the honorable member for Barrier, who was a Minister of the Crown, justified a con- ‘dition of things which made an atrocity of that sort possible.
– I do not think that the honorable member understands what I said. I ask him to read it again. It reads most admirably.
– It is quite possible that the honorable gentleman may view the matter from a different stand-point. He was holding a responsible office under the Crown, and he did not take up that attitude which he should have -done with regard to men who were in opposition to the law in preventing a subject of the Crown from being treated medicinally and medically.
– What has that to do with it?
– It may be a light matter from the honorable member’s point of view ; I do not say anything about that. Again, the present Government has been assailed from the other side of the Chamber on the ground that it is of a somewhat conglomerate character, that it is the result of a fusion on the part of men holding various ideas and views. Because those men have been brought together they are the subjects of adverse criticism. It appears to me that the great dividing line at the last elections was the question whether a man was for or against Socialistic control.
– No; Protection or Free Trade.
– Admitting, lor the sake of argument, that that was the case, then these honorable gentlemen are condemned, I understand, because there are some who are less Protectionist than others ?
– We are condemned anyhow.
– If that is the condemnation, how does the honorable member justify the honorable member for Hindmarsh sitting side by side in Cabinet with a Free Trader, like the honorable member for West Sydney?
– We were together before we went to the country, and that makes all the difference in the world.
– An honorable member asserted that the question before the country at the last election was Free Trade versus Protection, and” I replied that it was not, but if it had been so we could not have had those two honorable members sitting side by side in Cabinet. As the dividing line was whether a candidate was for or against Socialism, rightly they cannot sit together. As the question then was whether a man was for or against Socialism, every man arrayed on this side is opposed to a Government controlled by a caucus.
– On which side were the Prime Minister and the- Government Whip at that time?
– When an intelligent question is asked I will endeavour to reply to it. I intend to respect the desire expressed by the Prime Minister that the speeches on this motion should be of reasonable length. I have endeavoured to show reasons, which appear to me to be strong and salient, why there should be an expression of the utmost confidence in the present Government as against any Government which could be formed from the other side.
Mn CHANTER (Riverina) [5.38].- When ‘ the honorable member for Echuca spoke here a few nights ago regarding immigration and land settlement, he made a statement which I challenged. He asserted that there was available a supply of land ample for not only those in Australia seeking it, but also for hundreds of thousands of persons who might come here, and from a statistical preparation - I do not know who was the author of it - he quoted that millions of acres were available. Does he forget that the State of Victoria introduced a certain number of immigrants, that seventeen of them were sent to Rushworth in his own electorate, told that they could find work -there, and were absolutely stranded, being unable to get food, and were relieved by his constituents ?
– In the way in which the honorable member puts it, that is absolutely untrue.
– I ask the honorable member to withdraw that statement.
– In deference to you, sir, I withdraw the remark, and say that the honorable member’s statement is altogether incorrect.
– The honorable member debated the matter from this corner one night and read a letter on the subject.
– There is no member of this House who did not read the press reports on the subject. It was also referred to here by honorable members. If my memory serves me aright, the honorable member for Echuca alluded to the incident. The fact remains that these men were immigrants. They were told that they could get employment on the waterworks at Waranga Basin if they went to Rushworth.
– Excuse me, the men were not immigrants. They were presumably returned soldiers from South Africa, and they were all decrepit men.
– That is a new edition. I am relying upon the edition given to the people of Australia at the time. They were not decrepit men. Whether they came from South Africa or elsewhere, the fact remains that they were immigrants, who were seeking employment in this fair land. They were told that they would get work in the construction of the Waranga Basin, if they would take train to Rushworth. Seventeen of them did so, but could not get anything to do, and, being without money, would have starved had not the honorable gentleman’s constituents humanely helped them, and brought their case before the authorities in Melbourne.
– The position is all the worse if the men were returned soldiers.
– They were incapables
– It is our duty to provide land and work for those whom, by advertising, we attract to Australia, and it is ten times more our duty to provide for those of our own kith and kin who went to South Africa on our service, even if they return decrepit. I am amazed at the honorable member’s statement. He said the other day that there is ample land for every one. Does he not know that thousands of men have been unable to get land in New South Wales, where his landed interests lie?
– A man can take up a 10,000-acre block there any day he likes to apply for it.
– ‘In corroboration of my statement, let me read a letter which I received to-day from one who, to my knowledge, lived in New South Wales for thirty years. He reared a family there, but, failing to get land for his sons, although they tried ballot after ballot, has been driven to Queensland. He says -
I clare say you will be surprised to receive these few lines from me in Queensland, having removed here with my sons and selected seven agricultural farms of 1,280 acres each, as the New South Wales Government prefer to keep their lands locked up, rather than give the young generation an opportunity to make homes for themselves. Since I left Mallan, in New South Wales, in the month of April last, we have commenced pioneering again in this Stale. Part of our family is still at St. Elmo, Mallan, my wife’ and two of my sons, but will be coming here, when my son can dispose of his land there.
In the Moulamein district of New South Wales, thousands of acres are held in large estates - one family holds nearly 1,000,000 acres - but no land is available to the selector. The Government of the State has admitted that there is not land available for small settlement, and has been driven to spend, not revenue, but loan money, on the purchase of large holdings to provide opportunities for settlement. The question is pregnant with importance, and must be dealt with, whatever Ministry may te in power. The honorable member for Echuca says that the State should be left to deal with it, though he knows well that one of the two bodies which constitute the Legislature of each of the States will never vote for the unlocking of the land. However, as I intend to (ileal further with the matter later, I shall not say any more on the subject now. The honorable gentleman suggested that the Commonwealth will get more from the States now that- there is in power a Government which is on good terms with the Governments of the States than it could have got under the regime of’ the Fisher Administration. Has Australian politics come to this, that it is a case of “ the spoils to the victors”? No other interpretation is to be placed on his statement. We are to get something from the Government of New South Wales, because the honorable member for Parramatta, who is now Minister of Defence, is a friend of the New South Wales Ministers ! Has not the’ Prime Minister read to the House, time and again, communications addressed to the Premiers of the States, asking them to make land available for immigrants, and assuring them that, if they would do so, he would invite this Parliament to provide for immigration ? And are we not tired of hearing their evasive replies? The honorable member for Echuca is a political Rip van Winkle not to know these things. We all know that there is not land available for immigrants, and that provision for immigration can be made only by action on the part of the Commonwealth. While the honorable member for Melbourne was speaking, the honorable member for Adelaide interjected that there were eighteen or nineteen applicants for two blocks of a few hundred acres each offered in New South Wales. I have known cases in which 400 persons applied for one piece of land, and the Sydney press has reported an instance in which an applicant was unsuccessful eighty-four times.
– I have spoken with a man who was a year in New South Wales and could not obtain land.
– What is the upset price put on this land ? These persons are virtually taking part in a lottery, and most of them if they won at the ballot would sell their land for ten times the sum at which it was valued.
– The honorable member, and every one else who has balloted for land, has taken part in a lottery.
– The squatters are the gamblers.
– I know all about that. It is true, as the honorable member for Fawkner has said, that so far as New South Wales is concerned it is a lottery. But instead of the State Government when there are ten applicants for land making twelve allotments available for them we find that there are sometimes 1,000 applicants for ten allotments, and that hundreds of men who would make desirable farmers have no opportunity to get on the land. I have, an intimate knowledge of the land laws of Victoria dating back to the days of what was known as the “ Macpherson plaid.” Under the Victorian land laws a Board is appointed, and, in many places, if there are two or three applicants for one block, they are asked whether they are prepared to agree to its division amongst them. That is not the system in force in New South Wales. There, if there were three applicants for one block, two would have to go without it. Those who seek to obtain an allotment have to gamble for it, just as men gamble on a race at Flemington. The applicant draws a marble from a box, and if he is lucky secures the block; if he has no luck he may be unsuccessful again and again. In support of that statement I would remindhonorable members of a paragraph which appeared recently in the press stating that one man had unsuccessfully applied for a block of land on more than eighty different occasions. The land laws of some of the States are not as bad as those of others ; but unfortunately for the Commonwealth the most liberal terms prevail only where the most inferior land is offering.
– That is why they are liberal.
– That is so. In order to induce people to settle on the worst land special terms are offered. We find this state of affairs prevailing in parts of the Commonwealth, where nature designed that agriculture, rather than sheep farming, should predominate. Every one knows that the crying evil of Australia is the want of legislation to make good land available to the people. We have plenty of good land, but the legislation to make it available must be passed by the Federal Parliament. It is useless to look to the State Parliaments for it.
– The State Upper Houses would block such legislation.
– Exactly. In New South Wales, more particularly, legislation is blocked again and again by the Legislative Council - a nominee Chamber - the members of which are in no way responsible to the electors, since they have never to go before them. The honorable member for Echuca says, “ The States will give us what we want now, because there is a friendly Government in power.” He tells us in effect that the Commonwealth has now in power an aristocratic Government - a Government that wears clothing different from that worn by their predecessors in office, and that Mr. Wade, the Premier of New South Wales, will pay far more attention to the representations of such men than he would to the wishes of a Government ‘ representing people who wear “bowyangs.” The honorable member also took grave exception to the action of the Fisher Government in providing for the expenditure of the special defence vote of £250,000. He refused, however, to say how he viewed the action of the present Ministry in offering to present the British Government with a Dreadnought without consulting this Parliament. There is a vast difference between- the two acts. In the first case, Parliament had approved of the sum of £250,000 being set aside for special defence purposes. The purpose for which the fund was to be created was not only declared to the House, but indorsed by ‘ it, and the late Government in proceeding to utilize it was merely carrying out the declared policy of their predecessors.
– But Parliament had first to be consulted.
– Parliament had been consulted and had agreed as to what should be the destination of the vote.
– Despite the efforts of the honorable “member for Illawarra, and every other member of the then Opposition who opposed the Surplus Revenue Bill, Parliament agreed to this money being set apart for the defence of Australia. It is interesting to listen to the voice of the people on this phase of the question. Here is an extract from a letter dealing with this very -question which I received from a gentleman residing in Queensland -
When I was in Melbourne in the month of May last year, I met you at Parliament House, and you kindly invited me into the Chamber to hear the discussion. The vote of ^250,000 was being secured lor the naval proposal. The manner that Messrs. Joseph Cook, Dugald Thomson, -Kelly, and others heckled Mr. Deakin that afternoon, on that item, was an eye-opener to me.
– They are sitting together now.
– Quite so; yet we should not have had twelve farthings, to say nothing of £250,000, in this special Trust Fund if the present Minister of Defence and his party now sitting on the Government side of the House had had their way. The vote was agreed to, despite their unpatriotic opposition. ‘The Fisher Government, in my opinion, adopted the wisest and best course in proceeding to spend the money as quickly as possible in order to provide for the defence of Australia.
– Will the present Ministry cancel the orders given by the Fisher Government for the construction of the three vessels?
– No. Despite all these facts, the honorable member for Echuca objected to the action of the Fisher Government in expending this sum of £250,000 without giving ‘Parliament another opportunity to be consulted. Can there be any comparison between their action and that of the present Ministry in pledging this Parliament, without giving it an opportunity to express an opinion upon it, to an expenditure of £2,000,000 at a time when they have not a shilling in the Treasury to provide tor it? When the Fisher Government placed orders for the construction of certain vessels, the cost of which was to be defrayed out of the special defence vote, Parliament was in recess, and honorable members were scattered all over the Commonwealth; but when the present Ministry made the offer of a Dreadnought to the British Government, Parliament was in session, and, since it was not consulted, there was a distinct outrage of the Constitution. The present Prime Minister ha’d obtained a three weeks’ adjournment. Before we adjourned he ought to have adopted the constitutional course of consulting the House. He should have said that the Government proposed to make an offer of a Dreadnought to the British Government, and have asked for our approval. But he did nothing of the kind. He waited until the adjournment had been granted, and then flouted Parliament by making the offer without consulting it. That was an absolute outrage of the Constitution, and it cannot be compared with the action of the Fisher Government in proceeding to devote money to the specific purpose to which it had been allocated bv Parliament. The honorable member for Echuca also stated that the difference between this Government and the last was that the former were sincere in their desire to brine; about a remedy for industrial troubles, whereas the latter were not.
– He said that as a joke.
– The Parliament of the Commonwealth is no place for joking. The fact remains that the honorable member for Echuca made the statement. The Fisher Government and the previous Deakin Government proposed that a direct appeal should be made to the people for power to control industrial conditions. There was to be no hesitancy or delay about it, as there is about the proposals of the present Government. The first mistake that the honorable member for Echuca fell into was to say that we could utilize our present InterState Commission machinery. We have not got that machinery yet. When that Commission is appointed, the duties cast upon its members will be so multitudinous that it will probably take years for them even to inquire into that matter, let alone to .deal effectively with it. They will have so many other matters affecting Inter-State trade and commerce to settle that it will be absolutely impossible for them to touch that question within any reasonable limit of time, and then how do the Government propose that the Inter-State Commission shall approach it? It is to be by means of a complaint made by a State to them; not because the question urgently- requires settlement, and not because the Commonwealth Parliament knew that the evil existed, and wanted it removed at once. I entirely disagree with that proposal. If the honorable member is not afraid of the people, why should he be afraid of asking them to give this Parliament power to deal with industrial matters? There must be a reason for his fear. I do not want to attribute motives, but the honorable member has shown, not only in his recent speech, but on previous occasions, that the one dominant idea in his head is that the Labour party are the worst party in Australia, and must not be trusted with the power to legislate for this country, but must be kept out of office at any hazard. If the honorable member were present, I would ask him to show me a single point of difference between the programme issued by his present leader, in 1906, and the programme issued by the Fisher party last year, except the one question of progressive land taxation. In 1906 many honorable members, who were then in Opposition - some of them are now in the Government, and others are supporting the Government - railed night after night at those of us who then sat on the Government side of the House, to show what the cursed proposal of new Protection would lead to. But now that they are all assembled together as a happy family, they say : “ It -is a fine thing to do ; it is good when we can do it, but it was bad when you could do it.”
– Hear, hear ! Better come over.
– I would sooner go out of Parliament to-morrow, and remain out of it for the rest of my life, than sacrifice my principles, or betray the pledges that I gave to the people. I pledged myselt, not only at the last election, but at previous elections, to do certain things. I have kept my pledges to the people who sent me here, and I feel prouder of having done so than if I held all the landed or vested interests congregated on that side of the House. The honorable member for Echuca tried to be very severe upon the honorable member for Barrier for having met men who had been charged before the Courts at Broken Hill with certain offences, and committed for trial. The honorable member implied that that was an evidence of guilt, and I at once interjected that many an innocent man had been committed for trial. The fact is no evidence of guilt whatever, but, even if it were, does the honorable member for Echuca, who claims to be a good-living, moral man, forget, when he so often tries to teach others their duty, that, when our Saviour had been condemned to death, there was one man, Simon of Cyrene, who was not ashamed to carry His cross ? There is no charity about insinuations of that kind coming from a man who tries to preach to others, and teach them what they should do. The honorable member wanted to fasten upon the honorable member for Barrier a charge of sympathy with crime; but there is no sympathy with crime in taking by the hand a man who has been committed for trial, and whose case has not been decided. I come now to the immediate question before the Chair. The Leader of the Opposition has thought it wise to submit a. motion of want of confidence. If I am asked whether I have confidence in the Government, I may reply at once that at one time I had confidence in half of them, at no time had I confidence in the other half, and as those in whom I had confidence are in a minority as against those in whom I have no confidence, then, taking it as a whole, I can have no confidence whatever in the Government. I wish, in my own justification, to show that I am following the advice of a man who was trusted and respected in the Commonwealth, namely, the Prime Minister, and also the advice of the great Age newspaper, which once stood as the bulwark of liberty, but which now, I am sorry to say, is dragged at the chariot wheels of the Argus. I hope the present state of things will not last long, for the sake of the Prime Minister, and also for the sake of the Age, which has always upheld the flag of Liberalism and Protection, and stood for the right of those in the lower scale to live. My hope is that not for long will the Prime Minister or the newspaper I have mentioned remain subordinate to the Argus, but that they will come out in a’ manly way and stand to the principles which they held before the fusion. In 1906 the Prime Minister had a programme comprising Protection, the new Protection, maintenance of a White Australia, effective defence, naval and military, including a. torpedo flotilla; Preferential Trade; Old-age Pensions; Immigration, dependent on land being made available; anti-trust legislation; company and insurance law ; union label : Navigation Bill, providing for the coastal trade being confined to vessels observing Australian rates and conditions; finance, surplus revenue - State rights versus Commonwealth requirements - and the taking over of the Northern Territory. We are now told by one of the prominent supporters of the Government that on the question of State rights we are all one party, and I note, from a report in to-day’s Age, that that party in New South Wales has been brought together under the” name of the Liberal Reform party. It was proposed that the president of the new association should be the Minister of Defence, but, as it was stated that the honorable member would have to be away on occasions, the honorable member for North Sydney was elected to the position.
– :Not the Libera! Reform party, but the Federal Libera? League.
– I take the following from to-day’s Age -
A new Federal political organization has come into existence, to be known as the New South Wales Federal Liberal League. This afternoon marked the conclusion <.>f several meetings in connexion therewith, and Mr. Joseph Cook. Minister of Defence, explained its constitution and intentions at the rooms of the Liberal and Reform Association.
Observe, the Liberal and Reform Association - the old State Rights party - “ The League,” said Mr. Cook, “ is at present constituted of representatives of a number of political bodies already in existence. The officers of the new league consisted of a president, four vice-presidents, two lion, treasurers, a secretary, twenty lay members, 20 women members and New South Wales members of the Federal Parliament, with power to add to the number. The election to these offices has re- suited thus : - President, Mr. Dugald Thompson, M.P. ; vice-presidents, Messrs. J. G. Farleigh, M.L.C. ; J. H. Wise, F. W. Bacon, and Alderman G. T. Clark ; hon. treasurers, Messrs. A. Kethel, M.L.C, and O. C. Beale; secretary, Mr. Archdale Parkhill. A large number of additional ladies and gentlemen have been elected to the council, including Sir Joseph Carruthers, Sir William McMillan, and Dr. W. P. Cullen, M.L.C.”
I, and other honorable members, happen to know some of the gentlemen whose names are mentioned in the report, and we know what an intense Liberal Mr. Bacon is - also what wonderful Liberals are Mr. G. T. Clarke, Mr. A. Kethel, Sir. William McMillan, Dr. Cullen, and others. Another name mentioned is that of Sir Joseph Carruthers, the originator of the Liberal Reform Association. These are really the Libera! Reform Party, to whom my honorable friends opposite have handed themselves over body and soul. The two parties ought never to have associated in politics, the differences between them being so great as to make legislation absolutely impossible unless one or other give way. Both parties to the fusion have pledged themselves to the electors, and before one solitary measure can emanate from them, one half must swallow their principles, or be traitors to their cause. Which will give way, time only will reveal. I am giving all honorable members opposite credit for sincerity of purpose. There are men on that side who believe themselves to be Free Traders and Tories, and against Labour legislation - who are entirely anti- Socialistic - and there are others who believe in an altogether different policy. Is it the stronger or weaker party that will give way? I feel that it must of necessity be the numericallyweaker, and that is the party to which I belong, and which ran away from me.
– Ran away from the honorable member?
– Yes; absolutely. I stand, as I stood then, in favour of every plank of our platform of 1906. Does the honorable member who interjects stand for those principles now ? Does any honorable member who was then in Opposition, believe in those principles now - does he honestly believe that any of the measures then contemplated will be carried out? This question is best answered by the Prime Minister himself. Speaking of the Opposition in 1906, the learned and honorable member for Ballarat said -
The so-called Socialistic issue was a mock issue. It could not concern the next Parliament
That is, the present Parliament - and he asked them as practical men, and Australian patriots, to look to the great work immediately before them - the development of their beautiful land.
Where is Australian patriotism now? Where are the men to whom he is looking to “ develop the beautiful land of Australia ‘ ‘ ? They are the men who have fought him from the initiation of Federation. They will not fight him openly now, but with the power that numbers give, they will so arrange matters as to prevent his bringing forward legislation to which he is pledged. In the same speech’, in speaking of the right honorable member for East Sydney, with whom he is now associated, the Prime Minister said -
Mr. Reid has talked more and promised more and performed less than any man in Australia. . . His record . in IQ04 was one Act, te which he contributed four clauses.
On another occasion the Prime Minister said -
We have had not only the generous, but the general support of the Labour Party. No man could have treated us better than the Leader of that Party, Mr. Watson.
But how is the Prime Minister treating the present Leader of the Labour party, Mr. Fisher? Dealing with the work of the Reid-Cook Opposition, one of the leaders of which is now in the Ministry, whilst the other is a presumed supporter, the Prime Minister said -
The Bounties Bill was resisted bv the Opposition, fought by them, and finally choked and killed by them in the Senate. This is the record we wish to show the country - this is the record the Opposition wish to hide.
Where are they going to hide this record ? They are trying to hide themselves and their record under the Prime Minister’s wing. Some of them tried to hide there before. They induced the electors to return them as Liberal Protectionists; but immediately they were sent to Parliament some of them threw over their principles and their pledges, and proved false to their leader. When the present Prime Minister was being ejected from office previous to the advent of the late Ministry, and his corner opponents wanted to remedy the mistake which they had made, what did the Prime Minister say to them? He said : “ Stay where you are; I do not want to have anything to do with you.” But they are under his wing again now, and why? For no other purpose than to be sheltered. The wing was then broad enough, but now it is clipped so severely that it cannot possibly shelter the number of those who want it to cover them. There is no man in the Commonwealth for whom I have a greater veneration than I have for the present Prime Minister. There is no man for whom I had a deeper respect ; no man in whose opinions I had more confidence.
– The honorable member will soon be over here.
– The honorable member for Fremantle very soon will not be over there. How many times have I heard him, whenbe occupied the place from which I now speak, railing at the party which he now supports?
– Not once.
– That remark needs no answer. I should regret it if I used, concerning the honorable member’s observation, the word that would properly describe it. On another occasion the Prime Minister, speaking of his present sudporters, and particularly of one of them, the right honorable member for East Sydney, said -
Mr. Reid sinks preference, sinks closer commercial relations, Commerce Acts - sinks all these things, which go together to. make industrial greatness, and create a great industrial future for Australia.
What help can the Prime Minister expect to get to-day from the right honorable member whom he so described? How he can explain away these utterances I do not know. He asked Parliament to deal with programmes on their merits, and this is what he said during the no-confidence debate in October, 1908 -
We have laid before this House business of the first importance to Australia. We have submitted proposals, amongst others, touching the defence of this country bv sea and land, and touching it in so decisive a way as to give the House and the country a proper opportunity to pronounce upon it. . . . We are putting these proposals before the country, and connecting them with others for the completion of the Tariff by the adoption of the new Protection, which shall share its advantages fairly between employes as well as employers. . . . Why, I ask, cannot this House appreciate such propositions, apart from mere party interests? Why cannot a programme which aims at developing Australia and all its interests to-day, be dealt with on its merits? Place on the Treasury benches. some other Government that will take’ up our policy and it shall have our support.
Another Government was placed upon the Treasury bench which took up that policy. Did the Prime Minister keep his promise? Did he give to the new Government that support which he had pledged himself to give to it? He went on to say of those with whom he is now associated -
The leader of the Opposition will not think: I am jesting when I say he is entitled to our sympathy. He has his ideas and his policy. Whatever may be said of them, I do not think they are the ideas or the policy of Australia,, nor do I think they will ever be. He finds behind him a mixed party that is diminishing at every election. … At the present time the right honorable member has behind him only_ the wreckage of the free importing party, the wreckage of the individualist party, the wreckage of the anti-Socialist party, and the wreckage of the colored labour party - all are to be found on that side of the House. … On the Opposition benches are clustered the wreckage of the parties that have failed in this House. They will always gather there while we have an Opposition like the present, linked together, not so much by what it agrees with as by what it disagrees with. . . . When we are asked to redistribute this House, and re-group ourselves, we have to ask ourselves with what members we are likely to be identified by association. … I see in this House many gentlemen with whom it would be a privilege to act - some with whom we have acted, and others with whom we may act again - but we also see here the remnants I have spoken of, with whom we cannot act.
Now the Prime Minister is acting with the honorable members whom he so described. He further said -
Why is it impossible? It is because we have a distinctly different line of policy. We cannot associate with reactionaries.
That was the advice which my leader gave to me and to every member of his party - that under no circumstances whatever could we associate with reactionaries and be true to our pledges and the people of Australia. We could not associate with the enemies of the policy which we had pledged ourselves to put through. We had to keep apart from them altogether. We had to hold ourselves firm, as we had done before. But now what do we see? There has evidently been a surrender of principle on the part of some. It remains to be seen by whom principle has been surrendered - by those with whom I was at one time associated, or by those formerly led by the right honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable member for Parramatta.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45p.m.
Mr.CHANTER. - When the House adjourned for dinner I had just concluded the quotation of certain statements by the honorable member for Ballarat, advising the members of the party he then led that the step which he has since taken should not be taken. Apparently, the honorable gentleman had no faith in his own advice, because he did not follow it, but I had so much faith in it that I am still following the advice that I should in no circumstances become a traitor to my principles and pledges and join a party with whom, from a political point of view, I had nothing whatever in common. The honorable member for Ballarat was a man whom I venerated, and to . whom I looked for light and leading. Another great factor in the progress of Liberalism in Australia, and which has done more perhaps than any other organ of the press to build up Liberalism, is the- Age newspaper. From its establishment, the Age has been the champion of the cause of the people against that of the class who would withhold from the people the natural privileges which, the Almighty intended every man and woman to enjoy. From the very moment when it was first contemplated bv any section to escape the inconveniences of the three-party system by reducing the number of parties in Parliament to two until the formation of the fusion Cabinet now in office, the Age advised all its readers, and especially all Liberals anc Liberal-Protectionists, to have nothing to do with what it termed “ the unclean thing.”” r mention this in order to show that in the action I have taken and intend to take, I am following the advice of two trusted leaders, the leader ‘of the LiberalProtectionist party and its great press champion, .the Age newspaper. During last year and the present year the Age continuously published articles on this question. I do not propose to read the whole of them, as it would take me all night to do so; but I shall read some extracts from them to make it perfectly clear that the advice that the Age tendered was sound, and should have been, followed) not merely by myself but by all who belonged to the same party. On the 10th August last year the Age published the following -
All the talk about resolving the House and the constituencies into two parties is no better than so much moonshine. There is no national basis of amalgamation between the corner ultraConservatives who have shown their animosity against effective Protection, and against all phases of the new Protection, and the Liberal party in the House, and the States, which want both. It may very well be, of course, that the Corner Conservatives may find congenial partnerships in the Free Trade Conservative ranks, where no doubt such of them as may survive will be finally absorbed. That is quite as it should be. But the three parties in the House - Conservative, Liberal, and Labour, must and will continue. And these same three parties will re-appear in the constituencies, each one challenging the two others for the support of the people.
That has been proved to be the case. Last year the honorable member for Wimmera was somewhat active in an endeavour to bring about the defeat of the Labour party. So far as I am aware, the honorable member at the time Had no object in view, but on that point we may hear from him later. He advocated very strongly a coalition or fusion, and the Age newspaper, in referring to his action, said amongst other things -
Mr. Sampson knows that men like Mr.. Knox, and Messrs. Livingstone and the two Irvines, and Wilson, are everything which a Liberal in politics would prefer not to be.
Further on still, referring to the honorable member for Wimmera, the Age said -
He seems to think that a “Combined party “ can be formed by the mere walking over of a leader. He never asks himself what a “Combined party “ is. If he had done this, he must have seen that a “Combined party “ must have a purpose, a definite policy. What would be the purpose of a “Combined party” composed of Deakinites, Corner members, and the Free Trade Opposition, on what policy- could they combine ? They have nothing in common.
That is absolutely true, and the Age never published a truer statement.
– It was true then, and it is true now.
– Exactly ; that statement is as true now as it was when it was written. The Age went on to say -
Assuming that Mr. Deakin were to hearken again to this delusive counsel - as he did once before - he would be guilty of the unpardonable folly of splitting in twain his small team of Progressives. It is certain that in the Ministerial fifteen there are men who would refuse even under pressure of loyalty to their chief, te sink themselves and the Liberal Protections is cause in the ranks of their inveterate opponents
That also is just as true now as it was when it was written. A few honorable members, and I am sorry to say they are so few, have taken the advice of that great newspaper and have absolutely refused to trust themselves and their cause to those who make up the ranks of their inveterate political enemies. The Agc article continued -
The Liberals and the Labour party are the Progressive party, the Liberals being the moderate section of that party.
Dealing with the same question in an article published on the 5th February of this year, the’ Age said -
Everybody knows that, as a matter of fact, there is but a shade of difference between the Liberals and Labour programme, whilst there is a wide interval between the Liberals and the Conservatives led by Mr. Joseph Cook.
There is as wide a difference now as there was in February last when the Age published these comments. We have heard a great deal on the question of State Rights, and will probably hear much more on the same subject. The champion of the Government told us this afternoon that everything will be all right now, because we have a Government who are friendly to the State Rights party and who on that account will be able to secure certain things which it would be impossible for a Government formed of any other section in the House to obtain. Dealing with the State Rights question, I quote the following from the same article published in the Age -
The principles which underlie the questions of State rights and of nationalism are really Radical. In this state of things the State Rights party in Australia is naturally the Conservative party, and Conservatism is tenacious of the widest interpretation of State rights. On the contrary, the Liberal party and the Labour party are naturally instinct with the sentiment of nationalism, with a tendency to minimize State rights. One of the constant reproaches made by the Opposition against the Deakin Government was that in its new Protection policy arid its financial proposals it sought to infringe the rights of the State.
All these bodies are mow associated, and naturally through that association the honorable member for Echuca would say that’ everything is all right - not only State rights, but every other right - because this is a friendly Government. To whom is ic friendly? As the Agc says, it is friendly, not to the champions of Australia and Australian nationalism, but to the enemies of Australia and Australian nationalism, and to the parochialists. Words could not possibly point a. more damaging blow at the fusion which has taken place than those I have just quoted from the Age. It continues : -
The difference between Liberals and Conservatives on these matters is radical. The Conservatives are shrewd enough to perceive it, and they are quite aware that the great majority of the people, as represented in the separate Labour and Liberal camps, are strong enough to secure the triumph of nationalism,’ as against the narrower policy of State domination. Once the Liberal party should be so foolish as to fraternise or unite with the Opposition it would be merged into a mass of Conservatism stronger than itself, and helpless at the feet of the reactionaries.
That is the case. There can be no denying that the section of the party therein alluded to has merged itself with a larger number ; and the dominating influence of the latter, not only in the Cabinet, but in the party, will lead to stagnation where the Age and all true Liberals wanted to see progressive legislation in the interests of the people. In the following March the Agc wrote : -
Now, thanks to the hysterical outburst of the reactionaries on Mr. Deakin’.s Tasmanian speeches, the Conservative attitude is made quite clear. No one ever believed that he (Mr. Joseph Cook) could bring over to a Liberal alliance such frigid Tories as Messrs. Bruce Smith, Liddell, Archer, Howden, Foxton, Fuller, and Willis. Such an alliance would have been as unnatural as the marriage of a lamb and a leopard. Conservatism fully understood this ali along. Kut it was astutely berit on the destruction of the Deakin party, and it was under no illusion in concluding that if by a certain Coalition trap it could catch the Liberal leader, the demolition of Liberalism at the ensuing general elections would be quite an easy matter to accomplish.
I echo every word of that statement, and I do so without intending any offence, because I am speaking only politically. History repeats itself. The Prime Minister had to allude to the history of the past. I warned him then, as I respectfully warn him now, that he has to meet that again. If he has any value for the reputation which he has built up, arid deservedly built up, in Australia, he will find that the only possible way in which he- can ever retain it is by dissociating himself as rapidly as possible from the fusion party, and returning to the fold which, in my opinion, he never should have left. That is, I will not say the design, but the effect of the relations. Whom has he taken over to help him to carry progressive measures? Not the friends of the measures, but their absolute declared enemies - the men who, on this side, declaimed night after night for months against the legislation which he now proposes, according to the memorandum heread, to ask Parliament to pass. Such arethe men from whom he seeks assistance to carry his proposals. Can he hope to get their assistance? They cannot, I repeat, assist him without becoming traitors to their principles and pledges. And if they do not give him their assistance, what will be the position in which he will have placed not only the party, but the House? It will be a position of absolute stagnation, a kind of marking time; no business will’ be transacted, because one side cannot agree with the other. If there is ans yielding, it is very easy for any honorable member to determine which side - the smaller number or the larger number - will give way. On the 15th May, and this, it will be noted, was only a few days before Parliament met, the Age wrote in these terms : -
The one thing which stands out conspicuously in the present political situation is that the Leader of the Liberal party is preparing once again to split that party into two sections, and thus virtually wipe it out of existence. Of course, Mr. Deakin does not contemplate this. No one suspects him of an act of deliberate treachery to his own party. But any one who opens his eyes can see plainly that that must be the immediate result of any fusion with the Conservative parties of the Corner and the straight Opposition….. It is quite well known that nothing Mr. Deakin may do or say will induce the solid body of Liberals to go over and follow a Conservative Government led jointly by Sir John Forrest and Mr. Cook. To do so would be to play the part of rank treachery to the electors who sent them into Parliament. It is inconceivable that Messrs. Wise, Mauger, Hume Cook, Chanter, Coon, Salmon, and Sir William Lyne, could dream of such an alliance as that mentioned. They could not meet their electors after such a volte face, and such a turning of their backs on all the professions on which they gained their seats. . . In 1904, when Mr. Deakin made the great mistake of coalition he did so in defiance of a formal resolution carried in a meeting of his party. A caucus meeting of the Liberal party of that day was held, and the question of coalition fully considered. A majority declared against it, and Mr. Deakin left that meeting with the understanding that he would loyally observe the resolution arrived at.
– . That is not an accurate statement, as the honorable member knows.
– That statement is challenged. I rely, not upon the Age, but upon my own observation, because I was at the meeting.
– So was I.
– Yes. The honorable member for Bendigo submitted a motion that the party should not agree to the proposed coalition. His proposition was discussed by almost every member of the party, and it was carried without one dissenting voice. There was never another meeting of the party called, and one section found that, unknown to them, a coalition had been formed’ with the honorable member for East Sydney.
– We were unanimous, were we?
– There was not one dissenting voice at the meeting.
-The honorable member knows better than that; there was n good deal of opposition.
– I am stating what is the truth. The motion of the honorable member for Bendigo was debated by almost every member of the party, and when a vote was taken there was not one hand held up against it. The next thing we knew was that the party had been split into two sections by its leader acting in conjunction with some one else. I do not know with whom he acted, but certainly the fact remains that the thing was done. Again history repeats itself. Before a meeting of the party was called on a recent occasion, the present Treasurer was sent to Sydney in company with Sir Robert Best. He was not then a member of our party.
– I was not sent;I went.
– Did not the honorable gentleman have a conference with the honorable member for Ballarat before he went?
– Yes, but I was not sent.
– Did not the honorable gentleman know exactly what he was to do?
Six John Forrest. - I was not sent.
– What right had the honorable gentleman to goas a plenipotentiary? What right had any one whc was not in the Liberal party to go to Sydney when I and others knew nothing about it ? Was it loyal to the party to . do that? What right had other members of the party who were then advising the honorable member for Ballarat - I am sorrv to say to his doom - to take a- certain step ? Why was not the party called together, as on a previous occasion ?
– They could not trust the honorable member.
– I have been in the political life of Australia for twenty-four years. During that period I have been trusted, and my word has been taken wherever it has been heard or read. The honorable member has- not been here for three years, and I wonder how many honorable members trust his word. That is my reply to his interjection.
– Age does not prove honesty.
– No. I do not know that there is very much difference between the honorable member’s age and mine. He looks more juvenile than I do.
– I have not had a chance to go wrong.
– If age does not’ prove honesty, it should, because we are both old enough to know better. I certainly know right from wrong, and I am trying to pursue the right course, but I cannot say so much for the honorable member who has interrupted me. Such is the position “in regard to parties. I should -not have made these remarks but for the interjection of the Treasurer.
– I objected to the honorable member saying that I was sent ; that is all.
– If the honorable member was not sent, he went with the approval of the honorable member for Ballarat.
– I went.
– I had my information from one who is now a colleague of the right honorable gentleman, and also from the honorable member forHume. The latter said that he spoke to the honorable member for Ballarat an hour or two after the latter had seen the right honorable member, and that he then admitted that the right honorable member had gone to Sydney charged with the responsibility of bringing’ abouta coalition with the enemies of Liberalism. It is immaterial whether the right honorable member was sent by the honorable member for Ballarat or asked whether he might go, the honorable member for Ballarat, saying, “Yes, go, arid I shall fall in with what you do.” He has certainly fallen in ; so deeply that I am afraid that he will never get out again.
– Honorable members are very sore about the matter !
– There is reason for feeling sore. That interjection should not have come from the right honorable gentleman, who once spoke about “eating dirt.”
– I never did.
– The right honorable gentleman thought so little of his present leader that, when the latter was physically weak, and needed the assistance of a strong man, he left him, and joined the reactionaries who were then sitting on the Opposition cross-benches.
– Misrepresentation is all that the honorable member is capable of.
– It is within every one’s knowledge that the right honorable member -left the Deakin Government when most of us thought that he should not leave it, since his chief at the time was grievously sick, and needed help to guide the ship of State into smooth waters. The right honorable gentleman left the sick man and his friends, to consort with his enemies, and time and again took action with a view to defeating those with whom he had formerly been associated.
– The right honorable gentleman would not have left his leader had he thought that he would remain in Opposition so long.
– I do not impute motives.
– I have given the reasons for what I did on the occasion ref erred to, but the honorable member will not believe me.
– I have never doubted the right honorable gentleman’s word. Sir John Forrest. - Then why does not. the honorable member accept my explanation ?
– I have not heard it. I should like to hear what the right honorable gentleman has to say on the subject. Having done so, I shall be glad, if in the wrong, to withdraw my remarks, and apologize for’ them. To continue my quotation from the Age -
In 1904, when Mr. Deakin made the great mistake of coalition, he did so in defiance of a formal resolution carried in a meeting of his party. A caucus meeting of the Liberal party of that day was held, and the question of coalition fully considered. A majority declared against it, and Mr. Deakin left that meeting with the understanding that he would loyally observe the resolution arrived at. He did not do so, but met Mr. Reid and arranged the terms of a coalition. He then split his party in two, as he was able to carry only about one half of it with him into the new arrangement. That was the first great blow which the integrity of the Federal Liberal party received. Now history is repeating itself. It may be true, as is alleged, that certain . of the Liberal members have been bringing much pressure to bear on their leaders. Some of them, with an eye on their electorates, are known to desire amalgamation at any cost. But that is no justification for the course pursued.
Is it not true that certain honorable members, who entered Parliament as Protectionists, voted with the Free Traders in almost every division bn the Tariff, so* that, had it not been for the Labour party, that great instrument for securing the progress and prosperity of Australia would not have been enacted ? While before the electors they termed themselves the friends of Protection and Liberalism, but their votes - and it is votes . that talk in politics - went forFree Trade. So annoyed was the Prime Minister that, on one occasion when they wished to join him, he refused to associate with’ them. Now his party is merged in their%, and, instead of controlling them, they control him. The Age stated in regard to the efforts to form a coalition -
We read in the reports that Mr. Deakin gave Sir John Forrest carte blanche to negotiate with Mr. Joseph Cook.
If that is so, the right honorable gentleman was sent to Sydney by the Prime Minister, and given a free hand in the negotiations with the then Leader of the Opposition. The AKA pertinently asked who authorized him to do that. Certainly the party did not.
What we urge is that the Liberal party should refuse definitely to be made a play-thing of, and that it should meet and speak for itself. If it wishes to commit the unhappy despatch, it should’ at least die by its own hand, and not be slaughtered by its leader, as it was in- 1904.
Those sentences contain an appeal to every Literal in Australia to stand firm and true to his principles, and under no circumstances to palter with them. There is no justification for an alliance, with political enemies. On the 17th May, a leading article published in the Age said -
Whatever else Mr.. Joseph Cook is, and however hungry he may be for office, he at least sturdily maintains the Conservative Free Trade stand against the new Protection. He will not hear of it, even in the way of compromise. The Federal Government is able to give Protection to the employer, but not to the employ^. The national programme makes it a first duty to extend this power to the National Parliament. To the true Federalist it is a monstrous proposition that such a right should be withheld from the Commonwealth. But Mr. Cook, true to ‘his party, says he . will not have it. He regards it as being bound up with the question of State Rights. And he is a State Rights man to the core. That is the very badge of Conservatism - this maintenance of the powers of the States and the consequent limitation of the National Parliament, and the Conservatives are right from their point of view. The States, with their limited franchise, in their Upper Chambers are the strongholds of Australian Conservatism. It is these Chambers which have been able so lone to prevent any fair and scientific system of State taxation. They are the solid and effective blocks to legislative progress. They are the brakes on the political wheels everywhere.
He (Mr. Joseph Cook) has given the most point blank contradiction to ail those members of his party who have been assuring us that nothing vital separates Liberalism and Conservatism. He has shown that no union can take place with Liberalism except on the basis of a great surrender on the part of the Liberal party. Indeed, the price of that union must be the annihilation of Liberalism as a progressive force.
That statement is as true to-day, now that the act has been consummated, as it was when it was first thundered forth by this great daily journal. ‘ It was a warning to the Liberals - from the chief to tha humblest member of the party - not to take this step. But the majority of the members of that party have acted in defiance of that warning, and because I and two or three others have heeded it, some honorable members opposite would say that we have deserted our party. Thank God, we have not. We are the same party to-day as we were before the fusion took place. We may be fewer in numbers, but we have not broken our pledges, and there is no blot upon our escutcheons. We may have been wrong in the views we held, but we submitted ourselves to the electors, and pledged ourselves, as men of honour, to endeavour to carry out our pledges and to associate in this House only with those who would help us to give effect to them as quickly as possible. We have kept the pledge that we gave the electors, and we intend to keep it. I shall conclude my quotations from the Age with the following extract : -
Liberalism has no room for men who are fairweather pilots, and who faint and collapse in a crisis. Labour, with all its drawbacks and limitations, is in possession, and is pointing the path of progress. If it is to be displaced it should not be in order that a period of political stagnation should supervene.
Those are weighty words, and I have followed the advice given by this great morning newspaper. As I have said on other occasions, I care not what the consequences, may be to me personally ; I have chosen the path that every true man ought to follow, and ‘it is the path that I urged my late colleagues to take. Better for us to have remained, even for ten years or more, a party of fifteen, true to our principles, than for any of us to forsake them in order to secure a temporary victory, or to form an alliance meaning the sacrifice not only of. our own principles, but of thousands of the electors who trusted us to endeavour to give effect to them. If I have done wrong, my masters, the electors, will deal with me. But I feel in my heart that I have not. I feel that I have taken the only right course open to me, and that there was no justification for the formation of the present Government. I am convinced that there was no warrant for the fusion. The programme put forward by the Liberal party in 1906 did not differ to the extent of a pin’s point from that of the Labour party’s programme.
– Oh !
– I shall read the two programmes if the right honorable member desires it.
Sir John Forrest. If there is no difference between the two programmes, it is open for the honorable member to join the Labour party.
– I repeat that there was no difference between the programme of the Labour party and that of the Deakin party in ‘1906. After the displacement of the Deakin Government last year, and the coming into power of the Fisher Government, the two policies differed in only one respect, and that was the proposal of the Labour party to impose a progressive land tax. On all other points we were in absolute agreement.
– Then why was the Labour party opposing Liberals in the constituencies ?
– The honorable member should direct that question to the Leader of the Labour party. The honorable member’s interjection opens up another question, to which I have devoted calm and dispassionate attention, and I feel that the fact that such opposition was threatened was no justification for members of the Liberal party joining the Coalition. Were we to ally ourselves with our enemies in order to do away with the possibility of opposition and of defeat at the next general election? Were we to consider our own personal interests more than our pledges to the people? No! It was our duty to leave it to the people themselves to determine - whether there were three or thirty candidates in the field - who should carry their flag, and give effect to the policy of which they approved. The excuse now mouthed by the PostmasterGeneral for the forming of the Coalition has been put forward again and again, but there is no justification for it. As I am not a member of the Labour party, and know nothing- of their methods, the honorable gentlemen, I repeat, should put his question to the leader of that party. I do not know what was their justification for the contemplated action, but I do know that there was no justification for ignoring our pledges.
– Were the members of the Liberal party to be as sheep before the shearers ?
– The honorable member ought to know more about sheep than I do, since he is part owner of a very large sheep station, whilst I do not own even a
Mary’s “little lamb.” I certainly know something about sheep, and I am sorry that my friends - the sheep who formerly belonged to our party - are now at the mercy of the Conservative Free Trade wolves. They will certainly be shorn by-and-by.
– Give them a name. I should like to know the name of one of them.
– If the honorable member wants a better name with which to designate the party, let him coin one for himself. I do not .know of anything more distasteful to an honorable man than a statement that he has been a traitor to his principles. That has not been, and will not be, said of me. Whether my principles be good, bad, or indifferent, I shall stand by them, and should I ever entertain any doubts in regard to them, I shall go to my electors and say, “ I have changed my mind; do you approve of my doing so?”
– Has the honorable member never changed his mind?
– I have, but not in regard to great principles. My convictions are the result, not of a few minutes’ consideration, but of lifelong residence in Australia, and a study of the necessities of the people. I have arrived at them, not by any regard for my own personal wellbeing, or for that of those belonging to me, but as the result of careful consideration of the necessities of the great mass of the people for whom we are here to legislate. If my honorable friend can say as much, I commend him for it. The Treasurer took me to task just now bv interjection for saying that there was no difference, except in one particular, between the policy of the Deakin party in 1906 and that of the Labour party. In the Governor-General’s speech of this year, which represents the policy of the Fisher party, it was stated that we should be invited to consider -
The financial relations of the Commonwealth and the States, with the view of equitably adjusting them.
Are we to understand from the honorable member for Echuca that there is to be a complete surrender to the States on this question, or are we to hear later from the Treasurer what the arrangements really are? All we know at present is that the Fisher Government said they would come to an arrangement with the States, and made their proposals. The then Prime Minister said that the Government were prepared on behalf of the Federal Parliament to grant the States a fixed payment of £5,000,000 per annum.
– With £250,000 as a special allowance to Western Australia.
– Exactly. It had also been proposed by the honorable member for Hume, the previous Treasurer, to grant the States a fixed annual payment of £6,000,000. The right honorable member for Swan, who preceded the honorable member for Hume as Treasurer, had also made certain offers to the State Governments. All those Governments and Treasurers knew the desire of the people, and the object of the ten year period in the Constitution, and they all had an evident desire to settle the question before that period had elapsed, so that the States and the Commonwealth would know exactly where they were. ‘Now we are told in a memorandum submitted by the Government that the matter is to be hung up for another five years. The final settlement of the question was a part of the previous Deakin policy, and also of the Fisher policy j but the Deakin policy, now that the Prime Minister has associated himself with others, is : “ We cannot settle the matter now. We shall hang it up for five years, and make a compromise.” With whom has the honorable gentleman associated himself ? Is it with those who wish to put the Commonwealth Parliament in a preeminent position over the Parliaments of the States, or with those who want to make the national Parliament subordinate to the States? Again, the Fisher Government announced that proposals would be submitted “ for aCommonwealth silver and paper currency.” There is no doubt about the silver currency question, for the Treasurer has already indicated that it is a part of the present Government’s policy, while, on the authority of the honorable member for Hume, we know that, when the right honorable member for Swan was previously in office as Treasurer, the then Government were prepared to undertake a note issue, and a Bill was actually prepared for that purpose. There is, therefore, no differen.ee between the two policies on that point. The Fisher Government announced that -
Proposals will be submitted to you for the amendment of the Constitution to enable Parliament to protect, the interests of the consumer and insure a fair and reasonable wage to every worker in the Commonwealth. In protected and unprotected industries this will be secured through such extension of the industrial powers of the Parliament as may be necessary. It is proposed also to extend the jurisdiction of Par liament with regard to trusts and combinations in restraint of trade, and to provide for the nationalization of monopolies.
Every word of that might have been written by the present Prime Minister when he was head of my party, for he agreed, just as. the Fisher Government proposed, to ask the people in a direct manner to empower this Parliament to take control of industrial legislation. But we are now told by the Ministerial memorandum, and in more detail by the honorable member for Echuca, that whatever power is to be sought in that direction is to be obtained, not directly, but in a very roundabout way. Some time in the future an Inter-State Commission is to be appointed, and if a State, or some one in the State, is dissatisfied, the Commission may constitute itself a Court of Appeal to adjust the conditions of labour and the differences arising between employer and employed. How long would that process take? How many members will constitute the Commission ? If honorable members refer to the Constitution to. ascertain the duties with which the Inter-State Commission, -when appointed, will toe charged, they will find that that body will have no time to deal with industrial matters. The whole of its time will be taken’ up with the responsibilities placed upon it by the existing provisions of the Constitution. If these extra duties are imposed upon it, it will be in the .same position as was the New South Wales Arbitration Court, which broke down by its own weight, because, when applications were made to it,’ so far from being able to settle them at once, it could not even hear them, let alone deal with them finally, for years. This difference in regard to the ‘ new Protection policy has only arisen now. It did not exist before the Fisher Government wasdisplaced, but it makes its appearance now in order to afford some justification for that event. Whose is the hand ? Is it the hand of the Prime Minister, of the hand of his colleague, the honorable member for Parramatta? Who is responsible for this disastrous delay in bringing about that necessary reform ? The Fisher Government announced that “ a measure providing for the appointment of a High Commissioner, ur: gent on many grounds,” would be submitted. There is no difference of opinion on that question.” It mentioned the survey of a route for the proposed railway from Port Augusta ‘ to Kalgoorlie. There was no difference of policy there. To sum up,’ there was only one point in the whole programme of the Fisher Government with which any member of the late Deakin party could not agree, but with which, nevertheless, the bulk of them did agree, and that was the proposal for a progressive land tax on the large land-holders of Australia. Even that point of difference applied only to the life of this Parliament so far as the present Prime Minister w;as concerned, for he said that in the past he was in favour of land taxation, and that, when he gave it more consideration, he was in favour of it now, but he had pledged himself to his constituents at Ballarat not to support it during the life of this Parliament, although after that period he would be prepared to take another course. But now. whatever may be his convictions on that issue, he has allied himself with those who will not allow him even to approach it, let alone to give honorable members an opportunity of passing such a tax.If there was one act more than another which will bring discredit on the party to which I belong, it was that done in connexion with the cry of Australia for land for the people. The ex-Prime Minister, the honorable member for Wide Bay, was the first head of a Government to present an opportunity of obtaining land for the people; and the stiletto was at once used against him. The ex-Prime Minister adopted a course altogether unusual in our procedure, and, instead of laying on the table a formal Bill merely to assert the rights and privileges of the House, he presented in its place a Land Taxation Bill. If the late Government had lived, that measure would have been discussed, and members would have had to justify themselves to the people’ in regard to it. As I say, the act of the party to which I belonged was, in this connexion, of a most discreditable character. I have presented the facts of the case, showing that there was no difference in policy ; and I believe there is no difference now in the heart of the Prime Minister and one or two others who are associated with him, not even in regard to the question of land taxation of a progressive character. I’ should now like to deal shortly with the finances of i-he Commonwealth and the States. I take it that the honorable member for Echuca, speaking to-night on behalf of the fused parties, told us the truth as to what is proposed to be done, and that we may take it that the State Rights party are to have their own way entirely. On the question of finances, I again quote from the Melbourne Age, which is a perfectly reliable authority, and still upholds the great policy for which it fought, and which. I, as a humble member of the party, have advocated so long. It might naturally be expected that the expenditure of the States in the pre-Federation days would be greater than it is at present; but the reverse is the fact, notwithstanding that Federation, relieved them of a burden of about £3,000,000, and notwithstanding the efforts of the Liberal Reform party, which never reformed anything, and of which, under another name, the Minister of Defence is the head. All that has been done has been to reduce the numbers of the members of Parliament; and the States have gone on expending more and more, both from revenue and loan funds, to the extent of millions, than they did before Federation. Offers for the settlement of the financial question as between Commonwealth, and States, were made by the present Treasurer, and also by the honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Wide Bay, when they occupied the same office. I quote the table of figures given by the Age, and taken from the statistical returns, which cannot be denied. The table is as follows : -
Amongst all the States the one reduction in expenditure made is that in the salaries paid to the Governors; and in spite of all the nonsense talked about retrenchment in order that the people should not be unduly taxed under Federation, the expenditure has increased as shown.
It will be remarked at once that this comparison is unfair, inasmuch as the figures quoted include increased payments to sinking funds and for loan redemptions and the heavier expenditure upon railways incurred for earning additional railway revenue. In 1899-1900 the six States paid ^’607,46”? for sinking fund and redemption, and in igo7-igo3 they paid ^”1,804,306 - an increase of £1,286,843. Allowing for this sum of £”1,286,843, the total increase in State expenditure works out thus : -
Which of the States is spending this vast excess of £”3,625.250 a year, and in what manner are they spending it? - The following table supplies a partial answer : -
New South Wales has been the chief offender, principally because the Commonwealth has filled her Treasury to overflowing, and her politicians have not scrupled to place burdens upon the people, merely to magnify the importance of the State Government as against the Commonwealth. When this State federated, her customs revenue amounted to only £”1,958,547. In 1906-1907 the Commonwealth paid her £^3,000,000 from this’ source, and during eight years of federation she has received about £”8,000,000 more from customs than she would have received under her old. State tariff.
While on the whole the expenses in connexion with State Governors have been decreased, the upkeep of the Governor’s establishment in New South Wales has been increased by £2,747. The expenditure on the Parliament of New South Wales has been increased by £28,009 > the cost of the Agency-General has been increased by £4,106; and other increases amount to £584,645. Therefore, it will be seen beyond doubt that the constant and continuous clamour of what is called the State Rights party for more money really comes from those who have increased State expenditure. My honorable friends whorepresent New South Wales constituencies will recollect that, although that State in pre- Federation days had a revenue of between £9,000,000 and £16,000,000, she had to pay, out of that, expenditure in connexion with defence, Customs, posts and telegraphs, and so forth. Now she has an expenditure of between £14,000,000 and £15,000,000, although she has none of those costs to bear. When- the question is put to the people with sufficient force, as it will be put - “How are the necessities of the National Parliament to be met?” - I have no doubt that they will say that they are to be met out of revenue, as has teen the case hitherto. The people will say that this Parliament is not to be subordinated to the Slate Parliaments, and driven into the miserable position, of having to go to the pawnbroker for money with which to carry out its policy. The expenditure of Australia is enormous for a population of a little over 4,500,000. This Parliament has hitherto resolved not to borrow money, but to live within its revenue. We have the means to live within our revenue. We have made overtures to theStates, time after time, in respect to the taking over of the debts, but- they would not entertain bur offers. We have made advances of the most generous character, but the States would have none df them. Like Shylock, they would have not only their pound of flesh, but the blood as well. They have had not only their three-fourths of Customs and Excise revenue, but the bulk of the remaining one-fourth also.
– Not the bulk.
– If an average were compiled of the payments to the States from the beginning of Federation to the present moment, I venture to say that it would be seen that out of every pound raised from Customs and Excise the States have received between 17s. and 18s.
– They have only had their three-fourths this year.
– I am speaking of the eight or nine years during which the Commonwealth has been in existence. The framers of the Constitu tion some of whom are with us. and the people who adopted it, never intended the present arrangement to be permanent. Why was the Braddon section called a. “blot” ‘in the first place? Why was it inserted in the Constitution at all? It was because of our inexperience, and the desirableness of laying down’ the amount of Customs and Excise revenue which the Commonwealth should retain for its own purposes. It was believed by the people that by the end of the ten years’ period we should have gained so much experience that we should then be able to make a permanent arrangement. But the matter was not left for the States to decide. The section reads, “Until the Parliament otherwise provides.” But, when this Parliament wants to provide, we are met by this cry of State Rights, which are to prevail over Commonwealth necessities. Surely, if the States could get along in 1900 with revenues corresponding in amount to a revenue of nine or ten million pounds in the case of New South Wales, they ought to be able to get along with such a revenue to-day when the Federation has relieved them of much of their former expenditure. But they cry for more and more. I have sometimes been accused of being more of a Victorian than a New South Wales member. I am not a member for the one State or the other. I am a member of the great National Parliament of Australia, and I am standing up for the rights of that Parliament. I see ahead of the Commonwealth such tasks as the taking over of the Northern Territory, Inter-State railway communication, an enlarged defence policy, and other “important matters. If we give way to the Premiers of the Slates, it means that out of Customs and Excise revenue we shall not be able to retain sufficient money to cany out those policies. We shall be forced into the position of either leaving our work undone or borrowing money and leaving the burden for posterity to bear.
– Why should not posteritv bear its share?
– That has been the cowardly policy of the States in the past. Why did they not put enough money aside to pay for works out of revenue? I do not know whether my honorable friend is married and has a family ; if not, he ought to be. In any case, when he reaches that position of citizenship, I hope that he will consider that it will be wiser policy on his part to leave something, better to his posterity than a load of debt.
– Posterity will have the works which are constructed out of loans.
– In New South Wales money has been borrowed for shifting sand from one part of a. paddock to another, for making paint for painting fences, for putting furniture at the caves in the Blue Mountains for the accommoda tion of tourists, and for importing live stock. Millions and millions of money have been spent.
– And millions of money have been wiselv borrowed.
– The furniture has gone; the stock has died; the paint is washed off the fences; some of the fences have been removed; only the sand is still there, and that is of no use to anybody.
– Has not New South Wales been enabled to reduce local taxation on account of the money paid by the Federation ?
– Certainly. The honorable member’s interjection comes at the psychological moment. In consequence of the £8,000,000 sterling which the State of New South Wales has received from the Federation, and which it would not have received under the old New South Wales Tariff, what has been done? One would have thought that the Government of the State would have said, “Well, we owe about £80,000,000. One would have thought that, having a debt of £80,000,000, some effort would have been made to reduce it. It has not been reduced, but fresh loans have been floated for redemption purposes.
– The State has borrowed more rapidly than ever.
– That is so..
– It is no condemnation of borrowing to say that a particular State has borrowed unwisely.
– I speak from a national point of view. When the Government of the State find that they have more money than they know what to do with, and on that account remit taxation, which falls upon those best able to bear it, such as income tax, stamp duties, and stamps on cheques, it is only fair that the national Parliament should say : “ We require the money for the whole of the people of Australia, and if you find that you cannot get along with less than you had previously at your disposal, you must re-impose the taxation you have remitted, or impose other taxation.” I should like now to deal with another question, which was dealt with at some length by the honorable member for Echuca. I refer to the question of immigration. The Fisher Government coupled with their immigration policy the imposition of progressive land taxation, in order that immigrants might be provided with land when they arrived here. They contended, and I agree with the contention, that one of the effects of the imposition of land taxation would be that the large landed estates in the Commonwealth would be broken up, and homes would thus be made available for the people already here, and also for those who might be introduced under an immigration policy. The necessity for progressive land taxation is being forced upon the people, not only of the New, but of the Old, World. It is nbw agitating the minds of the people of Great Britain, and the Imperial Parliament is being asked to deal with the question. I am again indebted to the Age of 15th May for the following references to the subject : -
In the House of Commons the Labour member for Leeds was the first to call attention to the question by motion. lt is strange that in Australia the Labour party, and in the House of Commons a Labour member, should be the first in the Commonwealth and in the Old Country respectively to urge the adoption of this practical means to secure homes for the people. The Labour member for Leeds moved -
That, in the opinion of this House, the taxation of land values would result in the owners of land and minerals developing these national resources more rapidly, thereby providing opportunities for labour, and the imposition of such a tax should be provided for without delay.
He estimated that id. in the £,i would provide ^21,000,000 to the Exchequer, which should be ear-marked for social reform. I heard the honorable member for Echuca speak on this question the other night, and again to-night, and he estimated the revenue to be obtained from the progressive land taxation proposed in the Commonwealth at a little over the amount which was received from the land tax of id. in the £1 in New South Wales, when it was imposed at the instigation of the honorable member for East Sydney. Now let us see what the individualist view was as against the proposal for land taxation. I quote again from the Age -
The individualist view in the debate was represented by a Liberal member, Mr. Harold Cox, who proposed as an amendment, “ It is unjust to impose new taxation upon property in land at a higher rate than upon other forms of property.” Some fifty years ago, John Stuart Mill met this objection with the answer that property in land is a monopoly, that no other investment partakes of the character of land, and that no other capitalist inflicts so much inconvenience on the public or reaps so much advantage from the public expenditure; whereas it is the public that increases the value of his property, by construcing railways, making roads and aqueducts, and prospecting for gold, coal, and other minerals for him ; and in return for this unearned incre-ment, he excludes population from the soil, and keeps its producing powers in abeyance. So far from a land tax pure and simple being a robbery in his eyes, he advocated it, in contradistinction to other taxes, in the most emphatic tone, and just two mouths before he died, at a land tenure reform in Exeter Hall, he insisted that “ no other portion of the community had a similar advantage with the land, for with land the supply was not increased, while there was a constantlyincreasing demand. The labouring classes did not find their wages steadily rising as their numbers increased, and it was high time that the mode of dealing with the land, had it existed, to increase the power and importance of the landed proprietor, and not for the good of the people, should come to an end.
That is the opinion of an authority on whom we can rely. Since John Stuart Mill denounced his greed the land monopolist appears to have grown only more insatiable than ever. My next authority is Doomsday Book, which is one that honorable members will scarcely deny. I fmd the statement made that -
Fifteen million acres- or nearly half the enclosed area of England and Wales - is held by 2,250 persons, while twelve individuals own onequarter of Scotland; 70 persons half; and 1,700 about nine-tenths.
In the face of these figures can we wonder that there is an agitation in the Old Country for land reform? Here in Australia, although we have a population of only about 4,500,000, with a territory with which the area of England, Ireland, and Scotland cannot be compared, is it not still a fact that we are building up landed estates with which those existing in Great Britain cannot be compared? Again, I quote from official returns, and they show that -
Five hundred and twenty-five Peers hold 15,000,000 acres, the Duke of Sutherland being credited with over 1,250,000 acres; while, on’ the other hand, we learn from the last census the significant- fact that between 18S1 and 1901, the number of agricultural labourers employed fell from 983,919 to 698,292, a loss of 285,627, though during this, period the population of Great Britain increased by over 7,250,000. This means that the arable land is turned into pasture. The loss of’ 2,000,000 acres of arable land of Great Britain in the twenty years 1881-1901, says the report, probably threw out of work from 60,000 to 80,000 labourers during that period.
The evil is intense there, and it is becoming intense here also. I will conclude mv quotations on “the land question from this article -
Sir John Benn, in the House of Commons, is prepared to pray. ‘
It is well, sir, that there is some one who is prepared to pray to the Giver of all good gifts for a man’s right to live on the soil - for the landlords who constitute the strength of that gilded Chamber, and it would seem that
Providence has supplied him with a peculiarly appropriate one from the Liturgy of Edward VI., which might be restored with advantage for future use to its proper place in the forthcoming revised edition of the Prayer Book. “*’ The earth is Thine, O Lord, and all that is contained therein ; notwithstanding Thou hast given the possession thereof unto the children of men, to pass over the time of their short pilgrimage in this vale of misery : We heartily pray Thee to send Thy Holy Spirit into the hearts of them that possess the grounds, pastures and dwelling places of the earth, that they, remembering themselves to be Thy tenants, may not rack and stretch out the rents of their houses and lands, nor yet take unreasonable lines and incomes after the’ manner of covetous worldlings, but so let them out to others that the inhabitants thereof may both be able to pay the rents and also honestly to live, to nourish their families and to relieve the poor.
Give them grace also to consider that they are but strangers and pilgrims in this world, having here no dwelling place, but seeking one to come : that they, remembering the short continuance of their life, may be content with that that is sufficient, and not join house to house, nor couple land to land to the impoverishment of others, but so behave themselves in letting out their tenements, lands, and pastures, that after this life they may be received into everlasting dwelling places : through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
That is a prayer which might well go further, and we’ are getting into that position when it might well come from us too. 1 cannot forget that in the electorate which I have the honour to represent, and which contains an area larger than England, there are only 26,000 persons enrolled as voters for the national Legislature. In that vast territory, hundreds of farmers’ sons, as stated in the letter which I read to-day, have been seeking in vain for land. Is there no land there? Land is there, but it is not obtainable. One family, for instance, owns between 700,000 and 800,000- acres of freehold land, and a large number of families hold a similar area. Town after town is choked in that way. Man after man, family after family, are being driven out of the State. Some of them have been driven out of the Commonwealth. Is it wrong, then, for a man, no matter what party he’ belongs to. to stand in his place here and claim on behalf of the landless people the right to a piece of land on which to make a living? It has been well quoted -
Never a foot hath the poor man here,
To plant with a grain of corn.
And never a plot where his child may cull
Fresh flowers in the dewy morn.
The soil lies fallow, the weeds grow rank,
Yet idle the poor man stands; While millions of hands want acres,
And millions of acres want hands.
We are asked1 to spend, not our money, but borrowed money, if we give way to the State Rights party, to bring men here. For what purpose? Is it to make loafers of them ? That may be behind the proposal. I know that there is one section with whom I have “never had any sympathy, who want to overload the labour market in order to bring down wages.. But this Parliament has said, and I hope that it will continue to say, no matter how it may be constituted from time to time, that in Aus- . tralia, at least, every man shall receive a living wage, which will enable him, not only to live, but also to maintain a wife and family. Can we bring men here to enjoy those conditions now? It is useless for the honorable member for Wimmera to talk about land being available. It is not avail- ‘ able, as every member of the House knows, and it should be made available before we seek to bring in immigrants. Let us first make more land available than our own’ sturdy sons and daughters want, and then we can invite those of the white races who . are likely to become good citizens to come here. That is the true policy to pursue. I do not know what- the Prime Minister will do now, but then he said to the States : “ On behalf of the national Parliament, I am ready to help immigrants to come to Australia, because we recognise that population is wanted for defensive purposes as well as for industrial purposes. Make the land available in the States for immigrants, and I will do my duty.” Have the States responded to his appeal? I hold in mv hand a quotation from a newspaper which certainly cannot be charged with favoring that idea. Dr. ‘Arthur, who is a member of the Parliament of New South- Wales, and with whom honorable members have not always agreed, has been one of the most pronounced advocates of bringing immigrants from the Old World to Australia., From an individual in the Old World he has received a letter which has been published in the Sydney Sunday Times, and also in the Stock and Station Journal. This, says the writer, is the advertisement appearing - under the authority of the -. State Governments, I presume - in the press of Great Britain, to lure persons to Australia -
Australia offers the people of the Motherland a new home, where there is a chance for all. Any one with no other capital than energy and perseverance may prosper in a land which possesses inexhaustible, and, for the most part, unexploited, resources. To every British man or women who wants to emigrate, we say, “ Come- to Australia, where every man who likes to work can have his own home on his own land.”
– That is not correct to start with.
– I know that it is not correct, but that is what they are telling people in the Old World. What this poor individual writes will no doubt have a deterrent effect. He says -
Please accept my best wishes on your praiseworthy mission, which I see you have come over for, vide the morning paper. There are plenty willing to emigrate, and not all destitute, and, I might add, there are plenty of emigration societies and also plenty of red-tape. You can see every day in big type cheap fares to Australia, but try your hand to get one, and it would open your eyes. If you are a good agricultural labourer you might’ stand a chance, and even then you would have all your work cut out to get one. At least that has been my experience. I have tried twice, and I do not know if I am an exceptional case. The first time was nearly three years ago. I read up the subject by circulars and handbooks supplied by the British Government’s Information Office. I went to their place and saw them. They told me that I would be all right, so I went round to Cannonstreet to the offices of the New South Wales Agent-General, and was informed that all assisted passages were stopped. I told them I had just come from the Emigrants’ Information Office, and they said they had tried to stop them issuing pamphlets, but, being under different Governments, could not. Of course that finished me. I gave it up, but decided to have another try later on, I got handbooks and circulars last Christmas, and wrote the Queensland people -
Queensland is the State which has been quoted as offering an abundance cif land for everybody - asking for assisted passage, and had reply that free passages to farm labourers were stopped. Not to be done, I wrote and told them that they must have misunderstood my letter. They then sent me an application form, which I filled in, stating that I had a capital of £50, which I would deposit, also sent a doctor’s certificate. Reply came, “ would be considered,” and after some time came this reply : “ The Agent-General for Queensland cannot recommend you for assisted passage.” No reason whatever given, which I thoughtwas strange.
Is it not a farce to have such advertisements appearing in the English press time after time, telling people that if they come out here there is land available for them? When persons go to the trouble of writing to the- State Governments, they are asked to make a deposit of £50.: to get doctors’ certificates to the fact that their physical condition is sound, and to obtain testimony as to their moral character, and even then are told that they are not wanted. That is not the way to people Australia. What we must do is, first, to throw open our lands so as to give opportunities tothose already . here to make homes in the country, and then to find areas for those whom we wish to attract to Australia from other places. When sufficient land has been made available we can honestly advertise for immigrants. That was the policy of the Fisher Government, but it is not the policy of the present Government, though it was at one time the policy of the present Prime Minister. This Government says, “ We shall assist immigration if the States will find the necessary land.” God help the people of Australia if they have to wait for the States to find land. How is it possible, at the present time, for a farmer’s son, who has only the ordinary amount of capital, to obtain land? Values are inflated by the purchases made by the Government, so that those who secure allotments on Government subdivisions cannot earn enough to pay interest on the capital charged against them. I have always asserted that the true policy would be to let every man and woman value his own land, taxing it in accordance with the valuation, and, where necessary, resuming it on the figures given by the owners, with an added to per cent, for dispossession. By adopting that policy, we could settle 100 families where there is now only one. The result of the resumption, of the Cheviot Estate in New Zealand is that there are now 400 families where formerly only forty persons,’ including men, women, and children, resided. How do our great landowners encourage the increase of population? In one newspaper after another you will find stations” advertising, “ Wanted a married couple. No encumbrance.” There is not room on these large areas for toddling children. Room should be found for children, and, if the land-owners will not open up their land, the Commonwealth should do it.
– What difference is there between the way inwhich closer settlement has been brought about in Victoria and the resumption of the Cheviot Estate?
– What closer settlement legislation is there in Victoria?
– The Victorian Government has bought and subdivided estates in the manner in which the New Zealand Government bought and subdivided the Cheviot Estate.
– The laws of the two countries’ are quite dissimilar. In Victoria certain things may be done with the consent of the Legislative Council, which it is known can never be obtained.
– The Victorian Govern:ment has -bought plenty of estates in the way the Cheviot Estate was bought.
– No; the Cheviot
Estate was acquired by the New Zealand Government by virtue of an Act which enabled it to resume any estate on the valuation declared by the owner for land tax purposes, plus 10 per cent. The owners of the Cheviot Estate sought to take advantage of the Government by’ valuing their land at a very low figure, and the Government thereupon took it from them.
– More sheep are being run on it now than it carried before its subdivision.
– Vary likely. In Victoria, values have been, inflated by the action of the Government in buying private estates. That occurred in connexion with the Wyuna and Restdown Estates, of which I have a personal knowledge. The acquisition, of those estates, however, has meant that there are now hundreds of families where formerly there were only two. i Irrigation ‘plants have been put down, and the action of the Government has shown that our land will support more men, ‘more women, more children,and more sheep than it supports now. The honorable member for Echuca could speak on this subject from his own experience in New South Wales.
– Who found the capital for irrigating the land to which the honorable member refers?
– The terrible Socialistic party of Victoria, which . borrowed money for the purpose. Some of those on the land have, to their discredit, refused to pay interest on money thus borrowed for their benefit; though they are people living, not on the areas to which I refer, but on some of earlier date. The people of whom I speak have been doing very well, though unfortunately the flood waters now cover part of their land. In Riverina - and the same thing obtains all over Australia - there/ is good land which would not cost much to plough. Yet it is not available for agriculture, because no one may go on . it without risk of prosecution for trespass. In many cases no one may carry a gun or a rod over such land. I have known a fishing partv from the town where I live . to be prosecuted for trespassing on it, the owners being afraid that their sheep might be disturbed.
-Have these landowners refused . to sell . to the Crown ?
– Yes ; except at their own Valuations, and they have put on prices which the Crown ought not to pay. The honorable member for Gwydir knows that where land in New South Wales has been . resumed and -subdivided, the men who have, been lured to take it up by the hope by making homes for themselves and families, find themselves unable to make enough money to pay interest.
– Most of them are in the hands of the banks.
– A compulsory purchase clause would meet the honorable member’s objections.
– Will my honorable friend pledge himself and his party to give the Government an opportunity to introduce such legislation.
– No; because the matter is one for the Governments and Parliaments of the States.
– The honorable member agrees with me that compulsory purchase is necessary, but refuses to urge his party to adopt the principle. His attitude accentuates the statement that we can hope for nothing from honorable members opposite in the direction of opening up the lands for the people. Statements have been made from time to time, in New South Wales, that the Government are resuming large areas, and providing homes on the land for a number of families ; that the State is progressing, and that everything there is satisfactory. I propose now to confirm a statement that I made by way of interjection when another honorable member was speaking a few nights ago, that the number of persons who have transferred their holdings to the already large land owners, and have left the State, is 300 per cent, greater than the number of new settlers in that State. I can prove that settlement there, instead pf progressing, is retrogressing, and nothing is being done by way of legislation to prevent the aggregation of large estates.
Mir. Poynton. - A progressive land tax is ‘wanted’ to change that state of affairs.
– It is, but what hope have the people of New South Wales df such a tax being . imposed by the State Parliament ? A Progressive Land Tax Bill might readily pass the Legislative Assembly, but it would never be . passed by the Legislative Council, which consists principally of men having interest in largelanded estates.
– The Legislative Council of New South Wales is far more Liberal than it was when we were in the State Legislative Assembly.
– It is so Liberal that once a man is appointed to the Legislative Council, he can snap his fingers at the people, and remain there for life. The members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales are nominated by the Cabinet of the day : they are not elected by or responsible to the people. The Council may be more Liberal than it was some years ago, but the number of members who would be prepared to harken to the voice of the people in regard to the opening. up of the lands of the State is very small compared with the number who would hold out for Tory interests.
– It is no worse in that respect than the Legislative Council of Victoria.
– It is. because there comes a time when every member of the Legislative Council of Victoria has to answer to a section of the people, whereas the members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales have to answer to no one - not even to their creators. What justification can there be for imposing a progressive land tax? That is the question that has been put again and again. Honorable members opposite, and more particularly the honorable member for Wimmera, and the honorable member for Echuca, have said that such a tax would yield no revenue. Every experienced politician knows, however, that its effect would be, not only to produce revenue, but to compel the subdivision of large estates. Its progressive character, starting as it would with a very low tax, and running up to one of fourpence in the pound, would necessarily lead to its yielding a considerable amount “of revenue. It would produce revenue which would come from those best able to provide it - from persons having areas, the unimproved value of which exceeded£5,000 -and it would also lead to the subdivision of estates on the part of those holding millions of acres of freehold land, many of whom do not even deign to live in the country or to spend any of their money here. There need be no’ fear, as to such a tax failing to produce revenue and also causing a subdivision of large’ estates. The question is not new to us. It has been considered for many years.
– And where such a tax has been tried, it has not led to the settlement of the lands.
– The question will never be settled until we have one dominating power to deal with it. Man, in his desire to aggregate wealth, passes through several stages. In the first, he has not enough to eat, and is imbued with a laudable desire to work for and obtain the necessaries of life. ‘ He reaches that stage. Then he looks to the future, and marrying, says, “ I must have not only enough for myself, but for my wife. I must make provision for those for whom I am responsible.” That again is a laudable ambition, and he goes on his way striving to reach that goal. Having reached it, he Rees yet a third goal before him. He says, “ I have provided sufficient to meet my present . wants, and those pf my wife and family. I need now to put by something for a rainy day ; for the time when I shall be no longer able to work.” That, too, is a laudable desire. But, having reached that goal ; having acquired sufficient for himself and his - family for all time, he does not stop. H’is greed induces him to go on aggregating pound upon pound, and for no purpose in the world, since he cannot use it all. And so with the holding of land. I have no objection to any one holding a reasonable area. That is the birthright of every man ; but no one is entitled to hold more than is sufficient for his own requirements and to deprive of a necessary portion those who have none. The national Parliament alone can step in and make provision for opening the land. Why is it that the young men of Tasmania, that fertile island, possessing a magnificent soil, and blessed with a rainfall that the people of my electorate would delight to have, are leaving that State?
– Because they are ambitious, and see better chances elsewhere.
– Exactly. They do not leave because there is no good land there. There is plenty of excellent land in Tasmania, but it is locked up, and held by a few men.
– The North-west Coast of Tasmania is a better example of closer settlement than is to be found in- all the rest of Australia. It is one of the most fertile parts also.
– I admit its fertility, but what is the use of that if the land is not utilized? It is of no use to have good land, which is one of the greatest gifts of the Almighty to a people, if one man is allowed to monopolize it, while all the rest starve for want of it. That is the condition of Tasmania.
– The honorable member knows nothing about it.
– I have been there, and made inquiries. Does the honorable member seriously tell me that there is no land locked up in large estates in Tasmania ?
– Not on the North-west Coast.
– Does the honorable member believe that the young men of Tasmania would not prefer to remain near their parents if they .could get land? It is because’ they cannot . get it that they are driven away to Queensland or elsewhere. It is the same in my own State, and, in fact, in every State in the Commonwealth, except in one or two instances. Liberality in land legislation, so far as Australia is concerned, comes from the West, but un- fortunately the worst land- is there, and so are the- worst conditions, such as want of communication. All the best land near the great cities of Melbourne and Sydney is occupied, as the honorable member will find if he visits the Western District of Victoria, not by men and women, but by sheep. Should men- and women give place to the sheep? God forbid. The Almighty intended that every living creature should have the right to draw its life from the soil. All wealth and all life come from the soil, but if we allow the soil to be monopolized, as it has been in the past, and is now. in the States, Australia will never be brought out of bondage, but will remain a prey to whoever likes to take her. It is a farce to talk about immigration without making provision for land settlement. We want population badly ; we want true men to defend’ Australia, but we shall never get a large flow of immigration without a proper land policy, and if we wait for the States to bring it about we . shall wait a long time.
– The States are coming fast to a progressive land tax. and to compulsory purchase. Tasmania is, at any rate.
– They have been com-. ing to it for a long while. With regard to the referendum on .the new Protection, I “ should like the Prime Minister to state before the debate closes, how he justifies his departure from the principles which he held a very short while ago, when provision wag absolutely made, and an agreement arrived at in Cabinet by the late Deakin Government to submit to the people, by means of a referendum, the question of empowering this Parliament to deal with industrial legislation. Why has this change been brought about? Why is the matter to be delayed ? Why is it now proposed to hand the question over to a nebulous body called the Inter-State Commission, which is not yet in existence?
– It is the same body as we always proposed should deal with it.
– I never heard a word about the Inter-State Commission dealing with the new Protection until the Prime Minister- read the Ministerial memorandum. On the contrary, I often heard, in the late Deakin party, statements - and by the Prime Minister himself - that a direct vote would be taken at the next general election by means of a referendum on the question of empowering this Parliament to deal with the matter. This Parliament and the late Deakin Government did deal with it in a manner that they thought effective, but the High Court declared that it was not effective, inasmuch as it was not constitutional, and the then Government immediately took steps to find a means to make it effective. The changes to the Inter- State Commission proposal can mean nothing but delay. I wish to deal with the fiscal question so far as it relates to this party. I was always a Protectionist first and foremost, because I believed that Protection provided work for both the manufacturer and the worker. I was looked upon as a lunatic in New South Wales foi advocating it. I was one of three who raised the flag a good many years ago ; and I have stuck to it ever since. Many others joined the movement, and the present Minister of Defence at one time agreed with me. He did riot agree with me recently, and I do not know what he thinks now. I am abundantly justified in refusing to ally myself with the enemies of Protection when I know how much good it’ has done to my own State. It has proved of paramount importance not only to the State itself, but to individuals. These figures, taken from the statistical returns, prove my contention, and I challenge any contradiction’ or refutation of them. The increase in the number of factories1 in New South Wales from 1901, when we entered’ into
Federation, until the end of 1907, was n. less than 1,020. The wages paid in 1907 showed an increase over 1901 of j£i, 734,000. The output of the factories in 1901 was valued at £25,000,000, and in 1907 at £40,000,000. The policy of Protection has, therefore, been in every direction of such immense importance to New South Wales that to do anything to endanger it, or to ally myself with those who would endanger it, would be a criminal act on my part, and I refused to do it. f should like to know what agreement has been entered into by the honorable member for Parramatta and the Prime Minister? The latter told his party at a meeting before this fusion was effected - and I shall be borne out in this by my present . colleagues - that the agreement was that there should be no interference with the fiscal policy, or, in other words, with the Tariff. When it was pointed out that a number of anomalies had already been discovered, and that there would probably be more, we were assured absolutely that the honorable member for Parramatta and his party had agreed that there should be no interference with rectification *of anomalies in a Protectionist direction. Since then, the right honorable member for East Sydney, both in the press and in this House, has declared that he made no such agreement, or was no party to any such agreement. Further, we have had the honorable member for Lang and the honorable member for Robertson declaring that they were not parties to any such agreement, and that whenever the fiscal question is raised, they claim a perfectly free hand to deal with it from 1 Free Trade point of view. I do not blame those gentlemen for a moment, but merely state the fact that some of my colleagues at least were led to believe that there was really to be a truce for a number of years, anomalies being rectified in a Protectionist direction. Under the circumstances, what position shall we be in when it becomes absolutely necessary that the Tariff shall be revised? The honorable member for Parramatta may agree with the honorable member for Ballarat fifty times, but they cannot bind the next Parliament. When necessity arises for new industries, and the heart of the people is in that direction, the people will have their way in spite of all agreements.
– This agreement will not stop new industries.
– 1 am complaining that there is no agreement. But, if there is, how can I possibly hope, as a Protectionist, that nine or ten of my old comrades, who, I hope, are still Protectionists, can prevail against twenty or twenty-one others, including the honorable member who interjects, and who is deadly opposed to the principle of Protection ? I expect that the honorable member is going to be true to his principles ; and he has proclaimed himself to be a Free Trader.
– In the House, where he voted Free Trade all the time.
– I voted as I chose.
– The fact remains that the honorable member’s votes were always given in a Free Trade direction.
– I was not returned on the fiscal issue.
– The result of the position I have indicated must be chaos. Any agreement has been disclaimed by some honorable members ; and yet the statement has been made that the agreement entered into is not only for the life of this, but for the life of the next Parliament. That is attempting to bind the people of Australia ; but we cannot bind them outside our term of representation.
– The people are going to indorse the agreement - the fusion.
– It is not wise to prophesy at any time ; and I think the honorable member’s hopes will be shattered if he thinks Australia is going to adopt the fusion. I have received hundreds of letters from true Liberals in all parts of Australia ; and though I quoted one to-day on the land question, I did not read the remarks of the writer in the action of the Prime Minister, because I did not think them fair comment to read from one outside. But if we maybe guided1 by the letters we receive, and bysuch meetings as I have addressed, not only in my own electorate, but in other parts of the Commonwealth, the hope of confirmation or approval of the fusion is vain.
– Did any of those letters come from outside the honorable member’s own electorate?
– Yes ; and if the honorable member had been in the chamber he would have heard one from an old gentleman approaching seventy years of age, in the electorate of the honorable member for Maranoa, who, with his sons, was driven out of New South Wales, ‘because, although there were many millions of acres of good land, none of it was open to him on which to make a living.
– In Queensland there are a lot of the honorable member’s constituents !
– I know that very well. The Fisher Government, by the press and a portion of the party now on the Government side, were severely condemned for not waiting until Parliament met before interfering with a sum of money that had been set aside for the special purpose of the initiation of the naval defence of Australia. There was a quarter of a million sterling which the States Governments sadly wanted to get, but a majority of this Parliament - not honorable members sitting with the fused party, because they voted against the Surplus Revenue Bill-
– There was no vote taken.
– Not only by vote, but more particularly by voice, did honorable members opposite oppose the Surplus Revenue Bill.
– I thought the honorable member was talking of naval money.
– This is naval money, because this provision of £250,000 would not have been made but for the Surplus Revenue Bill.
– They did not oppose d provision of £250,000 afterwards.
– It was too late then, because the provision had been made. The objection that was raised was that the Fisher Government committed an unconstitutional act by utilizing, without calling Parliament together, money which had been set aside for a specific purpose. I am not prepared to admit that any promise was given. What I am prepared to admit is, that any Government that comes into power should consult Parliament before dealing with large .-urns of money, as to the directions in which that, money should be disposed of. But the Government had to take into consideration the fact that this money was specifically set on one side for the purpose of constructing vessels to aid in the defence of Australia.
– No, it was hot. That point had to be decided when Parliament met.
– I think there is no doubt about the matter.
– The money was for naval purposes, but was not to be touched until Parliament exercised a voice.
– What is the construction of destroyers but a naval purpose? The money was specifically appliedfor a certain object, which object was approved of by the previous Government. The Fisher Government simply carried out v.-J-at its predecessor in office had approved el.
– The expenditure hai not been approved by Parliament, according to the promise that was made.
– Parliament expressed its opinion when the money was appropriated. The party to which my honorable i. friend belongs said, “We do not want money to be appropriated for that purpose : let us go on as we are; we have no right to take the money from the States.” It i remember rightly, my honorable friend pleaded, on behalf of his own State, that. Tasmania was losing so much by Federation that it could not .afford this further expenditure.
– The honorable member is mixing up two things, to suit his own argument.
– Surely this is a matter of fact, and if I am wrong I can be challenged at once. The Fisher Government, I repeat, spent money for the specific purpose that had been approved by the previous Government. But what can be said about the Government now in office when, Parliament being in session, the head of the Ministry, speaking, of course, for his colleagues, pledged Australia to the extent of ,£2,000,000 when he knew that there was not sufficient money in the Treasury to carry out his promise i
– The proposition has to be approved by this Parliament.
– In a time of great stress and emergency I can understand a Government acting without consulting Parliament - it might not be possible to call Parliament together before action had to be taken. But in this case Parliament was actually in session. Furthermore, when the Government asked for an adjournment for three weeks they could have requested Parliament to deal with this matter before adjourning. Was not that action an outrage? I think it was. Pressure was brought to bear on the head of the late Government to induce him to offer a Dreadnought to the Mother Country.
Rightly or wrongly, he declined. For so doing he has been charged with disloyalty. The same charge has been made against others who think with him.
– Not in this House.
– But is it disloyal to hold a definite opinion as to how the Mother Country can best be helped if help be necessary ? This Dreadnought was not solicited. It was not even wanted. Probably the Fisher Government knew from private correspondence what the wishes ot the Mother Country were. They were certainly fortified by expert opinion, naval and military. Consider, further, that there was not a solitary shilling in the Treasury for the purpose. There was not even enough to meet the demands for the payment of old-age pensions. Where was the ^£2,000,000 to come from?
– Borrow it !
– Yes, of course. Mark Twain’s idea was to gamble just as long as his friend had any money to play with. I suppose that honorable members opposite would gamble just as long as the people of Australia have any money left. If this country presents a Dreadnought to Great Britain we shall have to Say, “Lend us the money .to pay for it.”
– “Lend me a bob, and I will shout for you !”
– This, policy puts the people of Australia in the ridiculous position of saying, “Please, Mother, we want to make you a present ; lend us the money to buy it with.”
– We should have to pay back the money afterwards.
– But the point is, we should have to borrow the money first. It is like saying to a man, “Come into this hotel ; give me sixpence, and I will treat you.” The opinion of Lord Charles Beresford is entitled to some consideration. He tells us that the .best way in which we can help the Motherland is to act upon the old adage that “God helps those who help themselves.” We shall help the Motherland better by helping ourselves to defend our country than by giving her a ship which she does not want, at a cost of £2,000,000 sterling which we shall have to borrow “from her. Is it not also a fact that there is not a slip in the British Isles that is mot now occupied ? Would it not be better for us, under these circumstances, to construct slips for building our own ships here? Then, perhaps, we could build Great Britain a ship and. send it to her.
Governor Bedford, who has just left Western Australia, and who is an old naval officer, has also expressed an opinion that is entitled to respect.
– What the honorable member has stated about Lord Charles Beresford was a very free translation of his opinion.
– Lord Charles Beresford also said that it was practically an insult to England to offer her a Dreadnought, because it absolutely showed Great Britain to the world as being financially weak, and weak in naval administration and policy.
– Does the honorable member say that Lord Charles Beresford made that statement?
– Yes, lie did. I refer the honorable member again to the Age of the 28th June. He will find the following in reference to the Press Conference, under the heading, “Naval Anxiety” : -
Admiral Lord Charles Beresford said in the course of his speech : “ The dominant note of all the statesmen who have addressed the Conference has been grave anxiety. This has not been expressed without reason. In my opinion, the reason is they know we are not prepared. The offers of the Australian and New Zealand . Governments to build Dreadnoughts is the severest condemnation possible of Great Britain’s Imperial defence policy.
I think that is plain enough.
– What has that to do with the honorable member’s previous statement?
– I said that Lord Charles Beresford had characterized the offer of a Dreadnought as an insult to the Mother Country, and surely he did so when he said that it was the severest condemnation possible of Great Britain’s Imperial defence policy. I find that he went on to say - “ The weakest part of the present system is the defence of the trade routes. The Colonies might undertake the establishment of oversea repairing stations, which, owing to some mad infatuation, have been abandoned after large sums have been spent on them.’
That was the view taken of the Government’s offer.
– And since then Lord Charles Beresford has said that £60,000,000 should be spent in naval construction.
– That does not affect the question. Because the Fisher Government would not comply with the demand to offer a Dreadnought to Great Britain they were charged with being unpatriotic and disloyal. We know that great meetings were held in the Melbourne and Sydney Town Halls. The patriotism of the people of the two States was appealed to, and the Lord Mayor of Sydney established a fund. Then the Premier of Victoria rushed in and said that if the Commonwealth, as represented by the Fisher Government, would not offer a Dreadnought, he would do so. Next, the Premier of New South Wales - whose idea of help for the Mother Country up to that time was an increase in the amount of the Naval Subsidy - thinking that a point was to be scored against the Commonwealth Parliament, undertook to join with the Government of Victoria in providing the necessary funds. What was the result of the appeal to the patriotism of the people of New South Wales? I find that up to the 31st May last - I have no later figures, though I admit there have been some additions to the fund since, and Sir Samuel McCaughey contributed £10,000 only the other day - only £69,460 was contributed. Of that amount £64,470 was subscribed by 201 persons, and £3,594 bv civil servants, banks, &c, leaving a balance of £1.306 to represent the patriotism of the rest of the 1,500,000 people who comprise the population of the State. That was the response to the appeal to their patriotism. Although Ave are now in July and more than a month has elapsed since the ’31st of May, I venture to say that the amount of the fund has not yet reached £90,000, and I question verymuch whether it will reach that sum. What justification have we for compelling against their will every man, woman, and child in New South Wales who have not contributed to the fund to contribute about 9s. 4d. each to provide this gift for Great Britain? Why should the great majority of the people of New South Wales, and of the Other States, because they do not see eye to eye with those who approve of the offer of a Dreadnought, be classed as disloyal ? I do not see why they should be so described, and I claim to be as loyal as any Australian, or as any native of the Old Country resident in Australia. Australia gave me birth, but I believe that, if possible, I have always had a greater veneration for the Old Land that I have never seen than even my parents, who were born there. But there should he reason in all things. When the children of a family aru grown up, they should no longer remain loafing and dependent on their parents, and we, as the grown-up children of the Empire, should be prepared to help the Mother Country rather than to remain a drain and a drag upon them. Mr. Fisher, as the head of the Government at the time the offer was proposed, said he did not agree with the proposition. But he went further, and said that, as the head or affairs in Australia, he was proud of Australian loyalty, and that, should - the necessity for it arise, he was prepared on her behalf, not merely to offer a Dreadnought, but to place the whole of the resources of the Commonwealth of Australia at the disposal of the Mother Country. Could there be a better proof of loyalty ? That is the kind of assistance for which from the cablegrams we find that the authorities in the Old Country were asking. I believe that that is what will be recommended by the Defence Conference in London. We should begin preparations for the defence of our own shores, and of our commerce, which represents in , value over £ r 80,000,000 per annum. We should provide some means of defence against raiding cruisers that might visit our waters, and should not continue to depend on the payment of a paltry £200,000 a year to have ships sent for our protection from England, 16,000 miles away. There may be nothing in the statements as to the hostile feelings said to exist at present between England and Germany. Personally, I believe that many of the references to the hostility of Germany have been made for political purposes. But there are dangers nearer at hand, due in some measure to our own legislation prohibiting the introduction of the people of certain races, except under severe restrictions. We have the gifts of the Almighty in abundance In Australia. We have iron, and coal, and skilled labour. All we need is the determination to utilize our own resources. Our rifle clubs and cadets are unable to obtainthe rifles they need. We should make them on the spot, and give employment to our own people, and we should then not only have men here to defend Australia, but something to put into their hands to defend it with. We recognise that we are part and parcel of the British Empire. I am as. proud, and perhaps prouder, of that tha:* are the men who have given £10,000 tothe fund for the purchase of a Dreadnought. One or two of those men could better afford £10,000 than I could afford ten pence. Loyalty and patriotism are not to be measured by the amount of money a man can contribute to such a fund. Many men who could give nothing at all in the way of money would be prepared to give more than those who gave£10,000, because they would be prepared to. lay down their lives for the Mother Country, if it were necessary. When allthese things are taken into consideration, I say that there was no justification for the removal of the late Government. There are a good many legal as well as political students in the Government, and I ask them to cite one precedent in the history of the Mother of Parliaments where a party was deposed from the Treasury bench except on. a measure of principle and policy. In the Old Country there has always been a difference of opinion in regard to policy to warrant or justify the removal of a Government. But here we have a Government which has taken the place of another Government whose policy, except as regards a progressive land tax, is practically the same. There was no justification for the act. The Government have no right to occupy the Treasury bench, because whether they defeat this motion or not they do not possess the confidence of the House. I know that on the other side there are some honorable members who, although for party purposes they will vote against the motion, have no confidence in the Government. It contains some estimable men whom, though we differ, in politics, I respect. If they are true to their pledges it will be like a tug of war. We shall see one half of the Government pulling at one end of a rope and the other half pulling at the other end with a little red flag in the centre. I repeat the warning of the Agc that the alliance was unholy. One cannot touch pitch without being defiled. The fusion of parties was effected without the warrant of the people. Whether the people will approve of the fusion by-and-by is a matter yet to be determined. The honorable member for Wilmot thinks that it will be approved, but it has never had any warrant from me. While giving credit for sincerity to some members of the Government I believe that they have made a serious mistake. I anticipate that in the years to come no one will regret that mistake more than they will. They have shattered a party which has existed in Victoria for nearly the whole of its history, and a party which has existed in New South Wales for twenty-five years. There has been a merging of one party into another, where it is impossible without forfeiture of principles for men to go and support legislation which will be for the welfare and progress of the people. I trust that I may be proved wrong in some of my ideas, and that my prophecies will not be fulfilled. But I feel satisfied in my own mind that while this great desecration has been committed with the purpose of bringing about only two parties there are still three parties. There is one party occupying the Treasury bench improperly. There is another party occupying this side of the House, but the great party is the party of the people which has yet to be appealed to as to the fusion. If the elector values one thing more than another it is political consistency. He does not value a shaping for personal ends. He values a man who pledges his word that he will represent him truly and. faithfully. He will admire such a man and stand by him, even if he does not like some of his principles, more than he will stand by a man who is first to be found on one side of politics and then on the other. These, sir, are some of the reasons why I have no confidence in the “Government. I had no confidence in one section of it. I could not have confidence in that section, because if its members are true to their principles, I must be faithful to mine, and we are diametrically opposed one to the other. I had confidence in another section, but its members have forfeited my trust, because they have allied themselves with my political enemies. Personally, of course, we do not disagree one with the other. Although it is stated that the numbers are up I have no hesitation in saying that I have justification for the vote I intend to give. Having no confidence in the Government, and believing that Australia has no confidence in them. I shall give my vote for the motion, and leave it to the people to say whether they agree that it is a proper coalition.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Atkinson) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) pre- posed -
That this House do now adjourn.
– I desire to bring before the Government and the
House the relations that exist between contract immigrants and their employers’. I have already handed to the Minister of External Affairs a letter which was sent by six contract immigrants who were brought out to the Australian Pastoral Company’s Warbreccan station. For the information of honorable membersI will read the letter which speaks for itself -
Warbreccan, 19th June, 1909.
To the Minister for External Affairs.
The undersigned immigrants, who recently arrived in Queensland to fulfil an agreement on this station, herewith supply you with a statement, which each one is prepared to testify on oath if necessary, setting forth the conditions under which we are compelled to work and the pay we receive for same : -
Through misleading advertisement in the Scotch press we were induced to sign the agreement in Grpat Britain as “ practical farm hands, accustomed to plough, with a knowledge of the management of stock, &c.” We submit that the authorities under whose auspices we wereengaged must have been aware that on the stations we were being sent to no such farming as we were accustomed to was required.
In the handbook issued by the Queensland
Government it distinctly states “ that all immigrants must be paid the current rate of wages obtainable in the district they are sent to.”
The scale of wages paid to station hands here is as follows : - 25s. per week for station (ordinary) work, 30s. per week during shearing time and for lamb, marking, fencing, and general manual labour. We have performed all these duties satisfactorily on the station, doing as much work for aos. per week as the men who are paid the ruling rates.
Most of our time we are engaged at navvy work, for which the regular station hand receives 30s. per week, whi’st we have to do it for the lower rate of 20s. We do not learn anything of the slightest value to us were we in a position to settle on the land, and we understood that to settle us on the land was the ostensible reason the Government had in bringing us to Queensland as immigrants.
To obey the spirit of the agreement entered into we have been compelled to work on Sundays, a thing repugnant to us all, and without extra’ remuneration.
We are not in a position to say who is responsible for the way we are being treated, but if Australia is to “ advance “ by such methods, and develop into a second South Africa, then we sav she belies her motto. We would therefore entreat the authorities to give our case consideration, trusting in their British love of fair play.
The undersigned beg to remain,
Yours most faithfully,
John Moor O’Neill.
– Yes. They have signed the letter which I have handed to the Minister of External Affairs. The honorable member for Boothby went into the case when Minister, and this letter is a reply to one by the Secretary to the Department, asking for further information. The present Minister promised to go fully into the matter, to ascertain whether the contract has been carried out in its entirety. There is another letter from an immigrant brought out by the same company, but for another station, in the St. George district, 700 or 800 miles away. I ask the Minister to ascertain whether the men have a grievance in not being paid the current rate of wages. As I represent the district, I know that 25s. a. week is the ordinary wage there for station work, but for special work, such as has to be done at shearing time, or in the making of tanks, the usual wage is 30s. a week. I want the Minister to find out whether it is the Queensland Government or the employers who are at fault.
– There are men working for 12s. 6d. a week.
– That may be so on some of the stations in the Batman electorate, but no one working in the pastoral districts of the Maranoa electorate receives as little as12s. 6d. a week.
– Was the contract approved by the Government ?
– Yes. There was some fuss when the immigrants went to Longreach, and it was then said that the Queensland Government had stated that 20s. a week was the ruling rate of wages in the district.
Mr. GROOM (Darling Downs- Minister of External Affairs [10.29]. - Although it is not usual for Ministers to answer questions while a motion of want of confidence is being discussed, T think that I should be permitted to make a statement on the matter which the honorable member for Maranoa has brought before the House. Some time ago an application was made to the Government to “permit certain immigrants to be brought to Queensland under contract. The conditions of the contract were submitted in a . printed document, in which was set out the rate of wages to be paid. These were stated to be the rates current in the district to which they were going. The application was accordingly approved. On the 29th March last, after the. men got here, a letter was received from Mr. R. Bow, secretary to the Australian Workers’ Union, complaining that certain men brought to Queensland under contract were working at Warbreccan Station, about 130 miles from Longreach, for £1 a week, when the current rate was from 24s. to 30s. per week. A reply was sent to that letter, and inquiries were set on foot by the Department, the men being asked for a statement of their case. This statement has just been received by the Department, through the honorable member for Maranoa. In it the declaration is made that the current rate of wages in the district is more than 20s. a week, which is the rate for which they contracted to serve. The Department is now trying to ascertain what the current rate of wages was.
– There seems to be nothing but inquiries. Why. does not the Minister act?
– All necessary information must first be obtained, in justice to all parties. It must be remembered that the contract for the introduction of” the men was approved by the Government because of a statement by the Queensland Director of Labour, who, judging by the information he supplied, had made very full and complete inquiries, that the .current rate of wages in the district was that which the men were to be paid. The inquiries now in progress will be continued. The matter is of considerable importance, because great injury is done to the reputation of Australia when men are prevailed to come here from elsewhere on the representation that certain rates of wages prevail, and they find on arrival that the conditions are different.
– The best thing to do would be to decline to sanction any contract.
– The occurrence emphasizes the need for the greatest care ; but, as 1’ have said, this contract was ‘approved 01,lv on the strength of the report from the’ Queensland Director of Labour, the matter coming before both the honorable member for Ballarat and his successor, the honorable member for Boothby.
– These squatters cannot be trusted.
– The statements made to the Department are such as to justify a full inquiry. That is taking place, and will be continued.
– I hope that the Minister will make the fullest investigation as to the rates of wages prevailing in the district in which these men are. working. It is difficult to get at the true facts, because replies to the inquiries sent from Melbourne vary according to the source from which they come. Special inquiry is necessary in this case, since not only is the administration of the law involved, but the honour of the Queensland Government is at stake. I remember very well some of the circumstances connected, not with this particular case, but with the introduction of contract immigrants by the Queensland Government, acting with the permission of the Federal authority. The original application for leave to introduce forty station workers to be employed by pastoralists was made to the present Prime Minister, and was approved by him. A further application for leave to introduce fifteen men came under my notice immediately after the Fisher Government took office. An honorable member raised in the House a question as to whether these men were to be introduced under an agreement to receive the rates of wages prevailing in the district in which they were to be employed, and I promised to make inquiries. I accordingly asked the Premier of Queensland what were the rates of wages being paid in the districts to which the men were to be sent. After some delay, we received the reply to which the Minister of External Affairs has referred. The Director of Labour in Queensland furnished a statement of the wages paid on practically all the pastoral properties in that State. I have since had that statement verified by organizers who are familiar with the rates that are actually paid, so that the Director’s statement appears to be borne out bv information received from private sources. The Queensland Government made some demur regarding the delay that had taken place in approving of the introduction of the additional fifteen men; but I pointed out to them that they had not complied with, my request to name- the actual places to which the men were to be sent so that wemight ascertain beyond doubt, bv referenceto the list that had been supplied, whether - the rates proposed to be paid corresponded with those prevailing there. In that wayonly could the Act be carried out. I understand that in that list appeared a statementto the effect that 25s. per week was paid’ on Warbreccan station. If that be so, then the statement of the men that they are receiving only 20s. per week shows that there has been a distinct breach of the law on the part of the pastoralists employing them. The matter is a very serious one, and should be fully inquired into. Obviously, if the complaint is well founded, it is impossible for the Minister to take the word of the pastoralists, given through the Queensland Government, as to the rates of wages that will be paid. It is absurd for us to pass a law designed to prevent the introduction of men to sweat those already in employment here, and then to disregard what . appears to be such a flagrant violation of the Act as the one in question. I hope that the most searching inquiry will be made into the matter, and that the law will be strictly carried out.
.- Certain remarks which I made last week have been challenged, according to the public press, by the Director of the Immigration Bureau in Sydney, and I therefore take this opportunity to call attention to the Pact that that gentleman has not made any statement disproving the assertions in question. According to the press, he said that the Bureau was very careful in selecting those who were to be brought out here as domestic servants. I specially stated, in the course of my speech, that those of whom I spoke - and some of whom, I had the very best authority for stating, had gone to ruin - were decent women.
– Has the honorable member proof of his serious statement ?
– I say that the statement made by the Director of the Immigration Bureau in Sydney is no reply to the assertion I made in this House, since I cast no reflection on the character of those who had been selected. The Director has said also that the Bureau looks after the girls when they come here. To that I would reply that we have only to turn to the public newspapers to find that one committed suicide, and that another left her hired service at Manly, and, on being sued by her mistress for doing so, proved that she had been allotted a place “to sleep in that was swarming’ with vermin. The magistrate decided that she was justified in the circumstances in “leaving her situation. I know positively, from the statement of a person who went with another girl who had found that a certain house at which she had engaged to work was not a fit place, that whan she sought to leave, the “madame” who had employed her took possession of her box. One whom I know sought the assistance of a policeman, who had to help the girl to take away her box. There were other cases. Before I made the statement I had evidence that satisfied me that it is incorrect to say that these girls are looked after; immediately on their arrival. The head of the Department, Mr. Percy Hunter, has not to look after them.
Mr.J. H. Catts. - Australian girls would not work at those places.
– Only a stranger would be deceived in this way. All that I contended was that the girls were not- looked after. I also complained of their being induced to come, out here by misleading statements. The proper way to settle the point at issue is to have an inquiry. If the Premier of New South Wales, instead of denying my statement without having any authority for his denial, had made the inquiries that T and others have done, he would be satisfied that things are not so rosy with those who are being brought to New South Wales at the expense of the State as is made out. I do not wish to repeat what I said last week as” to men being brought out here, and; working . for less than the prevailing rates of wages. There is a penalty for such a breach of the law,, and yet we find employers dodging it. I have said from the outset of the discussion on immigration in this House that it rarely happens that men engaged in the Old World under contract to work in Australia are not deceived. I have given instances of the deception practised on men, even within the bounds of Australia, and I am satisfied that this system will never work well. It is not a good one, and I hope that in the case to which’ attention has just been directed action will be taken to teach the big pastoralists that they are not to be permitted to sneak in immigrants under contract to work for less than the ruling rates of wages. We have quite enough trouble in securing a decent wage for the men already here, and it is wicked to pay men less than the ruling rate of wages in connexion with an industry that is in a very satisfactory condition. This is an attempt to bring them at least five shillings per week under the minimum rate paid for any class of work on the station. . The Department will do a great deal of good if it takes very severe action, and deters some of the others, if possible, from taking any similar step. It is very difficult to find out whether men are getting low wages or not, as one has to depend upon those who are taking the wages. I have known of cases where men have been asked to sign a pay-sheet for higher wages than they were actually getting. All sorts of dodges have been resorted to by certain classes of employers, so that it is difficult to find out the facts ; and when we ‘ do get a case we should come down upon them according to the law. I hope that no favoritism will be shown. Whether the offenders are big squatters or small men, they should be punished when a breach of the law occurs. It will take very vigorous administration on the part of the Department, and great watchfulness on the part of everybody, to check these contracts, which are made outside of Australia, and which generally deceive the men who make them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.47p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 July 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19090706_reps_3_49/>.