3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Although I know that it is not customary for Ministers to answer questions when a’ motion of want of confidence is before the House, there is a matter of considerable urgency in regard to which I should like to have information from the Prime Minister. It is stated in this morning’s Argus that a message, enclosed in a bottle, has been picked up. In it two men request immediate help, as they are stranded on one of the islands of New Guinea. Has the matter come under the notice of the Prime Minister, and, if so, what is proposed to be done? Will it be possible to communicate with the captain of the Merrie England, with a view to sending that vessel to search for the men ?
– I recognise that the question is quite outside the ordinary category of political inquiries which it is not customary to answer while a motion of want of confidence is before Parliament. The honorable member desires information :is to what it is proposed to do to relieve the possible distress of castaways on some island in the neighbourhood of Papua. When, last night, the telegram referred to arrived, I put myself into communication with the Department of External Affairs, and this morning discussed the matter with its Minister. We have communicated with the Admiralty, in case there may be a vessel of war in the vicinity of Papua whose services could be made available for the search, with the Government of Papua, so that its steamers may be used, and with private companies, to secure their cooperation. It is unlikely that the Merrie England is within reach of telegraphic communication. As honorable members are aware,” Papua can be communicated with only by post, and the probability is that the Merrie England is on some part of its coast remote from, and less accessible from Australia, than Port Moresby. We have, endeavoured to put ourselves in touch with every means of communication, so that the nearest vessel to the island on which the castaways are supposed to be may be at once despatched to search for them.
– Was the year of the sending of the message written on it?
– I cannot recall.
.- Yesterday I gave notice of a motion for the printing of a petition which I brought before the House early in the session, but, as I ‘omitted to formally notify the Clerk in the matter, there is no mention of it on the business-paper. I therefore ask the leave of the House to move now, without notice -
That the petition in favour of the unification of Australia, which was presented to the House on 1st June last, be printed.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable member have leave to move this motion?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– It is most unfortunate that yesterday a division was taken on the question that the report of the Printing Committee be adopted. When that division was called for, the issue involved was, not whether the petition to which the honorable member for Herbert has referred should be printed, but whether the recommendation of the Printing Committee should be rejected, practically without debate, and a direct reflection cast upon the members of that body. Honorable members on this side had, therefore, at the time no alternative but to support the Committee. I suggest that the honorable member for Herbert might, to-day, before asking the House to affirm that the petition should be printed, pay the members of the Committee the compliment of asking them whether there is any objection to its publication. I have very little doubt as to what the reply will be. The whole text of the petition can be printed on one side of a sheet of paper, and the cost will be practically nothing. The terms of the petition are well known.
– It is usual to print the first petition presented to the House on any subject.
– I believe so; but understand that the petition presented by the honorable member for Herbert is not the first.
– Yes, it is.
– The honorable member I thought presented two petitions on the subject, and for the moment I was under the impression that the one which he wishes to be printed was the second. I can hardly conceive that, if it is indicated to members of the Committee that the honorable member desires to have this petition printed, they will give any but a favorable reply. Our desire is that the Committee’s sphere of action shall not be trespassed upon. There need be no debate on the general question whether the Committee shall be asked to recommend the printing of this petition. If the honorable member for Herbert will put himself into communication with the members of the Committee, they will no doubt unanimously agree with his wishes.
.- As the Prime Minister has referred to the division which took place yesterday on the question of the adoption of the report of the Printing Committee, I would point out that the debate was then closed unintentionally. The recommendation of the Committee that this petition should not be printed was a most extraordinary one. The right to petition is one of the fundamental rights of the people.
– That has not been questioned.
– Not only have the people the right to petition Parliament ; they have also the right to claim that their petitions shall receive publicity by being printed among our records, so that their contents may be known.
– That was not the question on which we divided yesterday.
– The honorable member for Robertson admitted that he closed the debate yesterday unintentionally. That statement appears in the Hansard report. Mr. Speaker found himself bound to regard what was intended as an explanation, as a formal reply, closing the discussion, so that other honorable members were prevented from expressing their views. My opinion is that there was no intention to reflect on the Committee.
– That is SO; but, had the motion for the adoption of the Committee’s report been negatived, there would have been a reflection on the Committee. .
– I do not hold the view that the adoption of the Committee’s report was a declaration of the opinion of the House that this petition should not be printed. My desire was that the Committee’s report should not be adopted, so as to give an opportunity for the further consideration of the matter, with a view to the bringing down of an amended report, which would recommend the printing of this petition.
– The members of the Committee would probably have resigned had the report not been adopted.
– I am glad that the Prime Minister has taken the position which he has taken in regard to this matter. I hope that it will be considered that if the House at any time desires the printing of a document which the Committee has recommended should not be printed, it will not be taken as any reflection upon the members of the Committee. We are all deeply sensible of the services .which they render to us, and trust that they, on the other hand, will not in any way restrict our perfect freedom of action in authorizing the printing of documents. The petition is a document which I think should be printed probably before most of the other papers which are laid before Parliament.
– This petition will be a historical document.
– A political document.
– The House appointed the Printing Committee to consider which of the papers presented to Parliament shall be printed. There was a discussion in the Committee as to the printing of this petition, and I shall willingly report to the Committee, if the House permits the reconsideration of the matter, that it is generally desired that the petition shall be printed. With that promise, I think the matter might be allowed to drop.
– The honorable member is backing down.
– A division as to whether the printing of the petition should be recommended took place in the Committee, and the members who were de~feated afterwards took sides against the Committee in this House, conduct. that is unprecedented.
– They acted quite properly.
– If the House will permit me to report to the Committee its desires in this matter, and will give an opportunity for reconsideration, I think1 it likely that’ the printing of the petition will be recommended.
.- As a member of the Committee since its inception, I am sorry that this matter seems to have been given a party complexion. The Committee was brought into existence in order to curtail unnecessary expenditure. Members who were in the first Parliament will, no doubt, recollect that, at the outset, great expense was incurred in unnecessary printing, documents sometimes being printed in duplicate, through the two Houses acting independently. The Printing Committee has always carefully considered questions of expense. Although the printing of this petition would not cost much, it was not recommended, because it has been part of the policy of the Committee to refrain from recommending the printing of documents whose importance did not seem to justify publication. It is very seldom that the printing of a petition has been recommended. I do not think that there have been more than two or three recommendations of that kind since the Committee came into existence. Seeing that the petition was read to the House, I fail to understand how additional prominence can be gained .or historical interest served by the printing of it. The reading of it is recorded in the Votes and Proceedings, and for that, among other reasons, I voted against the recommendation to print it.
– Then why print anything? Every paper brought before the House is mentioned in the records.
– Many documents are laid before Parliament which would not be set out in the records of the House.
– The text of the petition is not given in the records of the House.
– The petition was read, and thus given publicity. How will the printing of it give it additional publicity ? It will mean simply that a few copies will be circulated amongst honorable members, and that will be the end of the matter. Al- though I have thus stated my position, I wish to add that, if any honorable member at any time indicates to me that he has a particular object in wishing for the printing of any document, the expense of printing which would be trifling, I shall be only too glad to recognise his right to have it printed. I voted against the printing of this petition as a’ matter of principle, and in accordance with the policy which has always actuated me as .a member of the Committee.
– As. a. member of the Committee, I resent the statement of the honorable member for Perth that this question has been made a party one. Nothing of the sort.
– I said that attempts ha’d been made to make it a pa itv question.
– I do not think that that is so. There was a division of opinion in the Committee as to whether the printing of the petition should be recommended. I have been a member of the Committee since I entered this Parliament, and I do not remember that the proposal to recommend the printing of any petition of importance has ever been rejected.
– Petitions have always been printed.
– The Committee determined not to recommend the printing of this petition ; but when I found that the honorable member for Herbert, who had presented it, desired that it should be printed, I was astounded there should be any opposition in the House to the printing of it. Petitions from Employers’ Federations, Chambers of Commerce, and similar bodies, have been printed ; I have not known the printing of any petition of that kind to be refused. The petition is of greater concern to the people of Australia than are many petitions to the printing of which the House has agreed without demur. The Printing Committee does its best to keep down unnecessary expenditure. The printing of the petition in question would have involved an expenditure of only a few shillings, and if the question were made a party one that was due to the action of those who refused yesterday to agree to. the proposal of the honorable member for Herbert. In the circumstances, I desire to say that both members of the Committee and those who voted on this side of the House yesterday were entirely justified.
.- I have not been a member of the Printing Committee since its inception, but consider that I have as much right to express my opinion in regard to the matters submitted to it as have those who have been. The practice of the Committee has hitherto been to agree to the printing of a document when one or two members expressed a strong desire that it should be printed. Those who wished that the petition now under notice should be printed had no desire that the whole of the names appended to it should also be printed. All that they proposed was that the body of the petition, with an intimation that there were 58,000 signatures attached to it, should be so dealt with. I mentioned to the honorable member for Herbert, who presented the petition, what was being done in the matter by the Printing Committee, believing it to be my duty to do so. The petition has one of the largest lists of signatures that has ever been attached to a petition presented to this House, and if honorable members are so anxious to effect savings in our printing bill, they might readily do so by condensing their speeches and so reducing the expenditure upon Hansard.
– For the information of the House, I may state that the reports of the Printing Committee always take this form : that having considered the papers laid before it, the Committee has decided that certain papers which are named should be printed. The Committee does not re- commend that all the other papers that have been submitted to it be not printed, because if that were done the resolution of the House adopting the report would have to be rescinded if it were subsequently desired to have one of these papers printed. The Committee therefore recommends only that certain papers which it specifies be printed. It makes no recommendation as to the rest, so that any honorable member may, on the presentation of the report, or subsequently, move for the printing of a paper that the Committee has not recommended should be so dealt with.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I wish to read a short extract from the North-West Advocate, one of the best Protectionist newspapers in Australia, and to base on it a question to the Attorney-General. The paragraph reads -
It certainly is a fact that one State can, under the cloak of its system of inspection, block the goods of another State in order to keep the local market for its own goods-
– The honorable member is now reading a statement apart altogether from a question. He may give the substance of the paragraph.
– The substance of it is that the State of New South Wales, under some system of unChristianlike inspection, is shutting out Tasmanian potatoes, because it has a large potato crop of its own.
– That is an assertion, not a question.
– I am giving the substance of the paragraph.
– Will the honorable member state the question that he desires to put to the Attorney -General ?
– What I wish to know is whether the Attorney -General will be good enough to look into this complaint ?
– I shall be happy to do so. There is already on the notice-paper, in the name of the honorable member for Wilmot, a question relating to the same subject.
.- I desire to make a personal explanation. On 25th June last, when the honorable member for Corio was speaking in the House-
– Is the honorable member present ?
– No. Mention it later on.
– The honorable member for Corio had no consideration for me when he was making a personal explanation, and I intend to proceed with that which I now desire to make. The honorable member, on the date named, delivered himself of certain statements concerning the doings of the Labour party, which he held responsible for the extreme utterances of two or three members of the International Socialist League of New South Wales, although that League is in no way associated with the Labour party. Later on, in replying to the honorable member, I said that if the Labour party were as bad as he would have the House believe, it was remarkable that he should have desired to join with them. I also said that I had in the House proof of my statement that he desired to become associated with them. The honorable member subsequently made a personal explanation, stating that I had declared that he had sent a wire to the honorable member for Wide Bay, as Leader of the Labour party, in these terms - “Will join Fisher but not Lyne.” I did not hear that statement by the honorable member; it was made just before I entered the House.
– I do not think he used the words which the honorable member has attributed to him. I think he said that some one else had made the statement whilst the honorable member was speaking.
– The honorable member for Corio did attribute the statement to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie.
– The honorable member for Lang need not try to apologize for the honorable member for Corio. He declared that I had said that he had sent the wire. He then read to the House a copy of the telegram actually sent by him, and was cheered by honorable members opposite, who believed that he was making a correct statement of the facts, and that I had misrepresented him.
– It was the honorable member for Werriwa who made the statement as to the sending of the telegram.
– I shall come to that point. Five minutes after the honorable member for Corio had concluded his explanation, I assured him that I did not make the statement that he had attributed to me, but he did not rise in the House, then or thereafter, to correct the false impression he had made, and the statement for which he had been cheered by the supporters of the Government. Instead of doing so, he so altered the Hansard report of his explanation as to make it read that “ during the speech of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie it was said” that he had sent such a telegram to the honorable member for Wide Bay. He allowed the stigma, which he had cast on me to remain. As a matter of fact, the statement that he attributed to me was not made in the House by any one.
– I heard it made.
– The facts are that the honorable member for Werriwa interjected whilst I was speaking, “ Was it the honorable member for Corio who sent the wire, Will join Fisher, but not Lyne?’” The honorable member for Werriwa did not charge the honorable member for Corio with having sent such a telegram.
– It was near enough.
– He was seeking information as to whether the wire had been sent by him.
– He suggested in the most cowardly way that he could do - by innuendo - that the honorable member had sent it.
– When an honorable member asks whether another honorable member did such and such a thing-
– He wishes to infer that he did.
– Not necessarily.
– I regret that the memories of honorable members are so faulty that they appear to have forgotten that both yesterday and the day before I asked them to observe the rule that no interjections should be made during a personal explanation.
– I have not had any conversation with the honorable member for Werriwa about this matter, but it seems to me that his interjection may have been genuinely made with the object of seeking information as to the honorable member for Corio’s position. My attitude is made absolutely clear by the Hansard report of the proceedings, which shows that, in reply to the honorable member for Werriwa’s interjection, I said, “ That point is immaterial.” It was immaterial to me, because I was relying on another set of facts that proved conclusively that the honorable member for Corio was prepared to join the Labour party, and that he had imposed no restrictions when he made the request to a member of the party, which was duly communicated to the honorable member for South Sydney, and another member of his Government. But for the circumstances under which it was made, the actual alteration allowed in the Hansard. proof - and allowed under, I presume, your supervision, Mr. Speaker - would be of no importance. Had it been made with the object of releasing an honorable member from the responsibility for a certain statement, without a knowledge of the facts I have mentioned, it might readily have been allowed without leading to any serious trouble in the future. I say this in justice to the Hansard staff, for whose work I have nothing but the greatest praise to offer.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– We should all be thankful to the Hansard staff.
– Quite so. I do not think that the alteration actually made, if dissociated from the circumstances in which it was made, would be a serious matter, but the honorable member for Corio knew that he had misrepresented me, knew that he had been cheered by the supporters of the Government when he did so; yet did not see fit to take the manly course of making the correction in this House.
– By way of personal explanation, I wish to state that in both the Melbourne morning newspapers this morning there appears a statement - I think it was inadvertently made - that the honorable member for Parramatta twice interjected whilst I was speaking last night, that I had reduced wages in New South Wales.
– I did not make that interjection.
– It was made by the honorable member for Wentworth.
– I did not hear it made, but I think it was made once by the Minister of Defence.
– The honorable member asked, by way of interjection, “ Did you reduce wages in New South Wales? “
– I made neither interjection.
– I wish to have a correction made, and I think that the press, in fairness to me, will make it. I said last night that at a gathering near
Orange, at atime when I was Minister of Railways, and an agitation was on foot to make the State railways pay, I declared that that could be achieved only by increasing freights or reducing wages. A member of the State Legislative Assembly - I cannot remember now whether he belonged to the honorable member’s party at that time-
– I gathered from the opening statement made by the honorable member that he desired to correct some misrepresentation on the part of certain newspapers ?
– That is so.
– The honorablemember is now proceeding to deal with another matter altogether. I ask him to confine himself to an explanation.
– I made this statement last night, and it is not reported in this morning’s newspapers.
– There are many matters which are not reported in the press. If the honorable member were able to show that his statement was not reported in Hansard, he would be entitled to make this explanation, but he has no right to make an explanation based simply on the omission from a newspaper report of some statement made by him.
– I have not seen the Hansard proof ofmy speech, and surely I may be allowed to make an explanation in regard to a (matter of such importance? Statements that I made last night have been misrepresented, or not properly reported, and I wish to refer to them so that a correction may be made by the press. Hansard is not so widely circulated amongst the people as the newspapers are. I made this* statement last night, and I understand that it was subsequently referred to by the honorable member for Wentworth.
– Yes. The honorable member read a newspaper extract in reference to it.
– I simply desire to point out that, instead of reducing the wages, I said that I would not do so. Although I was urged by the then Commissioner of Railways to reduce the wages of the men, I did not do so, and it was by the succeeding Government that that course was adopted.
– The honorable member is entitled to make that statement.
– I did not make the interjection, and I saw with much regret that it was attached to my name in the press this morning. The only reference that I remember last night to the subject was a quotation by the honorable member for Wentworth from the Brisbane Worker, which, in turn, quoted Mr. Arthur Rae, one of the present Labour candidates for the Senate in New South Wales. In that quotation the allegations concerning the honorable member were made.
Debate resumed from 8th July(vide page 1039), on motion by Mr. Fisher -
That the Government does not possess the confidence of this House.
.- After the lengthy debate that has already taken place on this motion, I feel myself in a somewhat awkward position, because of the difficulty of dealing with the question of want of confidence in the party sitting opposite, and at the same time with the programme or placard that has been put before the House by the Prime Minister in the form of a written statement. It is wise to separate those two things, because the party which has evolved out of the political chaos of the past, and now sits on the other side, stands by itself, and deserves the keenest scrutiny and dissection at the hands of those who are opposed to it. I do not intend to deal with the statement read by the Prime Minister outlining the policy of the Government, because the statement and the Government are two different things. The Government, with its followers, can be dissected, but the statement is so variegated that it calls for special treatment to do it justice. I shall, therefore, confine myself as much as possible to a dissection of the present position of affairs in Federal politics. ‘ Before proceeding to that, may I compliment the honorable member for Fremantle - for it is not often that we gather figs from thistles - on his ingenuity in discovering a new method of “stone-walling”? The other night he gave us a guide as to how “ stonewalling ‘ ‘ can be carried to a fine art. Few honorable members care to see their speech again once they have delivered it, and still fewer wish to hear it a second time. But the honorable member for Fremantle had the audacity to expect men to stand a double dose of his utterances without resenting it. In that I think he showed a very poor knowledge of human nature. For practically an hour out of an hour and a half’s “ stone- walling “ he read from his own speeches. He said, “ This is what I said in April, 1906; this is what I said in November, 1907 ) and, here again, is what I said in November, 1908.” I commend that method to honorable members on this side. If there is any honorable member here that has not learnt the art of “ stone-walling,” I recommend him to take a lesson from the honorable member for Fremantle. All he has to do is to dig up his own speeches from Hansard and read them until the end of time, if he desires to carry out a task similar to that which was set to the honorable member for Fremantle the other night. I desire also to congratulate’ the honorable member for Gippsland on the wonderfully able, searching, and coherent address which he delivered yesterday. It was one of the finest efforts that it has been my lot to listen to in any Parliament, and certainly one of the finest indictments of a Ministry that has been uttered in this or any other House. If I did not know it, I could not believe that the honorable member belonged to the legal profession, because the earnestness and sincerity that he put into his speech, and the way in which he was affected by his feelings, were quite foreign to anything I have ever seen emanating from members of the legal profession in Australian politics. I have never met a man of that profession who has shown the sincerity that was displayed by the honorable member for Gippsland in his indictment of the Prime Minister. He had a most difficult case, for he was in sympathy with the Prime Minister personally, while in antagonism to him politically. It is not often that a lawyer can take up those two opposite roles. The honorable member for Gippsland uttered a most damning indictment of the Prime Minister on the one hand, and condoned his offences on the other. In that indictment he told us all we require to know of the Prime Minister’s past history, but when he undertook to appeal to the jury to mitigate the sentence on the man whom from his own political record he had so scathingly condemned, he undertook a role that only a “ wise “ man could have effectively handled. I do not propose to deal now with the vagaries of the Prime Minister, or the programme that he has put forward. I prefer to deal with the history of the evolution of the party that now faces us in the political arena. We remember how the Labour party stood behind the first Government of the Commonwealth and helped it to lay the foundation stones of this great Union, and to introduce the necessary machinery to work the great Constitution with which they were charged. We remember the services rendered by the Labour party on that occasion to the men whom they believed to be nearest in sympathy to the people. As time went on, evolution was at work in that arena, and one by one the members of the first Ministry disappeared from their positions. Sir Edmund Barton was relegated to the High Court Bench, and Mr. Kingston, we are told, was driven out of the Ministry by the continued and pertinacious attacks of the right honorable member for Swan. Since then there have been various changes leading up to the present position. When the second Parliament met, I entered this House as a new member in Federal politics, and I felt, as a Labourite first, and a. Protectionist secondly,- that I had a right to stand by the men who were nearest to the platform that we sought to place on the statute-book. We stood loyally by the Prime Minister until the time when, instead of relegating a certain matter in dispute to the High Court, which was the proper tribunal to decide its constitutionality, he used it as an excuse for parting with the Labour party. When he did that, and subsequently used his stiletto in aid of the attempt to practically annihilate the Labour party, a number of those in his own party who were “ as good as Labour men,” did not know where to go. They could not follow him into the camp of McLean, Reid, and Co. They could not indorse the way in which he betrayed the men who had supported him for so long. Their cry was “What shall we do to be saved?” The proper reply would have been, “ Stand by your principles and trust the people.” That is what every honest man would have done in those circumstances, but they did not know what to do until the honorable member for Hume came forward, “ saying, “ Stand by me, and I will see you through.” It is matter of history now how they did stand by him, how they went over to that corner and occupied the position of bridgebuilders in this House for a number of months, and how eventually, when the honorable member for Ballarat, who had been watching the barometer from outside the Cabinet, saw that the time had come when he could again take charge of the destinies of this country, they went back with the honorable member for Hume to support that honorable gentleman. The honorable member for Hume kept them together as a concrete party, and led them back to the fold which they had left. They once more accepted the leadership of the very man who had practically annihilated the fusion of Labour members and Protectionists only a few months before. Yet the honorable member for Gippsland pleads for the honorable member for Ballarat as though what has lately happened were his first offence. When the honorable member for Ballarat appears before the electors, if any of his apologists appeal to the public to overlook what has happened as his first offence, they will be met by that honorable gentleman’s record, and sentence will be administered in proportion to its character. We as a Labour party again stood behind that Government, because they were prepared to support some of the planks of our platform. We have never supported a Government for purposes of selfaggrandisement. We have never accepted office, although it was open to us at all times, if our members had been prepared to sacrifice principle for the freshspots. We have never in the history of our/ party done that, either in Federal or New South Wales politics. We have al ways refused to accept office in any Administration constituted by those who are not of us, and have preferred to wait until we could control the whole Administration and lead the House. We have always tried to use our power to obtain for the people those reforms which we calculate will benefit the masses and advance the Commonwealth. We found the Prime Minister proceeding in his own peculiar way, and the honorable member for Parramatta, from the Opposition side, badgering him from day to day and week to week with strenuous and characteristic vindictiveness and sourness. All the time the honorable member for Parramatta was practically looking forward to the day when he might be able to mesmerize the Prime Minister and place him under the spell of the Conservative and Free Trade party. The next step was that the Prime Minister received “ notice to quit. “ The honorable gentleman, as head of the Government, did not move fast enough ; and we have heard quite enough of the advice tendered him by that man of marvellous mind, the present Minister of External Affairs, when Attorney-General. The Labour party, hoping to bring about reforms, did their best under the Constitution ; and time after time we were told by the Attorney-General, who, of course, occupies a high legal position, that we had the powers of legislation within the four corners of that Constitution. What was our lot ? Not only ki one case, but in case after case, we discovered that his judgment was erroneous and misleading - that his advice and guidance were delusive, and disastrous to the ambitions of the Labour party. Finding ourselves in that position, owing to the advice of the wonderful and gigantic intellect of the Minister of External Affairs, is it surprising that we, who do not believe in standing still, but are the real progressive party of this country, should become restive? We told the Prime Minister that if he could not make any better headway than he had during his second term as Prime Minister, our only alternative was to remove him at all hazards, and endeavour to do something for ourselves. The Prime Minister and his party, who knew that they could not hold the Treasury benches without the support of the Labour party, practically accepted the “ notice to quit,” as he has called it. That notice was given in an open and manly way. He was told that the time had arrived when the coach of State was not moving quickly enough, and that it was necessary to change horses to lift it out of the mire. Look at the treatment accorded to the Prime Minister, and compare it with the treatment accorded to the Labour Government. The Labour party held the Treasury benches for a short six months or so, and, from the time we took office, we were being undermined by the machinations of the present Prime Minister and those associated with him. It has been said by the honorable member for Gippsland, and by the Prime Minister, as an excuse, that the latter took the course he did in order to save the political lives of a few of his supporters. But, as has been said before, the man who is prepared to sacrifice his principles, even though his life may be at stake, is not fit to be Prime Minister and leader of a young nation like Australia. We require men who have backbone, with determination to stand by what they believe to be right - not weathercocks - but men with some fixed principle for which they will fight until the end. The honorable member for Gippsland, in his able speech, showed how the Protectionists, as they claim to be, under the Prime Minister have sold their birthright for a mess of pottage - how they have been practically “ taken in” by the honorable member for Parramatta and the thirty members associated with him. It will need all the genius, ability, subtlety and other attainments of the Prime Minister, to answer the indictment levelled at him in the most effective speech of the honorable member for Gippsland. There is no doubt that he was manoeuvring and intriguing to bring about the present fusion soon after the prorogation. Whether he did so of his own volition, or whether in response to appeals to save the political scalps of those with whom, it is said, he was in sympathy, all I know is that, if he sacrificed his principles and reputation, great as it is alleged to be - if he sacrificed the work of a lifetime and refused to put the crown on what has been claimed to be an honorable career - for the sake of those five pigmies, then God help us, and forgive his poor, erring judgment in giving so much for so little ! The Prime Minister did not make the sacrifice to save the members of his own party as a whole. He did not seek the advice of the honorable member for Bass, or ask him to come to the penitent form and seek salvation.
– I am not a Victorian !
– The honorable member for Bass is a man who can walk on his own legs; and he did not cringe to the Prime Minister to be saved from the wrath to come. Then, again, the honorable member for Hume, the honorable member for Riverina, and the honorable member for Gippsland did not require any sacrifice on the part of the Prime Minister in order to save their political scalps at the next election. They were prepared to stand by the principles of a lifetime - principles, so pathetically portrayed by the honorable member for Gippsland, and professed by the Prime Minister, whom the honorable member for Gippsland had for years set up as an object of worship, and whom he was prepared to follow so long as he held the Liberal flag aloft. As we have seen, the honorable member for Gippsland proved himself by his action to be a stronger man than he whom he had followed for so many years. None of the men I have mentioned required the assistance of the Prime Minister; nor, indeed, did some other of the honorable members belonging to the Deakin party. For instance, I do not believe that the honorable member for Cowper would go on his knees and appeal to the Prime Minister to do anything to save him - I have too high an opinion of that honorable member to think so. The only men who did so stoop were the honorable member for Maribyrnong, the honorable member for Bourke, the honorable member for Laanecoorie, the honorable member for Corio, and the honorable member for Batman. At the last moment those men came to the penitent seat and begged to be saved from the looming wrath. Look at them ! Is there one among them who, if he left Parliament for ever, would be missed? Is there one among them whose past career or future prospects give any promise of usefulness in public life? Commend me to any other five men in the Chamber in preference. The Prime Minister, we are told, offered himself as a burnt offering to save men like the honorable member for Batman.
– I never spoke to the Prime Minister on the question.
– I am very pleased to hear the honorable member say so. I take it, then, that the honorable member did not require any sacrifice?
– That is right - I did not.
– I am pleased to know that the honorable member is prepared to sacrifice himself instead of his leader, for there must be a sacrifice on one side or the other. Are the five men I have mentioned worth the sacrifice?
– When it is all over we shall find it is they who are sacrificed.
– That interjection is quite apropos. Whenever a man has made a sacrifice wrongly, the right sacrifice has to be made in due time. In the present case there will be a double sacrifice, for the sacrifice of the Prime Minister cannot save those five beyond a few months. If the Prime Minister thinks these men worth the sacrifice, he sets a higher value on their political future than any one else in the world could possibly do. It is fair to the Prime Minister and the House that we should know why this change has come about - what were the motives inducing it. Here we have the honorable member for Laanecoorie - a man, of course, of intellect and of the most just proportions - who by his past has shown that he is capable of changing from time to time, not only his opinions, but his position in the House. This man of breadth of intellect and sense of justice has taken it upon himself in this House to pander to those who gave him his position, and to try to injure those by whom he was opposed in what he supposed to be his judicial stand-point. The little straws show which way the wind blows ; and the events in the political life of the honorable member for Laanecoorie show the calibre of the man for whom the Prime Minister’s self sacrifice was made. Had that honorable member and the honorable member for Bourke remained with me on the Royal Commission of inquiry into the mysteries of the Post and Telegraph Department, instead of resigning in order to save their own political scalps at the sacrifice of their leader, they would, at least, have been doing some good for the country. But their present object in life is to save themselves at the sacrifice of the Postal Commission, or, in reality, the sacrifice of their leader. That is the sort of conduct we have had to endure, while watching the politicalevolution which has gone on in this Chamber and outside during the last few months. The honorable member for Bourke is a vaunted champion of Democracy ! One of the men whom. Democracy would miss ! Without his support and tender care, Democracy would perish, and become a thing of the past ! I would as soon trust a clutch of chickens near the nest of a sewer-rat as leave the interests of Democracy in charge of the honorable member for Bourke. I say that without hesitation, because it is here, above all places, that a man should speak that which is in him. Then take the honorable member for Corio. He is not here at present, but can any one picture him as the valiant protector of the rights of Democracy, as the capable advocate of its views, as the courageous defender of its principles? The honorable member was pilloried by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie for doing what no honorable man would do, for refusing to withdraw a statement disparaging the reputation of a fellow-member, when it had been proved that that statement was untrue. His conduct in that matter shows how little reliance can be put upon him. Yet he is another of those for whom it is said the honorable member for Ballarat made his great sacrifice. The excuse is a humiliating one for the honorable member for Ballarat. The fourth member of the quartette - because the honorable member for Batman says that he was not in the arrangement - is the honorable member for Maribyrnong. He has upheld the banner of Protection in this State as long as I have been reading about Victorian politics ; he has been secretary to the Protectionists’ Association for years, and, in and out of season, has appealed for pro- tection for Australian industries, to lay the foundation of a national life on this Continent. He is the accredited founder and supporter of the Anti-Sweating League. Not only has he taken it upon himself to be the friend of the manufacturers, with a view to opening up the industries of this country; he has also posed as the friend of the toilers, who, by the sweat of their brows, produce the needs of our civilization. The honorable member was going to put a stop to sweating. He was going to remove the terrible conditions which are a blot upon our civilization. But to-day, the protector of the sweater is cheek by jowl with the representatives of those who are. responsible for sweating, and derive their incomes from the toil of the men whose professed champion the honorable member for Maribyrnong is. What an anomalous and what a traitorous position does he occupy ! There are some men for whose counterpart one has to go back to the civilization of the ancient world. For the honorable (member, I find no counterpart nearer than the Roman Emperor Nero, who, it is said, fiddled when Rome was burning. He was the persecutor of those who were struggling for life, for freedom, and for liberty. Nero was known among those whom he persecuted by the mystic figures “ 6 6 6 “ which, as honorable members who have read the Apocalypse are aware, is understood to be the mark of the Beast. The honorable member smiles contentedly, as Nero did, when those whose interests he should protect are being injured and destroyed. While professing to be the champion of the down-trodden, he has really been fighting for himself, and has sacrificed the interests of those whom he swore to protect, handing them over to their enemies. This is a bitter reproach to one whom, it was said, was “ as good as a Labour man.” When a man will sacrifice his good name, his principles, and the interests of the struggling toilers at the loom, at the bench, and elsewhere to benefit himself, there is no hope for his salvation. Not even the sacrifice of the Prime Minister will save him from the doom which awaits him. What will the people say of his conduct? They are the final arbiters. How will they justify the sacrifice which was made by the Prime Minister? How will they deal with this famous quartette: the honorable members for Bourke, Laanecoorie, Maribyrnong, and Corio? Will they say that they were worthy of the sacrifice made on their behalf ? In my opinion, when they come to be weighed in the balance, they will be found wanting, and will be cast into outer darkness, as no longer essential to the public life of this country. It is well that the public should know how we stand in this House. I am content to make plain my views once and for all on the present situation. The Prime Minister is the idol of the Victorian Protectionists .and of the Age - which has dominated politics in this State for many years - not because of what he is, but because of the gift of speech with which he has been endowed. His great asset - and it is for this that he has been sought by one party after another - is not his wealth of principle, but his marvellous powers of oratory, his silvertongued speech, with which he can charm and captivate the people who listen to him The first Government of the Commonwealth was a Government of kings. We had on the Treasury bench the right honorable member for Swan, the king of Western Australia ; the late Charles Cameron Kingston, the king of South Australia, and the hero of many fights ; Sir George Turner, the man who sa.t on the Treasury chest until he wore out the seat of his pants, lest so much as a penny should be taken from it. He made his reputation by sitting tight, not by what he did. Although he was named Turner, he could not be turned from his purposes, or turned off the Treasury chest. For his action in sitting on that chest, he was regarded as the saviour of the State. It fell to his lot to have to try to make good the damage done bv the class whose representatives formerly sat on the Opposition cross benches of this Chamber. He wished to extricate the country from the troubles which befel it as the result of the extraordinary corruption and unspeakable mismanagement which occurred when they had control of Victorian politics. For refusing to make the smallest contribution from the Treasury, he was hailed as a hero ; but he had to withstand the persistent attempts made to despoil Victoria by those v ho were then trying to control its destinies. I speak of the landlords, the privileged classes, the Employers’ Union - the men who are trying to-day to rule the destinies of Australia. Sir George Turner, however, when Premier of this State, had the courage to say to these men : “You have availed yourselves of the Treasury until you have brought the State almost to the verge of insolvency, and I refuse to allow you to bring about its utter destruction.” Among the kings, then, who sat on the
Treasury Bench when this Parliament first opened was the king of Victoria-
– Is the honorable member referring to the honorable member for Darwin - Mr. King O’ Malley?
– No; he is not the king of Victoria - he is the “ Victorious King.” In addition to the kings I have named, we had in the first Federal Government the honorable member for Hume, who defeated “ George I.” in New South Wales, and practically deprived him of his kingdom. The honorable member also became a king in the first Federal Cabinet, which comprised a sufficient number of lawyers to ruin any country.
– It was a case of rex et lex.
– The honorable member possesses so wide a. knowledge that there will be no redemption for him on the day of judgment - when he is called upon, once more to face .the electors. I admit that the first Federal Ministry included a number of men of high intellectual attainments and with strong proclivities for place and power. There were so many kings in it that a medium was required, and was obtained in the form of the honorable gentleman who is at the head of the present Government. It was to fall to his lot to apply the silver ointment necessary to soothe the disturbing elements of the Cabinet. Many a time, I am told, did the honorable gentleman, by means of his persuasive powers, his amiability and affability, save the kings of the Cabinet from slaying each other and doing injury to the Commonwealth. The present Treasurer has been endeavouring ever since he entered the Federal Parliament to oust the kings with whom he has been surrounded. As “ Emperor of the West “ he was not accustomed to have about him men who claimed equal rights, and he desired now to become emperor of Australia. He succeeded very well in his work. The first king that he drove out of the first Federal Ministry was one of the noblest, most honorable, and hard-working men who have ever assumed Ministerial responsibility. I refer to the late Mr. C. C. Kingston. The honorable member for Hume practically charges the present Treasurer with having driven that honorable member from the Ministry that he adorned so well arid for which he worked so hard as to sacrifice his health, and ultimately his life. Mr. Kingston was driven out of the Cabinet by men who were not fit to unlace his boots, and the future of Australia under such men is not too promising. Continuing our review of the history of the Federal Parliament, we next find the present Prime Minister playing fast and loose with the Labour party and the Reid party. The honorable member killed the first Labour Government - he assures us that he did so by accident ; he tells us that he did not know that the amendment moved, and which was responsible for the displacement of the Watson Government, was “ loaded.” Such a plea does no credit to his intelligence. He aimed a poisoned arrow at the Watson Government and brought it down. Then we find him bringing about the Reid-McLean Administration. He was not prepared to enter the camp of the enemy, but he sent into it Mr. Allan McLean and Sir George Turner, two members of his own party. In that way, acting, I suppose, in collusion with the present Treasurer, he rid himself of another “king.” Sir George Turner, although a sick man, entered the ReidMcLean Administration at the earnest request of the honorable member for Ballarat. Instead of entering that Coalition Government himself, the present Prime Minister stood as sentinel between the Labour party and the Reid-McLean party. He watched the political barometer. He still acted as the medium between the “ ins “ and the “ outs,” or as the medium between the Democrats and the Conservatives. He was determined to make or unmake Governments, whichever best suited his political purposes. Ultimately he drove a political stiletto up to the hilt into the men whom he had persuaded to join the first Coalition. Again he said that he did not know that the political stiletto that he levelled at the Reid-McLean Administration was poisoned, but he proved his ability to use such an instrument by getting behind the Government, iri which he was too rauch of a coward to take a place, and stabbing it to the death. We need no proof of this statement. It is a matter of history, and that history if written without political bias should be sufficient to induce the people to give an overwhelming verdict for our party. We find the honorable member coming back to the Liberal camp, and rejoining the little party of which the honorable member for Hume had been the saviour. The Labour party, after some months of useless Opposition, hampered to some extent by the combination then on this side of the House, and very anxious to do something for those who had returned then, determined once more to support the honorable member for Ballarat and his party.” I do not say. that we acted as. wisely as we might have done, but we took the only course open to us, as men having some regard for the interests of the people. The occupants of the Treasury bench at that time - in 1905 - were the Conservative reactionaries, the enemies of the people who occupy them today, and the Labour party, knowing they, could hope for nothing from such men, assisted to oust them from office, and to put the Deakin Government in power. The honorable member for Ballarat answered to the call of the party, which had so long supported him, that he should do something for the people. We desired , the industrial conditions of the people to be improved, and that they should not be subjected to the disabilities under which the people of other countries labour. We asked, not merely for protection for the manufacturer - not merely for that which the honorable member for Bourke and those associated with him at the time sought - but for the new Protection. We were the first to advance the view that true Protection meant the protection, not only of the manufacturer, but of the men who work for him, and of the consumer. We held that the consumer should be protected from the impositions of middlemen and rings. The present Prime Minister indorsed the principle that we laid down, and we were induced by the AttorneyGeneral in the Deakin Government to support a Bill which they introduced, providing for the imposition of certain Excise duties by which it- was proposed to improve the position of the workers in the agricultural implement-making industry. That Bill became law, but it was not sympathetically administered by those who had fathered it, merely that they might continue to hold office. After some months of negligent and vacillating administration the validity of the Act was tested by the employers, who appealed to the High Court, with the result that we found we had been fooled once more by the lawyers, as people have been fooled by members of that profession practically since the dawn of civilization.
– Some of us said at the time that the Act would not stand.
– I know that the honorable member for Angas, while in Opposition, naturally, as a lawyer, opposed the then Government. We all know that a lawyer can take any side, and as a lawyer he had no alternative but to oppose the Government’s measures. It is the law, the custom, the religion of the lawyer to oppose the other man.
– One’s choice of sides is only fettered when one is paid.
– Does not the honorable member regard the high and honorable position which he has won by his conduct in this House as payment for what he has done, or does he regard it as a sacrifice? To the man who fights for one side or the other when he is paid, it becomes a custom and a habit, and when he tells me that he can always fight for the right side when he is not paid, he asks me to believe something that is very difficult to swallow. I admit that there are degrees of lawyers. Some are worse than others, but I never met a good one yet. The nearest approach to a good lawyer is the man who spoke last night, and he was a “ wise “ lawyer.
– He would make a good Judge.
– He would. He would act from a sense of justice, apart from law, and administer justice according to the dictates of common sense, and not be guided only by the musty, crumbling laws of prejudiced Parliaments.
– The honorable member is very rough on the honorable member for West Sydney.
– I am no respecter of persons when dealing with principles. I have never sacrificed my principles to save my scalp, and never will. I shall not study my language, even to suit the honorable member for Bourke, or the honorable member for West Sydney. When the Arbitration Bill was before the New South Wales Parliament, I fought strenuously against the inclusion of lawyers in the affairs of our people. That was the first opportunity I got to show my antipathy to the presence of the legal element, and I protested most strongly at every possible stage against our industrial organizations being handed over to the tender mercies of that profession. I have fought against it in this House, and will always do so, because I believe that in the legal profession there exists the element which has been responsible for keeping back all progressive legislation throughout history. I ‘ shall not cringe to any element in society, to any element in my. own party, or to any element in politics. I have read a good deal of the history of the world, and I can say, with almost absolute truth, that you will find no Parliament, at any time or anywhere, headed by a lawyer, which has left any lasting reforms in the interests of the people on the statute-book.
– I am afraid the honorable member has not read much of American, or even British history.
– It may be a mat”ter of degree as to what the honorable member considers beneficial or otherwise. But, before the appearance of the Labour party, what measures benefiting the people were placed on the statute-book in England or elsewhere? I remember the conditions in the Old Country when I was a boy, when I was learning what little politics I then knew by watching my father, and reading his Reynold’s newspaper for him when he was doing his work. I remember the position of the factory hands in England before MacDonald, Thomas Burt, Joseph Cowen, Joseph Arch, and Jesse Collings were returned to the Imperial Parliament. I have read sufficient of history to know how in those days the children were worked to the bone in English factories. Children of tender ages were sleeping at the looms in Lancashire - the county to which I belonged - and fathers and mothers and children had all to go out together to earn a mere existence. I remember how the children had to slave to the sacrifice of their lives and the detriment of the nation. I remember the chain-makers at Cradley Heath, and the children that played in the ashes of the fires from which their mothers lifted the glowing iron which they forged into links for the chains to be used in the realms of commerce. I remember the heartrending, ‘ inhuman, barbarous treatment meted out to the women and children in our great home of “ liberty “ not fifty years ago. I remember these things as one of the people, as one who has toiled, one who has suffered, one who has fought in strikes for the liberty and freedom that we enjoy to-day. I, who feel what I speak, and do not say what some one else tells me, know what it is to starve for the sake of principle, and to be boycotted for standing up for the liberties that I felt should be mine. If any one tells me that I do not know what the legal profession has done for the people, I answer unhesitatingly that, generally speaking, no Government which has had a lawyer at the head of it has given any far-reaching beneficial legislation to uplift the great masses of the people. The Attorney-General is free to stand up and tell the House his opinions. He is not dumb, unless he is another sacrifice - unless he is under orders to forego his right to utter the things that are in him. He knows that this is a free country and a free Parliament, or, at any rate, a Parliament in which one side at least is free. Apparently I cannot say the same of the other side.
– A good many here have had a say.
– I admit that a few of the rank and file have shown their independence ; but I say, without offence, that most of them are in the wrong place. The very fact that they have the courage to speak on an occasion like this, when all their comrades are dumb, shows that they possess that element of independence which belongs more to this side than to that. Consequently I am not referring to them when I speak of the dumb-stricken crowd that stand behind the fusion. To get back to that marvellous evolution of the medium and the kings, I find that the honorable member for Ballarat lured us into supporting him by giving us legal opinions, with which I admit that the present Attorney-General disagreed. I give that gentleman credit for acting from honorable and manly motives. If there is one blessing that has fallen upon this Parliament in the constitution of the present Government it is the substitution of the honorable member for Angas for the absolutely unreliable authority who was AttorneyGeneral in the previous Deakin Government. That is one thing that we have to be grateful for. It is not much, I admit, but it is something, because there is not much to be grateful for in the present combination, or in what is likely to emanate from it so far as the people’s welfare is concerned. The honorable member for Ballarat promised new Protection. He said it was a good thing that it should apply to the workers. When the High Court declared our previous attempt to apply the principle to be unconstitutional, because the power lay only with the States, the honorable member for Ballarat agreed that it was necessary that we should obtain the power, because the States never had acted, and never would act, in unison to secure concrete legislation for the benefit of the whole of the continent. He agreed that an appeal must be made by referendum to our masters, the people, to give this Parliament the power to control industrial legislation throughout the Commonwealth. One would think that with such an undertaking coming from a gentleman like the Prime Minister, guided by the great intellect of the honorable member for Darling Downs, we were on safe ground, and could rely on that promise and profession. But, again our hopes were shattered. There again the Prime Minister could not be moved forward. We tried to press him on, but he would not move ; and we as a Labour party are. forced to hold the fort until we can see a change for the better. With regard to the union label we thought it was necessary, in justice to the worker who received an honest wage for his toil under the laws that prevailed, that a label should be put upon the goods that he produced, so that they might be recognised and purchased by all honest men in the community who appreciated, and wished to encourage, conditions under which they would like to work themselves. We were advised, once more by the great intellect of the honorable member for Darling Downs, that there was a possibility under the Constitution of effective action in that direction. But again we were misled by the legal subtlety, or the legal incompetence, of the Government’s chief adviser, and we are left still wailing for some reform in this direction. All we got was the knowledge that the Constitution did not permit us to do that kind of thing, and, so far as the measures of that Government were .concerned, we were left practically as we were. All we did was to pass the Estimates’ and the Tariff. Those of us who held the opinion that in a young country like this it is necessary to encourage manufactures, in order to utilize our raw materials, and make the nation self-reliant, sat here night after night, and day after day, to help the Prime Minister to pass the Tariff, with the hope and promise that it would be made effective by Protection being given to the worker and consumer as well as to the manufacturer. But when the Protectionist Tariff had been made law, at a great expenditure of labour and time, where did the Labour party find themselves ? We found ourselves with a Tariff which has put thousands and thousands of pounds into the employers’ pockets, but which has not benefited the employes to anything like the extent it should; and undoubtedly this lop-sided legislation was passed under a de- ,lusion. so far as our party is concerned. We trusted the Prime Minister, when he said, “We will see you through; if you vote for the Protectionist Tariff, we will see that the workers in the protected industries receive the protection to which they are equitably entitled in a free country.” The broken promise is all that remains.
– We have not even a promise - only a Board.
– The promise remains, but the possibility of fulfilling it is, of course, absolutely hopeless. Our experience has taught us that there is no use in putting trust in such men, and we eventually felt that we could not follow any further behind the Prime Minister. We could show no results to our people for the faith that is in us, and we decided to give the Prime Minster notice to leave the place where he was no longer fulfilling the mission of our party. The honorable gentleman took that notice in a friendly way. He practically promised the Labour Government that, so long as their measures were of a Liberal character, he would give them his support ; and here is where the cruelty of the position arises. After leading the Labour party to hope that they would get support from him, so long as their platform was Democratic and progressive, what did we find? The ink of the oath of the King’s representatives was scarcely dry before the Prime Minister was intriguing to bring down the Labour Government, as he had intrigued to bring down the Reid Government. He was intriguing even before the ex- Prime Minister had declared his policy at Gympie, or had had any opportunity to place it before the people; and it is no excuse for him to say that he disagreed with the platform. We know how he had been fault-finding, and showing indications of restlessness, and had been trying to fulfil the mission laid <wi him by the right honorable member for Swan. For the third time he was going forth with the stiletto, to use it on those who had befriended him, or those whom he professed to befriend - for the third time this demon of modern politics haunted and followed us with uplifted stilleto. We found the Prime Minister travelling throughout this great continent, even before the ex-Prime Minister made his Gympie speech, and speaking in an enigmatical way, as only he can. There is no man who, illustrates the old saying that words are given to hide our thoughts more fully than the honorable member for Ballarat, and no one could have succeeded better than lie, in his Tasmanian speeches, in hiding his real intentions under a multitude of phrases. But ho one who knows what politics are, or who knows the Prime Minister, could misread the writing on the wall, or fail to detect the underlying object of his mission. If it were parliamentary to do so, I should call it black-hearted treachery, but I shall not transgress the rules of the House. The action of the Prime Minister, in seeking to bring about the downfall of the Labour party for the second time does not justify the appeal put forward for him by the honorable member for Gippsland yesterday. That honorable member practically says to those who are to judge, “ Forgive him, for he knows not what he does ; he is only offering himself up as a sacrifice to save a number of worthless hirelings, who have followed and haunted him night and day for the purpose of saving their own political scalps.” “ Forgive him,” says the honorable member, who has worshipped the Prime Minister as an idol for years, “ forgive him, because I cannot believe that he would so act voluntarily ; the action was not that of the man we know.” The indictment of the honorable member for Gippsland against the Prime Minister needs no addition ; but the honorable member shows his magnanimity of nature by asking the judges to view the offence leniently and mitigate the sentence. The honorable member, as a lawyer, knows, however, that, after the special pleader has finished, and before sentence is passed, a Judge asks for the offender’s record ; and, in the present case, it will be proved that the use of the stiletto has not been resorted to for the first time, but that its use has become a habit. Under the circumstances, I ask the honorable member for Gippsland whether he can still plead for forgiveness on the ground that the Prime Minister has been made a burnt offering to save the worthless scalps of those who have persuaded him into his present position? If what the honorable member for Gippsland says of the position is true, what are we to think of the Prime Minister - of his backbone? What are we to think of his mental equilibrium ? What are we to think of his power to judge between that which is honorable, and that which is dishonorable and unholy? We are faced with the position that either the Prime Minister is a fool - and I do not take him for one - or he is not; and if he is not, then he is not a sacrifice. As I said before, he is a man whose like has not been seen in Australia. The honorable member for Parramatta, when he sat in Opposition studying the physiognomy of the Prime Minister, and the mental gymnastics he was capable of, used to say - “ By Jove, the Prime Minister is a deep character; he is a man who has a double personality; on the surface he is amiable, suave, affable, kind, and obliging^ with every attribute of a gentleman ; but, underneath the mask of affability ,^ there is a nature which is absolutely unrelenting and deadly in its bitterness and hatred, and which gives no quarter to men who stand in his path.” It is the second personality that we have seen operating since the commencement of this Parliament, though we, in the House, and the public outside, only notice the genial smiling face of the great man who has led Governments, and been the medium of others he has not led. When we could get no further, we asked the Prime Minister to quit, and he then became, as in like circumstances before, the medium. I ask honorable members to note the peculiar position that the Prime Minister has occupied throughout his Federal political life. I shall not enter into his career as a State politician, nar touch on his private life; the latter I regard as sacred. But of his Federal public life, I have the right to speak, and what I say is not personal, but merely comment on a public man in a public position. The Prime Minister .was a medium in the first Government between the kings who occupied the Treasury benches, and the Labour party ; then a medium between the Reid Government and his own party ; then between the Labour party and the “bridge builders;” and then between the gathering fragments of a split party, when he formed the Government which preceded the Labour Government. After using the stiletto three times in succession, and, driving it into the hearts of those he had .promised to support, we find him to-day, . cheek by jowl, with the men, who, according to the honorable member for Gippsland, his whole life has been, practically, sacrificed in opposing. In the first Parliament, the Treasury bench was occupied by the kings of the States, men who had made reputations - whether good or bad I shall not say - which brought them into Federal politics. After the many changes I have depicted - after the unexampled experiences which are written on the pages of the history of this Parliament - we find the Prime Minister still a medium. He acted as medium all through the recess to bring this fusion about - the medium between the honorable member for Parramatta and the other parties to the arrangement. lt was he who brought this trinity of remnants together, making them three in one and one in three. It was he who worked incessantly towards the attainment of this end. But only as the medium, not as the man who was to benefit by. it. When the Government was formed, we found him in his true position. According to the honorable member for Gippsland, he is a Prime Minister without an office, a man in power who is without power, a medium through whom others speak. Nominally he holds the highest position in the Commonwealth, and yet he cannot sign his name to any departmental document. Surely this is the last act in the tragedy ! What are we coming to when we have a Prime Minister without a portfolio and without power ? What will the country come to with a figurehead for a Prime Minister, behind whom others are fighting, because they dare not fight openly ? Others are using the honorable gentleman. The Conservatives know that at the next election they would have no chance of success in Victoria without his aid, and would be absolutely annihilated. They hold him where he is, saying : “ For God’s sake stand by us.” “ What shall we do to be saved. We must keep Deakin in the front, no matter what his faults may be.” His attainments are so great, his mesmeric power so wonderful, his magnetic influence so potent in the realm of politics, that they have pleaded with him to remain.
– They are absolutely at their last ditch.
– I am about to show that that is so. The medium is going to be exposed. Until now there has not been an exposure; but the day of exposure is at hand. The writing is on the wall ; the proof of what I am saying lies in the fact that the Prime Minister is merely the medium through ‘ whom other men speak and act. He has accepted a position which is humiliating, if not degrading. In the mother of Parliaments, in the home of liberty, never has a Prime Minister been without a portfolio. Prime Ministers in the British Parliament always occupy one of the highest and most responsible positions under the Crown. Gladstone frequently kept the Seal of the Privy Council or was Chancellor of the Exchequer. The highest position in the Government belongs to the Prime Minister, and in England whoever has filled that position has never shirked its responsibilities. For the first time in the history of the English race and of British Parliaments, we find a Prime Minister degrading his position by bringing it down to one of humble servitude, and leaving himself without power. He has set a precedent which, to my mind, is abhorrent to one’s sense of what is right, and may inflict great injury on the future welfare of the Commonwealth. Why is the honorable member for Ballarat put in the front? Of course, he has been behind so often that it is about time that he appeared in the front. But he has been put there because those who act with him could not trust behind them a man who has used the stiletto so often as he has done.
– What portfolio does the present Prime Minister of England hold? I think that the honorable member is wrong in saying that the English Prime Minister always holds a portfolio.
– It is not fair, when I am dealing with another matter, for honorable members to expect me to answer offhand a question like that. It looks like a lawyer’s trick to upset me.
– It seems to me that the honorable member has been using a trick to belittle the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. I believe that the present Prime Minister of England holds no portfolio.
– It has happened again and again in Australia that Premiers have not held portfolios.
– It is remarkable how the old campaigners try to bluff the new men in the House. No doubt they think that we are easily put aside. Lawyers are always ready to interject, in order to turn aside an effective attack.
– The honorable member is wrong in referring to me as a lawyer. I am not now in practice.
– Once a lawyer always a lawyer. A lawyer cannot change his character, any more than a leopard can change his spots. I have heard of the conversion of lawyers ; but I have never believed in it. I would rather believe that the Chinese can be converted than that a lawyer can be brought into the paths of rectitude. I was dealing with the position of the honorable member for Ballart when head of this combination.
– This abomination!
– The people will think it an abomination. The time is coming when it will be exposed. Why have the New South Wales representatives put the honorable member for Ballarat in front? Why has not the honorable member for Parramatta taken the lead?
– He could not get it.
– I think that at one stage he could have got it. The reason why he is not in the lead is that he is not trusted in his own State.
– That is not so.
– I say, without hesitation, that he knows that if the party went to the country with him. at its head, it would be annihilated. It could not stand against the people’s wrath.
– No politician is held in greater estimation in New South Wales than is the honorable member for Parramatta.
– The honorable member is always a worshipper of those to whom he is closely attached. It is a weakness with him, laudable, and yet deplorable.
– I can admire ability in another, which is more than the honorable member can do.
– I wish there were ability to admire in the honorable member.
– Why cannot the honorable member get away from personalities?
– I am dealing with the party leaders, and referred to the honorable member only because he interjected.
– The honorable member would do better if he kept away from personalities altogether.
– Here is another lawyer trying to draw me off the track ! I say, without hesitation, that the honorable member for Parramatta was not made leader of the combination for the reason I have given, and that the honorable member for Ballarat was put in front because his companions would not trust him in the rear.
– That is not so.
– The honorable member for Ballarat is known to have used the stiletto three times already on men whose friend he professed to be, and his present companions were afraid that, if they did not put him in front, he would act similarly towards them. If the honorable member for Parramatta led the party in New South Wales, the results would be terrible for it. He is a renegade.
– That is absolute rot.
– The honorable member is the shadow of the honorable member for Parramatta. He succeeded him in the representation of the Nepean district when his leader moved to a safer constituency, and is under great obligations to him. Again, we have a lawyer trying to mislead, and to take me away from the thread of my argument. I have had to suffer interruptions of this kind in the State House, here, and in the Courts of law, so that I am becoming used to the methods and practices of the lawyer’s.
– The honorable member’s practices are not particularly good.
– My attacks are honest.
– From the honorable member’s point of view.
– How could I speak from the point of view of the honorable member for Illawarra? I have never sat on two rails at once.
– The honorable member has sat on a rail often enough.
– God forbid that I should ever be able to speak with the voice of those who have betrayed their principles.
– High political morality is only to-be found in the Labour party ! No one else can be politically honest !
– Whenever you strike a man on a tender spot, he calls you a coward, even though he may have provoked the attack.
– The honorable member is howling because he has been hurt.
– If the newly made Minister of Home Affairs has anything to say in defence of himself, he will have an opportunity to say it when I have concluded my remarks. I hope, therefore, that he will not interrupt me. I am responsible for what I say. He is not.
– The honorable member made a personal reference to me.
– I am ready to emphasize what I have said. I shall not shirk my duty. The man who takes his oath to defend his country must be prepared to shoot, even his brother, if he finds him in the ranks of the enemy. It is the same in politics. We are fighting for the liberties of the people, and the principles which we espouse, and, if we saw our dearest friend, or even a brother, in the ranks of the opposition, we should have to put aside our feelings and attack him. The honorable member’s interjections will not prevent me from finishing what I have to say. The reason why the honorable member for Ballarat is the medium between the crowd opposite and the Government, between the Conservatives and the late Opposition, between the remnants of the . Liberal party and the people, and between the renegade representatives of New South Wales and their electors, is that those’ who have chosen him as their leader hope, by doing so, to save their political scalps. In proof of my statement let me state this : The other day the great Liberal Reform party of New South Wales met to set its house in order, to appoint its general, and to give its staff instructions for the coming conflict. The honorable member for North Sydney was then put in the front, the excuse being made that the Minister of Defence could not be president, because he is too much occupied in Departmental work. I can only say that that is not the truth.
– It is the truth.
– The real reason is that the honorable member for North Sydney will continue to hold the respect of the people of New South Wales as a man, and that the other man will not. Mark the cunning ! Mark the hand of Joseph all the time. The honorable member for Parramatta is afraid to face the people as the legitimate leader of his party.
– He is its leader now.
– He puts the Prime Minister in front to act as a buffer between him and the people of Victoria, and he uses the honorable member for North Sydney as a buffer between himself and the people of New South Wales.
– That is not so.
– This point needs to be laid bare. We must let the people know that the Prime Minister is merely the medium through which the reactionaries speak to them ; that he is so used only because of his great oratorical powers, his magnetic influence, and his mesmeric effect upon an audience. They know that the honorable gentleman has not yet lost those characteristics that have made him, rightly or wrongly, what he is to-day, and the Conservative party shelter behind him in order to hide from the people the real men who are trying to obtain power. I have never read in political history of a leader occupying such a position. It is a position that is humiliating to the Prime Minister; it is a regrettable episode in the career of an able man. The other parties tothe Coalition are simply firing from behind the hedge. The honorable member for Parramatta dare not lead in the actual fight, and dare not declare that he is the real head of the Government. Why is this so? It is because the honorable gentleman, who used to be known as “ Joseph with the coat of many colours,” has assumed so many shades of political opinion that his coat has now to be turned inside out. Anything is possible with men of that type. Do honorable members opposite say that the Minister of Defence can win the confidence of the people of New South Wales ? If he can, there is no hope «for them. If his history could be written on tablets and exhibited throughout the length and breadth of this Continent, so that all who cared might read - if the true position were placed before the people - I should have no fear of our receiving at the hands of the people at the next general election that which is deserved by men who are honest in their advocacy of great principles. The honorable member for Parramatta has had a varied career, and I think it necessary to refer to it in order that the people may know the man. We have him, first of all, as a working miner who, because of his associations,- was encouraged to fight for the liberty of the toilers and ito join their union, in order to gain for them concessions to which they were honestly entitled. He became the trusted man of the miners of Lithgow, and was elected to the post of check- weighman. A man holding such a position has to see fair play as between master and man. He has to see that the miners are paid for what they do and that the masters do not cheat them. To that honorable position he was elevated as a toiler by his fellow-workers.
– Did he not serve them faithfully ?
– I shall tell the honorable member presently. When the time came for the Democracy of New South Wales to claim their birthright - when the workers, recognising that they had been for years deceived by men who professed to represent them, returned thirty-six men to voice their views ‘in the State Legislature, he was among the number. The miner, the check-weighman, who had won the sympathy of his fellow toilers at Lithgow was returned to the State Parliament as their trusted representative.
– Did he not serve them well?
– I shall come to that paint presently. Prior to that, the honor able member had shown that he was a Republican. He was opposed to monarchial institutions. He was not in favour of the building of the Dreadnoughts, or of any other of the deadly instruments of warfare that are to-day tending to the ruination of nations. He professed to be a Republican, fighting for a freer form of government than that under which the people then lived. This was in harmony, to some extent, with the position he took up as the leader of the men in the mines.
– The honorable member does not mean to say that the miners of Lithgow are Republicans?
– No. I merely say that at the time in question the honorable member for Parramatta was a Republican. I am dealing with his whole career. It is necessary that we should. It is necessary that we should let the public see the whole tree, and that we may show that it is rotten from the tap-root to the topmost branches. When that has been done, the people will know how to rid themselves of such an encumbrance. Men who desired that suitable employment should be found for their boys and girls when they grew up - those who desired that their children should have an opportunity to become useful citizens - surrounded the honorable member. At that time he was a Protectionist. He wrote in the press articles in favour of Protection, and worked hard for the adoption of the principle. He cannot deny that he stood on the Protectionist platform some eighteen years ago.
– Was the honorable member for Gwydir always a Protectionist?
– I shall tell the hon- orable member by-and-by.
– I remember the time when the’ honorable member was a Free Trader.
– I shall tell the honorable member all that I know about the matter. I have dealt with the honorable member for Parramatta as the miner, the check-weighman, the Republican, and the Protectionist. I come now to that stage of his career when he was a land taxer. How interesting it is to see him to-day seated on the Treasury bench - sitting in the lap of privilege and monopoly - and to think of the time when he was an outandout land taxer. We see him to-day smiling the smile of the man who has betrayed the principles that he once fought for. If we were to propose now what he suggested when he posed as a land taxer, we should be deemed fit to be hanged from a gibbet.
The honorable member was no ordinary land taxer. He was not after the absentee land-owner, or the man who was wrongly keeping others off the land ; but, with a tomahawk in each hand, he was after all land-owners. We have it on record that he supported a land tax equal to1s. in the£1. Call him confiscator, nationalizer, if you will, he was a land taxer who practically went beyond the point at which land taxation ceases, and confiscation begins.
– He would have taken 20s. in the pound by way of a land tax.
– A man who would take from the land all that he would have taken-
-What, another political hound at my heels?
– Yes ; and one that will follow the honorable member to the destiny he deserves.
– Has the honorable member no mercy for me?
– No. Observe the self-satisfied smile on the face of the honorable member who has succeeded in obtaining what he wants. We shall see the day when that smile will vanish, and when the cloud of disappointment will once more reign supreme on his heavenly brow.
– Heavenly ?
– I use the word heavenly, because we know that the honorable member has held his face up to heaven time after time when he has been pleading with the people from the pulpit, and urging them to forsake their sins.
– Does not the honorable member think he had better stop that cant?
– When the honorable member sat on this side of the House, did he stop - could any one stop him from talking ?
– I never descended to that kind of cant.
– The honorable member descended to what I have never descended. What I have said is true; but what the honorable member has said from time to time, when sitting on this side of the House, has been untrue.
– The honorable member must withdraw that statement.
– To adopt the honorable member’s own method of withdrawing a statement to which you take exception, sir, I shall substitute the word incorrect for the word untrue. The hon orable gentleman is not a lawyer; but he ought to have been one. He would have made an exceedingly clever lawyer, for he possesses that sense of acquisitiveness which is so essential to success on the part of a member of that profession. He was at one time a land-taxer, and then1s. in the £1 was the limit of the taxation that he would impose. Confiscation in such circumstances would necessarily follow, since when the State takes all the value of the land by way of taxation, it might as well take the land itself. And this is the honorable gentleman who, when on this side of the House, was never tired of opposing the principle of nationalization. , We have known him to roar, until he hasbecome almost black in the face, in condemnation of such a diabolical proposition.
Sitting suspended from 1, to 2.15 p.m.
– I have tried to hold up the mirror to the honorable member for Parramatta, so that he might see himself as others see him. I have showed that, during his career as a politician, he has been a land-taxer up to the full value of the land, or, in other words, a confiscator and land nationalizer; because, if the Crown takes all the value, the land is of no use to any one, and the Crown might as well take the land as well. In fact, we have in the honorable member the embodiment of all that he condemns in the Labour party, and in the real Socialistic party.
– Then the honorable member admits that the Labour party wish to confiscate the land?
– It is precisely what they are out for.
– The honorable member for Parramatta and the honorable member for Robertson know that we are out for that equitable contribution towards the revenue which will, in some pleasure, be a return for the money expended, both by the State and by the Commonwealth Governments to protect and guard the interests of the people who hold the land.
– The Labour party are out to get the land from the farmers, and they know it.
– The honorable member has only one method now of expressing his sentiments. He tries to get them in as bitter punctuations of another man’s speech, where he used formerly to make sour speeches of his own. I welcome those interjections, because they only point a moral. He should remember how pertinent an interjection is at times when his history is being reviewed, and how, when read in conjunction with what is being said of him, it only emphasizes the speaker’s remarks.
– He is trying to practice Wilfred Denver’s dream : - “ Oh, God, put back thy universe, and make it yesterday.”
– There is nothing in politics that the honorable member has not practised.
– All that I have done can be matched, and more than matched, by what the honorable member has done.
– That is no .reply to me- The honorable member has an opportunity to rise in his place and express his opinion, as I am expressing mine ; but I fear that he will not do it. The honorable member must be indelibly placed on the records of this House as a one-time land-taxer up to is. in the j£i, a onetime confiscator, and, by inference, a onetime land nationalize, - in addition to the many other things that he .has been. In the next turn of the political evolution of the peculiar composition which now occupies the position of Minister of Defence, we find him an out-and-out Free Trader.
– The honorable member once ran as a Free Trader for the New South Wales Parliament.
– The honorable member cannot refute what I say, and he need not try to tell me what I will tell the House all about presently. I have nothing to hide. One of the proudest days in my life was when I read the honorable member’s real nature, before he showed the public, by his actions, what he actually was, and when I refused, for that reason, to join the combination of which he formed part in those days.
– The honorable member tried to run in a Free Trade bunch, and they would not have him.
– That is another absolutely inaccurate statement. I shall put all that before the House as it ought to be put. When the honorable member tries to fix his eyes on another man’s record, I advise him to turn round and look at his own past career. If he is not satisfied that no man’s can equal it, he is very hard to convince.
– The honorable member’s record can beat it easily.
– The’ honorable member would say anything. We find him as a Free Trader, and we find him wreck ing the Labour party. When the thirtysix Labour members got into the New South Wales Parliament they found it difficult, owing to the conflict of parties, the novelty of their position, and their juvenility in politics, to arrive at a proper understanding of how to run the party. They decided to appoint a Committee of four, sb that there were four captains on the good ship “Labour” in the New South Wales Parliament.
– The honorable member knows nothing about it - there were five, not four.
– That makes it all the worse. I did not count the honorable member.
– I was not in it.
– I can quite understand it. Like the present Prime Minister, the honorable member was in it, and yet not in it. A Committee of four or five were appointed to run the party. The honorable member succeeded in driving four men out of the party for following their fiscal beliefs, with regard to which they were not bound at the elections, and which they voted for when the test came in the House. For that he and others in the party ostracized them, threw them overboard, and by that means made the section to which he belonged predominant in numbers, ‘and able to take charge.
– That is miles away from the facts.
– I know the facts. The honorable member cannot tell me any of the facts of the history of the New South Wales Labour party. When that section got the numbers they decided to elect, not a Committee, but a captain, and they made the “ Cook “ the captain.
– That was two years afterwards.
– I am not talking about time. I am talking about the opportunist who made his position secure by branding four members of the party as unworthy of inclusion in its ranks. In this way he secured a majority for what was called the Free Trade section, and with it the leadership for himself. I will admit, to be fair, that, to some extent, he was the hope of the party. The honorable member’s attitude in the House at that time led the party to believe that they had a champion who would stand by the cause of Democracy as he had stood by the miners at Lithgow. I thought it, too, but woe betide the man who places his confidence in man. Just ;is the idol of the honorable member for Gippsland was shattered, as we saw from the feeling which he displayed yesterday, in exactly the same way we were disappointed when we found that the gentleman whom we had intrusted with the leadership of our party went the way of him who in days of old took thirty pieces of silver for betraying his trust. When the Government of which the right honorable member for East Sydney was the head went to the country, an appeal was made to the electors to sweep the old fossils from the Legislative Council, and make the Parliament of the State worthy of a Democracy. But as soon as the election was over, the right honorable member, with that acuteness which distinguishes him, thought he saw an opportunity of breaking the power of the Labour party. He offered a bait to the honorable member for Parramatta in the form of the Postmaster-Generalship. Did the honorable member resist it? No. He forgot the men who had sent him to Parliament, forgot the pledges which he had taken, and the promises which he had made, and sold his party for a mess of pottage.
– The honorable member has been rehearsing all this with the honorable member for Barrier.
– I do not need to rehearse this history with any one. It is all true.
– It is absolutely untrue.
– Order 1
– I beg pardon, absolutely incorrect.
– It is true to my own knowledge, and I have not yet reached the stage of life when my memory is failing. When the honorable member sold his party in the way I have described, the people who had trusted him” could scarcely believe it of him. It was only when men who treated him more liberally than he treated them realized to the full what he had done, that he ultimately became an outcast, as far as politics were concerned.
– His constituents have returned him every time since.
– There has never been a time in the history of this country when we have had such an opportunity of testing whether people who have been false to their pledges are trusted by the electors, as is the case to-day. Had it not been for the right honorable member for East Sydney, with his marvellous power over the electors of New South Wales, whose platform ability is renowned throughout the Commonwealth, and who, whatever his faults may be, has been a great leader of a party, enjoying the confidence of the people of his State, just as the present Prime Minister enjoys the confidence of many people in Victoria - had it not been for that right honorable member, I venture to say that the honorable member for Parramatta would not have escaped that penalty, which sooner or later such men as lie pay for their actions.
– Why do the honorable member and his colleagues always gibe at a Labour man who rises from the ranks?
– I do not ‘take much notice of the honorable member for Robert- son. One has to recognise that if one is to take notice of every little dog that barks at one’s heels, one would be turning round all one’s life. The honorable member for Parramatta originally came to this House as a Free Trader. At that time the right honorable member for East Sydney proclaimed that he had nailed his colours to the mast. He said, “This is the flag under which we fight, and it will never be hauled down until the ramparts of Protection are crumbled in the dust, and we have succeeded in placing our doctrines upon the statute-book of the country.” Those were the days when the right honorable member exercised that marvellous power which he undoubtedly possesses, and which the honorable member for Parramatta will never be able to approach. The Free Trade party were then fighting for an ideal. But the right honorable member has since hauled down his flag, allowing it to be torn from the staff from which it flew, and thrown into the mud. From that moment the deathknell of the Free Trade party in this Commonwealth was proclaimed.
– When was that?
– I am referring to the time when the right honorable member for East Sydney joined the ex-member for Gippsland in that wonderful combination that lived for ten months, and brought down a Governor-General’s speech without any policy in it. Such was the humiliation of the great party which, in New South Wales, in days gone by, was led by Sir Henry Parkes, a patriot, who, with all his faults, had qualities not equalled by those of any man I have known in political life. These men, at the last election, were returned as Free Traders. At any rate, I venture to say that if any of them who were members of the direct Opposition a few months ago, had told the electors that they would be prepared to support a Protectionist Government, or to form a combination to sink the fiscal issue, they would never have seen the inside of this House. That being so, they have an account to give when they go before the people, for the action they have taken within the walls of Parliament. In the first and second Parliaments those honorable members were returned as Free Traders, though in the third Parliament they came in under the cloak of “ anti-sosh. ‘ ‘
– What is “anti-sosh?”
– It is a lovely satire when we hear a man like the honorable member ask such a question. Does it not indicate that he, and others like him, depended on the man who carried the banner?
– The honorable member is talking absolute rubbish.
– The honorable member will find out whether or not I am talking rubbish when next he goes before the electors of Hunter.
– The electors of Hunter, and the whole of the people of the Commonwealth, are disgusted with the tactics of the Labour party in this House.
– Never mind our tactics. I refer the honorable member for Hunter to the honorable member for Fremantle, who is the champion “stone- waller” of modern days, seeing that he can fill in time for a whole hour by reading his own speeches. When the Reid-McLean Government was formed there was no room in it for the honorable member for Parramatta; and he sat in the corner like a grizzly bear, gnashing his teeth, and not knowing whether to come over to the Opposition or go behind the Ministry. The honorable member used to say bitter things about the Government, in which he was not included, and, looking with longing eyes towards the fold, wished that the shepherd would indicate that there was shelter for him again.
– No man gave the party more loyal support than myself.
– The ProtectionistFree Trade party - I do not know what else to call it - as represented by the Reid
McLean Government, in which there were two Premiers, with equal authority and power, sunk everything for place and pay, and the honorable member for Parramatta was not pleased at his exclusion.
– The honorable member for Parramatta ought to have been in the Government.
– I think so too, because he had proved that he, at any rate, was a sincere convert to the doctrines that were professed by the Government. When the right honorable member for East Sydney got tired of leading a forlorn hope he went to the country, and was returned with twenty supporters all told; and he, from his place in the House, admitted that the days of Free Trade had passed away, and that in the future there could be no fiscal line of cleavage. The right honorable member had practically lost all hope in the power of the banner that had floated so long before the breeze, and was prepared to accept the inevitable, and allow the Tariff to go through without any of that acrimonious opposition that had been given to the first Tariff during its eighteen months discussion in this Chamber. Up to the last election old Free Traders, who had voted for their principle election after election, had not lost confidence in their cause, and they returned the right honorable member for East Sydney and his supporters, although the banner now bore the inscription “ anti-sosh.” But these representatives were returned more as Free Traders than as anti-Socialists, for the reason that the electors, no more than the candidates themselves, knew what was meant by “ anti-sosh.”
– It meant anti-sausages all the time.
– The interjection is very apt, because sausages - those bags of mystery - are the most unreliable things one can attack. The honorable member for Dalley knows exactly the position, and I accept his definition with the greatest frankness. I realize that the honorable member for Dalley is in a happy position, inasmuch as he, at least, has not to face his electors as a Free Trader who has abandoned his principles.
– I got early baptism !
– No doubt the honorable member got under the umbrella very quickly. The Reid-McLean party, immediately on their accession to office, showed that they really and truly constituted the Conservative element in Commonwealth politics-. We could then see the beginning of this fusion; and the end was in sight to many of us who understood the evolutions that were taking place. During the time the honorable member for Parramatta, from his place in Parliament, in the bitterest and most scathing terms, criticised the policy of the present Prime Minister and his supporters. The honorable member was then absolutely in the camp of the Conservatives, and trying to “ work the oracle “ with the honorable member for Flinders, the honorable member for Fawkner, the honorable member for Balaclava, and the honorable member for Grampians, who told us that they were noble patriots, working for the welfare of the people. They wished us to believe that, as they owned the country, they were going to save it. The honorable gentleman is now currying favour with those men who, with himself, were denouncing everything that was done by the Deakin Government. He had not then joined the reactionaries, but he was at that time totally’ opposed to an Australian Navy. We have to remember this fact when we know that he is now Minister of Defence. It is one of the most humorous things that has occurred in my political life to, find the honorable member Minister of Defence. If he were appointed Minister for attack, I could have understood it. He was always good in attack, but honorable members can see for themselves how miserable he is in defence. I have said that the honorable gentleman was opposed to an Australian Navy, and we shall carefully watch his next move now that he is in a position of responsibility.
– What navy was I opposed to?
– -An Austraiian Navy.
– Never. I challenge the honorable member to prove the statement.
– It can be proved from Hansard. I can understand the honorable gentleman not knowing what he has done, because he has done too much for one man to remember. On that account, I excuse his denial. The honorable gentleman was against compulsory military service; will he deny that he opposed that principle in the bitterest tones a man could use? He ridiculed the Deakin Government upon it, and twitted the Labour party because some members of that party were very earnest in their advocacy of it. Will the honorable gentleman deny that he twitted the honorable member for West Sydney on the very useful service that honorable gentleman had rendered in his advocacy of the principle? He cannot deny it, because, thank Providence, it is on record.
– Does the honorable member think that the fact that his statement is on record would prevent the Minister denying it?
– I think that, perhaps, the honorable member for Barrier has not even the little confidence that I have in the honorable member for Parramatta. I say that I do not expect the Minister to deny his recorded utterances against the principle of compulsory training. The honorable ‘ gentleman was against the new Protection. The honorable member spoke most bitterly against it. The right honorable member for East Sydney approved of the principle underlying the new Protection policy. I give the right honorable gentleman credit for some feeling for the masses who toil in this country. But what are we to say when we find that a man who was made what he is by the toilers is opposed to any measure which would give them in the future the justice which has been denied them in the past? What can we say hut that it is in keeping with the attitude he has assumed throughout his political career?
– Why is it that the best men leave the Labour party as soon as they can?
– Because they wish to do something for the workers, and the Labour party do nothing but prate about it.
– I do not object to a little speech by way of interjection from the honorable member for Hunter, because the honorable member seldom addresses the House in any other way. The honorable member for Parramatta is, of course, privileged to speak at all times, whether any one else is speaking or not. I was saying that the honorable member was against the new Protection policy. I am not now dealing with the Government programme submitted in the Ministerial statement. I am giving a record of their career, and describing thém in such a way that the people will be able to understand who and what they are, and I am unable in the same edition to deal with the statement they have put before Parliament. I might deal with it -in this speech if it were a definite statement, but it is not, and we could not have expected a definite statement from so confused a party as that comprised of honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Parramatta was opposed to the new Protection policy, and we find him today in the ranks of the reactionaries, the Conservatives, and the remnant of what was the Liberal Protectionist party.
– That is right ; they are all here.
– The honorable gentleman need not turn round to the honorable member for Dalley, because he cannot put his brand on him.
– The honorable member for Batman will not ask the honorable member for Parramatta, to speak for him in his constituency.
– I think that no member of the House who desires to get back after the elections will wish to have the honorable member for Parramatta on his platform. I do not forget that we are all human, and that some honorable members opposite are good fellows personally- I have myself so much of human feeling that I would save them from the wrath to come, or, at least, from abject humiliation. I do not think that I could save them defeat at the polls, but I should like to be able to save them from an abject humiliation.
– Let us have a hymn now.
– I hope the honorable member for Dalley will not regard me as he does the honorable member for Parramatta. I remember that when, towards the close of last session, the honorable member for Parramatta assumed the attitude of the amiable, sociable, friendly Leader of the Opposition, and tried to deliver a speech which we did not dream could emanate from him, he was so parsonified in his utterance, and so perfectly heavenly in his attempt to placate every one, when he was expecting to come into his kingdom, that, after he concluded his’ speech, the honorable member for Dalley said, “ Let us have another hymn.” I hope the honorable member will not think he is justified in trying that sort of thing with me. I “repeat that we find the honorable member for Parramatta in the hands of the reactionaries.
– I suppose the honorable member has the idea that, when this speech is finished, there will be something in it for the working man.
– Whatever is in my speech will stand the light of day. That -is more than can be said for the speeches which were delivered when the honorable member was in Opposition.
– Will it fill a hungry stomach ?
– I shall not ask the honorable member how to approach any section of the community. I have been successful in the past, in spite of honorable members and their opposition, and I shall be so again.
– “ Let him who thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. ‘ ‘
– I ask the right honorable member to take that to heart. It applies to him more than to me.
– I do not boast.
– I cannot help laughing at that. Every one knows the right honorable member. We find the honorable member for Parramatta now playing the role of champion of the State Rights party. He came here as a Federalist. He was elected to uphold the Constitution, and at this table took the oath to abide by it, and to give effect to its provisions. to-day he is pandering to the State Rights party. For what reason? Because he feels that he must get support by linking himself with Mr. Wade and other State Rights persons in New South Wales. The honorable member was originally returned by the toilers; but when he became Postmaster-General in New South Wales he forgot all about” them. What did he do to diminish the white slavery which existed in the shops and factories of the State?
– A great deal more than the honorable member has done, or will do.
– When the honorable member was a Minister in the Reid Government, what did he do to relieve the agonising, inhuman, and murdering conditions which prevailed amongst those who sweated and toiled, from early morning to late at night, at the counters of the shops, and in the factories, of New South Wales? Did he show that he was once a Labourite, and that his sympathies were with these suffering people? Did he urge the right honorable member for East Sydney to commence the humane work of relieving them? No. He stood behind the man who would not move, no matter what appeals were made to him on behalf of the down-trodden. It isopportunity that tests a man’s sincerity. Had the honorable member been sincere, he would not have stood behind the right honorable member for East Sydney when, the latter refused to pass early closing lewis. lation. His principles would have compelled him to resign his portfolio first.
– The Reid Government, of which I was a Minister, passed the first Factories and Workshops Act, and it was not an easy thing to do. I have always supported early closing.
– The Reid Government went out of office because it would not consider methods for getting rid of white slavery, and relieving the old and infirm in their hour of adversity, in the winter of their lives. How could men sit in Parliament and decline to listen to appeals of that character? I need say no more to prove the insincerity and hollow - ness of the honorable member’s professions.
– The honorable member should lie ashamed of himself for the statements which he is now making. He knows that they are not correct.
– They are correct. The honorable member and his former leader went out of office because they would not introduce humane legislation:
– The honorable member knows that that is not correct.
– Of course, nominally, they went out of office because they had paid £300 to Senator Neild.
– That money was spent in connexion with an old-age pensions scheme.
– It was spent notwithstanding the promise that it would not be spent. The Reid Government did not keep faith with its supporters.
– If that is so, it did, in regard to .£300, what the late Fisher Government did in regard to ,£200,000.
– We had made no promise.
– The statements . of the honorable member for Parramatta are not now believed by any one. What need we fear? The public will be convinced that it need expect nothing from this source. Let me now look at Ministers a little more closely.
– For goodness sake, keep further away from them.
– If you wish to deliver a knock-out blow, you must come to close quarters. In-fighting is the rule in pugilism now.
– Does not the honorable member know that I have always supported early closing legislation, and oldage pensions?
– The honorable member makes that interjection for the purpose of weaving it into my remarks. .1 say that the statement is not correct, and that he knows it.
– To say that a statement is incorrect, and that the honorable member who has made it knows it to be so, is to impute” falsehood, which is contrary to the rules of debate.
– The honorable member’s statements are infamous.
– I withdraw the remark, if it offends the rules of the House. The first Commonwealth Government, as I have said, was a Government of kings and lawyers. Now the kings are all gone, with the exception of the primeval emperor who ruled- the Western State in the barbarous days when those on some of the rolls were hardly enough to fill a polling-booth.
– In some of the Constituencies there were only forty-five voters.
– The right honorable member ruled with the help of supporters returned by forty-five voters. He endeavoured to rule as emperors always try to rule.
– He did the same as Napoleon.
– But how did Napoleon finish ? Is the right honorable member for Swan to end his days at St. Helena, on the Queensland coast? Surely a man who has been king and emperor will not have an end like that. I think that this Ministry is one which suits his views- When he was- Premier of Western Australia, he did not like to have strong men in his Governments. He wanted to have pawns, whom he could move as he liked in playing his political games. He was never ‘known to be surrounded by strong Ministers, except in one exceptional case. On one occasion the Minister exercised a will of his own. The emperor did not wait to dress himself, but in his nightshirt he dismissed his colleague. Such a thing was unheard of in those days as that a man should object to the domination of the emperor of Western Australia j and so much did it affect the right honorable’ member that he could not, as I have said, wait to dress himself, or even for the- morning to come, but in that noble garb in which men rest and sleep he dismissed the offender. Let me put a thought on record. because it is prophetic. From time to time, both in Parliament and outside, I have prophesied, and very seldom have I been wrong in prognosticating, the doom of “certain things. The Prime Minister is, as I have said, only a medium, through which the Government speak, through which the honorable member for Parramatta and those who follow him, and the right honorable member for Swan, speak to the Governor-General.
– He is a spook.
– I will not say that, but I think I am entitled to say that he is a medium, because when a man occupies a leading position without portfolio or power, without any right to sign an important document-
– Has he not the power ?
– The honorable member has bereft him of power, and this Government practically indicates his hand. What is the matter? Why does the Prime Minister take up this absolutely untenable position? It is because he knows that he will not be able to stand the dose which he will have to take. He knows that he will not be able to stand what he will be called upon to stand with the conflicting elements on that side. He has taken a position which will enable him at some time or other to “get from under,” and then the right honorable (member for Swan is likely to come into the emperorship in the Commonwealth arena. With that end in view he has taken care to have in this Ministry a number of colleagues who will suit his purpose, and achieve the object which in days gone by he achieved in the Western State. He snakes his head. He does not like my remark. It may be striking too near the truth, but I feel that that is the only excuse which the Prime Minister can offer for such an unusual act as he has perpetrated in taking up the position he does.
– It is not unusual.
– It is not only unusual, as the honorable member knows, but it is absolutely indecent to appoint ten Ministers when the Constitution provides for the appointment of only seven.
– That is another point.
– It is extending the prerogative of the Crown and straining the Constitution to a degree which is not authorized In my judgment it is a bad precedent to set. Ministers cannot find billets enough to appease their supporters without enlarging the number of portfolios in the Cabinet, either honorary or otherwise.
– They ale not portfolios.
– All but the Prime Minister will get a share in the “ divy.”
– Will the Treasurer sayso?
– Will the Treasurer, who says he is always open, candid, and above board, tell us whether the Prime Minister receives any emoluments for the position he holds?
– There is no answer.
– What are we to conclude? Silence gives consent. Having focussed the leading members of the Ministry, let us look at the junior members, or, as I call them, the pawns on the board. I have dealt with the arch schemer - the honorable member for Parramatta. I have dealt with the medium - the honorable member for Ballarat. I have dealt a little with the primeval emperor of the Western State.
– How does the honorable member spell “ evil “ in that case?
– I do not say that the Treasurer is the primary evil, although he was very nearly coming within that description once. Let us look at the other members of this historical and striking Administration. In my opinion, the honorable member for Angas was taken in to give an air of respectability to the Ministry, and in doing that they acted wisely. So far in this House, he has not done much of which we could complain, in fact, very many of us have had a great admiration for the logical, cautious, and valuable advice which he has tendered’ from time to time on matters of great importance, but I fear for him now. I do not like to see a good man get into bad company, because we all know what it leads to. I extend my sympathy to the honorable and learned member in the position in which he finds himself. But I am hopeful in one respect. When constitutional questions’ arise on which legislation has to be founded I think that we can rely more strongly on his opinion than we could on that of the Attorney-General of the last Deakin Government I am pleased to see the honorable member for Angas in his present position, because he has a well-balanced legal mind, and I think that for a lawyer he has a fair in- tention to do the right thing. I admit that it is very hard for him to do so, but I believe that he will try. I am very thankful that the honorable member for Darling Downs is not Attorney-General, but in the position of Minister of External Affairs. Lord ! What an enormous amount we have spent in the High Court in defending laws enacted on his advice ! It has cost the Commonwealth a tremendous sum to defend the laws which have been practically promulgated on his advice. It is because I do not want to see time wasted in Parliament in passing laws inconsistent with the Constitution; it is because I do not want to see the money of the taxpayers spent in defending our laws in the High Court, and feeing the legal profession, that I rejoice to find that the AttorneyGeneral is the honorable member for Angas, and not an honorable member who, in my judgment, never was capable of filling that high and important post. Then I come to the honorable member for Illawarra.
– I am glad to have the honorable member’s attention.
– Here is a genial, lovable, kindly, unoffending character.
– Leave it at that.
– -The honorable gentleman never says anything that is likely to cause pain or offence. But could any one have sustained a greater shock than he must have experienced ‘when he was informed that he was to be a member of the new Ministry ?
– Would not the information that he was to be a Minister come as a big shock to the honorable member?
– I have never had such an offer, and can only say that the honorable member does not seem to have yet got over the shock that the information in question caused him. He finds it scarcely possible yet to adjust himself to the position so suddenly thrust upon him.
– I have taken to it as an infant to mother’s milk.
– I think that the honorable member for Gwydir will find that the Minister of Home Affairs is a man of very high ability ; I have known him for many years.
– I know that he is one of the right honorable member’s pet lambs, and therefore I do not expect him to pluck his wool. I cast no reflection upon the Minister of Home Affairs. I simply say that he got a shock when he was informed that he was to be included in the Ministry. Had the right honorable member for East Sydney gained Ministerial distinction so early in life, I dare, say that he, too, would have experienced something in the nature of a shock. The Minister indorses what I ha.ve said about him by saying that he has taken to his office as an infant takes to mother’s milk.
– The Labour party will have to drag the honorable member into office.
– We had to drag the right honorable member out of office. The one great mistake on the part of the right honorable member for East Sydney was his refusal, as Premier of New South Wales, to listen to the cry of the down-trodden, sweated people in the metropolis of Sydney, and to carry out the wish of the Labour party, who had supported him for five years, by . placing upon the statute-book a measure which would have redounded to his credit for all time.
– The right honorable member pioneered the way for all democratic legislation that has since been passed.
– I regret that the right honorable member then missed the opportunity of his life. He was destined at the time to be the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, but that fatal mistake robbed him of his opportunity. One little pebble has turned the course of rivers, and this one little pebble so diverted the political course of the right honorable member that he lost the opportunity to become the first Prime Minister of Australia. Had he secured that office at the inception of Federation, I believe that he would have retained it for many years. What a sacrifice he made ! Must it not be painful for the right honorable member, who has missed so much, to reflect that so tiny a pebble caused him to deviate from the path that stretched before him?
– I have not grieved over it very much.
– I must admit that the right honorable member does not show his grief. He is blessed with a happy nature, and can overcome difficulties more readily than can men like the honorable member for Parramatta. The right honorable member for East Sydney rolls round a difficulty if he cannot get over it, but the honorable member for Parramatta has to crawl through every one, and feels the pricks as he moves. I wish the Minister of Home Affairs all success. He may yet astonish the world.
– Just as the honorable member is doing.
– In what way will he astonish it ?
– I will not venture a prediction.
– The honorable member will astonish the world to-morrow when it learns of the length of this rubbish.
– I am proud of what the honorable member calls rubbish. The last member of the Cabinet to whom I desire to refer is the honorable member for Bendigo. Who would have thought it possible that the honorable gentleman would be selected for the office he now holds?
– I shall believe anything if the honorable member is left out of the next Labour Government.
– I thank the right honorable member. The only reason I can give for the inclusion of the honorable member for Bendigo in the Cabinet is that his colleagues thought that he might remind them of the coming resurrection, when the ghost of their former principles will haunt them on the public platform. It is then that they will be reminded of the quick and the dead. Doubtless, as the result of the next election there will be many dead and dying. Honorable members opposite at the coming resurrection will be haunted by the ghosts of their former principles, the Free Trade ghost, the Land Tax ghost, the Protectionist ghost, the Republican ghost, the Anti-Naval ghost, the Military ghost, and others that will appear in the honorable member for Parramatta’s chamber. When all these ghosts rise from their political graves we shall have a resurrection in reality, and these honorable members will be relegated to that place from which no politician ever returns.
– The honorable member’s own Free Trade ghost stands beside him now. I have not forgotten the time when he was a Free Trader.
– I shall reply to that interjection before I conclude my remarks. The Ministry is a thing of shreds and patches. As the Ministry is, so is their policy. It is a policy of shreds, rags, and apologies.
– Some of the honorable member’s own party have said that it is scarcely different from their own.
– The only part of the Ministerial policy which has any virtue is that which they have taken from the policy of the Labour party. All the rest is mere wind and bluff. The Government propose to create an Inter-State Commission to deal with the great questions of the new Protection, industrial liberty, and a hundred and one other matters. They propose to appoint that Commission so as to be able to thrust upon it all that is objectionable in their political lives. When we pause to consider what is to be the outcome of the combination, we find no cause for regret. Is there any reason why we should lament the position occupied by honorable members opposite? If there is one thing of which I am proud to-day, it is that we have at last got them all into the fold. In the old days when cattle-duffing was prevalent throughout Australia, we know that in order to establish their claims to their own property, cattle-owners adopted the system of branding. Practically we have never had an opportunity to apply that system in our political warfare. But I think it is time that we did apply it, so that we may be able readily to identify honorable members. The brand which I should apply to honorable members opposite is that of Conservative or Tory. I will deal with the question of who controls them presently. Those honorable members who do not wish to be branded as Tories had better make their escape through the wire fence without delay.
– Somebody called the Labour party the Dingo party the other day.
– The dingo is Australian at any rate.
– And the dingo has killed off a lot of vermin.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has practically taken out of my mouth the words in which I intended to reply. Even the dingo has his uses. There is a name which might with accuracy be applied to honorable members opposite, but I refrain from using it upon the present occasion lest I should be pulled up byyou, sir. I will therefore reserve it for the public platform. Having dealt with the Ministry, past and present, let me now look at their supporters. The right honorable member for East Sydney is one of their supporters now. He says that for twenty-eight years he has fought the battle of freedom. Now he is resting from his labours and awaiting the turn of events. He is entitled to a rest, as are quite a number of others.
– I think it is time that the honorablemember had a rest.
– Ihave only just commenced my remarks. The history of’ honorable members opposite is so full of interesting information that one could easily talk upon it until doomsday. That being the case, I think it behoves us to place it upon record so that the people of the country may become familiar with it. We care not for the press to-day, because we are believed and listened to by the people.
An Honorable Member. - What about the Government Whip?
– I have already dealt with the Government Whip. I can never look at his physiognomy without experiencing a desire to say something nasty of him. But I suppose that I must bear with him, seeing that God made him. When I look at the honorable member for Flinders, the father of Democracy, a saviour of his people, theman who never smiles -
– Not always.
– The honorable member never smiles unless he is amused, and it takes an awful lot to amuse him. He is one of those exceptional specimens that we find only when we search the records of our race.
– This is the honorable member who promised to make a brief speech thismorning.
– The question under consideration is altogether too important to ‘be dealt with in other than the most thorough manner. Shall I go into the history of the honorable member for Flinders?Shall I describe the methods which he adopted when in power in Victoria? I have no hesitation in saying that his action in suppressing the ambitions of men who felt that they were labouring under a legitimate grievance, and in seeking to enact a law for the repression of the fight which these men were putting up - an action which was worthy of the despots of old - has never teen equalled in any Democratic country. There is absolutely nothing in modern history to approach it. Yet he is theman with whom the professed friend of the worker in the person of the Minister of Defence now sits cheek by jowl. These men have been brought together for the salvation of our people, in holy communion.
– References of that sort ought not to be tolerated here.
– Here is the Government Whip endeavouring to incite Mr. Speaker to interfere with my liberty. The honorable member for Flinders has a record to which I shall have to refer at a later stage. I merely make passing reference to it now.
– I have no objection to the honorable member dealing with it at length.
– I promise the honorable member that I shall not say anything but what is recorded. The records are what I rely on, and they tell no falsehoods. We find on that side also the honorable member for Fawkner, the head of the Employers’ Union. That Union is the enemy of progress in this State and in the Commonwealth.
– Do not forget that the honorable member for Fawkner was elected by a majority of the electors of a constituency.
– I realize it, but many funny things have been done by a majority of the electors. The right honorable member for East Sydney will admit that many inexplicable things have happened in that way.
– That is what I said once or twice about the honorable member.
– I know, but my return was not inexplicable. The righthonorable member said to me during the last Parliament, not once, but often, “Thank God, this is the last Parliament for you; another twelve months and we shall be rid of you,” but he did not know his man.
– I did not know then that the honorable member went round nursing all the babies in the electorate.
– At any rate I have this to my credit, that mine was the electorate which the other side tackled first. Neither the right honorable member nor his party forgot what he told me in the House, because they were in my electorate before I was free from the sittings of Parliament to look after my interests. They were digging trenches everywhere in the district to trip me up, money galore was spent there,. Federal members were poured into it from right and left, and State members were called in to give a hand. Fourteen members all told were cannonading and bombarding my electorate, while I was. in the back-blocks talking to my people in my own innocent and humble way.
– Does the honorable member talk to his electors as he is talking to us?
– My electors do not require so much to convince them as the honorable member does. They have intellects which are capable of understanding my arguments. My opponents left no stone unturned to defeat me. All the ladies that they could pay were scattered throughout my electorate for six or seven weeks before the poll. A number of lady organizers were paid by them to bring about my downfall. Everywhere I went, “ cannons to the right of me, cannons to the left of me, cannons in front of me, cannons behind me, volleyed and thundered, but out of the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, I rolled with eight hundred.” So ended the prophesy .of the right honorable member for East Sydney in 1906. Those gullible chaps belonging to the Employers’ Federation used to go to the central office in Sydney, when they were running short of funds, and a list was produced in order to induce those who found the money to put up another £50 or ^100. They would say, pointing to the name of the honorable member for Gwydir, “ We have this one dead.” They used me as a decoy to draw the funds out of those who were employing them.
– Why did they want more money if they regarded the honorable member as “ dead”?
– They wanted the money to help to kill others, and to pay all the lady and other organizers whom they were employing. Even the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph paid me the honour of sending two special correspondents into my electorate, for six weeks, to write me down in the metropolitan press day by day. For what they did not say about me, ask a pressman. I have mentioned these matters only because the right honorable member indicated by “interjection that he had endeavoured to bring about my downfall at all costs. But I think the Tight honorable member had almost as narrow a squeak as I had last time, and the then honorable member for Macquarie, who was one of those that went to dig my grave, fell into if himself, as I told him he would. He was one of those left upon the battlefield, and there is no resurrection for him. The honorable member for Fawkner, the President of the Employers’ Union, was, as the right honorable member for East Sydney reminded me, elected by a majority of his constituents. He must have been if it was a straight-out fight, or he would not be here. But what constituency does he represent ? Does any one know that favored portion of this great capital? Are they Democrats, over there? Are they toilers? Are they the people who have helped to build up his wealth and maintain him in his position ?
– They all claim to be Liberals now.
– I do not think there is a Liberal left, except the four who have remained on this side of the House. The Liberals are a lost quantity. They belong to the things of the past. The proper name for all those on that side is “Tories.” What are the Employers’ Union doing today ?
– Making money.
– I will tell the honorable member more - they are spending it. The face behind the mask in election work to-day is the face of the Employers’ Union. Honorable members can ask no better proof of that than the private letter which the honorable member for Gippsland read yesterday, and in which their secretary gives them definite instructions not to pay any money to any other organization or body. Hitherto there have been two or three sections working on the money contributed by people who are opposed to the Labour party. At last they are trying to get all the funds into one Treasury, that of the Employers’ Union. How are they using those funds? They are working by means’ of the farmers and the women. They use every movement they can capture and manipulate. The Farmers and Settlers’ Association of New South Wales is being used in this fashion. Who are finding the money? The Employers’ Union, all the time. Who are controlling the Ministry to-day? The Employers’ Union. Who are using the honorable member for Parramatta to-day? The Employers’ Union.
– One speech, one day !
– Yes, and the Government will be lucky if I get through it in one day.
– There is no doubt that the honorable member is one of the toilers !
– I thank the right honorable member for that observation. I have always been a toiler.”
– The honorable member for Parkes once spoke for five and threequarter hours.
– Yes, and I do not like being beaten by a champion of black labour. We find all the champions of black labour sitting on the Government benches, cheek-by-jowl with the champion of the White Australia policy - the right honorable member for East Sydney. We find there the champions of land monopoly and of monetary interest. We find there the men who have possession of privileges which have been given to them in consequence of our misfit civilization.
– And on the honorable member’s side we hnd those who are scrambling for as much land as they can get hold of.
– They are not scrambling for what they want with such a hungry look as we used to see in the face of the Minister of Defence, when he was leading the Opposition and was eager to obtain office. We find on the Government benches the party of stagnation, ‘and those who are endeavouring to get possession of . the heritage of the people, to the detriment of the workers and of the country. The whole matter hinges upon the land question.
– The honorable member, in this speech, has been roaming through every land in the world.
– I have been clearing the scrub out of the way.
– The honorable member has been burning off.
– No ; I tear up by the roots.
– Does not the honorable member use the forest devil?
– There is no need to introduce the devil into the camp opposite. He has been there a long time. The land question is the greatest question in all civilized countries to-day. What is the position in Scotland?
– The honorable member could not find a Webster there, anyhow.
– There are scores of men of my name in Scotland, but they do not own the deer parks. Twenty years ago 800,000 acres in Scotland were devoted to deer parks. That is a very large area to be held for such a purpose by men of the type of the honorable member for Wentworth, who have inherited money which enables them to indulge their pleasures at the cost of those who toil. What do we find to-day ? In Scotland now 2,500,000 acres are used for deer parks, for the pleasure of the privileged classes. Can we wonder that we tremble for the safety of the Empire when we see the country of the men who carried British arms to victory in the Crimea and at Waterloo, men who have made England what she is, devoted to such purposes? Great Britain is disinheriting her people, driving them abroad, with the result that in the long run the price she will have to pay will be a very dear one indeed - much dearer than would have been the case if she had recognised the rights of her people. May I now ask the Government to allow me to continue my remarks on Tuesday?
– I suggest to the honorable member that he might conclude them to-day.
– I can only say, with great- regret, that I can scarcely finish today. 1 have now entered upon a great topic.
– The Government had a different tale to tell when they had not the numbers.
– I ask for no quarter, though I am sorry if other honorable members are inconvenienced by the fact that I am forced to continue my speech through the illiberality of the Government.
– Go on for halfanhour.
– As a matter of fact, if the Government, by refusing me leave to continue my speech, punish honorable members on .this side, they also punish some of their own supporters, so that the rod is not applied to one back only.
– Will the honorable member mind saying how long he will be in concluding?
– Those are the notes I have finished with, and these are the notes with which I have yet to deal. The honorable member for Parramatta, who complains of the length of my remarks, must remember the occasion when his friend and colleague, the honorable member for Parkes - the champion of . Chinese, Japanese, and other, coloured labour - stood in the Opposition and read newspaper extracts for three hours out of a speech of five hours and three-quarters in length. I have not been reading from newspaper articles, compiled by other people, but speaking what is within me in an honest and straightforward way. When the honorable member for Parramatta could tolerate a speech’ like that of the honorable member for Parkes, where is his consistency in objecting to an honorable member dilating on the many important subjects now before the public on a motion of the character submitted by the Leader of the Opposition ?
– I am not refusing.
– There is a new curse in Scotland in the robbing of people of their patrimony, by reason of the monopolization of land to the extent of 2,500,000 acres for deer parks. In England the circumstances are similar, though the object is not deer parks but pleasure grounds, parks, and reserves for the privileged classes. During the last decade or two an enormous amount of agricultural land in England has gone out of cultivation, and the agricultural labourer has been practically alienated from the soil in the British- Isles. Under the circumstances, is it any wonder that English agricultural land is not the security it was in days of yore? What has been the fate of all nations, in which land and other wealth has been monopolized in the hands of a few. The downfall of all nations in the past has been due to. monopoly and privilege. Those who have read history know that Sparta perished when the land of the country was held by 100 persons. In Rome, in the days of her greatest achievements, the wealth aggregated in the hands of a few thousand proprietors, whose resources were so enormous that no man was considered rich unless he could maintain an army at his own expense. And we must conclude that, when men were so fabulously rich, othersmust have been degradingl y poor. The result was that Rome, by reason of the weight of the privileged classes and monopolists fell as Sparta did. In medieval Italy popular freedom was lost under a moneyed oligarchy, and the country perished from this great curse of civilization.
– What is the honorable member quoting?
– From history, which the right honorable member sometimes remembers and sometimes forgets.
– I only wished to know the author.
– In Florence the richest banker finally became an unlimited despot, and the result was the downfall of the city. In Genoa the Bank of St. George, in a. measure, absorbed the State. I again ask leave to continue my speech ; and I promise that I shall not be very long in concluding when we meet on Tuesday ; but if I am compelled to go on today, heaven knows when I shall conclude.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
House adjourned at 4.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 July 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19090709_reps_3_49/>.