4th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Debate resumed from 4th July (vide page 491), on motion by Mr. Bennett -
That the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech, as read by the Clerk, be agreed to by the House.
Upon which Mr.Deakin had moved -
That the following words be added to the Address : - “And to inform Your Excellency that the Government merits the censure of the House and the country for its failure to realize its national and constitutional obligations, for flagrant neglect of its duty to secure industrial peace and good order, and to uphold the law within the Commonwealth; for its maladministration of public affairs and public departments; for its grossly partisan actions and appointments, and its reckless irresponsibility in the financial affairs of the Commonwealth.”
.- I do not intend to traverse all the paragraphs in the Governor- General’s Speech ; nor shall I, if it can be avoided, repeat what has been ably said by preceding speakers. If repetition could be prevented in this House, much time would be saved to. the country. The Opposition has shown what men will dare when in dire extremity. Its leader moved an amendment to the Address, believing that he could say something that would injure the Government and its following; but he must now have realized that he has only given us the opportunity we desired for stating our position to the people - an opportunity which otherwise we could not have obtained. The manner in which charge after charge has fallen to the ground is remarkable.
The great accusation of the honorable member for Ballarat was that the Government had evaded its responsibility by postponing the prosecution of the Coal Vend. That bubble burst when pricked with the explanation of the AttorneyGeneral, and the charge faded into thin air. We have heard no more since of the wrong doing of the Ministry in that connexion ; though we have heard something, whether true or not, of the machinations of the Vend, a section of which, I believe, is withdrawing from the appeal, and thus putting the Vend’s case out of Court.
The next charge had to do with the Brisbane strike, in regard to which I . shall add nothing to what was so ably said by the honorable member for Brisbane, who, asan eye witness, related what he saw and heard. First-hand knowledge is best on a matter of this kind. Hearsay is of no account in comparison with the evidence of the man who followed the actions of both sides of the dispute day by day, and has stated the incidents categorically, so that any one may easily follow the occurrences. His speech is an answer to what has been said about the conduct of the strikers at Brisbane.
I deplore the tact that the Opposition shows a tendency to revert to the old method of settling disputes with the bludgeon and the club. Its members belong to the age when differences were always settled with violence, and they would employ means of coercion far more deadly than the club. If they will go back through the history of one or two of their leaders, they will find instances in which those in authority were only too ready to draw the bayonet, ‘ and call in the military to settle disputes in favour of one class; to allay the justifiable uprising of men who were oppressed, and who were protesting against their unjust conditions. The honorable member for Parkes must remember - though he is not in the chamber, so that it is useless to appeal to him - a case that occurred some years ago at Newcastle. He is very seldom here, unless he has a speech to make. The courtesy on which he prides himself is not sufficient to require him to make an audience for any one else. He must remember the occasion on which Sir Henry Parkes sent nordenfeldts to Newcastle. I was not there, but I was one of the jury chosen to try the case of the men charged with riot, after a panel of 242 had been challenged. . As a juryman, I heard the evidence on both, sides, and learned what it was that created the disturbance. The strikers were whiling away their time in the happiest way possible at a picnic at Lambton, at which their wives and children were present. While they were gathered’ together, a vehicle came along. It was loaded with vegetables and other provisions for. the soldiers. Some one, it was alleged, had taken the pin out of the axle, and the wheel came off, and legs of mutton, pumpkins, cabbages, &c, to feed the military raced down the incline.
The gathering ran to see this wonderful, providential interference; and the military and the colliery manager in charge, instead of recognising that they had a body of men, women, and children to deal with, making a circle round them, forced their way through, willynilly, at the risk of tramping on the dear ones of the men on strike. These men, as any others would have done, resented this outrage, and what was called a riot occurred. Who was to blame for the riot? I am proud to say that eventually justice was done; but the case is sufficient to show what is likely to arise if men are threatened with military suppression. The threat, in itself, is an incentive to disorder, indicating, as it does, that disorder is expected, or is going to be created, and that all is in readiness to meet it. I have no wish to be unfair to honorable members opposite, but if there is any logic in their reasoning or any basis for this attack on the Labour party, it follows that, had they been in office at the time, they would undoubtedly have sent the military as requested. That being so, what is the use of all the mock heroics to which the honorable member for Swan treated us last night? That exhibition only indicates that there is something wrong with his 41 innards “ - with his inside, or the inside of his party - and they are trying to cover up their own disabilities behind some baseless and futile charge designed to discredit the Government. But honorable members opposite do not realize that during the whole of this debate they have been throwing boomerangs which have returned to the thrower every time.
It has been very interesting to watch the course of the debate. The Opposition have something more to conquer than this side - a greater trouble than the mere fighting of the Labour party; they have to settle with their own party, inside and outside Parliament, before they can show a united front to the enemy. And can any one wonder, when a fusion of the kind is attempted, that the great differences of opinion should prevent assimilation? As has often been said before, we see opposite honorable members representing incompatible elements of political opinion - Tories mainly, with a few mock Liberals, but, so far, I have failed to find any Democrats.
But what is to be said of our friend who is so very seldom in the House except when he desires to be heard? If this Parliament depended on the presence of honorable members like himself we should more often be without a quorum than otherwise.
– There are not many Labour members here this morning !
– They are mostly here, and the honorable member knows it. As I have said, there are honorable members opposite who are rarely in the chamber except when they desire to make a speech to suit the purpose they have in view. Such men are not doing their duty to the country, and it is as well the people of the country should know who does and who does not attend to their interests.
– The average attendance on this side is better than that of honorable members opposite.
– I am not surprised at anything the honorable member may say after what we heard from him in this debate.
– There is a “ beggarly array of empty benches” on the Government side, and yet the honorable member chastises the Opposition !
– As the honorable member knows, Friday morning, of all periods in the week, is characterized by the greatest paucity of attendance. What we must pay regard to is the average attendance. The honorable member, ro whom I referred a little while ago, is the honorable member for Flinders, who comes in, records his attendance, and then, as a rule, leaves, as many others on his side, and, possibly, one or two on this may, do.
– I do not think that is fair !
– I do not care whether the honorable member thinks it fair or not, it is only fair that the people should know the honorable members who merely record their attendance, and leave others to carry on the business. Those men who outside the House criticise the Labour party should have the “ acid “ applied to themselves when they profess to represent the country in this chamber.
– I would sooner have the honorable member for Flinders in the Chamber five minutes than the honorable member for Gwydir for a whole day !
– I have no doubt ; indeed, the honorable member would, I suppose, rather have the honorable member for Flinders here a minute than have myself for a lifetime, for the simple reason that there is no affinity between us. The honorable member is a cold-blooded mortal all the time, and, as such, cannot find the company of warm-blooded humans congenial.
– To hear this attack on honorable members who are absent, I think we ought to have a quorum.
– The honorable member can call for a quorum without offering any remarks. - [Quorum formed.’]
– In this call for a quorum we have another example of the venom of the other side.
The cry of “ spoils to the victors” has been raised as a trump card with honorable members opposite. I cannot see, however, that they have succeeded in throwing any reflections on the Labour party, in showing the appointment of some eight officials, alleged to hold the same political beliefs as those of the Opposition, and two or three other officials, alleged to have Labour proclivities. There is nothing in the facts of which, I think, we need be ashamed, provided that the men appointed are qualified to carry out the duties of their position, a point on which I am not able to speak with authority. Positions of the kind should be allotted in the interests of the country, apart from any other consideration. It would appear that honorable members opposite raise objections simply because we have not boycotted men with Labour views. As a matter of fact, it is remarkable to find a Government so modest in considering their own supporters as to keep the plums of office for those of other political beliefs. Nothing more, I think, need be said on this subject. If the Government have made any mistake in this connexion they must shoulder the responsibility. What Government has there ever been that has not made mistakes at times? Have the appointments made by the Public Service Commissioner always turned out well ? He is supposed to be specialy qualified for the selection of officers. He has spent his life in business of that kind. He has a trained staff to help him. Yet he has occasionally admitted that an officer whom he has appointed has not filled the bill. If, however, this Government make a mistake - and I am not. saying that they will not - they are condemned for it as unworthy to exist.
I now have something to say with regard to the honorable member for Flinders. I should prefer to speak in his presence, but one rarely finds him here. This is the thorn in the side of the Opposition. They have more trouble with the honorable member for Flinders than they have with honorable members on this side. Their trouble lies in settling difficulties caused by that erstwhile champion of the capitalistic class.
– Our troubles !
– That is the trouble of honorable members opposite. Their trouble is internal, chronic, and deadly. The honorable member for Flinders is practically the opposite of the honorable member for Ballarat. When the Liberal Conference propounded a beautiful programme, he gave it forth to the country as something which the people should be glad to support. He eulogized it to the skies, as he does everything. There is no appropriate word in the dictionary that he left unemployed in praise of that programme. Then comes the honorable member for Flinders, and. immediately the honorable member for Ballarat and those associated with him begin to quiver and to shrink, and to shirk the issue which the honorable member for Flinders raised. He said of their precious programme -
All the bones had been carefully removed, and nothing left but a kind of gelatinous compound, political food for infants and invalids.
Has anything been said on this side so injurious to the Opposition as was said by the honorable member for Flinders? Has any honorable member in this party used more scathing terms of ridicule, contempt, and humiliation than those, towards the men and women who formulated this socalled Liberal programme? When this gentleman spoke of bones which have been carefully removed and of nothing being left but a kind of gelatinous compound, food for infants and invalids, he was quite right, in my judgment. I have looked through this vaunted programme, and have never met a better description or interpretation of such a production than that delivered by the honorable member for Flinders.
– He knew what he was talking about.
– Of course, he did, and he knows why he is talking, too’. The Opposition also know why he was talking, though they profess that their do not. He proceeded to say that this programme was - warranted not to cause the slightest inconvenience to the weakest digestion.
It is a kind of soothing syrup ; something to gratify the palates of people outside whom honorable members opposite profess to represent; something calculated to keep up their courage, or, at all events, to ease their pain. We might reasonably use the term employed by the honorable member for Flinders, and recommend to Liberal voters in this country a bottle of “ Irvine’s Liberal Soothing Syrup - a cure for all ailments that the Liberal party is heir to !” The honorable member went on to: say something more imperative, something more in the nature of a command - ‘
Unless they arrived at a more clear and definite programme -
That indicated that they had not a clear and definite programme yet - he did not know whether it would not be just as well for Australia if the Labour party were ito be victorious at the next election.
Have the Liberal party altered their platform? Are they going to let the Labour party be victorious at the next election? They do not know. They simply “ dunno where they are!”
– The programme is in the incubator at present.
– Oh no; it was in the incubator for a long time, but it has at length been incubated. As, however, according to the honorable member for Flinders, it is not yet wholly developed, they have placed it, not in the incubator, but in the refrigerator. That is where it is now. God knows what it will be like when it comes out ! Judging from the amount of brotherly love that prevails over there, I should think that there is not enough warmth of feeling to thaw the poor thing out before the next election. Here, however, is the Liberal programme, and the honorable member for Ballarat with his henchman the honorable member for Parramatta - these two great leaders - the one who has been leader of a party and the other who has been the leader of many parties - ate trying now to lead many parties as one. The honorable member for Parramatta must feel in a very humiliated position when, after spending so much time with the ladies’ conventions, going round to meetings of the Women’s National League in Victoria and South Australia, and travelling 3,000 miles to bring these people together in the Liberal camp, he finds that all the work has been laid low by one fell blow from their own side.
– That does not even hit the target, because I was never there at all.
– I will quote something to show that the honorable member thought hi was there, anyway. There is something to admire about the honorable member for Flinders. One can appreciate the manner in which he makes his position clear. One can admire a man who speaks out what is within him. He went on to say -
Unless they could arrive at something which the people could grasp and understand as a definite, clear, and progressive policy, and not a vague tissue of generalities, it might in the long run be best for Australia if the Labour Party had another three years of office.
Evidently the honorable member does not think that the fruit is ripe yet. He thinks that it will take three years longer to ripen. He is not anxious for the honorable member for Parramatta and the honorable member for Ballarat to pluck it at the end of this Parliament. He thinks that if the Labour party stays in office three more years his day may come, and he may be able to pull the fruit which will then be ready for himself alone.- There is wisdom in these remarks - the wisdom of the serpent. If honorable members could read the writing on the wall, they would see that the honorable member for Flinders’, has been shaping his own destiny. I say, all credit to him. As far as I am concerned,’ I wish to God he could lead the party opposite at the next election. If he postpones his leadership for three years, we shall continue to sit where we are, and, if he becomes leader, then it will mean three years more of power for us. No matter which way it goes, we shall remain a solid party, and if the honorable member for Flinders survives and controls the party opposite - as I think he will - it will be the best thing that can happen to us.
– He is their natural leader.
– Not only that, but when three men are trying to lead, one must ultimately become the sole leader. After the honorable member for Flinders made these strong remarks, the newspapers published leading articles in some of which he was condemned for disloyalty to his party, while in others he was commended for his outspokenness. Then, the terror of the press having fallen upon the Opposition, they “crayfished” one after the other, and told us that, after all, the platform attacked by the honorable member, was only a draft, and had yet to be submitted to the Lt ague and another meeting of their party. It would have to pass through three or four processes, they told us, before finally emerging as the fighting platform of the Liberal party. Is it possible, however, to formulate a platform out of the gelatinous compound to which the honorable member for Flinders referred? Could the honorable member for’ Illawarra fight on such a platform?
– We shall have a fighting platform which the honorable member and his party will not like.
– Yes ; when the honorable member for Flinders has made one for the party. Then and only then will the Opposition have a fighting platform’. There is not an ounce of real fighting material in the present leaders of the Opposition. In abuse, misrepresentation1, evasion, and misinterpretation of the actions of their opponents, the Opposition leaders of to-day are agreed; but the only member of their party who has been ready to speak out and tell the country where the Liberals are is the honorable member for Flinders. If the honorable member for Illawarra is prepared to admit that the Opposition are going to bury the platform attacked by the honorable member for Flinders and to ask that honorable member to propound a fighting platform for them, then I can understand his statement ; but I cannot imagine anything like a fighting platform coming from the present leaders. Even the honorable member tor Flinders, however, has seen fit to “crayfish.” Following upon his speech at Aspendale, a meeting of his party was held, and subsequently the honorable member addressed a meeting at Camberwell, where he positively “ crayfished “ on what he had said before. He said that he did not recognise the platform that had been prepared as the fighting platform of the party. They were not going to fight with a platform composed of the gelatinous materials to which he had previously referred, but a fighting platform would be formulated in due course. That is his dictum. He is the real Leader of the Opposition. He is the man who is moulding the destinies of the Opposition for good or ill.
– Do not worry about our leader - we shall see to that matter.
– The honorable member has my sympathy. I appreciate his difficulties. I know of the heart-burnings, among his party, because there are so many wanting office and so few offices to fill. The position must be difficult when, so many exMinisters, so many ambitious men - men difficult to lead, men who have fought in so many different parties - are hitched up to the same waggon. It seems to me that one half of the Opposition will be sitting in tliebreeching while the other half will be in the collar, so that between the two their political waggon will make no progress. Yet the honorable member for Fawkner tellsme not to bother about the question of the Opposition leadership. I have no fear of the honorable member applying the whip to his party. He might coax them to go slowly, but he would never influence themto put on any pace.
The honorable member for Flindersoften says clearly and unmistakably what he means, but at times he forgets what he has said and falls back into the rut of generalities. Alleged extravagence in the Postal Department is one of the charges made by the Oppositions which has not been sustained. In their want of confidence motion they have embodied charges of maladministration, but not one of. them has been proved. They have not been game to follow up their charge. While one honorable member of Opposition; has said that there is extravagence in the Postal Department another has said that the expenditure so condemned was absolutely necessary. And so they go on. The honorable member for Flinders, who, I suppose, is at the present moment earning money by appearing in the Courts instead of being in his place in Parliament, addressed a meeting at Camberwell, at which he said in regard to the Postal Department -
Ordinary expenditure and ordinary workingexpenditure, leaving additions and extensions out altogether, had been increased by 23^ pen cent., while the additional income had increased by only io£ per cent.
He thus implied that the additional increase of 13^ per cent, in such expenditure over income was extravagant, and ought not to have been incurred. Let me remind him that a little while, ago he said that in Australia to-day conditions had so changed that a sovereign would only buy what could be purchased for 12s. 6d. ten years ago. If that is so, will he deny that some readjustment of salaries was not absolutely necessary in the Postal Department? Is he going to say that, although the cost of living has increased, the salaries of the postal employes should not be so raised as to bring them up to the level of men employed, by outside firms? If he does hold that this increase is extravagance, then the only escape for him as to say, “If I and my party get into power we shall put on the screw and reduce the wages of the postal employes by 10 or 15 per cent, all round.” The honorable member in effect says that this Government has done wrong ; that it has been extravagant, and should be removed from office, because it has increased the expenditure of the Postal Department so as to keep in step with the changed conditions outside. If he speaks what he thinks then he must say that there shall be retrenchment, and that there must be a repetition of what happened in Victoria when, as Treasurer of this State, he reduced the old-age pensions.
– The honorable member is always bringing before the House the grievances of the postal servants.
– It is all very well for the honorable member to make that statement. Nearly every honorable mem- ber opposite who has spoken during this debate has been loud in his denunciation of extravagance and maladministration in the Post and Telegraph Department.
– Who said anything about it ? It is the honorable member who has done all the growling about the Post Office.
– The honorable member cannot turn me aside by his pettifogging interjections. He knows very well what I “have done, I have taken action, not as a party politician, but as a representative in the National Parliament interested in the “ improvement of a national service. I did not try to make a political football of the Post and Telegraph Department, but to do what I believed to be right, in spite of party considerations. The honorable member’s insinuation, therefore, is unworthy.
– I admit that the honorable member has done all the growling.
– I did more than growl ; I worked. I desire the people of the country and the employes of the Post and Telegraph Department throughout Australia to understand that if the member for
Flinders is to be obeyed by the Opposition, as I believe he will be ultimately, his views as to the extravagance in the Post and Telegraph Department can only mean that the wages of the employes should be cut down, as he cut down old-age pensions when he had control of them in Victoria.
– The honorable member for Flinders spoke for himself, and not for this party at all.
– I notice that when the honorable member for Flinders spoke the party opposite not only recognised what he said, but, because of it, withdrew their programme and postponed its publication to some indefinite period. I suppose it will be launched at a time when it will be impossible to further criticise it before the elections take place. I do not wonder at the honorable member for Perth becoming irate when I refer to the honorable member for Flinders. The honorable member for Perth was one of the compilers of the platform. It is his work as well as the work of others.
– The honorable member does not like it.
– All I can say is that if it represents all the honorable member can produce, it serves only to show the condition of mind he is in. He is between two stools. He would like to be where he was before, but since he cannot get there, he would have us believe he is trying to do so. The Liberal platform is what the honorable member for Flinders described it to be - a gelatinous compound without any bones.
– It is of no use for the honorable member to say that, because it has never been considered by us yet.
– Then I am to understand that the great platform which is to herald the destinies of the Liberal party is not to be drawn up by the leagues and conferences of the party, but is to be submitted to the geniuses of the Opposition in this Parliament.
– We do not subordinate our opinions to those of others, as the honorable member is obliged to do.
– Why this mockery and pretence of permitting the people to have a share in arranging the platform ? Why do honorable members opposite profess to be Democratic when’ they are acting in such an autocratic way? Of what use was it to call conferences of leagues from every State in Australia to assist in forming a platform? When the delegates to the conference- have done their work, and given of their best for the guidance of the party, the voice of the honorable member for Flinders is heard, and the platform of the conference is set aside. We learn from honorable members opposite now that they propose to manufacture a platform to suit the exigencies of their position, and not the interests of the people.
– We can take a hand in framing our platform, but that is more than the honorable member can do. He has to do what he is told.
– “ Where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise.” I can tell the honorable member for Illawarra that I have taken a hand in the formation of very nearly every Labour platform that has been submitted to this country. Even before the beginning of the political Labour movement I had some little to do in the moulding of political platforms in this country. We now know that honorable members opposite do not trust the people, and that their platform is to be so framed as to study the interests of the Federal Opposition, and not upon the decisions of conferences of the party outside.
The honorable member for Flinders, in speaking of the extravagance of the Post and Telegraph Department, made it plain that he did not refer to expenditure upon extensions of necessary public facilities, and, therefore, when he proposes to reduce the expenditure upon the Department it is as well that every postal servant in Australia should recognise that there is one person at least who is prepared to reduce their wages. I am satisfied that if the general public are asked whether the servants of the Post and Telegraph Department should not receive the same treatment as people outside the Service there will be only one reply from them.
Flinders has the same intention with regard to old-age pensions, because he said -
I think the system of old-age and invalid pensions not only wasteful and extravagant, but it is based on a principle, that is in itself rotten to the core.
Here is a man telling the people of Australia that the principle underlying the old-age and invalid pensions of the Coatmonwealth is rotten to the core. What did the honorable member mean by that? He did not explain at his meeting. If he meant what he said, then a more severe vote of censure upon the pretensions of the other side could not have been submitted by any one, because they have claimed in season, and out of season, to be the authors of the old-age pensions scheme. Every honorable, member opposite”” makes that claim, yet one of the prominent members
– One of their leaders.
– No; the honorable member for Flinders does not lead, he dominates the party opposite. The man who dominates them has declared that this legislation, which has received their blessing, is rotten to the core.
– The honorable member himself contested an election on one occasion in opposition to a Labour candidate.
– The honorable member cannot introduce that chestnut now.
– My statement is true, nevertheless.
– It is true that, twenty-one years ago, I did contest an election in opposition to a Labour candidate, but that was prior to Labour candidates being required to subscribe to any pledge. The statement of the honorable member is an indication of how close I am getting to his venomous heart. I regard my action on the occasion to which he refers as one of the most honorable of my life. I refused to be false to my conscience when it was my duty to obey it, and history has since vindicated the attitude which I then took up. That question has been argued upon the floor of this House time and again, but the honorable member is so much at a loss to make any effective reply to the deadly charges which I have hurled against members of his party that in sheer desperation He falls back upon an incident which happened twenty-one years ago.
May I ask the honorable member for Flinders whether he is prepared to reduce the old-age pensions? Will he put the responsibility of supporting those who are infirm upon the brothers and’ sisters, the sons and daughters of this community? Will he drag into the courts of the country girls who are struggling with the needle in order to compel them to support in decency a father and mother whomthey love ? Is he prepared to expose their poverty to the world as he did in Victoria? Willee say to the sons and daughters of our indigent, “ You must come before the court and show how much it costs you tosupport your little children? You must curtail your expenditure on education in order that you may support your father and mother “ ? I cannot go into the history of the heartrending cases which were made public in Victoria during the Irvine regime. But had I time to recite a few typical cases, honorable members would understand the frigid nature of the honorable member for Flinders. If the Opposition are loyal to him, they must tear from the statute-book the legislation which he has declared to be “ rotten to the core,” They must repeal our old-age and invalid pensions. Let the honorable member tell us plainly whether the Opposition are behind him in his utterances.
– He was cheered when he made them.
– Yes, he was surrounded by a number of men whom it pays to cheer.
He then went on to refer to the maternity grant. He said that Mr. Fisher’s dream reminded him of the dream of Pharaoh of old. He wondered whether he had spoken to Joseph ofif in caucus, and whether Joseph had said that it was a good dream. If the honorable member for Flinders himself did not speak of it to Joseph in caucus, he ought to have done. He said that it may mean seven fat years on the Treasury benches for the Labour party.. Let me tell him that it may mean the saving of very valuable human life, the preservation of mothers who otherwise might be carried to that bourne from which no traveller returns. A little assistance at such a critical period may help women who have been sacrificed by poverty in their hour of travail. Yet the honorable member has the hardihood to suggest that this maternity grant is intended as a sop to the women of Australia for the purpose of enabling the Labour party to hang on to the Treasury bench.
Apparently the spoils of office are all that honorable members opposite can think of. They seem perfectly obsessed with that idea. Ever since they quitted these benches for the shades of Opposition they have emitted a long continuous wail. They are undoubtedly suffering from a cruel malady - the malady known as “ officeitis. “ They are terribly grieved because rhey cannot fill the positions which they occupied too long in this country. “ Officeitis “ is their trouble - they are not concerned with the public weal.
The honorable member for Flinders wants the Liberals to stand straight, and to meet the perplexities of our industrial and commercial system. What does that mean? That they are not going straight - that they are following a circuitous route. Would the honorable member for Flinders meet the industrial troubles of this country with the same weapons as he used in the Victorian railway strike? Would he pass a law to coerce and suppress them, instead of a law to regulate them ? Would he do these things if he were again in power? The leopard cannot change his spots, and some politicians cannot belie their nature, no matter what they do.
When we look to the history of this great dictator of the Liberal side, this great promulgator of pure politics, we have a right to ask that he be judged by his past. It is combinations and trusts that are supporting the Liberal party, and on which the Liberal party are relying. Without the support of the combinations, rings, and other organizations by which they are now backed up, where would they be? Who would support them if it were not for the influence brought about by the expenditure of money by the great monopolists in this country on their behalf ? Where would they get their money from to pay their army of organizers who to-day are permeating every electorate in this great continent? Where would they get the money to placate the newspapers? If they had not these monopolies behind them, there would be no Liberal party, and no Fusion party, because they would not be able to fight their battles by means of their own abilities.
– Where did you get your £ 1 00, 000 with which to start your Labour newspaper in Sydney?
– Out of the earnings of the men whom we hope to serve.
– You spend£10 to our £1 in politics to-day.
– The honorable member for Boothby must fancy that he is talking to a class in school, and not to a body of grown men. We do not get our “ sugar “ from the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. We do not get contributions from any of these large combinations.
– Yes, you do.
– I should like the honorable member to show me where.
– I will prove it as soon as the honorable member proves his statement.
– The honorable member has made a statement. Will he now show where we get money from any large combination ?
– You ought to know.
– The honorable member is a coward to say a thing which he is not prepared to follow up.
– You have been doing nothing else.
– If the honorable member says that his party does receive money from those sources, that is all right. I simply say that we do not get our money in that way. The honorable member is very smart, but he is not quite smart enough yet. When the honorable member for Boothby says that we get £100 where the Liberal party gets £10, he is either a baby in politics, or he is wilfully deceiving himself. I have been through two big elections since the last Federal fight. These were two big contests between parties, and I had a chance of seeing with my own eyes what is being done. I am not talking merely for the sake of defeating or deceiving the Opposition. I am talking of what I know to be true. I went through the second Liverpool Plains election. I had charge of the campaign, and I know what we had to work on. It was mostly the enthusiasm of the people, and very little money, but I know what the other side were working on, because it so happened that the originals of a number of letters came into my possession. In these the writers indicated the amounts they were contributing to the Liberal funds. Nearly all the large land-owners in the district were either mentioned in them, or their names were inferentially indicated as men who would subscribe. For instance, in answer to the appeal of the secretary of the Liberal party in the campawn, a letter would be sent saying, “We are sending you £50 as a beginning, and if the work proceeds well you can send for more.” Men who could afford to give large sums of money were contributing to the fund in that area. Men who would not give 6d. out of their own purse to relieve the suffering were giving sums of £20 towards the funds of the Liberal party in that fight. Thousands of pounds were spent in the electorate, and where we spend pounds the other side spend hun dreds. They had fifteen or sixteen organizers, who were paid from Monday morning to Sunday night. Some of them were engaged from month to month and year to year. Many were drawing from £4. to £6 a week and expenses, and they were travelling all over the place. Will the honorable member for Boothby tell me that he and others of his party are subscribing to pay these men out of their own pay as members of Parliament?
– Your party are paying your organizers in South Australia 50 pec cent, more than we are paying ours.
– The honorable member is confusing two entirely different matters. He cannot compare industrial organizers with political organizers. The organizers of the Liberal party are purely political. They are not organizing men into unions to protect their own interestsWhat a mockery it is for the honorable member for Flinders to say that he wants the people to fight in unitsand not in. combination ! What a satireit is on his intelligence, and what a clearindication ,of his lack of appreciations of the marvellous change that has taken place in our economic conditions during the last ten years. He would allow the man outside to fight the great trusts as a unit.. Here is a statesman who wants to take usback to the conditions of fifty years ago, to do away with all unity, and let peoplefight their own battles on their own account, because, by so doing, says he, they will establish their manhood. When hespeaks like that, he is trying to deceive the people, or to deceive himself. He. knows that to-day the combination of capital must be met by the combination of* labour, and he ought not to be so cruel’, as to tell the toilers to meet their difficulties as units instead of entering into combinations to defeat combinations.
The other side, in their little platform,., admit that there are trusts and combines,, and agree that they should be treated in.* some way when they become injurious tothe community. Let me quote what the honorable member for Parramatta thinkson the subject -
To control by law the operations of trusts - and combinations acting detrimentally to theinterests of the public. - Plank 6 of Liberal, platform.
The Liberals of every State were represented,, and the views, of people living 3,000 miles apart had to be reconciled.
– What is the honorable member quoting from?
– From the paper I am reading - from the man who said that he knew nothing about the ladies’ meetings.
– Order ! The honorable member for Parramatta should be referred to as “the honorable member.”
– The honorable member for Parramatta professes not to know anything about what was done 3,000 miles away, yet he put it forward as one of the convincing factors that these were the views of people living 3,000 miles apart, which had to be reconciled. Let us see how this fits in with the views of a man like the honorable member -
Let us control the trusts,
Let us make laws for them,
Let us speak much of them upon balconies,
Let us make mention of the evil of their ways;
For in distrust of trusts is there hope,
And we shall have favour of the people.
Bring unto us a trust that we may see it,
Lo, if there be any such we shall smite it with the jaw ;
For a trust is an abomination before the Lord,
And in our detestation of it there shall be many votes.
The people cried aloud.
Bread was up,
So was meat,
So was rent,
So were rags ; (Also the prophecies of Wragge As a kite),
And the people cried aloud and said : “ Who in the name of the profit hath caused all things to ascend ?
Yea, who the blazes has caused the price of living to increase?”
And a still small voice made answer : “The trusts.”
And the men of Belial stood afar off and said with a loud voice, “ Aha !
Bring ye us a trust that we may see it,
Yea, bring us all the trusts that have a name :
The Sugar Trust,
The Salt Trust,
The Beef Trust,
The Bread Trust,
The Tripe Trust,
Yea, even the Beer Trust, that is wet as the dews upon a parched land ;
For we be Liberals of every State,
And our views are the views of those who dwell 3,000 miles apart.”
And one ran swiftly and brought a lookingglass,
And they that dwelt 3,000 miles apart looked therein and saw
The Sugar Trust,
The Salt Trust,
The Beef Trust,
The Bread Trust,
The Tripe Trust,
Yea, even the Beer Trust that is wet as the dew upon a parched land,
And the men of Belial stood afar off and said with a loud voice, “ Aha !”
The Curse of Moses.
There we have a parody on the professions of the Liberal party in regard to their love of trusts. They do not believe that there are any trusts, but I have shown that they have seen them as in a looking-glass, and after that exposure I hope we will get no further desire for information from the honorable member for Parramatta.
A most remarkable thing is that the Liberal party do not rely upon honorable members only to pull them through. What did the Leader of the Opposition say the other day? When somebody mentioned the name of Willie Watt the honorable member said, “ He is too many for you. Wait until I get him into the ring, and you will have to clear all right.” Willie Watt is the hope of the Liberal party, the little political bantam who brought down the old Brahma rooster from his perch in another place, and has been crowing lately on every Liberal political dunghill as to what he is going to do, condemning the Labour party and denouncing us from head to heel. This bantam appears at all national hen convention meetings in the State, puts himself forward and struts about as though, because he has been made the Premier of a State in which a religious gentleman declared that there are third class politicians, he is the saviour of the Liberal party. Was there ever such a parody on statesmanship ? Apparently, the Liberals cannot manage with two leaders. Most parties can manage with one leader, but the Liberals cannot manage with even two. They require the curb of the honorable member for Flinders, but not even he is sufficient, because they call upon Willie Watt to come and help them- the little political bantam who is strutting about all over the Commonwealth as though he were already cock of the walk. The least said about a party which has to resort to these extremes the soonest mended.
Next we had a meeting at St. Kilda, and there we had a speech from the Honorable Agar Wynne, the gentleman who looks so mild and modest here. I hope that he will withdraw this passage -
They should not attempt to hold up a town. Children should get milk, and mothers should get bread.
That reference is to the Brisbane strike. It is about as cruel a thing as a man can say of a party - to assert that we were trying to prevent children from getting milk and mothers from obtaining bread. I refer the honorable member to the speech of the honorable member for Brisbane. In my judgment, when he speaks in this House, lie ought to withdraw those words, knowing what he does, or should know, concerning the exact position in that lamentable strike. This is the criticism of the men who oppose us. They make these statements not knowing if they are true; they take ex parte allegations, fail to verify them, and quote them as true. They repeat these statements on the public platforms, not caring a jot what injury they do, how many minds they poison or how many germs they scatter to pollute the political atmosphere. My objection to these men is that they stoop to use foul tales of that kind to uphold a cause. God help a cause which has to depend on such support ! Then we had a speech from Senator McColl. the hero of the three-legged glue pot. He passed judgment on his fellows in this House, the man who fought for the three-legged glue pot, leg by leg, in this assembly. In fact, one would have thought that he had the fate of nations depending upon him when he fought for that pot here. The hero of the three-legged glue pot is now one of the candidates for the Senate on behalf of this beautiful variegated Fusion we see on the other side. This gentleman got on to a public platform to criticise us. What did he say? He did not say much - all he said was -
The next election would be the turning point in Federation. The Liberal party had to win this time. They had to get the wreckers out and put the Liberals in. They had three Liberal bodies, and they could not do without each other. The time had not arrived to announce a policy.
– Who said that?
– The hero of the three-legged glue pot. “ The time has not arrived, he said, to announce a policy, but mark his other observation. They had, he said, three Liberal bodies - outside he meant. They have three Liberal bodies inside, too. This is indeed a trinity, three in one, and one in three. The honorable members for Ballarat, Parramatta, and Flinders are the leaders of the three bodies rolled into one representing the so-called Liberal or Fusion party. The three leagues outside are the People’s party, the hen convention, and the great nationalist league led by the honorable member for Ballarat. These three bodies have riot yet come together. Senator McColl Said that it is not time for them to come together, but when they do come together, they will announce a policy. Oh, no, it is not time yet to do that. The time t» announce a policy is the time when there is political turmoil, when nobody can understand it, or has time to dissect it. That is the time for the Liberals to move. Their, ways are, and always have been, dark and devious, and we do not expect them to depart from their political principles or the shades of Opposition for many years to come. This senator said -
The Liberals must fall into line. The one thing the Labour party was after to-day was to stay where it was. If some of them got out of office, God knows where they would get to.
Except for its embellishments, the speech contains practically nothing more than the prophecy that the Labour party is going out and the Liberals coming in.
Then we have the honorable member for Laanecoorie, the infrequence of whose attendance here must be regarded apparently as a qualification for a seat in the Senate. He is very seldom present ; indeed, I get a surprise whenever I see him, because he comes only to depart. He spend less time in this chamber than’ any other member. No one is so infrequently here.
– Did the honorable member make any complaint when a member of his party went to South Africa, and stayed away nearly a whole session ?
– I am speaking of a man who is, playing at politics, who comes here merely, to have his name recorded, and then walks out again. I want the people to know exactly what his qualifications are. If he had not been in politics for a long time, there would be no need to mention these matters ; but the duty of one who professes to be a prominent member of his party is to attend to the business of the country. That has never been the line of conduct pursued by the honorable member for Laanecoorie since I have been in the House. What did he say at this meeting at St. Kilda, where the honorable member for Balaclava spoke about the women going without bread and the children without milk?
– What happened at Adelaide? There milk was refused to the children in the hospitals.
– That is a slander.. I did not expect to hear that statement from the honorable member for Balaclava, and did not believe that he had made it until I had read it in several newspapers, which had no object in misrepresenting him.
– What I said was based on reports published in half the newspapers in ‘Australia.
– They were not true.
– The newspapers do not manufacture lies.
– They print lies which other people tell.
The honorable member for Laanecoorie said at the St. Kilda meeting -
The Liberals had against them an insidious foe, prepared to endeavour to keep itself in office by any dodge and every petty trick.
That is pretty strong language. I am not one who likes to dig the mire of the past, but when a member uses language of that kind towards his opponents he must be prepared for what he gets.
No man whom I have met in my public experience would lend himself to what the honorable member for Laanecoorie has lent himself. No man would do what he did in regard to the Postal Commission. He hypocritically joined the Commission, hoping to slay it; and, when the time came, sought to lay the axe to its neck. He measures others by his own bushel. I have never met a man who would stoop to the level fo which he stooped in accepting a. position on the Postal Commission, intending, not to carry out his duties, but to prevent the Commission from doing its work. Men in glass houses should not throw stones, and if ever there was a man living in a glass house it is the honorable member for Laanecoorie. Let him tell the postal officials why he tried to kill the Postal Commission. He said that the Commission would not come to anything, and is disappointed -that it was able to complete its investigations. He entered into a conspiracy to kill the Commission before it had got far on the road. Let him “ explain that conduct. When he has done so, it will be time for the people to consider his charge against the Labour party. I do not wish to cast opprobrium on any one; I only, criticise those who throw stones at the Labour party.
The Opposition has miserably failed, and is sorry that this amendment was moved. The debate has shown the weakness of its case, and the strength of the Labour party. The newspapers declare that to be so. They counsel the Opposition to cease from wrangling and exposing its ignorance, pointing out that it must do so if it wants to live; that if it does not cease to do so it must die, as all men must who corrupt their own nests. That is the reward of honorable members opposite for moving the amendment. It is marvellous how the Evil One has led them into a trap, and handed them over to their enemies. I have no fear of the Opposition, of its money, or its trusts and combines, or its organizing capacity. It has no policy. Its members admit that themselves. I have no fear of any policy that may be propounded by the honorable member for Flinders. Is it his policy to reduce the wages of postal officials, to abolish the old-age and invalid pension, to refuse the maternity bonus? The only policy honorable members opposite can construct is a negative one. If we are to take the honorable member for Flinders as a guide, the Liberal party ought, in all seriousness, to recommend the people of Australia never to alter the Constitution. They ought to declare that the old-age pension system is rotten to the core, and should be abolished, and proclaim that, in their opinion, postal officials are not entitled to common justice as are other people, but should submit to great reductions in their salaries. They should further declare their belief in trusts, and in trusts dominating the politics of the country; they should announce that, if returned to power, they will repeal the land tax, thus removing the burden of taxation from’ the shoulders of the rich, and placing it on the shoulders of the poor ; that they will abolish the Commonwealth Bank and recall the Commonwealth note issue, restoring the old condition of affairs when bank notes were within the control of the financial institutions which, on many occasions, have reduced the people to ruin - that they will restore the glorious principle of competition amongst the private banks operating with the savings of the people. Let the Liberal party be honest and tell the country, as the honorable member for Flinders indicated, that they will, if possible, repeal all the legislation of the Labour Government. That is the position which should be assumed by honorable members opposite, as shown by the utterances of the honorable member for Flinders, and the actions of the general body of the party. The honorable member for Flinders need not jeer or sneer at the prospect of the Labour party being in power for three years. I may tell the honorable member, if it is any consolation to him., that, while we do what we believe to be right - while we uphold the rights of humanity and propound humanitarian laws - we shall remain here, not for three years, but for three and twenty years. If the time does arrive when the Labour party has to leave these benches the opportunity will be of no use to honorable members opposite; they will be gone, and another crowd will be in their places. All the hallucinations and dreams about sitting on the Treasury Bench will have vanished, and they will no longer suffer from their present anxiety for office. In the meantime, they can have no hope of success while they condemn the policy of the party which has done more than any other to advance the cause of Democracy, not only here, but all over the world, and which is quite prepared to be judged by its works. While the Labour party stands on such a rock, no Liberal combination, no Fusion combination, no Tory combination - no power propelled by the capital of monopoly - can remove us from these benches where the people have done us the honour to place us.
.- I have listened with a certain amount of interest to the speech of the honorable member for Gwydir, in which, however, I noticed only two prominent features. One was an endeavour to cast abuse on almost every honorable member on this side, and the other an endeavour to ridicule the Opposition, especially the leader. There; must “be differences in all the political parties; and the honorable member for Gwydir referred to that which has arisen between the majority of the Liberal party and the honorable member for Flinders. Thi.- honorable member for Gwydir, however, signally failed in h’s attempt to be funny at the expense of this side of the House: and he would have been wise to leave such efforts to the Attorney-General. That honorable gentleman was really entertaining, and, with his Quilp-like actions and utterances, created some amusement. However, the fact that the honorable member for Gwydir is able to comment on the differences which may arise in the Liberal party only shows that all the circumstances are dealt with openly, before the public.
– The honorable member for Flinders was brought before a secret caucus !
– If there had been a secret caucus, I suppose that I, as a member of the party, would have been invited to attend. As a matter of fact, I know nothing of. any such meeting, and there was none.
– The Leader of the Opposition said there was.
– Am I not a member of the Liberal party, and should I not have known of any such gathering? All such differences become public property through the press. On the other hand, I have a little secret information with regard to what happens in the sanctum of sanctums of the iron-bound caucus opposite; and I can tell the House that honorable members opposite, when there assembled, fight like cats and dogs. There are some very queer happenings behind those closed doors, but of these the public hear nothing. The ‘Leader of the Opposition is, I know, pf a generous nature and softhearted disposition; but I do hope that the pathetic appeals made by nearly every speaker opposite will not induce him to withdraw this motion.
– Which leader - the honorable member for Swan, the honorable member for Parramatta, or the honorable member for Ballarat?
– We have only one leader. I object to this motion being withdrawn in response to the abject and pathetic appeals of honorable members opposite.
– Surely the honorable member has no serious fear of the motion being withdrawn?
– No. I think it is a good thing that the motion has been launched. Such a withering indictment of the Labour party has been made out by the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and other honorable members on this side, not forgetting our good solid old friend the honorable member for Swan, that, perhaps, it may not be unreasonable to suppose that not much more is left to be said. But the work of the Government has, in many cases, palpably presented examples of maladministration. Their extravagance has been so flagrant, and it is so clear to us that they have not realized the responsibility of the offices they hold, that I think it incumbent upon me to add something to the general denunciation. First I may say a little with regard to one of the most important departments under the control of the Commonwealth - to my mind the most important - that of Defence. There the Government have shown a sad lack of administrative ability. I am sorry, indeed, that it is so, because I certainly had hopes that, under this great scheme of compulsory training - our scheme, Mr. Speaker-
– “Our” scheme?
– Yes, the scheme which was initiated and . inaugurated by the Liberal party. I had hopes that under this scheme of ours we should have shortly in Australia a great citizen army.
– A claim the honorable member has no right to make.
– I have every right to make it, and the honorable member knows that the scheme was ours. It was propounded and inaugurated by our party. Whatever the Government are doing to carry out this scheme, they cannot claim credit for the initiation of it. I had hopes, let me repeat, of seeing a great citizen army raised in Australia that might be able, if need came, to defend our hearths and homes against foreign aggression and interference.
– And to shoot down strikers.
– I am glad to see that the honorable member for Gwydir has returned to the chamber. As I said previously, he endeavoured to be funny at our expense, and was very ready at quoting what honorable members on this side have said and done. He quoted ancient history as to some of their performances. Perhaps, therefore, he may not take it amiss if I refer to one or two incidents in his own political career.
– The honorable member will not hurt me.
– The honorable member for Gwydir, besides endeavouring to heap ridicule upon our leader and this party generally, made reference to big contributions which he said had been received by the Liberal party to help them to conduct their campaign. Does the honorable member know of any big contributions which the Labour party have received for the same purpose?
– No, I do not.
– I was quite prepared in receive a denial, but I think, nevertheless, that some very big contributions have gone into the coffers of the Labour party to aid them in the prosecution of their campaign.
– Does the honorable member merely “ think,” or is he sure?
– I am sure.
– Let us hear what they are.
– I cannot prove it; but why did not the honorable member tell us where our contributions came from?
– I said that they came from trusts, ‘ combines and those interested in land monopoly. Tell us where ours come from.
– I will tell the honorable member this : The Labour party have received just as much in that way as the Liberal party. Moreover, when they say that they have not been spending money on paid organizers we reply that they have been doing so in another way. No one knows that better than the honorable member does. No one knows better that they have organizers ostensibly for the Australian Workers Union who are travelling Australia from end to end, and who spend more than half their time in political organizing. At least 80 per cent, of their time is devoted to political organizing and the remainder to organizing for the Australian Workers Union.
– I deny the statement totally.
– I say that it is absolutely correct.
– I say that it is not correct.
– Three senators were elected by New South Wales at the last election. Those three - Senator McDougall, Senator Rae, and Senator Gardiner - were devoting more than 80 per cent, of their time when travelling to political organizing.
– Senator McDougall did not belong to the Australian Workers Union.
– To get back to the honorable member for Gwydir - when he first blossomed forth as a politician he was, I think, a pronounced Free Trader.
– No, I was not. What is more, I had not blossomed; I was only in the bud at that time.
– Secretary to Mr. Carruthers.
– I know what I have done.
– At all events, the honorable member, as a member of a debating society, ridiculed the Protectionist doctrine as being too preposterous to be discussed.
– Oh, I can take either side in a debating society.
– This occurred in a discussion as to whether Protection should be debated or not, and the honorable member said that the argument for Protection was too ridiculous to endeavour to combat it.
– I say without hesitation that that is not true.
– Order ! The honorable member for Gwydir must’ not interject.
– At all events, the honorable member later joined the Labour party. He joined two leagues, I think.
– That is not true, either.
– I think he joined the Labour League at Newtown.
– That is not true.
– And the Labour League at Canterbury.
– No, I did not join two Labour Leagues.
– What is wrong about that if he did ?
– I suppose he wanted to get into politics, and thought he had a double chance by joining two leagues. He submitted his name to the Canterbury League for selection, running as a Labour candidate. Later on, it appearing that he would be defeated, he wrote a letter withdrawing his name from the ballot. By some curious coincidence this letter did not reach its destination until the ballot-papers were opened ; apparently it was posted too late.
– That is not true.
– Order ! I would point out to the honorable member for Gwydir that it will be open to him at the proper time to make a personal explanation if he considers that any statement made concerning him is incorrect. He must not interrupt the honorable member.
– The matter to which the honorable member refers has been explained a dozen times.
– And so have matters which the honorable member chooses to bring up in this House again and again. The honorable member denies all these things, but, finding that he was not selected as the Labour candidate for Canterbury, he got into the good graces of the Protectionists and ran as a Protectionist against the selected Labour candidate for that electorate. That is a little bit of the history of the honorable member who attempted to be funny at the expense of the Opposition.
– Is that all the honorable member has?
– I have a lot more material, but I shall not use it, as I do not wish to ‘ ‘ rub it in. ‘ ‘ I shall let the honorable member for Gwydir down lightly. When I was drawn off the track by him, I was referring to the Department of Defence, which is one of the most important branches of the Commonwealth service. I consider that in connexion with it there has been displayed a sad lack of administrative ability, which, I fear, will lead to the failure of the scheme for compulsory training, of which I have had very great hopes. There is, at all events, a grave risk of the failure of the scheme because of the lack of administrative ability that is being displayed. It is with great regret that I make this statement. I have used every effort to make the scheme a success. I have never taken into consideration anyquestion as. to what party was endeavouring to administer it. The defence of Australia is far too important a matter to allow any petty, paltry, party feeling to interfere with our duty as Australians, and I have done everything in my power to assist the movement.
– No Government has ever been treated more generously than the present Government have been respecting that matter.
– Quite so. From scores of platforms I have exhorted parents to help their sons to do their duty in connexion with the compulsory training scheme. I have appealed to them to cheerfully put up with any little inconvenience that might result from their lads having to attend drill, and I have exhorted the lads themselves to do their duty. I find, however, that a great deal of insubordination prevails, and that there is much trouble throughout the country in connexion with the scheme. Thousands of prosecutions are pending, and we find some of the lads almost on the verge of open mutiny. I regret that this is so. The scheme, to my mind, is a good one, and I believe that the trouble which has arisen in connexion with it is due to the want of administrative ability.
– May there not be something wanting in the area officers themselves ?
– The Government which the honorable member supports appointed the area officers, and if the right men have not been selected they, and not the Opposition, are responsible.
– They do not pay them a reasonable wage; they are sweating the job.
– The reason why we have not, perhaps, the best men as area officers is that only a miserable wage is offered. How could the Government expect to obtain the best material when they pay their area officers only £150 a year? No man fit to fill the position of an area officer can afford to devote the whole of his time to the work for a wage of £3 per week.
– They do not do so.
– They should. They should be paid sufficient to enable them to devote the whole of their time to the work. I know of some area officers who do. The duties of their office occupy the whole of their time; and another point is that the sergeant-majors, who ‘have very onerous duties to perform, should also receive an increase of pay. They do not get enough.
– If they formed themselves into a trade union, their pay would be doubled.
– Yes; some of these men are not paid as much as a railway navvy receives. A sad lack of foresight has also been displayed in connexion with the great question of defence. Lord Kitchener, one of the greatest organizers the British nation has ever had, was brought out to advise us concerning the defence of Australia, but the Government are not endeavouring to carry out, as they ought to do, the advice that he gave us. Why is it that we have not some fortification on North Head, which practically dominates the position of Sydney, the greatest centre of population in Australia?
– Who is to blame for that?
– The honorable member’s party has been in office for two years, and have done nothing.
– But there have been many years of State Governments.
– How could the honorable member expect a Liberal Government to carry out these necessary works when his party, year after year, starved the military vote of the Commonwealth?
– And I would starve it again.
-I admire the honorable member’s frankness. He admits that the military vote was starved at a time when a Liberal party was in power, but only in name, since the honorable member’s party held the balance of power. The Labour party then starved the military vote, and prevented the Libera] Government from carrying out these necessary works. Why has no attempt been made to proceed with this very urgent work at North Head?
– Because all the military authorities have declared it to be absolutely unnecessary.
– That is not so. I know more about the military authorities than does the honorable member, and Lord Kitchener himself asked why the work had not been carried out before. I do not desire to refer to Lord Kitchener’s confidential report.
– Will the honorable member quote it?
– No. It would be bad taste on my part, as a military officer, to quote from documents which the honorable member cannot see - to quote information which comes to me only as an officer. Lord Kitchener recommended that there should be fortifications at North Head, and said that the work ought to have been done long ago. I understand that the military authorities now propose to place two guns on the North Head. If that proposal is given effect the guns should be the most modern long-range weapons. Nothing short of 9.2 quick-firing mark 10 guns will satisfy the requirements of the position. There is a great expanse of dead water in the neighbourhood of North Head that would give shelter to foreign warships that might bombard the city of Sydney. The Government have paid no attention to warnings, and have made no attempt so far to guard against such a danger to the largest centre of population in Australia. In this they have exhibited a serious lack of foresight. I have not only in this House, but from public platforms repeatedly advocated that some protection should be afforded at Broken Bay, especially for the mouth of the Hawkesbury and the Hawkesbury Bridge. . Are honorable members aware that there is deep water right up to the Hawkesbury Bridge, and that a battleship could go right up to the bridge? Do they know that if the Hawkesbury Bridge were blown up the whole of the north of New South Wales and Queensland would be absolutely cut off from the rest of Australia ?
– It would cut Australia in two, from a defence point of view.
– That is so. Honorable members, perhaps, do not realize the importance and gravity of the situation which would arise if the Hawkesbury Bridge were blown up. At present there is absolutely nothing to protect it. Broken Bay is not mined, and there is no fortification there. If the Government would only exercise a little foresight it should be an easy matter to protect the mouth of the Hawkesbury River and the Hawkesbury Bridge. I have examined all the country in the neighbourhood, and I have examined Broken Bay by water and by land. I have ridden across from Gordonroad to Kuring-gai Chase, and from there across to West Head. An excellent military road could be made from Gordon road to West Head, and a couple of guns might be placed at that spot as a protection to the mouth of the Hawkesbury River and the Hawkesbury Bridge. The matter might be arranged between the Federal and State Governments, but, unfortunately, there does not appear to be anything in common between them.
– Although both are Labour Governments.
– But one is composed of a set of parochialists.
– It shows that the members opposite are really unable to grasp their responsibilities as a party when we hear one of them refer to a State Labour Government as a set of parochialists. It is a very grave matter to think that we have a city like Sydney, the greatest centre of population in Australia, left absolutely open to a foreign aggressor.
– We have a more deadly enemy in the quarantine station close to Sydney.
– I shall refer to that presently, and I thank the honorable member for reminding me. Let us suppose that a foreign warship blows up the Hawkesbury Bridge, and at the same time there is an attack made in the vicinity of Newcastle. The result would be that a small handful of soldiers would be left alone in the north to meet the attack, whilst the greater proportion of our military, and, practically, all our arms and ammunition, would be on this side of the Hawkesbury
River, and absolutely unable to reach the seat of trouble. A worse position even than that might arise should the enemy adopt a ruse, very common in warfare, of making a demonstration at one spot and their real attack at another. The object of such a ruse is to draw all the, opposing; forces to the spot at which it is not intended to make the attack in order that it may be made successfully at theplace from which the forces have been drawn. An enemy might make a demonstration in the vicinity of Newcastle, and to meet the supposed attack our troops might be immediately rushed across the Hawkesbury Bridge to the seat of the trouble, whilst the real attack might not be upon the north coast, but upon Sydney, which would have been depleted of defending forces, who would be cut off altogether by the blowing up of the Hawkesbury Bridge.
– The honorable member is disclosing secrets to the enemy.
– We must discuss these things. I undertake to say that the Japanese, for instance, know of all these defects, and know, perhaps, more about the north coast of New South Wales and.’ the Australian coast generally than we doourselves. There is no need to fear that. I am. giving anything away to them.
– Have we not a Military Board to advise us?
– We have; but it is our duty on this side to criticise the Government-
– Not the Military Board?
– The Military Board are not above criticism, nor am I afraid to criticise them. Let me say that I feel freer now to criticise the Military Board than I was last year. Last session I was not, perhaps, in a fit position to criticise the Board, because I was on the active list, and had command of a regiment. This year I am on the unattached list, and I feel thatI am, therefore, freer to deal with these matters than I was previously. Going up the eastern coast we come to Thursday Island, where the position of affairs, from a defence point of view, is more than a joke ; it is an absolute disgrace. I had never visited Thursday Island until recently, and then I had only a little over an hour or an hour and1 a half to make an inspection of the fort and the different positions on that island. I say that the Government are seriously lacking in foresight when we consider the condition of affairs at this strategical position. There is certainly a fort at Thursday Island, but the guns mounted there are obsolete.
– They are pop-guns.
– They are 6-inch breechloaders, but they are not Q.F. . I forget what the mark is, but they are absolutely out of date. They are short-range guns, and their velocity is not sufficient to pierce the armour-plate of a modern vessel.
– And no ship need go within 15 miles of them.
– That is so; but I point out that the ridiculous nature of the position at Thursday Island is that it is ostensibly fortified for the protection of our naval base in the north.
– A coaling station without any coal.
– There is a coal hulk there sometimes. This coaling station and naval base is situated between Goode Island and Wie-wier Island, and is certainly dominated by the fort at Thursday Island. But there is absolutely nothing to prevent warships from landing a force at the back of Hammond Island or Friday Island - and there are excellent landing places there - from which points they would be able to command the position, dismantle the fort at Thursday Island, and blow out of the water any warship that happened to be at the naval base. Is nothing to be done at Thursday Island? Are we to be saddled with the expenditure of thousands of pounds annually in order that we may keep up a garrison of artillery there? This coaling station and naval base covers a very restricted area. It is coral bound.
– No enemy would ever go near it.
– But we cannot leave the North absolutely unprotected. Foreign nations know just as much about it as we do. I will undertake to say that the Japanese know the state of affairs which exists at Thursday Island. Leaving Goode Island and Friday Island, we pass Prince of Wales Island, Entrance Island, and Horn Island, and then come round to Simpson’s Bay on the mainland. I say that that is the place where fortifications should be erected. There is an excellent spot for stores some 2 miles off on Possession Island, the historic place where Captain Cook landed and buried his log, which has never been recovered. I hope that something will be done in the direction which I have suggested. There is some talk of removing the existing fort from Thursday Island to Goode Island. But although that might constitute an improvement, it would not prove satisfactory or effective. One advantage of having a fort erected at Simpson’s Bay would be that we should then have the main land at the back of it, and, consequently, there would be some chance of settlement extending there, whereas there is no hope of settlement at Thursday Island, which is practically a barren area. I recognise thatthe defence of the North is a very difficult problem indeed.
– A big white population is the best defence we can provide for it.
– But the more difficult these problems are the more necessary it is that we should have men of capacity and courage at the helm of the ship of State. The present Government do not appear to be able to grapple with these problems which affect the national safety, and, consequently, the sooner they make room for men who can do so the better. The honorable member for Franklin very truly remarked, just now, that wrapped up, indissolubly with the defence of Australia, is the problem of peopling our great empty spaces. There is no doubt that that is the real solution of the problem which confronts us in the north. Some little time ago I saw a diagram which conveyed a very apt illustration of the relative populations of Australia and China. There was a white square of paper, and upon this were placed round, black dots, each of which represented a million people. The diagram representing China was dotted thickly all over - so thickly that the dots almost touched each other, whereas, in the portion representing Australia there was only one dot in this corner, another in that, another here, and still another there. One could not help being struck with the enormous difference between the population of this continent and that of its great eastern neighbour. Australia is practically uninhabited, and, consequently, I say that inextricably bound up with the question of defence is the problem of peopling our vast vacant spaces. What has the Labour party done towards peopling this country ? I recently had the pleasure of accepting an invitation by the Minister of External Affairs to visit the Northern Territory. I was very pleased, indeed, to be afforded an opportunity of learing something about the north of this great continent. I think it is absolutely necessary that honorable members should make themselves familiar with; all portions of the Commonwealth which? they are called upon to govern. I wish to say at once that the arrangements made in connexion with that visit were absolutely wretched. I do not blame the Minister of External Affairs for that - I rather sympathize with him. I do not say that the fault was his, although he was very complaisant. Indeed he was affability itself. But he did not exert himself sufficiently in an endeavour to make our visit as profitable as it might have been. The defective arrangements were apparent from the very outset. When the party arrived at Brisbane I thought that some provision would have been made for its members to see something of that city and its surroundings, especially as the Minister had arrived there before us. I had never been to Brisbane in my life, nor had some other members of the party. We went to our Liberal rooms in that city and there we were left absolutely to our own devices. Not a soul came near us. The arrangements in connexion with the whole trip were wretched ; and I am free to admit that I was very disappointed in seeing so little, and in what I did see. I cannot altogether blame the Minister, because many things combined to make the trip practically a failure from the point of view of our learning anything about the Northern Territory. For instance, Judge Mitchell had just left, and Professor Gilruth had only just arrived.
– And the man in charge of the local arrangements was incompetent.
– I am sorry to hear the honorable member for Corio reflect upon one who, in my opinion, was not to blame in the slightest degree. He refers to Mr. Francis, against whom he had a private grievance.
– I ask that that be withdrawn.
– If I have said anything to offend the honorable member, I apologize; but the honorable member is labouring under a misapprehension when he says that Mr. Francis was responsible for the arrangements which went wrong in our trip. Mr. Francis was managing the railways in the Territory, and was responsible only for the train arrangements. I think the honorable member for Corio will admit that the whole reason why the trip was upset was the failure of private individuals to meet us with a boat on the Daly River. There was no fault in the train arrangements. The honorable member for
Corio should know something about them, seeing that a special engine was sent from Darwin to Brock’s Creek to bring back Senator McDougall and himself, so that they might catch the steamer. They were brought back with all speed on the special, and arrived in plenty of time to catch the steamer, and then the honorable member refused to come on board. In a sense the trip was a picnic, and I enjoyed it very much. When we arrived at Darwin, we were met by a number of fine looking gentlemen with red rosettes in their buttonholes, and a brawny Irishman playing the bagpipes, and we marched slowly up to the town. We visited places of interest in and around Darwin, and were tendered a smoke social, at which some of the members of the party spoke. I could not help taking exception to some of the speeches that were made, especially that of the honorable “member for Riverina. He praised up the country in and around Darwin, its magnificent grasses and magnificent soil, and told them what lovely stacks of ensilage they could make out of the grasses. I could not stand it. I have been working on the land all my life, and I could not help rising to my feet, and tellin’g the people of Darwin, “ I have not come here to praise and flatter you. I do not care twopence what you think ; you have no votes anyhow ; and I want to tell you plainly that the country in and around Darwin will not feed a bandicoot.” Nor would it.
Sitting suspended from i to 2.15 p.m.
– Before the adjournment for lunch I was dealing with the question of the grasses and the soil in and around Port Darwin. I repeat, in spite of the views held by some members of the party, that it is the most wretched country imaginable, and that, metaphorically speaking, it would not feed a bandicoot. I can say the same thing of the whole of the country which we as a party saw, and that is the country from Darwin to the Katherine River. We went by railway from Darwin to Pine Creek; from Pine Creek we went in buggies and conveyances and oh horseback to the Katherine River; and from the Katherine River we returned by exactly the same route to Darwin. It reminded me of the story of Erie general who marched his men up the hill and then marched them down again. We practically saw nothing but a lot of the greatest rubbish of country that ever came under my notice.
– There is a bit of good country at the Katherine River.
– I cannot say that I saw any good country there. I believe that if we had gone up or down the river we might have seen some good country, but we did not. We went only to the crossing of the river, turned straight round, and came back to Darwin.
– Why did you not go down the Katherine River?
– That is for those who arranged the trip to say. I was not one of those persons, and I was not in charge of the party.
– Others arranged to go.
– They did not go down the Katherine River. There were two members of the party who decided to take the risk of going from Brock’s Creek to the Daly River, and perhaps of missing the boat. They left the party at Brock’s Creek, went overland, and proceeded to the Daly River. I was not prepared to take the risk, as I could not afford to be away longer than the time specified in the itinerary of the trip. As a party we merely went out to the Katherine River and returned, seeing nothing but a lot of very wretched country.
– Did you not go somewhere by sea?
– Yes, on the second part of the trip. The first part of the trip was in a sense pleasurable. We camped out under the stars and told stories, as men will when they are camped out together. It reminded me of being out on the African veldt. My honorable friend, the member for East Sydney, was one of those who afforded us very much enjoyment by telling entertaining stories, especially the one about “ How he got the pension.” I do not in a sense blame the Minister of External Affairs for what I term the failure’ of the trip as far as its utility in giving honorable members an experience of that part of Australia is concerned. He was the soul of affability, and contributed greatly to our pleasure. I remember an incident which occurred on his birthday. He was very pleased to ask us to drink his health. We drank his health in bumpers of “ fiz,” and it may be only fair to the honorable gentleman to say that the “ fiz “ was fruit salts. We had nothing else. . If we wanted anything else we had to go to the doctor, who was provided with medical comforts. We really had to be ill before we could get anything stronger that fruit salts on the trip. I do not want to tell tales about the Minister, but I think that I must relate the story of his visit to a school in Darwin. He desired to give the children in the school a very great treat, and so he proposed that the master should give them a half-holiday. He thought that the proposal would be greeted with cheers from the youngsters, but none of them said a word. Then he said, “ Hands up all those who wish to come back to school this afternoon,” and all hands went up. I suppose that there was nothing else for them to do in Darwin, and that they preferred to return to school. The Minister thought that they were an exemplary lot of youngsters, and decided to try them in’ another direction. “Well,” he said, “ you are all very good children; I am pleased to see that you are so intent upon pursuing your studies. Now how many of you have taken the pledge, or will take it? “ Not a single hand went up in the whole school. The second part of the trip ended in absolute failure. In all seriousness it might have ended very disastrously for the whole party. I am quite satisfied of the risk we ran from what I have heard since my return. We started from Darwin in three little craft - a tug, called the Maggie, a lugger, and a launch, called The Don. Honorable members will realize that these were not very large craft when I mention that it took the three to carry a party of twenty odd. We started out to find the mouth of the Daly River. It is almost incredible to think that we were allowed to leave with not a soul on board possessing a certificate of any description, not even a master-mariner’s or engineer’s certificate. Luckily the weather was exceptionally fine, and there was no serious result, though matters might easily have been worse. During the night we were on the ocean. We were out of sight of land when the incident took place, which we jokingly called the cutting of the rope. It parted, leaving the small launch, in which I was - The Don - adrift on the open sea. I have ridden some bucking horses, but I never wish to be at sea again on anything as rough as The Don. I have been twitted with having used strong language regarding, her performance. I do not think that I said anything very strong. I might have done so had it not been, for the honorable member for Boothby.
– It was strong enough to cut the rope.
– No. At daylight in the morning, when we were supposed to be at the mouth of the Daly River, we were not within 60 or 70 miles of it, and the man who was in charge of the launch - Mr. Stretton, the harbor-master, a good old chap - had not even been away from Darwin in his life. He had never been on the Daly River. I do not think that he knew anything about navigating a ship, and, if he did, he certainly had not the means of doing so. The compass needle was turning round like a spinning jenny. The old charts we had were absolutely useless, and we were within a network of shoals, in a very perilous position, though none of us knew it at the time. We arrived at night at the mouth of what they said was the Daly River, although we should have reached it at dawn, and the Minister of External Affairs, who was in charge, thought that we had gone far enough, so we turned back, visiting Melville and Bathurst Islands on our way. That trip to the Northern Territory cost the country a great deal, and without blaming the Minister, I say that it is a pity that the money was spent for so little result. We saw practically nothing. I understand that some honorable members say that they saw good country at the Daly River ; if so, they saw more than I did. I do not profess to have seen the Northern Territory. No doubt, there is good country there on the Barkay Tableland, to the east, theMacdonnell Ranges to the south, and the Victoria River to the west. Much of that country must be good, because they have made a success of cattle-raising on it, but the parliamentary trip was absolutely, or almost, devoid of useful result. A large surra of money is being spent on what is termed the protection of the aboriginals, but it is not being spent in the right way. No one has more kindly feeling for the natives of Australia, who are so fast disappearing, than I have; but it is a farce to send men out of colleges or offices in Melbourne and Sydney, possessing no practical knowledge of the ways and manners of the aborigines, to look after them. I do not think much good is done with the£4,000 spent in paying them liberal salaries. The police could look after the natives very well. What is needed is to set apart a large reserve, and turn the natives loose in it, with liberty to follow their own ways. They should have the services of good medical men, and the supervision of the police. The aborigines must pass away, and they might as well be allowed to live their own lives. I have had experience of natives during nearly the whole of my life, and know that they cannot be brought to conform with the ways of civilization. The call of the bush always appeals to the aboriginal, no matter what schooling he has had or what attempts have been made to christianize them. I have known aboriginals who have been practically adopted into good families, and reared by good Christian women. They have been sent to the best schools, but at the first opportunity they have made back to the bush. Charley Samuels, the fastest runner the world has ever seen, learned to read and write, and made money by his feats, so that he was able to dress well and present a good appearance, but at the first opportunity he left Sydney, and went to the blacks’ camp at La Perouse.
– Drink is the worst enemy of the native.
– You cannot keep them from the drink.
– Could they not be taught trades with advantage?
– I do not think so. On large stations where there are no fences they are invaluable as stockkeepers. I do not know where we should have been on the trip to the Katherine River had it not been for the black boys who accompanied us. None of the white men in the party could have found the horses. We had thirty horses and donkeys with us, which used to spread all over the country at night, and no white man could have found them. One black boy tracked a horse four miles from the camp. But for hard, manual work, or a trade, the blacks are useless. I am afraid that the Government experimental farm, formerlyknown as Rumjungle, but now called Batchelor, will be a dismal failure. In my opinion, the soil is unsuitable for agriculture, being a mixture of sand and gravel. Though it is a little better than other country along the line, it is miserable land for farming. Up to the present time the farm must have cost thousands of pounds. It would be impossible for any private individual to take it as an example to follow. Fencing alone must have been very expensive. I presume that the posts were- brought from a considerable distance, because the timber close at hand is miserable. Then, when the fences are erected, the white ants eat them down.
– Where have they started a market garden?
– I did not see a market garden. There are the Government gardens, near Darwin, in which there is very little growing, although thousands of pounds have been spent on them.
– There is a market garden five miles out of Darwin.
– Kept by Chinamen?
– So far as I could see. the Chinaman is the only man in Darwin who does any work. The while men will not work, but prefer to walk about, with red rosettes in their button-holes - they have such a “ tired feeling “ !
– The honorable member said that he himself did not like work.
– Neither do I ; and if I have brains enough to keep myself without hard work, I cannot be blamed. I realize that the defence and peopling of the northern part of Australia presents a very difficult problem; and, while I sympathize with those who have to grapple with it, their duty is to make the attempt. I do not know, however, that anything is being done in this direction. . Perhaps if the appointment to the position of Administrator had been made a little earlier, and the honorable member for New England had been successful in his application for the billet, he might have been able to tell us how to people the country.
– Did the honorable member not hear the honorable member for New England tell the House how to do it?
– No, I did not. But I have not the slightest doubt, from what I know of the honorable member, that he would have made the attempt to people the land, which is more than is being done at present. I should have liked to see the honorable member for New England, as “His Excellency,” receiving the elite of Darwin as we saw them received by His Excellency, Professor Gilruth. It was a spectacle refreshing to the eye - all the youth and beauty of Darwin collected on the lawn in front of “Government House.” One gentleman, who was in gaol in the morning, was at the reception in the afternoon.
– How did he come to get into gaol? Was he the governor of the gaol ?
– No; he was fairly in - both legs in gaol.
– Was he a criminal?
– Yes; and he was at the reception in the afternoon. There is no doubt that immigration and defence are bound up together. Honorable members opposite cannot, I think, deny that they have consistently opposed anything in the nature of an influx of working men and other desirable immigrants. And when immigrants do come here, they are insulted by honorable members opposite.
– Especially by those honorable members who were immigrants themselves !
– Ido not know about that ; but during this debate the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who, I regret to see, is not present, deliberately insulted nearly 13,000 immigrants when he said that out of that number that had arrived in Victoria in three years, 12,700 odd were loafers; in other words that of the 13,000 only 259 had been placed on the land. When the honorable member for Franklin asked the question what had become of the others, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said they were in Melbourne and other cities, “ putting our men out of work, and loafing about.”
– That is quite a different thing.
– Is there any difference between a man who is loafing about and a loafer ?
– They could not be putting others out of work if they were not working.
– The honorable member for North Sydney often “ loafs about,” but that would not justify us in calling him a “ loafer.”
– But if a man is loafing about, he must be a loafer. At any rate, it was the honorable member for Melbourne Ports who made the statement. Honorable members opposite are opposed to immigration because, with their shortsighted and suicidal policy, they have regard for only one class in the community, and contend that new arrivals will reduce the wages of the workers already here. As a matter of fact, there is no scarcity of work, but room for thousands of desirable immigrants from the Old Country. It is disgraceful that, when we have this country given to us as a free heritage, where we govern ourselves under the freest laws in the world, we should shut the door against Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen.
– Where have they been shut out?
– The honorable member knows that he does not approve of these men being brought here.
– I know nothing of the kind.
– The party to which the honorable member belongs knows that it does not approve of their coming.
– That is not correct of the party either ; it is a slander on the party !
– According to honorable members opposite, the labour market of Australia must be kept as a close borough for the trade unionists already here. They desire a monopoly of work in order that they may be able to force their employers to pay them any exorbitant wages they may ask. That is the sole reason for their opposition to immigration. They desire that trade unionism may be absolutely “on top,” in order that employers, in the face of a scarcity of labour, may be compelled to pay any wages that are asked. In regard to both defence and immigration the Government have absolutely failed to recognise their responsibilities. In minor matters of defence they are not doing what they should to encourage efficiency. For instance, in reference to defence pensions there was a meeting in Sydney between several’ honorable members opposite and members of the Military Forces. All the members of the party opposite who attended that deputation, with the exception of one, assured these military men that they were in favour of granting them pensions.
– Who says so?
– That is a deliberate falsehood.
– Order ! The honorable member for East Sydney must withdraw that remark.
– I regret that I made a statement that I should not have made, but I was aggravated by the observation made by the honorable member for North Sydney, and could not resist the temptation. I apologize.
– I am informed that the Labour members on this deputation, with one exception - namely, the honorable mem ber for Robertson, who was honest enough to say straight out that he did not approve of pensions - led the military men to believe that they were in sympathy with their desire.
– That is not correct. It is like the other statements of the honorable member.
– Ask the honorable member forIllawarra ; he was there.
– I am afraid that the honorable member’s statement is not correct.I was present at the deputation.
– I withdraw what I have said if I was mistaken. Am I to take it, then, that the majority of honorable members opposite are opposed to this pensions scheme ?
– I was the only one who agreed to it that day.
– The honorable member for Macquarie left before the proceedings were over, saying that he agreed with the objects of the deputation; but none of the other honorable members there expressed themselves as the honorable member for North Sydney has described.
– If they were against the proposal, it would have been straightforward to tell these men that they did not approve of it. The impression left in their minds was that every member on that deputation was with them, except the honorable member for Robertson. They told me so. It would have been candid to have said to the men, “ We will not support a pensions scheme.” Am I to take it that honorable members opposite are opposed to any pensions scheme?
– They have not committed themselves at all.
– Honorable members have been very diplomatic in allowing the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to get up nearly every session and submit a private member’s motion in favour of the payment of pensions. But they have not brought forward a scheme backed by the support of their party. If they are in favour of a pensions scheme, why not bring one down?
– Why does not the honorable member bring one down?
– After the next general election our party will bring down many schemes. ‘ If “the Caucus chose to instruct the Minister of Defence to bring down a pensions scheme, that would be sufficient. But why put up the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to propose one? I do not say that he is not honest about the matter, but he speaks, merely as a private member. In his innocence and simplicity he does not see that his party are putting him up as a stalking horse, knowing that the proposal will never reach finality. We shall never have an efficient military force until we give encouragement to the members of the permanent corps. If we wish men to remain in the Army we must offer them inducements. The greatest factor in creating efficiency in the Military Forces is long service. To-day we offer no inducements to non-commissioned officers to remain, and, consequently, we are losing efficiency.
– Many members of this party are in favour of pensions.
– Why, then, do not honorable members induce the Government to bring in a scheme?
– We are not the Government.
– The Opposition party have been growling at our expenditure already.
– Some of us are in favour of an amending Tariff.
– The Government does not even carry out as Parliament intended the Tariff that is already the law of the land. It will be remembered that we had a great battle regarding dextrine. We defeated the Government, and dextrine was placed on the free list. Since then, however, regulations have been issued under which dextrine is charged duty. The Minister of Trade and Customs knows that.
– We are manufacturing good stuff in the country.
– But why go behind an Act of Parliament? Parliament declared that dextrine should be free, but the Government have sneaked in a duty under cover of the regulations.
– This is the first that I have heard of it.
– To come back to the matter of defence; there are many little pinpricks which make officers and men dissatisfied. Take the regulation affecting the moving of officers from one place to another. There is a most ridiculous regulation which lays it down that an officer shall receive a certain amount to cover the cost of moving. Whether he moves 10 miles or 500, the amount received is the same. That is absolutely absurd. Another hardship entailed on many officers is this : In Sydney, a military officer gets quarters at the barracks, for which a captain is charged ^32 per annum. They are very good quarters, too, affording any amount of room. But in Melbourne, an officer of the same rank, doing the same duty, and drawing the same pay, gets no quarters, because, I believe, none are available at the barracks. But he has to pay out of his own salary for a house which will cost him at least ^80 a year. I say that an officer stationed in Melbourne should be allowed the difference between the ^32 and the ,£80.
– Does not the honorable member think that an officer in Melbourne can live in a house costing less than £80 a year?
– I do not think that an officer of the rank of captain will be able to find a house in Melbourne within reasonable distance of the barracks costing less than £80 a year.
– The Minister of Home Affairs is living in a house at a rent of 17s. 6d. a week.
– But he is . wonderful. We do not expect an ordinary man to do the same as he does. I wish to know what the Government are doing in regard to the Liverpool manoeuvre area, and also the horse-breeding station?
– We are going to fix up the Liverpool matter immediately.
– The Minister of Home Affairs seems to be the only man in the Government who can fix up things.
– I wish to say that no one has entered any such stuff as dextrine upon which duty has been charged.
– I can only reply that I have a letter from a Sydney firm, Messrs. Salkeld and Wallace, who say that, although dextrine is upon the free list-
– And is free to-day.
– They tell me that the dextrine which they import, because they import it in paste form, and because it is said that there is some borax in it-
– This is quite a different tale.
– The statement that because this dextrine came in as a paste it had to pay duty is a mere subterfuge on the part of honorable members opposite to get behind the back of Parliament.
– Dextrine is free, and any person who has paid duty on it can obtain a refund. If, however, dextrine is brought in as borax, then duty must be paid upon it as borax.
– I dislike repetition, and since members of my party have dealt fully with the main questions involved in the amendment there is little for me to add. I should like, however, to make some reference to the Brisbane strike. In the first place, I object to honorable members, on either side of the House, making out that the unionists are heroes. I object to the laudation of these genial unionists. They are no better than other men. I have had to do with unionists all my life, and I recognise that there are good and bad among all sections of the community. While some unionists are good men, others are the greatest scoundrels and ruffians that ever walked. There are any number of such men in the unions. What is the good of all this slobbering over unionists that has been indulged in ? So far as they are concerned I share the view expressed by the honorable member for Brisbane, who, in the course of his speech last week, said that there were some very undesirable characters among the unionists. He agrees with me.
– No ; I emphatically dissent. I said nothing of the kind.
– Will the honorable member deny that in the course of his speech in this House last week he made use of these words -
While we had them in processions we could control them, but there was danger from having 20,000 men idle under those circumstances. Some of them were not particularly choice characters.
Is that right?
– It is.
– The honorable member went on to say -
They were true men and good unionists, but many of them were men accustomed, in their ordinary avocations, to a bit of rough and tumble.
The honorable member said that they “ were not particularly choice characters.”
– I did ; but that is not what the honorable member has said of them.
– What other construction could be placed upon those words than that which I have given them. I do not think any stronger accusation could be brought against a man than that he is not “ a particularly choice character.” It is idle for the honorable member to bandy words about this matter. Let any one on either side of the House say of an honorable member that he is not ‘ ‘ a particularly choice character “ and see what would happen. I agree with the honorable member for Brisbane that in the unions there are some of the greatest ruffians to be found anywhere. The honorable member dealt with the Brisbane strike from Alpha to Omega, from Genesis to Revelations, and concluded with the Lord’s Prayer. I nearly always find that gentlemen who indulge in this preaching business - I do not wish to use the word “ ranters “-
– “ Wowsers.”
– I shall not even say “ wowsers “ ; but I nearly always find that these gentlemen who indulge in the preaching business have a happy knack - I shall not say of perverting the truth-
– Of speaking the truth.
– Of handling the truth very awkwardly. The honorable member came along with a cock-and-bull story about a lady who had written to him saying that she could prove that the notorious shot fired during the Brisbane strike was fired, by an inspector of police.
– Does the honorable member know that it really was not a shot but the bursting of a paper bag that caused the report that was heard?
– Here is yet another tale. The honorable member for Brisbane has also told us some silly little tales that he might have told school children about tallow candles and “ hard soft-soap “ being thrown on the tramway lines, and being mistaken for dynamite. Such stories might go down with some people, but I do not think that intelligent members of this House would take them very seriously. I think they will believe the evidence given by the Government Analyst to the effect that the stuff found on the tramway line and examined by him was dynamite.
– The parcels were picked up twelve days before the strike.
– And some of them were found on the tramway lines after the strike. These little stories are quite beside the mark. What would the honorable member for Brisbane say if I told him that I had received a letter from a lady stating that she could prove that the shot was fired, not by an inspector of police, but by one of the strikers? He could say what he pleased, and I could back my lady against his. Thank God, however, that we had some strong men in Brisbane on the occasion of the strike - that we had there men like Mr.Denham and Major Cahill, the head of the police force, who were determined that the small gang - this small minority of the workers, these unionists - should not be allowed to take possession of the city; that they should not throw the city into idleness and let people starve for want of bread, or children in the hospitals go without milk. I thank Heaven that we also had there a sturdy yeomanry - young men from the country who, in some cases, rode in a distance of 80 miles in order to be enrolled as special constables. Thank God for those solid bush farmers. How did they deal with these strikers - these heroes? They drove them from one end of the city to the other - up one street and down another - and they ran like rats into their holes. Coyne and the honorable member for Brisbane were as white as a sheet, and they got into their “ dug-outs “ and stopped there.
– What sort of a man would the honorable member be at the head of a military force called out in connexion with a strike? “ Fire low and lay em out.”
– I would be there.
– Behind the guns.
– Here is another honorable me’mber who ought to know better than to make use of an old “ gag “ - the “ fire low and lay ‘em out” story. It is worn out. I know when the statement which is referred to was made, and where it was made. It was made within the barrack square by Colonel Tom Price, because he was a humane man, and did not desire that any man should be killed. I know that, and honorable members opposite know it also. Colonel Price had in view the possibility of matters reaching such a pitch that it would be absolutely necessary for the soldiers to fire; and his words were to this effect : “ Don’t fire at their heads, and don’t fire at their hearts, but fire at their legs in order that you may not kill them.”
– No. The honorable member, as a man, dare not repeat the filthy words which Colonel Price used.
– I never heard of anything of that sort.
– I could tell the honorable member what was’ said, and he dare not repeat the filthy words that were used.
– Order. I ask the honorable member for Melbourne to discontinue his interjections. I appeal to other honorable members also not to interject.
– I say again, thank God we had some strong men in Brisbane who could deal with this paltry insurrection of unionists.
– Yes. I can quote for the honorable member the words used by the honorable member for Hindmarsh on his own side, who characterized it as “a cabbage garden riot.” I suppose the honorable member is one of the fiercest Socialists on the other side. He looks as fierce as it is possible for a man to look, and he characterized the .trouble at Brisbane as “a cabbage garden riot.” At the time this trouble was going on in Brisbane, did we find the Prime Minister and other members of the Federal Government acting up to their ideals as Socialists? There are a number of good Socialists on the other side who advocate the division of all the great wealth we hear so much about. We have the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Home Affairs, ‘and- the” honorable member for Maranoa amongst them, and I should like to be about when their possessions are being divided up. Where was the Prime Minister when all this trouble was going on in Brisbane, when little children were being practically starved for want of food and milk, when, as the honorable member for Brisbane has said, the city was on the brink of a volcano? The right honorable gentleman, with other Ministers, was sitting in the front of the grand-stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground watching the Englishmen playing cricket, leaning back and laughing to their hearts’ content, when the people of Brisbane were in the throes of their struggle. These are the good Socialists who are so much concerned about the interests of the poor man. Even the Bulletin, which is almost the Bible of honorable members opposite, turned upon them and published a cartoon on this very subject. What did they do to alleviate the sufferings caused in Brisbane by this attempt on the part of a small minority of workers to take possession of the city, to take unto themselves the powers of government, to overthrow the civil authority, and run the place on their own ? Much suffering was caused by the Brisbane strike to a great many people who took no part in it, but instead of the Prime Minister and his colleagues being there during the trouble to alleviate the suffering, and stop the strike, they sat in a grand-stand at Melbourne and watched a game of cricket.
The less said about the Brisbane strike the better for honorable members opposite. We know what they are after. They wish to get hold of some cry with which they can go to the country. They feel that their power is slipping away from them. They are like a man who gets hold of the moon with his hands greased. The power to create fat billets for themselves and their friends is going from them. The writing is on the wall, and they know that at the next elections the verdict of the people will be that they have been tried in the balance and found wanting. They are like a drowning man grabbing at every straw they can see. They hope to discover some battlecry with which they can go to the country. They want blood. They want to be able to go to the country and say that honorable members on this side desired to see the streets of Brisbane running rivers of blood. They will do it, too. They will get on hundreds of platforms, and say that we, on this side, were determined to send soldiers to Brisbane to shoot down the unfortunate strikers, though they know in their hearts that it is false. They know that no man on this side would send soldiers to shoot any citizen. They know that we would do, as the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, and almost every other man who has spoken on the other side have admitted they would do. They have said that if things went to the last extremity, and they found it absolutely necessary to prevent bloodshed, they would do their duty, and see that law and order were preserved. That is all that I, or any other honorable member on this side, would do. But no; honorable members opposite want some election cry.
– Would the honorable member have sent the military?
– The honorable member should cease asking that question. He, no doubt, considers that he is very smart, but I defy any’ honorable member opposite to deny my statement when I say that, as a matter of fact, there was no request made for the military. The request was to know whether the Prime Minister, if things came to the worst, and the situation became most grave, would be behind the authorities in Brisbane, and would preserve law and order. But the right honorable gentleman would not give them an answer, and, in refusing to do so, I think he seriously neglected to do his duty.
– If honorable members opposite’ vote for the censure motion what are we to say?
– By voting for the motion we shall say that the Prime Minister did not realize the responsibilities of his high office in giving an absolute refusal to the request of the Governor of Queensland before he knew anything about the circumstances. We shall say that he neglected his duty in failing to give an assurance to the authorities in Brisbane, that he, as the Prime Minister, was behind them, and would see that law and order were preserved. That is the assurance that was wanted from him.
– Thank God the honorable member is on the retired list.
– Let me tell the honorable member that I am not ashamed of the service that I have been able to give to my country.
– The honorable member would have shot them without any hesitation.
– Order ! I again appeal to honorable members not to continue their interjections.
– The honorable member ought to be ashamed of himself to say such a thing to me.
– I mean it.
– The honorable member is old enough to know better. If he were not so old I should take some other steps. I say that it is a disgraceful thing for the honorable member to say to me.
– I did not catch what the honorable member for Grey said across the chamber, but if it was anything offensive I am sure the honorable member will withdraw it. In any case, it is not in order for the honorable member for North Sydney to continue in ihe way he is now speaking.
– Then I find that unionists, who are such noble heroes, are to be granted a preference in the matter of employment over every other man in the community, and even in the Public Service of the country. The Postmaster-General is going to provide billets for the men who were displaced as the. result of their own action in connexion with the Brisbane strike. I find, too, that the Minister of Home Affairs has issued instructions that preference must be given to unionists, and if dismissals are necessary, the non-unionist must go first. I presume that other Ministers are adopting the same course. This means that no man in Australia will be able to work in our Public Service unless he holds a union ticket. If the general public choose to indorse that sort of conduct, well and good. But I think that honorable members opposite will get their answer at the next general election.
– The electors knew all about it at Werriwa.
– And the Labour candidate polled 1,500 votes less than he did at the previous election.
– If honorable members persist in carrying on a continual conversation across the chamber, I will take action to prevent it.
– I have merely to add that I blame the Prime Minister very much for not having taken some steps-
– What steps?
– He might have endeavoured to relieve the tension which existed, instead of spending his time at a cricket match. There is one other matter in which I think that he might have taken up a firm stand, but in respect of which he has remained absolutely dumb in public. I do not know what he may have done by way of correspondence, but in public he has remained absolutely silent. I refer to the action of the Attorney-General of New South Wales, Mr. Holman - rebel Holman - in taking away the residence of the GovernorGeneral in Sydney. The Prime Minister should have made some public protest against his action.
– He is endeavouring to settle the matter now.
– Why does he not bring this man Holman to book?
– It is time that the expenditure upon Vice-Regal residences was reduced. One establishment ought to be sufficient.
– If the Prime Minister will not see that the King’s representative has a residence in the chief city of the Commonwealth, to whom shall we look? If he will not bring to book those who are casting this indignity on the Governor- General, he is lacking in his duty. He cannot afford to play fast and loose in. a matter of this sort, because there is a suspicion in the minds of the great body of the people of Australia that he does not ring true on the question of loyalty. I was prepared to accept, and I did accept, his denial of the accuracy of the report of the interview which he had with Mr. Stead. But he cannot afford to trifle with this matter. By so doing he is giving rise to the old suspicion. We do not want men here who are suspected of disloyalty. Upon the other side of the chamber there are honorable members who have shown themselves absolutely disloyal. I will give one instance - I am sorry the honorable member is not here - I refer to the honorable member for Dalley. He has shown that he is not a loyal subject of the King, and I will prove my statement.
– It does not matter.
– I suppose that many honorable members opposite think it does not matter whether they have a rebel upon their side or not - a man who will not stand up-
– I would point out that the language which the honorable member is using is far beyond that which he ought to use. I must ask him to withdraw the statements which he has made.
– I withdraw any language which I have used that is not parliamentary, and I withdraw the expression “rebel.” But I have proof of the disloyalty of the honorable member for Dalley, because, on two occasions. I saw him deliberately refuse to rise when “ God Save the King “ was being played at little functions, notwithstanding that everybody else rose. Yet the moment that “ Auld Lang Syne “ was struck up he jumped to his feet. These are facts, and I was very sorry to see a representative of the people in this National Parliament behave in that way.
– I do not think that the mention of this matter here does the honorable member any credit.
– Where else should it be mentioned? This Parliament is charged with moulding the destinies of Australia, and I have no hesitation in saying that the action of the honorable member for Dalley is a disgrace to his constituents who sent him here.
– I would point out to the honorable member that he is imputing dishonorable motives to another honorable member which he has no right to do. I must ask him to discontinue the trend of his remarks.
– The honorable member for Hunter takes exception to my mentioning the matter here.
– I merely say that it does the honorable member no credit.
– It does me every credit to bring the matter before’ the people, and let the honorable member’s constituents know that he refuses to get upon his feet when the National Anthem is played or sung, or when the toast of the King is honoured.
– It is a personal matter.
– It is not so at all. When a public man at public functions refuses to honour the toast of the King, I, as a representative of the people, have every right to mention it in the House. Why did the honorable member take the oath of allegiance to the King?
– That does not compel him to sing every time you want him to.
– I do not want the honorable member to sing; he could not sing, and I should not like to hear him if he tried. There is another very important matter with which I should like to deal. It vitally affects the health of the people, of which I think I can show that the present Government have been absolutely neglectful. In fact, in their proceedings under the Quarantine Act, they have deliberately endangered the health of the people. They have practically put Sydney on the brink of a volcano. The Minister of Customs has promised to make an explanation, but I think it will take him all his time to explain away the facts. It is some time since quarantine was taken over by the Federal Parliament, and the members of the present Government have had two years to put the matter in order. I understood from the Minister of Trade and Customs the other day that they had not taken over the quarantine station at Magnetic Island, near Townsville, from the State of Queensland.
– I did not say that.
– Then I understand that the Government have taken over the quarantine station at Magnetic Island. I understood that when it was taken over it was costing . £2,780 in upkeep. When the Quarantine Bill was before Parliament on the 16th July, 1907, the honorable member for Hume said the estimated value of the land and buildings of the quarantine stations in New South Wales was £123,000, and in Victoria£63,000, and that in Queensland he understood it was £66,000. I take it that the Queensland figures included the station at Magnetic Island.
– They also included Thursday Island and Peel Island, but the Queensland Government took away Peel Island before they agreed at the Premiers’ Conference, with the honorable member for
Kooyong, what places they would hand over to the Commonwealth.
– The Constitution provides -
The Commonwealth shall not by any law or regulation of trade, commerce, or revenue, give preference to one State or any part thereof, and I hold that preference has been given to the State of Queensland, to the disadvantage of New South Wales, in this matter. About the beginning of October last the steamship Eastern came to the north of Australia from the East. When in the vicinity of Thursday Island a coloured passenger died of what the doctors said was small-pox. Application was made for the other Malay or kanaka passengers to be landed on Friday Island, near Thursday Island, and kept in quarantine there. The Pearl-fishers Association guaranteed to supply accommodation and food, and keep the men there, but the Federal Government declined to allow this to be done, and the Minister of Customs gave instructions that the vessel should proceed to Sydney, the most populous centre in the whole of Australia. Those people who were supposed to be infected with the germs of small-pox were brought 2,000 miles along the coast, past the quarantine station at Magnetic Island, and deposited near Sydney. That constituted a very grave menace to the health, not only of Sydney, but of the whole Commonwealth. Do honorable members realize whatan outbreak of small-pox in Sydney would mean ? It would be a calamity. There would be a panic. People would fly in all directions, and the dread disease would be spread throughout the length and breadth of this fair land. Any Government who will take such risks, and act so unfairly to the State of New South Wales as the present Government have done in this matter, are very seriously to blame. If the station at Magnetic Island is not capable of accommodating people from a steamer, there is something wrong, because, according to the honorable member for Hume, when it was taken over it and the station at Thursday Island were worth-
– I think the honorable member is mistaken. The main station, was at Peel Island, near Brisbane, and that was taken away by the Queensland Government before the transfer to -the Commonwealth took place. Magnetic Island was only a sub-station.
– I accept the word of the Minister. I will content myself with saying that no matter what the arrangements were, if there is no provision for quarantining a ship north of Sydney, the Government are very seriously to blame. It is the vessels coming along our northern coast from” the Eastern world which are most liable to carry this disease to Australia, and if there is no provision for quarantining a vessel north of Sydney, it is culpable negligence, if not worse, on the part of the authorities. They display absolute indifference to the health, I might say at once to the lives, of the people of Australia. In support of my statement that the giving of preference is contrary to the Constitution, I may perhaps be permitted to quote from the commentary of Quick and Garran on this section -
The object of this prohibition is to prevent Federal favoritism and partiality in commercial and other kindred regulations. A preference is a discrimination considered in relation to the person or State in whose favour such discrimination is. In the case of preference by the States, there is merely a power given to the Parliament to forbid such preferences as are undue and unreasonable, or unjust to any State; in the case of the Commonwealth, every preference whatever is forbidden by the Constitution itself, irrespective of injustice or unreasonableness. If a difference of treatment is arbitrary, or if its purpose is to advantage or prejudice a locality, it is undue and unreasonable, and is accordingly a preference. The intent and the effect must both be looked to, in order to decide whether a preference exists; and in neither inquiry can reasonableness be ignored.
I repeat that preference was given to the State of Queensland. I think that the Federal Government should take immediate steps to have the Sydney quarantine station removed from the populous centre in which it is located. It is adjacent to one of the greatest pleasure resorts in Australia it is divided from Manly by a 7-ft. fence. Any suspect - that is any person who is quarantined - can, without difficulty, if he can evade the vigilance of those who are supposed to keep watch, and I do not think the vigilance is very great, leap or climb over the fence and mingle with the people in a populous centre.It is a grave menace to the people of Australia that this state of things should exist. Remembering that not more than1 per cent, of the people in Sydney or New South Wales are vaccinated, what would an outbreak of smallpox mean there? Moreover there is not lymph enough in Sydney to vaccinate a fourth of its people.
– Why did you not bring this matter up in the State Parliament?
– We had to deal with our own affairs.
– Vaccination is a State matter.
– It is not compulsory in New South Wales.
– But it is a State matter as to whether it should be compulsory or not.
– Quite so. I am not blaming the Federal authorities because these people are not vaccinated. I am only quoting the fact to show the seriousness of the position should there be an outbreak there of small-pox. We know, of course, that the Federal authorities are not responsible for the people of Sydney not being vaccinated. The position is serious, and I hope that the Minister will take into consideration the question of removing the quarantine station. It is an urgent matter, and one which will not brook of much delay. Unless the station be removed there may be very serious consequences at any moment. We may again have a shipload of people brought 2,000 miles along our coast and dumped down at this station where there are no conveniences.
– It is the best-built quarantine station in Australia.
– I would advise my honorable friend to consult the honorable member for Melbourne.
– He is wrong. The Victorian station is the best equipped one, because the State did not starve it.
– I am informed that the second-class passengers on the Yawata Maru, on which there were several members’ of this Parliament, never had a bath for nine days ; that it was impossible for them to have a bath at the station. Imagine people who have been in close contact on board ships in the crowded second-class and steerage quarters being congregated together on shore, and not being able to have a bath for nine days. I would not care to have very much to do with them. It is not a desirable state of affairs.
– Your statement does not happen to be correct; but that does not matter, perhaps.
– I am quite open to correction.
– The honorable member for Lang will not indorse that statement.
– The honorable member for Melbourne knows more about the matter.
– 1 am credibly informed that it was possible for these persons to have a cold bath, but that as they had all been vaccinated, and, of course, had a temperature, they were forbidden by the doctors to have a cold bath. There was only a hot bath available about a quarter of a mile away, but the second-class and steerage passengers were not allowed to go there. If they were forbidden to have a cold bath, and could not get a hot bath, I think I was nearly right in stating that they were unable to have a bath for nine days.
– Arrangements were made last year to put in twenty hot baths. There were no baths at the station while it was under the State.
– I read something in the press about a wire from the honorable member for Melbourne to the’ Minister asking about these baths, and I think he took some exception to the “ rubber-stamp “ reply sent by the Minister. He said that he did not want any more of the Minister’s nonsense or something of that sort.
– He has not said that here. He offered to send back a denial of the press report, but I told him that I took no notice of press reports.
– I am informed that the methods employed at this quarantine station for fumigating clothes, and so on, are most crude, that even the English doctor who visited the patients did not carry out his duties in a manner calculated to prevent the spread of this disease. I am given to understand, and I am ashamed to have to think that it is true, that the Japanese doctor who attended the patients at the station, adopted very much better methods than did our doctor; he was absolutely up to date.
– Which doctor do you complain about?
– I complain about the European doctor. I do not know his name.
– You might just as well give the name.
– But I do not know the name.
– You charge a man who is riot here to defend himself with practically being the means of conveying disease, and you have a right to give his name. This is a cowardly way to complain about a ma who cannot defend himself here.
– Order !
– I am not charging the doctor at all, nor do I know his name. He may be an excellent doctor. I arn blaming the Government. It should have framed regulations which would have made it possible for the doctor to attend to these patients without risk. The methods adopted by the Japanese doctor were very much better. The following note from the honorable member for New England has just been handed to me -
McDougall requests me to tell you that he did not receive any money from the A.W.U. during his campaign or in aid of it.
I accept that assurance .from Senator McDougall, and unreservedly withdraw my statement on the subject. In conclusion, I have a word to say regarding the partisan appointments of the Government. Ministers have been guilty of appointing friends and supporters to many fat billets. One appointment to which I take exception is that of Mr. Ryland to the position of Administrator of Lands in the Northern Territory. I understand that his age is fifty-eight. If that be so, he is too old to be sent to that climate to fill a position whose duties will be arduous, because the land laws cannot be successfully administered . unless the Administrator travels throughout the country and makes himself acquainted with it. I do not know why he was appointed, unless it was to reward a supporter and defeated candidate. The policy of the Labour party is the same in both the Federal and the State sphere. Mr. Treflis, the Secretary for Agriculture in New South Wales, has had .his brother appointed to the Land Board at Temora, while his partner has been made coroner there.
– The Minister has explained that neither he nor the Government had anything to do with these appointments. His brother’s position is honorary.
– The members of the Land Boards receive good emoluments, and a coroner does not occupy an honorary position.
– In any case, how is this Government to blame?
– I am showing that the Labour party everywhere is giving good fat billets to supporters. How many members of this House have applied for positions as the honorable member for New England applied for the position of Administrator of the Northern Territory ? I wonder what his constituents will think of him when they know that if he could have got a nice fat billet he would have been glad to skip away and leave them? The Labour party, in addition to making partisan appointments, has been guilty of gross extravagance and maladministration. It has abused the trust placed in it by the people in response to its oft-repeated request to give it a chance. Honorable members opposite have been tried and found wanting. The only conclusion to which’ the people can come is that they’ are unworthy of the trust which has been reposed in them, and should no longer hold the reins of power. I am prepared tq leave them to the people. You can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
.- I listened to the remarks of the honorable member for North Sydney with pain, and am sure that, in his calmer moments, he will regret many of his statements, particularly his cruel reference to the unionists of Brisbane. We heard a great deal about his loyalty. He may express lip-loyalty; but Australians desire to show their loyalty in a practical manner by making themselves a nation powerful enough to assist the Old Country when she. requires support. I am second to none in my loyalty, but the honorable member’s denunciation of men who have fought to build up the. nation was in keeping with the action of the Opposition in moving this amendment of want of confidence. . When the honorable member was speaking of the trip to the Northern Territory, I interjected that the man responsible for the inconvenience which we suffered was Mr. Francis, and I repeat the statement. When we took the trip to the Katherine River, even the donkeys in our party knew that we should be back on the Monday night. Yet this gentleman, who was in charge of the party, wired to Pine Creek to say, “ Party returning Tuesday night,” and had not Senator Blakey and myself been riding two or three hours ahead of the main body, it would probably not have got any tea. On another occasion, when we were going round the harbor of Port Darwin, and had arranged to be on the jetty at 10 in the morning, Mr. Francis did not put in an appearance until half -past eleven.
The result was that the trip had to he abandoned. Then, again, when we reached Brock’s Creek, we were told that it would be impossible to go to Daly River- that we should have to wade waist high, . with grass over our heads, and so forth - and honorable members who could not afford the time decided not to go. Senator McDougall and myself made the trip, and we found that the statements made by Mr, Francis were absolutely incorrect. The other members of the party went around by sea, and were supposed to meet US there; but, although we waited at the place appointed, they did not appearThat is the reason why the special train was sent, and not for our personal convenience. When the honorable member stated that he and others had seen practically nothing, I refused to travel all the way to the Northern Territory in order to ride in a train or on a horse ; I wished to see the country, realizing that we shall be called upon to authorize the expenditure of millions of pounds on its development. I agree with the honorable member that around Port Darwin and the Katherine River there is very little prospect- of H return from any expenditure. But’ I shall discuss- these matters when the opportunity presents itself later on. There is no doubt as to the inadequacy of the defence provided at Thursday Island; and two years ago when I visited there, I pointed out the fact. The garrison at the fort, in order to prevent hostile vessels from going down the passage, would, under present, arrangements, have to fire over hills. With the armaments of the present day, ships could stand well out at sea and do much damage, or they could land forces behind any one of the mountains, and do exactly what ..the Japanese did at Port Arthur, which was supposed to be impregnable. At the same time, there is another channel between Prince of Wales Island and the mainland ‘ through which hostile vessels could -go without any possibility of harm from the forts. If we establish a fort at Simpson^ ‘ Bay, the populace will be behind, it, and there will be no fear of the garrison b*ing cut off from communication or provisions. At this hour I ask leave to continue my speech on Tuesday.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
House adjourned at 4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 July 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1912/19120705_reps_4_64/>.