7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot John son) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
A stranger having interrupted from the gallery,
– If there is any further interruption, I shall be obliged, reluctantly, to have the galleries cleared.
The following papers were presented : -
Australian Imperial Force - Report by the Royal Commissioner (His Honour Sir Samuel Griffith, Chief Justice) as to number of members fit for active service and number of reinforcements and enlistments required.
Public Works Committee Act - Third General Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works - 1917.
Ordered to be printed.
Audit Act -
Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial year 1916-17- Dated 23rd January, 1918.
Regulations amended -
Statutory Rules 1917, No. 299.
Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 13, 43.
Cattle-Tick Pest - Report and recommendations of a Conference called to prepare a ‘scheme of campaign for eradication of the cattle-tick pest by co-operation between the Commonwealth and State Governments.
Customs Act - Proclamations prohibiting exportation of -
Butter,cheese, cream, concentrated milk, &c., if unfit, for human consumption.
Animal fertilizers and superphosphates (except under certain conditions).
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 23, 24, 20, 27, 42,67, 68, 70, 71, 72.
Defence - Navy and . Defence Administration - Royal Commission -
First Progress Report; together with announcement by the Prime Minis ter and memorandum by the Minister for Defence.
Second Progress Report, together with Report by the Finance Member on Financial Administration ; Reportby the Quartermaster-General ; SolicitorGeneral’s Report and memorandum by the Prime Minister onthe Howell-Price Case; Report ‘ by the Secretary, Prime Minister’s Department, on the Commission’s observations as to the Auditor-General and his functions; andPrime Minister’s decision on recommendations Nos. 11, 12, and 13.
Third Progress Report.
Fourth Progress Report
Decisions arrived at by the Cabinet, 15th March, 1918, on the Second, Third, and Fourth Progress Reports.
Memorandum by the Minister for Defence on the Reports.
Memorandum by thePrime Minister on the Reports.
Dominions Royal Commission (Imperial) - Natural resources, trade, and legislation of certain portions of His Majesty’s Dominions -
Minutes of Evidence taken in the central and western provinces of Canada in 1916, Part I. . (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
Harbors and Canals - Memoranda and tables as to the chief harbors of the British Empire and certain foreign countries and as to the Suez and Panama Canals. (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
Elections and Referendums - Statistical returns in relation to the submission to the electors of the question prescribed by Regulation 6 of the War Precautions (Military Service Referendum) Regulations 1917;. and summaries of elections and referendums 1903-17.
Lands Acquisition Act -
Land acquired under, at -
Ayr, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Bunbury, W.A - For Quarantine purposes.
Cordalba, Queensland- For Defence purposes.
King Island, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.
Launceston, Tasmania - For Defence purposes.
Lithgow, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Rosemount, near Brisbane,. Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Rutherford, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Naval Defence Act- Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1918, No. 16.
NorfolkIsland - Ordinances of 1918 -
No. 1. - Export of timber.
No. 2. - Executive Council.
Northern Territory -
Ordinance of 1917 - No. 11. - Crown. Lands (No. 2).
Ordinances of 1918 -
No. 1. - Supreme Court.
No. 2. - Crown Lands.
No. 3. - Darwin Town Council.
Crown Lands Ordinance - Regulations amended.
Northern Territory Crown Lands Act’ 1890 (South Australia) - Plan showing certain post and telegraph reserves in the Northern Territory.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 4, 20, 21, 22, 29, 30, 40, 49.
Public Service Act-
Appointments, Promotions, &c. -
Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 14, 15, 31, 32, 38, 64.
Railways Act - By-law No. 2.
Referendum - Statistical returns showing the voting in relation to the submission to the electors of the question prescribed by Regulation 6 of the War Precautions (Military Service Referendum) Regulations 1917, within each subdivision, of the States of - .
New South Wales.
Seat of Government - Ordinances of 1917 -
No.1. - Inflammable liquid.
No. 2. - Explosives.
China - Text of notes exchanged between the United States and Japanese Governments regarding the policy in China, and declaration of the Chinese Government on thesubject (Paper presented to the British Parliament. )
Hospital Ships - Correspondence with the German Government regarding the alleged misuse of British hospital ships. (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
Merchant Vessels - Correspondence with the Netherlands Government respecting defensively-armed British merchant vessels. (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
War Precautions Act - Regulations amended -Statutory Rules 1918, Nos.5,5, 12, 19, 25, 33, 34, 35, 37, 39, 45, 53, 55,56, 57, 60, 61, 62,. 66, 69, 73, 75, 80, 87.
Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1918, No. 17.
– I ask the Minister for Home and Territories (1) Whether he has a Bill prepared providing for preferential voting at parliamentary elections; and if so, when will he introduce it; and (2) Whether he has been made aware that the undue delay in introducing this measure is causing much dissatisfaction, more particularly as no reason has been given for it ?
– I have two Bills dealing with electoral matters. One of them is designed to secure uniformity in regard to Commonwealth and State procedure, and on it. I hope Boon to get the decision of Parliament, so that the State authorities may be afforded an opportunity to deal with the matter. The second Bill deals with methods of election, and when I submit it to the Cabinet will probably include provisions relating to preferential voting, as well as provisions dealing with the method of Senate elections. Both Bills are practically ready, but I have not yet had an opportunity of obtaining the opinion of my colleagues regarding them.
– I ask you a question,
Mr. Speaker. It relates to something that happened during the recent adjournment, in regard to which the honorable member for Cook . and myself promised that a question of privilege would be raised assoon as Parliament should meet again. 1 ask whether you propose to refer to the matter to-day?
– I propose to. make a statement on the subject during the course of to-day’s proceedings. Later:
– May I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether a question of privilege does not take precedence of all other business f
– No question of privilege has so far been raised, and I am not prepared to say that any question of privilege is involved in the statement which I propose to make to the House later. It will be for the House itself to determine that point. I considered that before submitting the statement to honorable members it would be well to allow questions without notice and other formal business to be disposed of.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Defence aware that in Perth a returned soldier with an absolutely clean record, who had quite innocently put on his military uniform in order to pay what he thought was an official visit to the Military Headquarters, was arrested by the military police, thrown into gaol, and kept there as an ordinary criminal from noon on Saturday until Monday afternopn? If the Minister is not aware of these facts, will he make inquiry concerning the case, and will he also see that it is made impossible for a reputable citizen to be treated as a criminal for what at the most is merely a breach of the military regulations?
– I do not know anything about the case, but I shall have inquiries made concerning it.
– I understand that returned soldiers who have taken up the craft of weaving are not so well treated in Victoria as in New South Wales. I have been credibly informed that from the pensions of such men there is deducted in Victoria the amount of their earnings, so that indirectly these men are being penalized for assisting themselves. I have here in the suit I am wearing a sample of the weaving done by a man who, three months before the material was woven, knew nothing of weaving. Will the Minister in whose Department the matter lies make an inquiry into the matter?
– I shall have an inquiry made.
– Some time ago it was the practice of the Post and Telegraph Department to stamp letters with a lettermark at both the place of posting and the office of receipt. That practice was discontinued allegedly in the interests of economy. I desire to ask the Postmaster Generai whether, in view of occasional delays that have taken place in the delivery of correspondence, &c,he will take into earnest consideration the advisableness of reinstituting that check upon the Department in the public interest ?
– If the honorable member will put in writing exactly what he desires me to consider I shall be pleased to give it my best attention as early as possible.
Broken Hill Sentences
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Defence aware of the scandalous treatment that is being meted out to lads in training at Broken Hill under the compulsory military service provisions of the Defence Act? I refer to the brutal sentences that are being imposed on some of these boys for slight breaches of discipline. Will the honorable gentleman contrast such sentences with those inflicted in other parts of Australia for similar offences? I ask him to have inquiries made.
– If the honorable member will furnish me with particulars of the cases to which he refers I shall have inquiries made.
Alterations of Pay
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Defence aware that considerable delay occurs in forwarding from abroad official advice in regard to alterations made in the payments to our soldiers, and that consequently there is a good deal of dissatisfaction on the part of dependants? Will the honorable gentleman take action to expedite the receipt of such official information ?
– I will see that that is done.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that 1,000 men previously employed at the Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, are at present out of work, and if so, whether he will take steps to see that these men are returned to their employment as quickly as possible ?
– I am not aware of the facts, but I will bring the matter before the Minister for Defence.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he remembers the promise he made to our soldiers, that he would not desert them either during the war or afterwards, and whether he has seen a paragraph which appeared in the Argus of 20th February last to the effect that a request by a returned soldier that he should be given a monopoly of bone collecting and rag-picking at the Footscray rubbish tip was refused by the local council on the ground that there were other returned soldiers earning a living in the same way? Will the Prime Minister state what lias become of the repatriation scheme ?
– I have not seen the paragraph, and I do not recall the circumstances. The honorable member, perhaps, will supply me with the information.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he will consider the advisableness of creating a department, free from political control, to take action under the War Precautions Act with a view of preventing the followers of the Government, both inside and outside of Parliament, from endeavouring to bring about a revolution in Australia.
– I shall have pleasure in dealing with anyone who tries to bring about a revolution in Australia. To whom is the honorable member alluding?
– I am alluding to a lot of clergymen and press writers.
-I do not think the Prime Minister quite grasped the question I put to him. A lot of individuals are endeavouring to bring about a rebellion by urging the arrest of other people, and I submit that they ought to be prosecuted under the War Precautions Act. At present the Government alone can take action. Will the Prime Minister create a department, free from political control, which will be empowered to ‘take action under the War Precautions Act”, so that hia supporters, as well as the supporters of our party, may be prosecuted where prosecutions are considered necessary?
– I understand the honorable member’s suggestion is that 1 will not prosecute persons other than those whose political opinions do not coincide with my own. That is a reflection upon me, which, if justified, would make me unworthy to hold office. What the honorable member states is not in accord ance with fact. I am ready to prosecute anybody who offends against the War Precautions Regulations.
– Has the Prime Minister read the cables in this morning’s press regarding the methods adopted in the United States of America for the treatment of disloyalists? If so, will he introduce the same punishments in Australia ?
– I read the cable message to which the honorable member refers, and I think it stated that the penalty proposed in America is imprisonment for twenty years and a fine ‘of ,£2,000. I do not know whether we shall best deal with disloyalists in that way or by some shorter method. I-shall think the matter over.
– Is the Prime Minister prepared to inform the House as to how many men have been deported from the Commonwealth, and the reasons for their deportation, !and what number of men are being held at the present time with a view to deportation?
– I am not prepared to supply that information to the House.
– Is the Prime Minister aware of the great hardships that are resulting to those engaged in the tanning industry throughout the Commonwealth by reason of the embargo placed by the “British Government upon the imports tion of Australian leather ? Will the Prime Minister take steps to have the embargo removed in the interests of the employees in the tanning industry ?
– I am aware that considerable trouble has been created by the embargo placed by the British Government on the importation of Australian leather. We have made many representations to the Imperial Government, and I am sorry that so far none of them has been successful. I shall be very glad to make further and more pressing representations, but the honorable member must realize that the scarcity of freight is the real reason for this embargo.
– Hides require more space than leather.
– I have pointed that out.
– Will the Minister for the Navy inform the House whether any steps have been taken to utilize the services of returned soldiers to relieve those Naval cadets who have been performing picket duty for some months, and thereby have been prevented from, continuing their training for ordinary civil avocations?
– Steps have been taken in that direction, and, in a very great many cases, relief has been already effected. We are doing our best to recruit returned soldiers to the fullest possible extent, and as we do that, we shall return the young trainees to their ordinary occupations.
– Will the PrimeMinister say whether it is true, as published in the press, that there lias been some reconstruction of the Ministry ? If so, does he propose to make any announcement to the House as to the new appointments and the duties to be performed by the new Ministers ? ,.
– I am not able to say whether the report in the particular paper the honorable member read is correct; but there has been a reconstruction of the Ministry, and in regard to it I made an official announcement. As soon as the preliminary business is disposed of I shall make a statement to the House on a motion for the printing of a certain paper, and it will then be competent for honorable members to discuss the whole matter.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) proposed -
That this House records its unbounded admiration of the heroic efforts of the Allied Armies on the Western Front, its pride in the valour and achievements of the Australian troops, and its firm intention to fight on to secure a victorious peace and the freedom of the world.
– (Batman) [3.28J. - I would be most hearty in my co-operation in a motion congratulating our Australian soldiers upon their valour, and, indeed, any soldiers who have fought for the Allies in this war, but I do not propose to concur in any further fatuous expressions on the part of this Government in regard to what they are pleased to term a “victorious peace.’’ I .think that the very presence of this Government in office and in this House is in itself prejudicial in the highest degree to the success of our arms, and I consider, further, that the head of the Government knows perfectly well that when a few months ago lie pledged himself to a certain course of action, and was condemned by every member ot the Labour party, and by leading representatives of his own party outside this Parliament, for having failed to honour his word, and when he still continued to cling to the spoils of office in spite of that condemnation, he deliberately made the policy of recruiting a failure. He knew, without question or doubt, that the policy he had decided upon, would inevitably reduce’ the Australian quota of reinforcements to a minimum. Quite apart from that fact, I do not propose to join in -a resolution of this kind, which expresses our inflexible determination to continue this war until we have won a victorious peace.
– The honorable member is for Germany !
– lt is easy for the Prime Minister, and for the barrackers who sit behind him, in their safe places in this House, and with the support of the persons who keep them there, to prate about carrying on this war until we have achieved what they call a victorious peace. They suffer very little from their resolution ; the price of their inflexibility is very light. I am one of those who believe now as I did, but much more strongly, in 1915, that it is not beyond the competence of- our own statesmen to bring this war to an end. It ought to be brought to an end; it is my opinion that we - I had almost said wickedly, but I certainly say insanely - missed one golden opportunity that presented itself to us some time ago of entering into negotiations for the purpose of bringing this war to an honorable and speedy end. I am happy to know that since I expressed ‘that view in 1915 I find myself a very humble follower of many distinguished statesmen of the British Empire at the heart of the Empire. At the very opening of these sittings of the House I want ‘the Government to understand that it is quite idle for them to associate with motions of this kind the names of our valorous Australian- soldiers, or for them to suppose that under the cover of those immortal names they oan prate here about those things which they not only know are incapable of realization, but which, as they also know, are rendered less capable of realization by the very course which they have pursued. It was only a .moment ago that I learnt that this motion was to be moved. I desire to say nothing further about it at the present time, except that, in giving expression to my own settled convictions, and speaking for the Labour party, whose delegate I am, I say the time has arrived when our best efforts should be directed to bringing this war to an honorable end, so that it may no longer stain civilization with the blood of millions of our fellow men. I want to see some statesman-like effort made to embrace opportunities from time to time arising to open negotiations which will end this bloodshed at the earliest possible moment.
.- I certainly will support the motion.
MINISTERIAL MEMBERS - Hear, hear !
– I am not seeking the cheers of honorable members. I neither want their cheers nor their, pity. I believe that there will always be a blight on civilization unless the cursed cancer of Prussia’s power is destroyed. Even though Archdeacon Hindley lied in the pulpit in the House of God when he said that I and others were only fit to sign an address of welcome to the Kaiser, I recognise that while there is a Hohenzollern on the throne of Prussia or a Hapsburg on the throne of Austria-Hungary, those brutal kingly murderers, there is- no hope for civilization, and my address of welcome to the Kaiser would be to see him and all the kinglets of Germany hanged at Berlin. At the same time, I recognise that this war would not have lasted so long had it not been for the aristocratic government of Great Britain, that has not given any of its subjects the right to vote on the ground that they are human beings, and is saying to-day that a woman is not entitled to vote until she has reached the age of thirty years. That abomination of the ages, and that infamy of the present day, called the House of Lords, says, “ We will only have 4,000,000 more voters.” I honour our brave men, and I cannot understand how ministers of religion in Germany are idolizing that brute beast the Kaiser, saying that he is the
God-appointed man to rule the world. If they would only follow the preaching of Christ they would say that any one who causes war is nothing but hell’s agent. Some of the most brutal and bloodthirsty men I have heard on the platforms in Australia are those who earn their living as servants of Christ. I am tired of a good many of them; but I am proud of the bravery of our boys at the Front. Why do not the Government admit what some of them know is a fact, that there are 1,000,000 Americans in training in France and England? The information is in their Departments, so I have been informed, and I have been told by an American t who came here to represent the whole of the Chambers of Commerce of the United States of America that there were 960,000 Americans training in France before the vote was taken on the 20th December last. It is this hide-up policy, and also our infernal system of treating the dependants of soldiers, that is a drag on our efforts. In the State of New South Wales there are 700 widows who have their homes rent free, or else pay a peppercorn rental of ls. a year. Can any honorable member_representing a Victorian constituency name five widows in Victoria who are similarly situated? I can name one, and one only. If Ministers are anxious to get recruits - if they are honest and sincere in their desire - let them treat .the women and children’ better, and not punish them because the husband, who is at the Front,’ Becomes ill. It is not his1 fault;, it is the ‘fault of the commanding officer, who has not taken proper medical care of the men, who, he knows, are exposed to danger. What is the holocaust of blood which presents itself to us today compared with the constant waste of infant life ? In times of peace, more children die each year from bad attention, poor food, and inadequate clothing than all the men who are now dying at the Front. Therefore, I seek cheers from no honorable member opposite. I care little for them. So long as my conscience tells me that I am right, I will follow the course that I choose, even though, in the opinion of others, it may be the wrong one. But while I support the motion, I ask Ministers to follow the noble example of Queensland in regard to the treatment of returned soldiers and their dependants. And next to Queensland is New South Wales. Next to New South Wales is Western Australia.
– Their treatment in New South Wales is bad enough for anything.
– -In New South Wales there are 700 widows who have no fear of the landlord’s knock. I cannot point to anything equalling that in any other State. I am ashamed of Victoria in this respect, and I am ashamed of this Government in allowing women and children to be punished when the fathers or husbands fall ill. The honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Orchard), who now sits here as a Minister, made one of the first big exposures of the administration of the Defence Department in this House. What was done ? The man concerned went away with groans and sneers. Some said that he would not dare to go to the Front, else he might not come back again. The honorable member knows that his accusations were met with ridicule at that time. There are many other abuses. The suit of clothes that I am wearing was made from cloth hand woven in Queen-street, Melbourne, by returned soldiers. Those men are not getting a fair deal. It has been intimated to them that they must not interfere with private enterprise, and they are not allowed to supply a suit of clothes to any one, though any person should be proud of wearing a suit of clothes cut from cloth woven in Australia. The men who are doing the same class of work in New South Wales are far better treated under the Red Cross. I asked the men in Melbourne who their boss was. They did not know. A splendid man, who has seen service both in the Imperial Forces and during the present war, is teaching them, but he is not getting a fair show. If he would send all his cloth to the warehousemen in Flinders-lane it would be all right. I appeal to the Prime Minister, to Senator Millen, or whoever is in charge, to see that our returned men get fair play. The landlord of the splendid building where the weaving is being done to which I have referred, lets it for the purposes of the returned soldiers at the nominal rental of ls. per week; and I am only asking the Government to do something in the nature of what private people are doing, and, above all, to remove the infamy of the” ill-treatment of the women and children, while, at the same time, so providing for the men that they shall not have to slink round and beg, as some of them have to do at present. I am sorry that medical opinion has not reached agreement as to the nervous affections caused to our soldiers on active service. A man suffering from shell shock may appear to have perfectly recovered, but he may not be answerable for all his actions for many years to come; and, unfortunately, the pension given is not sufficient for many of them. In supporting this motion, I speak for myself personally, as I take it the honorable member for Batman does also. While I shall vote for the motion, I must say that there is something in what has been advanced by that honorable member. While we are offering congratulations, we are doing very little in our own weak way to show the men our appreciation of their efforts; and it would be much better if we looked after their dependants better than we have done, and saw that the men themselves received every practical consideration.
.- We all, I am sure, have the most unbounded admiration for the most magnificent stand being made on the Western Front by the Allies, and especially for the part taken by the Australian soldiers; and I hesitate to express one word in connexion with a motion of this kind which would introduce any disharmony. But the use of the word “ victorious “ - the insistence on what is called a “ victorious peace “ - is open to an interpretation which might place some honorable members in an utterly false position. Unfortunately, this motion has been sprung on the House without notice; and it is rather difficult, on the spur of the moment, to make any statement which may not be capable of being misinterpreted or misunderstood. I suggest that if the word “victorious” were replaced by the word “ equitable,” everyone might agree to the proposition.
– “Honorable” peace.
– We could call it an “honorable” or an “equitable” peace; but, certainly, “victorious peace ‘ ‘ does give the impression in some minds that the war is to be carried out to the bitter end, and is to become one of aggrandisement, both as to territory and economic wealth. Certainly, if the position is interpreted in the light of the Paris Conference and the speeches of our own
Prime Minister in connexion therewith, the motion seems to commit the House to do something which probably the Prime “Minister himself would feel like revising after our experience since that time.
This war ought to be brought to a conclusion at the earliest opportunity that an honorable .understanding can be arrived at.
If all the Powers fighting the war found that they could gain nothing by the war: - if they found that by the use of the sword they gained not one point in economic advantage or territorial aggrandisement, it would be the greatest object lesson to the world that the sword must not be resorted to again for the purpose of either advancing the welfare of nations, or rectifying old grievances.
– Surely you do not think for a moment that any of the Allies entered the war to make profit out of it?
– I do not think so; but I must say there is some confusion in my own mind, and in the public mind, caused by the varying statements that are made, corresponding to the fluctuations in the fortunes of the war.
As I have said previously, I stand absolutely by Britain in the publicly expressed object for which she entered the war; but since then aims have been stated which were then never hinted at. Of course, one has some diffidence in saying things in this connexion that may be misunderstood in other places; but, apparently, the Allies have been so hardly put to it that, in order to induce others to come to their aid, they have had to arrive at some kind of understanding with them. Whilst that is to be sympathized with, it may make all the difference between what may be called an “honorable peace” or an “equitable peace “ and a “ victorious peace.” A “ victorious “ peace may mean the imposition of terms upon the vanquished to pay for assistance bargained . for. That may be vastly different from a “just” peace. I submit “that this war ought to be brought to a conclusion on a basis of the status quo ante bellum. ’
– How about Alsace and Lorraine? v
– Why should we not go back to the days of our forefathers, when Britain owned a large strip of Europe right down to the Mediterranean ? Where are we to stop if we are to endea vour to bring about international readjustments rendered desirable by the results of previous wars ?
– Do you want the Germans around the Pacific Islands ?
– Let me tell the honorable member straight out, if he wants a reply, that I do not think the German is the worst enemy we could have there. I have no sympathy with Germany or German militarism; but some honorable members seem to lose their heads about New Guinea, although we are told by navy men that it would be impossible to construct anything in the nature of a submarine base there. We have heard it stated that there is great accommodation for submarines and other warships at New Guinea, but navy officers whom I have met - men who have served at Rabaul and New Guinea - tell me that the whole character of the locality renders such a thing absolutely impossible. As a matter of fact, we ourselves endeavoured to send a submarine there, and we lost it. The whole character of the coast, with its rocky and coral-bound waterways, renders any idea of a naval base there an absurdity. There is probably something more to be feared in that quarter. By insisting that Germany, Austria, and Turkey shall be shorn of this and that possession, you provide the statesmen of those countries with the best propaganda that they can have. The declaration that territory will be taken from them by the Allies has made the masses of Germany and of Austria feel that they are now fighting a life and death struggle against the aggression of foreign powers. . It is. these braggings about a victorious peace, and about what we are going to do when we have utterly crushed the enemy, that are largely responsible for the comfortable position in which German statesmen find themselves when appealing to their people. However, the subject is a difficult one to discuss without some preparation. I should like to see a motion framed which can be agreed to with absolute unanimity, and I think that by the alteration which I have suggested we could arrive at unanimity.
– Even Germany could vote for the motion if you phrased it properly.
– Does the honorable member suggest that by proposing the substitution of the word “equitable” for the word “victorious,” I wish to frame the motion so that it may meet with the approval of Germany?
– Germany could agree to that.
– Then the war should not continue a day longer. I cannot vote for the motion as proposed, and as I should like to see a unanimous vote for any motion that may be carried, I move -
That the word “ victorious “ be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ honorable.”
– I must confess great surprise, not at the opposition to the motion, but at the doubts expressed by members as to the advisability of passing a motion which says, in effect,’ that this Parliament, speaking for the people of Australia, is behind Great Britain and her Allies in the fight for the freedom of the Democracies of the world. Exception is taken to the word “victorious” in the motion, and exception to that word was taken by a Labour gathering in Perth some twelve months ago. What will be a victorious peace for the Allies is a peace that will enable them to demand of Germany’s military power that it shall restore the map so far as Belgium, Russia, and Serbia are concerned.
Mr.Fenton. - Is not that equitable?
– Yes; but such a peace can be brought about only by the force of arms. To those people who say that we should have peace, and that we can obtain it by peaceful methods, Russia should be a sufficient example. Her fate should convince of his folly the greatest pacifist in the world.
– The honorable member is comparing a nation without an army with nations with armies.
– An honorable member said to-day that fifteen months ago he had expressed certain opinions regarding the bringing about of peace, and that to-day he finds that he stands on common ground with some of the greatest statesmen in the world. Possibly he may now stand on the same ground as Mr. Lloyd George and President Wilson, but with this difference, that while they ask for peace, they are preparing the force which is necessary to demand it. They are ready to fight, recognising from the attitude of Germany towards other nations that the only means by which peace can be secured is by forcing her to believe that she . cannot conquer the world.
– You must fight for peace.
– Yes. Is there a man in this country who, after the experiences of the last three years, fails to recognise the inutility of endeavouring to open up negotiations for peace with Germany? The doubts expressed as to the advisability of passing a motion of this kind, and the protests by certain members in regard to the disabilities under which our soldiers and their wives labour, while showing that we are not dealing fairly with those who are fighting for us, contain the insinuation that if we were to lose the war the Government of some other country would deal more fairly with them. In my opinion, there can be no question of peace until the Allies have convinced Germany that they can demand it by force of arms. That there are 1,000,000, or even 10,000,000, Americans training in Great Britain should make no difference to our attitude towards the motion before us. If we take the lead from President Wilson - and those who have doubted the equity and justice of the cause of Great Britain and her Allies might well take heed of the words of that statesman-
– The war, would have been over if we had followed him.
– Never ! The President of the United States of America was in a position to watch events. As a neutral, he saw what was being done on both sides. He had opportunities which none of the Allies had. After watching the course of events for two years and six months, he said to the people of the world, “ I have been a neutral observer, and, after due deliberation and long consideration, I now ask the 100,000,000 who form the American people to take part in the war on the side of the Allies, not for the aggrandizement of their country, not to increase its territory, but in order that the Democracies of the world may continue to live in freedom.”
– Is the honorable member in favour of oUr increasing our territory?
– I am in favour of carrying on the war until we shall be in a position to demand of Germany such terms .that the freedom of the peoples of the world will be safeguarded. How1 extraordinary is the consideration shown by some in our midst for Germany, a nation that, through its spokesmen, its statesmen, its university professors, and its preachers, has proclaimed as a virtue every crime that a people could commit. After the sinking of the Lusitania, after the outrages in Belgium, after all the horrors that we have witnessed during the last three years, there are those among us who say that they are not in favour of a peace under which we should take from this damnable country some islands lying to the north of Australia.- I would take those islands if I could, and whatever other territory might be necessary to preserve the peace and future of this country.
– You ought to go and die in the trenches.
– I would rather die there a thousand times, and I would’ die happily if the only alternative was that I should stand like some people and declare that Australia has done enough’ while England and other nations are continuing the fight for us.
– The same old claptrap ; wave the flag.
– It is a good flag. It is a flag that has stood the brunt of the fighting for three years - a flag under which the free people of America are glad to come to-day.
– Who said it was not a good flag? Why all this hot air?
– From the utterances of some of my honorable friends opposite
– From the sneering interjections which have been made, one would imagine that there are other flags equally as good as is the British. THe first speaker upon this motion said that, he would be prepared to support the sentiments expressed in it - but - and behind his “but” was the inference that because the present Government are in power in this country he cannot support it whole-heartedly. He spoke of the detriment to recruiting which the Government constituted. Just imagine that sentiment coming from a man who, if I am informed correctly, has never encouraged recruiting, and has never spoken wholeheartedly in favour of the British Empire. He has never yet shown that he i3 a true-blue Britisher who is prepared to do anything for the British flag. Yet he has the temerity to declare that others have done things which are detrimental to recruiting. These are the utterances of a member of a political party, the supporters of which in every State have passed’ resolutions in opposition to recruiting, and who are represented in the journalistic world by newspapers that for nearly two years past, with one or two exceptions, have never given -whole-hearted support to the Allied cause. This man dares to speak of interfering with recruiting, and because something has been done’ with which he does not agree, he endeavours to cast doubt upon the wisdom of passing a resolution of this kind. No matter what has been done in England, no matter what treatment -may have been meted out to soldiers’ widows and other dependants - and I admit that many failures and many mistakes have been made - I am still going to support a resolution which affirms that this Parliament, and the people of Australia, are behind Britain and her Allies in this war.
.- JohnBright once wrote to Cobden that he would never again advocate peace during war, because the people during war-time were like a mad dog. I am quite aware that, in speaking as I propose to do this afternoon, I shall meet with a good deal of adverse criticism, as well as frivolous and thoughtless interruptions from the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Falkiner), the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Bruce Smith), and other honorable members who occupy seats on the cross benches. The Prime Minister desires us to pass a motion affirming that this House records its unbounded admiration of the heroic efforts of the Allied armies on the Western Front, and its pride in the valour and achievements of the Australian troops. There is not a man in this country, and especially amongst the native born of this country, who cannot agree with the second part of this resolution, and there is not a man who has read anything about the war, who cannot agree with the first portion -of it. But when the Prime Minister wishes us to declare that it is the firm intention of this House to fight on, tosecure a victorious peace and the freedom. of the world, I am bound to ask bini and every honorable member sitting behind him, what they mean by a victorious peace, and what they mean by the freedom of the world. I think we are entitled to know from honorable members opposite what they mean by a victorious peace, and when they will consider that victory has been achieved.
The Prime Minister and the Minister for the Navy have declared that there can be no peace while the military power of Germany continues. Is that what they mean by a victorious peace? I find” it very difficult to get myself into the military state of mind, which appears to be that if you are winning it is foolish to discuss peace, whilst if you are being attacked and driven back a little it would be cowardly to talk peace. When, in the opinion of any man imbued with the military spirit, ought we to talk peace?
I think that the right honorable gentleman, who has proposed this resolution nearly four years after the commencement of the war, ought to give us an idea of when the conflict is likely to end, and especially of when he . considers that victory will have been attained. I find a great difference of opinion between the pronouncements of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Joseph Cook) and the declarations of the Prime Minister of England (Mr. Lloyd George), of Mr. Bonar Law, of Mr. Balfour, of President Wilson, and of others. There is a very great difference of opinion-
– There is very little.
– We shall see. On the 8th January, 1918, in Washington, President Wilson made a speech setting forth what, in his opinion, are the war aims of the United States of America. It is a very singular thing - indeed, it is a deplorable thing - that that speech has not been reported in full in any daily newspaper in Australia.
Mr.Fenton. - Hear, hear! It is not procurable.
– It is procurable, but it has not been printed in any daily newspaper in this country, and I say that the people of Australia are being kept in the dark about what is happening in the world. There is in operation in Australia a tyrannous censorship under which the newspapers are instructed not to give certain information to the general public. I am informed, on what I believe to be most excellent authority, that the Germans have such a powerful wireless telegraph instrument that they can send messages throughout the world. These messages are daily being received in Australia, but the Prime Minister declines to allow them to be published for the information of the people. Are we not entitled to know what is the German view of the war? Surely we are. I have read - and I believe the statement to be quite true - that in Berlin one can obtain copies of the London newspapers. But in this country we cannot obtain any German newspapers. Of what have we to be afraid ? Are we, a comparatively educated people, likely to be stampeded by any panic reports? The more we know, I think, the more we are likely to steel ourselves, if necessary, to greater efforts. What reason is there for suppressing all , the information that the Prime Minister is suppressing at the present time ? I do not believe that the majority of honorable members who sit behind the Government are afraid of publicity. But I consider that the Prime Minister is a political freak who has distorted views. Indeed, his views upon this question border on a state of mental aberration. He is suppressing information which ought to be published, and his action ought not to be tolerated by men who pose as representatives of the people, and who possibly hope that their names will go down to posterity as friends of Australia, if not as statesmen.
I ask honorable members whether they have read in any daily newspaper in the Commonwealth the following terms of peace, which are set outin President Wilson’s speech in January last: -
Now, in the speech referred to it appears to me that there is a considerable inconsistency, because all previous utterances of President Wilson have contained the statement that there were to be no annexations and no indemnities. In making that speech - and I ask honorable members who have been going through this country talking about crushing Germany and bringing her to her knees to take note of it - President Wilson said -
We have no jealousy of German greatness. Wo grudge her no distinction of learning or of pacific enterprises such as have made her record very bright and very enviable.
We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power.
We do not wish to light her, either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade.
Now, if those words mean anything, they mean that the great United States of America is not going to penalize Germany in any way in regard to her commerce after the war. What does the Prime Minister say about this matter ? Speaking in London on 9th March, 1916, he said -
Wo’ in Australia have done something to show our earnestness in tearing out thb cancer of German influence. We have annulled every contract; we’ have cancelled every trade mark and design belonging to Germany. We have given notice to every company that they must within three months from January 16, put out every German shareholder, whether naturalized or not.
– America has already done that.
– We shall come, later, to what America has done. The Prime Minister said, further, while in London in 1916, that we should declare .without delay the trade policy of Britain after the war -
If our Allies follow our lead, as I believe they would, German credit and German confidence in ultimate victory would topple like a house of cards. For once the financiers, manufacturers, and the people of Germany, realize that the markets of the British Empire and France and Russia and Italy and Belgium are permanently closed against them, the bubble of their hopes will be burst and confusion and dismay will spread through the land, dissensions honeycomb their political structure, and the spectre of revolution rear its sinister head. Let us, then, do thiB obvious, sensible and necessary thing without further delay.
Does he mean that this victorious peace for which we hope is going to take the form he has outlined here? ‘We ought certainly to know whether the. Prime Minister desires that we shall continue to send our brave sons to the Front to fight for his views of what “ victory” shall mean. I have a number of other statements by the Prime Minister which I shall not read. It is sufficient for me to say that they all have for their main text the idea that there can be no peace until Germany is utterly crushed; there can be no peace until Germany is brought to her knees. If that is what we are sending our sons to the Front to do, then we have to consider whether it can be done, and the sooner we consider that point the better.
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth has said, “ We shall go on until the military power of Germany is crushed.” President Wilson does not say that.
– He has said that the Allies should go on until Prussian militarism is crushed.
– Speaking at Washington on 8th January last, President Wilson said -of Germany -
Neither do we presume to suggest, to her any alterations or modification of her institutions.
The great German military machine is part of her institutions. Then, again, Mr. A. J. Balfour does not agree with the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Navy, in their boastful, arrogant utterances. Speaking in the House of Commons last July, he said -
We all hope that the autocracy in Germany will give place to free government, and to parliamentary institutions as we understand parliamentary institutions. . . . That does not mean that anybody is fool enough to suppose that anybody can impose upon Germany a Constitution made outside’ Germany. Germany must work out her own salvation. You do not mend matters by imposing constitutions, even if you had the power to impose them, even if some great military catastrophe were to put the Allied Powers in a position to say to them - “ You may like it or dislike it, but you shall adopt a Constitution which suits our views of freedom, our views of the Government which . a civilized State ought to possess.” That has never succeeded, and it will never succeed. Nations must work out their own scheme of liberty for themselves according to their own ideals and bused upon their own history - what has actually occurred to them in the past and what their hopes suggest to them for the future.
– What does the honorable member suggest America is out against in this, war ?
– I hope the honorable member will not expect me to interrupt my argument in order to reply to his question at this stage.
We are requested to say that we want “ a victorious peace,” and that we ask for the ,l freedom of the world.’” Where are we to get our victorious peace? Have honorable members recently examined the map? I invite them to consider the United States of America - that great nation for which I have the highest admiration, and to whom members are looking for an early victory.
– The honorable member does not agree with the Treasurer’s (Mr. Watt’s) ‘ strictures on America.
– No, nor do I agree with his strictures on President Wilson, whom he once described as “an anaemic philosopher.” Lord Derby said in May last -
The war will not end until the United States’ full fighting force is thrown into the scale, and until the United States makes war as if she alone were facing Germany. It would -then he possible to predict the end.
We are looking to America. President Wilson, and all the English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh people in America, together with their dependants, will do everything within their power to help the Allies. But there are very many difficulties in the way of the United States of America, and it is well that those who urge that we should pursue this war to the end, refusing to discuss peace terms or to negotiate until Germany is brought to her knees, should consider those difficulties. I propose to point to some of them.
– Does the honorable member infer that we do not consider them?
– Honorable members cannot have considered them if they think the question of peace should not be discussed until Germany has been brought to her knees.
– All that we ask is for a victorious peace for the Allies.
– What is a “ victorious peace “ ? Do honorable members agree with the Prime Minister, who says it means that Germany shall be brought to her knees, and that her military despotism shall be swept away Boastful Lloyd George a few days ago addressed to the United States of America a message which, in my opinion, he should have refrained from sending. It was a cowardly message, for so boastful a “jingo” as Lloyd George has >been, to send to the American people.
Let us consider for a moment the position of that great Ally of ours. Is the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) aware that in 1910 the foreign white stock in the United’ States of America, excluding the English, totalled 22,000,000, or, including English residents of the States, 32,000,000? At that date there were 2,501,181 nativeborn Germans resident in the United States of America, 1,174,924 Austrians, 495,600- Hungarians, 32,221 European Turks, and 59,702 Asiatic Turks,, or a total of 4,263,628.
– Out of a population of 100,000,000.
– They and their descendants make up a considerable . portion of the total of 22,000,000. I would invite attention to- what is going on in the United States of America - to ‘facts which a section of our press studiously refrain from publishing, either because they are denied the right to do so by the censors who are acting under the instructions of the Prim© Minister, or because they deliberately seek to blind the people of Australia to what is going on in America. I shall quote, first of all, remark’s made by Mr. Harrison H. Wheaton, Chief of the Division of Immigration Education of the United States Bureau of Education. Addressing a gathering of some 200 manufacturers in the State House of Massachusetts, he said -
The enemy lias used every insidious means possible to hamper the United States’ war preparations, and Germany is spending more money in one month in New York. City alone for this work than the United States is spending in one year for its Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service combined. The enemy money is being spent in setting fires, committing sabotage on industrial machines, and in many other plots.
In the Melbourne daily newspapers of 28th ultimo there appeared a cablegram to the effect that -
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, one of the foremost statesmen in the United States, caused a sensation in the Senate on Tuesday by asserting that the United States troops at the
Front in France were not supplied with a single aeroplane or gun. He added that only two American-built ships had yet been completed.
America declared war on Germany on 6th April, 1917, and after the lapse of practically twelve months Senator Lodge declared that the United States’ troops at the Front had not yet been supplied with an aeroplane or a gun. He went on to say -
Our brave Allies are holding the Germans with sacrifices beyond eulogy. Six months were wasted trying to improve the French 75 gun - six golden months wasted.
These French “ 75 “ guns, as we have read in the newspapers, are terribly destructive. On the 3rd inst. an officer, writing from the French Head-Quarters, said - “Our ‘ 75’s ‘ are now in action, wreaking tremendous execution.” What explanation can there be for this wasting of “six golden months,” as Senator Lodge said, on an effort to improve these guns, unless it be that there are in the United States of America a number of enemy aliens who are friendly to the German cause? They are employed, . no doubt, in munition factories and on the various military staffs. I dare say’ that, in every ten men in the United States, one would find one German, or one German sympathiser.
Senator Overman, speaking recently in the United States Senate, in reply to continuous recent attacks on the Government for its delay in supplying General Pershing’s forces in. France with flying machines, said - “There are 400,000 German spies in this country, and some of them are at work on our aeroplane plants.” He went on to exhibit a piece of steel, which, he said, had been sawed through and plugged with lead by a spy ‘who had painted it so that the presence of the lead would not be detected. He said the presence of this spy in the Curtiss plant had delayed the construction of battle planes for two months, and that the man had not been caught. He added, “ It has been said that there are 100,000 German spies in this country, but I believe there are 400,000 of them.”
– But that might be the kind of sensational statement that we get in the Senate and in this House here occasionally.
– It may be, but let it be said that Senator Lee Slater Overman is a barrister by profession, and had suffi cient influence- when in the House of Representatives to be elected as Speaker. Senator Lodge is, as I have already pointed out, one of the foremost statesmen in America. The Government are asking the House to pass a motion the effect of which can only be a prolongation of the war, and I ask honorable members who are talking now about a victorious peace whether they read these words of Mr. Holman when he returned from France, as reported in the Argus of 10th November last -
He had passed through France within a few weeks of a great defeat which fell upon the French as the result of what was probably a too precipitate advance after a retreat of the Germans. It was a defeat which cost the French 70,000 men, taking the killed, wounded, and prisoners. He learned’ that at that time there had been a definite possibility of the French Government concluding that it must make a separate peace. For some months prior to his arrival in England the French Government had been in the balance as to whether it would not’ have to inform the Allies that it could not any longer carry on the struggle, but stronger counsels prevailed, and the French Government resolved not to think of any surrender. That resolve was justified by later results. He was also informed that England was staggering under the shock of the success attendant upon the new submarine campaign. He found the Government confronted, not with the problem how to win the war, but of how at that time England was to be kept in the war at all for another eight months.
– He would say anything. -
– Those statements of his have not yet -been contradicted by the Prime Minister or any one else. The Government are talking in this way about a victorious peace, but are not doing anything at all to try to end the war. What does the Minister for the Navy say? What has Lloyd George to say? Let us take this boastful, arrogant Lloyd George of England, who has done more to prolong the war than, I suppose, any other man. Recently, in the City Temple, London, he said, “Don’t be depressed; don’t be discouraged; don’t always point to the clouds and ask ‘When is the dawn coming?’ It always is coming; believe and trust in the Lord, and the light will shine.”
That is the same Lloyd George who predicted that .the war would be won in 1915, and who said, when the war was not won in 1915, “ Wait till the spring offensive of 1916.” When the spring offensive “was not successful in 1916 he said, “ “Wait till the spring offensive in 1917,” and, in his own speech, made the other day, he said that in 1917 we were overwhelmingly superior in numbers on the Western Front. Yet the. Hindenburg line was not broken, and now he says to the people, after all this boasting, “ Believe and trust in the Lord, and the light will shine.” When the Kaiser said that God was on his side he was called a blasphemer.
In my opinion, the Germans cannot beat the Allies, but from what I can read they are hoping not so much to beat the Allies as to compel them to talk peace.
We might as well discuss this matter calmly. We in this chamber do not suffer. Like my honorable friends opposite, we have drunk the wine of life, and we ought to think of that when we are sending away young fellows of sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, because that is the age at which they are going to the war now. Beautiful boys, many of them well educated boys, with brains, intelligence, and courage, we are sending to the_ Front to fight, while we refuse to recognise the facts. We refuse to discuss peace with Germany. Germany asked us to discuss peace in 1915. The offer was refused. In 1916 the, Germans renewed their .offer, and we spurned it. Their Chancellor then said -
If our enemies are obdurate, and choose to continue a hopeless endeavour, we shall only continue to make them pay a bitter price for their folly. The German soul is resolute and undaunted. Against our firm, far-reaching lines the billows of attack will break in vain.’ There is nothing to affright us in any quarter.
To-morrow we will embark upon an enterprise of defence of staggering magnitude. There has never been a mobilization of national energy on so great a scale. An Act for mobilization for non-military service will be introduced in the Reichstag to-morrow (Wednesday). Germany is absolutely determined to carry the war through, and is thus summoning the whole power of a united people. Yet, while the will of the people grows more determined to carry the struggle to any length that may be necessary for the vindication of our national integrity and destiny it has ever been, and is now; our desire to resume amicable exertions for peace as soon as we are allowed to do so.
It will probably be found, when the history of this war is written, that the Germans had, before this great offensive, which they commenced on Thursday, 21st March, asked the Allies, “Will you dis cuss peace with ,us bef ore we conduct this offensive?”
– That statement is in the paper to-day, by the Austrian Chancellor.
– I thank the honorable member. Although we have been boasting in this arrogant fashion, it took us two years to take from the Germans the territory, which they have won back within a fortnight.
– Within a week.
– I could safely say within a week, and with our. numbers overwhelmingly superior on the Western Front iri 1917, according to Mr. Lloyd George, we could not break through the Hindenburg line. That does not prove that Germany is going to beat the Allies, but it does prove that in modern warfare the man who is acting on the defensive, especially with the military machine the Germans have got, has a tremendous advantage, and it is a very costly thing for the people who have to undertake the offensive. Members talk, but they will not look at the map. Germany is repeatedly asking us to negotiate for peace. We refuse. We seem to be blind. Why do we not look at the map?
– We do look at the map, and that is why we refuse.
– When we look at the map we see Russia, a country whose area is not less than one-seventh of the -whole of the land surface of the globe, with 8,647,657 English square miles of territory, and a population in 1907 of 152,000,000, now at peace with Germany. How did we treat Russia? Where were our diplomats ? What is the use of talking about the money Germany is spending ? I presume we have money to spend ; and where were our diplomats ? Is it not a fact that Lord Milner was in Russia a few day’s before the revolution, and came back and told the House of Commons that everything was all right? Yet within a few days the revolution occurred.
What was our attitude towards the Russian revolution ? The Russian people by that revolution succeeded in overturning a regime which was nearly as tyrannous as that which prevailed in France prior to the fall of the Bastille. There was in Russia a horrible condition of things, men being put in prison, and kept there without trial, but it was nut an end to by the revolution. I cannot at this stage go into the indignities, cruelties, and barbarities suffered by educated and uneducated Russian people who tried to fight for liberty in their country, but any one who reads Tolstoi’s works can learn of the sufferings of the masses of the people of Russia.
– How did the Bolsheviks treat the educated people in Russia?
– No doubt the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) has been a very successful business man. He * has amassed a lot of this world’s > goods, and shown himself the possessor of a great deal of brains. He has a great capacity for making money, and in that respect any one who possesses very little of this world’s goods must admire him, as he is admired by his friends in the commercial world. No doubt he objects to the action of the Bolsheviks in repudiating the Russian national debt.
– I did not say anything about that. I objected to them butchering people of their own race.
– I believe the Bolsheviks were wrong when they declared that they would not pay back the money lent to Russia, and I quite agree with Mr. Bonar Law, who, when the question was raised in the House of Commons recently, said he did not believe that when Russia got back into a settled form of government there would ‘be any repudiation of loans. But what did we do with Russia ? Did we try to show the people of Russia, who wanted peace, that we were in favour of peace? Did we try to show them that we were truly in earnest in supporting President Wilson’s announcement of no annexations and no indemnities? No. It is true that when Mr. Ramsay McDonald and Mr. Jowett, of the Imperial Parliament, desired to go to Russia to satisfy the Russian people that the British nation had no Imperialistic aims, the British Government thought it wise to give them passports, but at the same time they allowed a branch of the Seamen’s Union to practically kidnap those men. They were not allowed to proceed on their mission, and’ the boastful, Jingoistic Lloyd George Government remained passive. When the matter was brought under the notice of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, he said, “ I do not know whether it is true, but this action by the Seamen’s Union is something to be thankful for.” And he is said to be a statesman !
However, we have failed to be friends with Russia’, as we ought to have been. Our diplomats have proved themselves as incompetent as our rulers. There is talk of bringing Germany to her knees; but not only has Russia pulled out of the war, but Roumania, too, has made peace with Germany, and has given her a <monopoly for ninety-nine years of petroleum wells that are said to be worth £50,000,000. I point out these facts as reasons why we should be prepared to accept peace by negotiation instead Of endeavouring to force a peace in which Germany is to be beaten to her knees, the flag of liberty is to be planted in Berlin, and the Hohenzollerns are to be dethroned. All this talk is a lot of bombast which cannot be realized, and neither Mr. Balfour nor President Wilson would endeavour to realize it. We are told now that Persia is about to join the Germanic alliance.
A cable appearing in the newspapers gives another instance of the incapacity of British statesmen - ‘
The correspondent of the Times at Tientsin states that Hayashi, the Japanese Ambassador in China, has returned to Pekin from Tokio. It is understood that he is fully authorized to negotiate for China’s -co-operation with Japan in an advance into Siberia, to which the Allies have consented.
I do not know whether the Allies have consented to Japan intervening in Siberia ; but I would warn honorable, members who may be favorable to that course that there may be a danger of Russia throwing in her lot with Germany and forming a defensive and offensive alliance. It is a mistake for us to ignore the teachings of history. Seemingly, most impossible alliances are formed between nations, as between individuals. A yea] or two ago nobody would have contemplated that the Prime Minister, who was denouncing the pastoralists, the shipowners, the lawyers, and the combines, would be found sitting cheek-by- jowl with the honorable member for Grampians, a multi-millionaire.
Britain and America were enemies 100 years ago, and Britain employed Germans to fight the Americans. At the time of the Boer war, the Union Jack was turned to the wall in Washington; to-day the American people are fighting on the side of the British. Sixty years ago we fought for the Turks against Russia; a year ago we were fighting with Russia against the Turks. Russia and Japan only a few years ago were at hostile grips, yet prior to the withdrawal of Russia from the war, the two nations were fighting on the same side.
In 1914 Italy and Germany were Allies; to-day they are enemies.
If we are to continue this war for ever, as some honorable members appear willing to do, we must be careful of the possibilities in regard to future international, alliances. Some honorable members seem to be quite content to prolong’ the war so long as our young boys can be put into the .battle line as they reach military age. Boys who were fourteen years of age when the war started are now enlisting to do a man’s job on the Western Front.
I come now to a statement by President Wilson which. I think is helping to prolong the war. President Wilson has said that he favours the restoration of AlsaceLorraine to France. In the Franco- Prussian war of 1870, Germany was not the aggressor, but was compelled to fight.
– No. Bismarck dragged France into the war. It is beyond question that Prussia manoeuvred to bring about the war.
– That may be the honorable member’s view. On the 4th July, 1870, the provisional Government in Spain elected Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern, a relative of King William of Prussia, to fill the vacant Spanish throne. This gave offence to the French Government, and although, by the advice of the King of Prussia, Prince Leopold withdrew his candidature, the French Government was not satisfied, but demanded an assurance from Germany that at no future period would Leopold’s claims be sanctioned. This assurance the King of Prussia refused to give, and on the 19th July, 1870, the Emperor of the French declared war against Prussia. Thus on such a flimsy pretext commenced the dreadful war which cost so many lives and the payment of an indemnity by France Of £200,000,000, and. the cession of AlsaceLorraine to Germany.
As I have a great admiration for the American people, so I have also the highest respect and admiration, and even love, for the French people. But, after all, what is AlsaceLorraine ? Those provinces comprise an area of only 5,604 square miles, about the size of a big cattle station in Queensland.
From the tenth century Alsace-Lorraine formed part of the German Empire, till portion of it was ceded to France at the peace of Westphalia, in 1648; the remainder fell a prey to the aggressions of the French King, Louis XIV., who seized Strassburg in 1681 by surprise in time oi peace. By the peace of Ryswick, in 1697, the cession of the whole was ratified. Thus, as the Germans used to complain, was this fine land, with one of the noblest branches of the race, alienated from the German people, and the command of the German Rhine was disgracefully surrendered to the enemy in time of misfortune. But German never ceased to be the chief language of the people, and during the whole period of the French possession all newspapers were printed in both languages. In 1814-15 Russia would not hear of the restitution of AlsaceLorraine to Germany, and it was not till 1871, after the Franco-German war, that Alsace and German Lorraine were, by the treaty of Frankfort, incorporated in the new German Empire. These are the facts as given in Chambers’ Encyclopaedia.
In 1905, of a total population of 1,814,654, only 200,200 were of French origin, and 1,571,1U0 were of German origin. These figures are taken from the World’s Almanac and Encyclopaedia of Amenca. For every one person of French origin in Alsace-Lorraine there were seven persons of German origin. When one reads the history of those provinces, he can understand the basis of the claim made by the German Imperial Chancellor, Baron von Hertling . that, “ There is no Alsace-Lorraine question in the international sense. If it exists, it is purely a German question.”
I regret that my time will not permit me to go into this matter as fully as I should like to do. But how deep are we to dig into the past in order that we may settle old grievances? In 1704 Great Britain took Gibraltar from the Spaniards. Is it proposed that we should return Gibraltar to its former owners ? In 1796 Britain displaced the Dutch in Ceylon. Cape Colony, South Africa, was originally founded by the Dutch about the year 1652, and they occupied the place for over 150 years before it was taken from them by the British. If we intend to dig into even modern history for trouble the war will never end. As I have said, I admire and respect the French people, but I ask them in deepest earnestness whether it is worth while to sacrifice valuable lives in fighting over territory in which there are seven German residents to every one of French origin 1
With regard to the captured German colonies in the Pacific, I have here a circular issued by the Queensland Recruiting Committee, which says -
Australia has taken from the Germans Rabaul, her Papuan possessions, and % her Pacific Island stations. The mere suggestion that Britain might hand them back without Australia’s consent, for Germany to reestablish her military system and her Naval bases in Australian waters, has already raised violent protest from Labour and Nationalist alike. In short, Australia does not want Germany again on the steps of her hack door.
If that be our attitude towards the German colonies, what becomes of the statement made by Mr. Lloyd George on the 15th March that the war must be maintained as a holy war? A holy war is something acceptable to God, even commanded by God, something pure. The annexation of German colonies seems to me to be quite inconsistent with our claim that we are waging a holy war. I say quite frankly, and with complete indifference concerning any abuse or adverse criticism by the press,, that we ought now to affirm that we are willing to return captured colonies to Germany the moment peace is declared.
– We are not.
– Why do we want them ? Can any honorable member tell me that?
– So that a few traders may go there now and again.
– To keep the submarines out.
– In accordance with our old habits and customs, we annexed British New Guinea, and later made an arrangement with Germany concerning British and German boundaries in New Guinea.
– Would it not be better to keep in mind territory Germany Is holding?
– Of course, Germany, which is holding Belgium, will occupy that territory until driven out, or peace is declared. Germany has stated that she will give up Belgium. Let us see what German Possessions in the Pacific amount to : - German New, Guinea, 90,000 square miles; Bismarck Archipelago, Caroline Islands, and the Pelew Islands, 560 square miles ; the Marianne Islands, 250 square miles; Solomon Islands, 4,200 square miles; Marshall Islands, 150 square miles; and Samoa, 1,000 square miles, or a total area of 96,160 square miles. We have had British New Guinea for a period of thirty odd years, and it has cost us many thousands of pounds each year for administrative expenses.
– Thirty thousand pounds a year.
– We Have been in occupation of that Territory for over thirty years, and at the 30th June, 1917, we had there a population of only 1,036 persons.
– And they have not yet the jury system or the vote,
– In Australia we have a territory of 2,974,581 square miles; we have been in possession of this country for over 100 years, and, although it is larger than Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and several other countries of Europe put together, and contains some of, the most fertile lands in the world, our population is only 4,931,980.
In the face of this we say we want German New Guinea, in order that we may settle and colonize the island. In my opinion, every pound spent in trying to settle the New Hebrides, or New Guinea, or any other of those islands, should be devoted to the improvement and development of this Commonwealth, and in order that we may ultimately secure a population sufficiently large to make it impossible for any nation at any time to attack us successfully. .
– Is it not just as well not to give an enemy a base as a jumping-off point?
– We might get somebody else.
– It is quite true that we might get some other nation which we might not appreciate quite so much. We must take into -consideration the position of an enemy, no matter how frightful and terrible he may be in war. Germany has an area of only 208,780 square miles, and, with Austria-Hungary, is in possession of a territory not so large as Queensland. In my judgment, therefore, it would shorten the war if, instead of allowing busybodies in London or elsewhere to say that Australian public opinion demands the retention of captured German Pacific colonies, we said that we are willing to return them as soon as peace is declared.
– We cannot blame people in London for so representing Australian public opinion when we have people doing it here.
– There is another im portant matter to which I desire to refer. We have declared that we are not in this war in support of an Imperialistic policy ; that we wanted no annexations and no indemnities. President Wilson recently made this declaration, but against this statement I have a copy of an English paper containing these headings -
Treacherous Khedive Loses His Throne and £100,000 a Year.
More Red on the Map.
Egypt is ours. The suzerainty of the Sultan of Turkey, tolerated for many years, is at an end now that he has been fooled into making war on us; and henceforth the land of the Pharaohs is a British Protectorate.
A few figures concerning the latest addition to the Empire are - Area 400,000 square miles; population, 11,180,978; Egyptian Army, 17,000 men. British Garrison (peace time), 6,067; chief products - cottons, sugar, rice, cereals. Those figures do not include the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, already for all prac- tical purposes, a British possession.
Mr. Lloyd George has said that this conflict “ must be maintained as a holy war.” Is it to be maintained in order that we may keep Egypt, and “ put more red on the map,” as the English paper referred to states? Mr. A. J. Balfour is reported to have said -
We certainly did not go into the war for what is called an Imperialistic policy.
That utterance is not in accord with the statement contained in the paper to which I have just referred.
– The London Daily Sketch, dated 18th December, 1915. I am afraid I have kept the House too long already, but I have read a great deal about this war. I have seen the tide of battle surging one way and another, the fortunes of war swinging sometimes our way and sometimes on the side of Germany. I have seen our boys going away. I have seen our maimed and wounded soldiers return. There is no doubt that the Australians are being put into the hottest part of the fighting, and they are quite willing to go there.
– So are the British.
– The “ Tommies “ have been there all the time.
– When this war is over, and when the people can calmly consider the situation and the results of the conflict, they will say it was not worth the price we have been called upon ‘to pay. I want now to repeat what I have said before in this House, though I cannot find it in Hansard, namely, that I heard that the King of England said, two years ago, that this war would be a draw. His Majesty has had the advantage of the best expert opinion in the Empire, and if this war is going to be a draw, it is an abominable cruelty to continue when peace may be secured.
– Who is responsible for that statement?
– Who is your authority?
– I decline to say.
– The amendment submitted by the honorable member for Capricornia refers to an earlier portion of the motion than the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Cook, and it cannot be submitted at the present time unless, by leave of the House, the previous amendment is temporarily withdrawn.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– As I have already kept the House for a considerable time, I will now content myself with moving -
That all the words after the word “ troops “ be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words - “ and in order that the sacrifice of valuablehuman lives may be stopped, and an end put to intolerable human Buffering, this House is not opposed to peace by negotiation “.
.- I regret to say that the House” suffers to-day by comparison with another place, which in a true appreciation of freedom passed a similar resolution unanimously to-day. For nearly three and a-half years we have been in complete harmony concerning the terms of this motion, and hitherto practically every honorable member on the Opposition benches has spoken in justification of it, as the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) had the courage to do to-day. Honorable members opposite, through their mouthpiece, the then Leader of the Government, the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher, pledged themselves and this country to prosecute this war up to the last man and the last shilling. For what ? They have pledged themselves to secure victory for the cause on which they now seem to be weakening. The honorable member for Cook (Mr. Catts), who submitted the first amendment, has done admirable recruiting work up to a certain stage.
– Your Government is standing by the last man and the last shilling now.
– I am not going up a by-lane to examine the statement made by the then Leader of the Labour party. I will content myself with saying that from one end of the Commonwealth to the other honorable members opposite were pledged on this issue; and in the earlier days of the war they did good work for the cause of freedom. Some, too, are doing it still by appealing for recruits in order to secure victory.
– For justice.
– It ill-becomes the honorable member to choose his words in this way. As the selected leader for the recruiting movement in New South Wales, can he say that when he was appealing for recruits he called on men to fight for anything; but a British victory ?
– For justice.
– I am confident there was nothing like that in his mind at the time. I propose, now, to read a copy of a resolution passed by an outside body, the terms of which may have been responsible for the attitude taken up by honorable members opposite to-day. The following motion was passed at the annual conference of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour party, which was concluded in Melbourne Trades Hall this week. -It is contained in to-day’s issue of the Melbourne Argus, and was the outcome of a discussion of the probability of securing peace with Germany.-: -
That this Conference enthusiastically reaffirms its resolution of 1917 upon peace and war, approves of what has already been done in the work of propagating those ideas, and instructs the incoming executive to continue to extend that work and secure the discussion of peace in the Federal Parliament. In particular, this Conference records its contempt for the audacious lie that the Australian people insist upon retaining the German possessions in the Pacific, and has nothing but utter abhorrence for the commercial class and its press, which would prolong the world’s torture that new markets may be won for Australian traders. Further, that this Conference recommends the Federal Conference to make it a plank of the Federal platform that Australia shall engage in no more oversea wars.
The cut-the-painter resolution. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) by incessant applause says, “ Hear, hear,” to the suggestion for the return to Germany of the possessions taken from her by us, but in his speech to-day he was absolutely silent in regard to the possessions of the Allies which are now under the heels of the Germans. We have reached a stage in this, war in which democracy meets autocracy in the final death-grip struggle. The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) would seek to make out. that we are now at a stage when we are commencing to lay down reasons tor entering the war. As a matter of fact, we are at the final death grip. Autocracy and democracy are like two men locked together, where the one or the other can give the knockout blow, and the honorable member for Capricornia would plead with autocracy to relieve democracy from the fate that is impending. If we followed the advice of the honorable member it would be an absolute surrender on the part of democracy, an utter surrender of the principles of democracy, under which he has pretended to govern this country of ours, an utter surrender of the principles of democracy to autocracy. One who in times of peace has helped to build up an ideal system of democracy would yield completely to those forces against which he and his party have pretended to be always arranged. I regret that a new stage has been reached so tar as the Australian Labour party is concerned.
– They are quite able to look after themselves.
– But they are not free from criticism in connexion with a war of this description. Surely we have nom reached a stage in Australia when we, by a resolution of the National Parliament, are to give a direction to the recently created Allied Council as to how it should conduct the war and finish it. In the hands of that Allied Council lies the fate, not only of the British Empire, but also of all the Allies, and to hear the honorable member, in a long and carefully prepared speech, indicating to that body how it should conduct and finish the war is like hearing a child talking to its grandfather. In view of the information that has recently come to us about the mass ing of the whole of the resources of the Allies, their man-power, and their armaments of every description, to participate in a. life and death struggle, and in view of the terrible suffering that has been endured, it is treason to the men who have fought and died for Australia that this country should be asked to be the first to pass a resolution in the form proposed by honorable members opposite. I am deeply sorry that this debate should have taken place at all. We on this side and honorable members opposite have invited men to go to the Front. For what did we ask them to go? It was to fight for freedom, justice, and victory; and now that they have fought right up to victory’s door, the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) says, “ For God’s sake give us peace, even though it be on the terms Germany dictates while she is on top of us.”
Mr. CONSIDINE (Barrier) [5.20J.- 1 have no great desire to say anything m regard to thi3 question except that I do not wish my attitude to be misconstrued. The honorable member for Batman, quite rightly, stated that he spoke as a member of this party, and as a representative of the Labour party.
– He said that he was anominee of the labourites.
– He said that he was the delegate of the Labour party, which has pronounced in no uncertain way its attitude, not only in regard to this war, but also in regard to all wars. Those honorable members opposite who have spoken to-day seem to imagine that it is some new development that Labour should be opposed to war. In every instance Labour lias to bear the brunt of war. It is Labour that has to fight the war, and has to pay for it, and it is ‘Labour that is exploited during the progress of war. Therefore, it is no wonder that Labour has always been opposed to war, and in so far as it has expressed itself to-day it says that it is time this slaughter stopped, and an end was ,put to the misery that has been brought about by a war commenced without the consent of the Democracy of any country engaged in it. No country engaged in the war has entered this struggle with the consent of its people. The people have never been given the opportunity of expressing their views. It is the desire of all Governments, except the Russian, to prevent the expression of the people’s views in regard to the war.
– The German Socialists voted for the war.
– No, they did not; but the Germans who called themselves Socialists did, just as Labourites who “ ratted “ and still call themselves Labourites, did so.
– What side are they on?
– Those who are Socialists are on the side’ of peace, but those who masquerade under the name of Socialists, and delight in calling themselves patriots, like the honorable member, are on the side of war.
– Pardon me, I have never called myself a patriot.
– I admit that it would take a good deal of imagination to believe that the honorable member was a patriot.
– I give the honorable member credit for honorable motives.
– The honorable member did not claim to be a patriot?
– Then the honorable member cannot be insulted when I say it would . require a big stretch of imagination to say that he is what he says he does not claim to be.
– These conversations across the chamber are disorderly.
– I am sorry if the honorable member thinks that I am reflecting upon him personally, but in Australia to-day we have the spectacle of so many people rushing about the streets and elsewhere claiming to be real dyedinthewool patriots, and making a great deal of noise about their patriotism and about being more loyal than the Government in Westminster, that one is not surprised at the honorable member wishing to dissociate himself from being called a patriot.
– No. I merely said that I did not call myself a patriot; that I did not set up any claim to be regarded as a patriot.
– Returning to the attitude of the Labour party in regard to the war and towards the motion which has been submitted to us to-day, I claim that if they are true to the Labour movement the representatives of Labour must ask for the ending of this slaughter, and must support any motion that has for its object, not a German peace, not a ‘British peace-
– But a Russian peace.
– Not even a Russian peace; but a peace that is acceptable to all the Democracies engaged in the present struggle. The Labour party in Australia has expressed itself very definitely in regard to this war, and all other wars. In this House I have already quoted the speech delivered by the Prime Minister at the Pilgrims’ Club in London, where he said we were fighting for the commercial supremacy of the world. What on earth has the commercial supremacy of the world to do with the working class in Australia, England, or Germany? Their interests are in the abolition of war and not in fighting for one group or other of competing capitalists for the supremacy of the world. Consequently, I claim that I am in harmony with Labour pronouncements, and with the feeling of the Labour movement in Australia to-day and elsewhere, when I say that every move that can be made with a view to shortening this struggle and saving human life, and at the same time preventing the misery that is incidental to a continuance of the “strife, will be welcomed by the working classes of this or any other country.
– What can be done?
– We can say that we are prepared to enter into negotiations with the other side. As the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) has pointed out, we have spurned every offer of negotiations without waiting to see what were the terms put forward, or’ anything else about the matter. We have simply refused to negotiate. I believe that the position of the Allies would be immensely strengthened if they said that they were prepared to discuss honorable peace terms with the Central Powers - if they said, “ Here are our terms, what are yours”; but the attitude taken up by honorable members opposite who have spoken, and by the Jingoes in all countries, is, “ We will not negotiate.” It is the same in Germany as in Great Britain and Australia. They say, “We will not negotiate; we will fight to a finish.” Are we here, claiming to represent an enlightened Democracy, going to adopt the same attitude ? Are we going to say that this war shall go on until .civilization goes out, or until Germany is crushed ?
Is that the attitude which this Parliament is going to adopt? I hope not. I do not suppose for one moment that the amendment has any chance of being carried.
– Hear, hear !
– Listen to the ‘honorable member. That comes from a gentleman who described the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) as a little child, because he was discussing this resolution.
– What effect would it have on the Allied Council ?
– What do you think of the Commonwealth genius, with his Paris Conference proposals which have prolonged the war ? What have you to say about him and his propositions? Talk about children ! Tlie honorable member must feel qualified to discuss the subject, when we find him voting blindly behind the man who was responsible for those proposals at the Paris Economic Conference, and which proposals every one of the Allied Powers now repudiate. We are told, in the words’ of President Wilson, that the suspected intentions of the Allied Powers in the matter of their wishing to block Germany’s development after the war have been responsible for perpetuating the desire on the part of the German people themselves to continue to fight. Talk about children ! The children are all on the other side.
– They are as children in some things- and wise as serpents in others.
– You have it, in-, deed. Those of us who are here representing the working class of Australia have no fears, in spite of the sneers and gibes of the people who pose as highly patriotic during this crisis, but who not only want to out-Herod Herod, but wish to show themselves greater in their patriotism than the very men who to-day govern the destinies of the British Empire.
– What about the Bolsheviks in Russia ?
– They are looking after themselves.
– They . are, indeed ! Where is Russia to-day?
– The interests whom the honorable member represents have been in the habit - ever since Australia has been civilized enough to have a
Parliament - of “having men in that Parliament looking after those specific interests; but our business is to see that they do not get a chance to look after them quite so closely.
– The electors whom I represent have confidence in me to look after their interests.
– And people in Russia who have made .the revolution have confidence in their representatives to look after their interests.
– They are doing it in fine fashion. ,
– I can quite understand the objection to Russia to-day under the Bolsheviks. It is the same objection as is held by the Russian people who ‘ occupy a similar position in that country to what the honorable member does here. We have heard in the Good Hook about the rich man who went away sorrowful. There are a number of those in Russia to-day.
– I thought they had all been murdered.
– No, they have been put to better use. The Bolsheviks have put them to useful work. If you read your own British war correspondence as cabled to Australia, you will learn that the Russian Government found useful occupations for those whose only occupations hitherto had been exploiting the Russian masses. What do the Allies care for the Russian revolution being crushed by Germany? The Russian revolution has no friends on the Allies’ side any more than on the Kaiser’s side, because the Russian people are wiping out just the type of interests that are held in common by the Central Powers and the Allied Powers to-day.
– They murdered all the property-owners.
– Which might be a blessing.
– *-I am afraid there are some people who would murder the propertyowners in Australia if they had a chance.
– I do not think so. I go so far as to say that if the German people followed the Russian revolutionaries’ example and overturned the Kaiser and his satellites and established a social democratic revolution in Germany, the Allied Powers would be found on the side of Kaiser Bill, or some other Royal aristocrat, ready to impose him on the German people with British bayonets. Look back on the Paris Commune, when French and German aristocrats joined together in crushing out the Commune.
– After the Communists had murdered the Archbishop of Paris.
– How many did Thiers and his crowd murder? Thirty thousand men, women and children, shot down in cold blood. There is nothing about them; nothing about the murders which the Czar perpetrated; nothing about the outrages on innocent women and children - some of them in Australia to-day - who were exiled to Siberia merely for singing The Marseillaise. We have people telling us about the atrocities committed in Russia, and those - lying curs I was going to call them - who malign the Russian revolutionaries to-day are akin to the people who, when the Commune was in existence, said everything that was vile about those revolutionaries, but who, when the Revolution was crushed, remarked with their tongues in their cheeks that Paris had never been better governed. There is nothing about the atrocities then. They came after. The same kind of people are interested in continuing this war, in exploiting the Australian people, in making huge profits. Whom did the Prime Minister refer to after he came back from the Referendum? He said he could understand the Sinn Feiners : he did not agree with them, but they had an ideal. He could understand the Industrial Workers of the World man who was true to his principles. But - he added - he would never forget, nor forgive, those men who were making vast profits out of the war.
– And who are the rich men on that side that are driving the Prime Minister.
– The same men who are rushing about with petitions concerning dislovalty - the same gentlemen whom the Prime Minister tumbled over himself to meet in their motor cars, and to receive their protestations of loyalty to the King. Are they not of the type of man who said he would far rather live under Prussian militarism than under trades unionism in Australia? I refer to Mr. Brookes; and there were no prosecutions for disloyalty in his case. Those men who prefer .that are the same kind of people who would he prepared to murder, not the property-owners, but the propertyless people of Australia and elsewhere who try to make an end of their profits. As to this much-maligned people of Russia, the only hope of progress for them is the success of the Russian Revolution. I trust that that revolution will not be confined to Russia, but will spread through Austria, Italy, France, and to every European country until we shall have an end of all exploiters, Royal and otherwise.
.- I am a supporter of the resolution,, and I wish, in the first place, to make some reference to the remarks of the honorable member for Batman. This honorable member has been good enough to say that he is in this chamber as a delegate of the workers. It were wise for us to consider the remarks made by the actual workers of this community as distinct from the organizers of so-called Labour unionism. There is not the slightest doubt that these organizers are men actuated by disloyal principles, while the great mass, of the working community in this country is thoroughly loyal. Its loyalty has been demonstrated by the large number of sons whom these people have < permitted to go to the Front; and the honorable member casts a slur upon the working people when he says - with those disloyal sentiments which he is known to hold - that he is here as their representative. Upon one noted occasion in this chamber, the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) was good enough to assert his loyalty in this way, namely, that if he were on Gallipoli, and had a rifle placed in his hands, and a Turk was in sight, he would not pull the trigger.
– Your history is a bit out, but the facts are fairly good.
– Those are the statements of the honorable member, and he has never varied in his opposition to Great Britain from that time to the present. He has demonstrated to-day that, as long as he can do anything to weaken the British Empire, he is fulfilling whathe conceives to be his mission. The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) was good enough to slander the Sovereign of this Empire. He said that the King had made a statement that this war was bound to result in a draw. When asked pointedly for. his authority, what was his reply ? It was, “ I decline to say.” In other words, in a scandalous manner, the honorable member, who has sworn allegiance to the King and the Constitution, comes here and slanders His Majesty. The honorable member for Capricornia says that the Labour party is against all wars.
– Are you not against all wars?
– T am against all wars; I stand on all fours with the honorable member in that respect. But if an honorable member comes over here and attacks me I shall hit him back; I am not going to allow any one to crunch me without doing my level best to give him as good as he sends. The whole of the argument of the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) is fallacious, because he is on unsound premises. He forgets that Britain had no choice about entering into this war; she had either to fight or go down. Of course, the honorable member, with his well-known principles, ‘ does not care twopence for the Empire; but I venture to think that this assembly represents the loyal sentiments of the people. The great mass of the people are truly loyal to the Constitution, and they recognise that we have no more to expect from Germany than Russia has received. Russia -is suffering grievously to-day because her rulers for the. time being accepted Germany at Germany’s own valuation. The Russian people were induced to .believe that they could secure their safety by making a temporary peace with Germany, and the result of the false move is, as everyone knows, that disaster after disaster will overtake them. We in the Commonwealth of Australia are per;fectly assured that if we make an immature peace with Germany it will simply mean for us the worst of possible conditions, all of which will go to depress the workers of the world more than could any other event. The only way we can secure the best interests of the peoples of the world, and the only way that makes for peace, is by subjugating effectively this arrogant power which seeks to dominate humanity by its methods. I commend this idea to the honorable member, who thinks he is representing the best interests of the workers, but who is really advocating conditions that can only result in placing on them a financial burden to retard their progress for many years.
There is another point worth bearing in mind. If any section in the community will suffer by reason of Germany’s success, or by reason of a patched-up peace, it is the organized labour unions.
– Surely you are not troubling about the workers?
– The working classes have every reason to pray to be saved from their friends.
– “-Alleged friends!
– Yes, alleged friends - the men who ride on the backs of the workers. They never think for a moment of what is in the best interests of the workers, but only seek to ingratiate themselves, and become secretaries of unions. They do all they can to become the active spirits of the movement, with the result that the foolish workers take them at their own valuation, and send them into Parliament.
– And with big majorities, too !
– The honorable member for Barrier is the one member in this House who does not represent a clear majority of his constituents.
– Quite true!
– But the honorable member for Darling asserts that . the Labour members represent a majority.
– Just as much as you do.
– What would be Germany’s terms so far as Australia is concerned? There is no question that Germany has designs on Australia, because there is no portion of the world the control of which would suit them better. One of their first acts would be to establish their government here on military lines, and then down would come the union organizations. All the advantages that have been gained in consequence of unionism, and unionists’ principles, would disappear with the German occupation of Australia. We cannot give the Government too much backing in their expressions of loyalty and faith in our soldiers. The men who are fighting for us require to be encouraged by the knowledge that they have behind them a loyal people, and the motion proposed by the Prime Minister would give them that assurance.
– A few millions free of interest would be better than all this talk.
– A little common sense from the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) would be better than the nonsense he usually introduces. The honorable member for Capricornia gave us a very long oration based mainly on what different men have said in different parts of the world. It would be a remarkable thing if we found complete unanimity, and still more remarkable if’ President Wilson, when he occupied the position of a neutral, viewed .things in precisely the same light as he does now that he is a combatant. The honorable member .for. Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) was guilty of quoting President Wilson as taking a certain line of policy at one time and a distinctly different line at another time. He told us that President Wilson was at one time against any territorial acquisition, but that later his speeches showed him to be in favour of the restitution of Alsace and Lorraine. All the specious reasoning in which the honorable member indulged was intended for the one purpose of showing to the Labour organizers - those, and not the workers, who are at present dominating the situation - that they could depend on him to support the ideals that they had in view- -
– You are absolutely wrong.
– I hope I have not done the honorable member an injustice, but I am convinced that is the effect of his speech, although he may not have seen what the effect was likely to be. I should like to remind honorable members once again that those who claim to represent the working people of this Commonwealth, and in the same breath declare that they are favorable to making peace with Germany at any time, are diametrically opposed to the workers’ best and truest interests.
– I am quite aware that all who utter one word against the motion as moved by the Prime. Minister will bo charged with being Sinn Feiners, proGermans, or members of the Industrial Workers of the World in receipt of German gold - there will be nothing nasty enough to say regarding them. Yet five minutes afterwards ‘‘we shall be asked to sink all our petty differences and unite in the general interests of the great British Empire. Men who talk like that are a danger to the community, and I am sorry to say that the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Palmer) is one of -them. Indeed, if there is any resident in Australia who ought to be interned it is that honorable member. I do not know what weight is attached to his utterances, but every one he has made outside the House tends to create a feeling in the community that is opposed to the interests of the British Empire. I know that the honorable member does not think so, but he associates himself with a lot of jingoes who call themselves patriots, and endeavour to create in the minds of the foolish people of our community-
– We do not flaunt disloyalty as the honorable member does!
– That is just like some of the rot the honorable member “ gets off “ outside. The greatest danger to the Empire are those persons who wish to hang, draw, and quarter all those who do not see eye to eye with them. The honorable member for Echuca is in very bad company when he associates with men like Worrall, “ Baldy “ Strong, and a few others who try to represent all those who differ from them–
– Are they spielers?
– Yes; spielers in the true sense of the word; they try to” represent those who differ from them as men of pro-German proclivities. In Australia we have got down to” the point - and it is an unfortunate position - that once you differ from any project that is conceived by the present Government and their supporters, and once you endeavour to prevent the realization of. that project, they look around for some degrading appellation that they can attach to you-
– Abusive language!
– Abusive language is nothing ; I can stand all the abuse that any man or woman associated with the Government can possibly hurl at me. Those people who charge all who differ from them with being pro-Germans forget that those who thus differ are desirous of being members of a community and an Empire that really believes in and wishes to establish liberty. Honorable members opposite think that they can do everything by waving a flag; but, make no mistake about it, every time they wave the Union Jack, which stands for liberty, they pollute it. I am proud of the nation to which I belong, But I could be a damned side prouder than I am ! My opinion is that we should see that the flag, of which we talk so much, flies over a people that is free and none of whom is starving. I know what, the newspapers will publish to-morrow about those of us’ who speak in opposition to the motion and think that it should be amended. In them and from all the jingoistic platforms we shall be termed pro-Germans, Sinn Feiners, and receivers of German money. Then, a little later, we shall be asked to sink our grievances, and to help the Government to cement together the various portions of the Empire. If honorable members opposite and those behind them were fools, I would forgive them; but they are not fools - they are very brainy men who have fooled the general community for a long time past.
– They did not fool it on 20th December last.
– No, but, unfortunately, they did so on the 5th May last. If the passing of the motion meant the sending to our men at the Front a’ message of sympathy with them from the members of this House, and of admiration for the bravery with which they and their comrades have fought, and suffered, and died, I would support it. But behind the motion are those who have used the war to amass millions of money, who have profiteered ever since the war commenced, and have piled up big bank accounts. They are putting their war profits into the war loan, and consider that because they are doing this they are acting as patriots. The people of Australia are being robbed daily by the excessive charges that are being levied upon them for the privilege of living in Australia. Honorable members opposite uphold those who are responsible for these things. This Government and their supporters have allowed the profiteers to get off with a war-time profits tax producing merely a paltry £500,000.
– And they squirm about that.
– Yes. A few weeks ago a conference of members of the Chamber of Commerce, or some similar conference, met in Melbourne” to suggest methods by which the payment of this taxation could be evaded. A South Australian representative named Jacobs almost cried because he has to pay a tax on his war-time profits. His complaint was that the Government had fixed the prices at which he should manufacture certain commodities, and yet taxed him on the profits made bv their manufacture in war time. Fancy a man dealing with the Defence Department growling about war-time profits taxation ! In that Department, corruption has been rampant, as a recent investigation showed. Business men - not members of the Labour party - appointed by the Government to inquire into ‘ the expenditure of the Defence Department, have shown that there has been much corruption and inefficient administration, the people being robbed of millions of pounds. Yet those who have made war-time profits have the audacity to complain of a tax which takes from them nearly £500,000 a year. The honorable member for Capricornia, when Treasurer, proposed to obtain nearly £4,000,000 from war-time profits taxation. The estimate of the honorable member for Grey, who succeeded him, was more modest,, being only £2,500,000 ; but the honorable member for Swan reduced the amount to £500,000, and the patriots who are supporting the present Government howl because they have this small amount to pay. They say, “ Had the Government come to us, we could have shown them an easier way of getting revenue.” Of course, they could have done so. They would have all the taxation placed on the people. I am told that I am a rebel, and unfit to live in a British community, because I dare to take a stand on a question like this. I am one of those who have said that Prussianism must be defeated ; that the Prussian military system must go. I believe that it was the cause of all our present trouble, but to speak of fighting on and on until we get everything that we want, in spite of the Germans, is foolishness. The experiences of the last fortnight should have shown to every man in this chamber that the Germans, like ourselves, are determined not to be humiliated. The present position reminds me of a fight between school kids, in which one ‘lad is without a barracker, and is being jeered at with a view to his discouragement. When you tell a man that you intend to wipe him out, he is sure to fight to a finish. The Prussians realized early in the war that they could not do what they wished to do, and they were prepared to make peace. But we told them that we intended to wipe the floor with them before talking peace. Then came the Russian breakdown, leaving the Germans free to shift all their forces on to the West Front, and now they are as cocky as we were in 1916.
But is this sort of thing to continue? It would be all very well to talk fight if members themselves had to do the fighting, but we are all too old to fight,” and to say that we shall continue indefinitely to send our best manhood away to fight and die is so much tommy-rot. Is it for me, who am past the fighting age, to say that the youth pf the world shall fight and be killed because those who are older cannot make national arrangements? Does any one here believe that the Germans are thoroughly beaten, or that we can win the war in the way that has been talked of? This is a war such as has never occurred before. In the past it was armies that fought; now whole nations are fighting. Why should we have swelled heads? There never was a man who wished to see the British arms dominant more than I did, because I was reared in the Army. But I recognise the present situation. Flamboyant talk does nothing to win the war. Do we not know of the mistakes that have been made at headquarters, and can we believe all that ha« been told to us? We were told that we had an enormous army on the Western Front, and that our artillery force was so great that the guns were packed wheel to wheel, yet when the German onslaught took place we were forced to retreat until the reserves could be brought up. Sometimes a retreat is a strategical gain, but as one who, until early manhood, heard nothing but. military talk, I say that our Army was utterly unprepared for the great German .stroke. Having been driven back in this manner, what is the use of talking about continuing the war to a victorious finish, and telling the Germans, whose national feeling is as strong as ours, that we shall wipe them out before we talk peace or enter into negotiations? That is how they are talking in Germany. Does any one here think that those in Germany who are opposing the continuation of the war are pro- British? Of course, they are not. They are merely anti-Jingoistic Yet we in this community who differ from the majority on the subject of the war are branded as pro-Germans. I agreed with the honorable member for Melbourne up to a certain point. He expressed my views exactly in his references to the Hohenzollern dynasty. We know what that dynasty means. But we should be fools if we did not admit that behind it there is an organization that has shaken Europe. What is the use of saying that’ we are going to wipe out- the Germans and dictate terms of peace? Does any honorable member believe that at any stage of the war we shall be able to dictate terms of peace to the Central Powers?
– Does the honorable member think that the Germans will be able to ‘dictate terms of peace to the Allies?
– Most decidedly I do not. Notwithstanding all the talk about German kultur, I believe that we are more civilized than are the Prussians, and we ought not to say that millions more of young men must die to bring about peace. What is the secret of the strength of the’ Central Powers? It is that they can act on interior lines, and are thus in a position to deal with each assailant when they choose to do so. They have done that. Their organization, their generalship, and their statesmanship have been positively marvellous. Will anybody deny that? What took place in the earlier portion of the war? I have it on the authority of the members of the present Government that when the plenipotentiaries were sent to Bulgaria prior to that country entering the great struggle, the British Parliament actually haggled about whether the representative of the Empire should be granted £80 or £100 in connexion with his visit. On the other hand, the Germans entered Bulgaria in some thirty motor cars with flags flying, and they gave a big banquet to the whole of the ambassadors assembled there. They went -there with a great flourish of trumpets to impress upon the Bulgarians the idea that the Germans were somebody. They spent thousands of pounds in effecting their object. Yet in the British Parliament the paltry expenses of the British ambassador were actually criticised. It is idle to endeavour to belittle the statesmanship of the Central Powers. Do we not know that the whole of the operations of Germany have been of the highest order? This afternoon we heard the honorable member for Capricornia discussing the great spy system of Germany in America. Ever since the outbreak of the war it has been abundantly apparent that Germany has a wonderful espionage system throughout the world. We know that in Britain German money was dominant. We know, too, that British money was very strong in Germany. The armour-plate industry, prior to the war, was international - in character. Philip Snowden proved that the interests associated with the armourplating _ industry were international. British, German, French, American, and Italian capital was invested in that industry.
– All capital is international.
– Exactly. I can recollect the time when, as a youngster, I used to slap my chest and say that one Englishman was equal to five Frenchmen or ten Russians. That is the attitude which is adopted by the Prussians to-day. We know that there is only one portion of the Central Powers which is worth considering - the Prussian portion. The Prussians have built up a complete system of organization, which they call kultur. They have manager to cement the German Empire into one great whole, and they dominate it. Australian soldiers who have been prisoners in Germany, and who have recently returned home, emphatically declare that not one of the other peoples of the Central Powers exhibit the same feeling in regard to the war as is exhibited by the Prussians. What is the use of our saying that we are going to beat Germany to her knees? ‘ We know that we cannot do it.
– What is going to happen if we do not?
– There is no need to beat her to her knees.
– Will she ever go out of Belgium till she is on her knees?.
– I am very sorry that I have to reply to the question put by the honorable member in decent language. It hurts me to do so, but, nevertheless, I will do it. There is not a man upon this side of the chamber who believes that peace can be brought about unless Belgium is restored. But while we say that reparation must be made for the wrongs done by Germany, what tommy-rot it is to affirm that we’ are going to hold on to a few paltry islands that formerly belonged to her.
– And back Japan in Siberia.
– Exactly. What is the use of the islands of which I speak? White men will never live there unless they occupy some exalted position. In the British portion of New Guinea we have territory that, from a climatic stand-point, is we most salubrious to be found in any of these islands. Elsewhere malaria is rampant. Yet we pay our civil servants in Papua only£4 per week. Will anybody who has visited Port Moresby, Samarai, or Woodlark Island say that we should populate these places with white men ? I am quite willing to admit that, from a strategic standpoint, it may be necessary to hold them, but froma trading stand-point it certainly is not. Traders have assured me that the Marshall Islands are useless so far as Australia is concerned. The Japanese are running the show there.I confess that in order to prevent these islands being used by a foreign Power as a base from which to assail Australia in the future, it may be necessary to consider whether or not we should retain them. But we must recollect that the whole world is concerned in the present turmoil. If we can bring about a peace that will disarm the world it is useless to talk about the “scrap of paper’”’ which Germany tore up when she invaded Belgium. The German people have suffered during this war, just as other people have suffered, and the German Government can control them only by providing spectacular flashes such as that just witnessed on the Western Front. Because of their geographical position the Germans have been able to deal heavy blows to the whole of the Allies. We know that there are differences of opinion upon the question of whether or not this war ought to be fought out, of whether the expedition to Salonika was warranted, and of whether the despatch of an army to Palestine, where I am told there are nearly 1,000,000 troops to-day, was justified. I repeat that the Germans have been able to deal the Allies heavy blows merely by biding their time. But the time arrived at the end of 1916 when the Germans realized that they were beaten, and that they could not dominate the world. But because of the talk about wiping them out they were induced to hold on, When they wanted to submit. Talk about utterances from this side of the House embarrassing the British Government. Could anything be more embarrassing to the Imperial Government than the statement that Australia declines to give up the German colonies she has captured ‘I Why, the whole thing is a farce, and we know it. In their hearts honorable members opposite feel just as I do. There is not one atom of difference between their aspirations and my own. But to me the killing of millions of men, when I know that it can be prevented, is a thing which is simply appalling.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– The point that I wish to make - and I speak not only to the people of Australia, but to the whole of the belligerent nations - is that no nation or set of nations will submit quietly to subjugation. Just as the Allies are determined not to be crushed under the heels , of the. Prussian Junkers, so the German people are determined not to suffer a humiliating defeat. They feel just as strongly as we do, and it should be theaim of civilization that war as we know it shall not obtain again. The trouble is that thousands of people who have not to fight and to risk their lives clamour for war and yet more war. I am ready to submit to insult and humiliation at the hands of men who have been to the Front ; I can take a snub from them - although, in most cases, I feel that they do not know what they are doingbecause I recognise that they have fought for their country and have risked their lives; but I do not like to hear men and. women who have not to risk their lives talking, as so many of them do, about carrying this war to a successful issue. While men are being killed and maimed in their hundreds of thousands, others are making fortunes out of the war. It has been said over and over again that, at the close of a war, Army contractors alone have any spare money. I rememberan old doggerel that used to go the rounds of the newspapers in which was depicted a poorly-clothed woman walking down the street followed by another, resplendent in the gayest of costumes, who was described as -
The Army contractor’s daughter;
Spending it now, spending it now.
There are people in this world who profit by the carrying on of war. There are many such men engaged in commerce and industry, and we have no right to listen to their counsels.
If this message is to be sent to the Old Country we should make an addendum which will show the world that, while Australia has been and is still willing to do her share, she holds the view that if the great desire of the Allies can be obtained without submitting any country to a humiliating peace, an effort should be made to secure it, and so to put a stop to the maiming and killing of the young men of the nations. In the proposed message, as it stands, we flaunt before the people of the Central European nations the boast that we have the power to humiliate them, whereas, while we do not believe that they can defeat the Allies, there is nothing at present to show that we can defeat them. It has been said by others that this war is a war, not of armies, but of nations. Many thousands of the future fathers of our race are being maimed; many of our young men are being, destroyed, anu while all this is going on those who cannot take their places in the battlefield continue to talk of what should be done, and ought to be done. We all have at the Front men who are very dear to us, and regardless of what may be said of my action I oppose the motion in its present form, because I do not think we should in this way flaunt our strength and power in the face of the Central European nations.
We lose sight of the fact that many are making fortunes out of this war, while others are being forced to fight and die for us. We ought to say that we think this horror of horrors is too appalling to be continued. - If we could induce the Central European powers to agree to a peace on a basis of the restoration of the countries they have, devastated and the return of the few paltry islands in the Pacific we have captured, we ought to do so. The press and the Conservative and trading ^sections of the community that declare that these islands should not be restored to Germany without the consent of Australia are really hampering the power of the British Government to bring about a satisfactory peace. As sensible rational people we ought to look’ .the position in the face, and, if possible, come to some arrangement to put a stop to the horrors of war. Such an attitude on our part would not be humiliating; we could have adopted it with more force in 1916 and the beginning of 1917 than we can to-day, and I certainly think that we ought not to allow the retention of a few islands in the Pacific which we have captured from the Germans to stand as a barrier between us and peace.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews) in his closing remarks referred to the horrors of the war that is taking place on the other side of the world. Listening to him one would almost imagine that he and those associated with him held a sort of patent for peace; that they alone in this country believed in peace. I do not know that there is any one on this side of the House who is in favour of_war. Certainly no member of His Majesty’s Imperial Government is in favour of wax, and, what is more, it is not many years since there was an attempt on the part of certain European States to make war impossible. It will be remembered that the ex-Emperor Nicholas of Russia proposed to Britain and France that there should be a reduction of the armaments of the various European States, because they were a menace to the world.
– Was that before he tried to cut up Persia!
– I am speaking, not of ancient history, but of what occurred only some ten years ago. If the honorable member knew anything of modern history other than Bolshevik trash, he would not put such a question to me. The two European “ .States that objected to the disarmament proposals were Germany and Austria, for the obvious reason that they were prepared to settle any question by force of arms. It is said that we ought to recognise that it is the duty of the Commonwealth to urge the Imperial Government to move for peace. For my part, I strongly favour this motion, and am surprised that an honorable member should have seen fit to move an amendment so trivial as that which has been submitted. It is a mere quibble - a proposal to substitute”’ for the word “ victorious “ the word “ just.” I can describe it only as a fiddling, pettifogging, messing sort of way of dealing with a big question. It shows the utter inability of honorable members opposite to appreciate the tremendous situation which confronts our race to-day. I venture to prophesy that t within ten years, and certainly within twenty, the organized workers of Australia will regret and repudiate the action , that is being taken in their name to-day. As surely as the sun shines, the Australian worker is not a Bolshevik. The honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) can ‘ ‘ lay that nattering unction to his soul, “ because three-fourths of the workers of Australia have no sympathy with Bolshevikism, and the same thing applies wherever the English language is spoken. I am speaking from my judgment and experience of over forty years’ on both sides of the world. I have always brought to bear on public questions a mind well stored with information - in fact, I was credited with that before I ever saw this House, and I do not rise to address this Chamber or any other assemblage filled up with any of1 the double-distilled trash that is hawked about both inside and outside the House by honorable members opposite. Mr. Asquith stated at the outbreak of the war that the Allies were out to vindicate the rights of Belgium and the other free States of Europe, and to demand that reparation should be made to Belgium for the outrage committed on her. I say to honorable members opposite, “ If your august ally, the Kaiser, is so anxious for peace, why does he not evacuate Belgium ?” That is a very simple matter. We hear a lot of tall talk, but why do not the Opposition tell us something practicable and sensible? What is the. position taken up by Mr. Asquith as expressed on two occasions at the Mansion House in London when he was Prime Minister ? It is the same attitude that is taken up by President Wilson in America and by Mr. Samuel Gompers, the leader of the organized workers of the United States of America. There is no humbug about him. He does not want peace with Germany. He does not talk peace tripe. Apparently it is left to the so-called Labour party of Australia to do that. He says to the Germans, “ Smash your autocracy, or we will smash it for you.” That is the position taken up by our armies. It is the position of France, and the position of Italy. I do not know what some honorable” members opposite would think if certain Australians were in the same position as some of the Italians have been in, under the heel of Austria, for a number of generations. They would not get much encouragement when they talked about peace so long as their brother Italians were not free. The idea of men talking a lot of rubbish such as we have heard to-day, trying to mislead honest hard-working industrious people! These men are well paid for serving the Commonwealth in this House, yet they cannot find a better job to do than to deliberately mislead the people. Mr. Lloyd George, addressing a great body of working men in England prior to the last “ comb-out,” pointed out the true position of things, and one working man interrupted. The Prime Minister replied, “ Gentlemen, if you can show me any other road, for heaven’s sake do so, and I shall be only too willing to travel it.” Contrast the attitude taken up by men bike this with the talk we have suffered this afternoon, and the talk we hear outside the House when Honorable members on the other side are addressing meetings. One would think to near them that we were standing in the way of peace because we will not state our terms. On every occasion the Germans put up a series of kite-flying propositions with regard to peace without any authority behind them, and then they steadily, advance their armies. What do they care about peace then? The most intelligent people in the world realize today that this is a conflict between the’ armies of despotism and freedom. It is not a matter of some twopenny’ halfpenny reference to this evil or that evil in one country or another, but the broad and general principle that the people of a country have a right to govern themselves in the way they think best through their own parliamentary institutions. The ambition of Prussia is to rule the world by force The Prussians say, “ All your Christianity is rubbish j we do not believe in it. It makes people modest. It creates a certain moral sense in the community, but we. are ‘out to spread a superior kultur which’ is founded on brute force, and by virtue of the fact that we are the most brutal people, and masters of the world., we are going to inflict our will on the world whether you like it or not.” If honorable members are honest, they cannot get away from the position that either we have to succumb to that power or fight it. It has to be beaten by force of arms. If it is not, then we go down. Force is the only argument they listen to or know anything about. Honorable members talk about organizing the great Democracies of the world, which, they tell us, are going t« bring about peace, but that is all futile nonsense while we let the Kaiser’s armies wander about. If they had their way, I suppose we would, disband the British and Australian armies and also the armies of the Allies. Let us have another chapter out of “ modern history. Of all the consummate scamps the German Socialists are the worst. They are absolutely false to every .principle they professed to believe in, to every statement they have made, and everything they have done. Previous to the war, at international meetings of the Socialists of Europe they pledged themselves not to vote any more supplies if another war took place. The same pledge was willingly agreed to by the Socialists of France and. England, and before the war broke out the Socialists urged that an appeal should be made to the Governments of the various European States to keep peace. The French Socialists appealed to the French Government, and met with no difficulty, because the French Government were as anxious to preserve peace as they were. The same appeal was made to the British Government, but there was no need for it, because the British Government were only too anxious to keep the peace. The same thing applied to all the European States, but the German Socialists did nothing, because their organization was. nothing but a pup of the Kaiser’s all through the piece. When I come to the declaration of war, I will show up their villany still more. I am speaking on the authority of that well-known Spanish Socialist, who is the best advocate of the Allied cause in Spanish literature to-day. He states that one of these German Socialist scoundrels, Dr. Haase, went to Paris, and was with Jaures the day before he was murdered. He promised Jaures that he would vote against supplies for the purpose of the war. Thank Heaven, Jaures never lived to see the infamy of the German Socialists, because when this Dr. Haase went back to Germany, and war was declared, he never uttered a word’ of protest, but voted for the war budget. When asked for an explanation, he said, “The Kaiser’s Government said it was a war in defence of Germany.” Nobody knew better what were the facts than this two-faced villain, but that is the excuse always put up.
– By every Government.
– Name one.. The honorable member is not up in Broken Hill “ skiting “ now. I challenge the honorable member to produce any parallel in history to the infamy of the German Socialists and the German Government. We are. up against a power that is not only out to ‘govern the world by brute force, but to smash Christianity. Are the. German guns always trained on to cathedrals in Belgium and France for the love of Christianity ? No; it is through hatred of the Christian religion, which is a menace and impediment to the so-called German “kultur.” The people have been stuffed with the story that the Kaiser was responsible’ for the war. ‘ I say the whole of the cursed German people are responsible for it. They wanted war, and loved it, and hoped for “ the day “ to come. Now they have got “ day “ enough. The pre’liminary work was done by their professors, their preachers, and their press. The professors were directed to preach the gospel pf force. The children in the schools were taught for two generations to hate the British. That is the beautiful country that we are urged to go to, cap in hand, and say, “Please, when will you knock off the war?” I am bitterly surprised that in an Australian Parliament we should have to listen to stuff such as we have heard on this motion today. The Lutheran Church in Germany has long ceased to have anything of the brand of Luther about it. It is simply a Church where the gospel of brute force is taught, a Church purely and solely for the promulgation of that doctrine, and we cannot be surprised that these teachings have produced a race of people who believe th-t it is possible to cultivate the intellect of human beings to such an ‘extent that they will be superior to their fellows, although they lack all moral force and have lost all instincts of” morality. That is the charge that I bring against the German people. I do not pick out their Government, because these things could not have gone on if the German people had not been steeped in the gospel ‘that the German was superior to everybody else, and that brute force was the only thing of value in the world. We are reaping ‘the fruits of that harvest in the present dreadful war. I challenge any one to deny that those are the facts. No- wellinformed and intelligent man can deny that the German authorities forty years ago were too clever and had too much sense to adopt the ‘Austrian policy of terrorizing and trading one nationality against another. They knew that they had to build up a philosophy for an intelligent people to grasp. Whether that philosophy was true or false did not matter, because as any one who has had experience of the world knows, if you continually keep a particular philosophy under your patronage and try to believe in it, it will not be long before you do. believe in it. The attitude of the Germans in Belgium, in Northern France, and wherever German arms are in the ascendant, shows that it is possible for a people to be highly intellectual and yet have the instincts of the beasts of the field and nothing in common with the higher human nature. That state of affairs has been demonstrated in connexion with this war, and if we have any of the English common sense left amongst us, there is only one attitude that we can adopt. If the Germans desire peace, they need only to intimate to any representative man near them, that they are willing to negotiate for peace on the basis of the evacuation of Belgium, and peace will not be long delayed.
Let us regard this question from another point of view. In ten years’ time, certainly before twenty years have elapsed, Australians will wonder what bewitched the Labour Party into adopting such an extraordinary attitude in regard to this matter. Let us look at the example of America. When the United States entered this war the American people agreed to the principle of conscription because America is a democracy. In that free country every . man has a right to vote, and every native-born American may aspire to any position, including the _ Presidency, . but likewise every man in that democracy has to pay the blood tax. Those who have sprung from the race which has its home in the Northern Isles know that, from time to time, our people have had to pay the blood tax, and they have paid it without murmuring.
In each generation some have to pay its blood tax. It is unfortunate when that tax falls on any generation, but it is more unfortunate for any country when its people are unwilling to pay the tax. I do not wish to revive the controversy that has raged in this country during the last eighteen months, but it is a singular fact that of all the English-speaking countries, with the exception of South Africa, where, of “course, there are racial difficulties, and of all the countries that are supporting the Allies in this war, Australia alone has refused conscription. We hear people outside standing oh their tubs and declaring that they are out to protect democracy. They know nothing about democracy. Honorable members opposite are the lackeys of an autocracy. Democracy is not what a handful of noisy Australians may please to call it. A democracy is a community in which the people have the right of government in their own hands, and where they are ready to defend that right, paying even the blood tax if necessary. I am amused by 0 the soap-box orators amongst the supporters of honorable members opposite. Let us view for a moment the position as it ought to appeal to Australians, and as, indeed, it has appealed to all Australians who have any brains and use them.
– Then, not many Australians have brains?
– The’ .honorable member has brains, and I am sure he has no sympathy with much of what has been said on his side to-day. We know that, in spite of the great efforts put forth by the Allies, the Germans have been very successful during the last twelve months. What has happened in Russia and Italy I shall not refer to now beyond remarking that the Italian strategy was to blame for the stupendous defeat suffered by the armies of Italy. But Germany is in possession of Belgium to-day, and it is Germany’s ambition to become a sea Power equal to Great Britain. To that end she built up a large navy, which has been kept within its harbors by the British Fleet. Germany now hopes to win on lana what she has been unable to win at sea. An honorable member on the other side asked us to look at war from a German point of view. If we do that for a few minutes, we shall probably realize what is the British point of view, and incidentally the Australian point of view. Germany built up a large fleet for the day when she would be able to smash Great Britain’s sea power. We speak about- inducing Germany to evacuate Belgium. She will never do than until she is kicked out of Belgium, or is smashed in some other way so that she is compelled to retire within her own borders. Germany desires an expansion of her sea-board, so that the coastline from Emden to Ostend will be practically under the control of Germany and enable her to menace the independence and integrity of Great Britain.When honorable members talk so much about the interests of Australia, do they forget that England has some claim on this country? Do they forget that our independence and all the liberties we enjoy are ours solely because St. George’s Cross, the ensign of the British Navy, has always flown around the Australian shores? Australians have been so accustomed to see that ensign from boyhood upwards that they accept it purely as a matter of course. How long will that ensign fly in the southern seas for the protection of Australia if the Belgian sea-board remains in the hands of Germany? Great Britain is compelled to fight to the bitter ‘ end to insure that that sea-board shall not be in the possession of any but a small neutral State. It is not greed or covetousness that prompts this policy. Great Britainhas never shown any desire that Belgium should become British territory. It has always been pur policy to keep that coastline Under the control of a neutral State, whose independence is guaranteed by all the great Treaty Powers, so that Britain and every other nation might be free of menace. It is realized even by men who do not speak the English language that the homeof our kinsmen overseas is an island, and that very fact makes it necessary for Great Britain to be concerned as to who controls the neighbouring sea-bqard. Honorable members talk of asking the Germans to state their terms of peace. The German authorities know full well the terms upon which the Allies will make peace. Those terms have been uttered over and over again - by Mr. Asquith on three occasions, by Mr. Lloyd George on two occasions, and by President Wilson, since the Americans entered the war, on more than one occasion. Yet there are men in the Australian Parliament who have the audacity to say that the Allies’ terms of peace have never been stated. Honorable members opposite have put forward this amendment merely for the purpose of keeping their end up, and showing what great patriots they are.
– Most honorable members on the Government side have accused us of disloyalty.
– The honorable member belongs to the one cock-eyed Labour party in the world. In all other countries under the British flag all parties are united in one Government, but honorable members opposite are such a cockeyed lot that they do not love their country. Why, amongst all the Labour parties in British communities, is the Australian Labour party the exception? Honorable members opposite are content so long as they can hit the Government. I do not care two straws about the personnel of the Government so long as they are loyal to the Empire, and carry out a policy calculated to win the war. At such times as this the only criticism that should be levelled at the Government by any man in the House or outside of it, or by any newspaper in the land, should be criticism for the purpose of supporting and strengthening Ministerial policy in regard to the war. Why should honorable members opposite consider themselves the bandy-legged section of the world ? They are an insult to all who speak the English language, so long as they refuse to join in a movement to close up the ranks and face the common enemy. That is the charge I bring against them.
– Address the Chair, and leave honorable members oh this side alone.
– Order ! I ask the honorable member to address the Chair.
– I am aware, Mr. Speaker,that interjections are out of order, but I welcome them in order to find out, if possible, the reason for the faith which supports honorable members opposite.
I only want nowto say a few words with regard to Russia. Russia has had great misfortunes. In the early part of the war she put up a splendid fight for herself and the Allies, but, unhappily, she had been too much under German influence ever since the time of Peter the Great, and many of the governing classes are simply creatures of the Teutonic races. God forbid that I should say this of all of them, as I am aware that many noblemen, merchants, and peasants of Russia are imbued witu the deep love of their country ; but I am confident in stating that one-third of the Russian ruling classes at least are under German influence. There can be no doubt that the leaders of this Bolshevik movement are in , he pay of the German Government, so Russia has been hit from all sides, and at the present time is suffering all the excesses of a terrible revolution. This is the condition ‘ of affairs which the honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) would desire for this country. I tell him that a revolution by force, such as has swept over Russia in recent times, must end in force, and that the working classes will always suffer the most. They suffered most in the French revolution, and likewise they will suffer most in the Russian revolution. I say, however, that Russia is a great country, and her people a great people. She has a literature more glorious than that of Germany, and when there comes a restoration to” sanity, the great Slavonic race will attain its destiny, when perhaps the British race may be going down. I deny that all this Bolshevik trash and tyranny is the summit of Russian national achievement, and I warn the House that Bolshevik agents are in Australia. I wonder how many honorable members opposite know anything about that? It is nearly time that Australia awakened to the danger of this influence. Germany has two methods of conducting war in order to defeat her enemies; one, a system of espionage, reduced to a fine art, and eclipsing anything the world has ever seen before, and the other the issue by means of German money of Socialistic literature printed very often “in Germany, but which would not be tolerated for a moment within her borders if directed against German interests. This propaganda is going on in Australia to-day, and it is time Australians were on their guard against it. England passed through trying times when threatened by the Spanish Armada, and when the beacon fires flashed along the coasts of the Mother Country calling out for her sons to defend old England. The times to-day are more trying. A bigger strain is placed upon our brethren in England. If I were in the humour to-night I should like to read a letter which I received to-day from a London relative of mine, a man who, when he wrote, was watching the coffin of his dead mother while Zeppelin bombs were smashing the houses in the front and’ back of his place, and who feared lest one should smash his own home. I sometimeswish a Zeppelin bomb could be dropped! amongst members on the other side, to awaken them to the danger threatening the Empire.
Honorable members talk about the high price of living in Australia. Well, the Government are tackling this problem, and. I remind honorable members that food is cheaper in Australia than anywhere else in the world. I shall support the motion, and am surprised that an amendment of the character submitted has been moved. I again ask honorable members opposite why they regard themselves
As exceptional and seek to put the brand of Cain upon all who kill in war. Why should they be the exception among all the Labour parties in the world? If the mistakes of this Government had been a thousand times greater than they are, that would not justify members of the Labour Party in standing out of the Government.
– Is that an official offer from your party to this party?
– The honorable member need not worry whether it is official or not. He can take it for granted that I know the sentiment of eve- y man on this side of the House, as well as the sentiment of 90 per cent, of the people of Australia, and that is that we should be united m this great struggle.
Mr. WALLACE (West Sydney) (8.40J. - It is not my desire to speak at length on this question, but I wish to define my attitude. We all recognise the valour of our soldiers who are fighting for us, and we all admit that we owe them a debt of gratitude, but j. want to make it clear that the latter part of the motion does not appeal to me at all.
– How is it then that your colleagues m the Senate agreed to
– I can only speak for myself. I am not concerned with what my colleagues in the Senate have done. The latter portion pf the motion speaks of a determination “ to continue the war until a victorious peace is obtained,” but I would like to know from the Prime Minister (Mr.
Hughes) what is meant by a victorious peace. We know that in June,. 1916, when he represented Australia at the Paris Economic Conference, certain resolutionswere agreed to, and I have no hesitationin saying that their effect has been to prolong this war. Those resolutions have been used by the several Powers for the purpose of goading their people to further efforts. We all want peace, but we should recognise that instead of passing “hifalutin” resolutions about a determinationto continue to fight, and all that sort of thing, we should endeavour to find ways and means of getting the belligerents together to discuss peace terms. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald) has said that Germany has not defined her peace terms. Peace terms have been outlined by Great Britain, America, France, Italy, and the Central Powers, and, so far as I can see, there is very little difference in the whole of them. Any difference there may be could, I am quite satisfied, be settled at a round-table conference of the belligerents. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has spoken of the position of Belgium, and whilst I am not a strategist myself,I realize that Germany has made sacrifices just as we have, and she is holding Belgium, just as we are holding German Possessions, and certainly will hold that country until such fame as we can get together and discuss peace terms. In Belgium, Germany has a tactical advantage which she is not likely to give up.. We have had four years of war, with all the sacrifices that they have entailed, but those sacrifices have not been made by ourselves. We may have sons and near anddear relatives at the Front, but others have those whoare near and dear to them fighting over there whom they are anxious to get back to Australia. There are also many people in Great Britain who have relations fighting and who wish to get them back. Each week every honorable member receives dozens of letters from mothers and fathers asking him to use his influence with the Defence Department for the purpose of getting relatives brought back home. Is it the inflexible determination of those people to continue this war to a victorious peace? No. They are looking forward to peace in order to get their relatives back home with them - peace on the best conditions obtainable, and that should be our object. It should not be our object to try to keep the war going. Our object should be to try to stop the war, and we shall not do that by means of force. Force brought about the war, but it is not going to end it. As for crushing German militarism, is there any honorable member here who will assume that we can do it by force of arms? If German militarism is tobe crushed at all, it can only be crushed from within by the people of Germany themselves, and if they are not prepared to throw off the yoke of militarism, all the force that we may employ from outside will not compel them to do it - unless we can crush. Germany to her knees, which we know is impossible.
– That is the cry of the beaten man.
– Well, let it go at that.
– But we do . not agree with it.
– We recognise that we are not beaten. If we were beaten, would the commercial interests of this country, or those on the other side of the world be building up large profits? Would Mr. Denison Miller and those concerned with him in Australia be begging them to lend their money at4½ per cent. interest? Would they be begging us to assist in winning the war, and be begging us to put our money into war loans? The commercial interests are doing this because they recognise that they are perfectly safe, and while they hold that view the workers know that they are perfectly safe from German aggression.
– How does the honorable member propose to get a victorious peace ?
– I ask the honorable member how he proposes to get it.
– By beating the Germans.
– The honorable member is going to get it by sending every working man’s son out of the country to be crucified and murdered on the battlefield, by slaughtering every white man in the British . Empire. We are going to beat the Germans by slaughtering every German, or we are going to be slaughtered ourselves, and when the last two men face each other across the trenches, the German on the one side and the Briton on the other, the commercial interests at Home will draw on the hordes of Asia for their supply of labour. Is that the sort of peace the honorable member wants ? It is not the sort of peace that I would ever be a party to. I hear honorable members shouting “ Germany.” Yes, Germany is in the same position. The German individual is human, just the same as any honorable member here, and if he could be told the truth I am sure that he would be prepared to negotiate for a peace, and to throw down his arms, as would every other manwho hates war as much as I do.
– The Kaiser wouldd not.
– Who is the Kaiser?
– He is the Lord of Germany.
– He is the big head of a military machine; just as other Kaisers in other parts of the world are heads of military machines in their respective countries. I admit that the Kaiser has great power in Germany, but those responsible for the conduct of affairs in our country are equally powerful. It was practically twenty individuals who hurled millions of men against one another in war. Twenty individuals in some of the Allied nations hold the destinies of millions in their hands, and those millions are prepared to obey them. They have equally as much poweras the Kaiser has. I do not say that we were not entitled to enter into this war. I I quite recognise that when war broke out we had to check it, but now after four years both sides are prepared to negotiate for peace. If three days after the war commenced, when Liege was holding up the Germans and an armistice was granted, the Kaiser had said, “ I am prepared to retire into Germany and give up all thoughts of war,” we would have been prepared to accept the offer and the conditions of peace then would have been on the basis of the status quo ante helium, each country retaining its own territory. Later on, when the terms of peace were proposed we found that the Powers who thought they were on top were seeking to hold the territories they had taken from Germany, and they were not prepared to negotiate. I let the people judge for themselves whether in that respect the Powers were right or wrong, but the fact remains that if it is right for us to hold aninch of German territory by force, it must be right for Germany to hold whatever territory she has taken.
– The honorable member should be in Germany.
– I am speaking the truth, and the honorable member does notlike it. Honorable members sitting opposite are, just as I am, prepared to fight to the last gasp, but they forget that this war, as it is being conducted, must continue to inflict untold privations and sufferings on those who are fighting overseas.
– We do not forget them.
– I do not say that the honorable member does, but men in the same capacity as himself are responsible for the length of time these privations are going to be endured, and for the length of time our men are to be kept fighting under those conditions overseas. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) admits that the adoption of this motion will make very little difference, so far as the conduct of the war is concerned. I quite agree with him.
– It will help to inspire our men.
– This is the inspiration which we should give our men : While we are prepared to’ do all we can to. succour and assist them, we should also be prepared to do all we possibly can to end this horrible carnage, and to get them back to our shores as soon as possible, compatible with the safety of the Empire. That is the sort of resolution that should go out from this Chamber, and the sort that I am prepared to support at any time. I am not prepared to live under the German yoke. I know as much about German methods as any other honorable member does. I hold no brief for the Germans, or for the people of any other nationality, but if it is practicable - and that is the main point of my argument this evening - to end the war on the basis of the conditions that prevailed prior to the outbreak of the war we should be prepared to accept those terms. We should not be looking for large indemnities or annexations of territories, but we should’ be prepared to accept what existed prior to the commencement of thewar ; and having restored ourselves to that point, the people everywhere must recognise- Germans included - that it is impossible in this age for any one nation to take on itself the thought of going out to conquer the rest of the world. This war having been concluded it is pretty safe to assume that there will be no more wars.
– I suppose we should go on our bended knees to the Germans.
– We should recognise what we are up against. We should recognise that, while Germany has adopted certain tactics in order to conquer the world, she is getting her end, not altogether by force, but by pacific methods. Take Lithuania, Livonia, and the Ukraine; she has taken those countries, not by force, but by peaceful methods.
– By trickery and deception.
– Exactly ; but she has taken them by peaceful methods, and she can hold them. We must recognise that if we are going to drive Germany to subjection we must also break down Courland, Lithuania, Livonia, Esthonia, and Finland; we must invade those countries and restore them to Russia. How long will the war last? And if we are to take on ourselves the task of placing the world under subjection, it will be merely a reversal of what has occurred. Germany already is in possession of those places, and are we, in our turn, to take on the duty of liberating the world; fighting people who were formerly our Allies ?
– Will not defeat on the Western Front mean the defeat of Germany ?
– Defeat on the Western Front may possibly mean defeat . for us, but we are not discussing whether we are likely to be defeated on the Western Front or not. In any ease, how are we to conduct the war to a victorious conclusion if we are defeated on the Western Front? Germany will have conducted the war to a glorious conclusion, and will say to us, “Here is your resolution; you were going to drive us to subjection ; you were going to conduct the war to a victorious termination, and now we will conduct it to a victorious conclusion for ourselves.” That is the position which will face us. By the motion before us we are reiterating what was done at the Paris Economic Conference. I am going to vote for the amendment for that reason. While we, on this side, are prepared to conduct the war until peace is established, we are not going to lay down the details of what that peace shall be.
– You do not want a victorious peace?
– To some people victorious peace means one thing; to others it means another thing. For my honorable friend it possibly means an open market for the sale of his wool. For the worker it would possibly mean the opportunity to carry on the duties devolving on him free from any restraint, but to the commercial man it means the complete economic subjection of Germany and the taking over of the markets Germany formerly controlled, also the building up of a big army and navy in order to keep Germany in subjection, so that those markets will be kept open for the large commercial interests of the Allies. That is not the sort of peace for which the worker is fighting, and it is not the sort of peace I desire. I want a peace by which all the human family will become as brothers, and under which we can meet one another on the same equitable terms that existed prior to the war.
– Under German rule?
– I am not dealing with German rule. I cannot be tied down to the claim that I want to live under German rule. I want to live under the same rule that I am living under today. It is good enough for me. But if the matter of peace were left to the honorable member there would be no one of my kind left. We would be exterminated by the time the honorable member had got the sort of peace he desires. I am satisfied that the carrying of the motion in this form would not be compatible with the principles I cherish. I will vote for the amendment because I hold that, while we must fight for peace, we have no right to dictate what sort of peace it should be. We, on this side, only say that the status quo antebellum should be restored. There should be no annexations and no indemnities, and the territories already held by the belligerent nations should be restored to the peoples. In some cases we might well adopt what Germany herself has agreed to in her peace proposals - that is, to submit the question of the domination of particular countries to a plebiscite of the peoples of the territories concerned. That is democracy. The people are the best judges of who should rule them and their land.
.- The difficulty I have in discussing the motion is that I am quite unable to put myself in the position of honorable members opposite. I cannot understand how men gifted with the ordinary amount of intelligence, humanity and conscientiousness can talk as I have heard them do for the past two hours. They say, “ Negotiate for peace “ ; they condemn the term “ victorious peace.” The men of Belgium who have seen their women raped and their children slaughtered do not talk of negotiating for peace. They are determined to fight to the last man for a victorious outcome of the conflict. The workers of Great Britain are determined likewise, as are also those of Prance, Italy, and the United States. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat has talked about the magnificent fighting of our men at the Front. They not only fight, but are ready to die for a victorious peace. There is no talk on their part regarding negotiations at present. But we are treated here, in this Chamber, to the spectacle of able-bodied young men who are sneaking behind those men at the Front, talking the language of cowardice and submission at a time and under conditions that make honest people in Australia ashamed that they are associated with such beings.
Let .us consider the situation on which it is suggested we should negotiate for terms of peace. For the past fifty years Germany has been preparing for this war. For fifty years she has been working unitedly as a nation to secure the dominance of Europe and ultimately of the world. No effort has been spared; no sacrifice has been too small. Every trick and subterfuge by which that object could be forwarded has been resorted to. Morality, Christianity, humanity, the claims of each and all, have been thrust aside that Germany might achieve at the earliest possible moment her great aim. I held an idea at one time that we were fighting only Prussian militarism, but in view of overwhelming proofs to the contrary I have come to the conclusion that it is not Prussian militarism, but German militarism as a whole - German greed and lust for power and domination - that we are fighting. Is it possible for the Allies to enter into negotiations on the present military situation? Belgium, large tracts of the Balkans, and several great territories of Russia are in the hands of the Germans. Under these conditions Germany is at the present time the dominant Power of Europe, and if it were left in its present position by any premature or inconclusive peace, the world would see a repetition of ancient times in relation to the gigantic contests which took place between Rome and Carthage. Carthage, after the first Punic war, came to an inconclusive peace with Rome. Rome, the great central Power of Europe at that period, bided her opportunity, and came at Carthage a second time, when it suited Rome and did not suit her enemy. And where is Carthage to-day? The site of the city can hardly be found; and there are no people on the earth whom we can trace as having been associated with or descended from what was once the greatest maritime Power of the earth.
– Where is Rome to-day?
– Rome is still to the fore, and her influence is shown very largely at present against the Teutonic force, which would fain overwhelm the culture and civilization which the world must give Rome- the honour and glory of having established amongst us for all time.
A victorious peace or an honorable peace is really one and the same thing. An honorable peace necessarily means the restitution of Belgium to the people of Belgium. It necessarily implies the restoration of those parts of Russia and Poland and Servia and Roumania which are under German dominance to-day. So we need not quibble about the use of this particular word; but it is absolutely necessary that the people who are fighting Germany should realize that it is their duty now and for all time to make it impossible for that country to repeat the ravages and atrocities which have been perpetrated in the last four years. If we leave her now. under the present military situation there is nothing more sure than that she will return to her old schemes and ambitions, and with the certainty next time that she will win. She would, under the present military situation, become the centre of a great middle European Empire, which would give her resources in men, in money, in the various ores necessary to commercial and military supremacy, in harbors, and in the capacity for creating fleets which would undoubtedly give to her first place in Europe, and would ultimately lead to the ruin of the British Empire. We would be criminal if, looking such a situation in the face, we failed to do our utmost to make that-an impossibility for the near future.
There is no suggestion that we should carry on the war to the point of exhaustion suggested by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Wallace). We’ are face to face with the imminent danger of a collapse at present, which would mean that Germany remained master of the situation. ‘ What we do want is to throw every ounce of energy and every possible man into the fight until such time as the great people of the United States shall be able to throw something like their effective and efficient forces into the balance in favour of the Allies. When that happens there can be no doubt as to the result in a military sense, and it will not mean the annihilation of the large numbers of the Allies that the honorable member - has depicted. It will only mean a holding up until such time as sufficient forces can be thrown into the balance so as not only to put it right again, but weigh it over a little upon our side. Germany is not so foolish as to carry on a war that she knows to be hopeless. Then, when that stage has arrived, we can negotiate with her; but not until then.
I regret that this debate has occurred. It is deplorable that in this country, which stands to lose more than any other country of the Allies if the war goes against us, we should be notorious by the strength of our antagonism to a just and honorable, and necessary war. I wonder what honorable members opposite would say if, in the course of a fey/ weeks, the Allied armies were so shattered as to be compelled to approach Germany and negotiate for the best terms of peace they could obtain, and then for Germany to suggest the handing over of Australia as one of the prizes of her victorious prosecution of the conflict. Is it impossible? By no means. Anything may happen in the next few weeks, and surely, in view of the critical military situation, this debate might wellhave been spared the Allies, spared our women and children, and spared our land, which will yet, I trust, wipe out the disgrace and obloquy of the actions and speech of some of its men, and of its women, too, I regret to say, in these days.
.- It is a most satisfactory thing that at last in the Australian Parliament we have had an opportunity to discuss the question of peace. I disagree entirely with the suggestion of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler) that this discussion is regrettable and deplorable. The fact remains that in every Parliament of the world except Australia this question has been discussed. The House of Commons has repeatedly discussed the question of peace and the terms cn which peace might be secured. The French Parliament has discussed it; the German Parliament has discussed it; and it is most unfortunate that it has been so long before the Australian Parliament has had a fair chance to discuss it also. I regret that the question should have come up so unexpectedly and under cover of such a motion. It starts most commendably with an expression of the unanimous feeling of every member in regard to the doings of our soldiers at the Front. If I were inclined to take- a party view of the question, as suggested by certain members opposite, I could find in this motion .’ sufficient grounds for any amount o( attack on the Government. For instance, the motion refers to the brave deeds of V our soldiers. Quite so. But the soldiers are asking for more than talk - they are asking for something to be done. One com- plaint heard in Australia to-day is as to the treatment that the soldiers are receiving from the Government. If I desired to talk party politics, I might refer to the firm intention expressed to fight on to secure a “ victorious peace,” and ask what has this “ Win-the-war “ Government done during the last twelve months to secure that “ victorious peace “ and the freedom of the world.
– Then, for God’s sake, let us get on and do something, and not indulge in this talk!
– Exactly; that is the spirit I wish to emphasize. How can honorable members opposite expect us to respond to an invitation given to us at one mom’ent to join in successfully prosecuting the war, when the next moment we are assailed with all sorts of misrepresentation and insults? Over and over again to-night we have been called Germans.
– Who started that?
– The honorable member who preceded me was told he ought to be in Germany. . -
– So he ought. !
– And yet the next moment honorable members opposite will ask us, “Why don’t you join with us?”
In discussing this question, I shall be very brief, and I wish to make it quite clear that I express only my own opinions. I take no responsibility for the opinions expressed by any honorable member who has preceded me, ana I ask no one to be responsible for the opinions expressed by me. And my own opinions can be simply expressed in a word. Peace must come at some time, and it must come in this war by negotiation. That is admitted by all authorities.
– No, it is not - most distinctly not I
– Peace must come by negotiation, some time or other; no matter who wins or loses, or whether it is a draw, there must be negotiation. If by negotiation this war can be ended at any time, then those who prolong it for a single hour longer than is necessary are not patriots, but traitors.
– You are begging the question when you say ‘ ‘ longer than is necessary.”
– I am not running away from .the question at all. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler) said there was a determination to prosecute the war ‘until the period of exhaustion had arrived.
– The “period of exhaustion “ referred to by the honorable member who preceded me.
– If I understand the term “ victorious peace,” it means that we are asked to declare that we are determined to go on with this war until Germany is so exhausted that she will appeal for peace.
– Until we can make our own terms.
– That is saying the same thing in another way. We are now getting to know exactly what “ a victorious peace “ means. After all, we have not travelled far since 1915, when, in those hysterical and flamboyant phrases of our Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and Mr. Lloyd George, we were told that Germany must be crushed and beaten until she could never raise her head again.
– We were also told that by Mr. Fisher.
- Mr. Fisher never said anything of the kind. However, if that is the idea, I do not favour a peace based on such a proposal. I stand where Mr. Asquith stood, and I have supported his idea from the beginning of the war that it is one to secure the protection of the world from Prussian militarism. That is what we are out to beat, not Germany. Mr. Balfour and some of the leading statesmen in Great Britain have said that we are not out to beat Germany, but to secure the protection of the world against Prussian militarism. This phrase, “ Prussian militarism “ has become more descriptive of a system than a phrase of mere geographical implication; and, unfortunately, one is given to wonder whether, in the prosecution of the war to defeat that militarism, we are not in great danger of imposing the same system on the very nations who are trying to crush it.
The world to-day is suffering, and Australia is suffering, from an attack of Prussianism through this war. I entirely agree that we cannot stop this war until we are sure that militarism in Germany, Great Britain, or. anywhere else is not going to be a continual menace tq the safety and peace of the world. Further, I say that Germany, as a military nation’, is not paralleled by any other; it is a military nation of such a peculiar type that I do not know any argument that will appeal to it unless it be that of superior force. Then” comes the question how far we are to carry our superior force against Germany before we are prepared to say, “ Are you ready to talk peace?” It is suggested that we must go on until Germany cries “Enough !” - . that we must go on until Germany is willing to suppress its system of militarism, until the Hohenzollern dynasty is removed, and representative; government is established in that country. Again I take my place humbly and respectfully alongside those men in the British Parliament to-day who say that it is not our business - and certainly it is not one of the objects of the war - to say to Germans who shall be their rulers and what form of government they shall adopt.
– The motion does not ask that.
– The motion, if it. means anything, means that we are going on with the war until we have imposed our conditions on Germany, and those conditions include the removal of the Hohenzollern dynasty and the establishment of representative government. We are told that this is not a war of aggrandisement, and that our object is not to seize territory, and yet there are a number of men in Australia, amongst whom are supporters of the Government, who say that we must hang on to the territory of Germany that we have seized in the Pacific. If the question of retention of the German overseas colonies is a means of perpetuating the war, that is not sufficient justification for the human slaughter that is going on; our desire to retain German New Guinea is not worth the loss of one Australian soldier.
If this war is as popular as honorable members would suggest, how is it that there are so many books written to-day, and so much strong agitation against the continuance of the war in all the countries engaged in it?
– There is German gold in all these countries.
– Talking like that does not make any difference to the facts. The suggestion about German gold operating in Australia may be true, but I do not tnink that the honorable member desires to repeat the suggestion that because we on this side are anxious for peace we are in the pay of Germany.
The most recent books published in regard to the war show that the rank and file of the soldiers are asking more than ever before what it is all r.bout, and whether it is worth while to go on fighting a single day longer.
– Which soldiers?
– The soldiers of every belligerent country to-day.
-i have read many books about the rankand file, and I only know one by a half-baked traitor that makes any such suggestion.
– I have quite recently read a book entitled Under Fire, by a Frenchman, Henri Barbousse, which is recognised as the greatest work on the war to-day.
– At any rate, it is so described in the heading of a review of it in an Australian paper quite recently. Let honorable members employ their own knowledge in regard to this matter; let them look at any of the letters from the rank and file which come withintheir reach, and also read what the press correspondent said in this connexion. The soldiers at special seasons are continually warned against fraternising with the enemy; and if a vote were taken amongst them tomorrow they would say, “ End the war at once, and be done with it.” I admit that if a vote were taken amongst a certain class that we find in all communities the result would be different. We are not a bit better than they are in Germany in this respect. We have to remember those who are making money out of the war; and if a vote were taken amongst the officers they would declare for its continuance. There is a section to whom war is a perfect God-send, a section in the Army which is necessarily better off in war time. To many officers war represents the only chance of promotion.
I have discussed this question with some officers lately returned from the Front - one recently in Melbourne and one in Brisbane last week - and they all tell one story. They say that there is no hope of the Germans breaking through on the Western Front, and that, unfortunately, there is very little hope of the< British breaking through. Those officers expect that the war will have to be won insome other direction- - how long aheadthey know not - but they say that if the conferring of titles in the Army were stopped, and if the promotion of officers was not so freely made as to make it worth their while to seek for emoluments, the war would come to a speedier end. One officer, who is a major, goes so far as to say that there are a number of officers who do not mind how long the war lasts, and that it could have finished three years ago if the officers had been willing.
– I wonder at a man of your intellect talking such trash !
– I am sorry that I have not some of the letters here so that I might read them.
– I do not doubt that you have received letters, but I wonder at yon swallowing such trash.
– I do not think that it is trash. It is my firm conviction that all the nations are weary of this war, and are ready to end it. The differences between us relate to the manner of ending it. To my mind, there can be no end to the war if an end would mean the reduction of the status of our nation or of the safeguards of the liberties of Australia. There can be no end to the war so far as we are concerned if that would mean the least German domination over us. But can any honorable member suggest to me a reason why we should not come to an honorable peace ? It might be thought, from what honorable members opposite have said, that we on this side are prepared to lay down arms and to give way to the Germans entirely.
– Several members opposite practically urged that course tonight.
– Nothing of the kind was said. No doubt, my speech, and those of my comrades here, will be spoken of throughout the country as disloyal; but we are accustomed to misrepresentation. To call me a ,pro-German does not affect my view of the situation, and the giving of names will not advance the cause of honorable members opposite, nor add weight to their argument. We, on this side, wish to know why, if there is a possibility of ending the war honorably, and in conformity with the ideas with which we entered into it, the fighting and slaughter should continue.
– Can there be an end without a victory?
– The victory might be one for common sense instead of for militarism. What honorable members opposite wish for is a victory of force, of Prussianism ; what we advocate is the victory of .humanity, of honorable, honest, good sense. Let me quote one or two orin,ons on this subject that have been published in Great Britain. The late Lord Brassey, an ex-Governor of Victoria, writing in the Economist, said -
Surely we may ask ourselves, is it worth while indefinitely to prolong the awful struggle, with its lamentable sacrifice of life and the waste of resources not easily to be replaced t His letter was replied to by an ex-Lord Chancellor of England, Lord Loreburn, who, in the course of his communication, used these words -
I believe that more than one neutral Power is on the alert to help forward an honorable ending of this war, and, further, that if treated as they should be with proper confidence on both sides, they would succeed. It would be a very serious error if such an opportunity is not used. i
Lord Beauchamp, an ex-Governor of New South Wales, also wrote to the Economist, saying that -
The cause for which we fight has been amply stated, and the ‘ time has surely come when we may consider what difference there is between our terms and those of our enemy, and whether ‘another year of war, with its awful loss of life and treasure, will alter that difference to any- appreciable extent. Probably it is the war, and the war only, which keeps Prussian militarism alive.
With those sentiments I entirely agree.
I believe that the most unjust peace is better than the most righteous war. Those may seem contradictory terms, because in the abstract one cannot understand how a peace could be unjust or a war righteous. Peace is so much to be desired and sought from every moral, commercial, and humane stand-point that it is wonderful that we should be so anxious to continue to fight if it is possible to obtain peace on honorable terms. At the earliest moment when it becomes possible to end the war on honorable terms we should discontinue fighting. Day after day, and week after week, the insane slaughter goes on. The white races are killing off each other, while the yellow races watch and gleefully wonder when their turn will come to have a go at the exhausted remnant. The Asiatics are a nightmare to me in connexion with this war. I look forward to the time when we shall need the combination of all the European countries, and the organization of all their resources, to protect us against the yellow races.
– We should not get much help then if we do not do better than we are doing to-day.
– I do not place much reliance on any assistance that we may obtain from the. yellow races. I am” too suspicious of their future movements to do that. A few short months ago honorable gentlemen opposite were denouncing President Wilson for proposing that there should be a peace without victory; now they applaud him.
– Because he does not propose that to-day.
– I do not approve of President Wilson’s formula, of peace without victory. I believe it to be possible to secure a peace without victory, but I do not think it would be an honorable peace. But President Wilson has laid down the basis for an honorable peace, a basis that has been accepted by all the Allied Powers, and is on its way to acceptance by the Germans themselves. When the Germans are willing to accept that basis for peace, which will not mean a victory either for the Allies or for them, not a victorious, but an honorable, peace-
– Does the honorable member recollect President Wilson’s last reply to Germany, that he would not negotiate with her because he could not take her word.
– Quite so, and I believe him in that matter. I have so little faith in her word that I think we should have to tie her down very tightly to whatever treaties we may have to propose; But what honorable gentlemen opposite are fighting for is what the Germans are fighting for.
Honorable gentlemen opposite advocate the continuance of the present sacrifice of lives and the immense suffering that is now going_ on, which is bringing about the exhaustion of the white races, until they can impose their will on Germany, because she has been crushed and beaten to her knees. We on this side say that there is no need to carry on the war until that time comes. Germany has shown ability and power to a remarkable and unexpected extent. No one imagined for a moment that she possessed the reserve force that she has exhibited. But no matter when or how it may come, on the very first occasion when Germany and her supporters, or the Allies and their supporters, are prepared to say, “ Let us get together and talk this matter over,” we shall see an exhibition of the common sense of civilized beings.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald) made a remark - fortunately it will not have much effect - which shows what some honorable members regard as a victorious peace, and what they are pleased to consider would be a proper ending to the war. He referred to the Germans as animals, as beasts, as exhibiting no trait of feeling or humanity. The Germans have done a lot of things that are deplorable, and will redound to their discredit for centuries to come. There are things which Germany has done in ‘this war which will never be forgotten, and will not be easily forgiven, but we must not forget that the Germans are the tools of a system.
– They support that system.
– Of course, they do, just as we support our system. What we need to get rid of is the system. If there is in Germany a section which can at any time see its way to say to the Allies, “We are prepared to join with you to crush this military system, not only in Germany but in every other country,” we should be willing to enter into negotiations with them. That may come ‘about long before a victory is possible for either side.
– Will the honorable member come down to details, and tell us how he would proceed ?
– The purpose of this war is to protect the world against militarism, and further armaments. We want disarmament. How are you going to defeat militarism if you continue fighting? How, are you going to secure disarmament if you continue to increase your armaments for fighting?
– Will you tell us how to get peace without fighting?
-The commonsense thing would be to say, “ Are you agreed that militarism should cease, that standing armies should be abolished, other than such forces as may be necessary for police purposes; that disarmament on sea and land should be imposed on all the nations? If so, come and let us talk about it.” That would appear to the ordinary man in the street as a sensible and reasonable proposal.
– If he did not know the Germans. 1
– I do not agree with the honorable member. I have a great deal of sympathy with the German people, three-fourths of whom; I believe, do not favour the military system, and would gladly be freed from it. I am willing to assist them to free themselves from it. Therefore, I say that if any section of the German people is prepared to say, “ We will join with you to down this militarism and armament,” we should join with them. Honorable members opposite identify the whole German people with militarism.
– How can you get into association with the section of the German people to whom you refer, even if they agree with you?
– What I have suggested is reasonably possible. If there is hope at any time of peace between the warring nations, it must come through the majority of the German people refusing any longer to support their warlords.
– After we have beaten them.
– Not necessarily.
– The honorable member thinks that a majority of the people of Germany are in favour of peace?
– I do.
– But how are you to overcome the minority who control them?
– That is their trouble. It is our affair only to this extent : that we wish to get into touch with them, so that we may say, “ Are you willing to join with us on these terms?” I believe that an honorable understanding can be arrived at - an understanding which will secure peace between the nations - without continuing the war to the last extremity.
– What answer has Germany given to our peace proposals up to the present time?
– And why has she given that answer? Because all our peace proposals have been accompanied
By the threat that we intend to continue the war until we have hopelessly beaten our enemies.
– Does the honorable member remember the solemn promise made by Germany to Russia to negotiate for a peace on the basis of no annexations and no indemnities ?
– I do. But does the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Cook) suggest that because Germany broke faith with Russia she must be beaten to her knees and compelled to sue for peace?
– I suggest that, seeing that she has just so tragically broken her word, and partitioned up an Empire, we had better be careful how we negotiate with her.
– I quite agree with the honorable gentleman. The fact which he has mentioned may be a reason for our being very precise and particular in our negotiations with Germany, but it does not mean that we should refuse to negotiate, because we must negotiate at some time or other. I believe that an opportunity for ending the war can be honorably found before we are under the necessity of compelling Germany to sue for peace. It would be to our eternal credit if we were to come to an honorable understanding with her.
What hope have we of a permanent peace if we impose peace on Germany? What hope was there of a permanent peace between Germany and France when Germany imposed peace on France? Absolutely none. As soon as we impose peace on Germany we shall create in the Germans a desire to prepare cunningly and carefully for the time when they will be able to have another go. We want to avoid that, and the best way to avoid it is to recognise that what the white races of Europe need more than anything else is an opportunity to live in peace and harmony with each other, so that each may extend the liberty which it now enjoys. If by any means we can arrive at an understanding with Germany, and thus stop the awful holocaust which is now proceeding, the sooner we do , so the better. No man who is a lover of his kind can view the position to-day without grave qualms as to the future. After all, when the war is over what shall we have to show for it ?
– The freedom of which the honorable member has spoken.
– Our only hope of freedom is based on our securing an honorable peace, not a victorious peace, because a victorious peace would mean the continuation of the jealousy, prejudice, and international animosity of which we so earnestly desire to be rid. Let us realize the best that is within us, and make an honorable peace.
– What about the peace resolution of your party last year?
– I am sorry that I cannot divine the meaning of the honorable member’s interjection.
I have endeavoured to express, amid the inflammatory interjections of honorable members, just what I feel upon this question.
– The honorable member has not told us how to go about it.
– No. more than the Minister for the Navy has told us how we are going to continue to wage this war. After all, the passing of this resolution will not have any effect on the war one way or the other.
– Seeing that there is an Allied Council whose members have studied every phase of it, what is the use of our discussing it?
– I believe that the honorable member is quite right. But there are in. Europe to-day - just as there are in Australia - certain people who have the war fever in their blood. They will take a long time to return to their normal’ condition. It is very difficult to place facts in their proper perspective while this jingo feeling is dominant. I am not debating the matter from a party point of view. But .there is not one of us who desires that this terrible war shall continue for a single day longer than is necessary. All that the amendment means is that if by any honorable means the conflict can be brought to an end, irrespective of whether victory has been achieved or not, it ought to be brought to an end, in order that we may get back to pre-war conditions and live as human beings should live.
.- I am indeed* surprised - especially when we remember what has happened during the past fortnight at the Front, where enormous sacrifices have been made - that even one honorable member should object to sending this cheering message to our troops overseas. In another place a similar motion was submitted by one of the Ministers, seconded by the Leader of the Labour party there (Senator Gardiner), and unanimously carried, senators rising and singing the National Anthem. But . here the position is quite different. Nothing has caused my blood to boil more than some of the statements which’ have been made in this chamber to-night. We have read a lot about the Germans and the use they make of poison gas; but use was made of mustard gas to-day when the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Wallace) was speaking.
The honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) asked us Why we had entered this war. Why did we enter it? Because of the call of the Empire. The response which was made to that call was really marvellous. When we entered the struggle, was there one man either in this chamber or elsewhere who raised his voice against the proposal of the Government to raise troops to send to the aid of the Old Country? I do not know of one. When the boys came forward, honorable members helped to cheer them on their way. Are their sacrifices to be in vain? Are we now to be told that all the sacrifices which have been made are to be null and void?
The developments of the past few years have shown that in Australia, as in America and in the Old Country itself, we have the enemy within our gates. Even in> that glorious country, France, where the” courage ‘of the people has been simply wonderful, there have been traitors. We know that Boloism has found its way there. Similarly, we have traitors in Australia. I have my boy at the Front, and I know that other honorable members have their sons there. Are the enemies of Britain to tell us that our sacrifices are useless? I put it to honorable members opopsite, “Were we not the friends of Germany prior to this war?” Let anybody read Carlyle, Kingsley, and other writers, and they will find that those authors spoke of the “ clean living German,” placed him on a pedestal, and invited us .to emulate him.
– Were they not “ our Prussian cousins” then?
– Yes; but to-day they are too closely allied to the people to whom the honorable member would like to ally himself.
– I have no connexion with Royalty.
– I have said that we have the enemy within our gates. There are disloyalists in Australia. Who can speak of “ the clean living German “ to- day? Has there been throughout this war any atrocity too vile, any outrage too abominable, for these barbarians to commit? I have read most carefully all the reports which have come from Belgium and from the North of France, and in this connexion we have to recollect that the Germans were represented at the Hague Convention. They helped to frame rules which were intended to mitigate the evils resulting from war. But have they proved themselves opponents in whose word we can place any reliance? Were they not committed to upholding the neutrality of Belgium? How did they respect their word? Reference has been made to the action of the Germans in connexion with their peace proposals to Russia. Then we cannot forget the awful tribulations that have been endured by those who have been cast adrift on the ocean as the result of German submarine attacks on merchant shipping. If onehalf, or even one- third, of what we have read be true, it is surely impossible for us to- leave these people with their controlling power.
– Their attacks have been upon all classes.
– Yes. To-day we find that the British sailor refuses even to allow his representatives to travel in connexion with Peace Conferences. This bitterness is the result of the awful trials endured by those who’ have been cast adrift on the ocean from steam-ships and sailing vessels. We all recall the atrocities committed by the enemy in Belgium, where houses were burned, old men, women, and children massacred, and young women outraged’. When the Germans took Antwerp they promised that the Belgians could return to that city, and that no harm would befall them. But in district after district adult male inhabitants have been bundled into cattle trucks, and taken away in order that they might be forced to assist in making munitions to be used against their own kith and kin.
The blood of those who have made the supreme sacrifice cries aloud, not for (peace, but for vengeance. I do not say that we want vengeance, but we must be quite satisfied that when peace is made the people who have shown the lust of barbarians will not be able to again bring the same devastation upon the world for generations to come.
– That is the same old story that is heard in connexion with every war. It is the same old futile business.
– We may have heard these things before, but I am quite satisfied that never before have there been so many traitors in the community as there are to-day. At the outset of this war not a member of this House was opposed to our entering it. Since then the conditions have absolutely changed. We have seen since then what the Germans are prepared to do. We have learned what we should have to face if Germany secured the victory. Humanity, Democracy, even civilization, are at stake ! As the honorable member for Perth (Mr.. Fowler) has pointed out, the Germans to-day are in possession of nearly the whole of Belgium, the northern part of France, a large part of Italy, and the whole of Servia. They have smashed Roumania and have destroyed Russia. If in such circumstances we made peace with her, should we not leave her the dominant power, free to force her will on the whole world? If we had peace to-day, would, not the German authorities be able to tell their people that Uley were the victors ? From a military stand-point they are the victors to-day.
– That is encouraging the enemy.
– If the honorable member would encourage our people as I endeavour to encourage them there would be little cause for complaint so far as our part in the war is concerned. If I were in control I would close down Parliament, and, so to speak, “ make things hum.” I would see that Australia did its duty, and, if it were necessary, would require even old men like myself to go to the Front.
In this war’, as I have said, Democracy is at stake. I invite- honorable members, opposite, who talk of making peace with Germany, to read Bernhardi’s book, and particularly those passages in which the writer points to the growing power of trade unionism in Germany, and what he describes as their adhesion to the socialistic clique. He clearly and distinctly declares that if the trade unions continue on that course they must be suppressed’. Would the Labour party care to have in operation here to-day German domination of that kind ? What would become of the liberty we enjoy to-day if Germany were in control? Not only Democracy, but the future of humanity is at stake. Some sixteen years ago when Germany with other countries, sent troops to China to suppress the Boxer rebellion, the Kaiser told his men to emulate the barbarian Attila, and so to treat the Chinese that for the future a Chinaman would not dare to look askance at a German. He told them to show no quarter. Then again, for the last thirty years the German professors have been teaching the doctrine of might.
– Jingoes ail!
– I do not think there is any Jingoism in my composition.
– I was not referring to the honorable member.
– Surely we have something to fight for. For over a hundred years now Australia has been free of the fear of a foreign ‘foe landing on her shores. Then again, consider for a moment the wonderful response that has been made to the call of the Empire. Throughout this vast Empire of ours the response has been marvellous, and particularly in South Africa, where only a few years ago the people were at death grips with the British. The glorious response which the South African Dominion has made to the call of Empire bears tribute to the magnificent ideals of those who control the Empire’s destiny.
Consider for a moment what is happening to-day in that great home of Democracy, the United States of America. We cannot forget how long America held out. We all remember the speech made by President Wilson, in which he declared that America was too proud to fight. But the German outrages became so intense that the people of the United States realized at last what their future might be if Germany won this war. Honorable members opposite should not lose sight of the response which Labour leaders in the United States made to the appeal to them. They have realized what a German victory would mean to Democracy, and they have unanimously told President. Wilson that they are anxious to give every assistance possible to bring the war to a speedy and successful issue. The honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) asked what hope we had of imposing a peace upon Germany. What would be the position if Germany imposed a peace upon us? It must be either the one or the other.
– Not at all.
– The honorable member’s friends have tried something else in Russia; we do not want that.
– Considering the progress made by our ally, the Czar, the people of Russia have done very well.
– The honorable mem- ber’s friends in Russia have taken up an attitude which I do not wish to see here. It would not be good for us any more than it would be good for Britain, America, or indeed civilization generally. It is necessary that we should push this war to a victorious conclusion. About a year ago the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) put forward certain peace proposals, and a society, of which he was a member, declared that the people should be consulted by referendum before we entered any war. That was his position at that time. Would such a thing be possible to-day? Are we going to settle the war by referendum or by peace talk? Are we going to allow Germany to be the dominant power? I hold that we must be in the dominant position, and that once we have secured it, it will be time for us to talk about terms.
This motion should be carried with absolute unanimity, as it was this afternoon in another place. I can hardly believe that honorable members opposite, with one or two exceptions, are voicing their own opinions when they suggest that the amendment should be carried, I hope the amendment will be withdrawn, and that we shall be able to tell those who are fighting for us at the Front that the motion was carried unanimously in both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament. ‘
.- I agree with an honorable member of the Opposition who has said that’ in order that this question might be fitly debated we should have had time for preparation. As it is, all that one can do is to give spontaneous expression to one’s feelings on the subject. From my point of view, it is absolutely astounding that there should be in this House a single discordant note with regard to the motion proposed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). Honorable members, perhaps, have not had an opportunity to consider its terms. It was read at the outset of the debate, but I did not quite grasp its, purport until I obtained a typewritten copy. It reads as follows : -
That this House records its unbounded admiration of the heroic efforts of the Allied Armies on the Western Front, its pride in the valour and achievements of the Australian troops, and its firm intention to fight on to secure a victorious peace and the freedom of the world.
Having regard to the fact that we have ,een fighting for nearly four years in the cause thai, we espoused in August, 1914, it seems almost incredible that a single member of this Parliament should say that he is unable heartily to subscribe to the terms of that motion. The honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson), for instance, says that he has no objection to a “ peace with victory,” but objects to a “victorious peace.” I cannot see the difference. He recognises that we cannot get a peace that is worth anything unless we first secure victory, and that is all we are asking for.
I am exceedingly sorry that the debate should have disclosed the fact that every speaker opposed to the motion has come from the opposite side of the House. That is’ most regrettable. The Leader of the Opposition. (Mr. Tudor) has just left, but it is exceedingly significant that he has preserved an unbroken silence during the debate, especially when one remembers that the Labour party came into power a month after the war was declared. I shall never forget the terms of that magnificent ma]11- fei.no issued by the Labour party on the eve of the election which brought them into power, and its clear and definite statement of the .objects for which the Allied nations are fighting. Those objects were clearly .stated by Mr. Fisher, the Leader of the Labour party then, and handsomely subscribed to by every member of the party. The overwhelming majority with which the party returned to power was almost entirely due to their wholehearted acceptance of the position as it presented itself then to Australia, and their recognition of the fact that the object for which the Amed nations had gone to war was worthy of all sympathy and support. That sympathy and support was well expressed in that phrase which has now become historic, coined by the then Leader of the Labour party, that we were “ prepared to stand by the Old Country to the last man and the last shilling, and would go down witu her if the necessity arose.”
– We still stand to that.
– Nearly four years ago we were compelled to pick up the gauntlet that Germany had thrown down, and all the civilized nations of the world then recognised that the colossal struggle then being entered upon , was a clash of ideals. We were not entering into the struggle for what we could make out of it, but because honour compelled us to pick up the gage of battle. It was recognised then, and is, I think, recognised to-day, that in this world struggle there are two ideals at deadly grips with each other. The outcome of the struggle will determine which of those two ideals is to rule the modern civilized world - whether the peoples of the world are to be free to pursue the even tenor of their way under an ordinary evolutionary development along . their own lines, or whether they are to be eternally under the shadow of that dreadful power that is typified by the Central European nations, whose idea is world dominance. They set out with a determination to conquer the world commercially and militarily. They placed implicit faith in the omnipotence of their military power. It they found themselves unable to reduce the other nations of the world to commercial subjection by means of peaceful penetration, they felt that they had behind them that military power on which they implicitly relied. In that belief they threw down the gage of battle to the nations, confident that they could make their challenge good. When the war began we were all at one. Australia was united. The question I want honorable members ‘opposite to consider is, “ Has Germany shown in any way any change of mind or heart? Is its ideal’ not the same to-day as it was when we accepted its challenge?” ‘It is exactly the same. It is what has imposed on the world this dreadful task of reducing to subjection the Power which typifies that ideal. If we sue for peace to-day, if we go cap-in-hand to Germany to ask for peace, what is it but a recognition of the omnipotence of its ideal, and an admission that we recognise Germany’s supremacy, and give in t If that happens, what will have become of all the valuable lives sacrificed in this cause? They will have been sacrificed absolutely in vain unless we win. That is the point that ought to weigh with honorable members opposite. The ideals are still in conflict.
I would call attention to the terms of the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs). There is unanimity as to the first part of the motion expressing admiration of the heroic efforts of the Allied armies on the Western Front, and we are all proud of the valour and achievements of tue Australian troops; but then the honorable member suggests that we should go on to say-
And in order that the sacrifice of valuable human lives may be stopped and an end put to intolerable human suffering, this House is not opposed to peace by negotiation. That is as much as to say that, after fighting tooth and nail for four years, and sacrificing in the most generous fashion the flower of our manhood, although we have not gained our end, although Germany still sticks to her idea of world dominance, we want this sacrifice to stop. Why should the sacrifices stop ? Did we imagine when we picked up the gage of battle, recognising that we were undertaking a terrific task, that we could attain our end without infinite sacrifice of human life, and WithOut infinite suffering on the part of those who took part, and of those interested directly and indirectly in them? Surely not, Is it to be said to-day that because the sacrifice is great, and the suffering is infinite, we are going to relax our efforts?
– The honorable member is changing his ground all the time.
– I am not changing my ground, because the acceptance of this resolution does not commit us in any way to the actual terms of peace. It does not involve a discussion of the terms of peace. It simply states that until we get victory, and until we have exerted ourselves to such an extent that the representatives of Prussian militarism in Germany are convinced by the sheer might of our arms” that their ideal is no longer tenable, we shall continue to fight.
– Does the honorable member say that until we get victory we should not consider terms of peace?
– Until we have brought such pressure to bear on Germany that she is convinced that her faith in the ideal of world domination is shattered our task still remains to be done, and if we are worthy of the ideal we have professed in the past we shall not relax our efforts until the goal for which we have sacrificed so much has been attained.
– Does the honorable member say that we should not consider any terms of peace until we have absolute victory?
– No. The Germans know what are our terms of peace, and there has no.t been the slightest indication on the part of Germany of any readiness to accept those terms. That may be because Germany still boasts of the fact that she can overcome us by the sheer might of her arms, and while Germany is in that frame of mind she is not likely to listen to our terms of peace. Until we convince, her that her confidence in her military omnipotence is misplaced she will not listen to terms.
The honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) . adopted a most extraordinary attitude. He asked why we do not approach Germany, and secure our victory, not by the sword, but by an expression of brotherly love and charity. If that policy be practicable, why did we ever draw the sword? When Germany threw down the gage of battle, why did we not say, “That is not our way of doing business.”
– That is exactly what we did do.
– We tried that method, and dismally failed. Why? Because lie German people thought they could wipe us out by the might of their arms.
– Quite right.
– And if we go to Germany again while she still believes she has the upper hand, is she at all likely to listen to our plea?
– Not at all.
-^ am glad the honorable member agrees with me. If the honorable member sat on one side of the peace table, and Hindenburg and the Kaiser on the other side, and he proposed that the hatchet should be buried, and that all nations should live in brotherly love, charity, and amity, that those principles, and not the might of the sword, ought to govern, one can imagine the curl of Hindenburg’s lip and the smile of utter contempt on tie face of Kaiser William. They would scout such an idea. Any man who knows anything about Germany realizes that that is not the German philosophy. The German people despise that sort of thing, and if we made such a suggestion they would regard it as an evidence of weakness.
– To what extent do Hindenburg and the Kaiser represent Germany?
– I honour the honorable member, because underlying his whole speech was a firm faith in the power of right, love, and .common sense to conquer the world. So they will - but riot yet. There is a very great deal of truth in the remark of the American statesman, Elihu Root. who said, in the course of an address, “I am a pacifist; I believe in peace at any price, and the price we have to pay at present for peace is war.” “We must continue the war until we have brought such pressure to bear on Germany that she realizes her game is up, and that mere force will not ‘gain her end. When Germany has been converted to that frame of mind, there will be some hope for a discussion along the lines suggested by the honorable member for Brisbane.
– Do you not think that a nation which believes that other nations are trying to crush it out of existence is likely to fight to the end?
– That is not our business. We can judge of Germany’s intentions only by her acts. One honorable member to-night lauded German statesmenship, generalship, and organization. Certainly these qualities are to be admired in the highest degree, but the honorable member forgot to point out that Germany’s humanity is the humanity of the savage, and that vitiates all her other qualities. In proportion to the excellence of her generalship, statesmanship, and organization, she is all the more dangerous because of her worship of brute force.
Why. should we in this House refuse a tribute to our brave fellows at the Front? Why not let us be unanimous, and say that we desire a victorious peace, inasmuch as we were at one at the beginning of the war, and have not changed our minds any more than has Germany. Until we have made our strength felt to such an extent that Germany relinquishes her ambition, it is of no use our proposing to discuss terms of peace.
– Does not the honorable member think that it would have been fair to have consulted this side of the House regarding a resolution that might have been agreed to unanimously ?
– Suppose that that course would have been better, is that any reason why, on a matter of national importance, we should not be unanimous?
This motion, I am sure, will- secure the support of a certain proportion ‘of honorable members on the Opposition side; why should it not be supported by all? It must have struck some honorable members to-night that while wa are talking and indulging in a good deal of cheap hilarity our boys are dying. At the very moment that we are occupying our seats in this House our soldiers may be looking death in the face. -
– We cannot forget that.
– I would to God that more people would think of it and act accordingly; but, however that may be, why cannot we, in the meantime, sink our differences? Whatever may be our views with regard to the ultimate form which the terms of peace should take, why should we not close up our ranks and express unanimously our admiration of the lads at the Front and our firm determination to pursue the policy we have followed from the beginning without wavering until the end. That end must be the persuasion of Germany by our superior strength that the doctrine of force cannot succeed, and when that is achieved we shall be in a position to make terms of peace.
.- After such an eloquent defence of the motion by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), I would not have intruded upon this House, except to make an appeal to my friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) and my other friends on the other side of the House - for with Australian soldiers and British soldiers fighting together at the Front, we are all friends and one people here to-night - to withdraw their opposition, and allow the motion to be carried unanimously and with the same applause that greeted a similar motion in another Chamber to-day. I venture to say that if this motion were submitted in any legislative chamber of any of the great Allied nations whose sons are fighting side by side with our sons, it would be carried unanimously and with enthusiastic applause. I ask my honorable friends opposite what is there in the latter part of the motion to which any man can reasonably take exception, and I urge them not to place any stigma upon this Chamber and the whole of Australia bv’ refusing to carry it unanimously. What are the words to which exception, could be taken ? -
That this House- records its unbounded admiration of the heroic efforts of “the Allied armies on the Western Front, its pride in the valour and achievements of the Australian troops, and its firm intention to fight on to secure a victorious peace and the freedom of the world.
While perhaps it might have been better if the Leader of the Opposition had been consulted with regard to its terms, the motion itself was put before the House with the best possible intention and without the remotest idea that it would create any discord. Why, then, has discord arisen ? Possibly if my friend, the honorable member for Fawkner, had been asked to draft the motion, or if I, or the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson), had been intrusted with this task, we might each of us have used different words; but we could not have employed language more appropriate to the occasion than is contained in the motion before the House. Because we may quarrel about a phrase, and differ about a word or two, I urge honorable members opposite not to allow any stigma to be placed upon the loyal and patriotic people of Australia by taking a vote upon such a question as this. I beseech, therefore, the Leader of the Opposition to secure the withdrawal of the amendment, so that the motion may be carried unanimously.
.- The question which has been coursing through my mind more than anything else is - Whither are we drifting? I find it exceedingly difficult to express my opinion regarding the opposition to the motion. It is extremely painful to me to think that the time has arrived when it is necessary for a returned soldier to stand up and defend the men who have made the name of this land of ours ring with credit and honour throughout the world, but I feel that I would be recreant to my duty to those men were I to allow such deliberate insults as have been hurled at them to pass unnoticed. I regard the references that have been made to the men who have been, and are still, fighting for us as an insult to them. The question has been asked, “ Why a victorious, peace? Why not an honorable peace?” I say that no peace can be honorable to Australia that is not victorious. To-day there is proceeding in a southern State a battle in the political arena, and although our nation is at war we hear nothing about an honorable peace there. On the contrary, each party is striving for victory. Likewise, the men who left these shores in 1914 with the fixed determination to’ secure victory are as determined to-day as ever they were. This House does those men no credit by discussing such *an amendment as has been proposed. I am not surprised it was introduced, nor am I surprised at the source from which it emanated, because since I have been in this chamber I have found that a section here has given evidence of disloyalty, and this amendment, as far as I can see, is another evidence of it.
– I rise, Mr. Speaker, to suggest, that the offensive words, containing an allegation of disloyalty against members of this Chamber, be withdrawn.
– I did not catch the words to which the honorable member for Batman refers, and I ask him to indicate what words he desires to have withdrawn.
– The allegation of disloyalty, Mr. Speaker, which, I. think, is sufficient warrant to require withdrawal.
– If I have made any statement which should not have been uttered, I will withdraw it, but before I resume my seat I am going to inquire into the loyalty of the honorable member, and others too, in this chamber, and perhaps I will prove my case in a way they will not like.
– We are more loyal than you, who were fighting a man while he was away. You are ‘a nice sort of man to talk like” that.
– I remember that at the close of last session some sarcastic references were made by the honorable member for Cook (Mr! Catts) to the “ imported.” element in this Chamber. Well, I am an importation. I am an Englishman, and I am not ashamed of it; and, what is more, I am a better Australian than any of those eligible men who are sitting on the opposite side, because I have proved it. I have been in Australia more than two-thirds of my life.
– What splendid testimonials you are giving yourself.
– The honorable member wears a testimonial that the honorable member for Batman does n&t possess.
– But he is going to be given an opportunity to secure one. A more ‘disgraceful insult could not be offered, not only to our troops, but also to their relatives, than to ask that the sacrifices that they have made should be made in vain. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews ) said this afternoon that the people who advocated war most were those who were not prepared to go away and fight. I am as much a man of peace as any honorable member. I do not like war. No Australian soldier - in fact, no soldier - likes war, but this war was forced upon us; we were forced into war in order to defend our honour, and we- would indeed be dishonorable had we stepped aside and held up our hands, and cried, ‘ ‘ Peace at any price.”
At this late hour, I do not intend to detain the House, but I want to say that I have had twenty-five months’ service in the Australian Imperial Force, that I am in better health now than I have ever been since my return, that the pledge that I gave, to my country in 1914 stands to-day, and that I am willing to go back if necessary and do my “bit.” Therefore, I challenge honorable members in this House, no matter on what side they may sit, who are eligible, to go down to tEe recruiting office with me tomorrow morning, and offer their services to their country. Some honorable members have said they do ‘not believe in fighting. We heard to-night the remark of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), who said that if he was confronted with an enemy, he would not pull a trigger. I am not going to ask him to pull a trigger; but I am going to ask the gentleman who believes so much in peace, and who desires that this war shall be brought to a speedy termination, as we all do, to go along with me and volunteer to take up the other end of a stretcher. I am prepared to do my little bit, and if he is a man he will offer his services.
– He was down to that office on a previous occasion.
– On this occasion, he will find he will have a different person to accompany him.
It is criminal for members of Parliament, who are supposed to be intelligent men, to be engaged in a controversy of this kind under existing circumstances. If a man cannot fight, he ought to be able to sacrifice some of his time, his energy, or his ability in procuring the necessary help for our men overseas. That remark applies to every ineligible man in this Chamber, or in any other legislative body in Australia. There was never a greater need for reinforcements than exists to-day. If we recognise our duty to our men overseas, we must fulfil our pledge to them. We hear a great deal of talk about broken pledges. I know of no pledge more binding on the people of Austarlia, or on honorable members in this House, than that which was given to me and my comrades when we left the shores of .this continent in the early stages of the war; and I appeal to every man, irrespective of his politics, to concentrate the whole of his energies in securing, as far as he possibly can, the necessary numbers to re-inforce our brave lads overseas.
.- I have listened with great interest to the observations of the honorable member, and I regret that I cannot accept his invitation, because from my knowledge of him, I feel that if I should accompany him to the field of battle, he might do the double upon me, as he did to another honorable member of this House, and return to Australia in time to occupy, on the strength of his doubtful valour, my seat in this Chamber. I feel I cannot trust myself to the kind consideration of the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Lister).
I wish to address a few words to the amendment, because of some sentences which occurred in the speeches of the honorable members for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) and Grampians (Mr. Jowett). The latter honorable member says that we should not worry ourselves about a phrase but should heartily indorse the motion as it stands, without amendment. I should like the House to understand that I do not speak now, and I did not speak earlier, because of any cavilling at phraseology. There is much more than a phrase involved in the amendment, as also in the declaration that we must continue the war until we have obtained victory as it is understood by honorable members on that side, and as it has been more than once expressed in the incitements to kill contained in speeches made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). The honorable member for Fawkner drew a picture of what is taking place on the other side of the world, while we are sitting here, and it was- a faithful picture. It was a picture of facts which have moved me to say what I have said on other occasions in this House, and what I have said today, and which I will continue to say in scorn of consequence and in the face of there being attributed to me the basest motives, and being addressed to me- the most vulgar personal .abuse by honorable members opposite. I appreciate the picture drawn by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell). I see in my mind’s eye what is taking place on the other side, and what our sons and brothers are suffering there; and in those circumstances, in’ view of the fact that there has been opened up to the Allies the possibility of entering into a discussion of the terms of peace on the basis appropriate to civilized peoples, we are no longer justified in thrusting aside an opportunity of this kind. Our difficulty arises from the state of mind disclosed by the honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory). The honorable member makes the claim that we must be the dominant people. It is just this arrogant claim, so often made by our jingoes and by the junkers of the enemy, that lies at the very basis of war generally, and certainly at the root of the present conflict. Let us discontinue all useless incitements to hatred and revenge.
When I am asked what we may do - as we were asked by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Joseph Cook) - I reply that what I would do in the present circumstances to promote peace in the world would be this: We in this Chamber are not fighters. We are, at least, not fighting; none of us can claim that he is. We are in a debating chamber. We are members of a Parliament whose business it is to deliberate. We pursue a peaceful occupation. We occupy comfortable positions ; we are substantially rewarded. In these circumstances it behoves us to do something more than indulge in mere idle incitements to hatred and revenge. If we would employ our talents to promote a better feeling, if we would employ our skill to the fearless and courageous uncloaking of our own faults and the equally fearless discovery of merits on the part of those opposed to us, then we would be moving a long distance in the direction of a permanent peace. The honorable member for Fawkner asks, “Must we go cap in hand to Germany?”
– Will Germany stop fighting while we talk peace?
– My answer to that is that the reason I have made an emphatic declaration for a peace movement in this House to-day, the reason why, for the first time, the question pf peace has been discussed in this Chamber after nearly four years of fighting, is the important fact that overtures for peace have been made by the enemy. An honorable member puts it that this has been by one section only. I repeat that overtures have been made by the enemy Governments. Surely I need not inform honorable members’ minds of those deliberate representations. Surely honorable members’ memories are not so. short that they have forgotten the headings which appeared in some of our own newspapers. I recall one, namely, “ Britain slams the door.” I remember the words in the Herald. That was in response to those overtures. Therefore there is no need to go cap in hand to Germany to enter into negotiations for peace. We have only to say that the enemy, having opened up negotiations for peace, it behoves us not to i wait an instant longer without putting them to the test, with a view to discover precisely what her proposals are.
– Russia did that.
– May I remind the honorable member that two months ago Mr. Lloyd George laid down a basis for peace as far as we were concerned ?
– The honorable member is right; and a better basis than hitherto.
– An infinitely better proposal ,than any that Germany has ever made.
– But not greatly different. I remind the right honorable gentleman of the high ideals which were laid down by the Labour party after the war began ; the high ideals which were first prescribed by the Allied Governments; those high ideals of right against might; those noble ideals formulated for the protection of the weak against the strong; and all those other high ideals which inspired the peoples of the ‘Allies to enter into this contest. Since that time we have in some vital particulars varied our demands and shifted our objections. That has been illustrated in this chamber to-day.
– It has caused a groat deal of confusion with the general public, too.
Mr.BRENNAN . - The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) has spoken of our ideals and of the sufferings of our troops. Did they suffer, and are they suffering in order that we may add these miserable clods of earth on the South Pacific to our territory? Did honorable members read ‘that wantonly extravagant article of abuse in this morning’s Argus in which the Labour party and everybody associated with itwere abused and accused of gross disloyalty, because they dared to say that we were justified in bringing this war to an end without adding to our territories in the manner indicated?
– Order. I am afraid the honorable member is wandering away somewhat from the amendment.
Mr.BRENNAN. - I will endeavour to concentrate upon the matter, Mr. Speaker.
– What would you do if you were assailed by two burglars?
– In such circumstances, I dare say I would consider discretion the better part of valour - that is, if confronted by two burglars. But I would resist to the limits of my power if I were assailed with a chance of success; and I repeat that all we as a debating Chamber can do; all that we as members of the Commonwealth Parliament can do, as persons not invested with the duty of fighting, is but deliberating. ‘ to endeavour to put the international position so fairly and dispassionately that sane views will permeate into enemy countries and lead to reciprocity, and ultimately, and very shortly, bring the war to an end. Such a thing, of course, appears quiteimpossible to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald), whose splenetic outbursts against . honorable members on this Bide are just on a parallel with his insatiable international bigotry. Such an attitude of mind brooks no argument or answer.
– While this leaven is working, in the meantime,what? Nothing?
– I have sufficiently trespassed on your goodness, Mr. Speaker, in the matter of answering interjections, and I think I have answered them sufficiently.
This amendment is not a mere phrase. I wish to say.with great deliberation and without passion that it is about time that the word “ victory “ was abolished from our vocabulary in connexion with the war. We can only judge of the future by having regard to the past ; we can only tell what will happen as to the future peace of the world by a reference to the past. If we examine history with even moderate attention to fact and detail, we must be satisfied with” the one outstanding circumstance that no permanent peace was ever brought about by force of arms, and, we may assume, never will be. ‘ Force of arms has sown the seeds of future wars. That was so at Jena, when it was thought that permanent peace would be secured by force of Napoleon’s sword. That French victory was the very foundation of. Prussian militarism. In 1870, again, when the Prussians crushed the French, they merely founded a party of revenge in France, which has been one of the ministering causes of the present world war. I am glad that this amendment has been moved, and I shall give it my heartiest support: I am also glad that the few remarks I uttered at the beginning of the debate have led to such a clarifying discussion on a subject as grave and important as could engage the mind of the world to-day.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question - put. The House divided.
Majority … … 24
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
.- I desire to move that the word victorious “ be left out with a view to insert in its place the word “ equitable.”
– The House has just decided that the word which the honorable member proposes to omit shall stand part of the question ; therefore he may not move the amendment.
Original question resolved in’ the affirmative, honorable members rising and singing the National Anthem.
– We might as well have the whole song; what is the good of singing only one verse?
House adjourned at 11.13 P.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 April 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1918/19180404_reps_7_84/>.