2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers: -
Additions to financial and allowance regulations for the Military Forces.
Rules of the High Court, Nos. 49 and 50, of 1904.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
If so, what valuation has been put -
– No valuation has yet been made.
– I would point out that a debate on the policy of the Government is as a rule taken before other business is called on. If honorable senators will now rearrange the business they have on the notice-paper, so as to enable the first order of the day, under the head of Government business. to come on, that will meet the case, and we shall be acting, I think, in accordance with custom.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the Select Committee on Tobacco Monopoly have leave to extend the time for’ bringing up the report to this day four weeks.
– Do I understand from your remarks, sir, that private business is not to be taken to-day, in accordance with the Standing Orders?
– No. What I said was that I believed it would be the almost unanimous wish of the Senate to conclude the debate on the policy of the Government, and that therefore honorable senators who have charge of private business, and are strictly entitled under the Standing Orders to bring it on would probably meet the position by postponing that business.
– Of course, I should never dream of asking that any business standing in my name should interfere with the pleasure and convenience of the majority of my fellow senators. At the same time, sir, shall I be in order if I make a remark on the matter?
– Perhaps it will not be strictly in order, but if the honorable senator likes to make a few remarks he can proceed.
– I asked the leader of the Senate last night to go on with private business, so as to leave to-day free for public business, but my suggestion met with no response, and I feel rather put out that I cannot go on with the second reading of the Parliamentary Evidence Bill, which I deem to be of the greatest and highest importance.
– The honorable senator ought not to discuss the Bill now, but either to move the postponment of the order of the day, or allow it to stand on. the notice-paper.
– If it is not convenient for me to proceed with the second reading of the Bill to-day, I move -
That Order of the Day No. 2, private business, be postponed to the next day on which Orders, private business, have precedence.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Higgs) proposed -
That the Select Committee on the case of Senator Neild have leave to extend the time for bringing up the report to this day four weeks.
– I submit, sir, that the motion cannot be received at this stage, when we are only dealing with the postponement of business, in accordance with your suggestion.
– The order of the day has been called on, and the report of the Select Committee can be brought up. If the report is not ready, a member of the Select Committee, can move for further time in which to bring it up.
– It ought to have been brought up to-day, but it is not ready.
– I suppose, sir, that it is open to me to move an amendment.
– I see no objection.
.- The amendment I desire to move s -
That the proceedings of the Select Committee be suspended until it is in a position to take evidence on oath.
In support of the amendment, I desire to submit that, while one Select Committee of the Senate has been taking evidence on oath, another Select Committee has been taking rambling statements without any oath, or rather statements without any oath.
– I rise to order. I submit that the honorable senator is reflecting on the Select Committee of t’he Senate in saying that it has been taking rambling statements “without any oath.
-r-l corrected myself. It was only a lapsus lingua.
– I also desire to ask whether, under cover of this amendment, the honorable senator is in order in discussing the credibility of evidence given before the Select Committee.
– Standing order 70 says that -
After the formal motions and orders have been disposed of, and before the business of the day is proceeded with, any senator may move, without notice, that any notice of motion standing in his name, or order of the day of which he is in charge on the paper for that day, shall be a notice of motion, or order of the day, for some subsequent day. No amendment or debate shall be allowed on any such motion, but the Senate may proceed to division thereon as in other cases.
In this case, the order of the day has been called on, and a member of the Select Committee has moved that it have one month’s further time in which to bring up the report. I do not think that any amendment to that motion can be moved.
– May I be permitted to point out to you, sir, that the motion is not simply that the order of the day be postponed to a particular day, but that the Select Committee have leave to bring up its report at a later date? I submit that the motion does not come within the standing order, and that if the motion is in order, the amendment must also be m order.
– I think that the honorable and learned senator is right.
– I propose to put myself in order, by moving -
That Order of the Day, No. 4, private business, be an Order of the Day for this day four weeks.
– But the honorable senator has already moved a motion, which I have put to the Senate.
– I ask leave to withdraw that motion.
– May I, .sir, move the postponement of the order of the day for one week?
– The honorable senator knows that his further evidence will take at least seven days.
– If it is in order
I shall move -
That Order of the Day, No. 4, private business, be an Order of the Day for this day week.
– I submit, sir, that you cannot accept that amendment from the honorable senator, as he is a witness before, and not a member of the Select Committee. 7 m 2
– !A motion has been moved, and the mover now asks leave to withdraw it. The question is that Senator Higgs have leave to withdraw his motion.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I move -
That Order of the Day, No. 4, private business, be an Order of the Day for the first Thursday on which Orders, private business, have precedence.
We can bring up the report in a week if it is ready.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I would suggest to Senator Higgs that it would be more in keeping with the course that has been pursued this afternoon if he were to move the postponement of this order of the day until the next sitting day, on which such business will take precedence. That would prevent debatable questions from being raised now,, and would enable the Senate to get on with other business.
– I shall put the motion as moved by Senator Higgs.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … .. … 14
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 7th September (vide page 4335) on motion by Senator Sir Josiah Symon -
That the despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, with regard to the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures, within the Empire, be printed.
– Yesterday afternoon, when I asked for an adjournment of the debate inaugurated by Senator Symon, I had no intention to put any member of the Senate to inconvenience. But I recognised that if there was any proceeding that would call the attention of the Australian people to the pronouncement of the Government, it was an adjournment of the debate. The policy foreshadowed by the Attorney-General possessed no feature to make it different from the policy of the preceding Government. When we consider it from that point of view, I ask honorable senators what necessity there was ‘for all the turmoil and delay that have been caused by the transition f rom one Government to another ? I cannot imagine a reason for it, because the present Government have adopted the very policy which- the leader of that Government characterized at Warragul, when he was leader of the Opposition, as a “crawling policy.” I want to know whether the Attorney-General concurs in that statement of his present half -leader? I call him so, because we must all recognise that the gentleman who now occupies the position of - well, I cannot find a term for it. When we speak of sacred things, we are familiar with the term “Trinity.” But what term represents the present condition of the Government in Australia ? Should it not be described as a “ duality “ ? I am not certain. We may take it to be a sort of twin Government, just as we speak of twin screws. We must regard the leaders of the present Government as a pair. One of the pair declared at Warragul that the policy of the late Government was a crawling policy. But as soon as he had an opportunity to make a Ministerial statement to the people. of Australia, he came forwarl with the very same policy. Yet it is not exactly the same. The Government have knocked, off two or three legs, so that that policy cannot “crawl” any longer. We have also to witness a disturbance of the conditions which have existed in the Senate from its very commencement. Everybody in Australia knows, or imagines that lie or she knows, that when the position of the VicePresident of the Executive Council was created, there was a particular intention in view. That was to give a position to a certain member of the first Federal Ministry that would be in harmony with the ability and the earnestness of that gentleman. But what do we find to-day, in relation to the Vice- Presidency of the Executive Council ? If, formerly, I got up to ask’ a question without notice, I put it to the VicePresident of the Executive Council, and, in the majority of instances, he would probably ask me to give notice. But to-day and yesterday every honorable senator who got up seemed to hesitate. They did not know, what to do. They did not know whether they were to address the Vice-President of the Executive Council or t’he AttorneyGeneral. They could not address the leader of the Senate, because we do not know who he is.
– I think they do.
– Why did they hesitate ?
– They did not hesitate They are doing very well.
– Then, I must confess that my perception seems to.be getting dull, because I am of opinion that honorable senators did hesitate when they got up. Every one in the Senate acknowledges the undoubted ability and the perseverance of the present Attorney-General, when he has a fight to conduct. Some of us have had to work at cross purposes with him occasionally. But I could hardly keep from blushing yesterday on account of the very nice way in which he referred to me. No matter what my temper may have been when I came into the chamber, with respect to those who had turned out of office the Government of which I was a member, in a very few moments I felt myself to be all over smiles. The manner of the AttorneyGeneral was so unlike - I cannot say what I have been accustomed to from him, because the honorable and learned senator was never here while I was in office. Of course, I do not know how he would have talked to me if he had been present, as he was constantly in connexion with the discussions on the Tariff. We know how he could fire up, how his eyes would flash, and how the dictionary would rattle as he railed against the opinions of almost every one but himself in those days. But, it appears, we are all a happy family now ! I hope it may long continue to be so. But I am a little jealous of the position which I occupied in the Senate. I do not like to see the office of Vice-President of the Executive Council, or. the leadership of a legislative body like this, dragged in the mud, as it were. Consequently, I may be excused if I feel a little bitter.
– It is very sad !
– It is’ very sad. I feel sure that Senator Pulsford would have a fortnight’s illness if his mind were agitated in the , same manner as mine has been in respect to that position, and the way in which it has been treated. But then we could not expect - at least I could not - that such a high and mighty gentleman as the present Attorney-General would subordinate himself to any individual in this Senate,who might be appointed Vice-President of the Executive Council. I could not imagine it- Then the difficulty arose - how could the leader of the Government get some one who would occupy the position of VicePresident, when, as the Right Honorable George Reid would say, it was divested of every feather? Where was he to find a senator who would sit meekly in his place, holding a title without any of the attributes that ought to belong to it? I could hardly believe that there was a single member of the Senate who would take the position under such conditions. But what do we find ? I hope there is no honorable senator who will think that I would speak of any individual present with feelings of - I was going to say anger, but why should I be angry? But when we speak from a political point of view there are many things that we may say that ought not to disturb our personal friendships. I intend to say those things to-day, and I hope to be excused for saying them.
– -Why ask to be excused ?
– Well, I am not particular whether I am or am not excused.
– Why not leave personalties, and come to policy?
– I shall come to the policy of the . Government, when I can find it. I have been fishing round for the policy of- the Government, but I have not’ found it yet. Senator Dobson, when he is addressing ladies’ meetings, has to fish , round a long time to find out what public opinion is. The honorable senator introduced a Divorce Bill, but found that public opinion was against him, and changed his tune ; and he ought to excuse me if I fish round for a little while in an endeavour to find the policy of the Government.
– Come to the question.
– I hope the honorable and learned member will not hurry me. I am in an extremely good humour this afternoon, and I hope the honorable and learned senator will not destroy my peace of mind by making any of those silly interjections for which he is famous.
I was referring to the position which members of the present Ministry, as contrasted with members of other Ministries, occupy in this chamber. Is there a single individual senator who would stand up to-day, and say that, under present circumstances, he would fill the position of VicePresident of the Executive Council? But the dear, docile Drake ducks so that the Symon swan may swim serenely and supreme on the sea of office, That is something like the way in which John Norton would put the position; indeed, I do not know that John Norton could put it better, and, at any rate, that is how I feel. Are we to imagine that the present Attorney-General could do any other than he has done? The honorable and learned senator is a patriot who is prepared to sacrifice himself on the altar of his country’s good. When there was nothing to be done - when there was only a paltry allowance attached - the honorable and learned senator did not trouble much about his country’s good. We must always bear the facts in mind, and I want the people and honorable senators to know those facts, so that they may never allow themselves to be put in the same awkward position. A month’s leave of absence was asked for on the ground of urgent private business, and a telegram was sent, stating that a position required to be filled. Then this great patriot jumped at the position, as they say in Scotland, like a cock at a grosset. But can honorable senators see where the patriotism comes in ? The position of Vice-President of the Executive Council - the position of leader of the Senate - could only be an honorary position, and. of course, that means a great deal to a gentleman who is so patriotic that he would only attend about eight or nine days out of thirty, until such time as the position was open for him in the Government. That is the real position of affairs. The AttorneyGeneralship was offered and accepted, and then the position of Vice-President of the Executive Council had to be filled ; and here arose the difficulty. The latter is an honorary position, and Senator Drake was the only man who could be got to fill it - the only man who was prepared to sink his own individuality and duck under so that he could be superseded in a double sense by the Attorney-General of the present day. Look at the difference between the leader of the Senate and the leader in another place. The Right Honorable George Reid has figured in the politics of Australia as prominently as any man in this country could have done; but he is prepared to sink his individuality, and become half free-trader and half protectionist, and occupy a position which he declares he shares as equal in all things with a friend of his. I am only endeavouring to point out the true position that the Government occupy in the Senate at the present time. What position does Senator Drake occupy ? What does he! do? No one ever asks him a question, and he ought to be ashamed of his existence here. I am sure that when he goes back to! the people of Queensland, and they ask him why he dragged the reputation of his State in the mire, he will have no answer to give, except -“ Well, boys, I was a’fraid you would not elect me next time, and I thought I would do the best I could for myself at the present time.” Nothing of that kind could ever be said of a single individual belonging to the Labour Party, which is so contemptuously spoken of. Not a single word of that description could be uttered with respect to a member of any . of the preceding Governments. I ask honorable senators whether they can have the same faith in the a’dministration of the business of the country when it is in the hands of men who, in one instance, are prepared to sacrifice their individuality, and, in another instance, are compelled by their overweening vanity to grab both positions in the Senate, leaving a poor fellow-member in the mean and degraded position which the Vice-President of the Executive Council occupies to-day.
– What humbug !
– I dare say Senator Pulsford might have filled the position, but he is a free-trader, and, of course, it could not be offered to him. Besides the honorable . senator represents New South Wales, and there were too many representatives of New South Wales in the Ministry already. The result- was that he did not get a chance.
– Senator Pulsford must be very unhappy, in view of fiscal peace.
– That may be so ; I shall deal with that matter by-and-by. Thisis a “ sinking “ Government, though I do not know when it is going to sink.
– It is a rising Government.
– The Government have sunk the fiscal question, and also the electoral boundaries question, in connexion with which the half -leader made a fool of himself by going to the country, though we do not hear a word of that matter today. The present Government will sink anything - they launch their catamaran, and with their sails flying in the breeze will face anything.
– They will sink themselves some day.
– That is a contingency which will arise, and so far as the prosperity of Australia is concerned, the sooner the better. At present, however, we are discussing the policy which the Government have put forward, though we ‘have a perfect right to discuss the position in which we find ourselves. We have to ask why the present position has arisen. I am going this afternoon to say distinctly, that the only object which the members of the present Government could have had in bringing about a change was to displace the Labour Party - this socialistic party - or it was for the purpose merely of getting into office. If their object was to displace the Labour Party - the socialistic party - they have been working a long while to do it; but they must bear in mind that they are a long way, up to the present, from shifting the socialistic party.
– Then the honorable senator admits that his party is the socialistic party ?
– Did I ever deny it? I am going to tell the honorable senator how much of a Socialist I am; and I do not think that he will follow the example of his leader in another place, and deliberately make; a statement over and over again when he has been repeatedly informed as to its falsity.
– Senator Millen was once a delegate to a Labour Party’s congress.
– It is for that reason that I say the honorable senator will not repeat a statement when he is informed that it is false. I want to compare the policy of this socialistic party with the policy of that heterogeneous conglomeration we find in another place.
– The IsaacsWatsoncumLyne conglomeration.
– The free-trade Liberals, the free-trade Conservatives, and protectionist Conservatives are all jumbled together ; and a fine lot they will be byandby when they begin to quarrel over the bones.
– What about the socialistic Tory party we see there.
– The honorable senator would not hurt any party very much by his presence, and consequently we can be merciful with him. I desire to enlighten members, because some seem to require a great deal of enlightenment as to the socialistic proclivities of the Labour Party. We have it continually thrown in our face: -“ You have your labour journals all over Australia launching forth anarchy and Socialism; you have your paid leaders and advocates going all over the country telling people what you believe in, and you are bound to take the statements they make as statements of your views.” We are, and always have been, prepared to take those statements when they correctly describe our views, but we are not going to take the biased versions of those statements which very often appear in a prejudiced press. I want to-day to show the policy of the Labour Party and contrast it-
– Do not do that or the other side will steal it.
– Well, they are welcome to the policy, because it will be good for them.
– The honorable senator has said that the other side has already stolen the Labour Party’s policy.
– And if the other side party sit on that policy long enough, they may hatch something good. The other side have never had . a policy of their own. T defy any one to find out any policy on their part, except that of being against anything of a progressive character.
– What particular platform are you giving us ?
– I am giving you the Labour Party’s platform. The platform and the policy of this new alliance have been published in the newspapers.
– The honorable senator told us not to accept newspaper reports.
– But when the newspapers publish an official statement you may take it as correct, but if it is intermingled with the opinions of a prejudiced newspaper you do not know what you are getting. It may be Epsom salts with vinegar.
– Have you an official paper whose statements we can accept?
– Read the Queensland Worker.
– I am giving you the labour platform now. My statements are correct, but if I make a mistake any honorable senator is at liberty to contradict me. I am not so high and mighty that I would not brook reproof. The first plank of our platform is the maintenance of a White Australia. Is there one honorable senator who objects to it? Only a few months ago certain of the members of the present Government were travelling about Australia howling over the Petriana myth, the Stelling case, the1 six hatters incident, and other matters of that kind, but not a word is now uttered as to the repeal of the provisions on the statute-book.
– Senator Pulsford has a motion on the notice-paper.
– Yes ; but he is not the Government, and he will be gagged, as will also many members of the House of Representatives.
– No, he will not.
– It would be better ‘for Senator Pulsford if he did not say much now, for he does not know what will happen. The honorable senator may be hobbled or gagged by those with whom he is now associated. They have done that sort of thing before, and they will dp it again. The Government have accepted the White Australia policy, in spite of all the opposition they offered to it in the past. At any rate, in their statement of policy, there is not a word about the repeal of any of the White Australia provisions. They are going to sit down and touch nothing. The probability is that they will carry out the policy in the way indicated by the Prime Minister when he declared that it did not matter what legislation was passed in regard to immigration restriction, or anything else of that kind, so Jong as he had the administration of it. They may work in underground tunnels, out of sight, and nothing may be made public. They may sit down, and, by their inaction, try to defeat the White ‘Australia policy. If that is .their intention the sooner we know it the better.
– That is in accord with the “crawling” policy.
– Yes ; the White Australia policy will be crawled over, if they ever get a chance. That is the first item in the labour platform. Is there anything so socialistic in it that any one can object to? Is it. objected to by any ‘honorable senator, with the exception of Senators Pulsford and Gray, who, in this connexion, are not to be considered.
– Give us a trial.
– The honorable senator has been tried. All he wants now is convicting. The next item in the Labour platform is compulsory conciliation and arbitration, and we have the Government declaring that they are going to take up the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, even with preference to unionists in it. What will Senator Fraser say to that ?
– Is the honorable senator content with the, Bill as it stands ?
– No. The ‘honorable senator Will find that out when the Bill comes here. We are not going to be frightened by the statements of the Argus, that if we try to remodel the Bill we may find ourselves in a difficult position - that we may get no Bill at all. We would rather have no Bill at all than have a Bil) mangled out of shape by those that are opposed to it. What is the use of the Argus or any honorable senator talking to us in this way ? We have had to face many difficulties in our time, and have won in the long run. We may have to wait six months or two years1 - it will be all the same to the members of the “socialistic” party, as they are called - but in the end we will get a better Bill than the present Government are prepared to give us. But what I was going to say was that they ‘have accepted the Bill as it stands. They have accepted it with’ the provision relating to the railway servants and other provisions in it that they have declared themselves opposed to.
– But with a good deal knocked out of it.
– The honorable senator was opposed to it in every shape and form, as were also other honorable senators on the opposite side.
– I shall vote against making it compulsory.
– The very fact th -X these gentlemen are now prepared to accept it as it stands, is the clearest proof, to any intelligent man or woman, that it is useless, so far as the objects it is intended to effect are concerned. They know that, and that is why they are prepared to accept it, even with the clause providing for preference to unionists. These are the two items of so-called socialistic legislation that the Government have agreed to. They will swallow more ; and they are chewing more than they will be able to swallow. However, I am being led off the track. The next item in the labour platform is old-age pensions. Is that socialistic? New
South Wales has an Old-age Pensions Act to-day, and so has Victoria. I know of instances in which the administration of the. Victorian Act has been a disgrace. Respectable men and women, who have lived industrious, honest, and decent lives, have been deprived of the benefits of the Act because thev have had, perhaps, a worthless son or daughter roaming over some portion of Western Australia, or South Australia. Honest men and women who have established a claim 10 pensions by what’ they have done in the past in the development of the resources of this country - who are aged and unable to work - have had them withheld, whilst others, who have been prepared to a awl and creep and to resort to the practices referred to by Mr. G. H. Reid at Warragul, have been able to get pensions. I say the oldage pension instituted by the Commonwealth should be one that every man and woman who has earned it should be able to claim as a right, and not as a dole or a bone thrown to a dog. The only qualification should be old age and residence in Australia. There is nothing socialistic in that, and I hope honorable senators will be prepared to assist in carrying the measure when it comes before them. How many are against it I would ask ? Very few ; but these few are going to do all they possibly can to defeat it. The next item in this “socialistic” programme is the nationalization of monopolies. We have carried resolutions in this Senate affirming the principle.
– Two in one afternoon.
– We have no intention of interfering with the industries that are being carried on by individuals. We have no intention of laying violent hands on the farmers. Even that has been suggested by the other side. They find fault with the Labour Party, and would bind them down to everything said by Mr. Tom Mann. On the same principle, we should have tj judge them by the statements of Walpole, Sievewright, and Hogarth.
– Do you repudiate Tom Mann’s doctrines?
– Certainly not He is right in a good many things, but he has had very little fair play. Our friends’ opposite are all afraid of Tom -Mann. It is due to the work of Tom Mann that the Labour Party have an increased representation in the Victorian Parliament to-day. A few men like him are needed, and we have them. We are seeing the results of their efforts, not only in Victoria, but also in South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia. They do their work in daylight, and tell the people the truth. There is no “crawling policy” about their methods. Now, with respect to the nationalization of monopolies, if any business has become a monopoly to the detriment of the rest of the people of the Commonwealth, then it should be crushed, and the only way to crush it is to nationalize it. That is a statement which every patriot will, I think, accept. What we contend for has been done in other countries, and it will be done again.
– Where is the iron industry nationalized?
– The iron industry, like the ReidMcLeanTurnerThomsonSymonDrake Government policy, is not in existence yet.
– Why has the honorable senator omitted the Minister of Defence? He has named all the rest. Why does he omit him?
– I do not like to include every one at all times ; but so far as the iron industry is concerned, every one knows its possibilities. It is not yet a monopoly, because the manufacture of iron from the ore is not an established industry. But we know what has happened elsewhere, and we should take precautions to prevent the same thing occurring here. I want to refer now to the statements made by the Prime Minister and others who go about the city declaiming against Socialism. They l ake their diy dogs and tigers with them at all times. The Labour Party has never had an idea of dragging things down to that uniform level. Its members recognise that in the carrying on of a monopoly of that description the Deputy PostmasterGeneral is just as necessary as the boy who delivers the telegrams. We all know that the Deputy Postmaster-General receives higher remuneration than a telegraph boy or a postmaster. And we all recognise that the Deputy Postmaster-General is entitled to higher remuneration, not only by reason of the position which he occupies, but also by reason of the ability which he displays. What the Labour Party desire is not to drag the position of the Deputy PostmasterGeneral down to that of the postmaster, but to make it possible that a telegraph boy shall have an equal opportunity with every other telegraph boy of rising to the position of Deputy Postmaster-General. And as it is in that Department, so ‘we wish it to be in the case of every other monopoly which may be taken over by the State. I have heard Senator Walker say in’ his place that our policy is to bring everything down to one dead level, and I have heard others express the same idea.
– He knows different.
– The honorable senator has been told different, and he ought to believe the statements of those who are advocating the policy of the Labour Party, and who, of course, know more about it than he does. We are also told by the Prime Minister that we are the puppets of somebody outside, that we have no independence, that we are bound by the decision of a caucus which sits in a cellar, or some place of that description. I wish to disabuse the mind of any man or woman in Australia of any such idea as that. The members of the Labour Party are the most independent persons in the’ Commonwealth. It is really those who are under the domination of the individualists who are not independent. Does any honorable senator think that there is a labour man who would sit at the table and occupy the position which Senator Drake fills?
– The honorable senator did.
– Yes, but I occupied the position honorably.
– Honorably ?
– I occupied the position as leader of the Senate.
– Why, the honorable senator is the man who was offering his party! for sale in this chamber.
– I intend to deal with that fiction.
– I heard the honorable senator say that he was for sale.
– The honorable and learned senator heard Senator McGregor say that the Labour Party were for sale.
– I shall tell Senator Clemons what I said, and he has only to look in Hansard to find my statement. I did not correct the report of my speech, like some honorable senators who cut out what they did say.
– Then the honorable senator is not for sale?
– I shall repeat exactly what I did say. But with respect to this caucus-bound party and this machine which is going to ruin the country, the only grievance which honorable senators have is that they cannot get a machine like ours.
– The Labour Party has a machine then?
– Honorable senators on the other side cannot get a party. What are they doing at the present time? Poor unfortunate Mr. Deakin is like a wet rag, he is so miserable on account of the contemptible action which he took quite recently.
– The honorable action.
– Why, Mr. Deakin is the most miserable individual in Australia.
– The honorable senator did not say that at the last elections.
– I did not say that.
– No; because many of the honorable senator’s friends came into Parliament on his back.
– I am sure that I never got into Parliament on the back of Mr. Deakin, or anybody else.
– The honorable senator did not get into Parliament on his back at the last elections, but a great many, of his friends did.
– Not a solitary one of them did.
– What about some friends of Mr. Deakin and Senator Drake? They got into Parliament through not being opposed by labour men.
– I do not think that in the future many candidates will get into Parliament on his back.
– The labour candidates will not get a chance.
– I do not think they will. Mr. Deakin never did anything for the Labour Party, but they did a great deal for him. They kept him in office along with the honorable and learned senator.
– We did too much for them.
– The Labour Party kept Mr. Deakin in office along with Senator Drake for nearly three years, and there was no talk at that time about machine politics, or caucus _ rule, or anything of that kind. ‘ No; we were fine fellows so long as we followed their lead. We thought that in Mr. Deakin we were following a man who was going for the principles we were advocating. But when we find that he has been hypnotized, or deluded, or turned in some way from the correct path, we can only despise him. And I despise the man who in another House said that Mr. Higgins was the only member of the late Government for whom he could express any respect. Mr. Deakin made that remark, and then apologized to some of the other members. He has a right to apologize to me, because I never asked him for anything; I never crawled to him for anything, nor do I ever intend to do so. It was he who went up to Ballarat, and like Senator Clemons, declared that I said that the Labour Party was .for sale, although he had been repeatedly told how that remark came to be made. How was it made? From my place here, I characterized the leader of the Government, the leader of the Opposition, who, at that time was. I think, Senator Gould - Senator Ewing, Senator Neild, and others, were present, and they were all leaders - as suns round whom no planets revolved. I distinctly remember using the words. It was in that sense that I declared that the Labour Party was up for sale to the highest bidder. I spoke in a jocular sense, as those honorable senators knew. They have known all along that the Labour Party was never up for sale in any dishonorable sense.
– What, that you had never been sold dishonorably?
– I cannot be sold dishonorably. I wish to give honorable senators a correct idea of this machine to see if they can copy it, as they are trying to get all the farmers’ associations, property-owners’ associations, and ladies’ national associations to unite1, and present a solid front to the socialistic party. Is not that what they are trying to do? They are trying to create a machine which will knock out our machine, and their only regret is that they cannot do it. That is exactly the position.
– The honorable senator admits that the machine of the Labour Party is different from ours.
– I am going to tell the honorable senator what our machine is.
– It is better than his.
– Yes. it is a more perfect machine. It posseses the latest improvements.
– It is more rigid.
– It is the one on which Senator Millen tried to get into public life.
– That is absolutely false.
– Order. I must ask honorable senators not to hold conversations across the chamber.
– I rise to order. Senator Millen has just stated that an observation made .from this side of the Senate is absolutely false.
– And I repeat it.
– That observation ought not to have been made. No observation ought to be made except by the speaker.
– It was made in reply to a statement by Senator Henderson.
- Senator Henderson had no right to make the statement.
– I made no statement.
- Senator McGregor is in possession of the Chair, and no one else has a right to say anything.
– Do I understand you, sir, to say that an interjection of that kind - that a statement is utterly false - is in order?
– No. What I say is that if honorable senators make interjections when somebody else is speaking they must take the consequences o’f their action. They are out of order in making such interjections. Senator Henderson had no right to interject, nor had Senator Millen any right to answer the interjection. I must ask honorable senators to allow the speaker to address the Chair, not to interject, and especially not to hold conversations as they are doing across the chamber.
– I propose to indicate to honorable senators who are envious of the Labour Party’s machine how they can avail themselves of it, and make use of it, if they only care to turn from their evil ways in a political sense, and get into the straight path, and abide by the principles by which every honest politician ought to abide. Any honorable senator can become a member of a trade union if he works at any calling, and then no one will call him a non-unionist, or a black-leg, or any name of that kind. He can then join a democratic association affiliated with the
Labour Party, or any district committee connected with the Labour Party, by paying a shilling per week and get his,ticket. That will give him the privilege of having a say in the formulation of the platform. The policy is not formulated by a Mr. Reid or a Mr. Deakin, and then presented to be swallowed ‘by the people, but the people through their representatives agree to their policy. Every member of the Labour Party has, therefore, a say in the formulation of the labour platform. He. has also as a member of the Labour Party, a right to be nominated as a candidate. If he accepts the nomination, and goes to the plebiscite, he has to sign a pledge. I am going to tell honorable senators what that pledge means, and ask if none of them has signed a similar pledge, Every candidate is asked to sign a pledge that he will abide by the platform of the Labour Party which he assisted to formulate, and to which he agreed, and if he is not chosen by his fellow labourites to run as a candidate at the election, he is not to contest a district which is contested by an accredited labour man. .Is there anything dishonorable in signing that pledge? Has no honorable senator on the other side ever been asked to sign a pledge of that description? Has Senator Pulsford never received a circular from a blue ribbon association, and signed it, and returned it? Is there anything dishonorable in doing that? If the Free-trade Association ever sent a circular to any honorable senators, and asked them to sign it, and they did, was there anything dishonorable in that? No; but the dishonour would lie in their departing from the pledge afterwards. That is exactly the position which every member of the Labour Party occupies. Again, it is said, “ Oh, but you have this obnoxious caucus. You are ruled by the caucus. You cannot do Anything which the caucus does not indicate to you. If a majority of the caucus say that you are to go into the House and vote »n a certain direction, you are bound to do it, whether you like it or not.”
– Hear, hear.
– I wish to tell the honorable senator that that is not correct.
– I am very glad to hear it.
– I have already enumerated four of the planks of the Labour Party’s platform, and there are only three others left for me to deal with.
Outside of those seven planks, no labour man is bound to anything in the caucus.
– There is no caucus that can bind him.
– No. Is it not right that the members of the Labour Party should be bound by the seven planks which they circulated by the thousand among the people at the elections, and for which they made themselves responsible? And that is all that the caucus can bind them to. Senator Pearce, Senator Henderson, or any other member of our party, can tell the Senate that when any question outside the party’s programme is brought up for discussion in caucus, if any member objects to that discussion, he can stop it. If, for purposes of enlightening each other, the discussion is carried on, and if it is thought necessary to go to a vote, no such vote wilt bind any member of the party in the caucus on that question. Is it surprising to honorable senators opposite to hear that statement? Yet, it is the absolute truth. No member of the party is bound with respect to any question outside the platform of the party, and no member is asked to bind himself on any such question. I believe, however, that in New South Wales it has been the custom in the past, where, the fate of a Government was involved, for a caucus decision to be binding on the whole of the party.
– And with respect to other questions.
– No ; only with respect to their platform. Outside the platform, I repeat, the only question on which a decision of the majority was binding, was a question affecting the fate of a Government.
– Is not the honorable senator slightly incorrect ? Was it not within the power of a parliamentary leader of the Labour Party to call a caucus at any time he chose, in order to consider the attitude of the party ?
– I think the honorable senator is incorrect.
– That may have been the case in the New South Wales Labour Party, but, such’ a rule does not exist in connexion with the Federal Labour Party. I am stating things as they really are. Those members of Parliament who go into the country - whether they be Senator Dobson, or Mr. George Reid, or Mr. Alfred Deakin - and say anything to the contrary, are misrepresenting the Labour Party ; and when they are told what I have told ‘them;, and continue to make those statements, they are knowingly misrepresenting the Labour Party. My testimony can be borne out by every member of our party who is present. I have shown that none of the calamities predicted by Senator Walker or Senator Dobson, with respect to bringing down society to a dead-level of mediocrity, are well-founded. That term is often used with respect to the policyof the Labour Party. If one looks at both sides in either House of the Federal Par liament, or any other Australian Parliament, and considers where the mediocrity is to be found, he will be satisfied that the policy of the Labour Party has not a tendency in that direction. The next plank in the platform of the Labour Party that is condemned as being so socialistic that no body can follow it, and with respect to which some persons are trying to frighten the country, is that of a Citizen Defence Force. But to that policy we in the Senate have all agreed. I am not going to argue it. The present Government agreed to it, and consequently they are in just the same boat as we are. The next plank is the prevention of borrowing. Is there any one who is prepared to encourage the policy of borrowing? Senator Drake, who was a member of the first Federal Government, and Mr. Deakin, went up to Ballarat, and tried to make the people there believe that the Deakin and Barton Governments were opposed to borrowing. They made that statement deliberately. But is it not a wellknown fact that a Bill was introduced by the Barton Government for the purpose of borrowing£500,000, and was it not in consequence of the action of the Labour Party and other Liberal members that that was prevented? The prevention of borrowing, therefore, is also a plank of the platform of the Labour Party that is approved by both Houses of Parliament, and which is recognised as right by nearly every man and woman in Australia. The next plank is navigation and shipping. The present Government have accepted the Royal Commission that was appointed by the late Government to inquire into that subject. That is the policy of theLabour Party from beginning to end.
– In New South Wales they were the party’ which ran the country into debt.
– Good gracious! I am explaining the policy of the Federal
Labour Party. That is my whole intention. I ask the Senate and the country whether there is anything unduly socialistic in that policy ? Is there anything in it that would not be agreed to by a majority of honorable senators, and by a majority of representatives in another place? If that be so, what is all the noise about? Why is it ‘necessary to bring in another Government ? I have now explained the whole policy of the Labour Party, and have offered several criticisms of my own, which have arisen out of interjections. I will now proceed to deal with some of the anomalies in the policy of the present Government, which has adopted, or pillaged, or acquired - whichever term may be used - the policy of the late Government.
– “Commandeered” is the term.
– That, no doubt, is what Senator Walker would call it. I shall deal with one or two items to show the anomalous position which some of the members of the Government occupy. In the Senate yesterday the Attorney-General referred, in that sinking manner which he adopted - because he was sinking everything yesterday; I hope he will rouse himself ; he does more credit to himself when he is fighting than when he is whining - to the question of preferential trade. Much has been said lately with regard to preferential trade. We have heard Senator Symon express patriotic sentiments with respect to the old country. But, in the name of heaven, what preference can he or Mr. George Reid give to the old country if they remain consistent to the programme and platform which they have advocated for years past? For twenty years or more Senator Symon has declared that every country should be placed on the same footing with respect to our trade, and that the productions of every country should be admitted free.
– Hear, hear.
– Then what right have honorable senators opposite to talk of preferential trade?
– Is that the fiscal policy of the honorable senator’s party ?
– What is the fiscal policy of the present Government?
– What is fiscal policy of the alliance?
– Their policy is to “chuck” the Reid Government out.
– The fiscal policy of the alliance-
– Is fiscal humbug.
– Will be made public as soon as there is any necessity for it.
– It is public.
– Oh, no.
– Does the honorable senator repudiate this agreement ?
– I am not discussing the agreement.
– He is rather ashamed of if now.
– No ; we have no reason to be ashamed of it. But honorable senators opposite are afraid of it. The supporters of the Government looked rather sheepish yesterday when they learnt that the agreement had been arrived at. Some of them, I hear, nearly had convulsions.
– Of laughter !
– The question of preferential trade, in the mouth of Senator Symon or Senator Pulsford, or the Right Honorable George Reid, is mockery. They cannot give any preference to anybody, unless they are going to be submerged or merged, or swallowed by McLean-Turner, and Co., or unless they are going to swallow their own principles and adopt some differential or preferential system of dealing with imports from the old country, and other countries. Mr. Reid, Senator Symon, and their free-trade supporters, can offer to Great Britain nothing but their loyalty, and that is not worth very much. It has never been worth much to Great Britain. But when the time comes, and there is a necessity for it, I have no doubt that the Labour Party will prove, as it has always proved in the past, and always will prove, that it can give expression not only to loyal sentiments, but to loyal performances as far as the old country is concerned.
– Who were the proBoer party?
– Who were the proChow party?
– We do not intend to be misled as honorable senators opposite were when they agreed to help the Jews in South Africa, and sacrificed the blood and the wealth of the people of Australia to put money, into the pockets of the Rand Lords at the expense of this country.
– Do not go back to that suBject.
– Perhaps the honorable and learned senator does not like to hear it ?
– The honorable senator should talk about Manchuria or something recent.
– If the leader of the Senate would endeavour to induce his “ submerged tenth “ to control themselves, and not to make interjections which take me off the track, I should not refer to such questions as the South African scandals. But we as a party are prepared, as I have already said, when the proper time comes, to give due and earnest consideration to anything respecting our trade relationships with the old country. But it is a mockery for Senator Symon or any of the free-traders opposite to talk of preferential trade.
– Why? Let the honorable senator give us a reason.
– Is Senator Symon prepared to denounce his fiscal faith? Has this coalition had such an effect already upon him that he is to denounce the belief which he has held for so many years?
– Why cannot we give a preference to Great Britain ?
– Because the honorable and learned senator does not believe in duties on any goods.
– We have duties now ; why cannot we reduce, or remit some of them ?
– It is of no use to talk to some of these gentlemen. One could not nail them down with flooring brads ! Now I am coming to another little anomaly. I do not know why this matter of policy was taken over by the Government when we consider the attitude of honorable senators opposite towards the preceding Government in relation to it. I refer to the survey of the Western Australian railway.
– Was that part of the honorable senator’s policy?
– They called it the “ desert “ railway, and many other hard names.
– Was the honorable Senator’s Government” going to support it?
– Certainly. I always declared that I was in favour of it. During my election campaign I was not afraid to refer to the subject, and I did so in every portion of my State. But the gentlemen who went against it, and who were so cowardly in relation to it, went down.
– What about Senator Styles?
– Senator Styles was in Victoria. I am referring to South Australia. I shall have a word or two more - to say about .South Australia before I finish. I want to ask the leader of the Senate ^whether he meant me yesterday to understand that Mr. McLean, as a member of the present Government, has .a free hand on this question.
– No, the honorable senator is not to understand that.
– I am very sorry, because I thought that that was what the honorable and learned senator said.
– The honorable senator must take my words as they were uttered.
– What the honorable and learned senator said was in reply to an interjection by Senator Styles respecting Mr. McLean, who has always been a bitter opponent of this Western Australia railway scheme. And the AttorneyGeneral himself has always been opposed to this railway.
– That is not the case.
– I hope we are not going to have a “ Yes-No “ policy in both Houses, because Australia would hardly be able to bear such a load. The honorable and learned senator said yesterday that although the Government were prepared to spend .£20,000 on a survey, they were not going to be pledged to afterwards carry out the work.
– I did not say that.
– Oh dear! I am afraid I shall have to be examined by a medical man in order to ascertain whether I am not a fit subject for a lunatic asylum, or some other institution where worn-out politicians can find rest when their memories are beginning to go. I distinctly understood the honorable and learned senator to say-
– Ah !
– Well, will the honorable and learned senator give me a re1ply now? Is the leader of the Senate prepared to commit the Commonwealth to an expense of ,£20,000 for a survey, and then to refuse to afterwards support the construction of the railway.
– Let us hear what the result of the1 survey is.
– Why should not a Royal Commission be appointed ?
– The Royal Commission is intended for the Tariff.
– It seems impossible to pin the Government down to anything. “Yes-No” has bee’n so ingrafted in the political constitution of every one of the Ministry that they cannot get rid of its influence. Am I to understand that the present Government are willing to spend ,£20,000 on a survey, while having perfectly open’ minds as to the necessity of the construction of the line afterwards? What would Sir John Forrest say to a position of that character ?
– Surely the honorable senator would not build a railway without having a survey?
– Certainly not.
– Then why object to a survey?
Se’nator McGREGOR.- I do not object to a survey. We know that a survey is quite a different matter from an inquiry Senator Styles, who knows something about railways, will agree with me that a survey is one of the processes of construction. In such matters the first process is a preliminary or flying survey, and then a survey is made with the intention of constructing the line, the cost of the survey being generally considered as part of the cost of construction.
– Hear, hear !
– I know that Senator Styles will agree with me in that, whether he favours or does not favour the construction of the line. Senator Styles does not agree that there ought to be a surveymade, but that is because he does not agree with the construction of the line, whereas I do favour the survey, because I have always advocated this transcontinental railway. Will the Attorney-General be honest enough to say that the Government will spend ,£20,000 on a survey, and then advocate the construction of the line? We know that the Attorney-General will say “Yes” as to a survey,” but he desires To have a loophole in the near future, so as to be able to say “ No “ as to the construction, thus carrying the “Yes- No” policy to its legitimate issue. There are a great many ‘other point’s which might be considered in connexion with the alleged policy of the Government, but, as I have already pointed out, the present Administration are willing to sink everything - the fiscal question, the electoral boundaries question, and the transcontinental railway question. They take up the latter question tentatively’ only to gain support from a few Western Australian members. I urge the Western Australian members, not only in the Senate, but in another place, to beware of men who are prepared to say “ Yes-No ‘ ‘ in the way which has been manifested to us during the past tew days. The Attorney-General will not give me a decided answer; but I contend that if we spend £20,000 on a survey we should be prepared to go on with the construction of the line. If we are not prepared 10 construct the line, let us save this ,£20,000 to the people of Australia, though I know that the line must ultimately be provided, and will be for the benefit of the Commonwealth. The policy of the present Government is exactly that advocated by the Ministry to which I belonged ; the only difference’ is that the policy is not now advocated with the same earnestness or honesty. In my opinion Senator Symon yesterday showed to greater disadvantage than he has on any other occasion. Honorable senators, I have no doubt, could bear testimony that the AttorneyGeneral, I was going to say, conducted himself in a manner that hardly did credit to his ability, and the position he occupies in the legal profession. However that may be, we have had the policy of the Government delivered, and that policy will be carried into effect if the Government can possibly do it. Up to the present, however, the only object which the Government ‘have made manifest, to tlie people of Australia is either that they want to “ knock out “ the Labour Party, or merely want to get into office themselves. They’ may contend that the Labour Party have been conducting themselves in a manner ‘injurious to t’he country ; but I contend that the party to which I belong have proved their ability to carry on the government of the country just as effectively as has any other section of Parliament. Indeed, the great danger to the other side was that if the Labour Party were allowed to remain in office for long the people of Australia would begin to realize that they were, a proper people to govern. To-day the official organ of the Government, the Argus, threatens the Labour Party with a dissolution. We are told that if the Opposition do not allow the business of the country to be carried on in an expeditious man- ner the result will be a dissolution. But how, in” the name of heaven, can the fear of a dissolution be charged against any member of the Labour Party, either here or in another place? The Labour Party have already desired a dissolution, so that it ‘is difficult to see how they can be afraid of such a contingency.
– We have to remember the Queensland elections.
– The Queensland elections have put the fear of death into a great .many people, but I am afraid there will have to be many similar exhibitions of the power of the Labour Party before those who differ from us cease annoying a section of the community, whose only aspiration and object is the welfare of the country. The Labour Party have no selfish motive to serve. They have no other business to occupy” them - there is nothing to induce them to stay away from the work of Parliament. They come here and do their duty, with nothing to distract their attention ; and the same cannot be said of every other section of Parliament. It is surely time the people of Australia realized the fact that if they want the country governed well, the government must be carried on by men whose best interests are bound up in the welfare of the country. We have a member of another place bv name of Grattan Wilson, who, speaking in the southern portion of Victoria, expressed the opinion that those we’ want in Parliament are men who have given evidence of their ability to carry on their own business - men who have made names for themselves in the commercial world. It almost makes’ me shiver when my memory turns over the history of Victoria. The late Robert Reid was a commercial magnate, and other business men in the public life of Victoria are Mr. McKenzie, Mr. Taverner, Sir Alexander Peacock, and Mr. Webb, the last-mentioned of whom gave evidence before the Butter Commission the other day. These were commercial men of high standing. Do we want a few more Webbs, Taverners McKenzies, Woods, Dunns, Bartarms, and Hopes in our public life? The people of Australia are sick of such men, and are getting more disgusted every day, and the result is that the Labour Party will have more successes in Queensland, Western Australia, and other portions of the Commonwealth. The people are filled with disgust at the dishonesty practised by the commercialists we hear so much about.
When they send their Walpoles, Sievwrights and Hogarths, round the .country
– Do not forget Senator Dobson.
– I do not put Senator Dobson in the same category ; those men are listened to, while Senator Dobson is laughed at. In a very short time, however, the eyes of the people of Australia will be opened, and these men will be no longer listened to. It will be the Tom Manns and gentlemen of that description who go out with the gospel of truth, who will gain the ear of the people. And when people’s minds are enlightend, and they, come to realize the position they occupy with regard to the governing classes, they will send to Parliament men in whom they have confidence; and I am sure the result will be beneficial to the whole community.
– I am sure that we have all listened to Senator McGregor with a great deal of pleasure and amusement. I must thank him for his courteous references to myself. I have already said that I am an independent supporter of the present Government. I have heard Senator McGregor say that none of us are prepared to oppose the compulsory provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. It is my intention to oppose them.
– Will you support the Government ?
– I will support them as far as I agree with them. I am pleased that the Government intend to work as far as possible in harmony with the States. I have already said in this chamber that if we have an Old Age Pensions scheme it should be a scheme for the whole Commonwealth. Under the New South Wales Act, deserving persons who have been over twenty years in Australia, but yet have not been continuously resident in New South Wales, have been refused pensions. That was an injustice, but such cases could only be met by a Commonwealth measure. Therefore, an Old-age Pensions scheme to be satisfactory must cover the whole of the Commonwealth, and not be applicable only to particular States.
– Do you believe there ought to be old-age pensions?
– I am inclined to think there should be.
– But are you aware that the scheme will reduce the bank dividends? .
– The honorable senator seems to know a great deal more about some things than the rest of us.
– Is the honorable senator aware that that is one of the planks in the platform of the new union ?
– I am aware that those of us who are not unionists have greater freedom than our friends who are.
– Are not the freetraders in union with the protectionists?
– No; we have sunk the fiscal issue. Some reference has been made to immigration. We have no control over land legislation ; but there is a vast area available for settlement in the Northern Territory of South Australia, and I hope that some system of -assisted immigration will be adopted. That Northern Territory has never had justice done to it, and I. am told by Senator Playford that it is capable of supporting a very large number of agriculturists. But they will require to have inducements to settle in the country. With regard to fiscal matters, we must try to remember that it has been said on verv high authority, “ Blessed are the peacemakers.” We wish to see peace prevail, that the country may progress and prosper. I cannot understand my free.trade friends opposite entering into coalition with the so-called LiberalProtectionists.
– Can you understand the other coalition?
– Our party sink the fiscal issue. With respect to the High Commissioner the proposal of the Government is highly commendable. They intend to confer with the States, and to consult their interests. In that way it is hoped that a large expense will be saved. And in this connexion I am glad to notice that the Premier of New South Wales is agreeable that the High Commissioner shall take up as many as possible of the duties which now devolve upon the AgentsGeneral.
– Do you mean that the Agent-General for each State should be abolished ?
– [ think that all communications might go through the High Commissioner. He would practically be a joint Agent-General. The States might have their own commercial representatives.
– What do you think of Air. Taverner’ s idea of raising money by means of half-guinea tickets, admitting invited guests to an entertainment.
– I certainly think that my friend Senator Pearce would be much better here supporting the Coalition Government than where he is. Senator McGregor has referred to Mr. McLean and to Mr. Reid as the “twin “ Premiers.
– It is very seldom that twins live.
– I happen to have twin sons of twenty-three years of age, who are both alive. I think Senator McGregor was too severe on the Vice-President of the Executive Council. The first duty of the Minister is to act as Vice-President of the Executive Council, and I am certainly very pleased to see Senator Drake in so honorable a position. He is a man of modest habits. He is one of those who believe that “Blessed are the meek,” and he has exhibited that quality.
– - Do not hurt his feelings more.
– I think it is a virtue. I wish we had more of it. I look on my honorable friends opposite as the Australian Tory Party. They are a socialistic party, and their Socialism is of the very essence of Toryism. We have’ had it abundantly exemplified by Mr. Tom Mann.
– He is doing immense good.
– He is a demagogue ; and if there is a dissolution the Labour Party will come back very much weakened. I have heard that the Labour Party supported both the Barton and the Deakin Governments, not from any admiration of them as individuals, but for what they could get out of them. That was sheer selfishness. Now, with regard to the Western Australian railway, I have always been an advocate of it. I spoke of it in days gone by. I thought then that we should have a railway running from one end of the continent to the other, and I even took the view that it might be paid for by land grants.
– Or land taxes.
– -I recently read in a Sydney paper that some wiseacre in Victoria had discovered a remarkable resemblance between Mr. Reid and Svengali, and had represented Mr. Deakin as Trilby. There may be truth in that; but I have a copy of a letter in my hand from a gentleman who has discovered that we have here a modern adaptation of the play of Othello.
– Who is Desdemona i
– This gentleman finds that Mr. Deakin is Othello, that Sir William Lyne is Iago, and that Mr. Reid is the gentle Desdemona. So that on one side we have Mr. Reid compared to Svengali, while on the other side he is likened to the gentle Desdemona. That is a “YesNo” position, if you like. I shall not further occupy the time of the Senate. I have not departed from my free-trade principles, and have no intention of doing so. I shall oppose compulsory arbitration, and I think honorable senators will find me consistent in the votes I give.
– I do not propose to take up much of the time of the Senate, but I should like to make! a few observations on the remarks of the leader of the Opposition. In doing so I shall endeavour to avoid the extremely regrettable tone he adopted. With the previous speaker, I deplore his references to the Vice-Pre’sident of the Executive Council. There is no rule, either in the Federal or the States Parliaments, which would necessarily make the Vice-President of the Executive Council the lea’der of the Upper House. There is no honorable gentleman who would not be proud to serve under the leadership of Senator Symon, and there was no other position which Senator Drake could take.
– Could he not have been Attorney-General, as he was before?
– The honorable senator forces me to institute a personal comparison, which I did not desire to do. He has admitted that the natural leader was Senator Symon, under whom any honorable) senator would be proud to serve. I wish to pass on to the observation of Senator McGregor dealing with the policy of the Government. I was struck in listening to his wholesale denunciations, by the strange mixture of questionable sincerity and extravagant modesty which marked them. If this is the programme of the two last Governments, the charge must reflect on his own party. He says that the Government have stolen their policy.
– They are not sincere.
– I resent the arrogance of the members of the Labour Party, who. on the public platform, and in every public discussion, claim that they alone possess the virtues of truth and rectitude. I am going to test them. But I must go back. I was referring to the contradiction in the attitude of honorable senators opposite to the programme of the Government. His criticisms on the coalition came rather strangely from a gentleman who is a member of a party which has entered into an alliance of another kind. I hardly know what name to give it. I can only describe it as the Isaacs-Watson-Lyne-Mauger combination. But there it is, and it points to the fact that two other sections in politics have found it necessary, in order to serve purposes they have in common, to agree to joint action.
– We have not been diametrically opposed to each other.
– Has not Senator Pearce been diametrically opposed to Mr. Mauger.
– Only on one question. Are Senator Drake and the honorable senator in agreement on the kanaka question, now ?
– Is the honorable senator in agreement with Sir William Lyne on every question now?
– I am in agreement with him on that question, at any rate.
– I understand that the honorable senator is in agreement with Sir William Lyne on certain questions, and I submit that every honorable senator who supports the Government is equally in agreement with the principles which they are prepared to support. I am not swallowing the whole of the programme of this Government. I do not suppose that the Government would insult me by telling me that they expect me to accept the whole programme, but I hold that every man in public life - either here or in the other House - Is called upon to take the programmes of the two parties, and the two different lines of administration, not in detail, but in the whole, and say which of them represents most clearly that line of public conduct which he thinks he ought to support.
-I do not object to the coalition; I am rather pleased that it has been brought about.
– The honorable senator takes a strange way to show his pleasure. I am also glad that these scattered remnants have come together, because I think that the sooner we get to a straight-out fight, not only in the Parliament, but before the constituencies, between the Socialistic Party and the party which stands for a measure of individual liberty, the better it will be for the purification of public life.
– The liberty which the honorable senator is in favour of is the liberty to starve.
– I have no time to answer an interjection of that character. It is utterly absurd to say that any one here wishes any person to starve. But may I ask how the honorable senator proposes to feed the people ? Is it by a fiscal law? And, if it is, will Senator Pearce agree with that view? However, I do not wish to be drawn off in that way. I desire fo ask the Labour Party if Senator McGregor has stated the whole of their programme ?
– Yes, every bit of it.
– Is the final goal of the Labour Party - its ideals and aspirations - summed up in that milk-and-water programme which the honorable senator has outlined this afternoon?
SenatorMcGregor. - No; that is our programme for this Parliament.
– I take that reply to mean that once the Labour Party is placed in a position of power, and has carried out the legislation which is now offered to us, it has in reserve a larger instalment of what its leader here is pleased to call progressive measures? I am not quarrelling with the members of the Labour Party for entertaining these views, but I wish to see clearly ‘ before me exactly what road I am asked to travel. I think that honorable senators who come here with this modest innocently phrased programme ought in all fairness to tell, not only me but every elector in the Commonwealth, exactly where they intend to go, what their ultimate goal is. Have they done so to-day?
– That is right. We know no more at present.
– From his public utterances and thoseof his colleagues, I can tell the honorable, senator where he is going. There is one member of the Labour Party here who has never refrained, by interjection and otherwise, from stating with the utmost candour what his aspirations are, and that is Senator Findley.
– Hear, hear. We are on the road to Beulah !
– So far as I am aware, the honorable senator, has never minced his words in stating what his aspirations are. What I understand as really the aspiration of the Labour Party is the control of collective industry by the State. Is there a line in this modest programme to suggest that if power be placed in their hands they ultimately intend to lead us into a state in which not a few monopolies, but all the industries are to be controlled by the Government? So far as the programme outlined by the late Government is concerned, it contained very little to which I think any honorable senator would object. But when I know, as honorable senators cannot deny, that their intention, if they once acquire permanent power, is to hurry us not merely from this little instalment of legislation, but to a condition in which all industry is to be controlled by the State, then I submit that it is time for me, as far as I can, by my individual vote, to prevent them from getting into a position which would enable them to give effect to that policy.
– But the honorable senator knows that they would have to ask the people first, and that they would appeal to them.
– Of course they would appeal to the people, but does the honorable senator think that I, am so innocent of political ways as not to know that the longer they were in power the more they would strengthen’ their position? For that very reason I am not going to place those who hold views, which I regard as injurious to the country, in a position to give greater effect to them. What battle, political, or otherwise, could be fought in that way?
– That reply is a complete answer to the interjection.
– We could only do it with the good will’ of the people.
– From the interjections which have been made during my speech, I think I am justified in affirming that the programme now put forward by the Labour Party is a. two-faced one - the face presented to us is this modes: programme, but the other face held up to members of labour leagues and to unions, to the great mass of those who support the Labour Party is a long line of socialistic measures, which are promised if only they can obtain power.
– No; we were elected on those seven planks.
– - Yes ; but the honorable senator admits that that is not the final goal of the Labour Party. Does not every issue of their journal, does not every utterance of their public men, point to the fact that their- aspiration is Socialism? And if that is so, why do they deny it?
– We do not deny it.
– That is a candid and honest statement. The honorable senator does not deny that the ultimate aspiration of the Labour Party is Socialism. I should regard a socialistic State, in which enterprise, industry, and production are to be under the control of the Government, as not only a disaster in itself, but as bound to end in national ruin.
– It does not do that in New South Wales, where the Government run clothing factories, railways, and other things.
– That being so, I cannot understand why the Labour Party should get angry when it is suggested that they are a socialistic party.
– Not at all.
– When I make this affirmation they fall back on the seven planks. I ask them again whether- those seven planks represent the cause of the being of the Labour Party, or whether, as’ has been admitted by one of them, their ultimate object is Socialism.
– ‘For this Parliament the seven planks.
– And when the time is opportune, Socialism.
– Cannot the honorable senator understand that there are two programmes ?
– I have just said that there are two programmes - one for the Senate, and one for the people.
– No. One! is immediate, and the other is ultimate. We have taken the public into ‘our confidence about the ultimate goal of the party.
– I think that the honorable senator is not doing himself full justice. I believe that the Labour Party took the people further into their confidence than that, and that they obtained a very large number of votes on a promise that when they secured’ power they would bring in a larger instalment1 of socialistic legislation than is contained in this programme.
– The honorable senator has no warrant for that statement.
– The people approved of our policy.
– If the people approved of it, there is nothing more to be said, but it is not contained in this programme. It is >my duty to oppose a policy which I consider would be disastrous.
– We are not misleading the people. Senator MILLEN. - No, but the Labour Party are trying to mislead us.
– The honorable senator said that we are keeping one face away from the people.
– I wish to point out one or two differences between the programme of the present Government and that of the last Ministry. Senator McGregor spoke about the Immigration Restriction Act, and said that, notwithstanding all the denunciations with reference to the Stelling case, there was no word of repealing that legislation. That is quite true, but, so far as I am concerned, the denunciations with reference to that case had nothing to do with the Act, but with the administration of its provisions. If, under this or any other Government, a similar public scandal happened, I should take up an exactly similar attitude. The man was set at liberty, and nothing more was done with him. No stronger proof that a wrong had been done could be had than the fact that the prison doors were thrown open before the sentence was served, and the man was allowedto go free. That is the only remark I desire. to make on that point.
– How about the six hatters? Has the honorable senator parted with them?
– No. Surely the honorable senator does not want me to deal with all these public scandals. I do not wish to discuss now the case of the six hatters, or the way in which labour members got hold of their papers.
– I rise to order. The honorable senator has made a suggestion about the way in which members of the Labour Party got hold of certain papers, and I wish to know if the insinuation is in order.
– I . do not understand what the insinuation is.
– I may set the matter at rest by saying that I did not refer to members of the Labour Party, but to members of labour organizations.
– Will the honorable senator give the names?
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well the names of the men who got possession of the papers and communicated with the public office.
– I do not, and the honorable senator has no right to make an insinuation of that sort.
– It is not an insinuation, but an affirmation.
– Will the honorable senator name the persons whom he accuses of -doing this thing?
– Not even to oblige the honorable senator, who knows perfectly well that the papers were obtained and held by some officials of the union.
– I do not know anything of the kind.
– The honorable senater is less informed than I thought he was. Senator McGregor would have us believe that, inasmuch as the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill of the late Government has been adopted by the present Government,
I there is no difference of programme in that regard. But the fact that the late Government went out on an amendment which was moved to that Bill shows at once that there is a vital difference in programme between the two parties. The late Government made that difference between the ‘two parties vital ; they accepted it as their battle ground.
– They did not accept the question of recommittal as their battle ground.
– The honorable senator knows that that was done in order to have only one fight instead of two. Having made the question of preference to unionists vital, the members of the late Government cannot turn round now, and say that there is no difference between their measure and that of the present Government. The nationalization of monopolies is another plank in the platform of the Labour Party. . I should like to know what it means. I. should have been better pleased if Senator McGregor, instead of affirming that no honorable senator would object to the nationalization of a monopoly had stated in detail what it is that his party wants. Honorable senators are well aware that the Senate has been invited and has carried resolutions affirming the desirability of having a national tobacco monopoly. I am utterly opposed to the proposal, for I can conceive of no monopoly in an industry of that kind. Then we have had the nationalization of the iron industry advocated.
– Does not the honorable senator think that there is a monopoly in the tobacco industry ?
– If there is. I do not think that the Labour Party will improve matters by handing over the industry to the Government.
– It has been done in France.
– If the honorable senator were there he would give up smoking for the rest of his life.
– The French people do not give up smoking.
– This innocentlooking phrase - nationalization of monopolies - covers the chief objection which I have to the “policy of my honorable friends opposite. They stand for collective effort - for Socialism, for State control - while I stand for individual liberty. That marks a broad line of cleavage between us.
– The honorable senator stands for the butter agents, whereas we stand for Government- action.
– The honorable senator does not believe that for a moment ; but if he does believe it, let me give an instance of absolute waste and corruption under Government management. Take the state of things existing in Russia. There we have something near to Socialism in the sense that in Russia the State does nearly everything.
– I thought that was despotism.
– But you may have a despotic state of Socialism as well as a democratic state of Socialism. Honorable senators opposite surely do not mean to say that it is impossible to have a condition of corruption under Socialism. Corruption does not depend upon whether a State is individualistic or socialistic, but upon whether the administration of the- Government is pure. I was about to draw attention to a remarkable omission from the programme of the Labour Party, as laid down by Senator McGregor, and which marks another point of difference between myself an3 his party.’ It is strange that in explaining that programme the honorable senator made no allusion to the plank which has reference to the Banking Bill. That is another point upon which I fall out with honorable senators opposite. I decline to support any legislation that is in the nature of an enforced loan from private individuals. I expected that the late Vice-President of the, Executive Council would explain the attitude of his party towards that portion of their policy, but he dropped it out of sight, probably finding it most convenient to do so. The honorable senator glanced away from another point in the programme of his party when he spoke of the Navigation Bill’. He tried to make it appear that because the present Government have approved of the Royal Commission that has been appointed, therefore the policy of the late Government and that of the present Government were in common in that respect. I do not know that the present Government has made a declaration of policy regarding the Navigation Bill ; but the fact that they have not adopted the policy which I know to have been es- ‘poused by members of the Labour Partyfurnishes me with another reason why, until the present Government have declared their policy on that subject, I am bound to take my place on this side of the chamber.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the present Government has no policv on the Navigation Bill?
– So far as I am aware, the only declaration of policy which has been made by the Government is that they will await the result of the Royal Commission before dealing with the subject. But that statement cannot be interpreted as meaning an acceptance by the Government of the policy of its predecessors.
– Surely that is an adoption of the method of the last Government?
– The present Government is pursuing the inquiry that the late Government inaugurated, but has not announced its policy. The late Government announced its policy with regard to certain clauses of the Bill, but the present Government has not done so.
– Because they have no policy.
– Probably the report of the Royal Commission may help them to frame one. I now come to the ques- tion of the caucus. Senator McGregor has affirmed that really there is no difference between the caucus - the name by which the meetings of the Labour Party are known - and the ordinary meetings of any other political party in this country. I admit at once that he made out a very good case from his point of view. But he spoilt it by another remark. While affirming that there was no difference between the caucus of the Labour Party and the ordinary meetings of any other political party, he also said, “ The only thing that is troubling other parties is that they cannot imitate it.” If we have the same system as his party has, we need not be troubled because we cannot imitate it. If it be true that we are troubled because we cannot imitate the caucus of the Labour Party, Senator McGregor showed at once that there is a marked difference between our methods and the methods which we cannot imitate. There is another point. There is a difference - let honorable members opposite deny it as much as they will - between the methods of the Labour Party” and the methods of other parties at their ordinary meetings.
– The other parties are trying to imitate our methods, and cannot.
– I sincerely hope that the party to which I belong, if it does make ah effort 10 introduce into this country machine politics, will absolutely fail. From what we know of the machine, as it exists in America, I trust that no Other party will succeed in introducing it.
– Is not the machine in America controlled by a one-man boss?
– Yes ; and the honorable member’s party is rapidly leading to that position. I do not blame the man who controls the machine, when, having a fibrous intellect, he comes along and makes himself master of his party. It is the system that I find ‘fault with. That is what has always happened in political affairs when the machine has been established. I have spoken longer than I intended to do, led on by a fire of interjections. I desire to say only a word or two in conclusion. Senator McGregor has contended that there is virtually no difference between the policy of his party and that of the present Government. I have risen to show as far as I can what to my mind makes the broad difference between honorable members on the one side and on the other. That difference is that on the one side there is a distinct desire to advance steadily in a direction- the goal of which must be Socialism ; whereas, on the side upon which I take my stand there is a belief that only by means of reasonable measures can we expect to obtain improvements and to promote a state of prosperity that will become permanent.
– I think we can say that whilst Senator Millen in his usual vigorous style has attacked the party to which I belong he has refrained from . personalities ; and I hope. that in any remarks which I may have to make in following him I may also achieve that end. I think that we can differ with respect to the policies of the various parties that are represented in this Parliament without indulging in personalities towards those who represent opposing parties. I wish to say in reference to Senator Millen’s defence of the position of the Vice-President of the Executive Council in this chamber that the only thing that struck me forcibly in his remarks was this : I wondered that Senator Millen did not on this occasion give voice to the very vigorous protest which he has expressed on other occasions with regard to the fact that the present Government have again followed the pernicious example of other Governments in appointing only two Ministers in the Senate.
– That example was also followed by the late Government.
– Yes, and Senator Millen vigorously denounced them for having appointed only two Ministers in the Senate.
– The late Government helped to stereotype the rule.
– But I am surprised to find that on the present occasion Senator Millen has said nothing on the’ subject. That is only another proof of the party loyalty which affects honorable senators opposite, and the absolute way in which their leaders compel them to keep silence where they would like to voice their dissatisfaction.
– The honorable senator spoke against the Deakin Government on that point.
– I also expressed the same opinion in regard to the late Government. I said that I thought they had made a mistake. It seems to me that the only way effectively to protest in this matter is that when, as is now the case, there is a powerful Opposition in the Senate, that Opposition should use its power in such a way as to induce the Government to realize thai it is necessary to appoint another Minister in the Senate. That is the only way to make our protests effectual. I do not complain or cavil that a Coalition Government has been formed. I am rather pleased to see it. I certainly cavil at the nature of the actions which led to the formation of the coalition. But that is the only part of the business to be ashamed of. Every earnest student of reform should rejoice to see that a Coalition Government has been formed, because it brings into Federal politics a new line of cleavage - a line differing altogether from that which has existed in our States Parliaments, and in the Commonwealth Parliament, in the past. It gets rid of the old line of cleavage between freetrade and protection. We now have! a clear line between those who favour collective effort in the public interest, and those who are in favour of individual effort for individual self-aggrandizement. The Labour Party ought to be the last of all parties to object to that new line of demarcation. The sooner that line is accentuated, the better for us. The recent .new movements in Federal politics have accentuated that line of demarcation, and have emphasized the fact that the real issue is between the respective parties which I have mentioned. In the past, in my opinion, the importance of the question of free-trade and protection was very much exaggerated. It was time that it was relegated to the back-ground. Senator Millen, in criticising the Opposition, wanted to know whether we deny that our programme is in a socialistic direction. No member of the Labour Party will deny that. We admit that our programme is in a socialistic direction. But because that is so, we do not admit that it naturally commits us to immediate Socialism. ‘ It is just as unreasonable for Senator Millen to say that the policy of the Labour Party commits us to immediate Socialism, because some Socialists are extreme in their opinions, as it would be for me to say that because Senator Millen is supporting a reactionary Government, therefore he is in favour of a complete reaction to barbarism. There are those who sit alongside Senator Millen who are opposed to practically all measures which are introduced into the Federal Parliament. Those people would, if they could, push our progress back a few years. But it would not. therefore, be fair to say of Senator Millen and his associates, that the majority of them are in favour of pushing our poli- tics back to a state of barbarism. While Socialism may be our ultimate goal, I think that a good deal of misapprehension is created in the minds of people, and, perhaps, also, in the minds of politicians in regard to it; though I am not one of those who believe that politicians are usually led astray in reference to these matters. It must be remembered that we are all more or less Socialists nowadays. To a greater or lesser degree there is scarcely a business man or a member of the Employers’ Federation who is not to some extent a believer in Socialism, or who is not prepared in some degree to regard the State as a socialistic entity, to increase or to advantage his particular interests. Wherever that can be done he is quite prepared to enter into socialistic schemes. It ill becomes these gentlemen to condemn all forms of Socialism, when they are prepared to take advantage of them when it suits their own interests. The attitude of the Labour Party is that, where any industry becomes a monopoly, which, to the injury of the community, is being used to the advantage of a few, we should make it an industry owned and controlled by the people. That is the interpretation which we put upon our programme in this respect. We have not attempted to deceive the people. We have plainly told them what our opinions are. We did not reach the Treasury benches or attain to our present strength by any subterfuge or any deceit, but bv the goodwill and the votes of the people of Australia. Therefore, it is idi* to object to our presence here unless it can bp shown that it is likely to lead to some injury.
– I did not understand Senator Millen to raise that objection.
– The - tone of his speech to my mind indicated that objection. The honorable senator also said that the late Government, of which Senator McGregor was a member, made the preference clause of the Arbitration Bill vital. The late Government were prepared to do that, but the members of the present Government did not give them an opportunity to do so, and took the business of the country out of the hands of the late Government, who, having some respect for their political Consciences, resigned. I wish to say, as an intimation to the present Government, that so far as I am concerned, I believe that the preference clause, without the amendment which was moved by a member of the present Ministry, is absolutely vital - that without such a clause we might as well be without an Arbitration Act. If the Government believe in arbitration - unless they are going to bring in a Bill which will take away from the workers of Australia the right to strike, or the right to take their cases to an impartial tribunal - they must insert a preference clause without the so-called McCay . amendment. I only hope that when the Bill is introduced here we shall see that when it leaves the chamber it is a measure just to the trades unions of Australia. I was surprised to hear Senator Millen refer to what he called the enforced loans which Mr. Watson foreshadowed when reterring to the Banking Bill. I do not think that the term “ enforced loans “ is a proper one to use, but in any case I should like to as’k whether Senator Millen was not a member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales at the time when the private enterprise banks of Australia took a forced loan from the people who had in good faith deposited money in those institutions? The banks at that time took a forced loan on which they never paid any interest, and, in some instances, have not yet repaid the principal. Senator Millen objects to the Government taking what he calls a forced loan, though it ought to be remembered that the Government would pay both interest and principal, and safeguard the credit of the banks. Why did not Senator . Millen, in 1893, endeavour to bring about such legislation in New South Wales as would prevent the spoliation of private individuals bv the private enterprise banks? Then we find Senator Millen objecting to the political machine. Just fancy a member of the free-trade delegation from New South Wales objecting to machine politics ! Why, if there was any example of the working of a machine in Federal politics in Australia., it was the return of the free-trade senators from that State.
– Absolutely, no.
– It was absolutely the most perfect example of machine politics in Australia.
– In what respect?
– The election was run on a ticket not chosen by an organization, but chosen by a newspaper editor and the leader of the free-trade party. That ticket was placed before the people of New South Wales, by the two party newspapers, and the free-trade senators were elected without cavil or question. The men who were fortunate enough to get on the ticket knew that they did not need to address a single meeting or issue a single manifesto. They knew perfectly well that the machine, though small numerically, and as an organization very little representative of the people, was powerful enough to elect them in spite of all opposition. I should like to draw Senator Millen’s attention to the difference between that kind of machine and the machine which was indicated by Senator McGregor. The latter is not a machine of two men or two newspaper editors, but’ of thousands and thousands of electors. The organization is open to every man and woman in the Commonwealth, who may not merely become automata members pulled by the strings of a newspaper office, but who may have an equal and effective voice in its control. If we ‘have to make a choice as to which is the best machine in the interests of the people, surely we ought to adopt the one which is controlled by and composed of the people rather than a machine controlled by, and composed of two individuals or two newspaper prints. As to the programme which has been placed before us by the Government, we can, at any rate, say that the present Ministry do not mean to work us in such a way that we shall have much overtime during the present session. The programme put before us is more noticeable for what is left out than for what appears. However, I congratulate the AttorneyGeneral on the fact that the Government have recognised that two Bills on the notice-paper are non-party, and are very useful measures. It would have been very unfair, even if one of those measures, though it may contain some party or contentious matter, had been thrown under the table. I desire to give the Government every credit for recognising that the two measures to which I refer will be very useful to the trading community of Australia, and tend to the protection of the people, and for taking those measures up just as they were left, fully prepared to send them on to the other Chamber to be dealt with. We are all pleased to hear that the Government are negotiating in order to carry into effect the Seat of Government Act. I trust that the full spirit of that Act will bc recognised. While there may be some room for negotiation as to area, I trust the Government will recognise that both Houses have distinctly provided that the area acquired must be ample. We must have an area sufficient for the growth of a considerable city - we must have so much that we shall know that whatever value is created shall be retained by the Federal authorities, and not be given to the State, simply owing to the small area acquired. I trust that some of’ the parochial) statements which have appeared in New South Wales will, on further consideration, give place to a broader and more Australian sentiment. I trust that we shall have no more ot that spirit of ‘hostility which has been displayed by some of the public men of New South Wales, but that they will meet the Federal Parliament and settle this question iri an Australian spirit. In regard to the Arbitration Bill, and the decision of the Government to proceed with it as it stands, I venture to say that when it comes before us we shall be able to take such action as will make it more in accord with what is required in a workable measure of the kind. I am rat’her surprised at the proposal of the Government, that the High Commissioner Bill shall be held over till next session. I notice that the Government state that they intend to call a conference of State Premiers on this matter. While it might very well be said that on some questions the Federal Government have every right to consult with the States Premiers, still I, as one who am jealous of the rights of this Senate, urge that we, more effectively than any States Premiers, represent the States. The High Commissioner Bill might well have been introduced to this House and passed, and the Status then given an invitation to arrange their State agencies, so as to fit in with the Bill, It seems to me that the Government, in going first to the State Premiers and asking whether they are agreeable to change their arrangements, are placing this Chamber in a secondary position. I understand there are various questions on which it is proposed to take the opinion of the States Premiers ; but I think the Government might first take the opinion of the Commonwealth Parliament. We find that, on the question of old-age pensions, the States Premiers are to be consulted, which simply means that we are going to ask the Premiers to make proposals as to finances of the Commonwealth. What can be the reason for consulting the States Premiers? Is it nol that the Government contemplate that if a proposal for old-age pensions is made, we shall have to interfere with the amount of money now returned to the various States Treasurers? We are, therefore, to go cap in hand to the States Treasurers, and ask them if they will be willing to spare that amount of money - whether they will make a noise if we reduce the amount now returned. It is most certain that the States Treasurers will object, and we shall then be told that old-age pensions are not practicable, because, it may be, Mr. Butler, of South Australia, or some other Treasurer, finds that he cannot spare the money. If the Government believe in old-age pensions, they ought to bring a proposal before the Commonwealth Parliament, and make the necessary financial arrangements, leaving the. State Treasurers to do their duty and make their arrangements ibr the revenue they require. If the people of Australia believe in old-age pensions, they are prepared to make the necessary sacrifice. The people do not vote for oldage pensions without knowing that they will have to provide the money, and they will be quite willing to make up any deficiency which may result in the revenue This is ons of the questions which the Government should refer to the Federal Parliament rather than to a conference of States Premiers. If the Government continue in office I shall, of course, be a critic, though a fair critic; and I hope that the measures which are passed will be for the benefit of the people of Australia-
– There does not seem to be very much interest taken in this debate, seeing that there is barely a quorum present. I was rather surprised that the Government did not put up a Minister who had not spoken, to reply to the leader of the Opposition, unless, of course, Senator Walker happens to be an honorary Minister. It would have been the course usually followed in such cases, and it was a compliment due, I think, to Senator McGregor. There are one or two faults I have to find with the present Ministry, and I shall deal not so much with their policy as with their personnel. Up to the present time in the Federal Parliament, each Chamber has been led by a protectionist, but now each is led by a freetrader. That causes me to look with some little suspicion on the present Administration. It would be idle for myself or any one to say that the leader of a House has no more power than any other honorable member ; as a1 fact, he does not count only one, but very often counts a good many, and on that ground alone I take exception to the constitution of the Govern- ment as in itself an objection in a protectionist Commonwealth. Another objection I have is as to the alleged equality in all things. Mr. Reid and Mr. McLean are said to be “ equal in all things.” The very first step that Mr. Reid took when he became Prime Minister was to issue a manifesto addressed to the people of Australia, but his other half did not even know that such was Mr. Reid’s intention until the manifesto was published in the newspapers. It seems to me rather a bad start for onehalf of this double-barrelled Ministry to go off when the other was not even loaded. If they are co-equal, as we are assured on the highest authority - -Mr. Reid - I wonder what would happen if Mr. McLean were to resign. Would his resignation involve the retirement of the Government, and would it be sent to the Prime Minister or to the GovernorGeneral ? It is absolute nonsense to talk about Mr. Reid and Mr. McLean being on a footing of equality. I propose to make some remarks about Mr. Reid, the politician, and not Mr. Reid, the private citizen. No one can accuse me of having any personal feeling in this matter, for I have no recollection of ever having spoken to Mr. Reid, except to wish him good day. It is generally admitted that he is probably the best platform speaker in Australia. He cracks his jokes on the platform with the same easy facility that he cracks his alleged political principles off the platform. Australians do not mind jokes, but they expect something better from the man whom they place at the head of affairs in the Commonwealth. From the man who holds the highest position in their gift, they require consistency. The nation- has fixed a very high standard for the man who is at the head of public affairs. They do not want an opportunist with a political past, but a high-minded man to whom they can all look up. Mr. Reid, as we all know, slanders, abuses, and sneers at a man one day-
– Is the honorable senator in order, sir, in charging a member of the other House - the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth - with slandering persons?
– I think it would be better if the honorable senator were to moderate his remarks, but I am not prepared to rule that it is out of order for him to say that a man slanders people.
– I am speaking of Mr. Reid, not as a private citizen, but as a politician, and I intend to prove before I sit down that he does these things. On one day he will slander and abuse people, and on the next day he will cringe and crawl to them if it suits his political views. He is merely an opportunist, and in my opinion he is quite unfitted to hold the high position to which he has been called. When a vessel is steered from the steerage we do not expect a very exalted standard of political or other, morality, but when the good ship Commonwealth is steered from the saloon we do expect her crew to be good men, and above all, we expect the captain to be a high-minded, honorable politician, and not a man who will truckle to every person who comes along. I expect that my statements will be questioned, and at the risk of boring the Senate, I shall quote Mr. Reid’s exact words. I do not wish to put my construction on his words, but to allow honorable senators and the public generally to see the kind of man who is at the head of the affairs of this great nation. When he was face to face with the Labour Party in the other House, he said -
I do not want to flatter the honorable member for Bland as the leader of the Labour Party, but, speaking as one man to another, I wish to recognise the services which he, being a protectionist, and acting on his principles, has rendered by his efforts to preserve the revenue as far as possible. The honorable member, and others of his party, have helped us in a manner that I here wish to recognise.
Coming from a man like Mr. Reid, this is very high praise for the Labour Party. But when he is away from the Labour Party - at Warracknabeal - he calls them everything that a man could possibly do, as honorable senators will see if they refer to the Warracknabeal Herald of the 15th July, 1902. Speaking of the Barton Government, at Bowral, on the 18th of August, 1903, Mr. Reid said -
If one thing had marked the Government more than another it was the subservient and crawling way in which it had always kept one eye on the labour members. The line of honorable alliance between the two parties had been crossed, and the line of discreditable subserviency and cowardice had been reached. He charged the Government with being a dishonorable tool in the han’ds of the Labour Party.
That is stronger than the language I was challenged for using just now, and it was used about a man whom we must all respect, whatever we may think of his politics. I refer to the Right Honorable Sir Edmund Barton. Speaking at Prahran, only two or three weeks ago, Mr. Reid referred to the same gentleman as, “That great man, Sir Edmund Barton.” I should like to know when Sir Edmund Barton became great. It must have been during the time when he was a public man, for ‘he has done nothing very great that I am aware of since he became a Judge of the High Court.
– I would not say that.
– I do not think that Sir Edmund Barton would claim to have done anything very great since he has been a Judge.
– If the honorable senator ‘had been at the Federal Convention he would know that Sir Edmund Barton did something great.
– He is a great man, no doubt.
– Is any good to be gained by be-littling our public men hour after hour?
– I am repeating what the Prime Minister said about a greater man than himself.
– He was speaking of Sir Edmund Barton as a politician.
– I recognise that. I wish to point out the inconsistency of the opportunist at the head of the Government. When the leader of the Senate was speaking yesterday, I interjected, “ There is no ‘ YesNo ‘ about Senator Symon. We generally know what he means, but Ave never know what his leader means.” That is the distinction between the two men.
– We know that he does not always mean what he says.
– No ; very often he means a great deal more than he says. When Mr. Reid was addressing the Farmers, Property Owners, and Producers’” Association, in Collins-street, only last week, he said -
I was Premier for five years in New South Wales, during which the Labour Party had me in the hollow of their hand, but what was the result? I got my free-trade policy passed by protectionist labour men.
I shall point out how misleading that statement was to his audience. According to his own showing, he did a five years’ grovel. He was under no compulsion to remain in the hollow of the hand of the Labour Party ; he was crawling and .subservient then. He charged Sir Edmund Barton with being crawling and subservient to the Labour Party ; and yet he gets up and tells the public, when it suits himself, that he was in the hollow of the hand of the Labour Party for five years. The line of discreditable subserviency and cowardice must have been passed scores of times during that period, and his Government must have been a dishonorable tool in the hands of the Labour Party, as I intend to show. He said, at Bowral, that the Barton Government kept one eye on the Labour Party. It will be seen directly that Mr. Reid kept both eyes on the Labour Party for very many years. The inference which he wished his listeners in Collins-street the other day to draw from his remark was that he made use of the protectionist-labour members and other protectionists in order to get his, free-trade policy placed on the statute-book, but the greater portion of the crawling and subserviency took place after his Tariff was assented to by the Governor on the 1 2 th of December, 1895. * propose to. show that he is a prohibitionist as well as an opportunist. In 1896, tenders were invited by the Government of New South Wales for the construction of a bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai. A Victorian firm, named McKenzie and Sons, sent in the lowest tender, but it was put aside by Mr. Reid’s Government, although there was no restriction placed in the advertisement on the location of the tenderers, and the contract was given to a New South Wales contractor. McKenzie and Sons were well known as contractors in Victoria and New Zealand. They purchased plans and specifications from the State Government, and their good cash was accepted, but the contract was refused to them. A transaction of that kind in private life would be called by a very ugly name. If this firm and other contractors had been notified that it would be of no use to tender for the work because they were not resident in New South Wales, they would not have bothered to send in a tender. There was nothing against this firm, and yet the contract, I repeat, was given to a local man by the Reid Government.
– Is this local politics ?
– I do not believe in Mr. Reid as the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, and I propose to show that he is an opportunist, that when it suits his purpose he scatters his alleged political principles to the four winds of heaven.
– Has the honorable senator got the amounts of the tenders?
– Yes. I have taken from the New South Wales Hansard what Mr. Reid did say.
– Would it not be the head of the Department rather than Mr. Reid, who would have to do’ with this contract ?
– No, because it was made a Cabinet question. The Tender Board of New South Wales recommended that the tender of McKenzie and Sons should be accepted. When it was not accepted Mr. McKenzie went over and wished to see Mr. Young, the Minister for Works, who declined to give him an interview.
– Does not the honorable senator think that this is ancient history ?
– So many things have happened since then.
– If it was an act which Mr. Reid, as a State Premier, ought not to have stooped to, he is unfitted to be Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. Having failed to see Mr. Young, Mr. McKenzie was taken by Mr. Chanter, a member of the State Parliament, to Mr. Reid, and his reply to Mr. McKenzie was stated in the Legislative Assembly to have been given in these words -
I do not see why my colleague should not have given you an answer to your question. I will give it to you. The reason why your tender was not accepted was because you are a Victorian.
That was a nice answer for Mr. Reid to give to the lowest tenderer. Mr. McGregor, the firm’s engineer, came to me at the time, and said, “ We have spent over ,?300 in tendering for works in New South Wales at various times. This is the first time that our tender was the lowest, and it is not accepted, because we are Victorians.” If it had not been made a Cabinet question, I could well believe that that course might have been taken by the Minister of Works behind the back of the Premier.
– The honorable senator does not really believe that that was the reason why their tender was not accepted.
– I am quoting Mr. Reid’s own statement. I believe very little of what he says on political matters.
– Does the honorable senator believe that the statement he is quoting’ is Mr. Reid’s?
– That is what Mr. Reid told Mr. McKenzie in the presence of Mr. Chanter. I spoke to Mr. Chanter on the subject to-day, and he said that when he gave that account of the interview in the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Reid did not deny its accuracy. There could not be any reason why the contract should not be given to the lowest tenderer. This firm, which was well known in Victoria and New Zealand, was carrying out public works here at the time. When a man tells me that he is a free-trader, and keeps the door open to all people, and then slams it in the face of a contractor in that way, I think that we should not take the slightest notice of what he says. He not only took the firm’s money for the plans and specifications, but he deprived them of their profit, which might have amounted to thousands of pounds. I only mention this incident to show how utterlyunreliable Mr. Reid’s statements are when he declares that he is a free-trader. In the same year tenders were called by the Reid Government for supplies for the Government Departments, and on the 14th of July Mr. Chanter moved in the Legislative Assembly -
That in the opinion of this House all supplies for the Government service should be, as far as practicable, the products or manufactures of New South Wales.
Mr. Reid said on that occasion
I thoroughly agree with the spirit of the resolution.
The head of the Free-trade Party sought to lead his audience in Collins-street the other day to believe that all these things were done so as to keep the Labour Party and the protectionists under his thumb in that House until he got his Tariff passed, but they happened to be done in the year after it was enacted. He talks about keeping an open door. We continually hear that expression rolled out by him in a very nice way, but he slammed the open door right in the face of the other Colonies in 1896. They were not to supply any goods or materials which could be furnished by New South Wales.
– New South Wales always kept her markets open to Victoria, but Victoria did not reciprocate.
– New’ South Wales did not open her markets on that occasion to Victoria. I could understand a Premier in a protectionist State adopting the policy which is embodied in that resolution, but I cannot understand the head of the freetraders of Australia heartily concurring, in that resolution, and at the same time telling the people that he took a great pride in keeping the door open to the other Colonies. It seems to me that this was not very good free-trade, but it was excellent prohibition, both in the case of Mr. McKenzie and in the other case which I have just mentioned. This gentleman, Mr. Reid, who will not now take up the Iron Bonus Bill, says that he will allow every member of his Government to vote as he pleases with regard to the proposition contained in that measure. Yet this is the same gentleman who offered an advantage of 15 per cent, to those who would start iron works in New South Wales, to turn out 150,000 tons of steel rails. That, again, was excellent protection, but it was very bad free-trade. It shows that Mr. Reid is prepared to throw his principles to the four winds of heaven whenever it suits himself. After he had passed his free-trade Tariff in New South Wales, the Labour Party there compelled him to pass other legislation which was in their interests. They held him in the hollow of their hand. In 1896 he passed the Mines Acts Amendments Acts. In 1896 he passed the Coal Mines Regulation Act. In the same year he passed the Factories Act. In 1896, and again in 1898, he passed the Elections Acts. In 1898 tie passed an Act for the exclusion of inferior races. I am quoting these instances from a pamphlet written by Mr. Black, who claims, and with apparently good “ reason, that the Labour Party in New South Wales were able to force these measures from Mr. Reid’s Government. Was not that cringing and crawling to the Labour Party in order that he might remain in office? He could not have been doing it for any other purpose. It is really very funny ! Four years ago Mr. Reid came to Melbourne and delivered a speech in the Town Hall. He there stated - and it is to be remembered that Federation was then about to be consummated - that if he came into office he would throw the protected industries of Victoria into the water and let them sink or swim as they might. He expressed the opinion that if an industry after having been established for thirty years could not carry on without protection it was not worth protecting. This was his :dry-dog threat ! But it was very cheap politics. Iri the same way, Senator Symon might come over to Melbourne, and threaten all sorts of things, knowing that he had no voters to face on this side of the border.
– The people at that meeting all applauded.
– Yes, but it was an audience of importers and free-traders. Admission was by ticket.
– Was it really ?
– It was not a public meeting, then ?
– No; one had to get a ticket in order to gain admittance, just as though it were a soup kitchen ! Having passed his Tariff in 1895, Mr. Reid did not place upon the free list several articles which were manufactured in New South Wales. My honorable friend, Senator Pulsford, who is a complete encyclopaedia on this subject, will know that that is the case. He will recollect that Mr. Reid stated that he intended to wipe out the protectionist Tariff. And he did it to a certain extent. But he retained some items. He retained preserved and canned fruits, biscuits, confectionery, sugar, and certain other similar articles. In fact, at the end of 1898, three years after his Tariff came into force, Mr. Reid himself brought in a Bill to repeal some portions of his own Tariff, in order that the duties might continue to operate. The duty at that time on sugar was ,£4 per ton refined, arid £3 per ton raw. Mr. Reid imposed a duty of £1 more per ton on refined than on raw sugar in order that the raw sugar might be refined in New South. Wales factories by New South Wales workmen. This again was very excellent protection, but it was very bad free-trade. I am pointing out how subservient he was to the protectionists and to the Labour Party. But that is not all. He threatened, as I have said, that he would throw every Victorian .industry into the water, because he considered that an industry ought to be able to swim after thirty years of protection. But sugar cane had been grown in New South Wales for over thirty years. It was grown there be: fore we had a single protectionist industry in Victoria. At the time Mr. Reid came into power there were over 30,000 acres under crop in New South Wales. But he did not attempt to throw that dog into the water. There were many thousands of votes behind the dog ! The Colonial Sugar Refining Company was behind it also. That meant many votes in the Legislative Assembly. Therefore Mr. Reid determined to keep his hands off that dog. He now fawns upon the farming industry - the country producers. He talks of the “ great producing industries of Australia,” and they cheer him to the echo. But that is not what he said at the Melbourne Town Hall in the speech to which I have previously referred.
He was then speaking to free-trade importers, and he said -
That door which was open in the mother colon)’ always was going to be open in all Australia. With all these barriers down, the stock fatteners and wheat farmers would feel the cold southerly wind of a world’s competition.
That was the same gentleman who is now continually telling the farmers that they cannot be protected. He then talked of exposing them to the cold southerly wind of the world’s competition. The importers cheered him to the echo. He did not make a similar statement when he was speaking to the producers the other day .
– The other leader of the Government is in favour of a stock tax.
– Yes. We have heard a great deal of fiscal peace and of fiscal truce. This is how Mr. Reid expressed his views on fiscal peace just before the election -
Some people say, “ Let the tariff alone for two or three years.” I do not believe that would be in the interests of the community.
Twelve months ago he did not believe that fiscal peace would be in the interests of the electors. Now he believes in letting the Tariff alone.
– He distinctly stated that if the vote of the people went against him he would allow the fiscal issue to lie.
– Is that really what Mr. Reid said? He went to New South Wales, and he made the following statement : -
He believed he would be more successful if he consented to sink the fiscal issue, but he could not in honour do that.
Was there anything about sinking the fiscal issue there? He also said -
His party had agreed to resist any further development of protective taxation ; and, with only a few exceptions, is prepared to reduce the existing tariff to a revenue tariff level.
Why does he not do it? The leader of the Government claims to be a free-trader. I believe that in most things he is, in practice, a sound protectionist. But he does not own it, and does not like to admit that it is so. For my own part, I believe that if Mr. Reid were a Victorian he would be a protectionist to-morrow. That is my firm impression. I am saying these things in order to show why I think that Mr. Reid is ‘not - to use the phrase that is employed at election times - a “ fit and proper person “ to fill the high office which has been conferred upon him, and which I hope he will not hold very long. Something has been said about pre ferential trade. Let me state what is Mr. Reid’s opinion on the subject. He said -
If we can get the tariff down to a revenue tariff standard then we will dispose of England’s grievance in a very satisfactory way.
– Hear-, hear.
– I am glad to hear that cheer. Mr. Reid’s idea of preferential trade is to wipe out all protectionist duties, and to allow Germany and other countries to bring their goods in on equal terms with Great Britain.
– He never said that.
– But he did say that if he could get the Tariff down to a revenue standard he would soon dispose of - England’s grievance in a very satisfactory way. What did that mean? It meant that foreign countries would have an equal right to dump their goods in Australia as the United Kingdom would have.
– When did he say that?
– I have read the passage in which Mr. Reid said that if he could get the Tariff down to a revenue standard he would dispose of England’s grievance in a very, satisfactory way. That is to say, that if he could get it down to a revenue standard the effect would be to shut up the protectionist factories in Victoria, and Great Britain would, therefore, have no serious competitors in the country. But he said that if he failed in that respect he and his party would devote their strength to granting a substantial preference to the mother country by making reductions in the present schedule of duties. He said -
If we fail, then we will have to devote the whole of our strength to granting a substantial preference to the mother country by making adequate reductions in the present schedule of duties wherever necessary.
That is exactly what he was going to do - give to Great Britain the same terms as other countries. Yet he complains of the Barton Government.
They brought down a high tariff which shut out Great Britain just as much as other old world countries. Now they are striving, by means of a spurious preferential trade cry, to get their tariff up .. . . . and let the rates as -they stand …. remain in force against the mother country, while they will raise them against foreign nations.
Let me now quote a passage from one of the leading journals of this State.
Senator- Gray. - Which paper?
– Probably the honorable senator will be able to guess the source of the quotation from the nature of it. It is as follows : -
Twenty-five years ago nothing would have seemed more unlikely than that the twentieth century would open with a scarcely veiled antagonism between Great Britain and Germany, and a rapidly growing conviction among Englishmen throughout the world, that the Germans are their enemies, the nation with whom they will have to reckon in the near future. It would have seemed incredible that in a few years they would develop national ambitions inconsistent with the continued existence of the British Empire, and would look forward eagerly to the time when they would be strong enough to challenge its naval supremacy. Yet this is exactly what has happened. It is as though a veil had been suddenly rent asunder, and we are able to see clearly what was before hidden from us, that a people whom we regarded as our best friends are really our bitterest rivals. The hostility of Germany to England is the dominant factor in the international politics to-day, and marks the opening of a new chapter in English history. We are again face to face with a power that, so far as present appearances go, will be satisfied with nothing less than our downfall. . . . They have made no secret of their longing to break up the British Empire, and. appropriate its most valuable portions, such as South Africa and Australasia.
That extract is from the Argus, which supports Mr. Reid. I was- staggered when I read that article, but I believe it to be absolutely and literally correct. No one will accuse the Argus of being an alarmist in that direction. Yet free-traders, with Mr. Reid, the Prime Minister, at their head, would open our ports freely to that power, which would, if it were able, break up the British Empire to-morrow.
– England opens her ports to us.
Senator STYLES. England ought to open her ports freely to us, seeing that she opens them to Germany. What a difference there is between the leader in this chamber and the leader in another place ! The latter would admit German goods and any person who cared to come to this country, whereas ths Attorney-General would confine immigration to the British races.
– I did not say so.
– Senator Symon himself declared that this country was intended for the British race.
– I spoke of the Anglo-Saxon race.
– Senator Symon said that he would like to see every one excluded, even the white races, other than British.
– Nonsense ! The honorable senator is drawing on his imagination.
– What the honorable and learned senator said was that we did a great deal too much trade with foreigners. When I was speaking on this subject about two and a half years ago, the honorable and learned senator began to laugh, and I said -
It is quite right to laugh when, as is the case with Senator Symon, perhaps, one does not know how very large this trade is.
To that Senator Symon said -
I know that it is much too large.
That is reported in the Commonwealth Hansard, of 22nd January, 1902.
– And that is mv opinion.
– And the honorable and learned senator also said that German and other white races should be excluded. According to Hansard, published on the 30th of November, 1901, the honorable and learned senator said that all white races, except Britishers, should be excluded. That was when we were discussing the Pacific Island Labourers Bill, and the honorable and learned senator stated there, very impressively -
We are nearly all of us agreed that Australia is peculiarly fitted to be the home of the British race. Speaking generally, we are agreed that, if it is possible, we should make Australia the resort and the home of ourselves, of our children, and of all of the same blood who choose to come here - especially, I would say, of all of the same blood. I do not extend it even to the other white races. I am, and always have been, an advocate of keeping Australia - I would not limit it to Australians only - for those of British blood, so far as we possibly ,can.
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable and learned senator is now allied with a man who would open our ports to-morrow for the admission of all sorts and conditions of men.
– The honorable senator is changing his ground with every sentence. What he said was that I stated I would exclude the white races.
– And that is exactly what the honorable and learned member did say, according to the quotation I have read. There is more that I could read, but I thought that enough to convince Senator Symon that he is a verv liberal-minded man according to my views, seeing that he would restrict immigration to people from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, not even excluding Scotland. I am quite sure the honorable and learned member will agree with me as to the employment of coloured labour on mail boats. Mr. Reid, on the other hand, likes coloured labour on mail boats, but I am going to point out what greater authorities than the Prime Minister, or any one here, have to say on the question. There was a leaflet issued last year by what is known as the Navy League. I desire to remind honorable senators that the recruiting ground of the British Navy is the British Mercantile Marine; that has always been so, and I hope it will always be so. The leaflet reads -
Out reserve is….. insufficient to replace casualties and maintain a supply of seamen during hostilities. It is desirable therefore that the reserve should be largely increased, utilizing all the resources of the Empire.
One of the resources of the Empire is the exclusion of all aliens from mail boats and the employment of our own people.’ I do not say for a moment that those who own the boats should be deprived of any of their profits. When they are interfered with, and compelled to use more expensive labour, the circumstances ought to be taken into consideration ; that I should regard as part of the insurance for the safety of the Empire. The report of the Naval Reserve Committee states -
One of the objects of a strong navy is to enable our merchants’ ships to keep the sea in time of war, and this object would be defeated if too many seamen and firemen were suddenly withdrawn from the mercantile marine.
Here is another extract -
Since 1859, the requirements of the Navy have out-grown the power of the mercantile marine to supply them. The former have increased; the number of British seamen employed on the latter have decreased.
Honorable senators have noticed . that a shipping inspector, giving evidence in the case of the wreck of the Australia, told the Court that sixty out of every 100 men employed on British mercantile ships which trade here are aliens.
– The. Board of Trade returns show that the proportion of foreign seamen is 68 per cent.
– I presume that the shipping inspector knew what he was talking about, or he would not have made the statement. In this connexion, I should like to read a short extract from the report of a Postal Conference, held some eight or nine vears ago.
– That is too. far back.
– I do not think so, although I know it must be very unpleasant to have those matters raked up.
– They are very stale.
– The rightaboutface of the Prime Minister is quite new. ] have here some extracts from the report of delegates at the Post and Telegraph Conference held in Sydney in 1896. The Honorable Joseph Cook, now a member of the House of Representatives, and then PostmasterGeneral in the Reid Government of New South Wales, was president. In the report of that Conference we read -
The Conference, having considered the reply of the London office to the stipulation of the Hobart Conference with regard to the manning of the mail boats by white instead of coloured labour, recognises fully the force of the reason given by the Imperial Government against insisting lon the exclusion of coloured labour, viz. - the necessity of discriminating between various classes of British subjects ; but in reply, would respectfully point out that by some steamship companies, the iabour of the contributing Colonies is excluded from employment, and an invidious preference given to the labour of countries which do not contribute to the maintenance of the service. No injustice would thus be done by the stipulation that the labour of the countries subsidizing the service only should be employed. And, therefore, this Conference is of opinion that the mails to and from Australia and Great Britain should be carried by ships manned with white crews only.
I have here a telegram sent by the president of the Conference after the reply had been received from the Home authorities -
Much regret you decline to do anything re coloured labour. We are not in position to call for tenders on our own account, and are therefore compelled accede to your proposal.
That telegram was sent from Sydney in the beginning of 1896, after the New South Wales Tariff was passed, and it was sent, as I say, by Mr. Cook, who was Postmaster-General in the Reid Government. It would be idle to say that Mr. Cook, as Postmaster-General, would take such action without the knowledge of the State Cabinet. It was such an important alteration that was proposed, that there can be no question that Mr. Reid and the other members of the Government would be fully aware of what was being done. It seems, however, that Mr. Reid must take a very different view now, when he says that if he had the opportunity, he would exclude the coloured races. Here are a few expressive sentences from a newspaper of the 26th of last month: -
The Russo-Japanese war has shown what damage may be done to the shipping trade by the action of a few cruisers in exercising the right of search, and sinking or capturing merchant steamers. British and American commerce with the Far East has been virtually extinguished for the time being.
Let me point out that we are not at war, and yet our traffic with the Far East has been “ virtually extinguished.” What position should we be in if we were at war with a big naval power? The newspaper article goes on to say : -
This is an aspect of the question that appeals especially to Australia, which is so largely dependent for prosperity on her import and export trade - a trade that would suffer seriously in the event of war between England and any considerable naval power.
I notice that Senator Gray does not ask me from what newspaper that extract was taken, but I may tell him that it is from the Melbourne Argus, one of the last papers that we should expect to express such sentiments. With those sentiments, however, I most heartily concur, and I wish to impress on the Government that they should not attempt to disturb the White Ocean policy, which I look upon as much more important than the policy of a White Australia. The latter deals with only a corner of the British Empire, and a White Ocean is the initial step to what must ultimately become an Empire question.
– Does the honorable senator think that we can retain India, and yet keep our Indian subjects out of the stoke-hold ?
– What I think will happen if Great Britain gets into a naval war is that the whole of the aliens would leave our merchant service.
– Then, we should want the black fellows all the more.
– The black fellows would go back to their own land of curry and rice. They would say that the Britishers had paid them about one-fourth of what was paid to the white men, and that their accommodation had been very inferior, and under the circumstances they would not think it good enough to be shot at, and would go to their homes. But the greater danger would be with the white foreigners, and in my opinion every man on a British ship ought to be made to take the oath of allegiance. We train foreigners to be hardy, competent sailors, and there is no doubt that very naturally, and rightly, they would, in the event of war, go to their. own homes, and turn their country’s guns against British ships. Here is an ex tract from a speech by Mr. Reid, at Swan Hill, last year -
The policy of a White Australia was going too far in seeking to break up a mail service because there were some lascars in the stoke-holds. If he got sufficient power he would repeal such a provision.
I only hope to goodness that Mr. Reid may never have the power. The interjection by Senator Dobson as to the stoke-hold is just an echo of Mr. Reid ; and if these gentlemen know anything about the matter at all, they know that the ships are manned by lascars - that lascars are not only in the stoke-hold, but all over the decks.
– I asked the question whether we could expect to keep India, and yet deny these men the right to live as they have been living for generations.
– We do not regard these men as equals, nor treat them as equals, and with their lack of parliamentary representation, they are, in our estimation, little better than serfs. Those men would certainly leave us in the lurch if any crisis arose, and I think the Government would do well not to interfere with the White Ocean policy. During the railway strike, I went to Adelaide by the Orient steamer Orotava, and I asked one of the officers to show me the lascars’ quarters. He informed me that there were no lascars on the ship ; and, as a fact, it is only within the last three or four years that coloured men have been employed on Orient boats.
– Why? Because it was said that it was impossible to get them.
– The men were employed because they were cheap. It would be unfair to deprive the ship-owners of part of their profits. If, in carrying out any national policy, loss should be incurred, it should be made good to them in the same way as Germany makes good a similar loss to her ship-owners. We are told that tlie Britisher cannot go into the stoke-hold in the Red Sea. How do the Germans . work their vessels ? If a labour man were to go down to a German ship tomorrow, and offer to work for nothing, he would not be given a job. France does not object to lascars being employed along the coast, but she objects to foreign ships engaging in the coastal trade. Neither in France nor in America can a foreign ship trade from portto port along the coast.
– Does the honorable senator say that they are doing wrong?
– No, I think that we ought to take a leaf out of their book.
They do a number of things which we might well copy. We might deal with our mail boats in the same way as they do. Their vessels are subsidized, because they cannot compete with our vessels, manned with black labour. There is no doubt that the Empire will have to adopt that policy. I do not object to French vessels coming here and trading on our coast if they pay the Australian rate of wages. We allow a Frenchman to engage in our coastal trade on his own terms, but he pays nothing towards the upkeep of the British Navy. We shall have to protect ourselves against the French in the case of a fight, but if an Australian vessel’ desired to trade from port to port along the coast of France she would soon be stopped.
– Does the honorable senator recollect that the British Empire has 51 per cent, of the shipping of the world, and therefore cannot get enough English sailors?
– I wonder if the honorable senator knows how many men are employed in the British mercantile marine?
– I have read all the reports, and I know that it is simply impossible to get men.
– There are 250,000 men employed in the British mercantile marine.
– And 37,000 black men.
– The House of Commons has begun to look into this question. At the end of 1900 it directed that an inquiry, should be made into the condition of the aliens in the British mercantile marine. An inquiry was held, and a report was laid before both Houses of the British Parliament in August, 1901, showing that during the fifteen years ending with 1900 the British mercantile marine had so increased that it employed 43,000 more men at the end of that period than it did at the beginning, that this number included 19,000 coloured aliens, 12,000 white aliens, and 12,000 boys of the bulldog breed, or a little over one in four. I should like to make a few more remarks-
– On the policy of the Government, I hope.
– No; on the policy of the Prime Minister in the past.
– We have had enough of the past.
– I have reserved the best part of my speech for the last, and I am sure that Senator Dobson,, who has such a great admiration for the Prime Minister, will be delighted by ‘the time I have finished. At the time when it occurred, I considered, and I believe that a large number of others considered, that Mr. Reid was rather badly treated when he was not offered the opportunity of becoming the first Prime Minister of Australia.
– Does the honorable senator think that has anything to do with the policy of the present Government?
– I intend to show that his political past unfits Mr. Reid for the position he is in. That has been the whole object of my speech.
– He has got there.
– Yes; and I am going to show that it would be right to put him out as rapidly as possible, as he is an unsafe man to be there. I propose now to trace his career in another direction. I, in common with, I think, the great bulk of the people, believed that when the first Governor-General, after Sir William Lyne had failed to form a Ministry, gave a commission to Mr. Barton, a private citizen, Mr. Reid was rather badly treated. But I have gone more fully into the matter lately, and I now think that Lord Hopetoun acted rightly. He was well posted in Australian politics, and in my opinion now he could not have done anything else than he did.
– Does the honorable senator propose to try to prove that Lord Hopetoun did not send for Mr. Reid on account of his political career?
– Yes, as I shall prove.
– I think the honorable senator ought to leave it alone.
– I would point out that all these interjections greatly lengthen the speech.
– Is it relevant to the question before the Chair, sir, for the honorable senator to try to show what was Lord Hopetoun’s reason for- not sending for a certain gentleman three or four years ago to form a Government ?
– I asked Senator Styles if he thought it was relevant to the policy of the Ministry to discuss the reasons why Mr. Reid ought to have been the first Prime Minister, and he said that he was going to connect his remarks with the public acts of Mr. Reid, in order to show that he. is not a proper person to be the
Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. If that is so, I cannot say that he is out of order.
– I admit, sir, that Senator Styles may criticise, Mr. Reid’s public career, and attempt to show that he is unfit to be Prime Minister; but he is now seeking to show that Lord Hopetoun, from a large1 knowledge of public affairs, regarded Mr. Reid as an unfit person to send for to form a Government, and I submit that is out of order on the ground of irrelevancy.
– I really cannot see what connexion it has with the question before the Chair, but I understand that Senator Styles intends to connect his remarks therewith.
– I was going to show why I at one time thought Mr. Reid was not well treated. The Commonwealth would not have been in existence now if it had not been for his action. He called a Conference of Premiers, to meet in Hobart in January, 1895. It agreed to a draft Enabling Bill, which the Parliament of each Colony was to be asked to pass for the purpose1 of calling into existence a Federal Convention, to frame a Constitution. Mr. Reid took the first step in that direction. His Bill, when it was introduced, contained no provision for a minimum affirmative vote.
– This seems to me to be absolutely irrelevant.
– The honorable and learned senator knows what is coming perfectly well.
– I have not the faintest idea.
– The honorable and learned senator is a well read man, and knows that what I “am about to mention is not very creditable to the Prime Minister as a politician. Mr. Reid was forced into the position of adopting a provision for a minimum affirmative vote, and he was willing to accept a vote of 38,000. Subsequently an amendment was moved by Mr. Hughes to fix the number at 50,000 votes, and Mr. Reid adopted that view. That was all perfectly straight. He then attended the meeting of the Convention in Adelaide, and when he was bidding his fellow-delegates good-bye, on the 21st April, 1897, he said -
I may be allowed before I go . . . to express to the public of Australia ray profoundest satisfaction, as one of those who helped to bring this Convention into existence, at the conciliatory and patriotic spirit which has been shown throughout the whole of the transactions by the various delegations from the Australian colonies. I confess I came here with misgivings; but I am glad now to be able to state that our proceedings have been of such a character that I feel more confident than ever that we are really at last on the brink of that glorious transformation which will enable us, and all the people of Australia^ to rise to the true dignity of the destiny which lies before us.
One would think from that speech that he was well satisfied with the Convention Bill, which I may say was completed two days afterwards. Fourteen days afterwards he laid the draft Bill before the local Parliament. And four weeks later one of his supporters introduced a Bill to amend the Enabling Act, by increasing the minimum affirmative vote from 50,000 to 80,000. Any gentleman who had the appointment of a Prime Minister would look at an act of that kind two or three times before he selected Mr. Reid. The Convention Bill of 1898, it will be remembered, was wrecked because of that increase. Only 72,000 votes were polled, that is about 40 per cent, more than the original number required. In Victoria we framed our Enabling Bill on the lines of the New South Wales Enabling Act. We copied verbatim the provision for the 50,000 affirmative vote.
– Does the honorable senator think that that has anything to do with the policy of the Government?
– I wish to make it quite clear to those who have not followed his history that Mr. Reid is not to be trusted, that he has broken faith with the other States.
– Does the honorable senator think that Mr. Isaacs is to be trusted ?
– I do.
– Does the honorable senator know that Mr. Isaacs was anti- Federal at one time ?
– And so were a good many others. I should like to quote Mr. Reid’s own words, in order to show the value which he places upon a solemn compact entered into between himself and his Parliament and the other States of the Commonwealth. I wish to show how easily responsibility sits upon the shoulders of the present Prime Minister. He said -
I do not for a moment wish to raise a serious issue in this matter, even now, so long as we kee]) some kind of faith with the other Colonies; but if a proposition is carried, which seems to me to involve a breach of faith of this country with the other Colonies, then I must frankly say to the House that a very serious question must arise.
He did not say that it was not a serious breach of faith. He said -
I do not object to an alteration of a reasonable character. …. To require an absolute majority is really asking toomuch.
The proposal was that 135,000 affirmative votes should be the minimum. That was one-half of 270,000 electors. The
Hansard report goes on -
An . Honorable Member. - 100,000 is quite enough.
Mr. REID. 50,000 is too low.
It must be remembered that Mr. Reid introduced the Enabling Bill in the first instance without any minimum vote provision. Of course he did the dignified thing, as Premiers do sometimes, when he stated -
I represent this Parliament in reference to the other Colonies in a peculiar sense, and it is with reference to the faith which this House has to keep with the other Colonies that I have to address myself to this matter. When a people enter into bargains, or pass ‘Acts of Parliament on the faith of which other people, other communities, pass important Acts of Parliament, then I think we have to pause before we seriously disturb the compact upon which the movement is based. I appeal to my honorable friends to meet me to the extent’ of 75,000 or 80,000. votes.
An Honorable Member. - No, 100,000.
Mr. REID. All I can say is that 100,000 makes me an utter opponent of the whole proposal right through, from start to finish, because I think that 100,000 would amount to too serious si breach of the compact with the other Colonies.
He agreed to 80,000. That introduced, as honorable senators will see at once, an advance of 60 per cent, upon the original 50,000. Mr. Reid had a curious idea of what was a serious breach of faith in raising the minimum in this way from 50,000 to 80,000 after all the trouble which the people of Australia Had gone to. When Mr. Reid was driven from office, one of the newspapers had a leading article upon the situation. I will quote a passage from it. It said -
With respect to the Federation movement, Mr. Reid was most unhappily an opportunist. Nobody expected Mr. Reid would assume a yes-no attitude in the first referendum., This halting policy was partly a concession to the anti-Federal section of his supporters in Sydney, and partly personal jealousy of the Convention leader, Mr. Barton. The game of an opportunist is a game of calculation, and Mr. Reid miscalculated. Had he decided to run a straight course when he returned from the - Convention, his personal advocacy would have secured the statutory- majority at the first referendum, the Commonwealth would now be in existence, and Mr. Reid now be . Prime Minister of the Commonwealth.
That was written fifteen months before Federation was consummated. It was urged that if Mr. Reid had run a straight course he might have been Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. It was the Argus, a supporter of Mr. Reid’s, which said that. Not knowing many of these things, I thought that Mr. Reid had been dealt with hardly, seeing that the Governor-General selected Sir William Lyne as the first Prime Minister, and asked him to form a Ministry. It will be remembered that Sir William Lyne failed. If it were necessary that a member of the New South . Wales Parliament, holding a prominent position, should be sent for by the Governor-General, it seemed to me at the time that the fair and proper course, seeing that the Premier of the State had failed to form a Ministry, was to sencl for the leader of the Opposition, who at the time was Mr. Reid. I held the opinion that at that time Mr. Reid had done more for Federation than any other man in Australia. But Sir William Lyne having failed, the Governor-General passed over Mr. Reid and asked a private citizen, Sir Edmund Barton, to undertake the formation of the first Federal Ministry. It is true that that private citizen had been leader of the Federal Convention. But the Bill which that Convention prepared had been defeated by the people of his own State: So that Sir Edmund Barton, to my mind, was really out of the running. The Bill that was accepted by the people of New South Wales was based upon the Bill which the Convention framed, but it had been revised and amended in vital points by the Premiers’ Conference. Mr. Reid called that Conference together. He was its moving spirit. The Bill which issued from it became our present Constitution, and not the Bill framed by the Convention. . These, it seemed to me, were strong reasons why Mr. Reid should be sent for, and commissioned to form the first Federal Ministry, failing the Premier of New South Wales; it being admitted on all sides that the parent State had a kind of right to have one of its own citizens chosen to be the first Prime Minister.
– I think that Australia recognised that Sir Edmund Barton was the man to be sent for.
– Australia, perhaps, did not know the whole of the circumstances. I did not know them. I must say that, if Mr. Reid’s political record had been as clean as Sir Edmund Barton’s was. he would have been badly treated.
– Does the honorable senator mean to suggest that the GovernorGeneral knew him?
– My own fixed conviction is that the Governor-General knew all the circumstances which I have related. Lord Hopetoun was a man who was quite abreast of Australian politics. He had been here before, and being a man of mark, we may rely upon it that he kept himself abreast of Australian affairs.
– Did it not strike the honorable senator then, that the Governor-General should not have sent for Sir William Lyne, who was the strongest anti-Federalist in New South Wales?
– Lord Hopetoun sent for Sir William Lyne, because he was the Premier of the State. But my point is that, failing him, the leader of the Opposition in. that State should have been called upon.
– Certainly not; the leader of the Convention.
– Seeing that since 1895 Mr. Reid had done more for Australian union than any other half-dozen men in Australia, I thought he ought to have been sent for.
– The honorable senator is the only man whom I have ever heard say so.
– Certainly, Mr. Reid did a great deal for Federation.
– Was it not through him that the Conference of Premiers was held? These facts led me strongly to the opinion that there must have been good reasons why Lord Hopetoun did not send for him, and commission him to form the first Ministry.
– The voice of Australia pointed to Sir Edmund Barton.
– Who took notice of the voice of Australia? Did the GovernorGeneral do so when he sent for Sir William Lyne? I have a high opinion of Lord Hopetoun ‘s powers, and I believe now that he saw clearly what ought to be done.
– Federalists thought - wrongly perhaps - that he made a blunder.
– He knew perfectly well what he was doing.’ He selected Sir William Lyne, notwithstanding that he was the greatest anti-Billite in New South
Wales - I do not say the strongest anti* Federalist - because he was Premier of that State. Failing Sir William Lyne, I think that there were good reasons for sending for Mr. Reid, and that if he had had a clean political record he would have been sent for.
– Another Scotchman found him out.
– Yes. One Scotchman found out another one.
– It is a very unfair thing to impute motives of that sort to the Governor-General on such grounds.
– I have a perfect right to my own opinion.
– It is grossly unfair.
– That may be the honorable, and learned senator’s opinion, but if Senator Dobson knows his own opinion on any matter he is the only man in this chamber who does know it at any time. I intend to touch upon another aspect, and then I shall have done with Mr. Reid. I have no doubt that honorable senators have heard of the Neild episode in Mr! Reid’s career. Mr. J. C. Neild was a member of Parliament in New South Wales. I mention this because I think that a gentleman holding such a high position as that of Prime Minister of Australia is fairly open to criticism.
– Did he not expiate that by being turned out of office ?
– I thought that question would come. But let me ask Senator Symon whether, if he had an accountant who had committed a breach of trust, and was punished for it, he would take him back into his service again ? I am quite sure that the ‘honorable and learned senator knows too much of the world to take a man back into his employment in a position of trust, who had done what he ought not to do in such a connexion.
– What he did was a grand thing.
– Why should we go into the no-confidence debates of New South Wales?
– I have a right to show that the political career of the Prime Minister is of such a character that he ought not to be intrusted with the highest place in the service of the people of Australia.. That is the position I take up.
– Do not hit below the belt.
– I do not intend to do so.
– The honorable senator has been doing so all along.
– These remarks come from honorable senators who are so accustomed to doing what they complain of, that they attribute the same conduct to others. Do they not remember how Mr. Reid hit below the belt in criticising Sir Edmund Barton and others? Let me recall these facts to the minds of honorable senators. Early in 1897, Mr. J. C. Neild, then member for Paddington, New South Wales, went to England. When he was just about leaving, the following question was asked in the New South Wales Parliament, Mr. Reid then being Premier-
– Is the honorable senator referring to the poet or the politician ?
– I am referring to Mr. J. C. Neild, the politician, now the honorable Senator Lt.-Col. J. C. Neild. The question to which I allude was as follows : -
I have been requested to ask the Premier : Is it a fact that he has given a roving commission to the honorable member for Paddington to inquire into the system of old-age pensionsin Europe ; and, if so, is it to be distinctly understood that no expense is to be incurred by the State?
Mr. Reid replied
I desire to say that the honorable member for Paddington, who is about to visit England, has been empowered by the Government to make such inquiry ; but he has consented to do so without the slightest remuneration, either in the way of allowance for expenses, or otherwise. He will do so without the slightest expense to the Government.
The last paragraph in the Neild Report, which was written by Senator Neild himself, reads as follows: -
I have now completed my arduous task, which I undertook at my own charge, and without hope of reward, save that which comes from useful work honestly done in the interests of humanity.
There we have the two parties to what was subsequently a bargain, positively declaring that there was no understanding that a payment of public money should be made from One to the other. But a year afterwards, another question was asked in the New South Wales Parliament to the following effect : -
Has any report been received in respect to old-age pensions from Mr. J. C. Neild, M.P. ?
The Chief Secretary replied as follows : -
Mr. Neild has prepared one …. and the work is now being printed at the Government Printing Office.
Then the question was asked -
What cost has been incurred in procuring the report? and the Chief Secretary replied -
On the 30th August of the following year, a motion of no-confidence was tabled, and came on for discussion. Just before it was debated a question was raised in the New South Wales Parliament, which in the report is headed -
The report goes on -
Mr. LEVIEN. I wish to ask the Colonial Treasurer a question, without notice. I wish to know whether the money which has been paid to the honorable member for Paddington has been paid back into the Treasury by him? The Colonial Treasurer will know whether that is so or not.
The answer was as follows : -
Mr. CARRUTHERS. I may say that the amount has been paid into the Treasury by Mr. Neild.
To an outsider it must seem to have been curious that the money should have been repaid if it were due to Mr. Neild. If it were not due to him, why should it have been paid to him; and why should Mr. Reid have declared that he was doing this work at his own cost? Speaking on the noconfidence motion, Mr. Reid himself said - to show that it was not his Government, but himself, who authorized the payment of this money -
I voluntarily said to Neild, “ Now, Neild, we will pay you your expenses in connexion with this work, and I will add?250 for your personal trouble.”
All this came out when the no-confidence debate was on. Sir William. Lyne had moved -
That the present Government does not possess the confidence of this House.
But the House was not satisfied with carrying that motion. It was satisfied that Mr. Reid, personally, and not his Government, was responsible. Consequently, the House resolved -
That the present Government does not possess the confidence of this House, and deserves censure for having made payments of public money to Mr. J. C. Neild, member for Paddington, without asking Parliament, and contrary to the assurance given by the right honorable the Premier.
There were 125 members of the House, of whom 118 voted, seventy-eight in favour of the motion of censure, and forty against, whilst six paired.
– I do not know what Mr. McGowan said, but I can tell him what was said by the Daily Telegraph, one of the largest newspapers in Australia. The Daily Telegraph said: -
When Mr. Reid allowed himself to be enticed into devious political paths, he placed a strain on the loyalty of his followers which could not be endured. In the midst of it, came the disclosures connected with the Neild case, which made it necessary that Parliament should take decisive action to prevent the under-mining of that safeguard which, whether effective or not, is the only one by which the purity of public life can be guaranteed. There was nothing, therefore, but to bring the errant Government before the bar of constitutional justice, and at any cost pass the inevitable judgment upon them. Any attempt on Mr. Reid’s part to escape the penalty which the House has apportioned to the breach of Ministerial faith involved in the transaction for which the Government was censured, would simply be a step from bad to worse.
I think that is one of the strongest condemnations I ever read. Neither of the extracts which I have read is from the Melbourne Age.
– Wonderful !
– It is not wonderful at all. I knew that, no matter how accurate the extracts might be, if they were from the Age, I should be told the statements were biassed, and so I went to the free-trade bible and prayer-book.
– How much did poor Neild get out of it?
– Nothing ; he returned the money. I do not know any more of the case than what I have read in Hansard and the public press. I was twitted a little while ago, when I expressed the opinion that Lord Hopetoun might have been influenced by all this business. That is still my opinion, because I cannot see any reason why Lord Hopetoun should have ignored this particular man.
– The honorable senator has no right to say that.
– I have a perfect right to express my opinion, so long as I do so respectfully.
– Why express an opinion of that kind in regard to Lord Hopetoun?
– There must have been some reason why Lord Hopetoun deliberately ignored this man, and there cannot be found in any of the newspapers which supported Mr. Reid, any protest against his being passed over at the time.
– He was not passed over.
– He was passed over by Lord Hopetoun. I could have understood if Lord Hopetoun had said that, as he believed Sir Edmund Barton would be the choice of Australia, he would ask that gentleman to form a Government.
– That was the reason.
– Lord Hopetoun’ asked an anti-Billite to form a Government because that anti-Billite was the Premier of a State. But it was Mr. Reid’s Bill that was being dealt with in the form of a Constitution Act, and not the Bill of a Convention at all.
– Mr. Barton was the recognised leader of the Federal movement.
– Can it be said that Sir Edmund Barton did as much as Mr. Reid did for the Federal movement? Mr. Barton may have made as many speeches as Mr. Reid did, but it was the latter who brought the Federal movement to a practical issue.
– I cannot see the relevancy of these remarks to the question before the Senate.
– I am only trying to show why I have no confidence in the present Prime Minister. I believe him to be an opportunist in politics, who trims his sails to catch every favouring breeze - a man who will cling to office as long as possible, and will need a locomotive to drag him from the Treasury benches1. I am thankful to honorable senators for having listened so patiently to me while, rather ruggedly, I am afraid, I have placed my views before them. There can be no personal feeling on my part, because I have never spoken to Mr. Reid, but when I re’ad of such things I begin to wonder whether, if he was not good enough to be Prime Minister in the first case, he has so improved as to be good enough now.
– He was good enough then, but there was another man before him.
– At all events, Mr. Reid is in double harness with Mr. McLean, and I only hope they will not go too fast. I must confess that I am astonished that certain members should ‘have joined this Government. All I have said this evening is in regard to the Prime Minister ; I have found no great fault with any of the other Ministers, though I should have liked to see any one of several members as Prime Minister in preference to the gentleman now at the head of the Government.
– As a new member, I feel it may be deemed an impertinence on my part to criticise the manner in which the debates in this Chamber are conducted. I feel, however, that during the two last debates, the tone ‘has deteriorated in comparison with the tone previously observed. On the two last occasions we have been treated to biographical sketches of the past careers of members of this Parliament, without any reference whatever to the larger questions which we are here to consider. I do not think that the speech of Senator Styles, or, to a certain extent, the speech of Senator McGregor, will cause the people of the Commonwealth to think that they are represented with that dignity which is their due. I feel it my duty to endeavour to fairly and equitably defend my leader from the criticism which Senator Styles has seen fit to apply. Senator Styles is too old a parliamentarian to be influenced by any personal feelings in a matter of this kind; but outrageous personalities in connexion with the political careers of members of the present Government had much better be omitted from our discussion, or, at any rate, left to those honorable senators who have knowledge and experience of the public men of the mother State. I venture to say that throughout Australia there is no gentleman, who, according to his lights, has carried on his political career more in the interests of his State and the Commonwealth than has the present Prime Minister, and I speak of him with many years experience as a close personal acquaintance. It is not necessary to go into details in order to defend Mr. Reid. A gentleman who has had the good will of his- fellow citizens and has held the proud position of Premier for many years, should, at all events, be credited with good faith. When an honorable senator undertakes to give reasons why Mr. Reid is not a fit person to become Prime Minister, he should make himself absolutely certain as to the particulars he wishes to prove. Senator Neild did not only go to England, but travelled throughout France, Germany, and other European countries, and produced a report which is regarded by experts as one of the most valuable ever produced on the question which he investigated, namely, oldage pensions. . When Senator Neild first undertook the commission it was not thought that he would take the immense trouble he did, or that his report would be of such a valuable character. Senator
Neild is not a rich man, and in view of the great work which he had done, Mr. Reid volunteered to pay the expense absolutely incurred in getting the information together. That money Mr. Reid, in his good nature, advanced ; and I may tell honorable senators what I suppose they know, that if the State Parliament had declined to authorize the expenditure Mr. Reid would have been personally responsible. There is no truth whatever in the insinuation that this money was paid with any intention of concealing the fact from Parliament.
– Is the motion of censure an insinuation ?
– It has been stated over and over again by the leader of the Labour Party in New South Wales that the actual reason for the motion of -censure was that Mr. Reid would not consent to introduce an early closing proposal with arbitrary conditions in regard to small shops. There was not a single member of the New South Wales Parliament at the time who really believed in the principle of the motion for which he voted. I also believe there was scarcely a member of the House who did not justify Mr. Reid in advancing this money. The remarkable thing is that a subsequent Government, which for four years was dominated by the Labour Party - the party which voted for the expulsion of Mr. Reid from office - have since then spent thousands upon thousands of pounds without putting the proposals through tha routine of the House in the usual constitutional course.
– Why use the word “ dominated “ ?
– I used the term because at any moment the Labour Party lifted their fingers they could have sent the Government right-about-face, and everything was done under the domination of the Labour Party, who were -just as much responsible as the Government.
– Could the honorable senator not use the word “ assisted “ ?
– I do not know that I could justly use the word “ assisted,” because I believe a good deal of the money would not have been spent but for the craving of the Labour Party. I left Mr. Reid’s guidance, and went over to Sir Edmund Barton, because Mr. Reid would not give his adhesion to the first Constitution Bill brought forward, though since then I rather feel that I was wrong, and Mr. Rei’d was right. We should have had no Federation to-day, but for the fact that Mr. Reid gave his adherence to the Federal movement after the second Convention. When he did so, there was a shout of exultation from all Federalists, because they knew that Federation was an accomplished fact, so far as New South Wales was concerned. It must not be forgotten, however, that Sir Edmund Barton had for years been acknowledged as the leader of the Federal movement, and he had certainly given much time and labour to his advocacy. Mr. Reid had the same feeling as that to which Senator Styles has given expression, and considered, so far as I know from indirect information, that he ought to have been “ sent for.” There were, however, others who, after Sir William Lyne had formerly been offered the position, thought it only right that Sir Edmund Barton should be called upon, as the leader of the movement, to form the first Federal Government. The- insinuation that Lord Hopetoun formed such an opinion of Mr. Reid that His Excellency did not feel disposed to commission that gentleman to form a Government is beneath contempt. When I hear these strong fanatical view* of different parties, and leaders, expressed. I am reminded of a conversation I once heard in Yorkshire between two gentlemen. One of them said, “ If I had my way I should drown Gladstone,” while the other said, “ I would hang Disraeli as high as I could if I had my way.” That was how the leaders of two distinct parties in the old country were regarded by two educated gentlemen. The speech of Senator Styles, with its narrow provincialism, was not of a character to foster the Federal spirit. On the contrary, it could only serve to keep alive the provincialist feeling, and to emphasize the fact that one man is from New South Wales, and another is from Victoria.
– I made no reference to that.
– No; but I formed an opinion from the circumstances which were placed before me. I believe that much of the ill-feeling which has been generated in connexion with Mr. Reid, is due to the fact that he is regarded as the most powerful factor in the political atmosphere of New South Wales. I believe that there is no man who will do so much as the Right Honorable G. H. Reid, to bring about the brotherhood of the people Of the States, as I believe that, if he is given the opportunity, he will show the people of the Commonwealth at large that he is not only a representative of New South Wales, but a representative of the Commonwealth, and will do his best to promote the happiness and welfare of the people.
– And he commences to show that feeling by denying to the smaller States a representation in his Government.
– I do not know that he ever denied that.
– His is a Victorian and New South Wales Ministry.
– I wish to say a few words on the labour caucus1. The statement has been made here that the decision of the labour caucus is only binding so far as it refers to the programme which has been laid down, and that no question outside that programme can be dealt with by the caucus. I desire to give an illustration which I think is not in keeping with that statement. When the pastoral industry of New South Wales was in tha’t condition that no one knew whether it was going to be relieved or to be ruined ; when a condition of affairs existed in that State such as has never occurred in anyother State in the Commonwealth, it was felt by some gentlemen that the State or the Commonwealth Parliament ought to come to the relief of the brave, struggling settlers on the land. A deputation waited upon the Prime’ Minister, Mr. Deakin, in Melbourne, and he gave us very strong sympathy. The deputation also waited upon the Premier of New South Wales, and we got strong sympathy there, too, but nothing else. It was then thought that we_ might be able to do something with the Labour Party, because it was known that many labour members deplored as much as we did the condition of the country. Some of these gentlemen were approached, and a meeting of the Labour Party was held. The caucus sal for over three hours, but the vote wasagainst anything being done to assist the struggling settlers;. I know that many members came away from the meeting with heavy hearts. Thev felt that in some measure they ought to do all they could torelieve the pastoral industry. But in the State Parliament the members of the Labour Party would not move their fingers to assistany one to bring forward a motion, or to support a motion when it was brought forward, simply because those who were in favour of granting relief were dominated by the caucus vote.
– Is the honorable senator referring now to the suspension of the fodder duties?
– We were asking the Commonwealth Government to suspend the fodder duties, and the State Government to assist in purchasing fodder for the starving stock.
– What had the New South Wales Labour Party to do with the suspension of the fodder duties?
– Does the honorable senator mean to tell me that the condition of country districts in which men were struggling and being ruined, and millions of money were being spent, was a matter of no concern to a labour member ? Take, for instance, Mr. Holman, who represented a part of the State which was suffering terribly from the drought. His constituents were doing all they could in order to get him to obtain some relief. I know that in the caucus he did his best to achieve their object.
– Take Senator Drake, who was a member of the Federal Cabinet. He would not agree to suspend the fodder duties.
– I am not talking about Senator Drake, but pointing out that there have been cases outside the platform in which the caucus has bound labour members to act as it dictated.
– What is the honorable senator’s authority for making that statement with regard to the Labour- Party of New South Wales?
– My authority is the labour men themselves.
– Binding on every one of them?
– The result of the holding of that meeting was that nothing was done in the State Parliament to help the settlers to tide over the period of suffering.
– Of how many men did the Labour Party consist at that time?
– Twenty-six or twentyeight.
– And how many members did the Legislative Assembly comprise?
– It comprised 125.
– How could twentysix labour members carry a vote against the rest?
– But the Labour Party held the balance of power in the House.
– The honorable senator admits that the other parties were equally wrong.
– I admit that the Premier, Sir John See, was absolutely wrong in not providing some relief for the settlers. Two of his colleagues attended a meeting at the Hotel Australia, and strongly urged the Government to do what we asked. Mr. Crick, the Minister for Lands, made one of the strongest speeches I heard in favour of our request.
– Was it not the Barton Cabinet which absolutely, objected to suspend the fodder duties at that time?
– The Barton Government simply said that they did not think that they were in a position to suspend the fodder duties, but Mr. Deakin stated afterwards that the Parliament of New . South Wales could grant the desired relief if it chose.
– But the State Parliament could not deal with a Common- wealth matter.
– The State Parliament, if it had felt disposed, could have voted the equivalent of the fodder duties. If it had met with the approval of the caucus there is no doubt that the desired relief would have been granted.
– But the honorable senator has asserted that.it was the members of the Labour Party who were against the suspension of the fodder duties.
– No. I said that some labour members did their best to bring about what we desired by causing a meeting of the caucus party to be held. The blame for the want of sympathy shown to the struggling settlers at that time must be attributed in a large measure to those labour members who formed the majority at the caucus.
– Can the honorable senator give the name of one labour member who was prevented by the caucus from voting for the grant of that relief ?
– The proof is that the caucus assembled, and that in consequence of its decision no relief was granted.
– Who told the honorsenator what was done in the caucus?
– I am sure that the honorable senator would not deem me worthy of being a member of the Senate if I were to detail a private conversation.
– The honorable senator has detailed a private conversation but suppressed the names.
– No; I have stated as a broad principle that the Labour Party in caucus did consider the question as to whether they should do anything to force the hands of the Government in that direction. They came to an adverse decision, and not a single labour member ever did anything in the State. Parliament to bring about the granting of any relief.
– Did they do anything to prevent the settlers getting relief voted?
– I do not know that any member of the Labour Party did anything of that kind.
– The honorable senator has utterly failed to show where a single member of the Labour Party was interfered with by the caucus.
– If I have failed to convince the honorable senator it cannot be helped.
– Assuming it to be true, what has it to do with the caucus meetings of the Federal Labour Party?
– The statement has been made that the caucus never interferes with the vote of a labour member in respect of any matter outside the platform.
– And that is absolutely correct.
– I am in favour of a good deal in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I am sorry to say, however, that I am gradually weakening in the opinions which I have held. If the measure as it stands would be a means of settling industrial disputes it would be a great factor in promoting the happiness and prosperity of the people of Australia. If I had that belief I should be courageous enough to do the utmost in my power to secure its passage. But in our treatment of the Bill we must be guided by practical experience. We must be guided by the knowledge we have gained from those countries which have had an experience of an Arbitration Act during the last few years. Mr. McGregor was, if not the pioneer, one of the pioneers, who, with Mr. Reeves, brought the Arbitration Act of New Zealand into existence.
– Mr. Reeves has never mentioned his name.
– I am only repeating a statement which has been published in the newspapers of New Zealand, as well as in a pamphlet written by Mr. McGregor, who is a member of the Legislative Council of that Colony.
– It is a strange thing that in his history of the Arbitration Act Mr. Reeves has not mentioned the name of Mr. McGregor.
– Mr. McGregor has mentioned the fact in his own pamphlet, and it has been confirmed by four correspondents to whom I wrote, in Invercargill, Dunedin, Wellington, and Napier. In his pamphlet Mr. McGregor goes into details. He shows how terribly disappointing in its effects the Arbitration Act has been, and says that, instead of proving a blessing, as he had hoped, It has proved to be a very great injury to New Zealand.
– And that is why it is so prosperous.
– New Zealand would have been prosperous under almost any kind of political maladministration. It is the garden of Australia. It has a seaboard which no other country in these seas possesses, and I suppose that it contains the richest land in the world.
– Had not New Zealand all these advantages before Mr. Ballance came into power?
– The prosperous conditions of New Zealand have been increased by reason of the droughts .prevailing in. Australia, and also by reason of the increase of the export trade to South Africa. Yon may by legislation retard a country’s progress, but you can hardly kill it. I do not say that the arbitration laws of New Zealand have in any sense killed the prosperity of that country, or that they have retarded it, but the opinion of these gentlemen is to the effect that those laws ‘have been an injury rather than otherwise to the progressof their country.
– The opinion of New Zealand, as a whole, is infinitely preferable to the opinion of one or two of its citizens.
– Even in this evening’s Herald there is a cablegram, which is pertinent to the point which I am making. It reports that -
Mr. Ben. Tillett, secretary of the London Dockers’ Union, submitted an important resolution to the thirty-seventh annual Congress of Trades’ Unions, now sitting at Leeds. He proposed the appointment of a Minister of Industry, and the establishment of an Advisory Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, with a provision- that it. should be optional for unions and employers to register under compulsory or voluntary ;arbitration sections. Mr. Tillett, in the course of his speech quoted the satisfactory working of Arbitration Acts in New Zealand and insome of the Australian States. Much opposition was given to the arbitration portion of the resolution, mainly on the ground that it would be unwise on the part of the unions to make strikes impossible. The proposal affirming the desirability of conciliation and arbitration was nega- tived, on a division, by delegates representing tradesunionists in the followingnumbers : -
Against, 869,000; For, 383,000. Majority against, , 486,000.
– Do not forget thatour object is to make strikes impossible.
– I quote this to show what the trade unionists of England think about the subject. Practically the vote shows that the opinion against compulsory arbitration is more than double the opinion in favour of it.
– Is the honorable senator aware that the majority has been dwindling every year?
– Is the majority this year lower than the majority last year?
– Then it is very little lower. I am quoting these facts in order that wemay be guided to a practical conclusion. I believe that if we could prevent strikes by means of an Arbitration Bill, it would be a very great blessing indeed. But I do not believe that it is sn.
– It has been so in New Zealand.
– I believe, further, that arbitration laws are causing ten times more friction than occurred, and ten times the number of absolute difficulties than existed, in connexion with trade before such measures were passed. It may be said by some that that is a reason why Arbitration Courts should be brought into existence. But I contend that it shows that those who are interested, not only in trade unions, but in connexion with the Labour Party, generally find, in many instances, that it pays them well to do their best to bring about friction between employer and employé.
– That is very unworthy.
– I speak as a business man, with some knowledge of ‘the facts. I will give an illustration of what took place three months ago in connexion with a firm in which I am interested. This firm employs between forty-five and fifty coopers. A deputation waited upon the firm and asked whether the employers were aware that two of their coopers were nonunion men. We stated that we knew nothing about that, and that all we wanted to know was that these men did their duty properly. They had been working for the firm for fifteen months, and they had wives and children at home. They had been working in perfect harmony with the unionists during the whole time they had been there. But the members of the deputation gave it to be understood that i1 those two non-unionist men were not discharged, they would call out the othct coopers. The remarkable thing was thai these two men had applied over and over again to be admitted into the trade union, and were rejected. In the very same week the secretary wrote, asking the two unionists to call at his office, and they were at once admitted to the union. Mr. Watson, the late Prime Minister, and Mr. Hughes, the late Minister of “External Af fairs, have both said that they are opposed to the action taken by that union. They have publicly stated that they would not approve of converting the unions into what I may call close boroughs. But I give this illustration to show that there was a case in which a union used its authority in order to endeavour to turn these two men. who had wives and children to provide for, into the streets, so far as they were concerned.
– One swallow does not make a summer.
– No ; it does not. But the instance shows that these gentlemen hold positions which depend to some extent upon their getting up disputes here there, and everywhere. Much friction has been caused which would not have existed had not the Arbitration Court been in existence. The experience in New South Wales has been that the whole of the trading community is, I was going to say, absolutely disgusted with the verdicts that have been given by the Arbitration Court, and also at the frivolous manner in which the affairs of that Court have been conducted. I will not say more, because the Judicial Bench of Australia is worthy of respect. We are proud of it, and I believe that the President of the Court to which I have alluded is carrying, out his duties faithfully according to his views, although to many of us it is unaccountable how he arrives at the verdicts which he has given. When the Arbitration Bill comes before the Senate, I trust that it will be dealt with not in a party spirit, but in a spirit broad enough to allow us to resolve that it must not be made an element of danger in regard to the future prosperity and growth of Australia. I thank honorable senators for the patience with which they have listened to me, and wish to state, in conclusion, that, as long as I am a member of this Chamber, I shall try to deal with the subjects which are brought before us in a spirit which is not actuated only by the interests of party, but by the interests of the people of Australia as a whole.
– I do not intend to deal at great length with the questions that have been put before the Senate. But in listening to the Attorney-General’s presentation of the policy of the Government yesterday, I could not help observing the vast contrast between his effort on that occasion and on previous occasions when I have had the pleasure of listening to him. I have no doubt that if he speaks in reply we shall hear something of a more brilliant character than that to which we listened yesterday. Perhaps the reason for his lack of vigour and of ardour was his want of sympathy with the position in which he finds himself, and with the work in hand. We cannot fail to recognise that the policy outlined by Senator Symon is very largely the policy that has been advocated for years and years by this very much maligned caucus party. Therefore, I have no particular fault to find with the policy outlined by the Government in a general sense. Nor do I intend to say anything in connexion with the personnel of the Ministry, except this : I certainly do agree with Senator Styles that of all the leaders of political thought in Australia to-day, the present Prime Minister is the least representative of the general will of the Australian people. On that account I agree that he has no right whatever to fill the position which he now occupies. But the policy of the Ministry is in very strong contrast with the platform utterances of both its leaders - because there are two of them - and of several of their more ardent followers during the past few weeks. We have read reports of meetings where the only real business has been an attempt to ridicule, and even wilfully to villify. the intentions and the general attitude of the party known in politics as the Labour Party. The policy of that party has been altogether misrepresented, and knowingly misrepresented by the persons who have been making those utterances. A member of the Senate has publicly stated that the battle of to-day is between Socialism and anti-Socialism. . I refer to Senator Dobson, who made such a statement when addressing a meeting of ladies at St. Kilda. I give Senator Dobson this credit - that he uttered one or two sentences with which every one of us will heartily agree. He pointed out that those who hitherto had control of the welfare of the nation, and who were engaged in the industrial life of the country had been largely responsible for the great growth of this socialistic thought, as he characterized it.
– In consequence of their selfishness.
– Through their selfishness.
– The honorable senator should not hit his own party. .
– I am not doing so. I am merely pointing out that we have an excellent ally in Senator Dobson so long as he continues to place before the ladies and gentlemen of this country such plain truths, showing that the present day position has been arrived at simply as the result of the education of the people that has been borne in upon them by the facts with which they are daily . confronted. There is one reason why I must compliment the Government and their supporters. I have tried, as an honest man will try, to steer a straight course through life. I have also tried to follow, as far as it was profitable for me to do, the advice given by men whom I considered to be infinitely and eminently capable of giving advice. But when it comes to the political arena I have an aptitude, it may be a very slow one, to somewhat think for myself, and possibly my thoughts have occasionally led me astray. When I have been reading those brilliant free-trade speeches, which have been made by the present Attorney-General, and when I have listened to eloquent protectionist speeches made by gentlemen who now sit with him in the same cabine<, I have been strengthened in the conclusion at which I arrived years ago, that on boih sides they were on this one question almost faddists. I have always been led to believe that there was a ring of insincerity about the politicians - great statesmen as they may claim to be - when they stood on the platform and tried to gull the public as a whole, by preaching to them, as the primary cause of all evil, or the primarycause of all good, either one or other of the fiscal systems.
– Whoever did that?
– We have men, whom I need not mention, because they are well known, who have urged that freetrade or protection as the case may be, will do almost anything in the world, other than rearrange the basic principles of our Christian civilization.
– The honorable senator thinks it good that those gen- tlemen should take to fiscal peace?
– I think it is very good that the honorable and learned senator and his friend should have done what they have done. They have shown to the people of Australia that there has been insincerity in the whole of their advocacy - that freetrade was merely a useful bogey to trot before the people of this great nation. They have shown also that protectionists ideas do not embrace the primary question with which the mind of Australia ought o be occupied - that both systems in themselves are secondary, and very secondary, indeed, to the well-being of the people.
– We have taken a lesson out of the book of the Labour Party.
– I am very glad to hear that ; and in a few more years I am satisfied that several more lessons will be taken out of the same book. The honorable senator who interjected will become convinced that the Labour Party have never yet asked a legislative assembly in Australia to place on the statute-book any law that is not humane in its every instinct - that has not for its ultimate object the uplifting and the general welfare of the people. Ardent leaders of freetrade and’ protectionists’ movements hesitated not, when the Labour Party with their sunken fiscal policy came into the arena, to show howinfantile were our notions, and how useless our aspirations, inasmuch as it was utterly impossible for any man to enter politics unless he made either freetrade or protection his battle cry in life. Those gentlemen, in an endeavour to show the impossibility of our position; hounded us from every platform, and now they have given the great object lesson to the people that, after all, the insincerity must be dropped, and a position adopted precisely similar to that of the Labour Party.
– Does the honorable senator say that the freetraders in his party are insincere?
– I say that our party is a Labour Party.
– The Labour Party have sunk the fiscal issue, and we have done the same.
– First of all, we are a Labour Party, and whatever else we may be, is a secondary consideration. There has been a good deal of fairly reasonable banter in connexion with the poli tical machine - that instrument by which we are brought together, and through which our deliberations are transmitted from one to another. Senator Millen when speaking, referred in a disparaging tone to our machine politics), and I interjected that he had endeavoured to enter public life by means of the influence of that very machine. It was then the disturbance arose, the honorable senator stating that what I had said was false. Probably, judging from his intentions from the beginning, it may have been false, but to me it certainly appeared very correct indeed, inasmuch as on the 9th November, 1893, I sat in the next chair to Senator Millen at a large conference, which lasted for two days, of representatives of labour leagues, who were perfecting this machinery for the purpose of making our political existence sure. Senator Millen was then a delegate of the Labour Party, and if my memory serves me right he represented the Carters’ Union of Bourke, New South Wales. Those are the facts on which I base my impression, and if the honorable senator’s own position was false, that, of course, is not my fault.
– We can change our minds, but honorable members opposite cannot change theirs.
– The honorable and learned senator can change his mind very accommodatingly sometimes. I am somewhat pleased that the Government have placed so early in their programme the further consideration of the Arbitration Bill. Notwithstanding some of the remarks which have been made, I sincerely hope that that Bill will not pass in anything like its present shape. I should not like us as a Senate to do anything that would appear a travesty on legislation, and in its present form this, Bill is utterly impotent, and very far from realising the anticipations of people who are to be guided and controlled by it. It would be better to put it at once into the waste-paper basket rather than pass it in its present shape. I hope with Senator Gray that the Bill will leave this chamber as perfect a measure as our intelligence can make it, so that we may effect the object we have in view, namely, the prevention of the unsettling of any industrial arrangements on which the whole of our people depend. We know how disastrous every disarrangement of our industries is, but there is no analogy between the position of the people of England and the people in Australia. We cannot reason from the position of the English people as to the position in industrial matters here.
– To-day the private employer has not yet gone out of existence in .England; but he is going out, and he is not to be found in Australia. The private employer is a mere figment - a shadow. We are the creatures of a trust and syndicate system, and our real employer is an American millionaire, or, more probably, a London millionaire.
– There are very few millionaires here.
– But, unfortunately, they are taking away the wealth of our country. We are employed by people who are in the old country ; we are controlled by managers who are paid a salary, and are, in turn, controlled by men who, in most cases, do nothing, 13,000 miles away. In England that is not the case.
– It is not the case in Australia.
– I have been employed as a worker in Australia for many years, and I have never yet been employed directly by a’ man whose interests are in Australia. I have been employed in big concerns, where thousands of men are engaged, and those concerns were always owned by people who never see Australia.
– That is in Western Australia ?
– And New South Wales, too.
– Would the honorable senator prefer that that capital should never, have come into the country?
– I am not talking about capital, but about the comparison there has been an endeavour to draw between the position of Australian workers and the position of English workers, and I say that the cases are by no means analogous. Since I was a boy of very tender years there has been a form of conciliation adopted almost right throughout England. For the last thirty years there has been conciliation of a voluntary nature, but under such conditions as have made it operate almost in a compulsory way. Employers and workmen in England have for all those years had their joint committees, at which they sit at the same table, and there is that feeling of sympathy which can be created at close quarters, but which can never be created at a distance of thousands of miles.
– That sympathy is what the Labour Party are driving out of Australia.
– We are not driving it out of Australia - it is out of Australia, and we seek to prevent the havoc which may result to us as industrial operatives.
– The honorable senator has hit the nail on the head, but his argument is dead against himself.
– My. argument shows that the positions in the two countries are not analogous. Private employers are gradually dying out of industrial operations in England, and all are coming under the influence and power of trusts and syndicates. The result is that, whereas twelve years ago scarcely a worker in England would breathe a word in favour of compulsory arbitration, representatives at a union conference representing nearly 500,000 people have just declared in its favour.
– The voting was two to one against compulsory arbitration.
– But twelve years ago there were 100 to one against compulsory arbitration. What does the English worker say? He says, “What! make strikes impossible? No!” He does not want strikes to be made impossible. We, on the other hand, hold that strikes ought to be made impossible. We want to establish a system which will keep our industrial wheels moving in sympathy and harmony with the surrounding conditions. If .we desire to secure industrial peace it can be obtained by that method, and it will be infinitely more profitable to us in the end than even the fiscal peace which has been so mildly arranged by the old parties. I do not propose to make any other comment on the programme of the Government, except to express my pleasure that they intend to bring down a Bill to authorize a survey of’ the TransAustralian Railway to be made. I am sorry, however, that it occupies so low a position on their programme. I believe that they will not get a chance to pass the Bill, but if they do, it shall have my. ardent support. I am satisfied that, having taken the project in hand, the Government, unless a day comes when they may cease to exist-
– That is in the dim and distant future.
– I trust the time will speedily come when not only a survey will- be made, but the railway will be constructed.
– The honorable senator will support us in passing the Bill?
– I shall support the Bill, and more than thai, I shall do all I can, if I am spared, to support the Government in completing what to me appears to be one of the most essential necessities to this nation.
Debate (on motion by Senator Matheson) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at g.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 September 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040908_senate_2_21/>.