2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator DOBSON presented a petition from the President of the Central Council of Employers of Australia, praying the Senate not to support certain amendments in the Trade Marks Bill.
Petition received and read.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON laid upon the table the following paper : -
Report of the Royal Commission on the affray at Goaribari Island, British New Guinea.
The Clerk laid upon the table the following paper: -
Return to the order of the Senate of 7th September, 1904, as to the remarks of MajorGeneral Hutton in regard to the Northern Territory.
– I beg to present the report of the . Select Committee on the case of Major Carroll, but as it comprises seventeen or eighteen pages, I do not ask that it be read. I move-
That the report, together with minutes of evidence, appendices, and documents, be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) read a first time.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South
Wales). - I beg to give notice that tomorrow I shall move -
That, in the opinion of this Senate, it is the inherent right of any person, being a party to any matter remitted by this Senate to a Select Committee, to call witnesses in support of his contention, and to cross-examine witnesses who have given evidence against the case submitted by him.
That the refusal of any Select Committee appointed by this Senate to permit the calling or cross-examining of witnesses by or on behalf of any person, being a party to a case before such Committee, is a denial of justice, and a refusal of the rights universally accorded by Courts of Law and Parliamentary Committees.
That the interests of truth and justice demand that all evidence taken by Committees of this Senate shall be taken upon oath or affirmation..
– I do not see why I should not
– It seems to me that the honorable senator is endeavouring to take out of the hands of a certain Select Committee the conduct of its proceedings. The Senate knows nothing of those proceedings.
– The honorablesenator ought not to make a speech.
– It seems to me that in this notice of motion the honorable senator is reflecting upon the proceedings of the Select Committee.
– The Senate has a perfect right to reflect upon the proceedings of a Select Committee, at all events after it has reported, and to accept or ignore the report of a Select Committee. A Select Committee has only a delegated ‘ power, and I do not think that the notice of motion is out. of order. It is general in its terms.
– I submit, sir, that the honorable senator, in’ giving notice of a motion of that kind, has taken upon himself a duty which no honorable senator has a right to assume. The Senate knows nothing of the proceedings of this Select Committee. It has not yet made a report, but Senator Neild has undertaken to make certain observations concerning its proceedings.
– That is a different point from the one which was originally raised.
– On the point of order, sir, I desire to state that the notice of motion fs couched in the most general I terms, and contains no reference to any par- Iticular Select Committee.
– I think that the notice of motion is- in order. At all events, at this stage I cannot interfere ‘to prevent it being given ; but when it is called on Senator Higgs can raise any point of order which he wishes to submit.
– May I be permitted, sir, to point out that this is entirely an abstract motion. I merely make this remark so that Senator Higgs need not take alarm at a notice of motion which, of course, very greatly concerns questions of parliamentary procedure.
– Every one knows what is intended.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Is it a fact that the officer administering the Immigration Restriction Act recently discovered nine Chinese stowed away in one of the regular trading steamers running between Fremantle and Singapore ; if so, do the Government intend to take precautions to prevent the Act being evaded in the manner attempted?
– It is a fact, and the Government have taken, and are taking, every available precaution to prevent evasion of the law.
Debate resumed from 9th September (vide page 4401) 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.
– I thing that you, sir, will agree with me that in a debate of this character any criticism, however strong .it may be, directed towards political acts or attitudes, is both reasonable and appropriate. I think also that you, and an overwhelming majority of the Senate, will agree with me in condemning any sort of abuse that is wholly personal in its intent, and in expressing disgust at any exhibition of such execrably bad taste, such as we have heard during the debate, not only in set speech, but by way of interjection. And when such abuse and such an exhibition comes from the honorable senator who, in a very egotistical way, drew attention to the duties and responsibilities of the Vice-President of the
Executive Council, I venture to think that our feelings are necessarily all the more intense. The personal references which were made by Senator McGregor to the VicePresident of the Executive Council, and in a lesser degree to the Attorney-General, ought very properly to have excited a considerable disgust in the minds of every honorable senator who heard them.
– Cannot the honorable and learned senator allow them to defend themselves?
– They are better able to defend themselves than I atn to defend them.
– Then the honorable and learned senator should not take on the job.
– I am not making these remarks in order to defend either of the Ministers, but because I feel that the honorable senator has done a lot to drag into the mud our ordinary procedure. Could anything have been more feeble and more contemptible than his personal references to the Ministers? Has the Senate ever heard an interjection so disgusting, so absolutely revolting, as the one which was made by Senator McGregor while an honorable senator on this side was speaking - an interjection which was heard on all sides of the Chamber, but which very fortunately for the good credit of the Senate does not appear in Hansard. I do not wish to dwell long on Senator McGregor. But there is another question affecting him that I shall briefly draw attention to. He denied ex- .plicitly in his recent speech that he ever announced that he was up for sale. I admit that subsequently he tried to explain the remark away by saying that it was made purely as a joke. Of course it is a very easy exit for a public man when he is challenged with having made a remark which contains absolute evidence of disgrace, to say that he made it jokingly. Such an exit is perfectly easy. But it is not one which a man will use if he wishes either to retain his own self respect or to gain the respect of others. I, as one who heard that remark, say unhesitatingly that the day the honorable senator spoke recently was the first time I ever heard that it was made in .1 joke. The context, which any honorable senator can read on page 131 of Hansard, contains nothing, either before or after the words he used, which could make an ordinary man understand that they were used in joke.
– Does the honorable and learned senator say that seriously?
– I do. The remark can be read by any one on page 131 of Hansard, and if time permitted I should be very glad to read the whole of what Senator McGregor might call the context of the remark. So far from regarding the remark as a piece of jocularity, Senator McGregor has, in his subsequent political career, given evidence more than once that it was not made by way of a joke, but in earnest.I have finished with the honorable senator, and if either he or any of his friends choose to indorse the remark, or to justify it, an opportunity will be afforded presently, I have no doubt.
– But the honorable and learned senator does not interpret that remark to mean that the Labour Party was up for sale for money ?
– I am not talking of money. Is there nothing else but money to consider?
– Does not the honorable and learned senator understand the remark to mean that the Labour Party was up for sale for legislation?
– If the honorable senator is desirous of explaining the remark I shall be extremely glad if he will do so before the debate is concluded. I take this opportunity, however, to prevent him challenging me unfairly. I have dragged in no question of money, but I repeat that if we follow the subsequent career of Senator McGregor we have every reason for believing that the remark was made, not in joke, but in earnest. I hope that what I have said is clear to Senator Higgs, and if he is going to defend Senator McGregor, I invite him to do so during the course of this debate.
– Yes; but is the honorable and learned senator going to show what Senator McGregor did say?
SenatorCLEMONS. - I am not going to deal with the subject any more. I have wasted too much time on it. One of the chief objections which have been raised by many honorable senators on the other side against the combination they look at on this side is based, I believe, on that well-known phrase, “ fiscal truce.” In the first speech I ever made here - before the Tariff was introduced - I stated most distinctly that, while I, as a free-trader, was afraid that, in the hands of a protectionist Government, we should find that it would be a protec tionist Tariff, yet I declared, even at that early stage, that I should be no party to re-opening the discussion for many years to come, no matter in what form the Tariff might emerge from the . Parliament. My conscience is perfectly clear on the question of a fiscal truce. I am still against reopening the discussion on the Tariff.
– No matter how bad it may be?
– I admit that it is bad, and I do not think that any one holds that opinion more strongly than I do. I shall state the reason why I object to reopening the discussion. Let us admit, for the sake of argument, that we, on this side of the Chamber, are all born dullards. But will not my honorable friends opposite recognise that dull as we may be, our source of instruction is a very good one ? We have excellent teachers on the other side, and is it wonderful that we have learnt their lesson? Having such instructors, is it a source of astonishment even to honorable senators opposite, that we have decided to adopt their own methods? What has been the position during the history of the Federal Parliament? We have been forced to recognise this - that my honorable friends opposite, with all their profound investigation of questions of economy, have decided in their wholly indifferent way that the Tariff is a mere detail to them.
– Did the honorable senator tell the electors of Tasmania, when he was before them, that he would take up that attitude?
– At the time when I sought election, I undoubtedly stood as a free-trader. Previous to the last election, when the Tariff debates were all over, I said at every place where I spoke that it was my intention to go for what we called fiscal peace, and that, so . far as I was concerned, the Tariff discussions were at an end. I do not pretend that I do not regret the Tariff that was passed, but while it must not be imagined that I deviate a hair’s breadth from my opinions on freetrade, I do not intend to depart from the view which I expressed previous to the last general election, that, so far as I was concerned, the Tariff was out of the way. I said just now that dull as we may be, we are capable of learning from our opponents when we have in them such excellent teachers. Every one has seen in the present Parliament that the Labour Party, being able to set aside the question of free-trade and protection as one of comparative indifference, has gained great strength thereby. Wepropose to learn a lesson from their book. If they object, they must object to their own teaching first before they object to the lesson which ( we ‘have learnt.
– When the honorable and learned senator loses free-trade, where is his policy ?
– We have other matters to consider besides protection and free-trade, and we do not intend to allow a division of opinion in our own ranks to throw greater strength into the hands of the party opposite. That is the view of honorable senators on this side. While I am discussing fiscal peace, it may not be inappropriate to make some remarks about the new alliance, about which we hear and read so much. If any one party is going to get an advantage from that alliance, it must be from a fiscal surrender on the part of a section; The proposition is that certain disaffected protectionists shall join in alliance with the Labour Party. I am not going to credit an astute man like Mr. Isaacs with a desire for self-annihilation, nor do I imagine that he is anxious to be absorbed wholly into even such excellent ranks as I see opposite. That being so, the position is not the acceptance of. fiscal peace on the part of members of the Labour Party, but an absolute fiscal surrender on the part of men like Senators Pearce and Dawson.
– There is no surrender of principle on my part.
– I have not said that. I have not such a mean* opinion of Senator Pearce as to think that he is going to surrender his free-trade principles. But I put the point before him as a possible proposition, not as an insult.
– The honorable senator has used my name in connexion with a fiscal surrender. I ask why?
– The honorable senator’s previous record during the Tariff discussions justified me in the assumption that he was a free-trader.
– The honorable and learned senator has no justification for saying so.
– Then I withdraw the remark with the greatest pleasure; and it shows how easily Senator Dawson can deceive us, because so far as his votes were concerned - so far as they could be taken as an indication of his views - I submit that on analysis they would make it clear to an ordinary man that he was rather a freetrader than a protectionist.
– I said over and over again that I did not believe in any of your shibboleths.
– I know that some of the honorable senator’s party rejoice in the name of “ fiscal atheists.” I am sorry, however, that Senator Dawson should take such a very poor view of questions of political economy as to set up the absolute negation of a fiscal atheism. But let me go back to the proposed alliance. To my mind it involves on the part of the free-trade members of the party opposite, not merely an advocacy of a fiscal truce, but a positive change from free-trade to protection.
– How does the honorable and learned senator make that out?
– Surely Senator Givens has followed my argument. I have pointed out that if such an astute man as Mr. Isaacs - and though Senator Givens is a new member of this Parliament, I have no doubt that he knows -that Mr. Isaacs is generally spoken of as an astute man - is going to allow himself to be absorbed in the party of which Senator Givens is a member, that process of absorption will not take place unless Mr. Isaacs gets something in the nature of. a quid fro quo. We all know what he wants. The thing is as plain as anything can be. The letters are in large type. Mr. Isaacs wants a protectionist revival. How is Mr. Isaacs going to hope for that if he is to look for support for that movement from members like Senator Pearce, and half a dozen others in the House, of Representatives who hold similar .principles? I do not wish to labour that, point, but side by side with it stands another matter which has been mentioned in the course of this debate. That is the question of preferential trade. The present Government has been . ridiculed - I do not say that the ridicule was effective, but I have heard attempts to ridicule it - because of its attitude on that question. Anyone who is conversant with the present state of the movement for preferential trade in England will know that, the most recent development in connexion with it has taken the form of a proposition for the holding of a Colonial’ Conference. To go back a little, I may say that one of the initial difficulties on .the part of the Commonwealth of Australia in the matter of preferential trade is this: that there is no authority in England at the present time that the Federal Parliament could approach. The author of the scheme is Mr. Chamberlain. The scheme has not been supported by the Ministry in the House of Commons, and it could scarcely be urged, I suppose, that this Parliament or the Commonwealth Government could approach a private individual, who is not even a Minister at present, with regard to the scheme. But what I wish to draw special attention to is this fact - and I do not suppose it will be denied - that the present view of England on this question is strongly favorable to free-trade. On the other side, we are confronted by the fact that the present view of the Commonwealth, as exhibited by its Tariff, is favorable to protection. Now, it has recently been urged in England, with a great deal of force, that there are two ideas involved in this preferential trade scheme. One - and the dominant one, the ostensibly dominant one, at any rate, and I believe, really, the dominant one in Mr. Chamberlain’s mind - is the idea of Imperial unity. Side by side with that we find, of course, the idea of an economic revolt - a change from one fiscal scheme to the other. I admit that freely, but I do say this - and. I suppose that no one in the Senate will deny it, whether he be a protectionist or otherwise - that of those two schemes - the one of Imperial unity and the other the change from free-trade to protection - the more important is the former, the principle of Imperial unity. So far as Great Britain is concerned, it is fairly safe to propfiesy that at the next election the result will be that the free-traders will come into power. But I do not say, therefore, that the scheme of preferential trade will be finally disposed of. We must, however, recognise the fact that it necessarily - absolutely necessarily - implies a sacrifice. If we are going to realize the great idea of a power binding the whole Empire together in commercial bonds of peace, we must also recognise, whether we live in England or Australia, that some sacrifice must be made to insure it. The sacrifices to be made in a bargain between England and Australia - -because, after all, it will be in the nature of a bargain - would not be . one-sided. Surely the strongest protectionists amongst us are not going to insist that there shall be no surrender as far’ as we are concerned, and no sacrifice? Are we going to say to the people of England, who, as we know, cherish so strong a determination to have free food and free raw material, that if we do make a sacrifice in order to realize this idea of Imperial unity by consenting to the taxation of their food and raw material, we, on our side, will make no sacrifice whatever? And this is the root of the whole matter- -the sacrifice that will have to be made. Senator Styles has more than once spoken upon this subject in the Senate. He has endeavoured to assure us that he is dominated with the idea of Imperial unity, and Imperial expansion. But at the same time we know - some of us to our cost - that he is avery hearty protectionist.
– Why must there necessarily be a sacrifice on our part ?
– I say that if we are going to realize this idea of Imperial unity there must be sacrifice on both sides.
– Cannot we have preferential trade by raising our duties against the foreigner ?
– I do not think it is difficult to answer a question of that sort. But let me go back a little. If the English Parliament in a few years is going to attempt to bring about this idea of Imperial unity by means of preferential trade, I say again that a sacrifice will inevitably be necessary on the part of the British people. Because no protectionist, even in Australia, will, for a moment, think that the British people will consider that the taxing of food and of raw material is not in the nature of a sacrifice.’ Even protectionists in the Senate will remember that some of their number, like Senator de Largie, when we were discussing the Tariff, regarded taxes on food which affected the gold-fields as in the nature of a sacrifice. Protectionist as he may call himself, he never’ failed . to vote for free food whenever he had an opportunity.
– If I were in the old country to-day, I should take up the same attitude with regard to duties on food.
– That is what I am saying. I am putting this as an example. When protectionists, even in Australia, object to taxing food, surely it will be recognised that the mass of the English people will regard the taxing of food and raw material as a serious sacrifice on their part.
– Mr. Chamberlain says that there will be no loss.
– It is clear that a sacrifice on both sides is necessary if this scheme of . preferential trade is going to eventuate. And if we recognise that a sacrifice has to be made by Great Britain we must also recognise that a sacrifice must be made here. Is there any possible sacrifice except that which is to come from the reduction of duties ? I see none. Senator O’ Keefe has asked why we could not raise duties against the foreigner. We might by that means accord an infinitesimal preference to Great Britain. But it cannot be claimed that we are making any sacrifice in that direction ; and if the demand for Imperial unity has any weight or force, it cannot be met merely by increasing, duties against the foreigner.
– Is the honorable senator in favour of preferential trade?
– If Senator Givens has not been able to gather my opinions from the remarks which I have made I am afraid that I shall have to leave the subject. I am going to deal with other questions, which more closely concern him. I do not know whether Senator Givens professes to be a protectionist or a free-trader, but I am going to deal with subjects that perhaps will interest him more closely. I have noticed several times in this chamber that members of the Labour Party have endeavoured to cause something like ridicule, or to bring into contempt some of us on the other side, by applying to us epithets such as “conservative.” That is a common gibe.
– Do not the honorable and learned senator’s party adopt the same tactics ^
– I do not. Is there any more justice in calling me a conservative than there would be, from my point of view, if I called Senator Guthrie an anarchist ? But I do not do that.
– Because I am not one.
– The truth-of the matter is that one statement is exactly as true as the other would be; and while I should never attempt to cast ridicule at my opponents, or to bring contempt upon them by calling them anarchists, I certainly do object to being called a conservative. I resent it.
– Does not the honorable and learned senator wish to conserve things which are good?
– I am not going into details. While an attempt has been
made to ridicule us by calling us conservatives, I notice that honorable senators on the other side rejoice complacently in the title of democrat. Have they any private patent right to the use of the term “ democrat ?” What do they mean by calling themselves a democracy ? They mean simply this : That if they know anything of our Constitution and our franchise, they express their loyalty to both. So do I. I recognise that we in Australia, living under the most democratic Constitution to be found in the civilized world, and having the widest franchise that any Constitution has ever put into legislative form-
– Thanks to the Labour Party, not to the Conservative Party.
– Does the honor-, able senator impugn my loyalty to the Constitution ? Unless he does he must recognise that the title of democrat, as implying loyalty to the democratic Constitution under which we live, and consequently to the principles under which we think we ought to be governed, is as much mine as his. As to the principles under which our Constitution and franchise have been framed, and by which we think the people should be governed, that is quite another question. On that point we may get at issue. My honorable friends opposite, I believe, now admit that the principles by which they think the people should be governed are the principles of Socialism.
– Trust the people.
– Precisely. I hope that I can consider Socialism not as a crime, or as a political creed to be ashamed of. I do not look at it in that way. I may tell honorable senators what I think when I hear the word “ Socialism ‘ ‘ used. I recognise that if there is a persistent cry on the part of a large number of people for Socialism there must be either a real evil which requires redress, or an imaginary evil, in which case the imagination should be cleared. I am not prepared to say, in the state of politics in Australia, at the present time, that there is a real evil. ‘Honorable senators opposite say that there is an evil, and I admit that the cry for Socialism is an indication of it. They say further that the remedy and certain cure for the evil is Socialism, and there I fail to agree with them. I say it is not. I say that that remedy is as bad as the disease, if the people are diseased.
– It is a great deal worse.
– I do not agree with Senator Dobson in taking an absolutely extreme view of these things.
– Senator Dobson has no other remedy to offer.
– If I pride myself upon anything it is upon a willingness to frankly state my views. I pride myself upon being a Liberal. I prefer, as a remedy, for the evils of the State, whether real or imaginary, not merely the enunciation, but the practical operation also of liberal principles. I suppose that the cause of the cry of Socialism is in the minds of honorable senators opposite an idea that labour is unequally treated, that the distribution of the world’s wealth is unfair, and that the capitalist gets more than he ought. The remedy submitted by honorable senators opposite for these things is Socialism, and I say that it is a bad one. Senator Guthrie has asked what other remedy might be suggested, and I venture to suggest one which might be found to be worth trying, and that is a system of co-operation.
– That is Socialism.
– What is the difference?
– I can tell the honorable senator what the difference is. Cooperation does this, at any rate : it respects and preserves the economic value of both capital and labour. Does Senator Guthrie differ from that? I know of no scheme of co-operation that would fail in that way. I can tell the honorable senator also what Socialism does, or tends to do. It tends, and I suppose honorable senators opposite will admit it at once, to destroy capital.
– Not at all; merely to destroy capitalists. There is a great distinction.
– Very well, I will alter it to that. And I can show honorable senators that it comes to exactly the same thing. Socialism, then, tends to prevent the distribution of capital. It proposes, in the ultimate end, to put all capital into the hands of the State as a whole.
– That is the whole people.
– The ultimate object of Socialism is to make the State the only capitalist. Honorable senators must admit that if that is the object it must necessarily follow, if it is pursued to its ultimate end, that the tendency must be to destroy capitalism in individual hands.
– Hear, hear.
– Very well, then, that is what I object to. I say that if we confine all capital to the State, we shall be doing the State an irretrievable injury. I say that if we’ do not allow individuals a fair and equal opportunity to become capitalists - and I am no advocate for the’ capitalist - we shall be doing the State an incalculable harm.
– They could be wealth-owners without being capitalists.
– I have not yet finished with my explanation of the difference between co-operation and Socialism. I say that co-operation preserves the economic value of capital and labour. I may say that Socialism destroys the capitalist, if honorable senators opposite please. But I further say, that Socialism degrades labour.
– What evidence has the honorable and learned senator for that statement ?
– The poor State servants, for instance.
– That is just the sort of interjection which Senator Findley should not have made. Suppose I ask the honorable senator, in return, what evidence can he find, in the whole world’s history, of the success of a single socialistic system.
– The Post Office.
– I am not speaking of a single example of State Socialism “in a community that is not socialistic. I ask honorable senators opposite if they can tell me where in the history of the world there is to be found an example of a successful socialistic community ?
– There has been no opportunity to “have the principle tried.
– Any number of attempts made have failed.
– Perhaps I may tell Senator Guthrie that Socialism, which the honorable senator and his party have introduced to Australia as the new panacea for all evils, is older than almost any other scheme of politics which we can trace. It was exploded thousands of years ago.
– If Senator de Largie will read the history of Socialism as affecting political legislation, he will find that it was tried thousands of years ago.
– The honorable senator is referring to Communism, and not to State Socialism.
– X am referring to Socialism in all its various phases, and to the various attempts made during, the history of .the world for thousands of ‘ years to establish it. Wherever such an attempt, has been made, it has been a disastrous and ghastly failure. Though it has been a failure in the past, it is just possible thai our honorable friends opposite have some new form of Socialism which will be a success, but I venture to think that they have not made such a discovery.
– -Would the honorable and learned senator mind describing for honorable’ senators a socialistic State in the sense in which he understands the term?
– That is not my particular province. Why should I anticipate the remarks of ‘Senator Higgs ? The honorable senator is especially well qualified, not only to describe a socialistic State, but to paint it in beautiful colours, and I must hesitate to undertake a task to which I am sure I could not do the same justice.
– We desire to know whether the honorable and learned senator’s ideas of a socialistic State is the same as ours?
– I have not any idea of a socialistic State.
– The honorable and learned senator has pictured one.
– I have not plctured any. I have made some simple statements, with respect to the theory of Socialism, which, for the most part, have been admitted by honorable senators opposite. My object has been to come to levi- terms with honorable senators, in order that we may not be at cross purposes.
– Where have the failures occurred to which the honorable and learned senator has referred?
– Where have been the successes? That is a sufficient answer to the honorable senator. I say that, from the earliest history of the world down to 1904, honorable senators can find no instance of a successful socialistic community.
– Where have been the failures ?
– They are to be found on almost every page of history.
– Will the honorable and learned senator point to one.
– I do not propose to do so. 7 u 2
– Because the honorable and learned senator cannot do so.
– Does Senator Guthrie say that no previous attempts have been made?
– Then the honor - able senator is sufficiently answered when he can point to no successful attempt. If there have been successful attempts made, where have they been made?
– Where has an attempt been made?
– If Senator Dawson will only read history he will find that a number of trials of the principle have been made. What we propose to do now is to prevent honorable senators opposite making this old experiment in Australia.
– Does the honorable and learned senator object to the socialistic railway system?
– I have laboured the point long enough, and if Senator Pearce will allow me I shall deal with other matters.
– That is not socialistic.
– If Senator Pearce wants an answer I may tell him that I have always recognised that in certain matters the State may properly interfere. It may do so, for instance, with respect to questions of public health and disease.
– We cannot employ private enterprise for railways of development.
– That is our policy.
– If honorable senators opposite will stick to that, and will allow the State to interfere only with regard to questions of public health and disease, I shall be. with them all the time, and they will have no more active co-operator in that kind of Socialism than they will find in me. I propose now to deal with another question. We have had a great deal of talk with regard to the caucus. Senator McGregor has given us the planks of the present platform of the Labour Party. Other honorable senators have indignantly denied that the caucus does anything. The contention is that the platform of the Labour Party is well established, and that the planks with regard to the present Parliament are seven. It has been argued that they received the approval and indorsement of a large number of electors outside, and that there was therefore nothing for the caucus to do. First of all, I do not believe that the caucus does nothing. There must be a flaw in the argument somewhere.
– It has to watch the honorable and learned senator.
– I know what the caucus has to do. It is easy for honorable senators to say that they have got their direction. I admit that that is so when they say it. They say that they require no caucus at all, because the labour organizations outside have indicated the direction in which they must go.
– We do not say that the caucus has no work to do.
– I propose to give honorable senators my idea . of what the caucus does.
– The honorable and learned senator is going to draw upon his imagination.
– If what I say is only imagination I hope that Senator Givens will correct me. I desire that there should be a clear understanding between us. I take it that the caucus is not required in the least degree to give effect to the policy of honorable senators opposite, so far as the seven planks of the labour platform to which I have referred are concerned.
– That is not so.
– Is there not a higher authority than the caucus?
– Yes; the people outside.
– That is exactly what I am saying.
– The electors.
– Yes, I am content to make the term as wide as honorable senators please. The electors have directed seven planks of the labour platform.
– They have not. dealt with any details.
- Senator Pearce has only anticipated what I proposed to say. The electors have indicated directions, but I wish to emphasize the fact that between direction and distance there is a vast difference. The electors may tell the members of the Labour Party that they desire them to legislate with regard to seven definite principles, and the Labour Party agree to do so ; but do the electors tell members of the Labour Party how far they wish them to go with each of the measures introduced to give effect to the seven planks of the platform?
– No; they trust us in the matter.
– We told the electors how far we would go when we asked them for their votes.
– I say that the caucus determines the distance to which honorable senators opposite shall go.
– Hear, hear.
– That is the sort of thing Ave object to. I draw this distinction that when the main principles of a Bill are settled, we do not submit a draft of the measure to any electors, and yet, as every honorable senator knows, in the framing of a Bill there is immense scope, subject to its title, for divergence with regard to detail. Take the instance of the Labour Party’s view of a White Australia.
– Take the instance of the Trade Marks Bill, which now provides for a trade union mark.
– I take the strong instance of the “ six hatters “ provision in the “ White Australia “ Act. We know that the Labour Party did not intend that the six hatters provision should be included in that measure.
– Yes, they did.
– I admit that I have not quoted the title of the Act, which did not contain a word about colour.
– It is an Immigration Act.
– It used to be called the. “Alien Immigration Act,” but it subsequently received a title which is absolutely repulsive in many aspects, and which would appear to be an absolute absurdity when we consider the condition of affairs in Australia at the present time. It was subsequently called the “ Immigration Restriction Act.” If this Parliament had passed an Immigration Encouragement Act, it might have been proud of it.
– What is meant is only the restriction of undesirable immigrants.
– I propose to deal with the question of undesirable immigrants, but I am now dealing with the six natters provision. We all know the history of it. The desire for it arose from a determination, which was not limited by any means to honorable senators opposite, to prevent the importation into Australia at the time of a strike of any body of labourers - in other words, to prevent any capitalists using an unfair weapon. Every member of the Senate was with honorable senators of the Labour Party in that desire, but the section did not ultimately have only that effect. As we all know now, its effect is to absolutely prohibit any ordinary working man from coming into Australia under contract unless there is a special exemption in his favour on the ground that he is a representative of skilled labour required in the Commonwealth.
– Did not every member of the House of Representatives know that when the proposal was made?
– I am concerned only with what occurred in the Senate.
– But the honorable and learned senator says that we did not know what the effect of the section would be.
– I ask the honorable and learned senator whether any person on this planet has been kept out of Australia by reason of that particular section of the Act ?
– I have no positive information from any person in England that he has been prevented from coming to Australia by the existence of the section, but I am still absolutely certain that hundreds, and possibly thousands, of persons have been deterred from emigrating to Australia by the section.
– That is in the pages of history, too, I suppose?
– That is an ordinary sort of inference which even a man of Senator Guthrie’s mental capacity might be expected to make. I say that we- know what the effect of the six hatters section has been. I believe that the original object was merely to prevent any number of men being introduced in the case of a strike.
– It was intended to prevent men coming out under contract - just what it says.
– I accept the honorable senator’s statement gladly. The real object of the section was to prevent men being introduced at the time of a strike, but some honorable senators, including Senator Pearce, further intended that it should be used to prevent men being introduced under contract.
– And that was indorsed by members of all parties in the House of Representatives.
– Nothing of tha kind.
– I have dealt with the first object which the section was intended to secure, and so far as that is concerned, I say that there was absolute unanimity in the Senate. We are now told that it was also the object of the section to prevent people being introduced under contract.
– Hear, hear.
– I ask Senator Turley why he objects to men being introduced under contract? I know the honorable senator will answer that we desire that only free men should come here. What does the honorable senator mean by that? Does he mean that we do not want anything in the nature of slavery.
– We do not want men under a bond.
– I accept that.
– We want them to make their bargains when they know the conditions.
– That is not what honorable senators wanted. They desired that men should not be brought out to Australia under contract-. From the legislative point of view is there anything objectionable in a contract?
– If the parties are not aware of the whole of the circumstances, there is.
– Will honorable senators opposite say that a man living in Australia, and entering into a contract, has put himself into bonds, or has done anything to interfere with his freedom?
– He knows ihe conditions.
– Honorable senators admit that he does not. Yet some of them, who speak of Imperial unity, and of their loyalty in connexion with preferential trade, will contend that, while a man in. Australia, who enters into a contract to do work, does nothing to affect his independence, or to make him less respected in their eyes, that that which is in every sense right for a man in Australia, becomes in every sense wrong, if it is a man in England who makes the contract. The whole essence of their contention is that a contract made elsewhere is bad, and that all contracts must be made here.
– The honorable and learned senator is not stating our contention fairly.
– I am stating the case absolutely fairly. The Labour Party say that a contract made here is right and. defensible, but that a contract made in
England is wrong and indefensible, and that the contractee puts himself in the bonds of slavery. Their argument is sheer nonsense.
– We say that the contract is wrong, because the man does not know the local conditions.
– Why should he not take that risk?
– Because it is not fair either to himself or to the men with whom he has to compete.
– A proposition was made in the Senate to modify this provision. It was urged that if it was intended to interfere with the right of contract simply because it was going to be made in England and not in Australia, at any rate honorable senators, on the other side, could have no fair reason to justify them, in the eyes of Australia, in refusing to insert a proviso that men of forethought and prudence who wished to secure themselves from starvation or the risk of it, could make a contract in England, but that in order not to injure any working man in Australia, it should be subject to this express condition that the rate of wages to be paid should be the highest rate paid in Australia in connexion with that particular employment. That proposition was made here, and rejected by the Labour Party. If they say that it was not made, and was not rejected, will they . consent to have the section so modified now?
– The rate of wages is not the only condition.
– Then there are other conditions.
– Yes, for instance the hours of labour.
– Surely the honorable senator does not imagine I am quibbling in regard to the terms of the contract. I am perfectly willing to agree that it should be made subject to, not only the rates of wages paid here, but also the hours of labour worked here. Did the Labour Party refuse to insert ‘that proviso in the measure? And if they did, will they accept such a proposition now?
– Let the honorable and learned senator introduce a Bill, and then we shall tell him.
– Have not my honorable friends the pluck to say what thev think on the subject? Whv do they ask me to introduce a’ Bill ? Why do they masquerade before the people of Australia as persons who are desirous of encouraging immigration when their policy is to restrict it?
– Becausewe have had experience of men who have fallen in under the contract system.
– I shall tell the Labour Party exactly what I think of their notion about immigration. I could point to many more cases which have the direct effect of restricting rather than encouraging immigration.
– Do I understand from the honorable and learned senator that if he had an opportunity he would vote for the repeal of the provision relating to contract labour?
– I should not allow any men to be brought in here fof the purpose of settling a strike, but as in the meantime the Labour Party have taken other precautions to prevent strikes, perhaps they do not consider that important. As that proviso is not in the Act, if I had the opportunity of voting with a majority I should do my best to repeal that provision, and if ever a chance comes I shall.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that persons ought to be allowed to come in under contract, when Australians are walking about and eating the bread of idleness?
– Because they will not work for less than 7s. 6d. per day.
– I wish to deal with a plank of the Labour Party’s platform that we have heard much about. It struck me as very curious that it is called the restriction of borrowing. I understand that if they are restored to power they will introduce a Banking Bill, and that it will provide for taking 40 per cent, of the fixed deposits of the banks. Is that quite consistent with the plank which is called restriction of public borrowing?
– That is not borrowing.
– What is it ? If it is not borrowing it must be a forced loan. Tt is either taking or confiscation. Let my honorable friends make the’ir choice.
– It is making use of idle capital.
– If my honorable friends wish to bo consistent they have to say that it is not borrowing, because they intend to restrict public borrowing.
– It is not the kind of borrowing that the banks practised in 1893 anyhow.
– We are not dealing with that question, but with this prominent plank in the platform of the Labour Party. Are they not ridiculously inconsistent when they talk about restricting public borrowing, while they intend to borrow millions from the banks?. Or do they not stand absolutely exposed before the people as being anxious for confiscation? Which of the two is it ? It must be either one or the other, for there is no alternative.
– Oh, yes, there is.
– I should be very glad to hear what it is.
– It is the density of the men on the other side.
– I am very pleased that we have cleared up that little point. I wish to explain why I am sitting on this side, and why, generally speaking, I am against honorable senators on the other side. I have already indicated that if I have any ambition it is to realize as fully as I can the idea- of a Liberal. I intend to support the present Administration because I believe that it is a Liberal Government. And not being a member of a caucus,- I intend not to support the Government if ever I find that it is attempting legislatively to do anything which I consider is not liberal. I do not contemplate that contingency arising, but not being a member of a caucus, and being a member of a party which supports the Government, because we believe in its principles, I, to a certain extent, am independent.- I regard Liberalism .first of all as essentially a political creed of expansion. The main object of every Liberal is to adapt himself to our always changing environment. Another feature of Liberalism, is that it holds out hope to everybody. It is full of hope, not to one class, but to every class. The chief merit of Liberalism is that it is ever expanding. But the creed of my honorable friends opposite means a retrogression towards notions which were exploded years ago. It is also to me a cheerless creed, because it destroys hope to the individual.
– We can get up a lot of enthusiasm anyhow.
– In their misguided way my honorable friends can. It presents itself to me as a creed which destroys hope. It is also an endeavour to make political men mere peas in the same political pod.’ It is because I hold these views that I am forced to oppose my honorable friends on the other side, and I am glad to stand on this side, where I believe Liberal principle’s will have full play.
– I notice that the last two speakers from the other side prefaced their speeches with a lecturette on bad taste. I do not know why honorable senators on this side should be continually lectured on that subject, because this debate, so far as it has gone, has shown that there is quite as much room for improvement on the other side as on this side. During this debate, we have had references made to honorable senators on this side, and even challenges thrown out to “ come outside,” with the very liberal saving clause, “ if I were only younger.”
– There has not been a word of personality uttered on this side in this debate.
– There has. Although an honorable senator on the other side used the words, “absolutely false,” in reply to an interjection by Senator Henderson, which, I think, was absolutely correct, still it is only honorable senators on this side who have to be lectured on their bad taste. I do not know that any one of us has ever posed as a model of good behaviour.
– Hear, hear.
– I feel quite sure that we shall not take as our model the honorable senator, because all he can do is to lecture.
– God forbid that I should take the honorable senator as a model.
– I am afraid that the honorable senator is a very poor practiser. He has not given any signs of ability to teach, but he is always very ready to lecture.
– He always kept the State Legislative Council in order.
– Order ! I must ask honorable senators not to make so many interjections.
– I do not desire to create any ill-feeling, but merely to point out that there is quite as much need for honorable senators on the other side to see to their behaviour. We are all more or less tempted to be personal at certain times, but I think that when our attention is called to our remarks, we can modify our language and express our views strongly enough without hurting the feelings of anyone. I avail myself of this opportunity to discuss the policy of the Government. At this moment it is somewhat hard to say what it is.
– It is pretty plain.
– The speech of the Attorney-General did not contain very much information about the policy of the Government, but the remarks made outside Parliament indicate what it really is. If it is a policy of one thing more than another, it is a policy of antiSocialism. Time and again the Prime Minister is reported to have said that the policy of the Government and the cause of its existence is to fight Socialism. I hope that we shall have that straight-out issue placed before the country. There can be no doubt that, sooner or later, it must be. remitted to the electors, and the Labour Party are very anxious that they shall be asked to vote on Socialism versus anti-Socialism. There is no indication, however, at the present time that, in their legislation, the Government intend to be anti-Socialistic. But I hope that their proposals will bear that hall-mark. I hope that the new PostmasterGeneral will attempt to repeal the provision which provides for the employment of white labour on our mail boats. And I trust that when he is finished with that little job he will attempt to anti- Socialize the Post Office, because there was a time when it was run by private enterprise.
– Not in Australia.
– No ; in Eng, land. Let the Government show that they have the courage o’f their convictions by proposing to hand over the Post Office to private enterprise. And when that is done perhaps our attention may be directed to the removal of all kinds of bonuses.
– Does the honorable senator think that the control of the Post Office is really at issue between the two parties ?
– It is for the honorable and learned senator to say what anti-Socialism is. If he is a Christian Socialist, as he has said, he cannot support this Government.
– No Government would suggest such a thing as having antiSocialism in connexion with the Post Office.
– I wish the Government to give their definition of what anti-Socialism is. I know what the honorable and learned senator’s definition is, because he has said that he is a Christian
Socialist. If he subscribes to that policy he must sooner or later find himself within the ranks of the Labour Party. I also hope that the new Minister of Trade and Customs will give the gentlemen in Flinderslane a free hand to practise the form of private enterprise which was so much in vogue before Mr. Kingston took charge of the Department. I hope that he will have the Customs duties’ farmed out in such, a way that the private enterpriser will be able to work his own sweet will again in that direction.
– Does the honorable senator really hope that?
– I hope that the Attorney-General will give them an opportunity.
– Oh, no.
– I hope that the honorable and learned senator will bring forward measures which will give us an opportunity to resist the Government’s policy of anti-Socialism. I also hope that the new Minister of Trade and Customs will give a free hand to the butter enterprisers - Bartram and Co., Dunn and Co. I hope that the control of private enterprise will be again restored to these firms. If I were a private enterpriser I should object very much to the policy of the Government as announced. The private enterprise of the butter-bonus agents is quite as important as private enterprise in other branches of industry. A significant feature is that neither the .Prime Minister nor the Minister of Trade and Customs has referred to Old-Age Pensions, but it has been hinted by the Attorney-General that some consideration is to be given to that subject. I do not take that to be antiSocialism.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Government are in earnest?
– Whether they are in earnest or not, I suppose we shall hear something about the subject from them. I wish also to say a few words in reference to compulsory arbitration, especially in reply to the remarks made by Senator Gray. I am pleased that we are to have an opportunity to consider the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I thought that, considering the attitude of the Government upon this question, they would have dropped that measure. But they have gone on with it in opposition to their proclaimed political principles.
– The honorable senator’s leader dropped it.
– Our party did not drop it, but said that they washed their hands of it.
– That is a distinction without a difference. Senator Gray said that the English trade unionists were opposed to the principle of compulsory arbitration, and he seemed to think that that is a reason why we .should follow their example. But he ought to know that there are many great principles with regard to which we differ from the leaders of the English trade unionists. The fiscal question is a case in point. The majority of the trade unionists and of the working classes in England are in favour of freetrade. I dare say that if I were in- Scotland again I also should be opposed to any duties upon the food of the people. The situation is altogether different in Australia. While I might be a free-trader in the old country, I am a protectionist here, and I believe that the majority of the workers of Australia are also protectionists. We must especially bear in mind that there are good and sufficient reasons why the trade unionists in England are opposed to compulsory arbitration. Those reasons are well known to those who Have lived in England, and who are aware of the prejudice against trade unionists whenever they go into a Law Court. If the workers of Australia were in the same predicament as1 are the English trade unionists, they also might be opposed to compulsory arbitration. Professor Thorold Rogers, in his well known work, Six Centuries of “Work and Wages, a book that for historical research may very well be described as one of the great historical classics, written by a man who is an acknowledged authority on the subject, gives good reasons for the prejudice which exists in the minds of English working people against the Law Courts. He points out that the English working classes have had centuries of compulsory arbitration. Compulsory arbitration laws were in force in England from about the middle of the sixteenth century, right up to the beginning of the nineteenth century. During the whole of that time those laws were, in their administration, utterly unfavorable to the workers. It is no wonder, therefore, that to-day they are suspicious about having anything to do with the Law Courts.
– The honorable senator is referring to compulsory wage laws.
– It was compulsory arbitration in the worst form, The workers were not admitted into the Courts to which their employers had access. The employers had the fixing of the wages, with the assistance of their friends in the Courts, and the workers were never allowed to enter the Court to say a word in their own behalf.
– Then it was no arbitration.
– It was compulsory arbitration with all the compulsion on one side. The Courts enforced their powers in as drastic a manner as could be. It is because of that lingering prejudice against the Judges that .the workers in England are opposed to putting into the hand of any Judge the fixing of their rates of wages.
– They do not give that reason themselves.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon; that is the reason they invariably give.
– These are old and obsolete laws.
– But, unfortunately, the prejudice still exists - perhaps not to the same extent as in by-gone days.
– The reason given by the English trade unionists for opposing compulsory arbitration is that they do not wish to give up the power to strike.
– Because they have not sufficient confidence in the Courts. But the honorable and learned senator must not imagine that the English working man is so much in love with so barbarous a method as a strike that .he will not give it up if he can get something better.
– They say that compulsory arbitration is not better.
– Let me quote from Profesor Thorold Rogers’ book, in order to show what I mean. On page 398, of Volume II., he says : -
I contend that from 1563 to 1824 a conspiracy, concocted by the law, and carried out by parties interested in its success, was entered into to cheat the English workman of his wages, to tie him to the soil, to deprive him of hope, and to degrade him into irremediable poverty. In a subsequent chapter, I shall dwell on the palliatives which were adopted in order to mitigate the worst and most intolerable burdens of his life - palliatives which were rendered necessary by no fault of his, but by the deliberate malignity of Governments and Parliaments. For more than two centuries and a half, the English law, and those who administered the law, were engaged in grinding the English workman down to the lowest pittance, in stamping out every expression or act which indicated any organized discontent, and in multiplying penalties upon him when he thought of his natural rights. I am not deceived by the hypocrisy which the preamble of an Act of Parliament habitually contains, and the assertions which are as habitually contradicted by the details of the measure,
– That was class domination.
– Yes, with a vengeance ! Those are not the words of a labour man or of a trade union leader, although I suppose that the working classes in England never had a better friend than Professor Thorold Rogers. He was no paid agitator, but the Professor of Political Economy in Oxford University. These are the conclusions which he came to after a lifelong study of industrial affairs. There is another sentence from his book which I will quote. He says at page 507 -
But from the days of the Stuarts, the judges were servile, timid, and the enemies of personal liberty. Over and over again Parliament has interposed to sweep away precedents which have coerced natural liberty, and interpretations which have violated justice. For generations it seems that the worst enemies of public and private liberty were those courts whose duty it was to adjudicate equitably, and to state the law with fairness.
Further on, at page 508, he says -
For nearly five centuries law after law had been passed under which the workman’s wages had been regulated, for the reputed advantage of their employers.
Lower down he speaks of -
The ingenuity of the judges, always interested in the defence of property and very little friendly to that of liberty.
I dare say that no stronger indictment has ever been made against Judges than is contained in this book against the Judges of the English Law Courts.
– Does he give any evidence that such a state of things existed ?
– The two volumes are crowded with evidence. I should advise my honorable and learned friend to read this book. He will get from it far more of the real history of England than he could get from a dozen of the ordinary historical novels which contain accounts of the lives of Kings and Queens and descriptions of battles. In Professor Thorold Rogers’ work we have the real kernel of the history of the English people. In the face of these facts no one need be astonished that the workers of England are opposed to compulsory arbitration, because there is no getting away from the fact that the workers are still hopelessly in a minority in the
English Parliament, and cannot therefore expect that any compulsory arbitration laws would be framed and administered in their interests. In one House, the House of Lords, they are totally unrepresented, whilst in the House of Commons, out of nearly 700 members, there are only about a score who can be said to be in any degree representative of labour. Until such time as the English working classes are able to make their political power felt in Parliament I believe they will continue to be opposed to compulsory arbitration. It is altogether different in Australia, where the workers have political power, where they exercise it, and where they are in a position to secure justice, and to see that the Judges who are appointed are fit for their positions.
– The honorable senator surely does rot say that the Judges in England are not fit to deal with these matters ?
– I do not think it needs any testimony of mine. If the honorable and learned senator will read Professor Thorold Rogers’ book, he will get a better idea than any words of mine could give.
– The honorable’ senator does not say that the Judges of England are not impartial?
– It was my experience when I lived in the West of Scotland, that the moment a man was described in Court as a trade unionist, there was a prejudice against him, and justice was to some extent denied to him. If the same state of things -prevails throughout the length and breadth of England, I do not wonder that there is such opposition to compulsory arbitration.
– The state of thingswhich the honorable senator has described applies only to a period - from the time of Charles II.’
– It applies from 1568 to 1824 - extending over some hundreds of years.
– The book is of no use,, unless it deals with matters later than 1824.
– I should now like to turn to the anti-socialistic part of my remarks, and to leave the subject of compulsory arbitration for another occasion. I shall be able, perhaps, to deal more thoroughly with it when the Bill is before us< As the members of the Government have not taken the opportunity to discuss their anti- Socialism, I am obliged to criticise the remarks of some of their supporters. The leaders of the Government have kept clear of that very touchy subject. I should have thought that those who were opposed to Socialism would have wished to point out what, in their opinion, is bad about it. But we have had mere general statements against it. Senator Dobson has spoken of “ the wicked ideas “ of the Labour Party. Of course, we know that he used those words in an economic sense.
– How often have I said that the word “ wicked “ was applied to Mr. Tom Mann’s idea of taxing people out of their property ? The honorable senator’s ideas of Socialism are simply wrong, not wicked, any more than mine are.
– I am using Senator Dobson’s exact words, as reported. He spoke of the “ wicked ideas of the Labour Party.”
– It is not wicked to suggest a remedy that is wrong ; it is wicked to suggest a remedy that is unjust.
– It is for Senator Dobson to say what he means ; I am taking the words which he used. It is only right that we should criticise these general condemnations of Socialism. We contend that the present system is wasteful and cruel. It is cruel to the most useful section of the community who are the greatest wealth producers ; and it is also unjust. Holding these views, as we do, and aiming at the removal of the injustices due to the present system, when we put forward our case it should receive impartial consideration instead of general abuse. Misrepresentation and abuse will not do our cause much harm. We have been subjected to that kind of thing for a very long time, but it has not prevented the progress of our cause. We at present form the only political party in Australia that is increasing in numbers. The supporters of our party are spreading outside the ordinary ranks of labour. Hitherto it was understood that we could count upon support for the Labour Party only from manual workers and the trade unionists of the community, but the last election, showed that there are to-day a very great many supporters of the Labour Party who cannot be included amongst the ordinary trade unionists in the community. Honorable senators opposite who, for want of a case, abuse the other side, ar-e playing a’ losing game. If they were wise iri their generation, believing our principles to be. wicked, they should expose them, and show in what way they are wicked. If they did that they might indulge some hope of augmenting their numbers, but merely to say that our principles are wicked will not add to their numbers in any way. We have given every opportunity for the discussion of our principles in this Chamber. The principles of the Labour Party have been published broadcast throughout the Commonwealth. The representatives of the press are admitted to our annual conferences, and give reports of their proceedings. When the work of the conference has been completed, and the platform has been framed, it is published throughout the land. On the election platform in every State we advocate the same principles. -At the late Federal elections the same principles were being advocated by labour candidates in Western Australia, in Northern Queensland, and throughout all the States of the Commonwealth, at the same time. Two of the most important planks in our platform have relation to the nationalization of the tobacco and iron industries, and when the elections were concluded we took the earliest opportunity to place motions dealing with those subjects on the business paper of the Senate, and to have them discussed. I am pleased to say that they were not only discussed, but were carried by majorities in the Senate. This should show that we do not try to burk discussion, or to hide our real opinions. On the contrary, we avail ourselves of every opportunity to have light thrown upon them, and if our opponents are able to refute our arguments they at least have every opportunity to do so.
– When they had the chance they could not do it.
– Senator Dawson reminds me that when the two motions to which I have referred were being discussed there was very little opposition to them. Nothing has surprised me more than to find that honorable senators, who are so violent outside this Chamber in their opposition to Socialism, exhibit very little of that opposition inside its walls. Their, courage appeared to “ ooze out at their fingers’ ends “ when the’y had to meet the arguments of Senator Pearce on the motion for the nationalization of the tobacco industry, and my own arguments in support of the nationalization of the iron industry.
– This is very poor stuff.
– The honorable senator is aware that what I am saying is true. He was one of the silent senators on the occasion to which I refer, and did not avail himself of the opportunity to refute the cases we submitted. Let us see what prospect is held out to us by the continuance of the system which honorable senators opposite desire to maintain. What prospect does it offer for enlarging the avenues 01 employment in this country? If the motion which I submitted in connexion with the iron industry were given effect to, it would find employment for a large number of people. That can only be done by the nationalization of the industry. We were able to prove that it could be effected without injury to any individual or to any interest; vested or otherwise. We were able to show that if the iron industry were established’ as a national undertaking, it would be the means of establishing other branches of industry, because one result would be that manufacturers would be enabled to obtain the raw material they require at a cheaper rate than they can procure it at the present time. Notwithstanding all this, honorable senators opposite appear to be as far as ever from being convinced of the benefits of Socialism. The only prospect which they hold out to us for the establishment of industries in the future is’ outlined in the free-trade essays of the present Prime Minister, from which I propose to quote. This is what the right honorable gentleman writes, with respect to the time at which industries are to be established in Australia, and the crop of misery we are to reap at the same time-
– Is the honorable senator proposing to quote from a debate of the present session?
– No, from prize essays written by the present Prime Minister, and published many years ago. The quotation I propose to make reads as follows : -
Raw material we possess in’ abundance. Machinery, skill, and experience can be bought, but it is the high wages and short hours of the workingmen of Australia which checks the colonial capitalist who would become a manufacturer. The protectionist declaiming to the electors of Victoria from the hustings, beseeches them to provide employment for their children, but the secret prayer of the capitalist is : Reduce wages and increase the hours of labour. Give him labour at English rates, and willing to work English hours, and he will soon compete with the pauper labour of Europe. But so long as Australian labour remains at its present rates, which, all things’ considered, are higher than those in any other part of the world, and so long as eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for sleep is the maxim of our labour councils, the capitalists know that the idea of a great colonial manufacturing interest - in the sense in which that of England or France or Belgium is great - is an idle and extravagant dream.
What prospect does the right honorable gentleman hold out for the establishment of industries in Australia? Honorable senators who oppose the commonsense practical proposals placed before them by the Labour Party see no prospect but this for the establishment of industries.
– Can the honorable senator give the date of his quotations?
– I believe that what I have read was written many years ago.
– Twenty-five years ago, probably.
– Have the views of the Prime Minister changed?
– The population of Australia has changed wonderfully.
– Unfortunately for the honorable senator’s argument, the population of Australia has not change’d wonderfully. I can give Senator Pulsford a more recent quotation from remarks made by the present Prime Minister, when speaking on a want of confidence motion, in another place, during the existence of the late Parliament. This is the prospect which the right honorable gentleman then held out to the workers of Australia -
In the plenitude of time when our millions become tens of millions, we shall have a crop of misery which will solve the difficulty in regard to cheap manufactures.
What a beautiful prospect there will be for workers in the future, if the private enterprise principles of the present Government are given effect to ! In the future, when we have ten millions of starving people in Australia, we shall have our industries established.
– Ten millions ?
– I am quoting the words of the present Prime Minister. The right honorable gentleman speaks of the plenitude of time when our millionsshall have become tens’ of millions of starving people, and he says that the problem as to how we are going to establish industries will then be solved. Under private enterprise we are to have none of these industries established until we are in a position of beggary and misery. I do not believe that the workers of Australia will wait so long for so poor a reward. We know what private enterprise has brought to every country in the world. Whether we consider England or any part of the continent of Europe we find the same desolate state of affairs in them all. We have it on the authority of no less a statesman than Mr. Campbell-Bannerman that at the present time there are no less than 12,000,000 of starving people in the United Kingdom.
– Mr. CampbellBannerman denied that he said that.
– I do not know whether he denied it or not, but one thing is sure, and that is that the statistics from which he quoted are in black and white. The statistics are to be found in Rowntree’s work on the city of York, and Booth’s work on the city of London, and whether Mr. Campbell-Bannerman denied them or not his words remain true.
– The honorable senator has not given a fair quotation of what Mr. Campbell-Bannerman said.
- Senator Zeal will be able to see later whether I have misquoted Mr. Campbell-Bannerman or not. The words of the late Secretary ‘of State for the Colonies, the Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain, should carry some weight in present-day politics, because his is one of the most active minds in the public life of the old country. This is what he says of the present position of affairs in England. I quote from page 24 of a work by Robert Blatchford, entitled Britain for the British -
The rights of property have been so much extended that the rights of the community have almost altogether disappeared, and it is hardly too much to say that the prosperity and the comfort and the liberty of a great proportion of the population have been laid at the feet of a small number of proprietors, who “neither toil nor spin.”
– What is the date of that speech?
– The book in which it appears was published in 1902, but the date of the speech is not given. Mr. Chamberlain also said -
For my part neither sneers nor abuse nor opposition shall induce mc to accept as the will of the Almighty, and the unalterable dispensation of His providence, a state of things under which millions lead sordid, hopeless lives without pleasure in the present, and without prospect for the future.
– Hear, hear ; we can all say that.
- Mr. Chamberlain also said -
The ordinary conditions of life among a large’ proportion of the population are such that com, mon decency is absolutely impossible; and all this goes on in sight of the mansions of the rich, where undoubtedly there are people who would gladly remedy it if they could. It goes on in the presence of wasteful extravagance and luxury, which bring but little pleasure to those who indulge in them ; and private charity is powerless, religious organizations can do nothing to -remedy the evils which are so deep-seated in our social system.
The policy of honorable senators opposite would but bring, about a similar state of affairs in this young country. When we are told that we are wicked in submitting proposals which would prevent such a state of affairs, honorable senators who hold that view should try to understand what Social-‘ ism is, and what it is not.’ Here is a quotation taken from a leading article appearing in. a recent issue of a Glasgow singletax newspaper -
Some may be disappointed and dismayed atthe fact that more than fifty years after the repeal of the Corn Laws, and just as we are about to celebrate Cobden’s centenary we are face to face with a determined attempt to reverse the enlightened polity that Cobden championed. They may be disconcerted to find ,that even under a system of free imports of food some 30 per cent, cf our people ire chronically underfed. This, Mr. Chas. Booth tells us is the. case in London ; this Mr. Rowntree tells us is the case in York ; while Sir John Gorst, ex-Minister for Education in the present Government, stated, in an interview published in the Daily News, that some months ago two doctors examined 300 children from the public schools of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and of these children they found that 17 per cent, were diseased, 30 per cent, of them being diseased because they were unfed.
That is the state of affairs existing in the England and Scotland of to-day. That is a condition of affairs which we desire to avoid in this fair young land of ours. I have no doubt that, so long as we have in operation the system of private enterprize, the same results will follow from it as have attended its operations in the past. No doubt compulsory arbitration, anti-sweating laws, and such legislation’ may do much to remedy the evils of the system, but they can never wholly remove them. What we desire is not to apply a little ointment to ease the sore, but to cut it clean out of the body politic, that we may have a healthy state of public affairs. How is it that in a country like Great Britain such a state of affairs as is pictured in the quotations I have made can exist? Is it because the country is poor? Every one will admit that Britain is one of the richest countries on the face of God’s earth. There is wealth there in abundance, storehouses and granaries are overflowing with wealth of every description.
– The result of private enterprise.
– And prevented from being used by private enterprise. Great . as is the amount of production under private enterprise, it would be still greater under the co-operation represented by State Socialism. The secret of the whole matter is that, while under the present system the production is all right, the consumption is all wrong. Private enterprise produces for profit, and, while I do not blame individuals, I blame the system, which is what we desire to alter. Production for profit is the kernel of the whole problem, and the desire of the Socialists is to produce for use, so that when’ there is an abundance it may be consumed, and thus create further demand and employment. ‘ At present when workers are industrious and produce in abundance ‘they are only preparing a time of starvation for themselves. As they fill the granaries and warehouses, there looms ahead a time of unemployment and starvation - as in England, for example, crf 12,000,000 people - as the result of over-production, or rather of under-consumption. I wish to take this opportunity to contradict a few of the charges commonly brought against the principle of Socialism. I do not know that any honorable senators are guilty of using the argument that Socialism means confiscation.
– Senator Dobson does.
– At all events the charge has no foundation. . Senator Dobson lectured the good dames of Toorak and Caulfield on the wicked ideas and proposals of the Labour Party. It will be remembered that when Senator Pearce introduced his motion to nationalize the tobacco industry, neither he nor those who supported him mentioned the word “confiscation “ from beginning to end of the debate. Senator Pearce showed that a certain amount of money would have to be provided to buy up plant and property, because there was no desire to destroy vested interests without paying 20s. in the j£i.
– But how are we to provide the 20s. in the £1 ?
– If the honorable senator had listened to the debate, or if he takes the trouble to consult Hansard, he may ascertain how it is proposed to raise the money.
– It is proposed to take the money from the banks.
– And I do not know that we should be doing wrong in taking thi necessary money from the banks, in the strong-room^ of which at the present time many millions are lying absolutely idle, and of no use.
– The honorable senator does not know anything about the matter.
– I am willing to sit at the feet of the honorable senator.
– At any rate, I know more about banking than does the honorable senator.
– I never said anything to the contrary; and if the honorable senator can throw any light on the subject, I sm not too proud to learn.
– Is money doing nothing when it acts as a guarantee?
– The money could be used and a guarantee given. In reply to Senator Clemons, I may say that there is no desire to injure any one in using money at present lying idle. In 1893 the States Governments had to stand behind the banks with a guarantee, and surely in return the people have a right to some ‘reward, more especially, when no harm can follow. Dr. Parkyn, a Canadian gentleman, was in Australia some time ago in connexion with the Rhodes Scholarships, and I had a long chat with him in Western Australia on the matter of the Canadian Banking Law. Dr. Parkyn assured me that there was no law of which he knew in Canada, that .had given such general satisfaction.
– Many people rob other people with great satisfaction.
– I can see no robbery or ill-doing in using money that would otherwise be idle. Dr. Parkyn informed me that the Canadian Banking Lawhad been in operation for something like thirty years, and had given unqualified satisfaction to all concerned ; and, in reply to a question from me, he added that there was no likelihood of any attempt to repeal the measure. I am sure honorable senators will admit that no Australian Socialist has ever advocated anything in the nature of confiscation. But it is said that confiscation is advocated by Socialists of other countries. What have we to do with what is advocated by people in other countries? Surely our load of crime is heavy enough without being called upon to answer for others? No Socialist, parliamentary representative, or political organization connected with the workers, has ever proposed anything in the nature of confiscation, and in my opinion there is just as little ground for saying that there is advocacy of the kind by Socialists of standing in any part of the world. I have here a pamphlet by one of the foremost writers on political economy from the socialistic stand-point - Karl Kautsky. In that pamphlet it is shown that confiscation is no part of the policy of Socialism, and I shall give honorable senators the benefit of Kautsky’s words as follows: -
The enemies of Socialism, who, to hear them talk, one would imagine know better than the Socialists themselves what these are after, and who assume to forecast the Socialist Republic with greater accuracy than Socialists do, also declare that Socialism can never come into power except through a wholesale confiscation of property, including the furniture and the small savings of the industrious poor. Next to the charge of contemplating the “ abolition “ of the family, this one of “confiscation” is a favorite one with the mouth-pieces of capitalism. Confiscation is not at all essential to Socialist society.
It will be seen that there is just as little authority to say that the continental Socialist is in favour of confiscation as there is for the similar charge against the Australian Socialist. Another favorite old “ chestnut “ advanced against Australian Socialism - though the charge has lost its sting - is that of advocating free love. I should say that this particular charge has been dropped more readily in Melbourne than elsewhere, because we find Mr. Walpole, the mouth-piece of the Employers’ Federation, placed on record as having held that it is unreasonable for workers to think that capitalists should pay wages high enough to provide workers with the luxuries of wives and children. If there is one public man in Australia against whom it can be urged that he has advocated something in the nature of free love it is Mr. Walpole, the paid agitator of the Employers’ Federation, because he regards marriage as a luxury. His statement is that capitalists cannot afford to pay wages high enough to enable the workers to marry ; and if they cannot marry they do something else. The present commercial system is the greatest encourager of free Jove possible.
– Has the honorable senator the exact words used by Mr. Walpole?
– No; but the sense of the words are burned into the minds of every man in Australia, and it will take some time for the Employers’ Federation to remove the impression. Here is a quotation from another pamphlet by Carl’ Kautsky, entitled The Working Class : -
Hand in hand with the accusation on the subject of the family bonds goes the accusation that Socialists aim at a community of wives. This charge is as false as the other. Socialists, on the contrary, maintain that just the reverse of a community in wives, and all sexual oppression and licence, to wit, ideal love, will be the foundation of matrimonial connexions in a Socialist Commonwealth, and that pure love can only prevail in such a Social system. What, on the other hand, do we sec to-day ? The irrational system of modern production tears the sexes apart. It builds up she-towns in New England, and hetowns in the mining districts of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and the farther West, thereby directly promoting and inciting prostitution as a natural and inevitable result.
I think those remarks apply very directly to the condition of affairs in Australia. In Victoria we see the same results, and Melbourne is what may be described as a “ she town,” whereas in Western Australia we find “ he towns “ just as depicted in America. Kautsky proceeds: -
Furthermore, helpless women, forced to earn their living in the factories, shops, and mines, fall a prey to capitalist cupidity ; the capitalist takes advantage of their inexperience, offers them wages too slight for their support, and hints at, or even brazenly refers them to, prostitution as a means of supplementing their income.
I think we had a controversy in the press some time ago on this very subject.
Everywhere the increase of female labour in industry is accompanied by an increase of prostitution. In the modern State, where Christianity is preached, and piousness is at a premium, many a “ thriving “ branch of industry is found, whose working women are. paid so poorly that they would be compelled to starve unless they prostituted themselves; and, wonderful to say, in such instances the capitalist will ever be heard to protest that these small wages are indispensable to enable him to compete successfully in the market, and to maintain his establishment in a “ thriving “ condition. Prostitution is as old as the contrast between rich and poor. At one time, however, prostitutes constituted a middle-class between beggars’ and thieves ; they were then an article of luxury which society indulged in, but the loss of which would in no way have endangered its existence. To-day, however, it is .no longer the females of the slums alone, but working women, who are compelled to sell their bodies for money. This latter sale is no longer simply a matter of luxury ; it has become one of the foundations upon which production is carried on. Under the capitalist system of production, -prostitution becomes a pillar of society. What the defenders of this social system falsely charge Socialists with, is the very thing they are guilty of themselves : community of wives is a feature of capitalism. Indeed, such deep roots has this system of community of wives cast in modern society that its representatives agree in declaring prostitution to be a necessary thing.
A la Walpole -
They cannot understand that the abolition of the proletariat implies the abolition of prostitution. So deep are they sunk in intellectual stagnation that they cannot conceive a social system without community of wives.
But, be it noted, community of wives has ever been an invention of the upper layers of society, never of the proletariat. The community of wives is one of the modes of exploiting the proletariat ; it is not Socialism ; it is the exact opposite of Socialism. ‘
I think that is sufficient to prove that there is just as little truth in the charge of advocating free love as there is in the charge of advocating confiscation. A t’hird argument against the Labour Party is that we promote class hatred. We are told that our paid agitators stir up strife, where previously there has been peace between employers and employes ; but as to a charge of that kind, I find that Senator Dobson lays himself open to be accused. At Caulfield, only last month, he was reported to have said - a fight between class and class was coming, and it would be suicidal folly if organization was not pushed on. It would be necessary at election time to combine with the Employers’ Federation and Reform League in’ the selection of candidates.
To combine with Walpole, for instance -
It was going to be all classes against the Labour
– Did not Senator Dobson say he was not against labour, but against the Labour-caucus- Party ?
– I am sorry I cannot enlighten the honorable senator on the point.
– Senator Dobson has stated over and over again in this Chamber that he is not against labour, and Senator de Largie ought to accept his word.
– I ‘ do not know exactly what Senator Dobson did state - he says so many things which are hard to believe; but I have yet to learn- that he did not make use of the words I have quoted.
– Senator Dobson said that the Labour Party are “ most dangerous men.”
– So they are.
– And the honorable senator is a perfect gentleman ! So far as Australia is concerned, I am quite satisged that in Socialism there will be no turning back ; we have gone on the track too far. We have in our public institutions too many demonstrated proofs that Socialism is for the advantage of the country, and I have very little fear of this new-born antiSocialistic agitation. The agitation will fail, and Socialism will go on extending until, at all. events, the Socialism advocated by the Labour Party in the near future is an accomplished fact. I believe that honorable senators who now oppose the Labour Party will, before many years are over, be forced by circumstances to adopt and pass into law the ideas advocated today by that party. Senator Clemons said he had learned from the Labour Party in certain directions, and I hope and believe that he will go on learning, and be further influenced by their ideas. Compulsory arbitration, old-age pensions, and other humane legislation will extend instead of diminishing. We are, I believe, in this class of legislation, the most advanced people on the earth to-day ; I know of no country in the world with such fine codes of social law as are found in Australia and New Zealand. But we have not got to the end of our tether; and I am sure that any Government which may be in power in the future will, by necessity, be forced to pass Ohe legislation which is to-day advocated by the Labour Party.
– I wish to make a few remarks on some phases of the policy of the Government as recently enunciated, and particularly to address myself to the announcement with regard to old-age pensions. I regret that at this veryearly stage of their existence, the Government should have acted in a manner which appears to me to be, to say the least, wanting in courtesy - I might almost say wanting in candour. Certainly, it was ungenerous for the Government to adopt the policy of the Senate without acknowledgment. When an author copies something from another source he is called by an ugly name if he does not acknowledge the source of his inspiration. However. I do not intend to use any ugly names, but merely to make a passing observation. I find that the Government tell us that their policy of negotiation with the State Governments is the only possible policy. If that is the case, why not acknowledge that that policy was enunciated by a unanimous vote of the Senate in September, 1903?
– - No Government ever took it up, though.
– I cannot say that, because the then Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, told me that he was going to act at once on the resolution of the Senate.
– It was never acted on, nevertheless.
– The honorable senator perhaps possesses Ministerial secrets which are not in my keeping. I cannot say what the Government did.
– It is a matter of public notoriety.
– I really do not see the appositeness of the observation. On the 2nd September, 1903, I submitted the following motion : -
The representative of the Government - Senator Drake - spoke in support of the motion ; it was briefly spoken to by various honorable senators, and unanimously adopted. Subsequently Sir Edmund Barton, the Prime Minister, told me that he would certainly at once act on the resolution. Whether he communicated wilh the Governments ot the States or not, I do not know. Senator Fraser says that he did not. We know) that h’e remained in office a very short time alter that date.
– I did not say that; I only said that there was no public notice that he did.
.- No; though there might have been some private action taken. It would have been only courteous to the Chamber for the Government to acknowledge the source of the inspiration of this item of their policy.
– Do Governments ever do th;.r ?
– I think so. Possibly it was through an oversight that it was not done. But I think I am justified in mentioning the matter without any more than an expression of regret that the action of the Senate was not recognised in this important detail. Another matter has been mentioned, and that is the appointment of a High Commissioner. 1 am very happy to be able to entirely agree with the intention of the Government to take no action in the making of what, to my view, would be at the present time an expensive and needless appointment. lt’ the Agents-General are got rid of, or transposed into general agents, there might be scope for some work for a High Commissioner, provided that the States required his assistance.
– There should be only one representative, as in the case of Canada.
– I am quite in accord with my honorable friend’s view. But if we appoint a High Commissioner we cannot compel the States to make use of his services. Until they are willing to utilize his services we have no need, I think, to make such an expensive and unnecessary appointment. It is proposed to spend a considerable sum on the survey of a route for a transcontinental railway. It seems to me that that proposition is uncommonly like the action of a man who engages the services of an architect to design a house when he does not know whether he intends to build, and when he has not the money to build. Until there is an alteration in the policy of this Parliament on the subject of borrowing it is quite useless for us to be spending money on a survey for a railway that we have not the money to build. We cannot build the line out of revenue, because it is estimated to cost £5,000,000, and unless the policy of this Parliament is changed we cannot borrow. I believe that in New South Wales there must have been spent at least £500,000 on surveys for railways which have not been built. I am sure that I am within the mark when I say that that immense sum has been wasted on useless surveys which were undertaken merely to placate somebody.
– Mr. O’sullivan did not do it all, then?
.- No; it has been done by all sorts of Ministries and all sorts of Ministers during the last thirty years. I do not wish to see a similar course initiated here. If we have made up our minds to build this railway, if it can be constructed at a reasonable cost, then get a survey made, but do not get it made if nothing else is to follow. There are many points in connexion with the proposed railway. One point is that it is required for the purpose of defence. Surely we might, in the meantime, mount the gun which is lying somewhere about Fremantle ? I read the other day that the folks at Fremantle do not want the gun, because they are afraid that if it were fired the windows in the town would be broken. It does not seem to me to be a -very wise act to build a railway at a cost of millions to defend a place in which even a gun is not wanted. There was a deputation from the Chamber of Commerce about the gun, or the position of the fort. The General Officer Commanding has told us in two reports that there are no troops to take the field, and that we have no equipment for any field force. He has told us plainly that it is of no use to make this railway for defence purposes unless we have the troops to send by it. These are all propositions that have to be considered. Another question is, are we going to make a survey through the territory of a State which we are given to understand is opposed to the construction of the! railway ? I do not wish to be a party to blocking any useful public work, but I certainly must see that we intend to do something more than make a survey just to placate some State. If it is to be a bond fide railway construction, that is one thing, but if it is to be merely a survey to compensate for the loss of a portfolio in the Cabinet, then I do not believe in it. I did not intend to speak for many minutes ; but there is one matter that I must mention before I sit down The other afternoon, Senator Styles, apparently for the purpose of making an attack on the Prime Minister, dragged in my name, and I did not know anything about his reference to me until my attention was drawn to it at luncheon to-day. I do not think that he intended to do me any injury.
– Certainly not.
– I accept the honorable gentleman’s assurance. I shall not refer to the matter at sufficient length even to quote the passages, but they appear in Hansard, and I think that it is incumbent upon me to make a few observations. If Mr. George Reid in 1896 did anything which was deemed unsatisfactory that is his business. I do not stand here as his apologist; he can apologize for himself and fight his own battle!. In making his quotations, Senator Styles overlooked, unintentionally, I am sure, some of the most important features of this little matter. In 1896 I was sent for, and asked if I would undertake as Commissioner certain very important inquiries in Europe, on the subject of the provision made by English and Continental nations for old-age and accident casualties. I undertook, without emolument, or outofpocket expenses, to make the inquiries as completely as any other man ever did, and it was not until I completed my report about two years later that any question of payment arose. I may say, in passing, that there has been no Commission ever appointed on the Continent or in England that reported in less time, and yet I had to go to the other end of the world for nine months of the period. Well, having completed my report, Mr. Reid called me into his room at Parliament House one night, and said to me, “ I had no idea that you were going to do such monumental work, and I do not consider that the Colony should be at so great an advantage to the detriment of a single one of its citizens,” and he asked my permission to place a sum on the Estimates to recoup me for part of my outlay. Following the practice of every Government for the previous twenty-five or thirty years, a sum of ^350 was paid to me on account of out-of-pocket expenses, leaving over the question of honorarium for Parliament to vote on the Estimates. The1 question of payment was raised, and bv a special vote of the Legislative Assembly the members of the Elections and Qualifications Committee - whose report would have been final - were appointed as a Select Committee to inquire into the matter. My seat was challenged very unnaturally. What I regret is that Senator Styles did not catch sight of the report, which is to be found in Hansard; volume 100, and which was entirely in my favour.
– I scarcely mentioned the honorable senator’s name. ‘
– My name was introduced so frequently into the extracts that I feel compelled to briefly state the facts of the case, and leave it at that. I bear no ill-will to the honorable senator for what he said, ‘ but one story is good until the other is told. The whole point was, that after the Committee had unanimously decided that there was nothing in my action that called for any kind of intervention, I paid the £350 back into the Treasury - not before, but after. I would not take the money on the terms. To-day I stand in this position - that the New
South Wales Parliament has paid £181 5s. for translations of foreign documents, which it has never recouped me for purchasing. It has never paid me for my ink used in writing the report, nor has it recouped me the sums charged against my London banking account for documents which could not be obtained from diplomatic sources. I say nothing of the value of my report, and of the work which I did. That work has been pronounced upon by some of the highest authorities in the world, from the present King of England, downwards. As Prince of Wales, His Majesty took an active part upon the Royal Commission in England which dealt with this subject, and has shown in his regard for the sufferings of his people in connexion with the hospitals of England an example that entitles him to our highest admiration as a humanitarian, entirely apart from his distinguished position as the head of the Empire. But, as a matter of detail, I pay more attention to the communication received from such an authority as the Commissioner on Labour in the United States of America, and from men like Sir Charles Dilke and Henry Broadhurst, in England. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain is., I suppose, recognised as one of those principally concerned in the Old-Age Pensions movement. I might refer to his correspondence. But I will let these things pass. I have made this statement in order to put myself right with the Senate. I- merely wish, as these matters affecting me have been mentioned to the Senate, to have it clearly understood that I have not received’ one penny piece - not even the price of a postage stamp - in connexion with the whole affair ; and that New South Wales stands my debtor even for cash paid out or pocket for the very documents’ which the Parliament of that State voted £181 5s. to have translated. I am not sufficient of a linguist to translate from sixteen European languages. I may also refer to the fact that some of the largest public meetings ever held in Australia, in the Sydney Town Hall, have in the most enthusiastic manner recognised my services in this1 cause, when I have not been present, as well as when I have been present. There cannot be any possible ground for any imputation of any sort against me in the matter, considering the manner in which, three years ago, my fellow men in New South Wales, and at a later date, last December, my fellow men and women, treated me when I was a candidate for mem bership of this distinguished Chamber. Merely in order that there may be a brief explanation, as well as to remove the possibility of misunderstanding - not in consequence of anything that Senator Styles said, but on account of the extracts which he read - I have made these, personal references. It was painful to me to make them, but I_ deemed lt to be necessary to do so, for those who come after me.
– I do not often speak, so that I have no apology to offer for rising on this occasion. I should not have spoken, except for the pressure that I feel is upon me to explain some matters that have occurred during the last three and a half years.
– They require some explaining.
– Not so far as my own conscience is concerned. That is quite clear. I am responsible to my conscience, not to a caucus. There will be no hauling down of my flag in that respect. I have been challenged with having deserted a former Government. Mr. President, it pained me very much to do so. It has been said that I came into this Senate as a supporter of the Barton Government. I certainly did support, and was willing to support, the first Government of this Commonwealth in many respects. I agreed with the Maitland speech, on the whole, and I was upon the platform to hear the Melbourne Town Hall speech of our first Prime Minister. I listened with pleasure to his statement. I was a supporter of the policy of revenue without destruction. I said then and I say now that it would not be right and proper for the Commonwealth Government to destroy wealth that had been created under State laws, or to take a man’s bread and butter away when his means of livelihood had been created under an Act of Parliament. I said, that wherever I spoke at the elections, and I spoke in all parts pf this State. I am prepared to say the same thing to-day.
– The honorable senator left the impression that he was a protectionist.
– I supported native industry wherever I could see that an industry was going to succeed, but 1^ would not support duties for the . benefit of an industry for all time where I could see that it would not succeed. I am more inclined to bonuses than to any other method of 1 assisting industries.
– The butter bonuses?
– What has happened in connexion with the butter bonuses is a revelation to me. Those who are guilty of wrong practices should suffer. No one in this Senate, on either side, is inclined to take the part of a wrong-doer. The wrongdoer should suffer, no matter on what side of politics he may be. But there is not a vote which I gave upon the Tariff which I would alter to-day- if I had the opportunity. The first item in the Tariff, as will be remembered, was that relating to ale and porter. Upon that I supported my honorable and learned friend, who is now the leader of the Senate, in reducing the high duty that was proposed, to the level of the duty imposed under the Tariff of the State of Victoria. That duty was high enough. I knew then, and I know now, that had a very high duty been imposed, -with a small excise, the big, wealthy breweries of Sydney and Melbourne would have been able to crush out the breweries in the smaller States. When the import duty was excessively high the imports would naturally be diminished, and the great brewing establishments of Melbourne and Sydney - I am proud of them and. wish them to succeed, but I do not wish them to succeed by crushing the breweries crf Tasmania, or Queensland, or Western Australia - would have been able to import their beer at a cheap rate into the smaller States to the injury of the breweries there. It was purely out of consideration for the smaller States that I was induced to vote for a duty such as had been imposed in Victoria before the establishment of Federation. It did not require much pressure to induce me to do so.
– What caucus supplied the pressure?
– The only pressure exercised upon me was the arguments of the present leader of the Senate. No other pressure would have been effective. A caucus would have no effect upon me.
– Was not that . after the honorable senator fell out with the Barton Government?
– No; but I may as well clear up this matter. I may as well read what I said about another itemof the Tariff - the wheat and fodder duties. I invite honorable senators - I do not say I challenge them, because I do not wish to be offensive - to look through the Tariff debates, and challenge me upon any vote which I gave in regard to revenue without destruction. When the duty with regard to wheat and fodder was before the Senate I used these words -
Then what is the use of pretending to bolster up the farmer, and to give him assistance bv imposing a duty upon wheat? It is neither more nor less than throwing dust in the eyesof the farmer. We might just as reasonably propose to put a duty upon merino wool. It is only 100 years ago since McArthur imported three rams arid six ewes into New South Wales, and now we are exporting millions of pounds of wool. Our wool industry is only one of yesterday in the history of the nation, but it is a huge industry nevertheless. I do not suppose there is any country on the face of the earth that per head of population exports as great a quantity of wool, meat, and wheat as Australia.
– If the duty will be inoperative, why get so excited about it?
Senator Higgs admitted that the duty would be inoperative. He agreed with me, though he did not like to say so. I replied -
It will be inoperative except at a time like the present, and such a time has never before been known in Australia. God knows what the result will yet be.
Since then£600,000 has been paid in duty on wheat and other produce coming into Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Let it be remembered that 60,000,000 sheep . out of the1 00,000, 000 which we once had in Australia have died from the effects of drought.
– And the honorable senator is supporting the Government who refused to lift the duties on fodder.
– I am giving the reasons why I thought fit to change my views, and I think they are reasons which should have appealed to any honorable senator. I saw that the price of fodder was going up right and left, and that starving stock were dying wholesale. God knows, they did die wholesale, and that was only to be expected when millions of acres could not feed a sheep. I say that 60,000,000 sheep have died. It must be well known to representatives of Queensland that even within thirty or forty miles of Brisbane settlers suffered enormous losses. Dairymen and farmers also suffered losses in Queensland. It is this dire loss of stock which is the cause of the present depression.
– I thought it was the Labour Party.
– I do not say so. I do not believe it, and therefore I do not say so. It is the drought that is the cause of the depression, and it will continue tooperate as the cause until we recuperate.
– The question I desire the honorable senator to answer is, whether he is not now supporting a Government that is precisely the same Government as that which refused to lift the fodder duties?
– No. Another Government has intervened. The two men at the head of the. present Government, Mr. Allan McLean and Mr. Reid, are now Ministers in the Federal’ Parliament, and I have confidence in both of them. The objection that I have to the Trades Hall Party - I prefer always to refer to them as the trades Hall Party-
– The socialistic party.
– I answer that by saying that I may be a Socialist myself to a certain extent, and under certain conditions. Some say that because the State here owns the railways, we are Socialists. We could not have railways in this State or in any other State of the Commonwealth, or we could have but only a very few, if they had to be constructed by private enterprise. There might be a line between here and Geelong, and a few other such lines. My complaint against the Trades Hall Party, as I prefer to call them, is that so far as I can judge - I hope I am wrong - they are against the Empire.
– The honorable senator is entirely wrong.
– Did- they support the sending of a contingent to South Africa ?
– They only desire that there should bc a series of republics instead’ of a monarchy !
– Exactly. Senator Higgs has openly declared on the floor of this Chamber that he desires a republic. I, on the contrary, am for the flag. I hold up not one but both hands for the flag. Honorable senators opposite do nothold up their hands at all for the flag ; they are all for a republic.
– We have a new flag for the Commonwealth.
– Yes, but it is a part of the old flag. It is a part of the flag which floats over some hundreds of millions of human beings, and ‘over more liberty and more that is sacred and good than the flag of any other nation on God’s earth. Where do people fly for liberty and safety ?
– To Australia.
– To Ireland.
– To England, Ireland, and Scotland, and to the countries over which the grand old flag flies.
– They run away from Scotland.
– The flag floats there, and I say that it is a hopeful sign in any. part of God’s earth. It offers a welcome to people everywhere. The history of the British Empire is a creditable one in every phase. My quarrel with the Trades Hall Party is that they are against the sending of contingents to assist the Empire in its hour of need, and opposed to the flag.
– And do not support kanaka labour.
– I may deal with that later on, though it is but a very small matter. The British Empire is composed of whites and blacks. Do honorable senators opposite desire to change it; could they change it if they wished ? Can whites live where blacks only can live? Can whites live in India, China, and many other pfarts?
– They are living there now.
– Can whites live in the tropical parts of the earth? Do honorable senators opposite propose to supplant the Almighty ? Do they propose to change the nature of things on this earth’ ?
– The whole population of Victoria was black at one time. How does the honorable senator account for the change? He is interfering with the designs of the Almighty now.
– My honorable friend is getting black already. In three more generations the honorable senator who inter jects will be black also.
– Senator Fraser is black already; he advocates black labour.
– Black or white, I am for the Empire. I have no desire to handicap or to act with inhumanity towards any of my fellow creatures. I say that there are parts of this earth, and parts of this Commonwealth, where white men cannot labour with credit and satisfaction to themselves.
– What part of the Commonwealth ?
– I have often told the honorable senator, and he can answer the question for himself. In Cairns, in the north, for instance.
– In North Queensland ?
– Yes. I say here, what I said publicly in the Masonic-hall in
Melbourne, that the climate of Cairns is as bad, or worse, than the climate of Mauritius.
– The honorable senator knows nothing about it.
– I have been frequently through the district. I drove from Rockhampton almost to the Gulf and back again. That is what honorable senators opposite have never done.
– The honorable senator’s chum, Mr. Nicholas FitzGerald, has gone to Cairns to recuperate his health.
– Senator Neild went there also to recuperate his health.
– I should like to go there now myself. It is a very pleasant place at this time of the year. But let honorable senators go there in February or January and work in the cane-fields during those months.
– Melbourne is hotter at that time of the year.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that he drove from Rockhampton to the Gulf?
– Yes j from Rockhampton to the Flinders - to McKinley and Croydon.
– By what route?
– I will tell the honorable senator. He does not know the country, he only knows the coast. I drove via Barcaldine, Aramac, Dagworth, across the Diamantina, and into McKinley township, where there was a telegraph office, and where I had a property.
– And the honorable senator got by that route to Winton?
– Right through Winton, with a pair of horses I bought at Rockhampton.
– The honorable senator cannot show that route on the map.
– Now, will the honorable senator keep silent. I have another objection to the Trades Hall Party, and it is this : That it was only by the greatest possible pressure that the first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, for whom I have a great regard, could manage to get the Naval Agreement Bill through the House of Representatives. It was only by threatening the resignation of his Government that he did so. We find exactly the same thing occurring whenever any matter affecting the Empire is brought forward in the House of Representatives, or in the States Parliaments.
– Senator Symon was with us in opposition to the Naval Agreement Bill ; the honorable senator should not forget that. He is now prepared to follow Senator Symon, who was at that time disloyal, if we were disloyal.
– It is different when Senator Symon is in a responsible position. As a Minister, he is a member of a Cabinet which will discuss matters together, and arrive at a conclusion as to what they will do. At any rate, I charge the Trades Hall Party with having been entirely opposed to that measure.
– For good reasons.
– What were the reasons? I say that the agreement proposed was the most magnificent agreement ever entered into.
– We desired to contribute in men and ships.
– What ships could we build here? They would not be worth a straw. What could we do against Japan ?
– It is degrading to pay tribute.
– It is not degrading to be in combination with an Empire such as the world has never seen, and perhaps never will see again. I give this credit to the Labour Party : I believe they will come to see differently by-and-by. I know that there are reasonable clear-headed men amongst them. I am challenging their present principles, and I say that the Naval Agreement Bill was only put through the House of Representatives against their opposition with the greatest possible difficulty. On almost every occasion the Government of the day had to go almost on their knees to get such measures through. I do not complain of the measures introduced by the Barton Government. Looking over them during the last day or two, I saw very little to object to in them, but how sadly were they altered. In the Post and Telegraph Bill, a miser-; able little clause was introduced which disarranged all our affairs.
– Why not repeal it now that honorable senators have the chance ?
– I hope that we will, but we must have a little time for these things.
– Are honorable senators going to try to repeal it?
– Perhaps it can only be done after we have appealed to the people, and thus get the power to do it if we have not the power now. ‘ Probably, if we attempted to do it now Senator Higgs would vote against us.
– Hear, hear.
– Well, there is no use in our trying to do- impossibilities. The introduction of that little clause has had the effect of throwing our mail system into utter disorganization.
– We get a mail every week, as usual. Where is the disorganization ?
– The old contract has not yet expired, and there is no fresh contract.
– Give us time.
-The honorable senator proposes that we should wait until the old contract has expired. That is a happygolucky way of doing business. When we look for a new contract we may not be able to make one.
– It is not necessary.
– The affairs of nations are not conducted on those lines ; individuals do not carry on business in; a happy-go-lucky fashion, but wisely arrange matters beforehand.
– Where will be the utter disorganization?
– The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company may not send their vessels here at all, if to send them does not pay.
– The vessels may make Fremantle their terminus.
– That might happen.” Then what about the poor producers? The Trades Hall’ Party do not seem to care about the producers
– Some of the butter producers have been cheating.
– Let people who cheat be punished. What I wish to see is good honest government.
– Does the honorable senator think that producers who cheat ought to be in gaol ?
– Every one who cheats, whether rich or poor, ought to be in gaol. We ought to recollect that, along with the mail contracts, are contracts for the carriage of perishable goods, and that the State of Victoria, for instance, would’ be insolvent in six months if produce could not be sent to Europe.
– We do not subsidize the vessels of the White Star. ‘Line or the Blue Anchor Line.
– The White Star Line is a carrying line.
– It carries produce.
– Yes, but the mail boats have special contracts’ for the carriage of produce, and the work is done to the satisfaction of those concerned.
– On the contrary, there have been great complaints.
– If there have been complaints, the cause is the disorganization of the mail service. I do not see why we should risk the loss of the benefits which we now enjoy, in order to place one or two white men in the stokeholds.
– We must consider the safety of the Empire.
– Such a policy means risk to the Empire. If we handicap the British ship-owner, we do a positive injury to the Empire.
– Will the British shipowner fight his ships?
– The British shipowner wishes for as many sailors as he can get.
– White sailors?
– That is so, if he can get white sailors, but if he cannot, he must take lascars for the stokehold.
– A ship-owner can get white sailors if he pays for them.
– Where must wa get the Naval Reserve if not from the mercantile marine?
– We get our Naval Reserve from the seafaring class.
– What is the seafaring class?
– If there are 10.000 Germans sailorizing for Great Britain, and they choose to become British subjects-
– Ah, that is the point !
– Half the battle is over when they get into a British ship.
– Yes : half of their battle.
– A considerable portion of South Australia is colonized by Germans ; and does any honorable senator say that they are not good citizens? Cannot German sailors on British ships be also good citizens ?
– Many of those German sailors 3o settle here; and I see no objection to German, Italian, or French sailors being employed on British ships.
– We would rather see British sailors all the time.
– I must ask honorable senators not to interject.
– I entirely agree with the remark of Senator de Largie.
– I advise Senator Fraser to read F. T. Bullen on this subject.
– There are many reasons why I changed my seat, and amongst them was the proposal for a Transcontinental Railway. I had something to do with the Port Augusta railway, and therefore had a knowledge of the subject. I have always held the view which I hold now; I do not change my opinions without good reason. I think I was one of the first to oppose this line, and such was my opposition that great pressure was brought to bear upon me in order to induce me to change my opinions.
– By whom? .
– That is a secret.
– The caucus?
– It was not a caucus. In my opening speech in this House I told honorable senators that I was opposedto the construction of this line; and on other points I did not agree with the programme of the then Government. I know that Australian Governments in the past have been guilty of gross extravagance, a continuance of which must cause them to come to grief, whether the administration be in the hands of the Labour Party or the Conservative Party.
– Kyabram water schemes, for instance.
– I believe in reproductive schemes, not in schemes which do not pay, but merely increase the Public Service enormously.
– What about the Maffra sugar-beet scheme?
– I lost£500 in that scheme.
– And a lot of Government money was lost, too.
– It cannot be said that I compelled the Government to lose their money. Even now I am vain enough to believe that if I started a beet-sugar business to-morrow under my entire control, I could make it a success.
– Does the honorable senator think his remarks have anything to do with the Government policy?
SenatorFRASER. - I do not think they have, Mr. President, and I thank you for reminding me of the fact.
– Do I understand Senator Fraser to say that he is in favour of high excise duties- on colonial beer and other stimulants, and low import duties? Is it not such a policy that is shutting up Joshua Bros.’ distillery?
– My remarks applied more particularly to beer than to spirits. I am entirely opposed to the Labour or Socialistic Party.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to old-age pensions, which are included in the Labour Party’s programme ?
– I am in favour of old-age pensions, which are in force already.
– Not in Australia.
– Old-age pensions are in force amongst three-fifths of the population, of Australia. If a man has resided ten years, say, in Victoria, and ten years in New South Wales, I see no reason why he should be deprived of an old-age pension should he need one. As to Socialism, can any honorable senator representing that shade of politics show me one place on earth” where communistic or socialistic settlements have been a success ?
– Can the honorable senator show me a place where Socialism has ever been tried?
– Socialism is different from Communism.
– I do not think so; and I say that’ in, no part of the world is there a country in which such a system has been a success.
– Socialism was successful in America 150 years ago.
– What about the Stateowned railways and postal service?
– According to the honorable senator, I suppose that the municipality of Melbourne is claimed as an example of Socialism?
– It is pure Socialism.
– Although it is conducted by the rate-payers and propertyowners ?
– That is so.
– Then I suppose the Melbourne Gas Company is Socialism?
– That is private enterprise. The electric lighting system is Socialism ; but the Gas Company represents private enterprise.
– Why did the Victorian Government spend money in buying suburban railways which were being worked just as well as they are now?
– Because those suburban lines interfered with other lines, and it was desired to have one system. There is as wide a divergence between the Commonwealth owning the railways, which open up immense territories, and socialistic-
– The Government run the railways in order to develop the public estate.
– And the public estate could not be developed otherwise.
– It is Socialism all the same.
– Nothing of the kind.
– What I say is that the Tom Mann brand of Socialism means the taxation of property -owners out of their own property.
– Nonsense ! Do I understand the honorable senator to say that he has some evidence to show that there has been a complete community under Socialism which has failed?
– There have been fifty within the last fifty years.
– Will the- honorable senator please mention one?
– There have been many in South Australia.
– That is Communism, not Socialism.
– I was in Queensland when Lane started his socialistic efforts. He chartered the ship Royal Tar, and each member of the party had to be possessed of a minimum of£6o, and as much more as they chose.
– That is not Socialism.
– Lane and his party started for Paraguay, where I believe they got a free grant of land, though I am not positive on that ‘ point. Before they got to their destination, however, the most bitter quarrelling started amongst them, and when they got there there was still more bitterness. The Government of Queensland, as an act of humanity, paid the return passages of some of the men. I have a letter on the subject, which was published only the other day ; but I do not wish to occupy the time of honorable senators in reading it.
– Does the honorable senator call that Socialism ?
– That shows all the honorable senator knows about Socialism.
– The settlement broke up in- confusion. Mr. Lane remained there for a considerable time, and many of the settlers had to live on wild monkeys. The other day, one of the unfortunate individuals applied to relatives in Queensland - I think in Maryborough or Gympie - to send over£5 to enable him to’ work his way out of that unfortunate country to the coast. He was a shearer by occupation, and his pay was1s. 6d. a day - about1s. in our currency, but is. 6d. in a depreciated currency. In that part of the world, when a man is supposed to get 10s. per day he receives what is equivalent to only 6s. per day in our currency. That socialistic colony has utterly failed.
– That is a communistic, not a socialistic colony.
– In the United Kingdom a celebrated gentleman spent thousands of pounds making an experiment, and yet it came to utter grief.
– Laurence Oliphant called his settlement Utopia.
– Yes; in periodicals I have read articles on the subject. Many socialistic colonies have been started in South Australia.
– - -How many individualistic enterprises have failed?
– The honorable senator will not deny that the people of South Australia, while Mr. Kingston was Premier, started socialistic colonies. The land was given to the people free.
– No ; rent had to be paid, and the colonies were communistic, not socialistic.
– What is the difference between one and the . other?
– The same difference as exists between a white boy and a black boy.
– I have a lot to learn if that is so. The labour crowd outside Parliament frequently credit the prosperity of New Zealand to its labour laws. I hold in my hand some quotations from a work byMr. Victor S. Clark, who was sent out by. the Labour Bureau of the United States to collect information and labour statistics. He is a very level-headed and clever man, and many of his statements are well worth reading.
– He has no sympathy with labour laws.
– He has no sympathy with any laws unless they are honest ones, and can bear examination. About twelve years ago New Zealand was in a very tight place financially.
– She was on the verge of bankruptcy, and it was due to Toryism.
– Nonsense !
– That is quite true. The prosperity of the Colony is entirely due to her enormous and increasing export trade.
– To land settlement, and the solution of the unemployed question.
– I am speaking of a time before the idea of freezing meat had taken hold of business men. In 1.889 the frozen meat trade was a mere nothing, but in 1900 it was valued at $8,000,000, and in 1903 it had increased in value to $15,000,000. In 1900 New Zealand exported £2,605,000 worth of butter, and in 1903 £8,000,000 worth. In the latter year the total exports had increased from $50,000,000 to $70,000,000, and it would have increased to $80,000,000 but for the low price of wool during the intervening years. The prosperity of the Colony is entirely .due to the export business.
– Encouraged by Socialism.
– Discouraged by Socialism. In New Zealand the authorities have not been game to apply the compulsory provisions of the Arbitration Act to the rural industries. Why? Because they realize that it would be ruinous to do so.
– They have never had any cause to do so.
– There is no Agricultural Labourers’ Union there.
– The Government and the unionists of New Zealand are wise, and, therefore, they have not applied the provisions of the Arbitration Act to rural industries. That is another strong reason which I have against the policy of the Labour Party. The moment that the compulsory powers of the proposed Arbitration Act are applied to the rural industries of the Commonwealth, our producers will be handicapped.
– Will the honorable senator be willing to give in our Bill the same powers that have been given in the New Zealand Act? We should be pleased with a measure of that- kind.
– I should not trust the Labour Party with them.
– But the honorable senator may have to trust us whether he likes it or not.
– I shall not grant the powers willingly. I shall strive to keep the flag flying as long as I can. I shall not help to put a dangerous provision in any measure. Any person who does not realize that we live by our exports has not cut his eye teeth. Every State in the Commonwealth depends absolutely upon the products of the soil which are exported. We live entirely by the producers. If we could not export we should be insolvent within a year. Therefore any legislation which tends to raise the rates of freight must be injurious to the advancement of the Commonwealth. By handicapping British ships we raise the rate of freights against the producer, and increase his difficulties.
– What does the honor- able senator mean by the term “ handicapping “ ?
– By applying compulsory arbitration to the employes of the producers. We cannot raise the price of farm produce. I grant that if it could be raised it would be fair-play to adopt this policy all round, but we cannot raise the price. of wheat or gold. The price of coal can be raised, but only against the local consumer.
– We can relieve the farmer of all the parasites who live upon him.
– That is impossible, for he depends upon the price which he receives at Home. What is happening in New South Wales to-day? I understand that 500 or 600 coal-miners are idle.
– Because the coalowners are cutting the throats of each other.
– The miners are idle because the mine-owners cannot get buyers abroad for their coal. The great consumption of New South Wales coal is abroad, and not in the Commonwealth. And when the foreign trade is destroyed or ruined, no matter from what cause, the miners must perforce be idle.
– Is it not a fact that in Melbourne the price of coal has been reduced by 50 per cent, within the last few months ?
– I do not find that it has been. I have paid 20s. per ton for my coal this winter, as against 22s. 6d. last year.
– There has been a further reduction in price since the honorable senator has bought.
– The Australian consumer has to pay the price of coal, whatever it is, . and no doubt he can afford ‘ to do so. I look upon the worker in a coal mine as a producer. The miner and the mine-owner must work together ibr the common good, and my complaint against the Trades Hall party is that they are continually trying to create differences between these classes. What is happening now in New South Wales? There are hundreds of cases awaiting the attention of the courts. The Act, instead of being a Conciliation Act, is quite the reverse. It is a misnomer to ca41 it a Conciliation Act. It has created any number of difficulties:. Will honorable senators tell me that we can change human nature? Are we not all anxious to do the best we can for ourselves? Was not Senator Higgs anxious to be made Chairman of Committees ? Had’ I been a young man, perhaps I should have aspired to that position myself. Is it not the ambition of every human being to lift himself a little? Has not the condition of the people been levelled up every decade ‘ during the last 200 years’? Are not people better off to-day than they were 100 years ago? Look at the millions that are spent upon charities ! Look at the liberality of the people of England towards the poorer classes and public institutions ! Look at what even General Booth has been able to do for the fallen classes ! Can any honorable senator say with any sincerity of speech, that human nature can be changed by the methods of the Labour Party? Are we likely to make a confidence man into an honest man, or a drunkard into a sober man, by means of the caucus or the political machine? Has the caucus acted in such a way as to inspire public confidence? Have not the unions of New South Wales acted worse than the butter agents? Have they not shut out their brother man from employment ?
– Absolutely, No.
– I say that they have done so, and the statement is not to be contradicted. I could mention twenty cases.
– Mention one case.
– I mention the Saddler case. Let the honorable senator look it up for himself.
– There are hundreds of cases of employers who have black-listed employes.
– I do not say that employers are not equally guilty with employes. There are faults on both sides. But I do say that, instead of having a
Conciliation Act in New South Wales, we have there an Act which is creating disturbance, and which is doing a terrible lot of injury. I have spoken longer than I intended to do, and I apologize to the Senate.
– I did not propose to trouble the Senate with any remarks in this debate, which cannot have much result at the best. I should not have said anything, except for some remarks made by the last speaker, who has continued the libelling that has been going on about the climate in the portion of the Commonwealth from which I come. I wish to remove that false impression from the minds ofhonorable senators, and of people outside who follow our proceedings. I will mention, in the first place, that the climate of Cairns has received very high encomiums indeed from very distinguished people, as being, not only a good place for white people, but actually a sanatorium.
– Iri the winter months.
– I will tell Senator Walker about the climate in the summer, as well as in the winter, before I ‘have finished. The late Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, now Marquis of Linlithgow, said that Cairns had one of the finest climates he had ever been in, and that it had a remarkable restorative effect upon his health.
– He went to Herberton, did he not?
– He made a casual visit to Kuranda, and also visited the coastal range.
– In what month?
– About August; but I will give the Senate some official figures about the climate throughout the year. At the present time, we have a distinguished Melbourne gentleman at Cairns for the benefit of his health- a member of the Legislative Council of this State- and he speaks highly of it. Senator Fraser made use of certain expressions which will require a verv great deal of explanation.
– His whole speech was remarkable.
– It was very breezy and enjoyable indeed. We all thought that it was quite a treat. He remarked, however, that in all our efforts to place a white population in certain portions of this Commonwealth, we were simply supplanting the Almighty. I suppose he meant by . that that we were trying to alter the Divine law of nature.
– If we are trying to alter the Divine order of things by putting a white population on North Queensland, we are also altering the Divine order of things by putting a white population in New Zealand, Tasmania, or Victoria. Because, from what we know of them, the original population of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Victoria were as black as the blackest people that can be found in the northern portion of this continent.
– By the same reasoning British soldiers have no right to be in India.
– That is so. Senator Fraser or any other gentleman who advocates that the not them portion of Australia should be handed over to the blacks, simply because Divine Providence originallv intended that it should be occupied by black people, have just as much reason to advocatethat’ Victoria and Tasmania, which are eminently suitable for a white population, should, in accordance with the Divine order of things, be left to be occupied by a black population.
– And we ought aho to have a black Federal Parliament !
– There are a great many misconceptions with regard to the Queensland climate which I wish to remove, if I can. I dare say Lhat Senator Fraser and many others agree that the southern portion of Queensland is fit for a white population.
– I was speaking of the cane-fields.
– The argumenthas been that while the climate of Southern Queensland may be fit for a white population, such is not the case in the north, and that Cairns especially should be singled out as a place that is only fit for a black population. I am going to show, from official figures, that the climate of Cairns is a better and more agreeable climate than that of Bundaberg or Brisbane. But I ask honorable senators to remember that climate does not always depend upon latitude. Com pare the climate of Ireland, in the United Kingdom, with the climate of Labrador, in the North American Continent. Thu climate of Labrador is most inhospitable. It is so cold and bleak that it is almost impossible for any inhabitant to live there. But ‘ Ireland, in almost the same latitude, has one of the most genial climates any one could live in.
– Owing to fhe Gulf stream.
– Exactly. Therefore, climate cannot always be judged by latitude. Again, in the coastal districts of Cairns, the prevailing winds are south-east. That is, they have to come over a wide stretch of the Pacific Ocean before they reach the land. Every one knows that a hot wind, or any warm wind, is cooled by coming over the sea. Therefore, the people living there have always cool air, when there are south-east winds blowing. Again, if the winds come from the west, or from the north, they cross the high mountains which’ constitute the coast range. The winds are thereby cooled. Consequently, we have a cool wind, no matter which way it blows.
– There are no high mountains there.
– That remark shows how the honorable senator exposes his ignorance on this, subject. The highest mountains in Queensland are there in the Bellenden Ker Range, the most considerable mountain in which is Bartle Frere, 5,400 feet above the level of the sea. Let me point out how the temperature at Cairns compares with’ the temperature in the south portion of Queensland. I quote now from a report made by Dr. Maxwell, to the Federal Government, in 1901. It will be found in volume 4, page 275, of the Queensland Votes and Proceedings for the year 1901. The mean minimum temperature in Cairns during four years was 67.6. In Bundaberg it was 61.3. That is, the mean minimum temperature was only 6 degrees higher in Cairns than in Bundaberg. That was during the cool months. Turning to the high temperatures, we find that the mean maximum temperature, in four years, at Cairns, was 83.3, and at Bundaberg, 83.4. So that the temperature was actually a fraction lower at Cairns as compared with Bundaberg.
– But no reference is made to the humidity of the atmosphere.
– I thought that that question would come, and I am ready for it. I have fought out this question in the Queensland Legislature: Whenever people are bowled out in reference to the question of heat, they ask, “What about humidity ?” We have documentary proof from the highest authorities, for a period of four years. When I was a member of the Queensland State Parliament, I moved for a return showing the humidity of the temperature for four years, in various typical coastal stations of Queensland from Cairns to Brisbane. The very persons who, at that time, were talking about their desire to get the fullest possible information in order that the Commonwealth Parliament might legislate with a full knowledge of the subject, fought all they knew against the laying of that return on the table in the Queensland Parliament. After a fight I succeeded in getting it tabled, and honorable senators, if they care to refer to it, will find it at page 1389 of volume III. of the Votes and Proceedings of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for 1901. The table is a very long one, and I do not, therefore, propose “to quote it at length, but I shall give honorable senators the mean humidity for each of the four years at Cairns, Mackay, Bundaberg, and Brisbane. For 1897 the mean percentage of humidity, reckoning 100 per cent, as saturation, was for Cairns, 77 per cent. ; Mackay, 74 ; Bundaberg, 73; and Brisbane, 72. The figures for 1898. were Cairns, 78 per cent. ; Mackay, 75 ; Bundaberg, 76 ; and Brisbane,
– Does not the honorable senator think that he has proved it ?
– I am glad to hear the honorable and learned senator admit it. What is more to the point is that the six months of the year in which ninetenths of the work that has to Be done in the cane-fields of the Cairns district is performed, from the 1st July to the middle of December, are the dry months in that portion of the State, and the percentage of humidity during those months is less in the Cairns district than in the southern portion of the State. So that from the climatic point of view, it is absolutely untrue to saythat the conditions of cultivation in the northern portion of Queensland are more unfavorable to the employment of white labour than those existing in any other portion of Queensland.
– Dr. Maxwell says they are.
– I have quoted Dr. Maxwell as to the temperature returns, and
Mr. Clement Wragge’s report as to’ the humidity returns. I am free to admit that when we had beaten them .out of the field on the temperature and humidity returns, our opponents took up another attitude, and said, “It is not a question of either heat or humidity, but of atmospheric tension.” I did not bother about atmospheric tension, because I knew that when we had beaten them upon that point also, they would say it was the differential calculus, or something of that kind. There is one other testimony I should like to quote before I conclude this part of the subject. During the first Parliament Senator Neild frequently and forcibly expressed the opinion on the floor of the Chamber that North Queensland, especially at Cairns, was not fit for a white man to live in, much less to work in. Quite recently, however, when, unfortunately, owing to the state of his health, the honorable senator had to obtain leave of absence from the Senate, he actually went to recuperate at the place which he had’ denounced. And I believe he has since freely expressed the opinion that his’ stay there did him a great deal of good, and that the place is admirable for the purpose for which’ he visited it.
– He was there in the winter.
– The figures I have quoted prove that the climate of Queensland is not only genial in the winter, but that in the summer time it is not so hot as places far south. Last summer I watched the thermometer readings at Melbourne and Cairns during the months of December and January, and I found that the high temperature in Melbourne exceeded by at least two degrees the high temperature at Cairns ; and any one who takes the trouble to consult the official figures will find that what I have stated is the fact.
– I am glad to hear the honorable senator advancing such a good argument against the sugar bounty being continued.
– I have a motion on the notice-paper, which will allow a full discussion of that phase of the question ; and I shall be happy to argue the point at the proper time with Senator Dobson, or any other honorable senator. There is just one other statement ofl Senator Fraser which I should like to controvert. Speaking of the Immigration Restriction Act, and of the White Australian legislation of the Commonwealth Parliament generally, Senator
Fraser denounced, in the strongest possible terms, that portion of the legislation which deals with the class of labour to be employed on British shipping. We have nothing to do in this Parliament with the land of labour to be employed on British shipping, over which we have no jurisdiction; nor has this Parliament ever presumed to dictate to the British Empire what sort of labour ought to be employed in any of the Empire’s ships. What we have done, and what we have a perfect right to do - what I believe we were wise in doing in the interests of the Empire itself - has been to declare that we will not subsidize any vessels which carry other than white crews. Senator Fraser was very impressive when, lifting up both hands, he declared that he held them up for the flag every time - he made an ‘ almighty mouthful about his loyalty. I am one who believes that, like a woman’s virtue, if it exists, a man’s loyalty does not need any protesting. I never yet knew a woman with any claims to respectability, who went about the country “blowing” about her virtue. A woman’s virtue is unquestioned. And so with every Britisher’s loyalty - there is no need to be continually protesting about it. But Senator Fraser, while making a song about his loyalty to the flag, proved conclusively, over’ and over again, that, although he might be loyal to the flag, he was disloyal to the British people. I take it that loyalty to the people of the Empire - the race from which we sprang - is greater than loyalty to any flag whatever. Senator Fraser’s argument practically is that the interests of the British Empire, and ‘ of the British people should be entirely swept aside in the interests of the profits of the shipowners - that it does not matter what sort of crews are employed so long as the shipowner’s are enabled to compete in the open markets of the world and obtain their “pound of flesh” in the shape of profits. I hold that, so far as it can be accomplished by legislation, whether in this Parliament, the British Parliament, or any other Parliament, the employment of any crew whatever, excepting a British crew, so long as that is obtainable, should be absolutely prohibited on any British ship which enjoys the protection of the flag and the trade received from the British people. The integrity of the British Empire depends absolutely on ability to obtain an adequate number of capable seamen for defence in time of difficulty, danger, or war.
In a recent contribution to a controversy on this question, the British Navy League, which I do not know can be charged with having any great sympathy with labour ideals, advocated exactly the same policy, namely, that British ship-owners ought to be compelled to man their vessels with British seamen. Their reason is that, otherwise, the supply of British seamen for the British Navy will inevitably be exhausted, as, indeed, it must. What has been the main factor in bringing about the dominance of the British Empire throughout the world ? What has enabled the Empire to obtain’ its present high position amongst the nations of the earth? Undoubtedly, it is the fact that she possessed a seafaring people, always prepared to defend the Empire, and to extend her rule in every quarter of the world. The British Navy is to-day the might of the British Empire. Without the Navy England would sink into the position of a third-rate or fourth-rate power. But the British Navy would be absolutely useless without British seamen - it would be a magnificent machine without the proper means for setting it to work. Unless the mercantile marine is manned by British sailors, inevitably the time is not far distant when the Navy will be starved for want of men. Those facts are pointed out by some of the most enlightened statesmen in England to-day.” The British Navy League, which has made a special study of the subject, and has collected a large amount of data on which to base conclusions, has stated, as plainly as Ave do, that unless something is done to prevent British seafaring men from being driven out of the British mercantile marine, the time must come when there will not be sufficient sailors to man the Navy - when Great Britain will have no reserve of seamen in time of danger, trouble, and difficulty, and must give up her supremacy.
– Is that the reason actuating the Labour Party in opposing the employment of lascars on mail steamers?
– That is one of the main reasons why we advocate that policy, and why we oppose the immigration of coloured races to the country. One of the main reasons I have always put forward against the introduction of Chinese, Japanese, coolies, kanakas, and other coloured men into Queensland, is that if the hour of difficulty or danger comes to the mother country - we hope the hour may not come - when she may have to put” her back against the wall to fight against a combination, it may be, of European nations, our duty will be, not to add to her burden, but to fight in our own defence; and if we had to depend on such races to fight for our liberty and the integrity of the Commonwealth, it would be a very poor day for us. It has been put forward as an argument that work in the stokehold is not fit for white men, and that they should not be asked to do it; but I say that under proper conditions, a white man can work in the stokehold or anywhere else.
– If he has proper ventilation.
– If a white man has proper conditions in regard to hours, food, and accommodation when not actually employed, he can and will work in any place in the world. People who make those barefaced statements have staring them in the face the fact that white men are doing this work, and have done it for all time.
– White stokers are employed in the NorddeutscherLloyd vessels.
– Ever since steamships were invented, white men have been doing this work. The whole trouble is that the employment of white men does not allow ship-owners so large a profit. The whole ideal of ship-owners is profit ; they care nothing, although they talk very loudly, for the British Empire, so long as their pockets are well lined. While ship-owners are continually maligning their race, and saying that they are not fit for this or that work, they forget that Britishers, to whom they refuse employment, have very often to starve. I have said that patriotism does not actuate these people who talk so largely about it, and that is true. Without imparting any heat or passion into the debate, it may be said that we have evidence that when profits are at stake, ship-owners care nothing for patriotism or humanity. We learn from the reports of several Royal - Commissions in the old country, which inquired into the circumstances of several manufacturing industries, that human life is sacrificed under the bad conditions which are allowed to prevail in chemical factories, match factories, and similar places. Those who carry on such industries never alter the conditions and prevent this sacrifice of life until they are compelled to do so by law. They care nothing about patriotism, and we have it on the very best evidence, which has never been contradicted, that when Great Britain goes to war, very .often the guns and bullets which are levelled at her soldiers have been made in British factories. The engines of warfare employed ‘by the enemy against British soldiers have very often been manufactured byBritishers who were the loudest in advocating the war. These are facts which I do not think any one will attempt to deny, and they prove conclusively that the patriotism which animates honorable gentlemen like Senator Fraser, who says that both his hands go up for the flag every time, does not amount to much - is of a bogus character. As I pointed out before, there is a higher loyalty than loyalty to the flag, and that is loyalty, not to any one particular section, but to the people of the whole nation.
– Does not the flag represent the people?
– Not always. If I were to deal with that question fully I would point out that the flag has often been flown in fights against the people. I do not, however, propose to deal with that matter, which is not altogether relevant. Before dealing with the Government policy in particular, or such portion of a policy as I have been able to discover in a very close search, I should like to refer to one- or two statements made by honorable senators. Senator Clemons has condemned the banking proposals of the Labour Party as iniquities which should be condemned by almost everybody, that is, by almost everybody whom honorable senators opposite would characterize as right-thinking persons. I believe I am right in concluding, from an interjection, that Senator Pulsford holds exacttly the same view.
– Quite so.
– The Labour Party are not peculiar by any- means as regards their banking proposals, nor have they invented such a method of dealing with the banks. For very many years the Dominion of Canada has had in force an exactly similar law, although there has not been a Labour Party in power in that country. This law was advocated in the first instance, and enacted in the second instance, by men who were not tainted with the doctrines of the Labour Party.
– Those proposals were actually suggested from Downing-street.
– The circumstances of Canada are entirely different from those of Australia.
– Where do the Canadian banks keep their coin reserves ?
– In the Treasury.
– In New York largely.
– The coin reserves are, or ought to be, kept by the banks in their vaults, or other places to which they can have immediate access.
– Many of the Canadian banks have branches in New York.
– At any rate, the Canadian banks are compelled by Dominion law to keep a certain proportion of their reserves in Canadian stock. What was the case in Australia before ever this idea, was advocated here, when things were in the happy condition which honorable senators opposite seem to think is the most desirable? I refer to the time when the banks were issuing balance-sheets showing very handsome reserves. I wonder if Senator Walker ever asked where the majority of the reserves were kept. I should very much like to know now where they were kept, and so would, I believe, any other man who had anything to do with the affairs of the country at that time. When an inquiry was made it was proved that these coin reserves were non-existent to a very large extent, and that the banks would have required a very strong safe or vault to keep hold of coin then.
– Reserves are not necessarily coin reserves.
– Of course not. In a pamphlet which was sent to us recently by a gentleman in New South Wales, the argument was put forward that it was absolutely necessary to have a very considerable quantity of coin, so that the gold reserves should bear a certain proportion to the total amount of liquid assets. For what purpose are gold reserves held by the banks? These are supposed to be held in the first place as a guarantee that the banks will be able to meet any demand which may be made upon them. Up to a certain point they are supposed to give that guarantee, because no bank pretends to hold the full amount of its liabilities in coin reserves. I do not think that a bank in the world, not even the Bank of England, holds an amount equal to the whole of its liabilities in absolutely liquid reserves, simply because no bank could adopt that plan, and at the same time make a profit. One of the first objects of a coin reserve is to enable a bank to meet any sudden run or demand on it. What causes a sudden run on a bank ? What makes the people rush to a bank and want to withdraw their deposits or receive coin for the bank’s notes? It is simply a loss of confidence in the bank. No bank, not even the Bank of England, I believe, could last a week if it had lost the confidence of the public and its customers. In Australia in 1893, we had an experience of a run being made on the banks, and the State had immediately to come to their assistance. In some instances the State had to proclaim a certain number of days as bank holidays, in order to afford to the banks an opportunity to gather in their reserves, and the run on the banks to subside.
– That was in Victoria.
– No; in New South Wales, where the notes were made legal tender.
– But the banks there did not shut their doors for a few days.
– If New South Wales had not had Sir George Dibbs at the head of the Government it would have had a bank panic still.
– Is the honorable and learned senator aware that the Bank of England can suspend payment if it likes, and that Sir George Dibbs gave the same advantage to the banks of New South Wales as it has?
– The State came to the assistance of the banks.
– This all bears out my argument, that where a bank haslost public confidence the State has to step in and restore that confidence.
– Has the honorable senator ever known the people of Canada to lose confidence in their banks during the last thirty-four years?
– Not once. We have had other instances where the States have had to step in and guarantee the note issue of banks. The notes were supposed to be payable when presented, and the fact that the State had to give that guarantee was positive proof that, at that time, the notes were not worth the paper on which they were printed. But immediately the guarantee was given by the State, these notes were accepted without question by the general public, even in that time of panic. Now, what are the banking proposals of the Labour Party? Our object, in the first place, is to insure that the public, who are compelled by the exigencies of business to trust the banks to a certain extent, shall have some guarantee that on presentation their notes shall be redeemed, that the assets of the banks shall not be allowed to dwindle into mere paper assets, as had occurred in the case of many private banks in 1893. We have heard a great deal about the confiscation of the banks’ gold. There is not a shadow of justification for supposing that there is a word about confiscation in our proposals.
– It is borrowing.
– It is borrowing- It is proposed to compel the banks to do what they say they do without compulsion.
– It is the substitution of one security for another.
– Our desire is to give a guarantee to the people that there shall be adequate security to justify their confidence in the banks. Whenever we have had a run on the banks, whether it has been in New Zealand, or in any State of the Commonwealth, the . people have always been allowed to “ fall in.” In Queensland, it came to such a pass that, in order to preserve the people from the probability, or the certainty, of being defrauded by the issue of notes, which had, in some instances, proved to be perfectly valueless, we were compelled to withdraw the privilege of issuing notes from the banks. At the present time, in that State, no bank can issue a note and have it accepted as legal tender.
– That is an interference with private enterprise.
– This course was taken by a purely Conservative Government, owing to the rotten condition of the banking institutions at that time. The State issues every note, and the banks have to plank down good gold for the notes.
– Excuse me, in Queensland the banks give their fixed deposits for these notes.
– Although Senator Walker is a director of a bank, still I must dispute his word on this point, and refer him to the Statute, which may be seen in our Library.
– Even if he is right, a fixed deposit is really the same thing as gold.
– What ‘has been the result qf the issue of these Treasury notes ? Notwithstanding that Queensland has passed through a time of trouble and difficulty which is. almost unprecedented in. its history, notwithstanding that it has been alleged that the State was almost bankrupt owing to the recurrence of bad seasons, and the mismanagement of affairs by a corrupt Tory Government, not one citizen has ever objected to accept a Treasury note for £1 or £5, as readily as he would accept gold. Therefore, I ask, is it not a reasonable thing for this Parliament, in the interests of the people, to say to any banking institution, “ Before you engage in a business which may involve a number of persons in ruin if it is not carried on properly, you must give us some guarantee; that the people’s interest and money shall be safeguarded.” We ask that a certain percentage - 20 or 30 or 40 per cent, if you like - of the reserves of banking corporations shall be held in Commonwealth securities, so that the people shall have an adequate guarantee that, at any rate, that proportion of the reserves shall be safe. We have a perfect right to insist upon that guarantee being given. Up to the present time, banking institutions have been allowed to carry on their business practically at their own sweet will. What was the consequence in Melbourne some years ago? A state of misery and destitution was brought about by the failure of privately conducted banks that had not to give any guarantee, which was almost without a parallel in the history of the world.
– They locked up £54,000,000, and they have not given one pennyworth of security for its repayment.
– In most cases they never will, because the money has been absolutely lost.
– In Victoria, the notes-, are a first charge on all the assets of a bank.
– So they are in every State.
– They are not in NewSouth Wales:
– It does not matter whether the notes are a first or last charge on the assets, because the fact remains that thev bear on their face this indorsement by the bank, “ We promise to pay on demand.” You could demand until you were black in the face, but you could not get the money, because the banks had not got it. Even the strongest bank in Australia - the Bank of New South Wales, with which Senator Walker is connected - was glad to get a little saving grace to tide over the position. Nevertheless I believe that the position of that bank was almost unquestioned.
– That bank did not ask the Government for grace ; the Government offered it.
– There is no question that the Bank of New South Wales asked for and did receive some sort pf Government assistance.
– They simply availed themselves of the Act which Parliament passed.
– They wanted Government assistance, and they took it.
– We took it - yes.
– Even the facts admitted by honorable senators opposite go to prove that something is necessary to safeguard the interests of the public.
– Therefore the honorable senator would take the gold away from the banks.
– We are not going to take their gold away from them, but we are going to insure that a certain portion of their reserves shall be utilized. It is retained for the security of the people who have accepted bank-paper in all good faith. But we have found in the past that, notwithstanding glowing balance-sheets, and notwithstanding the statements often made that the . banks held such and such reserves, when the time of stress and difficulty came these reserves were not available. ‘ The public had no redress. What was the position in Queensland? One of the banks, doing a very large business - the Queensland National Bank - held State money to the extent of millions, which has been locked up in interminable deposits.
– Interminable? 1 think not.
– Practically so, because there was a certain percentage which the Government were to forego, and the rest was not to be paid for something like from twenty-five to fifty years..
– That ‘is not interminable.
– There were several other banks in a similar position. We have a right to demand that a certain portion of the reserves which the banks saythat they put by shall be utilized. We have a right, in the interests of the public whom we represent, and upon whom the banks depend for their prosperity, to demand that a portion of those reserves shall be held in the security of the Commonwealth - that is, in the security of the whole of the people themselves - for the safeguarding of the . interests of those people. What have the banks got to lose? Absolutely nothing, as is proved by the experience of Canada. Suppose that a bank keeps 50 per cent, of its reserves in gold coin.I am putting this as a supposititious case, and not as an indication of what a bank would’ keep. That coin is. locked up from year to year, doing absolutely nothing, unless there is a run on the bank.
– It gives confidence to the public.
– The public have no guarantee that the money will be there when it is wanted, as I have proved by the cases [ have cited. When in those instances the public wanted the gold coin which was supposed to be available it was not there. Suppose, as Senator Walker says, that the gold coin reserve is retained in the coffers of the banks in order to inspire confidence. In that case it is lying useless. Why should not a certain proportion of it be put to use, so long as there is something put. in its place which will inspire equal or greater confidence? The experience of Canada proves that that money can be utilized for the benefit of the whole people - that instead of its being locked up it can be put into circulation, accomplishing beneficent works for the benefit of the people, while confidence is not impaired in the slightest degree.
– Why not do the same with limited liability companies ?
– If they were doing business in the same way as the banks are doing business, and were intrusted with millions of the people’s money for investment, that argument would be good.
– Some of them are doing business in just the same way.
– If those companies held millions of the people’s monev at call-
– A great many of them do.
– They are banks if they do that. I am prepared to extend this proposal to every company that is doing banking business. These banks are receiving money at call, and on fixed deposit from customers all over the Commonwealth. They issue notes, except ‘in Queensland, where the issue of notes is a Government monopoly. These notes they promise to pay on demand, but sometimes when the banks have been asked to redeem their promise they have not been able to do it. Experience has proved that some sort of legislative interference is necessary. We are asked why we require a guarantee from these banks. Because past experience has shown that it is necessary, and because it is absolutely desirable to bring into circulation money which is locked up and doing nothing, inasmuch as it is proved that public confidence can be inspired and maintained equally effectively by other means.
– Why stop at 40 per cent ?
– Because there is always a certain amount of money which is required for the transaction of current daily business. The other portion is not required, unless there is a run on a bank, which is due to want of confidence; and that confidence can be more effectively maintained by a guarantee of the people than by a supposititious cash reserve in the vaults of the bank. I say supposititious, advisedly, because when it came to the point the coin reserves did not exist, although certificates were issued showing that they did exist. In 1893, that was the common experience. The exceptions were few in which the actual coin reserve was in existence to anything like the amount set forth in the balance-sheets of the banks. We have experience in Canada and . Australia that a Government guarantee is a surer and more efficacious means of securing public confidence than anything else. Even in the banking crisis of 1893, when the people were almost mad with excitement over the failure of the banks, as soon as the Government guaranteed the notes they were accepted without question in every State of the Commonwealth. Why, when we can do three good things in one Act, should we not do them? Those things are, first, that we can exact a fair guarantee that the people’s interests will be safeguarded by these proposals ; secondly, we can prevent money from being locked up uselessly in vaults or safes and put it to a beneficent use in carrying on necessary works for the benefit of the people; and, thirdly, we can give an absolute security for that confidence which the public ought to feel in the banking institutions with which thev transact business. It would suit everybody except those who want to rake in profits all the time. Not that those gentlemen ever hope to make a profit out of the money which they actually retain as gold reserves in the vaults, because it is impossible to make a profit out of money, unless it is put to use. But the profit which they hope to make is this - that if the people are deprived of the use of that money, and are compelled to borrow from other sources, they will have to pay high interest, and in consequence the 7x2 money-lenders and the profit-mongers will reap a greater advantage. I think I have said enough to prove thai these proposals are in the interests of the people of the Commonwealth. It does not matter whether honorable senators opposite approve or disapprove of them, the people will see that the great example of Canada in this regard is worth following, and will soon wake up to the necessity of following it. No matter whether the present Government or any other Government is in power, they will have to do this thing. I was very much amused the other day at the remarks of Senator Walker when addressing himself to this question. He is not usually humorous - or at least lie does not attempt to be. But sometimes he is humorous unconsciously. He said that what was required more than anything else at the present time was fiscal peace. Senator Walker was .something like the Melbourne Argus in (hat connexion. That journal supplemented Senator Walker’s desire for fiscal peace by- saying that one other thing was just as much required, and that was political peace. Other Governments having been turned out) of office, and the Argus Government now being in office, that journal wants fiscal peace, and no more fighting.
– The honorable senator’s Government wanted fiscal peace also.
– I have no desire for fiscal peace.
– The hon. 01 able senator does not want peace of anykind.
– I do not want it at too high a price. If I see something that does not tend to the well-being of the Commonwealth there will be no cry for’ fiscal peace from me, or for peace of any kind until it is remedied, no matter whether a Government which I support occupies the Treasury bench or not. There is no peace. Because honorable senators opposite happen to have secured possession of the Treasury bench they desire political peace and fiscal peace. Nobody must attempt to dislodge them. So far as I am concerned, they will get no peace from me. I shall endeavour to dislodge them on the first available opportunity, because I believe it would be disastrous to the best interests of Australia ‘ if the present Government were allowed to retain office one hour longer than is absolutely necessary.
– It is necessary for a good many years yet.
– Next week will see the end, I think.
– What is the position with regard to fiscal peace? Mr. Deakin, as leader of the Government at the time, put forward a platform of fiscal peace during the life of the ensuing Parliament, at the general elections held last year. But he put it forward with a very considerable qualification. He submitted that platform in conjunction with an idea of preferential trade, and a further idea that there should be certain bonuses granted. The party represented on the Treasury bench at the present time, led by the Right Honorable George Houston Reid, would not accept fiscal peace at any price at the general election. They said it was the white flag, and they fired upon the white flag. They were beaten, and now having been beaten, they say, “Allow us to come in under the white flag.” The members of the party to which I belong put forward no such cry as fiscal peace at the elections.
– Trie honorable senator is a fiscal atheist, is he not?
– I am not a fiscal atheist. I believe that one of the most important aims we should have in view for the young nation which we are trying to build up here under the Southern Cross, is that so far as possible we should be placed in the position of a self-contained nation, independent of any portion of the outside world. What is our position as an island Continent? If there were war to-morrow in which we were involved, we should be liable to bc. cut off from, all the supplies for which we. have, hitherto been looking to the foreigner.
– The honorable senator does not suppose that ships would come here empty ?
– If an honorable senator is so stupid that he cannot see that in war time it is possible that ships would be unable to trade with an island Continent, it is useless to argue with him.
– There has been no communication with Japan for months.
– Though Great Britain possesses a magnificent navy, the finest and most powerful the world has ever seen, it has always been recognised by her statesmen, that were England at war with a firstclass European power, it is possible that her supplies of the necessaries of life for her people might be very seriously interrupted.
– With a coast line extending for 8,000 miles, it would take a big nation to cut us off..
– A coast line of 8,000 miles does not amount to very much, considering our present means ot communication. We have only three or four ports of the Commonwealth connected by rail. If we could not get goods introduced at Sydney, Melbourne, or Adelaide, and they had to be landed at Brisbane or Rockhampton, we should find very great difficulty in keeping Melbourne or Sydney supplied. Then, what about the enormous areas in other parts of the Commonwealth, which are not connected by rail with the various ports ? How would they be supplied ? I repeat that it is most desirable that Australia should, as far as possible, be a self-contained nation. That we cannot hope to be, without the establishment of industries of various kinds within the Commonwealth, and they cannot be established without some adequate system of protection. Let it be remembered that the vast bulk of the great industries even of free-trade England were built up under a strictly protective system. I ask why we should not follow the good example of “ the dear old mother-land,” in that respect. I do not propose to argue the question of Protection versus Free-trade in the course of this debate. The subject is too large to be dealt with casually in a debate of this kind. No one could hope to do it justice by mere casual references, and I wish only to define my position in reply to Senator Walker’s interjection. I assure the honorable senator that I am not a fiscal atheist. I believe thai a fiscal policy of some sort is absolutely essential as a part of the financial policy which any party aspiring to govern in the Commonwealth must have. I hold very strong views as to what our fiscal policy should be, and at the proper time I shall have the courage to freely enunciate those views. Senator Walker referred, amongst other things, to the Western Australian railway. I really do not know what attitude the honorable senator or the party to which he belongs is going to take up on that great question.
– I am in favour of it.
Senator GIVENS. so. I understand, is the present Minister of Home Affairs, who, on various occasions, . and on many platforms, has most strongly denounced it.
What an extraordinary change of opinion the translation of an honorable gentleman from one side of the House to another often makes.
– It does, with members of all parties.
– A month ago the present Minister of Home Affairs denounced this proposal in the most unmeasured language. Nothing was then too bad to say about it. It was a desert railway, which involved an unmitigated steal from the funds of the Commonwealth”.
– Who said that?
– The present Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Dugald Thomson.
– We now find the honorable gentleman in favour of the proposal, and actually introducing a Bill dealing with the subject, in another place.
– Why should he not change his mind ?
– Certainly, if he pleases. The honorable gentleman’s change of mind pre-supposes that he has a mind to change; but what I complain about is that these changes of mind occur only as peculiar coincidences at a time when some political benefit may be gained by the individual changing his mind.
– Has the honorable senator’ never changed his mind for a benefit?
– I hope that when I do change my mind, it will not be for place, pay, or power.
– I do not think the honorable senator can say that Mr. Dugald Thomson has changed his mind for those reasons.
– I am not saying anything at all about the honorable gentleman, beyond the fact that his change of mind at this time appears to be a peculiar coincidence.
– The honorable senator may as well say a thing as imply it.
– When we find these coincidences so very apt to arise in the case of honorable gentlemen of a peculiar political brand, we cannot be blamed for drawing certain conclusions - I do not say what those conclusions are. The whole trouble with honorable senators opposite, in their demand for fiscal peace, has been admitted by Senator Millen, in the speech he delivered during this debate. It is that, if the Labour Party were allowed to remain in power, they would consolidate their position, and strengthen themselves with the people of the Commonwealth. That is what the honorable senator said. What does that mean? There is only one way in which a governing party can consolidate and strengthen its position, and that is by legislating and administering the affairs of the country in the interests of the people. We cannot strengthen or consolidate our position without the approval of the people. Without that approval there can be no improvement made in our position. According to Senator Millen, if the Labour Party had been allowed to remain in power, they would have consolidated and improved their position. That means, if it means anything at all, that the people of the Commonwealth had approved, did approve, and would continue to approve of the legislation and administration of the Labour Party, and because of that those opposed to them thought that they should put them out as soon as possible. The statement made by Senator Millen involves an admission that the people were approving, and would probably continue to approve of the legislation and administration of the Labour Party, as being good for them, and beneficial to the Commonwealth ; but, rather than see that good result brought about, Senator Millen, and the party to which he belongs, were prepared to remove from the Treasury bench those who were accomplishing such good work. Merely for the sake of aggrandizing their own party, and for the sake of place and power, they were prepared to turn off the Treasury bench a Government whom they admitted did good work, and in such a way as to obtain the approval and confidence of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth
– No word was aver said against their administration.
– There was not very much of it.
– There was four months of it.
– I have stated the logical conclusions to be arrived at from what Senator Millen said, and I challenge anybody to find a flaw in” that logic. Of course, Senator Millen said also that the ostensible object of the published platform of the Labour Party did not cover the whole of our aims. The honorable senator did not disapprove, and was not frightened of anything we propose at present. It was what was coming after that that the honorable senator objected to.
– I do not think the honorable senator said that.
– Senator Clemons can look up Hansard, and find it” for- himself.
– It is what Senator Millen said.
– We have a difference of opinion on the other side, straight away. Senator Walker is honest enough to admit that I have quoted Senator Millen fairly.
– I did not for a moment suggest that the honorable senator ‘had not quoted Senator Millen honestly.
– I did not understand Senator ‘Clemons to admit that a minute ago. Senator Millen believes that everything we propose at the present time is right. He is not afraid of anything we have on our immediate programme; it is the ultimate ends we have in view that the honorable senator is afraid of.
– Tom Mann-ism.
– I ask whether we have not just as good a right to be afraid of what may be beyond the present platform of ‘honorable senators opposite, as they have to be afraid of what is beyond our present platform. Do they in their published platform show the whole of their ideas and conclusions ? Do they, .in their public enunciations of policy, give the whole of their aspirations, aims, and objects? Not they.
– They have taken a leaf out of the book of the Labour Party.
– I want to show the utter insincerity of the sort of criticism to which the Labour Party has been subjected. It is admitted by honorable senators opposite that they take exactly the same course which they denounce the Labour Party for taking ; though we of the Labour Party have not done anything to justify the charges made. So far as the Labour Party are concerned, we are not revolutionary Socialists. We do not want to accomplish reforms by revolution, because we believe that reforms thus accomplished would not be lasting or have a good effect. What we believe in is evolution - a gradual growth. We want to ‘take one step at a time, and judge by the circumstances of that time as to what the subsequent steps shall be. It has been charged against us that we are never satisfied - that we agitate until we get what we want, and then immediately reach out our hands for more. Of course we do, and quite right too. But the Tory is never content that that should be the case, although a moment’s thought should convince him that the very fact that the people are never satisfied, but are always reaching out for more, is the surest guarantee of our continued prosperity, and the best assurance of the vitality and continued life of our race. When we sink to a state of plodding contentment, in which we are satisfied with anything that comes along, that day will spell stagnation, and stagnation will inevitably spell ruin. We desire to continually strive for something better, and that is what the Labour Party means to do - to keep on striving until they arrive at the final goal, whether that be this year, next year, or next century, when human effort can make no further progress towards human happiness. Until the sum total of possible human happiness is obtained, I hope the Labour Party, and every progressive party, will never rest content. I should like to make a passing reference to Senator Millen’s observations on what he called the “ Petriana scandal.” These are not my words) but the words of Senator Millen, whom we now find supporting certain members of a Government who perpetrated that scandal. Could anything be more inconsistent or more degrading to the public life of the Commonwealth, than that a man in a representative position should describe a certain course of action as a scandal, and at the same time give his support to the very men who were guilty of what he denounces ? The scandal, if scandal there was, lay in the lying and misrepresentations used by the Free-Trade Party of New South Wales for political purposes. It was lying of the most shameless description from beginning to end, and I do not hesitate to say so.
– Do not forget the Melbourne Argus.
– There was the Melbourne Argus too; but it was the Freetrade Party who used this, and other dirty weapons, which I had better not mention in a respectable Chamber of this sort. It has been proved over and over again from the papers laid on the table during the session that the statements made about the Petriana case were absolutely false, and the parties who made the statements knew that they were false, but they used them deliberately, and of malice aforethought for the attainment of their own political ends. They could not fight nor win their case honorably, but had to descend to dirty political methods of this sort in their efforts to discredit, the Government then in power. Now, strange to say, we find those gentlemen who denounced’ the “ Petriana scandal,” ana the Government who perpetrated it, arm in arm, and cheek by jowl with the men they denounced.
– How about the Stelling case?
– That was a case of a similar description. Honorable senators opposite are so much in love with the criminal that they want to gather him to their bosom with as little impediment as possible. If I were to go into the particulars of the “Petriana scandal,” the Stelling case, or of the famous six hatters we heard so much noise about, my observations would be of inordinate length. As the Labour Party did not perpetrate the awful things which honorable senators opposite so freely and eloquently denounce, we are not on our defence, and we shall therefore leave it to Senator Drake, Sir George Turner, and other honorable gentlemen who are now associated with honorable senators opposite, to defend arid explain the position. Senator Millen, in the course of his remarks said - and I think I quote him correctly - that the Labour Party stands for collective effort, while he stands for individualism ; and before I conclude, I intend to deal with that aspect of the question. Senator Millen’s statement, or enunciation of policy in this connexion can, I believe, . be taken as fairly representative of the” views expressed by most honorable members on the other side, and therefore my remarks will apply generally, and not to Senator Millen, or any other honorable senator, in particular. But prior to dealing with this matter I desire to point out for the benefit of the Senate and the .people of the Commonwealth that the policy of the present Administration, so far as we have had any enunciation of it, is absolutely a colourless one, containing nothing which has not been promised or taken in hand by previous Administrations. That policy is one which the present head of the Government described in .his celebrated speech at Warragul as a “crawling policy “ ; and now that it has been adopted by him I suppose we are justified in styling the Prime Minister a “crawling” politician.
– That is too elaborate a joke.
– I do not know that. Mr. Reid was not a little bit delicate about applying the epithet, which I admit is not elegant. But the Labour Party did not invent the adjective in the first instance, and I am now using the eloquent language of such a distinguished statesman as the present head of the Government. So far as we have been able to find any policy in the declaration of the Government, it is that which they have stated on public platforms from one end of the Commonwealth to the other, and which has been stated by Senator Millen here - the policy of anti- Socialism. I do not think there is an honorable senator opposite who will deny that that indicates their real objection to the Labour Party, and is the real policy they are putting forward at the present time.
– The honorable senator had better define “ Socialism “ before he goes on.
– I shall do that for the benefit of the honorable senator. Honorable senators opposite have denounced each other year after year, and Administration after Administration have denounced each other in the most bitter language ; and I suppose we must give them credit for sincerity in advocating separate policies which each has declared would be ruinous to the country. The protectionists said that protection was the chief plank in their platform, and that without it the country would be ruined - that if the destinies of the Commonwealth were placed in the hands of the free-traders, it would be “ good-bye “ to the prosperity of Australia and of the various States. The free-traders said exactly the same thing about the protectionists, who were described as robbers of one class of the community for the benefit of another. Now we find the free-traders and the protectionists arm in arm.
– So they are in the Labour Party, are they not ?
– The Labour Party never deceived the public of Australia, but came forward with a straight-out platform, declaring that they put that platform first and the fiscal issue second.
– The Labour Party are apparently divided on the fiscal question.
– Some of the members of the Labour Party hold free-trade principles, so far as fiscal ideas can be called principles, and- there are other members who hold protectionist opinions. But, in my opinion, fiscal ideas of one kind or another are not principles, but mere matters of expediency, largely or almost entirely governed by time, place, and circumstances.
– The honorable senator is evidently a fiscal atheistj after all.
– I am not a fiscal atheist. As we find those ardent freetraders arm-in-arm with the men they denounced as robbers-
– It shows how forgiving they are.
– It shows that greater than fiscal principles, or any differences which may have previously existed, there is a motive at work, and that great and guiding motive is hatred of the Labour Party - absolute hatred of the Labour Party.
– Political hatred.
– I am speaking in no other sense but political.
– I hope the honorable senator does not speak of me as hating the Labour Party, because I am all love for them.
– The AttorneyGeneral is as mild as a sucking dove, and would not, I am sure, say a word to disturb the equanimity or calm of this Chamber. I believe that when he spoke at a public function in Adelaide recently he denounced the Labour Party.
– I think not.
– Is the report wrong again ?
– I spoke in chastening love of them:
– Yes, just like a mother feels when she spanks the baby. It is evident that there must have been some very strong motive to make these erstwhile political enemies on the other side come together.
– When the alliance comes off what are the honorable senator’s friends going to do? Go arm in arm together.
– I have always been able to go arm in arm with any reformer, whether he has been a protectionist or a free-trader, because we did not put the fiscal question as a leading issue to the people, and we break no pledge by leaving it sunk. Furthermore, we always told the electors that it was a mere secondary matter, and that labour principles should receive first consideration, because we find that in free-trade England there are millions of persons who are in a condition of absolute starvation to-day, and thatthe same thing exists in protectionist America, showing conclusively that neither free-trade nor protection of itself will effect the industrial salvation of the masses of the people. But honorable senators on the other side put their fiscal faith first, and yet they have sunk it, joined together by a common hatred of the Labour Party - that is, of the aspirations of the masses of the people of Australia.
– In defence against attacks.
– I shall be able to enlighten the honorable senator before I have finished. As a matter of fact, the party which is stigmatized as being- all that is bad have no desire, as they have evidenced time and’ again, to grasp the governing power for the mere sake of being in office. The only desire we have ever had in entering . the parliamentary arena, or accepting any public or administrative position, has been to promote the well-being of the people of Australia, as has been proved over and over again. We are here not to represent property or social position, or anything of that kind, but to represent the common rights of humanity. When honorable senators opposite have sunk their fiscal belief, and every point of difference which has hitherto existed between them,, to fight us, unquestionably they are fighting against the well-being of the masses of the people.
– You have a funny way of protecting the rights of the nonunionists.
– We- shall- have’ an opportunity to discuss that question’ byandby, and it ought not to be necessary for me to remind an old parliamentarian like Senator Dobson that it is quite unusual, and, I believe, highly disorderly, to anticipate the debate on a measure. We welcome the coalition on the other side, because it places all the enemies of the masses of the people in one camp. We are not now liable to a flank attack. We have all our enemies in front of us, and we know exactly whom we have ‘ to deal with, and the people of Australia will continue to deal with them until, as occurred in Queensland the other day, they are” practically wiped out.
– The Labour Party had to unite with a certain section there to do it.
– Queensland has absolutely the worst franchise to be found in Australia. In some electorates the property vote amounts to 50 per cent. A man may possess a vote for every electorate in the State, and may record a vote for seventy-two candidates. But, in spite of the franchise and everything else, .in a House of seventy -two members, we have thirty-four .straight labour men, and we are allied with the Progressive Party of twenty members. In fact, the position is so unprecedented that benches have had to be removed from the Opposition to the Government side in order to accommodate all the Progressivists.
– Does the honorable senator think that that has anything to do with the policy of the Government?
– So far as I know, sir, this debate is on the question as to whether a -certain paper shall be printed or hot.
– Yes, and on that question the policy of the Government and that of the Opposition can be debated.
– I am showing that, according to the results of the recent Queensland elections, a very important portion of the Commonwealth is in entire opposition to the policy of the present Government, and I think, with all due respect to you, sir, I am entitled to quote a fact like that to bear out my argument. The only policy I have been able to discover on the other side, if it is worthy of being called a policy, is that the Government and their supporters are against the Labour Party. What does that mean? It means that they are against the workers of the community, because the Labour Party aspires to represent the workers.
– The honorable senator told us about ten minutes ago that the Labour Party represent all the people.
– I think I shall have to come down to definitions or “ fundamentals,” in order to instruct the honorable and learned senator.
– I hope that the honorable senator will stick there.
– I do not intend to stick at the bottom all the time. The hon- orable and learned senator would like the majority of the people to stick at the bottom, and allow him to trample upon them just as he likes; but they are not going to stick there. When I speak of the workers, I speak about the only persons in the community who are worth talking about.
– That is right. The Labour Party are not representing all the people, but only the workers.
– I define a worker to mean any person in the community who performs a useful function, whether by brain or by hand, either in production, or in distribution. ‘ That definition is wide enough to cover at least 90 per cent, of the community. Any man who’ does not perform a useful function - I do not care if he be a millionaire - is not worth considering. Because, after all’, there are only two classes in the community - the workers and the loafers. A millionaire can be a loafer, just as much as a man who is taken; up in the street and given six months under the Vagrant Act. The millionaire is very often the worst sort of loafer, because not only is his own capacity for wealth production wasted, but the capacity for usefulness of dozens of persons is wasted in waiting upon him. That is an economic truth which may not be acceptable to Senator Dobson.
– It is very contradictory of former remarks of the honorable senator.
– I have not accused the. honorable and learned senator of understanding anything. I am here to state the case as well as I can, and put forward plain arguments in its support. But I am not here , to supply the honorable and learned senator with the necessary brains to understand them.
– What has a senator’s personal qualifications to do with the policy of the Government?
– I submit that when stupid interjections are being continually fired off at me, I am entitled to explain the difficulty I am in in meeting a gentleman of the density of Senator Dobson. Why are the Labour Party hated so much by honorable senators on the other side? They hate us so much that they have sunk the fiscal principles which are so dear to them in order to “ down “ us. Our aims can stand any amount of criticism. We do not desire to do an injustice to any person in the community, whether he is rich or poor. All we ask for is a;fair deal for every man, woman, and child. We intend’ to insist that every person shall get a fair deal.
– The honorable senator called a man who has land or money a robber.
– I refuse to have words put into my mouth by Senator Dobson ; I did not call any man a robber.
– Some members of the Labour Party did.
– The honorable and learned senator cannot accuse me of not expressing my opinions fully and plainly this evening. I have not minced my words, nor shall I. If I believe that a man is a robber, I shall tell him so, either here or outside. The Labour Party will insist upon getting a fair deal for every person. So far, there has been one law for the rich and one law for the poor. It is very likely that the Attorney-General will deny that.
– I do not assent to it.
– That implies that the honorable and learned senator does not deny my statement.
– I do not assent to it.
– If it is denied, I can quote innumerable instances to show where there has been one law for the rich, and one law for the poor. The Labour Party want to make no such distinction as that. We desire to have one law for the rich and poor alike, and to have it clearly understood that no man shall get an exemption from a law because of his social position, or his wealth, or anything else. We want to make the law courts and the fount of justice as free to the poorest individual in the community as to the highest.
– Is not that so now ?
– It may be in theory, but it is not in practice.
– Is it fair play to give a preference to unionists ?
– I have said several times that it is disorderly to anticipate the debate on a measure, and I do not intend to break the rule. I shall argue that point with the greatest pleasure, either with Senator Dobson or with Senator Walker when the proper time comes. The criticism which is levelled against the Labour Party and its methods strikes me as being exceedingly stupid. Only a party that is devoid- of any sound logical reason would stoop to make some of the miserable excuses which have been put forward by honorable senators opposite as reasons why they dislike and hate the Labour Party. In the first place, we are accused of putting forward a cast-iron programme. Are we not entitled to tell the people before we seek their suffrages what our views are on the principal questions of the day? Would it be honest for us not to do so? And yet because we put forward our views in plain black and white, because we took * the people into our confidence, and told them exactly what we mean, it is sought to hound us out of public life. That is what it means when they object to our cast-iron platform. We are also accused of signing a- pledge. Why should we not sign a pledge to the people? The past political history of every State in the Commonwealth has proved that a number of people have gone on to the platform, and have virtually pledged themselves to certain specific political principles, but have betrayed the people when they got into Parliament. They have afterwards denied that they gave such pledges, simply because there was no definite record that they had done so. We take out of the hands of any member of our party the possibility of deceiving the people in that way. We say, “ If you want to be a member of our party, you must subscribe to the broad principles which we believe in, and which every member of our party subscribes to.” Is it unreasonable that before a person is recognised by us as one of ourselves’, he should be asked to sign and subscribe to exactly the same platform as that to which we have given our adherence? There is no coercion in that. If a man does not wish to sign the platform, he is perfectly free not to do so.; only we must be given the same liberty to keep our party clear of men who will not subscribe to our principles. There is nothing improper in any member of Parliament signing a pledge to the people who elect him. Let me remind honorable senators that before they take their place in this Chamber, they have not only to sign a pledge, but to swear to it. Take the case of a minister of religion in any denomination. That holy man - whom we might reasonably be expected to have his word taken without making any definite pledge - is: expected to make a public vow that he believes in certain things. Is it not a fact that a justice pf the peace, when he is appointed, has not only to pledge his word, but to swear that he will administer justice evenly and impartially? Is it not a fact that in nearly every public office of any consequence a man has not only to sign a pledge, but to swear it? Turn to the highest office iri the Empire. Take Ring Edward himself. Before he mounted the throne of England, he not. only had to sign, a pledge, but to swear in the most solemn manner ; and that pledge was the most cast-iron one that could be imagined. I think that what is good enough for King Edward, who is so much admired by ultra loyal senators opposite, ought to be good enough for an humble member of Parliament.
– We are governed by discussion, not by cast-iron pledges.
– Every one knows that Parliament is a deliberative assembly, but is it not a fact that every member comes into Parliament with certain definite convictions and principles? Does he not tell the electors that he will enter Parliament with certain fixed ideas in his mind as to the best things to do under certain circumstances? There is plenty of room for discussion and deliberation in reference to the details of those principles and measures to give the fullest possible room for individual liberty. Take a supposititious case. Senator Dobson believes that human life is sacred. He would not hesitate for a moment to go on any platform and say that he was in favour of any law which would prohibit the taking Of life and punish any man who did violence to another. Would that pledge deprive him, when he entered Parliament, from exercising a full discretion as to the details of any measure that was intended to carry out that principle? No one knows better than Senator Dobson that it would not, and he is really beating the air in putting forward ridiculous objections of that kind.
– Facts are never ridiculous; this is a deliberative assembly, and the honorable senator’s party come into it bound hand and foot, and can do nothing.
– There is not a member of our party who comes into Parliament bound hand and foot in any way. Every member gives his adherence to certain principles which have been agitating the public mind, and which are prominently before the electors. The public are entitled to know the attitude of candidates upon those subjects. But after a member of our party comes into Parliament he has a perfect right to discuss the details of any measure as to how far it is necessary to go, and what it is necessary to do, in order to give- due effect to the principles to which he has adhered. Another thing which has been urged against the Labour Party is that we deliberate in caucus. Senator Dobson said that he is in favour of deliberation, yet he denounces us because we deliberate too much.
– I want the honorable senator’s party to deliberate in public, not iri secret.
– Has Senator Dobson ever attended a caucus meeting?
– I think I held about three in two years.
– That shows what an autocrat the honorable and learned senator was when he was in power, and how dan.gerous it would be to allow the semblance of power to a man who would not even consult’ his own supporters more than twice or thrice in two years. What is infinitely worse than caucus government is government by one man who is determined to do what he likes without consulting others. But the very fact that Senator Dobson held .two or three caucus meetings gives away his whole case. To hold one caucus meeting is as bad as to hold a dozen. A dozen meetings are just as capable of being justified . as one if ‘ they are necessary. But the most effective form of caucus meeting of which I have ever heard is a Cabinet meeting. Senator Mulcahy has been a Cabinet Minister. When his Cabinet met did they do so publicly ? Did they take the representatives of the peopleinto their confidence? On the contrary, they were sworn to secrecy when they accepted office. The very men who have attended Cabinet meetings, which were absolutely secret, haw the unblushing effrontery and the cast-iron audacity to condemn us for holding caucus ‘meetings ! How is a party to arrive at the best line of policy to pursue unless they hold caucus meetings? Why should they- not consult with each other? Is there anything inherently wrong in it, or anything that can be offensive to any fair-minded man? Undoubtedly not. Those who condemn us for holding caucus meetings without any adequate reason also object to our platform, though not because of what is contained in it. for they are coquetting with most of it themselves. They object to us because they call us Socialists. I do not mince matters for a moment. I never did deny, and I never will deny, that I am a Socialist, nor shall I ever feel a little bit ashamed of being a Socialist. I believe that Socialism is the only system which will secure the industrial salvation of the masses- of the people. Socialism is more than justified by everything that we see around us in our civilization. I will not give my own opinion as to what civilization is, but I will quote an -expert .opinion.- . Professor Alfred Russell Wallace, in- his celebrated work on the Malay Archipelago,- in his concluding chapters, -makes a few observations upon this subject. It must be remembered that he is a man in the highest ranks of science. After spending seven years in the Malay Archipelago amongst savage races, he said that if civilization had nothing better to offer us than we see around1 us to-day, then that civilization stands condemned, as compared with the savagery which he witnessed amongst the Malays. Senator Millen said that the difference between his party and ours is the difference between Individualism and Socialism. I accept that as correct. What is the result of the individualism which we see around us? During the recent debates in England on preferential trade, it has been stated repeatedly that, out of a population of about 40,000,000 in the United Kingdom, there are 12,000,000 who are continually on the verge of starvation, notwithstanding the fact that Great Britain is the wealthiest nation in the world. At the same time, millions of money are lying absolutely idle, because profitable investment cannot be found for them. That is the position in free-trade England ; but I am free to admit that the state of things in protectionist America is almost as bad. Go to Germany, to France, or to any other country, and you will find that as wealth has accumulated in the hands of a few, so has misery increased amongst the many. Where are the effects of individualism ? Individualism will callously crush the life out of the little child, if that child stands between it and the realization of its profits. It will separate the wife from the husband. It will compel children to go without adequate education or even without adequate food, in the interests of profitmaking. Individualism, for the sake of profits, will even poison the children, by giving them adulterated milk and food. What do we see in Victoria, as the result of the inquiries of the Royal Commission on the butter bonuses? If the statements made before that Commission are proved, and they have not been contradicted, men who have moved in the highest ranks of commercial, life, men against whom no breath of suspicion was formerly urged, are now being arraigned before the public, and I venture to say that in the minds of the public they must for ever stand condemned, owing to the malpractices of which they have been guilty. They have done what they have been accused of doing, in the pursuit of individualism, the chief ideal of which is the increase of profits, irrespective of the good of the State, or of any canon of morality. They fulfilled the commercial law of getting the highest profits it was possible for them to grab by any means in their power. That is individualism all through. Has not the State been compelled to pass laws to prevent adulteration ; to prevent the trade of the country being ruined by the malpractices of exporters in exporting shoddy and inferior goods? Has it not been necessary to have State interference in a thousand and one forms at every turn in every civilized nation ? Why has this State interference been necessary ? It is owing to the evil results of the system of individualism, a system by which every man grabs all he can for himself, irrespective of the wellbeing of the State, and of every other individual in the community. The aim of the merchant, the exporter, the importer, and everybody engaged in trade is to grasp every possible profit, and men cannot do that without being hard, cruel, and callous to those with whom they are dealing, those whom they employ, and to all with whom they come in. contact. I do not altogether blame people for these things, because the action taken is often absolutely forced upon them by the conditions under which they live. Suppose that an exporter of butter, carrying on business in Victoria, had acted absolutely honestly for the last eight or nine years. Suppose he refused to take anything but his legitimate profit, acted fairly by the men with whom he was dealing here, and by those with whom he was dealing on the other side of the world, as well as with the carriers who transported his produce. He could not possibly have hoped to make a living in competition with the men who were getting secret commissions, the men who were stealing the Government brand and putting it upon their goods without authority or justification, and the men who were guilty of all the malpractices which have been exposed by the Butter Commission. When we see all these evils rampant, is it not time that every individual, who has the welfare of the community at heart, should ask himself what is the remedy, or can a remedy be found? Why are so many of the people poor, and so few very rich. In England at the present time 80 per cent, of the total wealth of that mighty kingdom is in the hands of i per cent, of the community. Ninetyeight and a half per cent, of the community have to be content with 20 per cent, of it’s wealth. Is not that an awful condition of affairs ? Is it not safe also to say that the 98½ per cent., who do. not own the wealth, have produced the greater portion of it ? Undoubtedly they have. Yet they have little or nothing to-day. Starvation is - their lot. The fear of want continually assails them. Although’ they may be in full work to-day; they may be out of work to-morrow with nothing but starvation staring them in the face. That is the result of individualism. We want something better than that We require a remedy for that state of things if one is to be found, and no one who has the welfare of the people at heart can rest content until a remedy is found. There should be some means by which, so long as people are willing and capable of working, they should be afforded ample opportunity to produce a sufficiency of all things to supply their daily needs. What is the explanation put forward by honorable senators opposite, and those in all parts of the world who think as they do, for the misery we see around us ? What is their explanation for the unemployed, and for times of depression, which they all agree result in a great deal of harm, but which they say cannot be remedied? If there is depression to-day, they generally say it is because of over-production at some other time. The market is glutted. because the harvest is good and prices are very low. There has been over-production, too many boots have been put on . the market, production has outpaced consumption, there is a glut in the market, and bootmakers are idle. It is the same with the clothing and every other trade ‘one could mention. I ask whether, to an intelligent man, statements of that kind do not appear to be the utterest nonsense? How can there be over production of wheat and breads tuffs, whilst people are starving for the want of bread? - How can there be over-production of boots, when in the old country men, women, and children are without boots to wear? How can there be over-production of clothing and blankets when people are going around suffering from the cold because of their nakedness and their want of these things? So on through the whole gamut. The argument is not sound, and I say that so long as a human want remains unsatisfied there can be no over-production. Why should there be any over-production ? Under a. proper and well-organized system, . if there were over-production of one article, people would immediately set about striking a balance by producing something else that was wanted, and there would be a sufficiency of all things to go round. That is what col lective effort means - organized effort ‘ against individual effort which has resulted in disaster, and in periods of depression, during which hundreds and thousands of people have been thrown. out of work, and starvation has stared them in the face. That, we are told, is the result of overproduction, and I deny that there can be overproduction when the whole of the people are never fully satisfied in any one particular line. But supposing the explanation given were true, it only furnishes another argument in favour of organized collective effort as against disorganized individual effort. We “require some means by which the masses of the people will be enabled, by legitimate toil, to supply themselves with a sufficiency of the comforts and necessities of life. We require also that this shall be- accomplished in such a way that people will not be compelled to endure a life of grinding slavery. The statistician, who- is the most necessary man in public life to-day, proves that if every able-bodied man were to work a reasonable amount of time there could be a great deal more of the good things of life produced ‘ than there is to-day, in a great deal less time. That would mean that no one would have to do too much work, arid there would be ample leisure time for recreation and improvement for everybody. This is what we hope to be able to obtain by Socialism. We hope to go on in the direction of Socialism for a very considerable time. We do not hope to reach the ultimate goal to-day or to-morrow. We may not reach it in’ the next century, or the century after that, but we do hope to go on in the way which we know results in benefits to the people. We desire to take one step at a time, and to be guided by circumstances . as to the best and wisest step to take in the future. Members of the Labour Party are not here to represent the privileged classes. We object to all privilege. We do not desire that any one should have privileges, whether he be rich or poor. But let me say right here, that if a privilege should be given to anybody, it should be given to the poor man. Why? Because he needs it most. The wealthy individual can generally look after . himself very well, and if a privilege is to be granted to any one, it should be to the poor man, who does not enjoy many of the advantages of this world. But we do not’ advocate that anybody should be given privileges. We argue that everybody should get absolute justice. If absolute, justice were granted to’ every man, no man would require charity or’ favours, and we. do not advocate that they should be given them. We are for a fair deal for every man, rich or poor, and we intend to keep on fighting until we get it. I believe that a first essential and preliminary, in order that every man may be given a fair deal in this Commonwealth, is that we should’ turn out the present Government as soon as possible, and I hope we shall shortly have the pleasure of doing so.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pulsford) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 9.42 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 September 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040914_senate_2_21/>.