3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. BAMFORD presented a petition from 58,209 electors of the Commonwealth, praying that, inasmuch as the expenditure of the Governments of the States had not been reduced, as had been hoped for, since Federation, and that the continuance of their existing powers prevented the development of a true Federal spirit and tended to perpetuate State jealousy, hampering the Commonwealth Government, the Parliament would cause a referendum to betaken, submitting as issues : The abolition of State Governments and Parliaments as at present existing, and the transfer of their property and powers to the Government and Parliament of the Commonwealth; and the establishment of new State Governments with such powers as the Commonwealth Parliament may determine.
Petition received and read.
– A Committee can be appointed only upon motion, of which notice must be given.
– After the adjournment of the House on Friday, Ministers, in pursuance of their promise, took into consideration the consequences of a vote which had been given against them on the previous afternoon, and on Saturday I paid an official visit to His Excellency the Governor-General, and stated to him that, in consequence of that vote, we thought that the best thing for the country would be the dissolution of this House. I asked His Excellency to give me time to present a written statement of our case, which he was good enough to allow me to do. Yesterday, Ministers communicated to him, in writing, an account of the facts as they understood them, and to-day, by command, I again waited upon His Excellency, when he intimated that he would notbe able to grant our request. His Excellency further promised to give me a written reply to the memorandum which I had submitted for his consideration. I thereupon tendered my resignation, and that of my colleagues. I have since received an official intimation that the honorable member for Ballarat has been sent for, and has been commissioned to form a new Administration.
– I move -
That this House places on record its profound regret at the untimely decease of the. Premier of South Australia, the Honorable Thomas Price, and expresses its deep sympathy with his family and the people of South Australia.
It is with more than the usual regret occasioned by a duty of this kind that I move this motion. For a great number of years I was a personal acquaintance of the deceased gentleman, and intimately associated with him in social and political movements. All who knew him as an active member of the Labour Party, and as Premier of the State from which you, Mr. Speaker, come, know that he was a man of whom any community might be proud. His reputation extended, hot merely over South Australia, but throughout the Commonwealth, and I have been personally informed from the centre of the Empire that, during his recent visit to Great Britain, he gained many friends there for himself and for Australia. I doubt if any one has won the hearts of the toiling masses of the United Kingdom more thoroughly and permanently than did he, and I am sure that I echo what is in the minds of every honorable member when I express my sympathy and condolence with his widow and family, and the desire that the blessing of Him who can soothe all sorrows may be upon those to whom he was near and dear. As for the service of the State, other men will no doubt be found to take up the work in which our deceased friend and colleague sogreatly distinguished himself, but a worthy and good citizen has undoubtedly passed from amongst the people of the Commonwealth.
.- The encomium that the Prime Minister has passed upon the late Premier of South Australia is well deserved to the knowledge, I think, of every honorable member and of a very large section of the people whom we have the honour to represent. The honorable gentleman has spoken not for himself or his colleagues alone, but for the whole House. I feel sure that the ability of the late Premier of South Australia is appreciated by all who have watched his career, whether as a member of the Labour Party, as a leader of that party in the State Parliament, or, finally, as the Premierof that State, for a period, during which matters of the utmost moment were coped with by his Government. He has made his mark on the pages of South Australian history, and therefore on the history of the Commonwealth. In himself, he possessed, besides administrative ability, those gifts of speech to which the Prime Minister has properly alluded. These not only brought him into touch with the great bulk of those whom he addressed, but, as has been observed, won their way at once with men of all classes and of all shades of political opinion. This was due to the happy circumstance, that with him the heart and the head were never severed. When he spoke, he touched the feelings of his auditors because he was expressing his own, and when he pursued his arguments, in no case did he forget that he was a man speaking to men on important interests dear to all of them. We have reason to feel gratified that it fell to hislot to visit theMothercountryre- cently as a representative of his State. Those who know the real demands of such a visit, so far as they affected his physical strength, will realize that there, as elsewhere, having paid no heed to considerations of self, he spent himself too freely, as he did in his own State, in what he believed to be the public interest. It is not only as a Premier and as a leader, but as a man, that he won and held the esteem and regard of Australians. We know the trying circumstances under which he came to this country to distinguish himself in his own calling as an expert artisan. We know that his family relations and domestic life were all that could be desired, and great therefore must be the loss that has fallen there. This morning, I have ventured to communicate with those who have been left to mourn his death ; but am greatly pleased to have the opportunity of seconding a motion in support of which this House knows no divisions. We speak with one voice, as the people of Australia will speak in the future, in regard to a man whose sterling character, singleness of purpose, simplicity, and ingenuousness, commended him to their hearts.
– Perhaps as one who sat for many years in the same House of Parliament as the deceased statesman, I may be permitted, before putting the motion, to add two or three words. In the first place, the late Mr. Price’s personal qualities, as much as his public services, have commended him to the people of South Australia ; and next, I can assure the House that in that State, amid all political divisions, and among all classes of the community, there is but one expression of feeling to-day - an expression of extreme regret that so great a man should have passed away.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that a copy of the resolution should be transmitted by you to the family of the deceased statesman and to the acting- Premier of South Australia.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !
– In moving -
That the House do now adjourn,
I may say that I have ascertained from the honorable member forBallaratthatan adjournment until to-morrow would meet his convenience.
.-I desire, Mr, Speaker, to move an amendment, providing that the House should meet on Thursday instead of to-morrow in order to elect a Ministry.
– Had the motion been for the adjournment of the House until some unusual day, it would have been open to the honorable member to propose such an amendment as he suggests, but as the motion is simply “ That the House do now adjourn,” the only alternative would be a determination that it should not now adjourn. In the circumstances, therefore, the honorable member will recognise that I could not accept his amendment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.18 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 May 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19090528_reps_3_49/>.