5th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– On page 1407 of Hansard, of the 23rd September, 1913, there appears a copy of a circular letter issued by a special committee of the Grand Lodge of the Loyal Orange Institution of Queensland, and to which reference was made in another place by the Honorable William Guy Higgs, M.H.R. I desire to say that the circular, a copy of which I have in my hand, has only just been brought under ray notice through its inclusion in Hansard, and that my name was used, not only without my authority, but absolutely without my knowledge. I am not a member of the Lodge in question, nor have I ever been a member of it. I neither approached the Lodge, nor was I approached by the Lodge, and my name was inserted in the circular without my authority. I strongly resent this, or any other unauthorized use of my name, for any purpose whatsoever.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral whether he can furnish any in formation in connexion with the complaint from Western Australia, which I mentioned last Friday in discussing the Supply Bill, as to the wages proposed to be paid to telephone mechanics, whether an. attempt at evasion of the award of the Arbitration Court was being made in offering £144, the minimum for a junior mechanic, instead of £168, and whether his attention has been called to the following telegram in this morning’s Argus -
SYDNEY, Tuesday.- There is much indignation amongst temporary electrical mechanics in the employ of the Postal Department over what is alleged to be an attempt on the part of the Postal authorities to evade the provisions of the Federal award for postal electricians made by Mr. Justice Higgins.
The award came into force on September 12 last, and it increased the pay of these men from £150 per annum to£i68 per annum, as well as reduced the working hours from 48 to 44. This morning the men in the test-room were, it is stated, informed by the officer in charge that unless they were willing to accept the rate for junior mechanics, viz.,£144 a year, their services would be forthwith dispensed with. Instead of an increase of £18 a year, as the men expected under the award, they were faced with a reduction of £6.
The electrical mechanics talk of drastic action if the officials persist in the line of action indicated to-day. It is stated that there may be no work to-morrow. The men affected outside of the 25 employés in the test-room number about 225. Their work includes making new installations, doing urgent removals,, repairs, and alterations.
I desire to know if it is the intention of the Department to pay the award of the Court to these men?
– I have not seen the report in the newspaper, but I shall have the matter looked up. With regard to the honorable senator’s question of last week, it was sent on to the Department, and I inquired to-day whether a reply had been received, but it is not yet to hand. I shall ask the Department to hurry it up. In regard to the general question, I can only say that the decision which the Government came to in regard to the award was that it was to be carried out, and the wages awarded paid to the men.
– Will the honorable senator reply to my question on the motion for adjournment to-night?
– I shall try to get what information I can to-day for the honorable senator.
– I am now in a position to reply to the question put by Sena- tor Needham in regard to postal electricians. The following memorandum has been received from the PostmasterGeneral’s Department: -
With reference to your memorandum of the 29th ultimo, forwarding an extract from Han sard of the 26th idem, containing remarks made by Senator Needham in regard to the question of payment to be made by this Department in Western Australia to men required for installing the new automatic telephone system in Perth, I am to inform you that Senator Needham is incorrect in stating that the award in the postal electricians case provides for junior mechanics 21 to 22 years of age being paid£144 per annum. The provision in the award is that junior mechanics 21 to 22 years of age shall be paid £132 per annum and junior mechanics 22 years of age and upwards £144 per annum. 2 As stated by Senator Needham, the award provides that mechanics, telegraph or telephone, shall be paid £168 per annum.
The award further provides that a junior mechanic becomes a mechanic -
if he is over twenty-one years of age and has been successful at the examination prescribed for mechanic, or
if being under twenty-one years of age he has served five years at least as junior mechanic and is successful at the examination prescribed for mechanic, or
if he is over twentv-one years of’ age andhas served five years at least as junior mechanic and is, in the opinion of the Commissioner, a workman com petent to act as mechanic.
It will be seen that there are certain conditions to be complied with before the rate of £168 per annumapplicable to mechanics can be paid, and unless those conditions are complied with the men concerned would be treated as, junior mechanics, and paid accordingly.
An advertisement appears on page 2632 of the Commonwealth Gazette of the 13th, inst., inviting applications for temporary mechanics (telephone) for this Department in Western Australia, the applicants to be fully qualified in common battery and magneto exchange work. The rate of pay offered is£168 per annum, with allowance of 5 per cent. on salary and upwards, according to locality of employment.
– I wish to ask if the Leader of the Government has had any communication from the Imperial Government with regard to the seditious and disloyal message sent by Mr. McCaughey, a? member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, to Sir Edward Carson and’ other Anarchists in Belfast, and, if: not, will the Government take prompt steps to assure the Imperial authorities that the sentiment expressed in Mr. McCaughey’ s message is not indorsed by the people of Australia ?
– So far as I am aware, the Government have not yet re ceived any communication of the kind indicated in the question.
– Will the Minister report Mr. McCaughey to the sub-Minister of Home Affairs ?
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs a question, but in order that he may understand its nature, I shall first read an extract from a recent issue of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and headed “ The Ballarat Contest.”
It. is stated from Ballarat that Detective Burvett, of Melbourne, and other police officers have just concluded inquiries regarding the alleged wilful breaches of the electoral laws during the recent Federal campaign in Ballarat; and that no evidence whatever was obtained to justify the complaints respecting corruption, duplicate voting, and impersonation.
I wish to ask the Vice-President of. the Executive Council whether that statement is correct, whether that is the net result of the inquiries made by this officer on behalf of the Department; and, if so, will the Senate be furnished with a copy of the report as early as possible ?
– I replied to a question regarding this matter last week. I’ know nothing further on the subject.
– If the honorable senator is not aware that anything has been done, will he cause inquiries to be made in respect to the matter I have ventilated, and if there is in the possession of the Department a report on the lines indicated in the paragraph I have read, will he be good enough to furnish; the Senate with a copy of it ?
– If the honorable senator will give notice of a question; I shall have the matter attended to.
– You will not get out of it. I shall keep at it.
– I should like to draw the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to the report of a speech by him, delivered at Korong Vale on the 20th September. The account in the Korong Vale Lance isheaded “Great Liberal Rally; a Brilliant Success ; Some Rousing Speeches..” The honorable senator is reported to have said -
They have the freest franchise in the world but there has been corruption.
In view of his continued repetition of this charge of corruption, is it the intention of the Government, of which he is a member, to institute a prosecution against any individual supposed to have been guilty of corrupt practices?
– I have no answer to give to the honorable senator. The speech speaks for itself.
– I desire to ask the leader of the Government here whether any determination has been arrived at by the Government as a consequence of a conference which I understand was held in Sydney recently in regard to the proclamation declaring Sydney a quarantine area owing to the existence of smallpox? What I wish to know is whether there is any intention to remove the quarantine?
– I would ask the honorable senator, at the close of this sitting, to give me an opportunity to make a statement in regard to this matter.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, whether he is aware -
Will the Minister be good enough to make inquiries into this matter, and report to the Senate?
– I shall be glad to do so.
Report (No. 1) presented by Senator Henderson.
Naval College- Fitzroy Dockyard - Naval Bases - Garden Island - Assault by Military Cooks.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Has the Minister yet come to a decision as to the appointment of a general manager of the Fitzroy Dockyard, and, if so, will he give the name of the appointee to the Senate, together with the terms of the appointment?
– No decision has yet been come to in the matter.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
If he will take into consideration the desirability of issuing instructions to the visiting expert who has been engaged to report on the naval harbors of the Commonwealth to carefully examine the River Tamar, with a view to its status being raised in connexion with the Naval Defence Scheme, as the result of a favorable report ?
– The answer is -
A Destroyer sub-Base and Submarine sub-Base has been recommended by Admiral Henderson to be established in the River Tamar. The river is at present suitable for that purpose, and no further examination is considered necessary.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Is it not a fact that bores had been put down to a depth of 40 feet on both the Parmelia and Success Banks at Cockburn Sound, West Australia, under the direction of the late Govern- ment, and were not the reports of such borings in the possession of the Naval Board before February, 1913?
– I must apologize to Senator Pearce, and to the Senate, for not having the answer to his question with me now. Something has occurred to prevent the document leaving the Navy Office in time to reach me. If the honorable senator will give me an opportunity at the close of the sitting, I may be able to furnish him with the information he desires.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– I am under the necessity of making the same apology to the honorable senator as I had to make regarding a previous question put by him. In both cases the documents, for some reason or another, have been delayed in transit, and I, therefore, ask the honorable senator to repeat his question.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
If he has yet got any information regarding the alteration of conditions of men working at Garden Island, Sydney?
– When this question was submitted last week, the honorable senator was asked to particularize the matters as to which he desired information. As his letter stating the details of the information required has not yet reached the Department, I ask the honorable senator to be good enough to repeat his question on the next day of sitting.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Has the Minister any information relating to an alleged brutal assault made upon a reporter employed on the staff of the Toowoomba Daily Chronicle by military cooks at the Newtown Camp recently held at Toowoomba, Queensland ?
– The report which has been called for regarding this matter is not yet to hand. When it is, it will be made available to the honorable senator.
Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
What arrangements, if any, are being made by the Government to provide banking facilities for the men employed on the Trans-Australian Railway Works?
– The answer is -
The question of providing banking facilities for the men engaged at the rail head, and at distances from settlement, has received consideration. It is anticipated that arrangements will be completed shortly.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will the Government give consideration to the matter of extending the system of bounty and Excise to the banana industry in _ Queensland and New South Wales, on lines similar to those operating until recently in connexion with the sugar industry?
– The Government regret that they cannot see their way to conform with the request contained in this question.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The Secretary, Department of Home Affairs, has furnished the following information: -
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
The fees paid to counsel were : -
On the trial-
– Arising out of the Minister’s answer, I should like to inquire whether it is not a fact that on the Privy Council appeal Mr. Wise was sent to England, whilst the other barristers were not?
– Is the honorable senator surprised at Mr. Wise’s moderation?
– As far as I know, it is a fact that Mr. Wise was sent to England.
– I should like to inquire whether the Mr. Starke mentioned in the Minister’s reply is identical with the gentleman who is reported in today’s newspapers - both the Argus and the Age - as having said yesterday that others than lawyers may do with the public funds whatever they like?
– I am quite unable to identify Mr. Starke with any one mentioned in to-day’s newspapers.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers are -
3.86 per cent.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Is the Queensland loan from the Commonwealth represented by way of deposit or by way of bills?
– By fixed deposit.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
What is the proportion and amount of gold reserves held by the following banks as against their note issue : - Bank of England, Bank of France, Commonwealth Bank?
– The answer is -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Have the Associated Banks of Australia, or has any individual bank, made any representation to the Government since1st June, 1913, respecting the operation of the Australian Notes Act 1910-11 ?
– The answer is -
The Associated Banks of Australia have not made any representation. The Royal Bank of Queensland complained that it was put to expense in converting accumulated notes into gold, and vice versa, owing to goldbeing payable at the Seatof Government only.
asked the Minis ter representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers are-
– I desire, by leave of the Senate, to make a statement. Honorable senators will remember that on Friday last I was urged somewhat insistently, though ‘I make no complaint on that score, to give replies to various statements made, andquestions put, regarding a number of matters referred to on the Supply Bill. I regretted exceedingly that that very insistency and continued urging of requests for information was in itself the reason why I could not reply to honorable senators. I then indicated that I would take the earliest opportunity to answer the statements made and questions -put. I propose to do that now, and especiallyto reply to various questions put in the Senate for some weeks past with regard to the Tasmanian mail service. It may be necessary that I should apologize to honorable senators who do not come from Tasmania if I have to devote five minutes to my references to this question.
-The honorable senator need not apologize. It is an Aus tralian matter; it affects Queensland as well as Tasmania.
– I am very glad that honorable senators from other States take an interest in the little State in which I live. When the Government undertook the task of arranging a Tasmanian mail service, the chief consideration was to secure, so far as the mail service is concerned, a rapid, regular, and uniform service throughout the year. That was the primary consideration, but subject to that, the opportunity was afforded, as it is always afforded when a subsidy is proposed to be given for any steam-ship service, to consider the matter of providing for the comfort and convenience of passengers, and facilities for conveying freight (between the mainland and Tasmania.These werethe objects that the Government had in view when endeavouring to arrange for the Tasmanian mail contract. I am glad to be in a position to give honorable senators the particulars. First of all, the future service, so far asLaunceston and Melbourne are concerned, will be this: On three days of the week, each way, a boat of the Loongana class willleave throughout thewhole of the year, without any intermission or exception whatever, either for winter running or for docking purposes. The days of the week on which the boats will leave Launceston will be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the days on which the boats will leave Melbourne will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I wish to emphasize the fact that this service will be continued throughout the year, without interruption. In addition, during the two principal summer months of the year, a boat of the Loongana class will go from Melbourne to Burnie, and from Burnie to Launceston, andback again from Launceston, viaBurnie, to Melbourne. This service will be in addition to the regular service of three days each way in each week. Further, in addition, during one of the bi-weekly trips, vid Burnie, the boat of the Loongana Glass will also call at Devonport.
-During two months of the year only.
– During the two chief summer months of the year. The agreement also stipulates that there shall be provided on board these boats adequate and sufficient accommodation for the sorting of the mails, with free accommodation for one sorter. I do not wish to greatly emphasize that, but those who live in Tasmania will recognise that it may mean a considerable advance in the rapid delivery of our mails.
– What if the sorter gets sea-sick?
– Since the honorable senator has referred to that, I should like to express the personal opinion that the system of sorting in transit should be developed as far as possible. If it can.be done successfully anywhere in Australia, I venture to say, from a long experience, which Senator Keating and other members of the Senate have shared with me, that it should be done in connexion with the service between Melbourne and Launceston.
– There is plenty of time, anyhow.
– Not so much us. Senator Mullan thinks, perhaps; but I may give him my sympathetic opinion on the subject, when I say that the time which will be afforded will probably be two and a half hours between Melbourne and Queenscliff, and two and a half hours between the Tamar Heads and the Launceston wharf. That is my sympathetic reply. I venture to say that the five hours will be ample for what is required.
– When we were inquiring into this matter, we learnt that the mails were frequently allowed to lie in Launceston for about half-a-day.
– I may assure Senatorde Largie that it was to prevent that kind of thing, and expedite the delivery of mails all over Tasmania, that this provision for sorting during transit has been arranged. In addition, we have inserted a new clause in the contract, which we hope will be sufficiently stringent for the purpose, to insure punctuality of departure. It was impressed upon the contractors in conversations, and in the contract, that it is desirable that a steamship service for the conveyance of mails should be run as far as possible on the lines of a railway service, and that punctuality is one of the first rules which must be observed. I assure the Senate that it will be observed under the contract. To further secure the rapid delivery of mails in Tasmania, it has been provided that the mails shall be landed at once at Launceston on the arrival of the boat without any delay for swinging the vessel round.
– Would it not be better to arrange for the punctual arrival of the steamers?
– The proper provision is made for that purpose, because the two boats which are to carry on the service are bound down to travel at a certain rate of speed between Gellibrand Light, in Hobson’sBay, and Tamar Heads. Rapid transit is provided for by the contract. A further condition is being enforced, and that is that the rates and freights now charged for the conveyance of passengers and goods between Melbourne and Tasmania shall not be increased at any time during the currency of the contract without the consent and approval of the PostmasterGeneral.
– They are too high now.
– Into that matter I cannot go at present.I have intimated, I think, about the most important clauses in the new contract.
– What is the term of the contract?
– The term of the contract is five years, and is to start from the date when the new steamer of the Loongana type is ready here to take up the running.
– That is practically a seven years’ contract from now.
– No. The existing contract, which still has a year to run, had to be extended. There was no other possible or desirable means of meeting the position until the new boat is available. As soon as the new boat does take up the running, the contract will begin, and the currency of it will be five years.
– It means private enterprise for the next seven years.
– I am not going to deal with that matter. I cannot expect to convince my honorable friend in regard to the question of principle. I trust, however, that my honorable friends will concede to this side the right of determining on what principle the contract is to be carried out. All I ask is that they will make this concession, that on those lines, and subject to that limitation, this is a good business contract.
– It is far from a daily service.
– I should like to make my statement without too many interruptions. I wish to mention, in reply to Senator Pearce, that the present amount of the subsidy is £13,000, and that the future amount will be £15,000. I wish to emphasize what the Commonwealth is to get as a business proposition, looking at it in the coldest and the hardest way possible, for the extra sum of £2,000 a year. First, a new boat has to be put on the service to carry the mails. It will cost at least £150,000. It is to replace a boat which for about five months in the year has been doing work that, practically speaking, it will take up. The value of the boat which is to be replaced is, at the most, £15,000. Therefore, the Commonwealth, by paying £2,000 a year more for the service, is to get a boat which will cost £150,000, instead of a boat which the owners would sell to-day for £15,000. But that is not all. In addition to the improved service, the cost of running a new boat of the Loongana type is at least £2,000 more than the cost of running the boat which it is to replace, and that is theRotomahana. Therefore, from a business point of view, the Commonwealth, by paying £2,000 a year more, is securing, so to speak, from the other side, the full value of the interest on £150,000, less £15,000, that is, the value of the present boat, and the full value of at least £2,000 per month for five months of the year, which will represent to those concerned the added cost of runing the improved service.
– That is one way of putting it.
– I venture to put the matter in that way. I have explained the position, as far as I can, quite fully. I have kept nothing back. I submit that, at any rate, this is a business proposition.
– When a steamship company trading to Western Australia puts on new boats from time to time, it does not get any increased subsidy.
– I can only answer that suggestion in this way: that if any one, on business lines, can quarrel with this arrangement, then every arrangement made for the Tasmanian mail service during the previous ten years has been a hopelessly bad one. I am careful to make no particular reference to the late Government. I shall include, if you like, all preceding Governments. I submit that, having regard to the nature of the mail service, for which we have paid £13,000 a year, the old ser vice, by comparison with the new service, must have been hopelessly and unutterably bad. There is no comparison, from a business point of view, as to the value which the Commonwealth is going to get for the subsidy. By various questions and statements on the subject, I have been reminded of some of my utterances regarding the question of combines. I stand on this side to-day, and adhere to every single statement that I have ever uttered on the subject. If any member of the Senate wishes to know what I have said, I refer him to Hansard, Vol. 64, where he will find my statement in regard to the question of this combine on a motion for adjournment by Senator Long. In conclusion, I will state my attitude in regard to combines. I distinctly object to any combine, shipping or otherwise, using the Government or the people of Australia. But I do not object, and I never will object, to the people of Australia using combines. I venture to say that in the present case we have got out of this combine more value for our money than we could have got out of any single shipping company; and I am glad to do it. There is no honorable senator who is more glad than I am to get out of the combine as much as is possible.
– You would have a hard job to persuade the people of Tasmania as to that.
– I am perfectly satisfied to undertake my own hard jobs. I do not ask for assistance in that matter.
SenatorReady. - Will you let me ask a question before you sit down?
Debate resumed from 24th September (vide page 1443), on motion by Senator Bakhap -
That the following Address-in-Reply be agreed to : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General.
May it Please Your Excellency -
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
.- My remarks will be brief. There has been such a lot said about the AddressinReply that the country is pretty sick of it,
I think, and so are honorable senators generally. But there are, perhaps, reasons why every honorable senator should make ‘a Statement, because, in all probability, if the Government carry out their threat, ‘there will be another election presently, and, of course, the people will want to know what attitude their representatives took in Parliament; and they will be able to refer to Hansard and learn what was done. In the first paragraph of the Ministerial statement we are told that ‘the Government propose to deal with the Electoral Act, which they allege has been working most unsatisfactorily. Since the conclusion of the electoral campaign, many statements have been made about the unsatisfactory working -of the Act, and in Parliament itself a number -of questions have been asked in regard -to those allegations. Ministers have been challenged time and again to substantiate the statements which were made wholly by the Liberal party and by the newspapers supporting that party. They have ‘been asked to have inquiries made into the - allegations, and, -so far as I know, the Senate has not yet. been made acquainted with any information. As one of those who went through the -campaign, and would have liked to see it conducted as cleanly as possible, I am anxious to know the grounds on which the allegations were made. I believe that every honorable senator on this side was prepared to give the Government all the support necessary to have the fullest investigation made in regard to all the charges and statements. Therefore, they have no excuse for not having satisfied the Parliament and the country that there was something in the charges. We understand that detectives have been working under the direction of the Electoral Office, and that they have visited certain constituencies, at any rate, in this State. But. so far as we know, they have not been able to substantiate one of the charges levelled by honorable senators on the opposite side. There are certain specific alterations which the Government propose to make in the Electoral Act. First, they say that there is quite a number of persons on the electoral rolls who have no business to.be enrolled. That may be -so. Possibly there are some honorable senators on the other side who would like to see quite- a number of persons left off the rolls who- are entitled to be there. Indeed, if what we have read in the press during the last few days is true, there are responsible gentlemen in the Government who go about the country and advise their supporters to get to work for all they are worth, and to wipe the rolls pretty clean in regard to Labour people. If there are any electors migrating -from -one .part of Australia to the other, and likely to be away from their homes for a considerable time, they are, I venture to say, supporters of the Labour party, and it would be easy, indeed, for a number of these persons to be wiped off the roll without their knowledge. Very many persons are ‘careless in these matters. It is the duty of any Government, I take it, not to put difficulties in the way of people getting on the roll, but to make it possible for every qualified person to [get enrolled easily. That, I believe, was the aim of the last Government, who did much in that direction, and the number of ,persons on the roll, and the number who voted at the last election, amply -justify my statement. ‘The Electoral Act compelled every qualified person to .have his name inserted on the roll, and that -provision, in my opinion, is .a -very good one. It is said that there was quite a number of persons on the roll who were not entitled to be -enrolled. In .a country like ‘Australia, where people shift about very freely, I am afraid that there never .will be a chance of preventing the names of a number of persons appearing on the roll for, say, two constituencies. The other day the Attorney-General said that the Commonwealth Statistician had told him that every year in Australia 500,000 persons shift from one constituency to another, or from one place of abode to another. In view of that statement, it is very easy to understand how quite a number of persons get on the roll who possibly ought not to be enrolled. I venture to say that, under present conditions, the time will never come when every person will be enrolled for his or her proper division and subdivision, and when -nobody will be enrolled for a wrong division or subdivision. The talk about the irregularities which are alleged to have. been practised at the recent general elections is merely a bogy which is intended to frighten people. I come now to the proposal to restore the postal .vote. My honorable friends opposite have at-, tempted to make a lot of political. capital out of the abolition of that vote at .the instance of the -Labour . party. During the recent campaign, the subject was worn almost threadbare. Our party were charged with being desirous of depriving quite a number of persons of the right to vote. As a matter of fact, when the last Electoral Act was being framed, the desire was expressed that the sick and infirm, in common with every other adult, should be afforded an opportunity of exercising the franchise so long as the postal-voting system could be adequately safeguarded. But Parliament at that time was incapable of devising such safeguards. Various States in Australia have had experience of the postal -voting system, with the result that those persons who are best qualified to speak upon it with authority condemn it root and branch. At the referenda which was taken in 1910, a formidable number of postal votes were recorded at places in Australia where one would naturally think there was no necessity for recording such votes. In other districts, where one expected the system of voting by post to be availed of largely, very few such votes were registered. My own belief is that the so-called Liberal party wish to restore the postal vote because they believe that it can be operated to their own advantage. In the more densely-populated parts of the Commonwealth, employers who have the power of withholding a crust from their employes can easily give the latter to understand that, in order to obviate loss of time from work, it is desirable that they should vote by post, and that Dr. So-and-so or . Justice of the Peace So-and-so will be only too glad to witness their ballot-papers. Without appearing to intimidate their female employes, too, mistresses can easily arrange to see how the former vote.
– And perhaps the husbands of those mistresses are justices of the peace.
– That is why my honorable friends opposite wish to restore the postal vote. Justices of the peace are very handy gentlemen when postal votes require to be witnessed. But in very many places in Australia it is absolutely impossible for Labour supporters to secure the services of a J. P. at all. There is no J. P. there with Labour proclivities, and probably the only justice available is working day and night for the other political party. In Ballarat, with 50,000 inhabitants, there is not a justice of the peace with Labour sympathies, and we have never been able to get one appointed, though there are any number of reputable persons who would be glad of the distinction - persons with Labour aspirations. Why ? Because we have never had a Labour Government in Victoria, and the Tory Government will not appoint a Labour sympathizer a justice of the peace. I repeat that a great deal of capital has been made out of the alleged unsatisfactory conduct of the recent elec.” tions. My honorable friends opposite may have some little reason to be dissatisfied with the result of those elections. Two years previously the referenda proposals of the late Government had been rejected by a majority of 250,000 votes. Naturally, members of the Liberal party thought that that victory would be repeated, and that the Labour party would be wiped out of both Houses of the Legislature. To a certain extent, they were justified in believing that. Seeing that they obtained such a tremendous win in 1910, it was hard to credit that the political pendulum would swing back so far in such a short time. Further, they had all the influential newspapers in Australia in their service, and they were doing good work for them . As a result they expected to sweep the poll. To that extent, the result of the elections must be unsatisfactory to them, and I believe that the next elections will be still more unsatisfactory from their point of view. Immediately after the last elections, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and other Ministers, were to be found touring Victoria, and threatening that they would have Labour members before the people again on very short order. They were going to secure a double dissolution. Since then, however, they appear to have developed what the Yankees call “cold feet.” They realize that they have no chance of obtaining a double dissolution, and they do not appear to be anxious to secure even a single dissolution. I have travelled over Victoria a good deal, and I have very strong reason to believe that if an election were to take place shortly, many of my honorable friends opposite would be given a rest from politics. I come now to the second paragraph in the Governor-General’s Speech. It relates to trade unionism. We are told that the Government are opposed to any favoritism being exhibited in our Public Service. I contend that it is merely an act of justice that a preference should be granted to unionists. In the old days, when gentlemen of the same political kidney as those who now occupy the Government benches were conducting the affairs of the various States, we experienced continual industrial turmoil. The Labour party came into existence, and began to point a way out of that trouble. Its members said, ‘ We believe that it would be much better for the country generally if our industries could be kept continuously employed.” They further said, “ We have to consider not merely the parties to these industrial disputes, but the general public. They are the persons who are entitled to most consideration.” Consequently they advocated the settlement of these disputes in a common-sense way. After a tremendous lot of opposition, they secured the establishment of Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts, with the result that the unions which used to spend their money in feeding persons on strike can now spend it in securing access to those Courts. I recollect when there was constant trouble in the pastoral industry. It was urged by our political opponents that it would never be possible for a Judge to investigate all the intricacies of that great industry, and to satisfactorily determine the hours of labour and the rates of pay which should obtain in it. However, we have proved the opposite, and in the pastoral industry to-day work is being carried on harmoniously. The employers may not be altogether satisfied, and, indeed, the employes may not, but the work is proceeding much more satisfactorily than it did previously. Our trade unions have had to spend money to accomplish this reform, and they have to build up huge funds to enable them to take their disputes to the Court. In such circumstances, surely, they are entitled to more consideration than is the man who is content to take all he can get as the result of the labour of others and to loaf on the efforts of his fellows. I say that we have a right to grant a preference to unionists, and the Labour party are prepared to stand or fall by that plank in their platform.
– They will fall.
– We do not fear that. ‘We have never feared a fight. The more fighting we do the further forward we get, and usually, when the wounded are carried off the field, the number of casualties sustained by our opponents exceeds the number sustained by us. The Government intend to amend the Arbitration Act by depriving the unionists of an opportunity to secure a preference. As a matter of fact, under the existing law he has very little chance of gaining a preference. In only one instance has a preference been granted, and that was on account of the pronounced hostility of the gentleman who is charged with the conduct of the Brisbane tramways service. The Government propose to amend the Arbitration Act by depriving one section of our Australian citizens of the right to appeal to it. Now, if there is anything in the traditions of the British race of which we are proud, it is that all men are equal before the law. Yet the Government intend to deprive farm labourers of their right to take their grievances to the Arbitration Court for decision. The city artisan is to have that right, but the farm labourer is not. I predict that retribution will overtake the authors of this proposal. Hitherto it has always been safe to attack that section of the working classes which has not had sufficient brains to organize itself into an effective fighting machine. But the time has arrived when that state of things must be altered. Within the last two or three years the rural labourers have awakened to the necessity of doing something for themselves. They have brought , into existence what they call a Rural Workers Union - an organization which has now been amalgamated with the Australian Workers Union. That is a body which has made sufficient history in Australia to cause every one to be well aware that when it takes on a fight it cuts a little bit of ice before the struggle is over. I venture to prophesy that when this job is through, the supporters of the present Government will not be so anxious to deprive the rural workers of the right which they should have of appealing to any of the Courts of this country. I suppose that the party opposite have conned this matter over, and gone into figures. They know the proposition which they are “ up against “ when they decide to wipe out the right of some of our citizens to appeal to the Arbitration Court, and to abolish preference to unionists. Let me remind our opponents that there are 433,000 trade unionists in Australia. Some of them may be young men ; most of them have wives, families, and dependants. The total vote cast in Australia at the last election was, roughly, 2,300,000, so that we have nearly one-fifth of the voting strength of the country actually in trade unions to-day. We can roughly estimate that, with their dependants, we have nearly 1,000,000 -voters who can be depended upon as trade union supporters in the Commonwealth.
– All the trade unionists do not vote for Labour ; some of them have more sense.
– I am sorry to say that some of them are foolish enough to take notice of the advice ladled out by the minions of capitalism, and to say that, although it is a good thing to be a trade unionist, it is not necessary to be a political unionist. We used to hear a good deal of the cry, “For Heaven’s sake, keep the trade union movement clear of politics!” Much used to be made of the banners that were paraded in the streets in trade union processions, on which were shown pretty pictures of labour and capital shaking hands. The trade unionist of to-day realizes Chat the capitalist has his hand in the workman’s pocket, and he realizes that it is to his interest to take an active concern in the politics of the country. Although, therefore, a few belonging to trade unions do not belong to the Labour party, yet’ it remains true that, in the main, trade unionists are Labour voters, and are prepared to be active political agents at election time. I am right in roughly estimating the voting strength of this party at 1,000,000 votes to-day, because we have not only to reckon the actual members of trade unions, but also their families and dependants. lt may be said, indeed, that the trade unionists of Australia make up nearly one-half of the total voting strength of the people of the Commonwealth .
– I suppose some of them are pretty rich.
– We have quite a number of well-to-do men in our party now. They are not all poor people. In fact, I am getting quite well off myself ! The Rural Workers Union did not come into existence until there was a need for it. Its history is the history of every other trade combination. Unions were forced into existence by the conditions under which the people worked. When you squeeze them long enough and hard enough, you are bound to obtain some effort out of them in the end. That has benn the result. The creation of a trade union among agricultural workers will, I believe, amply justify itself, as every combination of the kind has always done. The movement, so far, has shown a number of tha rural workers that they are not as well off as they ought to be, and it has shown them how to improve their lot. The Government also propose to restrict the opportunities for absent voting. If the proposals indicated are carried out, it is pretty certain that nothing like 200,000 absent votes will be cast at the next election, as there were at the last. The Government are taking up a very serious position indeed when they propose to tamper with a convenience of which 200,000 of the electors of Australia availed themselves on election day. However, that will be their “ funeral.” I have no doubt that what they propose to do will help to “ down “ them next time they appeal to the people. Another paragraph in the programme of the Government states that they propose to amend the Tariff. Australia has spoken in no uncertain way on more than one occasion regarding the Tariff. Speaking generally, most Australians have realized that this country needs industries, and desires to afford every opportunity of building them up. The Australian people as a whole have said so, and Parliament has sought to give effect to their wishes. Our party, when in power, were pestered by manufacturers and others, who told them that they were competing on unfair terms with manufacturers in other parts of the world, and that a higher Tariff was needed. The late Government said, “ We are quite prepared to give you all the Protection that you need for your industries in order to enable you to run them on fair lines, provided that you supply us with sufficient information to guide us in amending the Tariff wisely and fairly.” That Government was not prepared to take on a task of this kind unless they had evidence to guide them. Mr. Tudor, the ex-Minister of Trade and Customs, formulated certain questions, and told these manufacturers and their supporters that if they were prepared to supply him with answers, he would be ready to give the matter every consideration. But they did nothing of the kind. They said that the questions were inquisitorial, that the Minister was trying to be hard on them, and that they would not tolerate such treatment for a moment. The late Government, however, passed an Act establishing what is known as the Inter-State Commission, which was actually appointed by the present Ministry. One of its duties is to investigate the Tariff matter. Accordingly, these gentlemen sent out questions to manufacturers. I have the form before me. The InterState Commission require to know quite a number of things. A manufacturer who wants an increased duty, so that he may be enabled to work under fair conditions in competition with manufacturers in other parts of the world, will have, to supply all the information desired under the terms of this document, which,. I may state, covers a pretty wide range. The questions are so stringent that when the answers are supplied the Inter-State Commission will know exactly what the cost of production is, and every other factor connected with the particular line of business that asks for increased duty. In consequence, it will be able to draw up a Tariff that will be in accordance with the needs of the situation. I quite approve of what lias been done. There is no other sensible way of setting to work.
– These questions are more inquisitorial than Mr. Tudor’s were.
– Just so; there was no provision for an oath in regard to Mr. Tudor’s inquiries. He had no means of finding out whether the information supplied was correct or not. The InterState Commission, however, insist upon an oath, because if is not particularly anxious to take the word of these commercial magnates. It would rather have their sworn evidence. I mention this matter because, during the last election, one of the great cries raised by our opponents was as to the high cost of living. It was continually trotted out, and many people were made to believe that the cost of living had been increased because of the action of the Labour party and the trade unions in putting up the rates of pay, which added to the cost of production. Our party, when in power, had the temerity to say that it believed that it would be possible - and, as a matter of fact, would become absolutely necessary - for the Government of the country to create some tribunal for fixing prices. This idea was ridiculed by our opponents, who pose as being heaven-born politicians and financiers. But, nevertheless, that is one of the things that will have to be talked about more and more, and that the people of this country will have to grapple with. By-and;by it will be seen that it is not nearly so ridiculous as our opponents would have the public believe. What would it be necessary to do in order to fix prices? It would be necessary to create a tribunal similar to the Inter-State Commission - a body of men who would require makers of foodstuffs and other commodities to answer questions concerning the cost of production. The body established would then have the necessary data to enable it to fix prices that would return a fair profit to the manufacturers, and not permit them to victimize the people of Australia, as occurs under present conditions.
– Prices are already fixed, but both the selling and the buying price are fixed by the same authority.
– People will have to realize that somebody in Australia is already fixing prices,, and that under present conditions they are so fixed as to victimize the consumer. In the future they will have to be fixed so that the public will have some control over them. It would be much better for us to have prices fixed by some authority responsible to the people than by persons who fix prices merely to suit their own pockets. That is the common sense of the whole thing. This is one of the matters that will have to be taken into consideration at an early date. I venture to say that within the next few years legislative effect will be given to our ideas in this direction. I have no desire to say any more, but I wanted to have this preliminary canter. I have no doubt that before the . session is much older I shall have more to say in regard to the policy ‘of this Government.
– As my honorable friend, Senator Barnes, remarked, this AddressinReply debate has been running on for so many weeks that it may be considered a little stale. But, at the same time, it allows one to express sentiments which would be likely to be out of order on other occasions. During the spasmodic and intermittent sittings of the Senate this session, I have made only a few remarks, and I consider that this is an opportune time to express my views a little more fully. I have said all along that, in my opinion, the present Government would never have been brought into existence if it had fought the fight fairly at the last election - that it was by the most flagrant misrepresentation, by the most audacious actions and utterances from one end of the Commonwealth to the other, that they secured their narrow and precarious majority in another place, and failed even to hold their own in the Senate.
– They came over to this side; that is something.
– It is possibly all that the honorable senator, and those associated with him, care for. What they chiefly regard is the side where they happen to sit. I quite understand the level of the honorable senator’s political morality. It is the place where he is sitting, and not the principles at stake, that is important to him.
– We have to sit here to carry out our principles.
– The honorable senator has no principles to carry out.
– In the statement of policy issued by the Government there are several proposals which, in my opinion, are so absolutely reactionary as utterly to belie their title to Liberalism. Not one of the members of the Government believes in good true Liberalism. I quite realize that, while political parties exist, there will always be some who are not prepared to go as far as others. The Labour party, tinged, as it undoubtedly is, with Socialism, will consequently be very far in advance “of even the genuine Liberal. I can well understand that, in Great Britain, where the Conservative party has, at any rate, the merit of labelling itself by its proper designation, those who differ from it, and yet do not go the whole way with Labour aims, may well be members of the true Liberal party, and not of the old Conservative and Tory party ‘that governed Great Britain for so long. But in this community, where the only really advanced political party is the Labour party, manifestly all those who cannot ally themselves with that party, and all those whose self-interest and Conservative ideas make them afraid to venture on, to them, unknown paths of true Liberalism, ally themselves with the party that sails under the false name of the Liberal party in this country. Those who are, from the lowest motives of selfinterest, the land monopolists and manu facturing sweaters, and all who attach more importance to their own interests than to the good of humanity, naturally ally themselves with the party that will travel as short a distance as possible on the road to progress. So that even though some, having Liberal instincts, join the ranks of the party, we know that the sections that will find the money, and will call the tune, will support only reactionary legislation. We know that only such legislation can be expected from those who sail under the name of Liberalism in this country. I am very sorry that a name which has such splendid traditions behind it should be so degraded as it is by being associated in this country with those who are the high priests of reaction. Their programme is quite sufficient to prove the truth of my assertion. Senator Barnes and others who have preceded me have exposed a number of fallacies connected with the proposed alleged amendments of the electoral law. I venture to say that 99 per cent, of the talk about a desire for clean rolls, which has been repeated until it has become a party shibboleth, is arrant humbug. In the first place, I say that if the rolls, instead of being inflated by some 175,000 names, as we are told, contained names amounting to double the number of electors in the Commonwealth, that would not disconcert me in any way whatever. I should not care if every man and woman in Australia had their names down twenty times on the rolls. It is infinitely better that an elector should have his name on halfadozen rolls than that those who desire to vote should be disfranchised by not having them on any roll at all. Apart from the extra cost of printing, I cannot see that any wrong whatever is done by the mere duplication of names on our electoral rolls. I have met many persons whose names have appeared on more than one roll; but I contend that, instead of regarding that as implying something corrupt, and about which our hands should be held up in holy horror, it is something that should be commended. I repeat that it is infinitely better that a man should have his name on half-a-dozen rolls than that he should neglect to have it placed upon any roll at all. I have no sympathy whatever with the talk about clean rolls in the sense of striking off the rolls every name the enrolment of which cannot be absolutely justified on the ground that some person might vote twice.
– Surely the honorable senator does not desire to give facilities for duplicate voting?
– I do not; but I say that duplicate enrolment does not necessarily imply duplicate voting.
– It gives the opportunity for it.
– It has very little effect of that kind. We know, as a matter of fact, that there is very little duplicate voting, and duplicate enrolment does not offer any great temptation to or opportunity for it. We should consider the matter not from the point of view of the most extreme case which might conceivably happen with duplicate enrolment, but from the point of view of what we know really does happen. The number of electors required to constitute an electoral division for the House of Representatives averages about 30,000. Every sane individual must be aware that his vote must represent so small a matter out of a possible 30,000 votes that he would take a very big risk for a very small result if he tried to record it more than once. In other words, to take no higher ground, he must know that the game is not worth the candle. A man will not render himself liable to prosecution, fine, and imprisonment by recording more votes than one, when he knows that it will probably exercise no material influence -upon the result. That is a risk the average man will not take. What have we found from practical experience hitherto? We have found that a large proportion of the electors cannot be prevailed upon to record any vote at all. It has been necessary to provide for compulsory enrolment to overcome this Australian carelessness, and many persons have been driven to advocate compulsory voting because of the number who, from time to time, profess political opinions, and decline to give effect to them by recording their votes. Our trouble is not that people vote twice, but that they take so little interest in politics that a large number, will not vote once. In the circumstances, all this talk to which I refer is manufactured, and spurious, and it is clear that there is no considerable number of the citizens of this country who have any desire to record more votes than one. In a joking way, people will sometimes say, “ I believe in voting early and often, on the good old American system,” but we know that the practice is non-existent in Australia. I think that we should compliment the people of Australia on their honesty in political matters. It would be well if the same could be said of the political organizations that, to some extent, control politics in this country. But what do we find? We find that the members of the alleged Liberal party were mainly returned by false representations to the public. This was very largely due to the organizations which provided the money, and issued the political literature of the party. The result was achieved, not merely by false assertions, but by imputations and innuendoes which were worse than the actual lies that were uttered. I am glad to see Senator Oakes present. The honorable senator was associated with a party which was responsible for the issue of a large amount of literature, some of which was almost incredibly false. The party with which the honorable senator is associated, last year, iu another place, attacked the party to which I have the honour to belong, by asserting that the Australian Workers Union had engaged my colleagues and myself as political organizers, and that we had won our seats by that means. If to retort is any defence, what must we think of the case of Senator Oakes, who almost immediately after he ceased to be an Honorary Minister in the Wade Administration in New South Wales, was an organizer for the alleged Liberal organization of that State.
– Is the honorable senator ashamed to be an organizer for his party ?
– I ‘am not.
– Neither am I.
– Has Senator Oakes been a paid agitator?
– I have been a paid organizer.
– Just so; but I should be ashamed if I carried on the work of organization in the same way as the honorable senator. I should be ashamed to be associated with the issue of false political literature. I should be ashamed to be an organizer of a party if I carried round and distributed literature that teemed with misrepresentations and overflowed with mendacity. The important matter is not the contribution of money to a political cause, and speaking and organizing in its behalf, but the way in which the duties of the organizer are carried out. The Australian Workers Union, the organization to which, I am proud to say, I have belonged for more than half my lifetime, and ever since it came into existence, has spent its money, and only a small amount at that, honestly and openly for the work of organization. The ‘organizers are paid to advocate the cause of Labour on the definite programme laid down in our printed platform. The Australian Workers Union have never gone any further than that, and have always acted openly in the light of day. They have sought by no misrepresentation or objectionable means to further their aims. But what do we find in connexion with the boasted Liberal organization? Senator Oakes has said that he is not ashamed of being a Liberal organizer. I wonder if the honorable senator was ever ashamed of any of the literature which, as an organizer ‘ of the party, he was called upon to father. I have a leaflet here, printed by Madgwick and Sons, printers, 528 Kent-street, Sydney. It is “ authorized by Archdale Parkhill, General Secretary, 108 Pittstreet, Sydney,” so that our friends cannot repudiate it. It is headed in large letters -
Tammany Hall Tactics - The Hidden Meaning of the Referenda- Cogent Reasons why Electors should vote “No” to the Proposals - A Covert Attack on the Liberties and Privileges of the Nation. Then it proceeds -
If the Federal Government should succeed in its long premeditated assault on the civic liberties, the self-governing privileges, and the propertied assets of the nation, and bludgeon the electors into affirming its nefarious Referenda proposals, the destinies of the Commonwealth will pass entirely under the control and direction, not of Parliament, as stated, but of the Caucus.
That is the little preface to the leaflet. Here is what it says, amongst other things, about what “ will irrevocably happen.” As I have stated before, their campaign was one of mud-slinging from beginning to end. I recollect, earlier in this session, making the statement that Mr. Archdale Parkhill, the general secretary of the Liberal organization in New South Wales, at one time, under a misapprehension, wrote to a Labour newspaper, believing it to be a Liberal newspaper, and advised the editor, amongst other things: “Our policy should be to throw plenty of mud at the Labour party, because some of it is bound to stick.”
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Mr. Archdale Parkhill denies that, absolutely.
– Very likely he does. He is capable of denying anything, just as he is capable of saying anything. We shall see what he says in this leaflet. This leaflet furnishes one instance of where he did, to a large extent, indulge in mudslinging. It is all very well for Senator Gould to say that Mr. Archdale Parkhill denies it. The best proof as to whether a statement was made by him or not is whether his general conduct carries out that policy, and, if it does, it really does not matter whether he denies the statement or not. The second paragraph reads -
Unification will necessarily follow, and the several State Parliaments will be degraded to the status of a Mutual Admiration Society.
While there are Labour men who believe in Unification, it is an absolute misrepresentation of facts to say that Unification would necessarily follow the carrying of our referenda proposals. If they mean by Unification the entire abolition of the State Governments, I, for one, do not believe in it. I do not consider that one Parliament could satisfactorily carry out the whole of the legislative and administrative work of this continent ; and, therefore, whatever may be said in favour of a reconstruction of the States or the State Governments, I, as meaning complete control by this Parliament only of all legislation throughout Australia, do hot believe in it, and I know many more who do not believe in it. Not one shred of evidence has ever been brought forward to show that Unification in that sense would necessarily follow the adoption of our referenda proposals. The next statement in the leaflet reads -
Unrestrained by an ineffectual public opinion, Caucus will continue its insane policy of piling up taxation and spending millions of money extorted from the earnings of the worker upon undertakings of the most chimerical type.
– Hear, hear !
– “ Hear, hear,” says the honorable senator. I really think that one ought to be more tolerant of honorable senators opposite than I am, because I believe that their understanding is so obtuse, that they are so morally blind, that they cannot conceive even of the infamy and iniquity of the statements which their organizers make. In the leaflet, “piling up taxation” is printed in large letters. In what instance did the Federal Labour Government impose additional taxation which extorts money from the earnings of the worker? Where is this boasted organizer now?
– The fact that, with a Labour Government in power in the Commonwealth and in your State, taxation is higher now than ever it was.
– That is how my honorable friend boxes things up. He says that, because a Labour Government was in power in my State-
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - And in the Commonwealth at the same time.
– Senator Gould knows, as well as I do, that there is absolutely no bond between the two parties .in the administration of the separate Governments. Our honorable friends opposite claim to be the Liberal party, both State and Federal, but does the honorable senator say that the Federal Government would for a moment take any responsibility for the taxation imposed by the Wade Government?
– They would have to take it. It damns the party just the same.
– We have our separate spheres of influence, and consequently, in carrying out our respective duties and functions, no blame should necessarily be cast on the party in the State for anything which the party in the Federation has done, and vice versa.
– Why did your party set us the example of sending senators and representatives to take part in the State election in Tasmania?
– If the honorable senator wants to make a speech, I shall give him an opportunity- I have taken part in State fights, and have no objection to others doing so; but, nevertheless, every Government has to stand or fall on its own merits. While the political principles may be the same, acts of administration or taxation are purely local matters, and it is absolutely impossible for the Federal Parliament to control the legislation or the taxation imposed by any other Parliament. This party has not placed any taxation on the workers. During its three years in office, it did not increase the taxation except by the imposition of the land tax; and any growth in revenue was due to the national growth in population and wealth, and not to any measures passed by us. This kind of thing is falsehood by innuendo, and the innuendo is that, while Senator Oakes might be meaning the State Parliament,, he was seeking to convince the people that they should vote against the Federal Labour people, because, as he alleged, the State had done something, for even he cannot allege that the Federal Labourparty did it. I do not want, however, to enlarge on that. Another paragraph of this leaflet reads -
Under the circumstances, the cost of living must continue to increase in proportionate ratio to the Fiscal Insobriety of Caucus. “ Fiscal Insobriety of Caucus “ is a striking phrase.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould.. - Whose expression is it?
– It is used by Mr.. Parkhill in his circular letter.
– Then he is a smart man.
– He is as smart as a, wood-heap. We all know that the increased cost of living is a world-wide* phenomenon. All authorities worthy of the name have said that there are many factors which go to produce that increased . cost of living, and that legislation has had remarkably little to do with it. On theother hand, the legislation which we would have submitted had our referendaproposals been carried, would have struck a blow at the causes that go to make upthe increased cost of living, . and a blow of such vital import that the fear of it led to the vested interests uniting to support Liberals and putting them into Parliament. Let me give some more instances of this mud-slinging -
The existing era of jobbery, corruption, and maladministration will be continued in the interests of the supporters of the Labour Party.
This statement relates purely to the Federal elections, and cannot, therefore, be held to have anything to do with State parties or State legislation.
– There is a bit of snap in it.
– If the honorable senator thinks that wallowing in the gutter, or using absolutely false and abusive statements, is snap, he is welcome to all that kind of snap. We shall never propose to nationalize that. Is there an honorable senator on the other side who is prepared to adopt this snappy document? Is there an honorable senator opposite who is game to state one instance of jobbery, corruption, or maladministration during our three years of office.
– Ask the Printing Committee to get the document printed and circulated.
– I ask the honorable senator, if he cannot talk sense, for Heaven’s sake to hold his tongue for a little while. Will an honorable senator on the other side name one instance of jobbery which was committed ‘by the Federal Labour party when in office? Can he show where one instance of corruption existed, or where there was any maladministration in any one of the Departments? That challenge must necessarily go unanswered. If our opponents had had any suspicion of anything of the kind existing, no doubt it would have been made the most of long ago.
– -They did not mean it. It was only their playful way of putting it.
– To what degradation must the politics of this country sink when honorable senators will sit there, even without blushing, and back up statements of that kind !
– I will read you a few leaflets, if you want that sort of plea.sureif you want an instance of what the Labour party will descend to.
– If they were all on record, it would do no harm to show the depth of lying to which the Liberal party will descend The leaflet further says -
Nepotism and favoritism will be rife, confiscation and repudiation become part and parcel of Labour’s policy, and the most vicious practices of Tammany Hall resorted to as a necessary corollary to the policy of “ Spoils to the Victors.”
I want to say a little about the question of “ Spoils to the Victors.” I have heard some men say - I have heard some of our own supporters say - that the spoils to the victors policy is right.
– There you are.
– I have heard, I said, some men say that.
– But they always practised it in the past.
– You justify that leaflet.
– I am not saying for a moment that I have heard members of this party make the statement; but I say that I have heard supporters do so. Since I was able to know anything, I have known that the party opposite has practised that policy whenever it has had the chance. So far as the opportunities went, the Public Service of Victoria, and every other State, has been filled by the supporters of the party in .power in past times. Whenever there was a vacancy they crowded a man into it. When did an intelligent worker or Labour man ever get a chance from the party?
– Intelligent workers have been Premiers ! What are you talking about?
-r-Yes, after they had learned to sell their conscience, but not before. The only instance of the kind I know of is that of a man who worked his way up o.n Labour politics, kicked away the ladder by which he had climbed, and, by unparalleled treachery, at last succeeded in reaching the Prime Ministership. There is that historical instance. But these are not the workers I am speaking of. While he remains in the ranks of the toilers no honest man ever gets a look in a.t any position, however fit he may be. Senator Millen denounced our Administration for hav* ing appointed certain men to positions in the Northern Territory, and elsewhere, against whom not one single shred of testimony could be brought, either as to incapacity or as to want of character. These men were denounced as having been appointed to positions for which, I believe, they were all eminently fitted, simply because they were Labour men; because they happened to be, some of them, members of a Political Labour League in New South Wales or Queensland. What would be thought if one accused any individual member of the Liberal party of being guilty of the practices of Tammany Hall? This leaflet reeks with statements, any one of which, if made outside, apart from the privileges of the Senate, would render the person uttering it liable to prosecution and severe penalties.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Were not these documents spread broadcast through the country?
– They were by the Liberal organizers.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -Yet you say that no man would do it.
– The honorable senator, as a lawyer, cannot fool me in that way. He knows very well that general statements can be made about an organization which, if made against an individual, would render the person making them liable to prosecution and severe penalties.
– They are not game to make them against individuals.
– An organization cannot, of itself, be guilty of anything. If the Labour Ministry carried out the most vicious practices of Tammany Hall, if it brought about an era of jobbery, corruption, and maladministration, there must be individuals whose moral sense is so low that they combined together to commit those actions. A general statement of the character to which I have referred is not merely malicious, but cowardly, because we know that Ave cannot pin its authors down to any specific charge against an individual. The whole of this malodorous charge is allowed to re3t on the entire party, because of the frequency of such statements. They wind up this beautiful circular by saying -
Finally, the hidden intent of the referenda is to destroy the rights of private property, to confiscate the hard-earned business interests of the citizens, to establish a premium on incapacity and inefficiency, and to make the liberty and property of the people the plaything of Caucus in its merriest gerrymandering moods.
That is the kind of political ammunition which the organizations that support my honorable friends opposite fired broadcast throughout the Commonwealth. As evidencing the hollowness of their statements, let me point to what they said in regard to the referenda proposals. In some of the small States they said, “ If you carry these amendments of the Constitution, the big States of Hew South Wales and Victoria will swallow up all your rights and liberties. The little States will be at the mercy of the larger ones.” In the big States they said exactly the opposite. In New South Wales they told us continually that if the proposals were carried we would be at the mercy of the little States, like Tasmania and South Australia, which would be able to rob us of our free institutions - that we should be at the mercy of an undemocratic Senate and the machinations of the small States.
– In Tasmania they told us that we would lose equal representation in the Senate.
– Yet, without an Imperial Act, it is impossible to deprive the States of equal representation in the Senate.
– A prominent lawyer in Tasmania made the statement.
– And I do not know that he was far wrong. The honorable senator’s party is not in favour of this Chamber.
– The Government propose to ‘amend the Arbitration Act by abolishing preference to unionists under the plea that trade unions generally associate themselves with political effort. While we do not regard arbitration as a perfect means of settling disputes, while we are not very much concerned whether preference to many industries is withdrawn or not, because it has not been practically applied to them, I do say that no more reactionary proposal could be made by any Government. It would be more honest on the part of the Ministry, and more acceptable to me personally, if they proposed to wipe out the Arbitration Act in its entirety. Under the existing law, the organization to which I belong has not secured a preference. We are about 70,000 strong, we are the biggest union in Australia, and we embrace in our sphere of operations every State of the ^Commonwealth. We have done far more than has any other single industrial organization in advocating political reform, and in working for the return of Labour representatives to the State and Federal Parliaments. So long aa our organization retains its virility it will see that it gets preference to unionists by the strength of its own strong right arm. We are not in the least concerned as to whether this reactionary proposal is carried or not. We will have preference as long as we think fit, and we will secure it by seeing that those who do not do their share in sustaining our organization shall not obtain a share of the work which that organization has under its control. The Government cannot wipe our organization out of existence, and if it attempts to do so it will take on a bigger contract than it dreams of. Quite recently we have amalgamated with the young and comparatively weak Rural Workers Union, and we shall very soon win for its members what we have won for other branches of the organization. Law or no law, we have justice on our side, and the strength which numbers and influence give. No proposals of the Government can do other than strengthen and consolidate trade unionism by making its members realize what we have often told them, namely, that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. The blessings which they now enjoy can be taken from them if they allow their political rights to sink into disuse far more easily than they were gained. Even in its highest form, Liberalism means merely political equality, and in the present age we have advanced beyond that. “We not only enact that every man and woman of twenty-one years of age shall have a vote, but we are realizing more and more, as education spreads, that, in itself, a vote is of no use. Not to exercise a vote places an elector in the same position as if he did not possess one. That political implement must be used to alter economic conditions if political freedom is to mean complete freedom. Complete freedom can only be brought about by educating the people to realize that, so far as the law can, it will secure to them a more equal distribution of the wealth of the world than obtains at present. That is the function of the Labour party. We are absolutely the Democratic party. We believe in the rule of the people. The workers are in the majority. Hitherto they have been under the control of small ruling classes who, by monopolizing political power, have monopolized the greater part of the products of wealth for their own enjoyment. By means of wealth they have secured for themselves a higher education, and all the blessings of civilization. These blessings we desire to see distributed amongst the great body of the people. To accomplish that, we must get economic justice. We must see that no individual’s rights are used to deprive others of their rights, and to corner the wealth of this country in such a way a3 to further enrich the already rich, whilst allowing the poor to become poorer still. Any temporary relapse, such as we experienced at the last election - a relapse due to the power of the press and the unblushing mendacity of so-called Liberal organizations - is one from which I have no doubt we shall recover in the near future. I am only sorry that the Government have not even more reactionary proposals to put before us. It is just as well that the people shall see them iu all their iniquity. Take their proposal to exempt rural workers from the operation of the Arbi tration Act. I have no doubt that there are many thousands of persons engaged in farming occupations and in orchard work in Australia. Consequents, whilst the membership of the Rural Workers Union is a very small minority of those persons, it will in time embrace the greater part of them. We are told that people are to be encouraged to go on the land, and that an undue proportion of our population is to be found in our cities. We know that, in the rural industries in Victoria, where wages are lower than they are in New South Wales, the population of many of the counties has been declining year by year. The same thing obtains in New South Wales to some extent, so that every redistribution of seats scheme, either for the State Parliaments or the Federal Parliament, results in more members being returned for the metropolitan area, and in fewer members being returned for country districts. What is the reason for this ? There need be no mystery about it. A great deal of the work done on the farms and stations to-day is practically being done in the cities. Machinery now plays an important part in the operations of the farm, and we know that those engaged in the manufacture of that machinery are practically assisting in the work of the farm. Whereas formerly thousands of men were required to bind and stook and stack, modern harvesting machinery has concentrated those persons in the cities who, years ago, under the primitive methods then in vogue, would have been engaged ‘ in harvesting the crop. There is still another factor to be recognised, namely, that the enjoyment of good wages, of decent hours, and of all the luxuries and pleasures incidental to civilization has naturally concentrated more persons in the towns than in the country. If we wish to see our rural districts populated, we must offer great inducements, not merely to the men who own the land, but to the men who actually work in the primary industries - to the wage-earners. Consequently, the Ministry are taking a step backward. They are going to remove what little protection might have been given to these men under the Arbitration Act, and to place them on a different plane from the mechanic or artisan in the city. What is the reason which they advance for their action ? When, in the last Parliament, a proposal was submitted to bring the rural workers under the Arbitration Act, honorable senators opposite fought it on the plea that, while the manufacturer could pass on to his commodities the increased cost of their production, the primary producer could not do so, because the prices of his products were fixed in the markets of the world.
– The same argument will apply to the mining industry, as well as to wheat-growing.
– That is so. I thank the honorable senator for his interjection.
– And also to woolgrowing.
– Yes. The price of wool is regulated by the world’s markets. Under an award given by Mr. Justice O’Connor in the first place, and more recently by Mr. Justice Higgins, the wages paid in the pastoral industry have been increased by more than £300,000 per annum. Increased wages are paid to those engaged in the pastoral industry for the few months of the year during which shearing prevails; as compared with the wages paid formerly. But do we find the pastoral industry slumping by reason of that? Undoubtedly, the profits previously were abnormally high ; but once the new arrangements as to wages got into working order there was no more trouble; and from the employer’s point of view the industry gained considerably from the settled conditions, and from the fact that the highest class of labour was kept in the industry instead of seeking employment elsewhere. Even from that point of view, the increased wages did not represent a loss to the pastoralists themselves. I doubt whether many of them would be prepared to go back to the old chaotic conditions which prevailed when strikes and disturbances of various kinds were infinitely more common than they are to-day. The benefit is not all on one side. The same must apply to other rural industries. Take farming and fruit-growing. In the district where I am engaged in that industry there is a continual outcry about there not being sufficient highly skilled labour. I have said over and over again to my neighbours, “ No wonder ; for -many years you paid such miserable wages that you drove independent and energetic men into other fields of employment, where they could earn more. When you pay good wages you will get a good class df workmen, and the men will stay -in the industry. “But they will not do so unless they work under proper civilized conditions. ‘ ‘ I recollect when I was farming in the Riverina, and before that, when I was working as a labourer in Victoria, labourers used to have to work ten and eleven hours a day for 5s. a day. In one case we had a strike because the boss thought we should work as long as we could see. There was a full moon that night, and I thought it about time to throw up the job. The argument that the rural industries will suffer from allowing the rural workers’ claims to be adjudicated upon by the Arbitration Court is absolutely fallacious. I know that during the elections our opponents made great capital out of the rural workers’ log, which they circulated broadcast, and about which they said, “ If you give the Labour party a majority in Parliament these demands will automatically become law.” That was the kind of lying statement which was freely made all over Australia. The more ignorant people were convinced that if the Labour party obtained a majority the rural workers’ log would automatically come into operation. The most extravagant statements were made about it. It was believed that abnormal rates would have to be paid by every employer. I am well aware that we are faced with the fallacy that the rural industries of this country are dependent upon the markets of the world. But, as a matter of fact, if you compare London prices with Australian prices for any commodity, it will be seen that these prices are practically fixed by the exporting countries. That is to say, prices are not fixed by what the particular consumer in England is prepared to pay for these productions, but they are fixed by the cost of production. We know that labour in Australia is aided by machinery, and -that the standard of intelligence here is higher than in other parts of the world. There are also other causes which enable us to compete very favorably with the underpaid labour of India or Russia. The prices for our primary products are not fixed by the British consumer, but are regulated by the cost of production in the producing country. If our rural workers are employed under an award which insures them fair wages and a decent living, I am satisfied that prices will regulate themselves accordingly. At all events, it must be recognised that an industry must pay good wages before it pays big profits and high interest -to -banks and financial institutions. The care of the worker must be the first consideration of a civilized people. The worker must be able to earn enough to keep himself and his family, and to lay by sufficient for his old age. Until that is secured, our civilization is only a pretence, and our political institutions are a sham, because they fail to accomplish what is required of them. Do the opponents of’ the rural workers in this regard desire that they shall work under such conditions as prevail in India, in Russia, or in Siberia? Do they desire that their wages shall be fixed by cut-throat competition amongst themselves? If so, they misread the signs of the times absolutely, and the triumph which they are now enjoying will be as short lived as it is precarious. I should like to refer briefly to one or two other proposals in the Government programme. It is stated that inquiries are being made, and material gathered for the formulation of a comprehensive scheme of national insurance on a contributory basis. First of all, honorable members opposite must realize that ib is a hollow sham to put this proposal forward at all, because they cannot enforce any such scheme, even if they could carry ib into law, for lack of constitutional power. I believe that Senator Gould, for instance, does not seriously contend that the Commonwealth has any power whatever to enforce a scheme of the kind. To do so would be an interference with the constitutional ‘ rights of individuals and of States. But we are told that the scheme is to be on a contributory basis. Let us suppose that it is on a voluntary basis. If that is the case, how are the contributions to be collected ? Who is to prevent a man from dropping out, if he ever goes in for the scheme at all ? It would be an absolute farce if on a voluntary basis, because it would be simply establishing an enlarged friendly society.
– The Government are not so anxious about the scheme as they were, because -the friendly societies are kicking so much.
– Mr. Lloyd-George, in Great Britain, is considered to be a Radical, and we are told by our opponents that this is not only a Liberal, but an extremely Radical, proposal. In the first place, I would observe that what is Radicalism in England would be extremely wishy-washy Liberalism here. Furthermore, the conditions in Great Britain are immeasurably different from those in Australia. There you have a country with 45,000,000 of people squeezed into an area little more than a third the size of New South Wales. There it is comparatively easy to reach everybody. A larger proportion are engaged in regular employment in settled districts than is the case in Australia. People in Great Britain do not- travel about as freely as we do in Australia. Here no wonderment is expressed if one working man meets a fellow-working man in Melbourne to-day, and meets him again in two months’ time in Brisbane, Broken Hill, or Kalgoorlie. We travel about to a greater extent than any other people on the face of the earth. Consequently, it would be an enormous task to keep in touch with the insured persons.
– 1 know a man who put in a crop in Western Australia, dug spuds in Ballarat, and is now cutting cane at Mosman, all within this year.
– I know several cases of the kind. I am sure that every honorable senator would believe. that there are many such instances. It is a common experience for men to travel all over this country for work. ‘ Some of them take in New Zealand and Fiji. That is one reason why a scheme which might be workable in England would be unworkable here.
– The Australian Workers Union can keep in touch with its men.
– That is done by the magnificent spirit of self-sacrifice, and the voluntary discipline which prevails amongst the members. There is perfect co-operation and self-government amongst them to carry out their scheme of organization, and to amend it to suit their varying conditions. Furthermore, in the Australian Workers Union we make the employers, by paying higher wages, pay for the organizers, which makes the working of the system all the more acceptable to us. Furthermore, a contributory scheme of insurance would be absolutely undemocratic and unnecessary. It must be remembered that the whole Consolidated Revenue is contributed to, more or less, by every individual in the community. The mere act of consuming imported goods is responsible -for a person contributing to the Consolidated Revenue - often to -a greater extent than he likes. In one form or another our people find the whole revenue of the country. If the Government are going to make this scheme for a few, well and good; but that would not be carrying out what they forecast. If. however, it is meant to be a universal scheme, what sense is there in making every citizen pay a special contribution to a fund out of which every, individual will in time reap certain benefits? Is it not infinitely more economical, and more in accordance with .the dictates of common sense for every one to pay, as every one is now paying, through taxation, and then for the benefits to be given out of the Consolidated Revenue? This contributory scheme is an emanation of the most ignorant phase of the Conservative fancy of our opponents. They seem to suppose that they are going to get something out of nothing by making every one pay to a fund out of which every one will benefit. If these contributions have to be made by the people as a whole, why not make them to a fund to which the people as a whole contribute in the form of the Consolidated Revenue, and have the payments made to the people from the same fund ? That is to say, -every one should pay, and every one should receive his share from the one Consolidated Revenue Fund.
– Lady Somerset, the well-known English philanthropist, describes the English Act as a legislative fraud.
– I would remind honorable senators that Lloyd-George’s scheme does not meet, by any means, with the undivided support of the thinking portion of British Democracy. It means that the worker is practically contributing the whole of the amount. The payments are contributed from three sources - the employe, the employer, and the State. The portion contributed by the State has been provided by the whole of the people through their payments to the revenue. That, therefore, is only a redistribution of money to which the worker has already contributed his share. In the second place, the contribution by the employer is frequently deducted from the wages of the employe.
– It is simply part of his profits.
– It is part of his profits, and he meets the contribution by deducting the money from his workers, or by employing men at a lower wage. He may meet it in two ways. First, by putting up prices where he can, and then by reducing the wages of his employes, and thus taking the contribution directly from them. We see, therefore, that the worker first of all pays his own contribution straight out; secondly, he pays the contribution of the State, because he creates the wealth of the State; and by the payment of higher prices, or by the fact that he receives lower wages, he finds the money for the contribution of the employer. The system is a transparent fraud, on the face of it, and is only a Conservative and Tory device for extracting money from the pockets of the workers in order to save the employers from the responsibilities and risks of their position. I say, therefore, that the system stands self -condemned by every Democrat and thinker in the community; and, apart from its obvious and vital demerits, it would be entirely unworkable in this country of huge areas and scattered population. In regard to the maternity allowance, I say that, while it may be a good thing that it should be supplemented by State provision for maternity homes and hospitals, so far as it goes it is legislation based on right lines; and if the Labour party had been in power at the time our Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act was introduced, it would have been based upon similar lines, and on the principle that those who want the pension should have it.
– Does the honorable senator say that a man having £1,000 a year should get it?
– Yes; or a man having £10,000 or £1,000,000 a year, if the honorable senator pleases. But if the party to which I belong held the same ideas as I do, there would be no millionaires, because the distribution of wealth would be better managed than to allow any such modern monstrosity to exist.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - There would be a new distribution periodically.
– The honorable senator must know that that is a discredited gag. No Socialist ever yet proposed the distribution of wealth. All socialistic enterprises are in direct opposition to distribution, and are collective in their operation. The working expenses of the Act under the Ministerial proposal would be so much increased that some of the savings which it is anticipated would be made, would be dissipated in a way which is not defensible. Our honorable friends talk a lot about their desire for clean rolls, and I suppose that they would like to see all our laws cleanly administered. But I ask whether there could be any greater incentive to fraud than to impose a property qualification for the receipt of national benefits. If Sir Samuel McCaughey, to whom Senator Long referred this afternoon, liked to draw an old-age pension, I should let him have it, but I should see that the taxation he paid was sufficient to cover a hundred old-age pensions. Some time ago I stated that I believed in taxing the rich for the benefit of the poor. I remembered that Senator Gould at the time said that there would not be any rich left. For the benefit of the honorable senator,I may say that I recently copied a statement from the work of an authority, entitled “ A Short History of English Liberalism.”
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Who is the authority?
– A gentleman who is a most devout Liberal, and not a Labour man. I refer to Mr. Lyon Blease. He wrote -
The money required to improve the condition of the poor must be taken from the rich if it is to be of any practical use.
I say the same.
– The Liberals would crucify him.
SenatorRAE. - Nevertheless, he is a leading Liberal So long as we act upon the principle of taxing the rich, the simplest way in which we can administer a law of this kind is to allow all those who wish to do so to draw the benefits from this national legislation. We should thus avoid all danger of fraud in the falsification of the amount of property possessed, and the intricate problems which arise in the adminstration of our Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act in deciding whether persons claiming pensions are entitled to them or not. Under such a system the only qualifications would be age and residence. By introducing the maternity allowance on those lines, we showed that we were prepared to do what our opponents never do other than talk about, and that is to do away with class legislation and apply the benefits proposed to every citizen in the country. Now we have an odious form of class legislation proposed by the present Government. By the proposed amendment of the Maternity Allowance
Act, restricting the allowance only to necessitous cases, thousands of those who most require relief will be most reluctant to claim it. Sensitive persons who may have been previously in a happier position, and will most urgently require relief, will be prevented from obtaining it, because they will shrink from exposing their personal and private affairs under the inquisitorial system which must result from the Government proposal.
– Our honorable friends do nob distribute union funds on that basis.
– The honorable member speaks of something that is not relevant to the matter under discussion, and also of something about which he knows nothing. We never distribute our funds at all ; we keep them for fighting purposes, in order to beat the frauds and fakirs who otherwise would run this country.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That is how so much money from those funds mysteriously disappears.
– I know that Senator Gould personally shrinks from this kind of thing, bub his political associations compel him occasionally to make these insinuations. When he says that is how so much money mysteriously disappears from our funds, I challenge him to set side by side what the organization to which he belongs does with its money with what we do with our money.
– I do not know what the Liberal organization does with its money.
– It would not be safe for the honorable senator to repudiate the doings of the Liberal organization in New South Wales. If he did so, his name would be “ Mud “ at the next election. The honorable senator accepts the assistance of the organization, and yet he says he does not know anything about it. I inform the honorable senator that our industrial organizations publish balance sheets, in which they account for every cent of their expenditure.
– The State Statistician of New South Wales does not say so.
– What about the political organizers of the Liberal leagues in New South Wales, and the fact that they regulate their statements, when they are engaged in organizing work, according to the lack of intelligence and the credulity of their listeners. When they are amongst people who know something they are very moderate in their statements, but when they get amongst people who will believe anything, they tell them anything. I say that the Maternity Allowance Act must be allowed to remain as it is. . It will not be altered this year, anyhow, whatever may happen in the future. The Government have absolutely no chance of repealing that legislation, if they have to depend on the Senate for assistance to do so. I do not believe that they would be able to carry its repeal in another place. One of the most scandalous proposals that has been made is this proposal of the Government to subject a section of the community to inquiries of the most inquisitorial kind, in order to discover whether women have funds of their own, whether their husbands are out of work, drink their money, or play “two-up,” or the aristocratic bridge.
– The Old-Age Pensions Act is framed in very much the same way.
– We did not frame it.
– But honorable senators opposite claim credit for it.
– This is. another of Senator Bakhap’s irrelevant remarks.. We claim that without) our collective influence the Act would not have become law, but we accept no responsibility for the way in which the measure was drafted,, because our party was not in power at the time. This talk about our. claiming the credit for certain legislation, whilst Ave are not prepared to father its defects, is a fraudulent sort of criticism at the best. When a party holding the balance of power asserts the influence of its numbers, it cannot be throwing the Government out every day or every week. It has to support the Government from which it can get most. No one knows better than do honorable senators opposite that it cannot dictate every detail of legislation. When the Labour party held office, by general consent of the people of Australia, they accomplished so much-
– That they were turned out.
– They accomplished so much that they could not reasonably be expected to tackle every problem, and especially those which demanded such. big1 financial adjustments as the alteration of the Old-Age Pensions Act would have done. While I admit that we did not recast the Invalid and Old-Age Pensions Act on just the lines Ave desired, the alterations we made were on the lines in which Ave believe, and the new legislation which we introduced, in the shape of the Maternity Allowance Act, was framed on those lines. In our amendment of the Invalid and Old-Age Pensions Act we abolished the provision which made the value of a pensioner’s home a charge against the pension, and so far as opportunity and funds permitted Ave legislated to bring about the equality of citizenship which is embodied in the Maternity Allowance Act.
– We considerably modified the effect of that principle by our amendments.
– In one short period of three years Ave did not profess, to. reform- all the bad legislation we inherited from, the Conservative party during the- lastcentury. We could not proceed at. lightning speed. But had. Ave the opportunity of carrying a law of that kind, undoubtedly, it would have been on the lines of the maternity allowance- –that is, to raise the revenue Ave require by taxing those who are able to pay, and allow any one qualified by age and residence to claim his share. That is the true kind of legislation, which puts all classes on an equality, because it compels those who are best able to pay to find the money, and’ then all who desire draw their proportionate share. There is no semblance of charity or pauper about it. I have no fear that this legislation will be seriously interfered with during the next year or two, at the latest. If our honorable friends opposite would take a little Arise advice, for their own sake, they would drop the proposal before they again go before the country. I Avant.now to deal with the proposal for developing the Northern Territory Avith great speed, and all that sort of thing. In its policy-statement, the Ministry say -
A Land Bill will be introduced to bake the place of the present Ordinance.
I think that that is necessary.
One of the principles of the measure will be the granting to settlers of the freehold of a generous living area with adequate safeguards against aggregation.
Another of their political farces - a generous living area. The two things are contradictory. There can be no freehold, in the full sense of the term, if a man is surrounded with restrictions and conditions it is necessary to comply with before lie can deal with the land. If the Government say that a man is to have land, and it is to be his own for ever, that he is nob to sell it to another man, that limitation of freehold logically destroys the very meaning of the term.
– The other man is not there to buy.
– If the honorable senator was the only person who had money, and was, therefore, the only man able to buy my holding, and I could not sell to him because he had the maximum area allowed by law, I would not be free to sell, for there would be no buyer available. It would be a hollow freehold - quite compatible with alleged Liberal principles, I admit, but not a freehold in the sense generally understood.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I should like to hear your definition of a freehold.
– Whatever the legal definition may be, there is a commonly accepted and understood meaning of the term. It means freedom for a man to buy and sell land, and, while he has it, to call it his own.
– I hope that you will vote for that principle; it is a good, sound one.
– I am quite sure that I will not. At any rate, it is quite inapplicable to the Northern Territory. On many occasions I have heard the statement, “Oh, yes, the leasehold principle, by which the State would reap the whole rental value of the land, would have been a splendid thing if we had only initiated it when the country was first settled, but it is too late now to apply it: There is a number of freeholders, and if you are going to create different classes, some allowed to hold freehold and some condemned to obtain leasehold, you will bring in a system which will not work. If you could only start in a new country, the leasehold principle is one which would command my support.” I have heard Liberals on many occasions talk in that way. Now, here is an opportunity to try the principle in a country which is comparatively new and unsettled.. ‘ I should like to point out the great distinction to which even those who do not believe in leasehold as against freehold must, if they are thinking people at. all,, give consideration. You can at any time change leasehold into freehold, but. you cannot, without paying compensation, change freehold back to leasehold. One system is alterable at will, while the other is fixed, inasmuch as it immediately creates vested interests which must be compensated before they can be extinguished. What would be a generous- living area at the present time might be an enormously large area, blocking effective settlement in the comparatively near future. I ask honorable senators’ to seriously consider my statement, not as a mere party utterance-, but as a working objection to give freeholds in what they would call generous living areas. That must mean generous as applied to present day conditions, and a freehold of a generous living area to-day may, in hundreds of cases, mean an estate large enough to- block settlement in the comparatively near future. The progress of events in the world is likely to become more rapid as time goes on, because as the waste places become filled up,, this country, while not the best, will probably be attractive enough to induce a fairlylarge settlement within a generation. Therefore, what the Ministry propose to give as no more than a sufficient living area under existing conditions may be an enormously large estate under the conditions which may exist in less than a generation, and consequently effectively block settlement, or else mean a huge financial outlay for resumption, such as is now being carried on in Victoria and other States.
– Every age must solve its own problems.
– That might be politics, but it is not statesmanship.
– Posterity must do the same as we have been doing.
– We are not solving our own problems, but the problems of our ignorant ancestors, of Tory misgovernment in the past. It is not its own problems which any community is ever called upon to solve, but the problems createdby the ignorance and misgovernment of past generations.
– Every system is good in its day.
– I wish that the honorable senator, with his cheap platitudes, would behave well in his day. Whatever may be its merits or demerits as an abstract principle, the contention I have raised is an eminently practical one, and one that should receive consideration by every person, apart from doctrinaire or academic politics.
– Do you believe in giving a man more than a living area ?
– You have now to give a man for a living area infinitely more than what will be a living area in the days to come.
– That is only a living area to-day.
– That is so.
– Your party proposed to give a man the right to take up 2,000 square miles in the Northern Territory.
– And your party allowed men to take up 11,000,000 square miles.
– It is inevitable that the resumption fund required must be enormous, because you would only require to resume in the event of the population having given the land a value. That value would be so great as to cripple the finances of the Northern Territory.
– You will never get a population there unless you give some inducement.
– The best inducement to offer is to give some kind of easy tenure. The mere giving of the freehold, as long as there is no great population there, will not at the present day give any substantial benefit to the holder ; but, on the other hand, .will build up a crop of troubles in the future when the land does become valuable. The early pioneers, whom my honorable friends opposite have chiefly in view, will not then be alive, in the majority of cases, to reap the benefits which they profess to offer them. What is the use of granting a freehold title of little value to-day, which, when it becomes really valuable, will belong to another generation ? On the one hand, the possession of the freehold will not be of any material value to the present settlers, because it will not be a realizable asset until the country does carry a big population. On the other hand, by the time the country does carry a big population, and the land has a real or high value, the present holders will be all dead and gone, and, consequently, it is not the pioneers who will benefit by the grant of a generous freehold. It is a system which, on the one hand, may benefit the speculator, and on the other hand retard settlement in the future. I do not wish to monopolize the time, but I want to point out that the proposal to carry out public works by contract in the future is another reactionary step. While I quite admit that it is a debatable question, I think we have already proved by practical experience in many parts of this country that the day-labour system is well worthy of retention, and of being tried on a much larger scale. I’ am quite willing to admit that there may be abuses, and in some cases have been abuses. I am not making that remark in regard to Federal concerns, but generally. What is the cause of abuses? It is the want of efficient supervision. The whole secret of effective day labour is efficient supervision.
– And you will never get it.
– One moment; it is not safe to prophesy unless you know.
– Experience tells us that.
– Not universally. Let me point out one or two of the practical difficulties, which are in the way of being removed, to the effectiveness of the system. Let it be borne in mind that efficient supervision is responsible for the success of the day-labour system when it is carried on by a private contractor. The two systems are put in juxtaposition as though they were contradictory. As a matter of fact, the contract system generally means that the actual work is carried out on the day-labour principle. If I am a contractor for a railway or a building I generally employ my men by the day, and, consequently, the work is really done by day labour. I, as a contractor, have a vital interest in seeing that they do as much work as they can, and as quickly as possible, and, therefore, I try to supervise the work. But let me ask honorable senators opposite, Does any contractor personally supervise tha details of every man’s work on a big railway contract? No. It would be humanly impossible for him to do anything of the kind, and therefore he engages foremen, gangers, and others, who, paid by him, supervise the respective branches of the work. Consequently it is on paid supervision that the contractor has to depend. If the private contractor can secure good supervisors, why cannot the State?
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The only point is that the State does not get them.
– I wish to say that in all the States the contract system has been generally in force. Consequently the staffs of our Works Departments have grown up familiar with that system, but unfamiliar with the day-labour system Hence it is that, while efficient supervision has produced good results in some places, in others the State has .been unable to find men competent to carry out works under the day-labour system. To my mind, Government circumlocution and red-tapism are largely responsible for the failure to produce a staff of supervisors competent to carry out works by means of that system. However, the matter is not one which is incapable of adjustment. Experience in many instances has shown the value of day labour. Its failures have been held up to public reprobation to such an extent that its successes have been largely obscured. In many walks .of life, where organized labour has had no preponderating influence, the day-labour system has been adopted with magnificent results. In the building of Hordern’s Emporium, after the fire a few years ago, 10,000,000 bricks were used, every one of which was laid by day labour.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Under whose supervision ?
– I do not know.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Under the supervision of the representative of Mr. Hordern.
– But the work was done by day labour. Mr. Hordern himself could not, personally, supervise it. He had to depend upon hired supervisors. If Anthony Hordern and Sons can engage competent supervisors, surely the State can do the same.
– How did the phrase “ Government stroke “ originate? What is its genesis?
– I cannot tell the honorable member; but in a few years’ time I shall probably be able to tell him how he got his exodus. The phrase to which he refers originated many years before the Labour party came into existence. In addition to the fact that the contract system has frequently resulted in sweating - although this evil may be curbed by
Arbitration Courts and Wages Boards awards - it undoubtedly tends to bad workmanship. Some of the very worst scandals conceivable have been associated with the nature of the material and the workmanship which have been put into contract jobs. Honorable senators will, doubtless, recollect that terrible tragedy in Great Britain - the Tay Bridge disaster - which has been attributed to bad workmanship in the castings of the. bridge.
– And it was not built By day labour.
– No. I believe that the Carnegie Pittsburg Steel Works were responsible for some of the piers or girders in that bridge, the failure of which led to the disaster. We know that in concrete work, in bridge building, &c, there is a constant effort on the part of many contractors to put in less than the prescribed quantity of cement. Hence, supervision is required on the part of the Government, and, as sometimes the supervisors themselves may be “squared,” it is necessary to have some one else to supervise them. All this supervision adds enormously to the cost, but these charges are not included in a comparison of the cost of the respective methods of carrying . out public works. When we get material from the Old Country, we know that we have to provide a highly-paid and efficient engineer to supervise the work done there. The cost of the clerical staff which he has to employ is a charge against the work, and all these costs are pitted against the lower cost of contract labour. I do hope that the transcontinental railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, and also the line from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek, will be constructed by means of day labour, in order to insure that the nien will be adequately paid, and the workmanship be of the best. I come now to the proposal to place the Postal Department under a board of Commissioners. That proposal has my hostility. No worse proposition could be made.
– It would relieve the Minister of responsibility.
– If we are going to put the Postal Department under a board of Commissioners, we might as well place the whole country under a Commission. Indeed, I do not know that the latter would be an unworkable scheme. I do not know that a scheme could not be devised for running the country by means of a Commission, just as some of the cities in America are run by Commissions. But unless we are prepared to go the whole hog, there is a fallacy underlying the idea that we should place certain of our Government Departments under a Commission. What can such a body do which Parliament cannot do better? If the Commission is to be a managing body, it should be directly responsible to the PostmasterGeneral, who should, as at present, exercise Ministerial control. I object to a Department of such vital importance to present-day development as the Post Office being placed under a Commission, which would have some set idea that it should be conducted as a business concern. For one thing, I object absolutely to the perpetuation of some of the present disabilities to which country settlers are subject. A Commission would be more likely to increase than to remove those disabilities.It would probably provide additional facilities in the towns and cities where the Department is a paying concern. But where great lengths of country have to be traversed, and where settlement is sparse, the interests of those districts would be more neglected than they are at present.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - I doubt it.
SenatorRAE. - Whenever country members are sufficiently resolute, they can bring sufficient pressure to bear to compel a large modification of the existing system. We now have a direct control over the Postal Department. But if we place it under a Commission for a term of years, I know what will happen. Senator Gould must recollect our experiences in the New South Wales Parliament when we desired to learn anything about railway administration. The Minister of Railways would rise in his place and say, “ In reply to the honorable member’s question, so-and-so is the case; but I am utterly unable to deal with it. It is under the Railways Act, and comes within the purview of the Railways Commissioners.” He would sometimes admit that a flagrant injustice was being done; but he would plead, “ I cannot interfere; and, unless you are prepared to alter our Railways Act, I can do nothing.” He was a mere figurehead, so far as the control of his Department was concerned. That is the position to which the PostmasterGeneral would be reduced if the Government proposal were carried out.
Honorable senators would be absolutely at the mercy of, probably, three Commissioners appointed by Ministerial Act to preside over the destinies of the Post and Telegraph. Department of a whole continent. These Commissioners would be entirely beyond the reach of the people’s representatives.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - They would be subject to the control of Parliament.
– The honorable senator knows that it is very much easier to get a legitimate grievance redressed by influence over a Minister than by the alteration of an Act of Parliament. There is no reason why we should not have just as continuous a policy in the Post Office, even though its Ministers come and go, as we have in matters of naval and military defence, notwithstanding that Defence Ministers come and go. We shall not improve matters by handing over the control of the Postal Department to three Commissioners. We know that the rapid growth of the business of the Department makes it absolutely impossible to compare it with any private business. I have seen press writers urge that the Department should be conducted uponbusiness lines. They have said, “ If three of the mercantile men of our large cities had charge of it they would make a big reform in a week.” These writers are, so to speak, “talking through their hats.” What business is there in the world which goes in for the enormous amount of detail which characterizes the Post and Telegraph Department? Absolutely none. There is nothing like it in private enterprise. It is not the kind of business which commercial men are trained to undertake. A growing Department of this kind ought to be under the constant supervision of Parliament, so that in regard to details as well as principles we can frequently bring effective pressure to bear for the removal of grievances. I apologize for taking up the time of the Senate for so long in dealingwith a matter which has an air of unreality about it. It is as well to remind the Government that there are two Houses of Legislature. It may be that measures which are outlined in the Government programme may be passed in another place, although I admit that that is rather a remote contingency. But even so, to the extent that they conflict with the principles of the party in opposition, they will be unceremoniously rejected here. Honorable members opposite realize that they cannot pass any measure through the Senate which is in opposition to the principles of the Labour party.
– Give us a little ceremony !
– If the honorable senator likes ceremony at a death-bed, he may have some, but the sooner this Government dies the better. It is sometimes urged that the Senate is an undemocratic Chamber, and is elected on a wrong basis.
– So said Mr. Hughes.
– I am not going into ancient history. If Mr. Hughes said so, I remember that I was an anti-Billite myself. I did my best to secure the rejection of the Commonwealth Constitution. I voted against it for many reasons. Many of the defects which I observed in the Constitution have since clearly revealed themselves. I voted against it because, as originally brought before the New South Wales Parliament by Mr., now Sir Edmund, Barton, it contained many Tory conditions which were afterwards eliminated. 1 believed that by waiting we could get an even better Bill. I believed that the rapid progress of democratic ideas would secure improvements in many directions. But the Constitution was accepted, as a compromise, at the earnest solicitation of Senator Gould, amongst others.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - No, I voted against it.
– What a number of people who voted against the Constitution have managed to get into this Parliament.
– There is nothing in that point. Sir William Lyne was a strong opponent of the Constitution, and yet he was asked by the Governor- General to form the first Commonwealth Ministry. At any rate, the Constitution was adopted at the solicitation of many ardent Federalists on the ground that while they did not themselves believe in giving the smaller States the same number of senators as the larger ones had, yet that was the only way of securing Federation, and they were prepared to accept it on those terms. They agreed to a provision that under no circumstances should the principle of equal representation be altered, except at the wish of the States affected. Consequently, the Constitution in that re spect cannot be amended without the consent of the smaller States. Such being the case, why should Senator Clemons and Senator Bakhap, who represent a small State, associate themselves with senators and others who are now crying out against the principle of equal representation, seeing that they would not bo prepared to accept the surrender of that principle?
– Hear, hear!
– The representatives of the smaller States would, if they value their political lives, have to fight to the last gasp against any surrender of the principle of equal representation. What sincerity can there be then in members of the same party who happen to live in New South Wales or Victoria trying to raise the cry of the Senate being an undemocratic body ?
– That is a question which is quite irrelevant to the principles of Liberalism.
– The. honorable senator cannot dispose of the matter in that light and airy way. It becomes avital part of the so-called Liberal party if those with whom he is politically associated seek to justify the legislation which they propose on the ground that it is accepted by the popular Chamber, whilst we, an undemocratic and reactionary body, refuse to ratify it. Honorable senators cannot play fast and loose with this matter. They cannot fight against the principle which gives the smaller States the same power in the Senate as the larger ones, and at the same time say that they are upholding the Constitution.
– That has nothing to do with a double dissolution.
– I am glad that the honorable senator manifests such a desire to go back to his constituents. But there can be no doubt that a’ double dissolution would not benefit honorable senators opposite. Whilst we, on this side, are not looking for a double dissolution, because we can jog along tolerably well on a basis of twenty-nine to seven, still, I must confess that I should like to see the numbers more nearly equal, so that we could have more substantial foes to fight. But I warn honorable senators opposite that they stand to gain nothing by a double dissolution unless they can get the conditions altered to such an extent as to give them a majority here. They must remember that they are not merely fighting the majority which the Labour party secured three years ago. We obtained a majority of senators at the last election also.
– But honorable senators opposite obtained a minority of the votes of all Australia.
– There is no ground for that conclusion. It is regrettable that we have not yet the full figures relating to the last election. If we had them, I am convinced that it would be seen that we secured an absolute majority of the votes cast for the Senate in the Commonwealth as a whole. But my point is that a double dissolution would not benefit the Ministerial party at all. I quite agree that a double dissolution would suit our opponents better than a single one; but, though they may think that a double dissolution would answer their purpose, it would not do so ultimately. I believe that the people of this country at the last election were to a large extent caught napping, and that, as a matter of fact, the actions of the late Ministry met with such universal commendation from the vast majority of the people that they thought our Government was absolutely safe to come back with a majority. Overcertainty was largely responsible for our downfall. I am quite convinced that there is such an overwhelming feeling in favour of the democratic policy associated with the Labour party, and of the legislation which we placed upon the statutebook during the time our Government was in office, that at the next election our party will come back more solid than ever, and will be strengthened with the means to carry out those referenda proposals for which we have fought in the past.
– After listening to what has been said here for many weeks, one might conclude that the debate on the AddressinReply was somewhat thrashed out. What has astonished me most is that, while there is a considerable number of measures to be discussed as men should discuss them in Parliament, the tendency of the newspapers is to regard the Senate as keeping back the legislation of Australia. We have waited patiently for measures to come from another place. I believe that one solitary little measure of about three clauses has found its way here. That is really all the legislation we have before us at the present time; yet, strange to say, the newspapers in this and the other States abuse the Senate in unmeasured terms for blocking the business of the Commonwealth. If we took up the Audit Bill to-night, we should be able, I have no doubt, to pass it before we adjourned, and, if we did so, apparently, we should not any longer be liable to the charge made against us. But we should then have to return to our homes, and have another adjournment while we were waiting for further measures to come from another place. I mention this in order to direct attention to the unfair statement of the position published by the newspapers throughout Australia. They barrack for one side only, instead of placing honestly before their readers the true position of political affairs. They shut their eyes and close their ears to everything that comes from the side of Labour, and they shut their eyes, also, to all the evils on the other side. Our friends opposite have boasted that some 800 newspapers barrack for them throughout Australia, and they reason that, because a newspaper ‘ is on their side, therefore the truth is on their side. That is a conclusion that will not stand analysis. We- know just why the newspapers are on the side of the present Government. It is because the Government represent the Capitalist party pure and simple. They are the upholders of what is known as “ law and order,” and law and order generally is on the side of wealth, and not on the side of poverty. Senator Gould knows well that law and order is always on the side of the man who has the fattest purse, just as Napoleon said that God was on the side of the biggest battalions. I entered this Chamber as a new member, without a bias, expecting to find in our honorable friends opposite opponents whom I might reasonably regard as men who would take up a true position.
– The honorable senator did not hope to convert them?
– I did not for a moment; but I expected to find that they would make statements which, upon examination would be confirmed by the truth. I little expected to hear, as I have heard since I entered this Chamber, statements made by honorable senators representing the Government that are contrary to fact, and to the reports of their own officers. These statements have been repeated without qualification, and there has been no intention to withdraw them expressed. I say that that is contrary to the code of ethics that is observed outside Parliament. When proceedings in Parliament have sunk to such a nethermost depth, there must be something radically wrong with the party that can only support itself by the adoption of such tactics.
Sitting suspended from G.SO to S p.m.
– At the adjournment for dinner I was dealing with the attitude of Ministers with respect to statements made during and subsequent to the last elections, and involving charges against the party to which I have the honour to belong. These charges were not merely preferred against the Labour party, but hurled at it in ‘such a way as to indicate that there was not a shadow of a doubt as to their truth. They were of such a character that if there had been a shadow of doubt as to their truth, they would have justly called down the anger of the people of Australia upon that party. Early this session Senator Russell directed attention to certain remarks made by Senator McColl, but since that date the statements he complained of have been repeated, not only by Senator McColl, but, on the authority of his high position, by other speakers in every part of Australia. We know that Senator Russell showed unmistakably that there was not only little ground for them, but distinct evidence that they should never have been made until :at least Senator McColl had assured himself and reassured himself that the charges he was making were true.
– -The honorable senator is repeating them even now.
– I thank the honorable senator for the interjection, because I wish to direct attention to that fact. Looking up Hansard. I find that on the 10th September Senator McColl withdrew these statements.
– No, I only withdrew one.
– I regret that in order to clear myself I must quote the honorable senator. He said -
I have heard of some cases, but I must say I cannot prove them, and, therefore, I withdraw the statement.
– That referred to one point only. Let the honorable senator be fair.
– I am sure that I shall in the circumstances be permitted to clear myself absolutely by showing that the honorable senator made no such qualification. He said -
The next statement I made at Fitzroy was that even the dead had been resurrected to vote. I may have been a little hasty in making that statement. I think there was a good deal of talk, as there is at the present moment. I have heard of some cases, but I must say that I cannot prove them, and, therefore, I withdraw the statement.
– That is the only statement 1 withdrew.
– Then I am to understand that the honorable senator’s statement that 180,000 persons impersonated is not untrue.
– I never made such a statement. What I said was that there had been inflation to the extent of 180,000.
– I shall deal with the question of inflation, but I am dealing now with the references to impersonation and the duplication of votes.
– The honorable senator is putting words into my mouth which I never used.
– I find that when honorable senators opposite are cornered in this matter they immediately withdraw this, that, or the other, or qualify or stultify their previous remarks. But the newspapers throughout the length and breadth of the land continue to publish them without correction. I say that, as honorable men, we have no right to make statements in this Chamber which we cannot prove, and if we have made such statements we should, as honest men, withdraw them.
– I stand by the statement I made.
– I say that the honorable senator cannot prove the statements which were referred to by Senator Russell.
– I have the proof here.
– I remind the honorable senator, when he says that the rolls were inflated, that the percentage of voters at the last election was greater than at any previous election, and an inflation of the rolls and a larger percentage of voters cannot exist together.
– Look at the return by Mr. Knibbs, which was laid on the table last week.
– The return referred to does not concern this question at all. I say that an inflation of the rolls and an increased percentage of voters are self-destructive. In this connexion, also, honorable senators must bear in mind that, although there was an increased percentage of voters at the last election, the argument was advanced by our opponents that 70,000 or 80,000 voters were disfranchised by the Labour party by the abolition of the postal vote. All these statements cannot be correct. It is impossible for any one to substantiate the whole of them, and so I say that the arguments advanced by honorable senators on the Fusion side are absolutely without foundation. Senator McColl received a good lashing, which, I believe, he well merited, and at the time Senator Russell submitted his motion, he made no defence worthy of the name. A little later we found Senator Millen, the Minister of Defence, making similar outrageous statements, and in the face of the report from his own officials he neither withdraws nor qualifies them. Again and again he has said that he does not withdraw nor qualify them. These are the leaders of the Senate, who stand for the defence of the Government, and they are the men to whom Australia is looking for probity, truthfulness, and honesty in politics.
– They will look to them in vam.
– My honorable friend is right. They will look in vain to that quarter for such qualities.
– Honorable senators opposite are the only pure crowd.
– Senator McColl cannot escape in that way. It is very easy for him to say that we are the only pure crowd, but I venture to assert that the entry of the Labour party into politics has done more to purify politics than anything that ever previously occurred in Australia. That is the reason our honorable friends object to Labour. There is another question which I wish to bring forward, and I am sorry that Senator Millen is not here. I was waiting last week for an opportunity to find the honorable senator in his place, but, if I mistake not, he was here only once last week. To-day we have a repetition of the same thing.
– That is ungenerous, because Senator Millen is engaged upon public matters, I assure the honorable senator.
– We are considering public matters, and this is the day appointed for the Senate to discuss them. Are we to wait until it pleases Senator Millen to come here? The statements to which I allude had reference to the appointments made by the late Government. I wish to deal especially with a statement made respecting one appointment, which I consider is most unjust and cruel. It was made in the’ absence of the man, and where he had no opportunity to defend himself. I refer to his statement in regard to Mr. Donald Campbell. He said that practically the only qualification Mr. Campbell possessed was that of being a member of the Labour party. That in itself is a good qualification, and one which, at one time, Senator Millen was -proud to possess, and which won him the confidence of those with whom he was associated to such an extent that he was elected to honorable positions.
– He was never a Labour man; he was only a Labour aspirant.
– I believe that, at one time, unless Hansard is incorrect, Senator Millen was a representative at a Labour Conference that was held in Sydney. That proves my statement that he received the confidence of those who, at that time, believed him to be sound in heart and true in faith, but he was neither.
– What a narrow escape our party had.
– We hav« had many narrow escapes; and God is good. Harking back to the appointment of Mr. Donald Campbell, he was a member of the Labour party, and proud to be a member of it. I was his colleague for six years in the South Australian Parliament, and I would be less than a man, hearing what Senator Millen said, if I did not defend him here. So far as intelligence is concerned, a glowworm might as well criticise the sun for its light as Senator Millen criticise the ability of Mr. Campbell. The latter is well able to hold his own where he is, and will be a credit to the Commonwealth in the position in which it has placed him. For Senator Millen to prejudge Mr. Campbell is simply on a par With a great deal of the prejudgment which was made in regard to the Labour party. It ill becomes our honorable friends opposite, who are so ready to imitate our example to criticise us as they do. They very often judge a thing before it takes place, and say, “ This or that will not work out as you anticipate “ ; but when we have proved distinctly that what we assumed would turn out, they follow in our wake and say, “Oh, yes, buE you did not do it all yourselves.” That argument was brought forward here this afternoon, with regard to old-age pensions. It was said that that scheme was not of Labour origination; that the Labour party could not have carried the system ; but our honorable friends know full well that it could not have been carried without the help of the Labour party. They know, also, that it was on the platform of the Labour party, and that every Labour man was pledged to carry it out.
– They know full well that the power to legislate on the subject was in the Constitution originally.
– I do not doubt that.
– At the Federal Convention there was only one member-
– My honorable friend resembles very much some of those volcanoes near which one can never build. They become eruptive when it is least expected. Like a volcano, the honorable senator gushes forth with tremendous force; but, after all, there is only a lot of splutter. Out of all the appointments which were made by the previous Government, it ill becomes our honorable friends to take exception to six or seven important positions, two of which fell to the lot of Labour men. Men who had Labour sympathies were able to fulfil the duties cast upon them. If we are to take the results of the last elections, we find that a majority of the electors in the Commonwealth have Labour sympathies, and are a majority of Labour sympathizers
– The majority put us on this side-
– Let me finish my sentence, then the volcano can break out again. Are the majority of Labour sympathizers disqualified from positions of that kind if they have the ability to hold them ? Such a proposition on the part of our honorable friends is shameful, I think. For fifty years or more in the politics of Australia they held full sway; for fifty years they worked their own sweet will; for fifty years their own supporters were placed in positions of responsibility; and because a breach was made, and that but a small one, they immediately raised the cry, “ We are the people, and wisdom will die with us.” My honorable friend opposite points that argument at me; but surely it ill becomes him now to say we think we are the wisest, seeing that they have tried to demonstrate that they only are the possessors of all true wisdom. I want to refer to another position which was taken up here, and that is with regard to Liberalism itself. It has ignored all its traditions. There is no such thing as Liberalism in the Fusion crowd to-day.
– The Fusion party.
– Or, if my honorable friend likes, the Fusion party. I admit that they masquerade under the garb of Liberalism.
– You adopted the slang of Senator McColl, who refers to us as a crowd.
– I could adopt, if I wished, a term from the lips of the man who was chosen Premier of South Australia, which is just as slangy as that; but I prefer not to use that kind of language. Has Liberalism, as it styles itself, proved that it is worthy of the name? I know a case where a man chose to affix on the door of the establishment in which he worked a placard. It was only a small one, for Labour men have not much money to spend in that way, nor have we much money to spend on such articles as that which was read here by an honorable senator to-day. It was also a very innocent one. The placard announced that a Labour meeting would be held at a certain time, and would be addressed by certain gentleman with Labour sympathies. What did his master, a prominent member of the Liberal Union, do? Immediately he stormed, and said, “ Whoever put the placard “there, I will dismiss him on sight,” and he did.
– That is Liberalism.
– That is Liberalism.
– He will go and talk about freedom.
– Liberals mouth those two words, but I ask my honorable friends opposite if they think that the action I have mentioned was in keeping with British fair play?
– No. What have you to say now!
– I have to mention another thing. I have in my pocket a letter from a man who moved a vote of thanks to the three Senate candidates at the last election. Within a week from that time he was called into the office, and discharged. What have my honorable friends opposite to say now?
– I say that it is not right, and that people who do that sort of thing do not understand Liberalism.
– The man who had to leave a position for doing such a simple thing as that shifted to another town, where he got work, but very quickly he was told that work was falling off yet his place was filled by another man. It is patent to my mind that for a man to-day to hold Labour views and sympathies is to immediately lose his means of livelihood.
– What will you ; say about a Labour landlord who raised the rents of his Liberal tenants because he found that they were supporters of the Liberal party?
– - I would say that he is imbued with too much of what is called Liberal principles.
– I could give you instances of that sort.
– Wait a moment. Another case which came under my notice was that of a man who was simply a worker under a district council. For six months after he took the secretaryship of the Labour branch in the place he could not obtain another day’s work under the council, which was composed of members of the Liberal unions. These things abound all over the country. Instead of honorable senators making statements such as were called attention to here, instead of making statements which they cannot substantiate, they should raise their voices against the want of Liberalism that is displayed. .A man should be as free to hold his political faith as he is to hold his religious faith. We have fought to win one right, and we shall fight to win the other. Liberalism, should hold to the traditions of the past, and allow other persons to live just as well as it seeks to live. Coming to the policy statement of the Government, it opens by simply saying that the existing electoral law has not been found to work satisfactorily. That strikes me as a sentence which is incomplete. If the Government had said that the electoral law had not been found to work satisfactorily according to the views of the Liberal Union, or the Fusion policy, they would have stated a truth.
– Seeing that we got rid of your majority of eleven, it worked pretty satisfactorily.
– Then why did the Government say that the electoral law has not been found to work satisfactorily? How can the honorable senator defend his leader’s statement, and make his own? These gentlemen, who possess wonderful wisdom, will not speak, if it can be helped, where their arguments can be met, but where there is a crowd of people, who are not keen in politics, immediately they make statements, because they know that they will not be called in question. The electoral law that is called attention to in the Ministerial policy statement was operating in South Australia, and, under its provisions, three Labour senators were returned to the Senate.
– We got a double dose of Labour in New South Wales.
– Like many bad logicians, my honorable friend is going to draw a conclusion from one single premise. Is he going to draw the conclusion that the electoral law has not been found to work satisfactorily in South Australia ?
– No. I say that we got a double dose of Labour in New South Wales.
– The honorable senator reminds me of a Frenchman who went travelling on one occasion. In his own view, he was rather wise, ‘and he thought he would take notes as he went round. In conversation, one evening, he complained of having a cold, and some one said to him that a salt -herring was a very good thing for a cold. He put that down in his note- book as something which was good. He got the advice from an Englishman, and therefore thought it should be good. The Englishman avowed that it would cure a cold on any occasion. When the Frenchman got back to France, he recommended the remedy to a friend, but a fatal result followed, and so he put a note in his note-book that a salt herring would cure an Englishman, but kill a Frenchman. My honorable friend opposite seems to be drawing the conclusion that the existing electoral law will return Labour men in South Australia, but Fusionists in New South Wales.
– You are drawing a red herring across the track.
– Possibly there were other circumstances and other factors, of which my honorable friend is not taking due cognisance. Seeing that he gained a majority in New South Wales, why is he dissatisfied with our existing electoral law? If it has proved satisfactory to him, why not let it alone? If it works out all right in New South Wales, surely there is not so much difference between the climate or the physique of men as to deter him from allowing it to be tried in South Australia?
– I am in favour of giving the sick and infirm an opportunity to vote.
– Judging by the men who were returned to this Parliament in New South Wales, there must have been a lot of sick and infirm people there. I notice that our opponents are very ready to criticise our electoral law because it did not work satisfactorily to them, but they are not just enough to direct attention to the record of the late Ministry. They are not prepared to acknowledge that it was a good one; that it was better than that of any of their predecessors. They will not admit that the Fisher Government dealt with more national questions-
– And imposed higher taxation.
– Will the honorable senator indicate in what way they increased taxation? I decline to accept his bald statement on the matter. His cry about higher taxation reminds me of that blessed word “Mesopotamia.” It is simply a cry, and nothing but a cry. It reminds me of the work of shaving pigs - there is very little wool and a lot of squeak. But on whom has higher taxation fallen?
– On the working classes.
– Let me ask my honorable friend in what way the working classes have paid higher taxation. Have their incomes exceeded the exemption under the income tax? As the honorable senator does not reply, I must conclude that he has no defence. He knows well enough that the only additional taxation imposed at the instance of the late Government was the progressive land tax, and he cannot truthfully say that that tax fell upon the working man. So that this cry, after all, has nothing in it.
– Mr. J.C. Watson made the statement at the last Eight Hours banquet.
– I am not concerned with what Mr. Watson, or any other individual, may say. This is the place where we have to debate legislative measures. When my honorable friend says that the Labour party are responsible for higher taxation, it is incumbent upon him to prove his statement. To my mind, honorable senators opposite must have a distorted political vision. They see evils in others which exist most largely in themselves. They are only too ready to -
Compound the sins they feel inclined to,
By damning those they have no mind to.
They blame the Labour party for having increased taxation, when they know perfectly well that we have not increased it. They know that taxation has increased only through the Customs House. The figures of the Commonwealth Statistician prove that our protective policy is not high enough, and that, as a result, we are consuming more imported goods than we used to consume. In that way only has taxation increased. But that is not the fault of the Labour party. Honorable senators know that in this Chamber the new Protection, which would have paved the way to a lowering of taxation to the consumer was most strongly resisted by my honorable friends opposite. Another point which strikes me is that the very first line of the statement in the Ministerial declaration of policy relating to the recent elections begs the whole question. Evidently honorable senators opposite first draw their conclusions, and then shape the premises from which they can make a logical syllogism. At the last general election a larger number of electors exercised the franchise than exercised it at any previous election in the Commonwealth, and every vote was cast in the presence of an electoral officer and scrutineers. Yet the Government say that our electoral system has been found to work unsatisfactorily. If my honorable friends opposite are prepared to back up that statement, they will merely prove that they are in favour of a lax electoral law, under which there will be no power to see that votes are cast righteously. They will merely prove that they desire to do away with a system which provides absolutely necessary safeguards. Notwithstanding that they declaim against duplication of votes, impersonation, the undue inflation of rolls, and the disfranchisement of thousands, they must acknowledge that at the last elections more ‘scrutiny was exercised over the votes cast than had been exercised, at any previous election. Their charges of electoral irregularities have not been proved. How could thousands of persons be disfranchised and yet a larger percentage of electors vote 1 It is about time that these charges were thoroughly investigated. We have heard again and again that this Senate is undemocratic. Why? For the simple reason that it returns Democrats. If by any accident a majority of Fusionists were returned to this Chamber, we should hear no more about the Senate being undemocratic. It would be the most glorious institution- that was ever invented. But because so many Labour representatives are here, it is not democratic. To draw conclusions of that character seems to me to savour of mental insolvency. The public are responsible for the present political situation, and when members of this Parliament at their week-ends raise a hue-and-cry about it, they are reflecting on the intelligence of their masters. I wish to ask them, ‘ ‘ Are not the electors at perfect liberty to choose whom they will as their representatives?”
– I hope so.
– I would like the honorable senator to say that they are.
– That is a self-evident proposition.
– Then it is selfevident that when members of this Parliament reflect upon its composition they are reflecting upon the intelligence of the people who sent them here. If an unworkable situation has arisen, and we immediately rush back to our masters and say, “ Here. you have made a blunder,” we confess that we are not prepared to perform the duty that we were sent here to perform. On our file of Bills to-day is one solitary measure which has come to us from the other Chamber. We have now been in session for ten or eleven weeks, and yet that is the total legislative product. In this Senate there are thirtysix members who have been sent here by the people to work. The Government have power to initiate Bills in this Cham ber. But they have not followed that course, and the Labour party have been slated again and again by the press, as if they were responsible for the present position. I say that we are not. We are ready to proceed with work as soon as it is provided for us. Honorable senators opposite are those who are responsible for the present position. I charge them with having neglected the duty that they were sent here to perform. It is their duty to see that this branch of the Legislature, as well as the other branch of it, is kept at work. The Government have taken exception to the rolls. They say that there has been undue inflation, and that the rolls must be purified. The word “ purification,” coming from the source that it does, reminds me very much of what took place in times past. I have seen something before of this roll-purifying, at the suggestion of political societies. I know full well that it means the removal of an immense number of Labour votes from the rolls, and diffculty in restoring them. The only names that will be removed by honorable senators opposite will be Labour names. All sorts of others will be left on, and no attention will be paid to them. But let a Labour voter go away to shear, let his wife go to visit her mother, and their names will be struck off the roll. Let a Labour voter remove from one street to another, although he may continue in the same subdivision, and his name will be struck off. Advantage will be taken of every little excuse. Every man and woman over twenty-one years of age in Australia has a right to be on the electoral roll, and the name of no man or woman ought to be removed without his knowledge. We should not take it upon ourselves to strike off the name of any person who has a right to vote. We exceed our duty when we attempt any such action. To go on to the platform and talk about purifying the roll is to use a nice catchy phrase, but we know what it means. It must not be assumed by our opponents that there is no desire on our part to have a pure roll; but we want to insure that every elector in Australia shall have an opportunity of recording his vote. I am very pleased with one piece of work done by the previous Government. I allude to the provision for compulsory enrolment. I believe that that change led to the very much larger poll at the last election than at any previous time. There were many persons who thought their names were on the roll, and who, perhaps, might have been a little indifferent about it. But they were waited upon, their names were obtained, they were placed on the roll, and certainty gave place to doubt. There is one provision of the electoral scheme of the Government to which, T think, exception should be :aken. I allude to the provision that a man’s name shall not be placed on the roll within thirty days of the issue of the writ. Suppose a by-election takes place. Very often these things come suddenly. Those who have experience of political warfare know that it is not until an election becomes imminent that some people will take the trouble to see whether their names are on the roll. A person may remove from one subdivision to another, or even from one division to another, and may not take the trouble to see that his name is transferred. Under this thirty days’ provision, I venture to say that a large number of persons will be disfranchised, because more names are put on the roll within the last thirty days than during the previous sixty days. Practically, the Government say to an elector: “It is your duty to enroll, and there is a section of the Act which compels you to do so, but for thirty days you shall not be allowed to enroll.” The Government are going to stultify a previous Act of this Parliament. By one provision they say that a person has a right to be enrolled, and that it is his duty to get enrolled; and by another provision that he shall not exercise his right. The whole spirit of the original provision is being reversed. I wish to say one or two things about the postal vote, and what I have seen in connexion with it
– The -restoration of the postal vote is the “ national policy “ of the Government.
– I know what the postal vote is. I have seen it in operation, and know how it works. I have here a list of postal votes recorded in South Australia. I will read the numbers, and mention the streets in which the persons lived. This is what occurred. No. 413 lived in Grey-street, Mount Gambier, which is within less than a quarter of a mile of the post-office.’ Yet the postal vote of No. 413 was issued at a little post-office 5 miles away. No. 409, a different person, lived in the same street. No. 395 and No. 393 lived in the next street, Elizabeth-street, and No. 394 lived in Grey-street. Nos. 396, 389, 371, and 370 lived in Claraville, a suburb of Mount Gambier. These voters were living 5 miles away from the postoffice the stamp of which was used, although they were within half-a-mile of the Mount Gambier Post-office. No. 369 was on the Penola-road at Mount Gambier, less than 2 miles away from the Mount Gambier Post-office. No. 398 lived within 400 yards of another post-office, but 5 miles away from the postoffice the stamp of which was used. Of course, our opponents are anxious to reinstitute the postal vote, which enabled them to do this kind of thing. I have evidence as to two others living at Sutton Town, and yet the stamp of a post-office 5 miles away was used on their postal votes. I believe that the postmistress herself used it. The stamp was sent round in a buggy. I called attention at the time to the fact that the stamp of the post u mee that was nearest to these electors was not used. I wrote to the Deputy Postmaster-Genera] in Adelaide about it, but nothing could be done. Our friends opposite want to introduce provisions which will enable that kind of thing to be done in open daylight, and yet they are talking about impersonation. Where is their consistency and their honesty in the matter? They know full well that a system of that kind lends itself to all kinds of fraud. When the system was established in South Australia, the condition was laid down that a person applying for a postal vote should send in an application, when the votingpaper was forwarded to him, “ care of Blank.” The “Blank” was usually a canvasser for the Liberal Union. I have seen a canvasser march into the Mount Gambier Post-office with five or six votes, and I saw him supervise them while they recorded their votes in the little compartments where telegrams are written. It was no business of the postmaster to interfere, because the election was a State election, and he was not a State officer. Yet our opponents wish to re-institute a system which offers such facilities for fraud, and for the destruction of the secrecy of the ballot. They will go before the country and say that they demand a pure voting system. Why all this hypocrisy ? Why not say straight out what they really desire ? What is the real meaning of this sinister proposal about signing a numbered butt, but a desire to see how a man votes, and thus to carry out the victimization policy by making people suffer for their political opinions? The whole proposal is a sham and a delusion. The Government are endeavouring to throw dust in the eyes of the people, whilst all the time they want to introduce a system of voting by which they can use every possible means of impersonation and victimization. They profess to be anxious that every man shall have an opportunity of recording his vote, and yet they want to make people suffer for the way in which they use their right. I might deal with other proposals in the beautiful policy which nas been brought before us. Ministers say that they are opposed to any preference or favoritism in the Public Service. I suppose they mean that they are opposed to preference to unionists. I have shown that, while Ministers say this, those who support them are pretty careful to indicate that they very much favour the men who are on their side of the political fence. It must be admitted that a strong Opposition is just as necessary as a strong Government party, in order to get good legislation. Surely we on this side of politics have as much political truth as our opponents, and we have a right to voice our opinions, and to carry them into law if we can secure a majority. While Ministers profess that they are opposed to favoritism in the Public Service, and have “ taken steps to provide that competency and merit shall be the basis of employment and preferment iu public works,” how do they propose to carry out this grandiloquent phrase? They propose to amend the law with regard to conciliation and arbitration to provide that there shall be ah exemption operating against rural workers. Here are people who profess that they do not believe in preference, and that they do believe in purity, and so forth, and yet they propose to legislate to debar rural workers from the same privileges as are enjoyed by other workmen. Is not the rural worker a competent man? Surely he has as much right as any other man to the protection of the law. Why ostracise him from _ its operation ? Why make him practically a helot in our community? Why make his position one which should be shunned rather than de- sired ? Our friends opposite forget that the primary producer is to-day calling out that he can get no labour. For years past that has been the cry of the farmer and producer in South Australia. Why is it that labour for the farmer is scarce? There was a time when a man employed on a farm lived on it, and reared his family on it. It was partly his home, and his children were born there, and received their education at the nearest school. As time went on the man became a farmer himself, but to-day the position of the rural worker is so reduced that ali his life he can look forward only to be a “hand,” and never a soul. He knows that he is to be taken up only when he is wanted, and for the briefest possible time. Machinery is displacing him on every side, and yet the farmers are crying out for workers. For how long do they require them ? In the earlier days the rural worker was on the farm for the ploughing and seeding. He was there when the crop was grown, and had to be reaped. He was there when the corn was thrashed.
– He seems to have been there all the time.
– Yes, he was there all the time, but now he is not required either at the ploughing or the reaping, though he may be wanted for a short time to lift the wheat bags into waggons. Yet he ‘is expected to be waiting for the farmer when the farmer wants him, and is not to be given the protection which other men have. He is to be denied the right to combine with others in a union. I would like to know why this direct set is made by the Government against preference to unionists. Preference to unionists, we know, largely means preference to the best men engaged in any industry. The best tradesmen in any trade are to be found in the union associated with that trade. If we consider the history of unionism we shall find that unionists have never been lacking in self-sacrifice. Not long ago I read an account of an incident that occurred, I believe, in Ballarat, where a man saw his mate in danger, and, although he knew that the fuse had been lit, and was urged to leave, he did not do so, but drew his mate away from the danger zone at the risk of his own life. He was a unionist. Only a few months ago the case was reported of a seaman, a member of a union, who held to the wheel, as it was his duty to do, until the “boat struck the shore, and risked and lost his own life in order to save the lives of others. 1 might multiply cases of the kind exhibiting the highest self-sacrifice and the noblest and highest attributes of the human race in the ranks of unionists. Yet to-day the Government apparently desire that men shall be kept outside unions and denied the help of their fellow-men in times of stress and struggle. I would ask whether the farmers do not join unions? Are they not all raked into the Liberal Union by the political agitators? Are our friends consistent in this matter, and do they tell the master that he must not join a union because his servant is not to be allowed to join, a union ? Our honorable friends acknowledge that these are good things, but apparently they desire that all the good things should be enjoyed by one side only. I have no wish to labour the question. I have had my say, but I wish to repeat, as a newcomer here, that I hope “ we shall in future be spared such exhibitions as we have had from the Ministerial benches, and that Ministers, when they go forth to enlighten the public, will take care that the statements they make are founded on fact, and will not, in their indignation against the party opposed to them, make statements which are due to their imagination rather than to their regard for the facts of the case.
.- On the motion before the Senate at the present time, by the exercise of tact and caution, one is permitted to speak upon almost anything and everything. I do not feel disposed, in spite of this liberty, to take a very wide range to-night. I shall endeavour to confine my few remarks to recent happenings. Some very important events have taken place in the Commonwealth since its establishment, but I do not propose to go back to its establishment. One event of very great importance to Australia, finality in regard to which was for some days in suspense, occurred on the 31st of May last, when the recent elections were decided. The more I think over the happenings connected with the recent elections, the more strongly I am reminded of a play which was staged in this city a few years ago, and which was entitled “ The Darling of the Gods.” One of the characters in that play was made to say, “ It is better to lie a little than to be unhappy much.” I make bold to say that if it were not for the wholesale lies that were published by a number of the daily thunderers in different parts of the Commonwealth, and were it not for the untrue, exaggerated, and make-believe statements published in the first place by organizations, and in the second place by candidates standing on behalf of those organizations, the present Government would not be in power, the Labour party would still be occupying the Treasury bench, and the Fusion party would be “unhappy much.” In New South Wales many strange things happen from time to time. While Senator Senior was speaking, Senator Oakes interjected that taxation had increased during the last few years. The interjection conveyed to myself and others that Senator Oakes and other candidates of the Fusion party in all probability made that statement an election cry in New South Wales.
– Hear, hear !
– I find from one of the placards issued by the so-called Liberal party of that State, that this appeal was made to the electors -
Vote for Liberalism because the hand of the tax-gatherers is heavy upon us, and the cost of living has become ruinous. The people of this continent are taxed more than they need be, and have suddenly become poorer.
What is meant by those words?
– They are very simple.
– They are, to a Free Trader who holds the belief that any duty imposed upon articles coming into any port of the Commonwealth is a tax upon the consumer. I have no doubt that Senators Oakes, Millen, and Gould invited the people to vote for them because of their fiscal faith, and left the impression upon the minds of a number of the electors of New South Wales that if they were returned there would be an alteration of our present Customs Tariff, that the duties it imposes would be reduced, and, according to their line of reasoning, living would consequently be cheaper. Those honorable senators also invited the electors to vote for them, and promised them that if they did so the result would be low rents and cheaper living. How do they propose to bring that about ? T ‘ read a number of the speeches delivered by candidates in New South Wales, some of whom are to-day occupying seats in another place, but I have failed to discover anything in them that would convince an intelligent being that they had any other object in view than to try to befool the people into a belief that the electors needed only to record their votes in favour of Fusion candidates and rents would be lower and the cost of living reduced. 1 can well imagine the result of such an appeal to a large section of the people of New South Wales, because in the principal city of that State to-day there is overcrowding that is a disgrace to the State. I recently read in the Argus a report showing what had been the outcome of investigations made by responsible bodies in Sydney in regard to the overcrowding of that city and its suburbs. The article was headed “ Overcrowding in Sydney - Five families in small house.” It says -
Investigations were made during last year by a committee of the Sydney University Christian Union with respect to the conditions in residential portions of the metropolis, where congestion is most acute. These formed the subject of evidence given before the Greater Sydney Commission to-day by Mr. C. H. Northcott, B.A.
One of the investigators had reported that in a four-roomed house seventeen people were living. There were many instances where two and three families were living in houses of three or four rooms. Many such houses were situated in dirty, narrow streets, where the air was impure. In some instances the houses were located merely in narrow lanes. Many of them had no yard or balcony. There were no squares or parks in the immediate vicinity, consequently the people sat about the narrow streets or on strips of footpaths, and the little children were to be found playing about in the gutters as late as Q p.m.
Mr. Northcott said that another of the investigators had reported that rarely among the poor and lower middle class was the extent of accommodation sufficient to provide reasonable, much less sufficient, air space. The workers in slum areas could cite many instances of families occupying one room. In one instance a sixroomed house was occupied by five families, having common water (one tap) and sanitary arrangements.
– What is the date of that?
– It is dated 31st July, 1913.
– We have had three years of Labour government over there.
– I am just going to deal with that matter. I can well imagine that when the honorable senators I have named were speaking in these congested areas, and giving the persons who are living in a vitiated atmosphere, amid surroundings that are disgraceful, and ought not to be tolerated ,for a day, their assurance that, if returned, they would bring about lower rentals and cheaper living, they received a large majority of the votes because of those promises. Senator Oakes has interjected that New South Wales has had three years of Labour government. The members of the Fusion party say that they are out to help private enterprise so far as they can, and to combat Socialistic enterprise. The only legitimate efforts that have been made in New South Wales in respect to providing better homes and better surroundings for the working classes and those living in slum areas, are, firstly, by the State Government, and, secondly, by the Sydney Municipal Council.
– Where does the State Government come in?
– The State Government and the Sydney Municipal Council are to-day embarked in Socialistic enterprises, and I guarantee that Senator Oakes, Senator Millen, and Senator Gould, who say they are opposed to every kind of Socialism, would not dare to get on a platform in any part of New South Wales, especially in Sydney, and denounce the efforts which those authorities are making in the direction I have named.
– Socialistic enterprises ?
– I, for one, will get up and denounce it.
– The probability is that the honorable senator will denounce the policy, because it is interfering in a measure with private enterprise, but I am satisfied that if he does so he will find himself in a hopeless minority. What is being done in New South Wales to provide better homes for many of the working classes? In a recent edition of the Melbourne Herald I read, on a page devoted to real property, an article headed “Workers’ Flats,” and dealing with the rent problem. It says -
Sydney City Council is attempting to solve the housing problem by the erection of residential flats at Chippendale.
It is regarded as somewhat of a triumph that 8o families will Be housed in a ^30,000 building, so that each family is provided wilh a home at a cost of about ^375. The block of buildings’ is 392 feet in length, and covers an area of 30,000 square feet. The building is three stories in height, with a flat roof. Each block has twelve sets of apartments, generally comprising a living room, two bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom, with sanitary conveniences. There is a separate entrance to each of the flats, which are all self-contained. The flats are so planned that in the event of more than three rooms and a kitchen, being required certain portions of the building can be turned into six-roomed houses. Lighting, sanitation, and convenience have been made features. Chippendale dwellings will be smokeless. Gas will be used for the fires, and for cooking, and for the coppers, which are in the laundries on the flat roof. Each flat will have a separate laundry. To obviate intricate plumbing by carrying pipes from each flat to the laundry, these places have a separate service with slot meters. In addition to the gas, the houses will be supplied with electric light. The work is so advanced that some of the flats should be ready for occupation within the next month or so. At a rough estimate the flats will bring in about ,£3,000 a year in rentals.
Here is a paragraph to which I desire to direct the attention of Senator Oakes, because it is significant -
This revenue shows a gross return of 10 pei cent, on the cost of the buildings, without the land, which is of high value. That does not look like a good investment, as residential flat properties privately erected in Melbourne aTe known to be returning as much as 14 per cent, net to the investors.
Ten per cent, on a Socialistic enterprise is a fair return, and the main consideration in respect to the erection of these buildings by the Sydney Municipal Council is not so much to earn a profit as to help and convenience those who are going to occupy the flats. In Melbourne and in Sydney a number of flats have been erected by private enterprise, and it is stated in the paragraph I have read that private enterprise is, apparently, not satisfied in Melbourne with 10 per cent, gross profit, but expects to get 14 per cent, net profit. In these circumstances, one can well understand the violent opposition of some people in New South Wales to the efforts of the State Government and the Sydney City Council. I am not disposed to deal too much with State politics, but as Senator Oakes has introduced the subject, I say that no Government in New South Wales has done so much in respect to the housing problem as the present Labour Government has done for thousands of the citizens of Sydney and its suburbs. The Fusion party were going to reduce the cost of living. In what way did they intend to do so? I have looked carefully through their billoffare. It is about the most uninviting and indigestible bill-of-fare which, I think, has ever been presented to the Senate. Later, some of the courses will be dished up formally,, and then, in the shape of
Bills, we shall have an opportunity to deal with them; but I have failed to discover, in this so-called programme, anything that will lead to a reduction of rents in any part of the Commonwealth, or to a decrease in the cost of living. Those honorable senators who recently stood before the people of New South Wales are not faithful to the promises they made if they do not give here some indication of their intention to give relief, not only to the people of New South Wales, but to the thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth who are waiting anxiously for low rentals and cheaper living. From the remarks of tha Fusion party, one would think that the cost of living had increased in Australia only. From reading the newspapers and listening to the utterances of some honorable senators opposite, one would think that the increased cost of living in Australia was due wholly to three years of Labour administration. They know that to be absolutely incorrect, because the cost of living has gone up in every part of the civilized world.
– But your party was going to make the cost of living cheaper, you know.
– Our party would have made it cheaper, and there was only one way by which it could be done; but constitutional restriction prevented us from reducing the cost of living very considerably to thousands of citizens. In a London letter to the Argus the other day, I saw a paragraph dealing with the cost of living. Recently, after having made exhaustive inquiries, the British Board of Trade presented a report -on the increased cost of living in Great Britain -
It shows that in seven years, from 1005 to 1912, the cost to the workman of food, fuel, clothing, and rent rose in this country by 10 per cent., while the rise in wages by no means kept pace with this, being, for instance, 5’. 5 in the engineering trade, 1.9 among skilled men in the _ building trade, 2.6 among labourers. There is no doubt that over the period which really interests people, that of recent memory, wages have not risen with the cost of living. It is a world phenomenon. In some countries, such as Austria, the United States, Belgium, and Germany, the rise in cost of living since 1900, which i« taken as the index year, has been much greater than here. In none has it been less. Only in France has it been just equal with ours, and in Australia a little greater.
This report shows that the cost of living has increased throughout the civilized world. The fault cannot, therefore. be attributed to the Labour party, because only in some parts of the world does Labour exercise any influence in regard to legislation. In the British House of Commons there is a small band of stalwart Labour soldiers, who are continually advocating and pleading for a recognition of the rights of human kind; but their votes play a very small part in deciding big questions; they are not ad-, ministering the affairs of Great Britain. In the United States of America the Labour party is not in power. I do not know that Labour occupies a seat in the House of Representatives or in the Senate of that country. In Canada, the influence of the Labour party in regard to politics need not be seriously considered, so far as legislation is concerned. As the cost of living has gone up in every part of the world, there must be a root cause for it, and that has been, in some measure, due to the elimination of competition and the following of the natural corollary - combination. Competition only survives by a system of commercial cannibalism, and by that system huge combinations have come into existence. Although there are not as many huge combinations in Australia as there are in other parts of the world, nevertheless, they are here. For a long time these combinations have been exploiting the community, with the result that the prices of commodities have increased.
– Forty years ago, before the day of combinations, the prices of commodities were higher than they are now.
– In speaking in this Chamber the other day, Senator Needham read an extract from an article which appeared in the Argus, in which serious complaints were made by a prominent merchant in this city, to the effect that the Shipping Combine was exploiting the merchants. He declared that they had to pay whatever price the combine demanded as freight upon their goods from port to port; and he made the candid admission that, though they were being exploited, they intended to pass the burden on to the consumer. ‘Thus every man and woman in the community has to pay tribute to this combination.
– Does the honorable senator believe that combines are responsible for the high prices of goods?
– Surely the honorable senator knows that the Shipping Combine has increased its freight charges, and that it has fixed its fares in regard to passengers.
– Mr. Hughes says that combines are responsible for low prices.
– I am not responsible for the utterances of Mr. Hughes. Monopolies do not reduce prices. Why do persons combine? In order that they may have opportunities for making greater profits. They are in business to make as much profit as possible in the shortest possible time. Honorable senators opposite are the upholders of monopolies, rings, and trusts. They owe their positions as parliamentarians mainly to the influence which was exercised by these combinations at the last elections.
– The honorable senator is talking “ bull’s-wool “ politics.
– The so-called Liberal organizations which support them must have an inexhaustible fund, seeing that they have an army of agents, touts, and barrackers in every part of Australia. They are not doing their work for the mere love of it, but because they are be-, ing well paid for it. Who is paying them ? It is said that some of the Liberal Associations would not be able to keep alive for forty-eight hours were it not for the financial support received from certain quarters. Therefore, appeals are made by these organizations from time to time - to whom ? To the working classes? No; but to those who are interested in rings, combines, and big businesses. From these monopolistic institutions come the major portion of the moneys which they expend year in and year out upon the engagement of organizers, and, before the Labour party amended the Electoral Act, in indirectly bribing certain newspapers in different parts of the Commonwealth by means of big advertisements.
– The Chairman of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company has never denied it.
– Is there anything wonderful about that, seeing that the honorable senator’s party is out to confiscate and destroy their businesses ?
– Now I can understand the lines upon which the honorable senator fought his election. When he has been a little longer in Parliament, when he is less immature, he will come to the conclusion that the remark which he has just made was a very silly one. Does he know that the late Government, when in office - had they been insane enough - had the power to confiscate any and every business in Australia ?
– Really !
– I would ask the honorable senator not to be so childish. Does he not know that under our Constitution we have unlimited powers of taxation, and that, had we been foolish enough, we could have taxed out of existence the whole of the profits arising out of any business in Australia ? By so doing we could have nationalized those businesses without any alteration of our Constitution.
– Why did not the late Government do that?
– Because we would not do anything so silly.
– The honorable senator lias told the people that the Labour party would nationalize monopolies.
– We told the people exactly what we intended to do if they gave us certain powers. We told them that they should not be further exploited by rings, trusts, and combines. Honorable senators opposite went further, and declared that if we had the constitutional power we would nationalize the lands of the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, we do not require any amendment of the Constitution to enable us to nationalize the lands of the Commonwealth. We could do that under the Constitution as it stands. We could impose such taxation as’ would absorb the whole of the economic rentals, and by that method we could nationalize the lands of the Commonwealth. But no Labour representative has ever advocated the nationalization of our lands by the Commonwealth. That proposal is not on the platform of the Federal Labour party. In the so-called Ministerial programme reference is made to several matters, and amongst these is one which is engaging the attention of another place, namely, a proposal to amend our Electoral Act. We claim that that is the best measure which has ever been placed upon our statute-book. We claim that under it the fullest opportunity is given to every adult citizen to exercise his or her vote. It has been said that there was corruption and dishonesty in connexion with the last elections. Senator Millen stated that there were between 5,000 and 6,000 cases of dishonest voting at that election, and Senator McColl has repeated the statement. I have asked them to furnish the Senate with some proof of their accusation, which seriously reflects on the honour and honesty of the voters of the Commonwealth.
– I said cases of duplication.
– Or impersonation.
– Here is the return which has been supplied.
– -I think that the honorable senator sleeps on that return. Evidently he has not read it yet, otherwise he would see that he is in error in reflecting on the honour of the electors of the Commonwealth, and also on our Chief Electoral Officer. It is not in the best interests of the Electoral Department that a responsible Minister should be continually making incorrect statements. Senator Millen affirmed that at the last elections there were between 5,000 and 6,000 cases of dishonest voting. I asked him whether any prosecutions had been initiated, and in reply he told me not to be in a hurry. I say that prosecutions ought to be instituted immediately against those persons who Senator Millen and Senator McColl allege were guilty of dishonest practices at the last elections. Surely sufficient time has elapsed to enable a case to have been prepared against those individuals who, according to Senator McColl, are known to have voted more than once. But a brilliant idea has evidently struck the Ministry. They say that henceforth they will know who’s who. They are going to introduce the butt system, and to restore the postal vote. They intend to have booklets printed, and these booklets are to be numbered and perforated. Then, as each elector goes to record his or her vote, he or she, if they can write, must sign his or her name on the butt of the ballot-paper. I do not know how many thousands of persons iri Australia are unable to write. But there is in the Commonwealth an army of blind men and women. There are also some thousands of short-sighted persons who are partially blind. In addition, there are quite a number of people who, on entering a polling booth for the first time, are more or less nervy or excited. All these people will have to sign the butt. I understand that there were over 2,000,000 adults who recorded their votes in Australia at the last election. Say that there will be 2,500,000 at the next elections. That means that for the two Houses there will have to be 5,000,000 numberings and perforations. These operations will take some little time.
– Where does the honorable senator get that information from?
– I am a printer, and know what the work will mean.
– Where does the honorable senator get the information about the butts from ?
– It is in the Bill.
– May I ask whether under standing order 411 Senator Findley is in order in dealing with a Bill which is now before another place?
– Senator Findley merely said that a proposal has been made. He has not referred to any clause of any Bill.
– It is quite evident that under the Standing Orders Senator Findley is not in order if he is alluding to the provision of any Bill which is before another place. But if he has any other source of information he has a right to use it.
– I believe that there is a Bill before another place, but I have not read it. I have, however, seen it stated in the newspapers that a new system is proposed to be introduced in connexion with a measure which may reach the Senate sooner or later.
– In case it does not, the honorable senator is having a few words about it to-day!
– If the statements in the newspapers be correct, there will be one book of ballot-papers for the House of Representatives, numbered and perforated. There will be another book for the Senate, with similar numberings and perforations. Then we shall have the referenda proposals, requiring another book with similar numberings and perforations. So that we shall require about 15,000,000 numberings and perforations to go on with. It is proposed to alter the polling day. I suggest, in all seriousness, that every day for a week should be a polling day. At least that much time will be required. Senator Oakes represents the State which has the largest population in the Commonwealth. How long does he think it will take for a young man or woman going to the polling booth for the first time to exercise a vote? The voter will be asked, “ What is your name?” He will give it. Then he will have to sign the butt for the House of Representatives. There may not be a pen with which he can write. There will have to be a stationer’s shop in every polling booth in order that voters may be provided with pens to suit them. Indeed, the Government ought to insert a provision requiring voters to bring their own pens - fountain pens preferred ! The voter having obtained his paper for the House of Representatives, will, in all probability, be escorted to another table, where he will have to sign again for the Senate. Then he may have to go to a third table, and sign for the referenda ballot-papers. There will probably be 2,500,000 voters at the next election. Multiply that number by three, and we can form an idea as to how long these operations will take. Really this is a brilliant idea! It is wonderful that it did not strike previous Liberal Governments. When one goes on to a race-course, as Senator Clemons knows- because he, like myself is a bit of a sport - it is helpful to be able, with the aid of the racecard, to compare the numbers opposite the names of the horses with the numbers on the saddle-cloths, whereby one can obtain information in regard to colours, weights, and so on. A system of numbering has also been adopted on the football field. At one time when one went to a football match one had to ask, “ Who is that chap playing amongst the forwards?” Such questions have no longer to be asked, because all the players are numbered, and the spectator can turn to his programme and find out who’s who. A numbering system is also adopted at sports gatherings. In future, if the Government scheme is carried out, it will be as easy to identify a voter by this numbering system as to find out who’s who on the football ground, in the athletic field, or at Flemington racecourse. The last election cost the Commonwealth £100,000. I venture to say that if the Fusion party has an opportunity of carrying its Electoral Bill, the polling booths will have to be kept open from Monday morning until Saturday night, and even then I do not believe that it will be possible for the electors to record their votes in the time. Would it not be better, as we have adopted compulsory enrolment, to number all voters? Nothing would be easier than to give a number to each elector I Indeed, they could be brought to the polling booth in procession in numerical order. Such a system would appeal to the average sport, because he is getting used to numbering ! I am sure that the average elector would have no more objection to being numbered than to have to sign his name on a numbered ballot-paper. The Government also propose to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, so as to exempt rural workers from its operation, believing that the conditions of their employment ought to be left to the States. Up to the last election I never heard one member of the so-called Liberal party in Victoria express any interest in the rural workers; and ib was only because of the unceasing energy and activity of the Labour party that the present Government has considered their claims at all. Senator McColl is no believer in the rural workers of this State having the right to approach the Arbitration Court. He is not even in favour of the rural workers coming under the Wages Boards provisions.
– Tes, I have advocated that on every platform.
– That statement is not correct.
– I can only refer to the printed reports of my speeches.
– I say, with all due deference to the honorable senator, that at a convention of farmers held at the Oddfellows’ Hall, at Warrnambool, some little time ago, at which I was also present, he stated that differences between employers and employes in rural industries should be settled by the employes and employers themselves.
– That meant, if the honorable senator meant anything, that there should be no restrictive legislation in regard to employment in the primary industries.
– I distinctly advocated Wages Boards as a solution of the trouble, at the last election, on every platform.
– It may be true that the honorable senator did so at the last election. Our opponents said that if the Labour party secured the alteration of the Constitution which they desired, the rural workers’ log would become operative automatically, as Senator Rae said this afternoon. Then, in order to try and placate the rural workers, and appease the farmers, the Fusionists said that Wages Boards would be better for them than the Federal Arbitration Court.
– Knowing full well that the Legislative Councils would not give the rural workers Wages Boards.
– Knowing that full well, the present Government claim that they desire equal opportunity for all. That is all nonsense. Why should the man who works in the country be denied the opportunity of having his grievance heard before the federal Arbitration Court, when that opportunity is given to the man who works in the city? Some of our friends opposite claim now, for the first time in their political lives, to believe in Wages Boards for the rural workers. I have my doubts about their sincerity. First of all, they say that they are opposed to the policy of preference to unionists. The man who, after seriously considering what preference to unionists means, states that he is opposed to that principle, must be opposed to trade unionism itself. There are in the party opposite those who believe in freedom of contract, and do not believe in any kind of trade unionism. And yet they still tell us that they believe in Wages Boards. Do they? Senator McColl has said that he believes in them.
– I supported them years before the honorable gentleman ever saw Parliament.
– What but trade unionism makes Wages Boards possible? If there were no trade unions Wages Boards and Courts of Conciliation and Arbitration would be almost superfluities.
– Wages Boards were established quite independent of the trade unions.
– Nothing of the kind.
– Excuse me ; I was in the business of their establishment.
– I was in the industrial world much longer than Senator McColl, although the honorable senator is an older man than I am. I came to this city a boy, and lived in the industrial sphere for many years. I know that what I am saying can be borne out by thousands of others, and that is that Wages Boards followed the unceasing activity of union organizations in the metropolitan area of Victoria. They moved Parliament to pass factories legislation, and to make provision for Wages Boards.
– They had nothing to do with the Wages Boards legislation.
– The Wages Boards followed the activity of trade organizations.
– Nothing of the sort.
– It is safe to say that there would not have been any Wages Boards in existence to-day if there had been no labour disputes, and there could be no labour disputes unless there were trade unions. Has Senator McColl, or any other senator on the other side, ever helped to bring into existence a trade union of overworked and underpaid men and women in any part of Australia? If they are sympathetically disposed towards the rural workers, why do they not give a hand to strengthen the organization brought into existence for the betterment of their conditions? They have never shown any evidence of a desire in that direction. On the contrary, they have been doing all they possibly could to prevent the growth of the Rural Workers Union in every State of the Commonwealth. It is now 10 o’clock, and, although preference to unionists is a most interesting subject, I shall not delay the Senate much longer, but I assure honorable senators opposite that if a Bill comes to this Chamber having primarily for its object the abolition of that protection given to-day to the rural worker, to enable him to go to the Arbitration Court, in the same way as the town worker, to have his claims adjusted, if it should take two sessions to knock it out, I shall do all I can to urge the party to which I belong to expend that time, and all their energy, in knocking it out. Our friends opposite say that since this Parliament assembled we have been obstructing business.
– Who said so?
– The Prime Minister has said so. I ask honorable senators whether the members of the Labour party were returned at the last election to support the Government’ programme? It could not be so, because at that time the present Government had no policy. We know that Labour members were returned on a definite progressive platform. The present Government policy, if it can be called such, is non-progressive and reactionary, and we should be less than Labour men, and wanting in our duty, if we did not do all we possibly could to prevent the passing of legislation to give effect to that policy. I say that, so far as I am concerned, no effort will be wanting or spared to prevent the passage of some of the reactionary measures which we have been promised will be introduced in this Chamber later on.
– I do not wish to unduly weary the Senate by replying at great length to the vain discourses to which we have listened from honorable senators on the other side. As an earnest of this, perhaps I am justified in asking leave at this stage to continue my remarks tomorrow.
– No ; let us get some work done.
– We are eager for work.
-I do not feel indisposed to continue if honorable senators opposite are inclined to honour me by listening to my remarks in closing this somewhat protracted debate. They have said a good deal in denunciation of the Liberal party as a whole. The Liberal tree has been denounced root and branch. I remember that Senator McGregor, who was one of the first speakers on the motion before the Senate, connected the Liberal party of Australia with the times during which the Saxon churls had brazen collars put around their necks. The honorable senator tries to make the Liberal party now in power responsible for the collar placed upon the neck of Gurth, the bond thrall of Cedric of Rotherwood. He tried to make the Liberal party responsible for some lessons in humility, to which he took exception, and which were inculcated upon his youthful mind when he attended Sunday school. He said that he had been taught to bear himself well towards his superiors and all in an exalted station in life, but the honorable senator misconstrued the lessons of humility he received, and denounced the Liberal party, because he misconstrued those lessons of Christian doctrine. Another honorable senator, who is not a great authority upon anything, accused the Liberal party of having included me in its ranks because I happened to be more or less an authority on matters Chinese. We have been treated to a remarkable dissertation by the Honorable William Hughes, who occupies an exalted position in the Labour party in another place. The honorable gentleman has taken to himself very great merit because the Labour section in this Chamber, which is here in considerable numbers because of the accidents of political time and chance, has been pleased to make a House so that the business of the Senate may be conducted. We thank honorable senators opposite for nothing in this regard. If they do not think that it is part and parcel of their duty to attend here to enable the business of the country to be carried on, we are not going down on our knees to implore them to do so. I invite them at any time they please to take advantage of their numbers, and, emulating their comrades in another place, to go outside and have the Senate counted out.
An Honorable Senator. - Very good; wewill take the honorable senator’s advice.
– I invite them to do that at any time, and leave it to the tender mercy of the electors to sneeze their heads into the basket of the political guillotine the first time they have the opportunity toput the machine into operation. One of the leaders of the party opposite has assumed merit for the party because honorable senators, in the pursuance of their undoubted duty, attendhere and help us to transact the national business in this Chamber of Review of the National Legislature. I do not accord them any merit in this regard. If they so misconstrue the duties of their position as to refuse to help to make a House in order that public business may be transacted, I am prepared to leave them in due time and season to the electors of the Commonwealth. We are not at any time going to bow before them and thank them for having been so gracious as to assist us in carrying on the business of this Legislature.
– What business?
– Honorable senators have invited me to continue my remarks in order that this lengthy debate may be brought to a close.
– Does the honorable senator call that business)
– If they do not care to remain here and assist they can go outside. I thank them for nothing. The situation is this: The Labour Administration had for three years a continued political existence derogatory to itself and useless to others. It is so that the electors of Australia considered it when they had the opportunity to express their opinions on the 31st May last. The Liberal Administration was given power, with a slender majority, it is true. And the fact that we are few in number in the Senate is continually alleged against us as a crime. I think I may quote the historic line by a national poet which is placed in the mouth of one of his immortal heroes: “ The fewer men the greater share of honour.” Although we are few in number, we will certainly do our honest best to transact the business of the Commonwealth on legitimate lines - on lines which we believe will be fruitful in rich results to the welfare of the people of Australia. It is true that the Liberal majority is not a large one.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.]
– When one of my colleagues called attention to the state of the Senate I had stated that the Government majority is in truth a slender one, but when we remember that the majority ‘ enjoyed by the Labour Administration in another place previous to the 31st May was annihilated by the electors after three years of rule, during a period of prosperity unprecedented in the. history of the Commonwealth, I think that impartial, political critics will concede that a very rich result was achieved by the Liberal party, and it could not be expected, seeing that the Labour majority of from nine to eleven had been extinguished, that a large Liberal majority could, in addition, be secured. In the circumstances, the Liberal victory was a most pronounced one, and I venture’ to say that nobody in Australia was more astonished at the very considerable victory achieved by the Liberal party than was the Labour party. As a proof of that fact, I may point out that these gentlemen were so confident of victory that they neglected to exercise in due time and season favorable to themselves that political patronage which they had the power to exercise by virtue of being in possession of the reins of national Government. The ex-Minister of Home Affairs, and, I understand, the high priest of religion, the Honorable King O’Malley, acknowledged this when he said that a great mistake had been made, that three good jobs had gone, that the Labour party, because it anticipated victory, had neglected to make the appointments to the Inter-State Commission. The very fact that he acknowledged that three good jobs had gone is illustrative of that amount of political self-confidence which was felt by the members of the Labour party in general, and by the members of the Labour Administration in particular, prior to the 31st May. I am not going to say very much in regard to contemplated amendments of the Electoral Act. When the Electoral Bill comes here we shall have an opportunity to discuss all matters incidental to the carrying out of elections in Australia.
– I desire to call attention to the state of the Senate.
A quorum not being present,
The President adjourned the Senate at 10.17 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 October 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1913/19131001_senate_5_71/>.