7th Parliament · 2nd Session
ThePresident (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m./ and read prayers.
– In view of the serious condition of affairs that has been caused in Queensland by cyclonic disturbences, will the Government instruct the District Naval Commandant to place at the disposal of the authorities boats and other appliances for the saving of life and the general assistance of the efforts of the local authorities?
– I shall bring the matter under the notice of the Government, and see what can be done.
– Has the Government a distinct offer to make for the reconciliation ofpolitical parties?
– If the honorable senator will submit a definite offer, the Government will consider it.
– Well, I ask the Leader of the Government whether, with a view to bridging the gap between parties and bringing about a reconcilia tion at a time when it is urgently needed, the Government will resign office, so that the Ministry may be reconstructed, General Ryrie being recalled from Egypt to take up the work of the Minister for Defence;Warrant Officer McGrath to bo made Assistant Minister for Defence, to remain in London to watch over Australian interests there; Mr. Bruce Smith to be Prime Minister; Senator Keating to be Attorney-General; Mr. Boyd to be Minister for the Navy; Mr. Sampson to he Minister for Works and Railways; Mr. Gregory to be Postmaster-General; and Senator Bolton to be Minister for Repatriation. There are members representing South Australia and Western Australia whom I have not mentioned; but, if such a Government be formed, I can promise that, so far as this party is concerned, no opposition will be shown to it, and the most harmonious relations will he maintained with it until the end of the
– The honorable senator asks me if I will submit to my colleagues what he has been pleased to refer to as a definite proposal for uniting the two political parties. I shall cer- tainly do so, perhaps with some apologies to them for occupying their time with it. I direct the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that the list of Ministers that he has read does not suggest a united Government.
– It includes the name of one member of our party; I did not include the names of more lest I might be thought greedy. Has not the Governor-General requested Ministers to use all means to bridge the difference between parties, and to bring about a better spirit in the community ?
– The honorable senator does not expect me to answer that question..
– Surely Parliament should be allowed to know something.
– As to what passes between the Governor-General and his advisers ?
– Has the Honorary Minister yet received a report concerning what I said last night about the hospital ship Kyarra, the troopship Ayrshire, and a British-India vessel having been held up in Sydney Harbor since the 14th January in consequence of the victimization of men belonging to the Coal Miners , Union?
– I understand that information on the subject is on its Way here. ,«
– Is there any truth in the statement in this morning’s newspapers that the terms of issue of the next war loan will make the interest liable to Federal and States taxation?
– The terms of the issue of the next loan are now under the consideration of the Cabinet, and until Cabinet has determined them, any newspaper statements on the subject must be in the nature of guesswork.
– It is the practice to call an Administration by the name of the member who is at the head of it. Thus we have had the Deakin, Fisher, Hughes, and other Administrations. Why, then, has this Government used the cover .of Hansard to style itself first the Commonwealth War Administration, and then the Australian National War Government? /
– I am not aware that the Government has any control over what appears in Hansard. Personally, I am less concerned with what the Government calls itself than with what the Opposition is calling it.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs any further information to give the Senate regarding the exportation of jam, in regard to which I have already questioned him? *
– The information is not yet to hand, but I shall endeavour to secure it to-day.
– Will the honorable gentleman have any objection to laying the whole of .the papers in the matter on the table? * ,
– I am not certain of the nature of the papers, but I shall consult the Minister for Trade and Customs regarding the request, and, if possible, accede to it.
– Has the Minister received further information concerning the case of Mr. Kevan, of the Postal Department of Western Australia, and, if so, will he lay the papers on the table of the Library?
– I understand that the file is now on the table of the Library.
As there are .urgent matters in connexion with ship-building proposals awaiting attention in South Australia, will the Government arrange for an early visit by the ship-building expert, Mr. Curchin?
– Mr. Curchin will visit Adelaide this week-end.
Is the Government taking any steps, or does it intend to take any action, to remedy the alleged anomalies as regards pay and promotion in the Ordnance Department of the Defence Forces?
– Consideration ia being given to a scheme of reorganization for the Ordnance Department. Any anomalies in existence in regard to pay or promotion will receive attention.
asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Number of aliens interned in the Commonwealth since August, 1914, and the cost of supervision and maintenance to date?
Number of aliens subsequently released from internment?
– The information is being obtained, but it will take some time to prepare.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained, but will take some time to prepare.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
What has been the total cost of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth to date -
What is the length and original cost of the
Port Darwin-Pine Creek railway?
– The answers are - 1. (a) The total liability taken over from South Australia was £6,029,603, which includes debt in respect of Port Augusta-Oodnadatta railway, £2,274,486.
The Miscellaneous Expenses up to the 30th June, 1917, were £82,950.
The attention of the honorable senator is invited to a memorandum on the Northern Territory by the Minister for Home and Territories which was presented to Parliament in August, 1917. That memorandum gives many figures and a considerable amount of information on matters relating to the above queries and to the Territory generally.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers are - .
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Do the Defence authorities prevent officers from going on active service abroad because they are over forty -five years of age ? .
– The answer is -
Yes; except in very special cases. Reports from the military authorities overseas, indicate that officers over forty-five years of age are not physically fitted to withstand the strain imposed by modern active service conditions.
A large proportion of officers over forty-five years, who were permitted to proceed on active service in the early stages of the war, has been returned invalided.
asked the Min ister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The records are being searched.
– Arising out of that question I ask whether it is a fair thing to withhold justice from Mr. O’Malley - the justice of telling the truth, when the facts are aswell known to the Minister as they are to myself.
– The honorable senator’s question does not suggest all the facts.
– It suggests all Iknow.
Motion (by Senator Grant) agreed to -
That there be laid on the table of the Senate a return showing: -
How many newspapers published in the Commonwealth havebeen proceeded against underthe provisions of the War Precautions Act or Regulations thereunder for the publication of articles or advertisements since 1st November till 31st December, 1917.
What are the names of such newspapers.
What is the total amount of fines imposed, and to what extent have they been paid.
How many actions are pending.
How many editors or managers of newspapers have been proceeded against for similar reasons.
How many have been fined.
What was the name of each person fined.
What is the amount of each fine.
What is the total amount of such fines.
How many actions are still pending.
What are the names of the members of -
the House of Representatives;
the Legislative Assemblies;
the Legislative Councils;
and of private citizens (excluding editors and ‘managers of newspapers ) who since the passing of the War Precautions Act and Regulations thereunder have been proceeded against for making statements contrary to the provisions of the said Act and Regulations.
The name of each person fined and the amount in each case.
The total amount of such fines.
How many persons are now in gaol for offences under the War Precautions Act and
Australian National War Government: Action of Governor-General: War Aims : Attacks on the Prime Minister - Reinforcements Referendum : Conduct of Campaign : Disfranchisement of Germans : Seizure of Queensland “ Hansard “ : Censorship : Soldiers’ Vote - Ministerial Pledges - Conscription and Voluntarism -Prime Minister’s Offer of Coalition : Senator Gardiner’s Suggested Ministry - Censorship Regulations - Restriction of Race Meetings - Treatment of Returned Soldiers - Unification - Western Australian Subscriptions to “ Liberty “ Loan -Wealth TaxationRecent Strike in New South Wales: Taylor Card System - General Election : Conduct of byGovernment :German Vote - Soldiers’ Pay and Allowance to Dependants - War Precautions Act Regulations : Prosecutions - Prime Minister andRev. A. Rivett - Freight and Foodstuffs : Shipbuilding in Australia - Financial Obligations of the Commonwealth - The Labour Party : Outside Control: Attitude Towards Recruiting : War Aims : British Labour Conference - Democracy and Demagogues - IndustrialConscription - Cost of Living - Price of Rabbit Skins - Taxation of Interest on War Loans - Shipbuilding - Ex-Senator Ready and Recruiting - Australia and the Eastern “ Menace “ - The Prime Minister and Imperialism - Empire Solidarity: India - The War: Peace Terms - Australian Imperial Force: Estimates of Reinforcements and Casualties : Recruiting Efforts - British Occupation of French Soil - Senator O’Loghlin and Conscription. Debate resumed from 23rd January, vide page 3427 (on motion by Senator Millen) -
That this Bill be now read’ a first time.
– Before proceeding to make a few remarks, which I am sure from their conciliatory character, will lead to a better state of affairs, I would like to place on record the opinion that has been expressed by an authority upon constitutional matters, regarding the action of the GovernorGeneral in connexion with the recent crisis. I know that we are debarred from adversely criticising the action of His Excellency, but certain references to it are permissible, and, indeed, have already been made. When in somefuture crisis the constitutional action of His Majesty’s representative may be called into question, it might be of interest to have a record of an opinion on the action taken by the Governor-General in. the present instance.
– Who is your authority?
– I do not know that I am called upon to give the author of the opinion until I please to do so. Perhaps I will when I have finished reading the opinion, which is as follows: -
The action of the Governor-General has been freely criticised. Many who claim to be constitutional authorities assert that his proper course was to send for Mr. Tudor as the Leader of the Opposition, directly the Government resigned, and to commission Mr. Tudor to form a new Administration if he would take that responsibility. Others declare that the Governor-General had every right to assume that Mr. Tudor would be defeated immediately he met the House; that it would then be an alternative between a dissolution and’ a resurrection of the old Ministry; and that His Excellency was justified in re-commissioning Mr. Hughes to avoid a dissolution, and because Mr. Hughes had been elected as Leader of the National party. It is admitted that His Excellency was confronted with a unique position - for which he could find no parallel - and, in the absence of any advice from his responsible advisers, was thrown entirely on to his own judgment. Thus the right to question his judgment must exist. So far as our library shows -
That is, our Parliamentary library - there appears to be no parallel case to guide him, and I suppose we have authorities as full and as late as His Excellency. Todd’s work on “Parliamentary Government in the British Colonies,” covering about 900 pages, deals with many crises and resultant actions taken by the Governor of the time, but there is no case really similar to this. Later works of A. Berriedale Keith, beginning in 1909, entitled “Responsible Government in the Dominions,” covering three volumes, give us no more assistance.
If that is so, and the Governor-General had only to follow the dictates of his own judgment, surely the safer course would have been to stick to the simple principle, which has permeated and shaped responsible government in this country up to the present- the principle that Ministers having made themselves responsible for a policy, and put that policy to the people, shall retire if the people refuse to accept such policy. The declaration of Ministers that they would not continue to govern unless their policy was indorsed made this contest more than a referendum - that declaration made the appeal to electors exactly the same as the appeal in May last - Ministers by their own pronouncement made the issue clear and simple, and it was this - a “ Yes “ majority and a National Government; or a “No “ majority and a Labour Government. The answer was emphatic enough. Just as the people in May last said they wanted the Hughes Government, so they said on 20th December, they wanted a Labour Government.
– I am afraid that opinion is biased.
They honestly believed the declaration that a “ No “ majority meant that.
– Or a German Government.
So I contend the Governor-General, after all, had his course clearly marked.
– By whom?
– By the Ministry.
– The people were practically told that a “ No “ vote would mean another election.
– They never heard of it.
– The honorable senatorhas a vivid imagination.
– No, I have not.
He should have accepted the people’s verdict, and allowed Mr. Tudor to form a Government. If such a course meant another election, that matter surely rested between Parliament and the people. The people were told plainly enough that a “No” vote would probably mean another election immediately - still they voted “No.” Therefore, I maintain that the Governor-General unduly strained the powers he possesses, or is supposed to possess, when he refused to allow Mr. Tudor to form a Government, simply because he thought there should not be a dissolution. The memorandum submitted to the Parliament, giving His Excellency’s reasons, read’s - (a) He considered it his paramount duty to make provision for carrying on the business of the country in accordance with the principles of parliamentary government; (b) to avoid a situation arising which must lead to a further appeal to the country within twelve months of an election, resulting in the return of two Houses of similar complexion, which are still working in unison.”
I submit His Excellency’s second reason is an interference with our rights of selfgovernment. The people voted with their eyes open, and they knew they risked a dissolution’. That was their business. They risked it, and they are now politely snubbed by the GovernorGeneral for so doing.
– Is that Mr. Brennan’s opinion ?
– No, it is my own. I do not profess, of course, -to be a constitutional’ authority-
– The honorable senator said just now that he was.
Senator- de Largie. - The honorable senator cannot disclaim it.
– If honorable senators will allow me to finish, I will say I do not profess to be a constitutional authority greater than any other member of this Federal Parliament. Nearly every member can see that, as the Prime Minister, according to his own statement, gave no advice to His Excellency, the Governor-General was thrown back on his own judgment, and that, consequently, common sense would dictate his course of action. In ordinary circumstances, His Majesty’s representative has the advantage of advice from his responsible Ministers, but on the present occasion -no advice was tendered to him.
– How does the honorable senator know?
– Because we have, had a statement to that effect from the Prime Minister, and, as the GovernorGeneral had to exercise his own judgment, one would imagine that he would, to some extent at least, be guided by parliamentary practice in Australia, and that, as no crisis exactly similar to this had occurred before, he would be guided by the constitutional authorities I have mentioned. I refer, of course, to Todd and Berriedale Keith. These authorities may be read from cover to cover without any reference being found to an exactly parallel case. An honorable senator might, of course, ‘find an isolated paragraph indicating that the GovernorGeneral’s action waS wrong, and on another page another paragraph to show that his action was right. There was really nothing to guide the Governor-General, who, in such circumstances, would rely upon his own common sense; and the practice as we know it in Australia is for a Government to resign when a policy to which they pinned their faith has been turned down by the people.
– Did not the Government do that?
– Will any honorable .senator on the other side of the chamber claim that the Government gave effect to their pledges?’ They did resign, it is true, but they went out by one door, and, twenty-four hours later, came in by another door.
– They did not come back until they were called.
– We know quite well that honorable senators opposite really do not condone the action of the present Ministry in the recent crisis.
– Make no mistake about that.
– The honorable senator’s side of the Senate cannot alter it. - Senator O’KEEFE. - Of course, we cannot ; but we know that honorable senators opposite do not like the whitewashing process which has taken place, and, in this connexion, I call attention to statements made at an interview by one of the Government supporters the very day after the referendum.
– What did he say?
– He said that if the Prime Minister had acted as might have been expected, and had consulted his party, there would have been no referendum ; and he stated over and over again, as, indeed, have’ other honorable members, that the present Ministry had only one honorable course, namely, to resign.
– He was speaking for himself, not his party.
– I desire to make just one or two critical remarks with regard to the recent referendum. The first is that the action of the Government in determining, without consulting Parliament, to submit this question for a second time to a referendum was absolutely in contravention of the rights of the people. The Government had no right to go behind the back of Parliament. It is a well recognised principle that those who are elected to represent the people are entitled to a voice in determining in Parliament the actions of the Government.
– But the honorable senator was allowed to. have a voice in the . matter.
– Not at all. There were attached to the referendum proposals conditions which would not have been allowed if, as on the first occasion, a Referendum Bill had been submitted to Parliament. I am satisfied that honorable senators on this side, and many members of another place would never have consented to, at least, three of the conditions attached to the referendum. Their sense of fair play would have induced them to demand a departure from three of the most vital principles attaching to the referendum. The first of these was that while youths of twenty, or under, who had been fighting at the Front, should be allowed to vote, no one under twenty-one who had not been fighting should be permitted to do so, although power was being sought to conscript youths of twenty years of age, and to send them oversea against their will.
– They were not to be sent away until they had reached the age of twenty-one years.
– The Prime Minister spoke of boys of twenty.
– That is so. As an after-thought, however, when public feeling had been aroused against the unfairness of this proposal, the Government said that youths of twenty who were conscripted would not be sent out of Australia until they had reached the age of twenty-one years. The fact remains that power was sought to conscript youths of twenty and over, whether they wanted to go out of Australia or not, while at the same time they were not allowed to vote upon the question. If the proposal had been embodied in a Bill, and submitted to Parliament, I am satisfied that an amendment would have been moved to do away with such a manifest unfairness. Parliament was not sitting at the time, although it should have been called together to consider such a vitally important question. Action of this kind should not be taken by the Government while the doors of Parliament are closed. Ministers should not creep- into recess, and take it upon themselves to deal with such highly important questions behind the back of Parliament. All these matters should be dealt with in the full light of day. Had the referendum proposals been submitted to Parliament I do not believe that even a majority of those supporting the Government would have agreed to power being sought to , conscript youths of twenty, while <at the same time they were refused the right to vote upon the question.
– When the Defence Bill was under consideration, did the honorable senator protest against the clause providing for the compulsory training of lads under sixteen years of age, :and denying them the right to vote on the question of whether or not they should be so trained for the defence of their country?
– That is quite irrelevant. The provision to which the honorable senator refers deals with the training of lads of fourteen years of age and upwards. Who would think of comparing boys of fourteen with youths of twenty? My point is that while youths of twenty were considered to be physically fit to be sent out of Australia as conscripts, they were not thought to be strong enough mentally to have a voice in determining whether or not they should be so conscripted. A second feature of the referendum which I believe would not have been permitted by Parliament relates to the closing of the supplementary rolls. Within x a day or two after the date of the referendum had been announced the supplementary rolls were closed, so that men and women who had moved from one place to another, and whose names had been removed from the rolls for the division in which they formerly resided had no opportunity to secure enrolment. Speaking _ from memory, I do not think such action had ever previously been taken in connexion with any Federal election or referendum. It has always been the practice to allow some time to elapse between the announcement of the date of an election or referendum and the closing of the supplementary rolls, so that those who have to move from one place to another in the ordinary course of their employment may get on the rolls in respect of their new places of residence. As the result of the action taken on this occasion there was absolutely no chance for men so situated to secure enrolment. I do not think there was ever an instance of the kind before.
– There has never been a case where, after the issue of the writ, an alteration of the rolls has been permitted.
– I have it on the authority of a leading electoral officer that ( it has always been the practice to allow * not less than three weeks to elapse between the announcement of the date of an election and the closing of the supplementary rolls. I cannot help thinking that the almost immediate closing of the supplementary rolls, after the date of the referendum had been announced, WES part of a general scheme. There axe tens of thousands of workers whose occupations render it necessary for them to move from one place to another, and it was believed, rightly or wrongly, that the majority of them voted “ No “ at the first referendum. It is also known that the great industrial upheaval which occurred a few months ago led to a number of people having to shift, and it was believed that a great majority of those who had been affected by that upheaval would vote “ No.”
– Does the honorable senator think that all the “No” voters were workers? If he does he makes a great mistake.
– I freely admit that quite a number of men who cannot be described as manual workers were amongst those who voted “No.” The third point I wish to make is that if the proposal had come before Parliament I do not believe a majority would have been found prepared to support the submission of the question in the form in which it was put. In effect the electors were asked, “ Axe you in favour of the proposals of the Commonwealth Government for the reinforcement of the troops oversea ? “ The words “ by conscription “ should have been, but were not, added to the question. It was intended that the reinforcements should be obtained by conscription; and that being so, why were the Government afraid to . add those words? If the referendum proposal had been submitted to Parliament that question would have- had to run the gauntlet of opposition in both Houses, and I believe that if an amendment had been moved to add the words “by conscription,” the sense of fair play on the part of all honorable members would have led them t’o vote for it.
The regulations for the conduct of the referendum made political criminals of thousands, and tens of thousands, of men and women in Australia whose only fault was that, a century or half a century ago, their parents were born in an enemy country. Those parents might havebeen brought out to Australia as infants,, have been educated here, and thoroughly imbued with Australian sentiments, and have passed these on to their children; and yet all such people were, as I say,, made political criminals, while, if I am not mistaken, a naturalized Chinaman or any, other naturalized person, not of enemy origin, had the right to vote. There would have been some consistency in i/his proposal if it had not been intended to take the power to send such men of enemy origin to the Front ito fight. If there was the power to use them in the fighting line, they ought to have been’ allowed to vote ; but evidently the Government were prepared to trust these men to carry rifles, but not to handle ballot-papers - a truly remark-able stand .to take.
Let us for a moment look at the conduct of the campaign. Australia was on the verge of civil war in consequence of the action of the leader of the Australian people. So far as we in the far south can judge from the newspapers, the terrible episode in Queensland, in which) eggs were thrown at the Prime Minister, was as near as may be causing a con’flict, which, had it started in Queensland, would have spread all over the country.
-; - Civil war could not’ be started in Queensland if the community of that State were peacefully inclined.
– The danger of incitement of the public mind arose from the terrible fuss which the Prime Minister made over the incident at Warwick station, in regard to which we have somany conflicting statements. However, what I desire particularly to refer to is the action of the Prime Minister inseizing the Hansard records of the Queensland Parliament. That in itself was quite enough to start civil war - to ignite a spark in Queensland that would have spread a conflagration all over Australia. When the news of that seizure came south, I was addressinga campaign meeting in Tasmania, and I expressed the opinion that the Prime Minister was the most dangerous man at large in Australia, whose actions were calculated to plunge the country into civil war. It is a wonder that I was not prosecuted for that statement under the War Precautions Regulations. Fortunately, the Premier of Queensland is a cool, calm, level-headed man, not at all of the impulsive temperament of the Prime Minister, and no very serious results followed t)he seizure of copies of Hansard.
The Prime Minister could not visit Tasmania, but sent a deputy in the person of the then Minister for the Navy (Mr. Jensen), who conducted his campaign in a most remarkable way. For instance, with a view to win votes for his side, he made a statement which was about the greatest piece of political bluff that could be put up by any Minister. As reported in the Hobart Mercury of, I think, 7th December - a newspaper that supports the Government - Mr. Jensen said that the Labour party objected to conscription for military service overseas, although under the Defence Act passed in 1903 there was power to conscript every man in Australia for naval service, and that to this the party had never objected. Such- si statement from a responsible Minister, to whom the public look for facts, was worse than bluff; indeed, it is very hard to find a parliamentary term to describe it. The honorable gentleman knows as well as anybody does that when a man or a boy joins the Australian Navy, with a full knowledge of the conditions, he may, by reason of his occupation, be taken oversea. He also knew, though the people to whom he was talking did not know, that there is no power under the Defence Act of 1903 to compel any man or boy to join the Navy. If Mr. Jensen did not know these facts, he was more ignorant than a Minister ought to be, but I assume he did know, in which case his statement was a most impudent one for any Minister to make Then, speaking at Queenstown, the same gentleman made a statement which certainly was not) calculated to throw oil on the troubled waters, or to allay the bitterness of the fight. At the finish of his speech, on this occasion, he said, “ I am going to say something now which probably a number of the audience w’ill not like, but all those who are advocating and supporting a “No” vote ought, if the referendum is lost, to go to Germany the next day.” It would seem that this gentleman proposed to send over a million of the freedom-loving people of Australia, both men and women, to Germany, simply because they did not agree with him. He also said that all those young men and others, who had been making disturbances at the meetings, were nothing but slackers and shirkers. My own experience was that it was not the advocates and supporters of the “ No “ vote in Tasmania .who made these disturb.ances, but that, generally speaking, those on the other side were responsible.
– Did he propose to also send to Germany the thousands of “ No “ voters in the trenches ?
– I suppose so. Senator Keating, at a meeting in Tasmania, asked who. would be to blame if the joy-bells were ringing in Germany over the result) of the referendum if it should prove to be in the negative, as no doubt they would be ringing in such an event. My own opinion is that it was the Prime Minister and his supporters who, by their action in telling the people of Germany what a “No” vote would mean, were the friends of Germany, and ‘ ought to have been interned. These were the men who said that a “ No “ vote would mean that Australia had pulled out of the war, that she was tired of the fight, and that the majority of the people were disloyal to the Empire, and were quite satisfied to desert their boys in the trenches. Do honorable senators opposite subscribe to those sentiments?
– To very many of them I do.
– It was ‘ these statements by the Prime Minister, Senator Keating and others, which were responsible for the joy-bells ringing in Germany, if they did ring, because, when the result of the referendum reached Germany, as it would within twenty-four hours, the leaders in that country would be able to / tell the people that, according to the conscriptionists the defeat of conscription meant that the majority of people in the Commonwealth desired to withdraw from the war and to desert their own soldiers. If any people should have been silenced they were the persons who made those statements.
– Does the honorable senator accept, the “ No “ vote as an indication of determination to do more in connexion with the war?;
– I do not accept the result of the referendum as an indication that Australians are disloyal to the Empire. After the first referendum the Prime Minister said in effect, “ It has been stated that the result of the referendum has shown that Australia is tired of the war, but the fact of Australia turning down conscription means only that the majority of the people do not agree with the compulsory method of obtaining soldiers.” I regard the result of the second referendum in the same light. By that statement the Prime Minister admitted the inaccuracy of all the vile charges he had made against those who were opposing him during the first referendum campaign, and conceded that the majority of people were favorable to obtaining reinforcements by the voluntary system. His admission was made before there was any talk of holding a second referendum, but immediately we were plunged into the vortex of the second appeal to the people .the same old charges were made against the advocates of the negative side by the Prime Minister and those supporting him. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Jensen) called those who were advocating the “ No “ vote enemies of the Empire, and he would send to Germany the day after a “ No “ majority was recorded many fathers and mothers of the boys who, for the last three years, have been engaged in the present terrible struggle.
– Does the honorable senator say that Mr. Jensen threatened to send “ Nb “ voters to Germany ? n
– No; he said they ought to go to Germany the day after a “ No “ majority was recorded by the people, and that was tantamount to saying that if he had his way he would send them to Germany. The same gentleman, at the conclusion of an address at Burnie, was asked by the chairman if he would answer questions, and he replied, “ No ; I have given the facts ; there is no necessity to answer questions.” He further said that a number of unauthorized persons were going about the State and speaking against the Government proposals. If he had his way they would not be allowed to speak. .He is a nice sample of a fairminded Minister ! It is all very well for pocket patriots like the present Ministers who, on the plea of patriotism, insist upon hanging on to their positions, to talk about the people’s duty in this war, but when the true history of these times is written, the true patriots will be shown to have been those men who encouraged their sons to go to the Front, but only as free men, and the women who, though their pillows were wet with tears because of the fear of what might happen to their sons, brothers, and husbands, yet consented to their going. The future historian, writing ‘ with his judgment undimmed by the clouds of sectarian hate and bitter political partisanship, will adjudge as true patriotism the attitude of the men and women who said to their sons, “ Go, lad, if you think it your duty to do something in this fight; we are getting old and toil weary, and we should like to keep you with us, but if you wish to go, do so, and our blessing will be with you.” They, and not men like Mr. Jensen, are the true Australian patriots in these times.
The Prime Minister has said over and over again that we must do all things, and dare all things until we come to the end of this terrible struggle. He would have been more sincere had he said, “ We must do all things, and dare all things - except surrender our Ministerial positions.”
– Did not the Prime Minister give up his Ministerial position?
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that he did not, and it is of no use his trying in that way to salve his political conscience, which pricks him because he is supporting the Ministry who pledged themselves to leave office in a certain event, and then performed the tricky act of walking out of the front door and in again at the back door. Would honorable senators like to hear some of the statements that were made by Ministers in regard to what would happen if the’ Government proposals were not indorsed by the people? Mr. Jensen said at Hobart, “ It takes some courage anc! backbone for a Ministry to nail its colours to the mast. Listening to the ‘ No ‘ speakers, one would think that the Ministry are taking this referendum for fun, but we are doing it because we think it necessary.” It takes some courage on the part of Ministers to pledge themselves not to carry on the government of the country unless they are given certain powers which they ask for. Mr. Watt said -
If we say “ No “ we will announce our intention to terminate our partnership in this Empire. That is not an idle prophecy. . . . We want to warn you in time. We have asked you to take heed and counsel with us, if you do not, you must get some other men to govern you.
Does Senator Senior say that the’ same men are not governing the country to-day ?
– I admit that they are the same men, but they were asked to come back again.
– Mr. Webster emphasized the fact that the defeat of the referendum meant the resignation of the Government within twenty-four hours. The Prime Minister said -
I also declare that unless the Government has the power it will not attempt to - it cannot - govern this country. If it has not this power you will choose the manner of men you wish to govern….. If they be not accepted I wash my hands of all responsibility. I shall do what I think ought to be done. I have* said that the Government goes to the people, and puts its fate in their hands. By whom will you be governed? Well, it is for you to decide. If it turns out that, the proposals are defeated, no man can say, I cannot say, what will follow, but I am perfectly certain, as I stand here, that this cup cannot pass away. . . . You will also determine by whom you shall be governed. Your votes will decide whether or not you will support the Government which you elected on 5th May. And I tell you plainly that unless we get this power neither I nor my Government will attempt to govern Australia.
They did resign, but within twenty-four hours they came back again to . govern Australia. Mr. Hughes said at Brisbane^ -
He asked them to give him the powers which the Government sought. If they did not, he for one would not attempt to govern this country without that power. It was impossible to govern the country. … . Unless it had the power to secure the reinforcements as set out in its proposals, the Government cannot carry on, and will not attempt to do so.
He did resign, but that does not alter the fact that he is still governing Australia to-day. I could read dozens of statements to the same effect. The most important journal in Tasmania, the Hobart . Mercury, which was- supporting the Government’s proposals, gave great credit to Ministers, and, incidentally, to Mr. Jensen, for the statement that the Government had taken its Ministerial life into its hands. They considered that it was the only right and honorable course that
Ministers could follow. Mr. Jensen’s courage oozed out of his fingers’ ends when he discovered that the people of Australia were not with him and his Government.
Mr. Hughes then gave us another sample of Ministerial bluff by pointing out in his last speeches that, whether the people of Australia accepted conscription or not, they would get it. If any meaning can be attached to the English language, his statements meant that if the people turned conscription down they would still have it. It was merely bluff, yet it made a number of people vote for conscription. Believing that if they voted “ No “ they would still have conscription forced upon them, many people thought they, might just as well vote “Yes.”
– They thought they would get a worse dose if they did not do so.
– Sir William Irvine, the accepted leader of the conscriptionists, stands before the people today a burst bubble or a pricked bladder.. He attached a lot of importance to the Prime Minister’s statements that if the people did not do their duty Parliament would make them do it. He said that the Government had accepted its Ministerial responsibility, which was the only thing a body of honorable men could do, and was determined to carry conscription - that if the’ Government’s proposals were not sanctioned the people would still have conscription imposed upon them. I wonder’ whether Sir William Irvine, Mr. Hughes, and others who talked in this way”, attempting to bluff the people, imagined that all of the people were fools. Certainly many voters were foolish enough to be bluffed by this kind of talk, but all of the people were not fools. Many realized that, although Mr. Hughes and Sir William Irvine might forget the existence of His Majesty King George or the Governor-General, if the people of Australia turned down conscription, and a Ministry, even one with the majority that the present Government have behind them in both Houses, succeeded in passing a Bill to enforce conscription on Australia against the will of the people, that measure would not receive the’ assent of the Governor-General, because he would know that in giving his assent to it he would be signing a verdict for civil war in Australia. It was realized also that, even if the Governor-General took the responsibility of assenting to such a Bill, petitions would be forwarded to the House of Commons asking His Majesty’s Imperial advisers to advise the King to exercise his veto in regard to it. Does any one imagine that His Majesty’s advisers in the Imperial Parliament would allow any Government to force . conscription on the people of Australia once they had turned it down? The Imperial Government have already enough trouble on their hands without permitting internal trouble to arise in an important portion of the Dominions.
The final speeches by Sir “William Irvine and Mr. Hughes and others were to this effect : The people of Australia had the right to decide the important question of whether conscription should be imposed, and accordingly the ‘Government had submitted it to them. If the people would vote with the Government it would be all right, but if they voted “ No,” then, figuratively speaking, the Government would spit in their faces ; the people were not capable of knowing anything about the matter, and, as they would not have done what the Government desired, conscription .would be forced upon them. That was the bluff we had from such anarchists as the Prime Minister and- Sir “William Irvine. They put the people of Australia in the position of the unfortunate criminal who is ‘in the prisoner’,s dock -on trial for his .life. After all the- evidence is given, .after the Judge has summed up in such a way that ,the jury has practically no alternative but to bring in a verdict of guilty, after the jury nas decided on the prisoner’s guilt, and after the foreman, in answer to the question put by the Judge, says “ Guilty.” the prisoner is asked whether he has anything to say why sentence of dea.th should not be passed on him, though the Judge knows full well that, although the prisoner may -talk for twenty-four hours, sentence of death must still be recorded against him. The people of Australia were put in the same position by the Prime Minister and Sir William Irvine and others who talked as they did . They were asked whether they had anything to say “why the sentence of conscription should not be passed on them. Those “who asked the .question had said in advance that whatever the answer of the .people might be, sentence of conscription would be passed upon them. But it was only bluff after all, because our friends- opposite knew that if a Bill to impose conscription were passed and received the assent of the GovernorGeneral it would never receive the assent of the Imperial- Parliament, since that Parliament would know -that to assent to it would mean the plunging of Australia into civil war.
– For an honorable senator, who claims ,to be a constitutional authority, it is a somewhat extraordinary statement to make, that if the Governor-General assented to a Bill here it would ever go to the Imperial authorities.
– I- do not wish Senator Millen to put words into my mouth. I say that if such a Bill were assented to here it would be vetoed by the Imperial authorities. Will honorable senators opposite say that the Imperial authorities could not veto such a measure? .If the Governor-General gave his assent to .such a .Bill against the decision of the majority of the electors of Australia the Imperial Parliament would veto .the measure, and no Government in Australia would dare to enforce it. Until I see such a Bill presented to .this Parliament I will not believe that either Mr. Hughes or Sir William Irvine .meant what they said on this subject. I will continue bo believe that they were .only attempting to bluff the .people. After what they said the only honorable course for the ‘Government was to withdraw the referendum. It would appear that immediately before the vote was taken -some -members of the Government must have sent wires to the Prime Minister to induce him to review what he had said, because, according to the press reports of the speech he delivered in Sydney on the night before the vote was taken, he said -
If the people “turn these proposals down, I for one ‘will .hold myself free to do -whatever lies within my power. I want you fairly to understand that.l speak for myself alone.
The right honorable -gentleman never made that qualification before, and it would appear as if he had received a message from his colleagues in ‘the Ministry to tell him that it was time to stop his bluff.- I wonder what Sir William Irvine, who by some is regarded as the cool, calm, strong man of Australian politics, proposes to. do in the face of his utterance. He said that conscription would be forced upon the people of Australia, and it would be interesting to know, in the face of the referendum vote, what the honorable gentleman intends to do. Probably to-day the people of Australia are assessing him at his true value and know that he also was only bluffing in the statements he made.
We have heard some very earnest speeches on the subject of conscription, and one in particular last night from Senator Bakhap, who is an honest and conscientious conscriptionist, and was the first, I think, to advocate that policy in this chamber. We must assume that Ministers believe in conscription or they would not have submitted the question to a referendum a second time. They say. that it is necessary to save the Empire and to save Australia.
– No ; to keep our divisions up to their full strength.
– lb is necessary to reinforce our men at the Front. Honorable senators opposite say that it is not necessary for that purpose.
– We say that it is not necessary.- We say that, under the voluntary system, Australia will continue to do, as she has done up to the present, all that any fair-minded man on the other side of the world could expect of her. We further say that Australia would have done a great deal more under the voluntary system if the conscription proposal had not been thrown as a bone of contention- amongst the people. Some very funny arguments in support of conscription were urged during the campaign. At meetings which I held persons interjected to suggest that! we must have conscription, because it is necessary to hold the enemy on the Western Front, and to keep the enemy from over-running Italy.
– Hear, hear.
– Until America is ready to assist. Does the honorable senator indorse that?
– Hear, hear.
– Senator Senior indorses that statement. I wonder whether he has ever given any consideration to the fact that men going from Australia after the referendum was taken, whether enlisted under conscription or a voluntary system, could not reach either the Western Front or the Italian Front until long after it would be possible for the Americans to be there. In view of this fact the honorable senator must recognise that the argument to which I have referred falls to the ground.
– No; the honorable senator overlooks the fact that, in the meantime, the reserves already in the Old Country might be used.
– The argument submitted has been that conscription was necessary in Australia in order to strengthen the Western Front and the Italian Front, pending the arrival there of the American Forces.
– Bear, hear.
– The American Forces in large numbers are already in training, and they could get to the fighting front in one-sixth or one-seventh of the time it would take Australians to get there. Any men going out of Australia from “to-day onward, whether conscripted or enlisted under the voluntary system, could not possibly arrive at’ the fighting fronts until some months after the American Forces might be landed there. That is my answer to the contention to which 1 have referred.
– No military authority would support that statement.
– Then is it only newspaper -talk that there are large numbers of Americans already in training?
– It is true; but it is much easier to put reinforcements into a division already in the firing line and trained, than to organize an entirely new army.
– But all these men who come in as conscripts or volunteers have to go through the course of training what the Americans have to go through.
– You can train them much more readily to take their place in a veteran brigade than you can train a new army.
– Will the difference of months be thus accounted for ?
– Surely the honorable senator admits that every man enlisting from Australia has to go through the same length of training as the Americans. Where, then, does his argument come in ? Surely it was not intended under conscription to send Australians into the field without a proper course of training. I cannot believe that that was ever intended. The argument I have referred to seemed to me to be one of the weakest arguments that any responsible man ever put up.
Mr. Lloyd George, an authority who might be accepted ‘ even by the Government, said, at a luncheon given to Mr. Holman at the House of Commons on the 15th August, on the question of conscription in Australia -
I don’t believe there is in the world’s history any parallel of the way in which the Dominions came to the aid of the Mother Country in the hour of her trouble, and we must not forget that they came voluntarily.
We have no means of enforcing compulsion, for it is not in the Constitution that they should. come in any way but of their own freewill.
The British Empire is now profiting by the lesson which it received in the case of the American colonies, where an effort was made to enforce military conscription, but was discovered to be a mistake. We relied upon an appeal to fraternity, to good-will, to cooperation, and to a sense of kinship, and the response has been one of the noblest in the history of the world.
Will Ministers and their supporters say that Australia has not done her share, or that she will never do her share until sh sends the last possible man?
– They say that she has disgraced herself.
– Yes. We have heard that statement a dozen times in the other House, and here, since this short session began. A good deal has also been said in contradiction of our statement that conscription meant practically economic and social ruin in Australia. When some of our speakers stated that conscription in New Zealand had brought that country face to face with the very serious problem of the shortage of farm labour, Mr. Hughes characterized the statement as a “foul and infamous lie.” We have frequently heard that sort of phrase from his lips. He used that one at Tamworth, but one has only to read the reports of the National Efficiency Board of New Zealand, especially the parts headed, “ Strain on Industries,” “ Shortage of Farm Labour,” “Assistance from School Boys,” “ Last Male Worker on Farm,” to see that what we stated was -true. The Board reported to the Government of New Zealand -
It has become evident that under the operation of the Military Service Act the numbers of workers of the first division that have been called up has placed a serious strain upon some of- the industries, especially in the country districts.
They recommended the Government not to take shepherds and musterers off the mountain lands, which implied that the Government were . doing it, and added that if these men were removed the sheep would have to be taken from the hill tops. This means that weaklings and women could not do the work on those mountain lands. Quite a number of other statements could be quoted to show that conscription 1 has brought New Zealand to a very dangerous state economically and socially. The effect of conscription in Bulgaria is well shown by the following extract from a recent article on “ Conscription,” by John Reed, war correspondent for the Metropolitan Magazine (New York): - “ I happened to be in Bulgaria in the summer of 1915, when Bulgaria joined the Teutonic Allies in the war; and Bulgaria would never have gone to war had there not been conscription.”
– Germany, would not have gone into the war if there had been conscription in England.
– Nor would she have gone into it if there had not been conscription in Germany, because she would not have been in a position to do so -
The great majority of the Bulgarian people were against war in general, and opposed to the German cause in particular - eight of the eleven political parties being of that temper. The King and Premier, however, . refused either to call Parliament or state the Government’s intentions. Certain events made the Opposition suspicious. The eight party leaders secured an interview with the King to discover the Government’s intention; and, at the end of this, the King intimated that the country would be thrown into the war on the side of Germany. . . . And no man dared to speak of peace, nor could any citizen exercise his right, as a citizen, to express his opinion.
A good .deal has been said about industrial conscription. The Government and their supporters have claimed that industrial conscription was never intended, but there was one gentleman who would have imposed it if he had had his way - that is Sir William Irvine, who, I see by yesterday’s papers, is making another effort to get a party together, though I do not think he will ever obtain a following His views on industrial conscription, were expressed thus -
I am against exemptions. Conscription ought not to be confined to persons of military age; every man and woman should be required to serve the country. The application oi conscription ought not to be very limited, but should apply to every man and woman between twenty and sixty years of age.
Mr. Fuller, who for .some time was Acting Premier of New South Wales, said -
It is time the Federal Government did something. If it is necessary, martial law should be proclaimed. The Federal authorities ought to be strong enough to do it.
Much has also been said about the conscription of wealth. We say that the conscription of wealth in Australia, so far as it affects the bigger incomes, has been a farce, and that up to the present, the Government) has not done what it should have done if it had carried out the pledges made by its leaders, particularly Mr. Hughes, over and over again in the last few years. The following war “loan advertisement published in the daily press on the 24th October last tells its own story in that regard : -
For the Empire and yourself. You know what money means “to the Empire’s cause - more guns, more shells, more aeroplanes, a sure and early victory. Your patriotism demands that you subscribe all you can spare or save. Patriotism will, and should, be your main reason for offering your money, but you, too, -benefit by making a safe and profitable investment. You .give nothing. You lend on the best -security - your country. Lending money to your country is simply banking money. It is providing for your future prosperity. Your tanker is Australia. Your money is safe; the interest is sure. lt is easy to see the view the Government took of the conscription of wealth when it advertised in such terms to the wealthy people to induce -them to put their money into the war loan. One could read some very interesting pronouncements by Mr. Hughes during the last year or two on the duties of wealth in this great struggle, and on what the Government should make the wealthy men of Australia do to find the .money to carry on the war, and also what action the Government should take to stop profiteering. Those views have often been published, and are well known.
But as Senator Fairbairn said yesterday, what the country desires is not a disquisition on the sins of the Government, but ti. statement of what is to be done to put Australia into a position to meet her immediate liabilities and the heavy responsibilities which must devolve on -her after the war. The Win-the-war < Government was elected in May last, yet we have not yet seen its policy for winning the war, and since the election the House of Representatives has sat only forty-one days, .and the Senate thirty-six .days, the business under discussion being Supply Bills. We have had no (proposals for the building up of the industries of the country - no real business to discuss. When, in September last, the Prime Minister proposed an adjournment, Mr. Tudor asked him whether “ There was any special reason for an ‘adjournment for anything from five to eight weeks so soon after the last elections ? “ Mr. Hughes said that -
The Government does not propose to do anything during the adjournment which it would not do if the House were sitting.- If the honorable member for Yarra fears that we intend to bring in conscription .by regulation, I give him the positive assurance that we do ‘not.
But behind the ‘back of Parliament Misisters arranged for the taking of another referendum. Neither their own supporters nor the Opposition can be satisfied with the way in which %the affairs of the country are now managed, because the Government is ignoring Parliament altogether.
An offer, made by the Prime Minister and indorsed by the Minister for the Navy, has “been spoken of as the holding out .of the olive branch to the Labour party, .but that offer, as it appears in Hansard, is worded differently from -the offer actually uttered by the Prime Minister and telegraphed throughout the Commonwealth by the experienced pressmen who reported his speech. In revising the Hansard report Mr. Hughes interpolated words which changed the whole character of the offer. Eis offer .was “to “ get out,” if ‘his being Prime Minister stood in the way of a reconciliation, and Mr. Joseph Cook made a similar offer. . But on revising the Hansard report, Mr.. Hughes interpolated the condition, “If the Labour party is willing to agree to a policy acceptable to the National Government.” That action has been characterized . by the reporters as a trick. The newspapers published to the .country the original offer, and said it was declined. The offer contained in Hansard’ is something quite different. Had we accepted the offer in the first place we should have been told subsequently that we were bound, not by .the terms- of it appearing in the newspaper report of Mr. Hughes’ speech, but by the terms in the Hansard report, and we should ‘therefore ‘have been taken to have consented to be swallowed by the Liberal party. Speaking of the original offer the Argus said that there could be no better recommendation to the ‘ people than to forget feud and forgive foes; to strive nobly for victory over the common enemy. But what about the other side showing a little of this forgiving spirit, and undoing what was wrongly done during the past few months? Let them restore to their original positions the unions that they have deregistered, not by legislation, but by regulation. If Ministers wish to proceed with their win the war policy, they can do so without our assistance, and, indeed, in spite of the Opposition, because in the House of Representatives there are only twenty-two Oppositionists, and in this Chamber only twelve. It is a farce to Say they are waiting for us to form a coalition with them. It would be impossible for this party to form a coalition with the Nationalist party, but we would be likely to support all genuine war measures proposed by a National Government whose members were not covered with the political dishonour which covers the present Ministers. The .first and indispensable condition of unity is, so far as I am concerned, that the present Ministers must leave office and allow others to take their places. Those who condone the actions of the Government are condoning something that has brought parliamentary doings down to the lowest level. Notwithstanding attempts to gloss over what has been done, the fact remains that Ministers have not fulfilled their promise, and are clinging to office in defiance of the requirements of political decency. Our political history furnishes no parallel with their conduct. They went to the country declaring that they would not continue to govern unless certain powers were given to them, and it has been the practice of responsible Governments, when the country has turned down their policy, to resign office. The referendum vote in itself need not have caused Ministers to resign, but the Government said that it would resign if the vote went in the negative. Ministers said that they would not continue to govern without the power for which they asked, but) they, are continuing to govern.
– They did not say that for all time they would not govern.
– Was it sufficient for them to resign office and immediately assume it again without a break and no loss of salary ? Ministers have made a laughing stock of responsible government. What opinion must the people have of Parliament when a pledge like that of the Prime Minister is not honoured ? Can. it be wondered that Parliament falls into disrepute ?
This party, without entering into a coalition with another party, could work with it if a policy were brought forward to put the resources of Australia into a condition which . would enable us to meet our liabilities better. There might be an energetic shipbuilding programme - shipbuilding that should have been started twelve months ago. Recruiting will never be a success under this Government; but I suggest that the Director-General of Recruiting should be given a free hand. He should be able to go into the Defence Department, to throw out a lot of the information that has come from the other side, making a fresh start. The present Director, or some other Director having no connexion with party conflicts, should be given a free hand to get information from the Imperial authorities. They ought to’ tell us plainly the requirements in men, food, and material, and the order in which they are required. We should be frankly informed as to the lowest number of men that the military authorities say are necessary to provide adequate reinforcements. Since the Government have been in office we have had so many conflicting statements under this heading that we do not know where we stand. Before the Labour party can have anything whatever to do with the socalled National Government, we require some vital alteration in the censorship. I wonder if the Minister ,for Expatriation will stand for this sort of thing: Seven prosecutions against the Daily Post, Hobart, and seven withdrawals. These are the matters in which the censorship has shown its absolute partiality.
– Because it did not prosecute non-offenders.
– -Why should it institute seven prosecutions against an alleged offender and then withdraw them? The following is an article which appears in the Daily Post, Hobart, on Saturday, 5th January last : -
On -10th December the Daily Post and Mr. Dwyer Gray were summoned to the Police
Court on two separate summonses to answer charges of prejudicing recruiting by publication of “The Lottery of Death” in the Daily Post, on 29th November. Both charges were withdrawn. On 15th December the Daily Post received two summonses to attend the Police Court to answer charges that they printed in the newspaper certain matter which it was alleged should have been submitted to the censor. Both these charges were withdrawn, On 17th December the Daily Post received three summonses to attendthe Police Court on charges of printing leaflets without prior , submission to the censor. Yesterday those three charges were withdrawn. The AttorneyGeneral, who is also the Prime Minister, is congratulated upon his powers of prosecution, and also upon his marvellous powers of withdrawal. Seven prosecutions and seven withdrawals in a month; that is surely an Australian record. Will it be believed that the Daily Post is mulcted in heavy costs for the lot, on the ground that withdrawals are not quite dismissals? Those who offended against the law in other quarters were not hauled up before a Court to answer charges, which are scarcely formulated before they are withdrawn.
Certain “ instructions “ were sent to newspapers in reference to leaflets on 28th November. All the leaflet “ offences “ allegedly committed by the Daily Post were committed (if committed at all before that date. The Crown relied on a “ regulation “ six months old, which their own reminder indicated they scarcely considered sufficient. On several grounds, had the case proceeded, the Crown ran an excellent chance of leaving the Court badly worsted. The Daily Post carried out the instructions, once received, to the very letter.
If any offence was committed by the Daily Post in reference to the issue of leaflets (which is extremely doubtful), it was purely technical. The censor would have been bound under his instructions to pass every one of the leaflets forthwith. No objection was taken to the matter in the leaflets. “Hughes Denounces Conscription,” “ The Blood Vote,” and “Has Voluntarism Failed?” had all appeared in the Australian Worker (though the last-named appears to have been adapted by the Worker from a prior publication headed “ A Startling Disclosure,” in the Daily Post, of 24th November). “The Blood Vote” was not published in the columns of the Daily Post. “Has Voluntarism Failed?” contained nothing that was not in the matter published in the Daily Post on a prior date, under’ the heading, “Startling Disclosures.” “ Hughes denounces conscription,” was printed in the Worker, reproduced from the Worker in the Daily Post, and then issued as a leaflet. Everything in the Worker has to be “submitted,” nor was that rule relaxed during the referendum campaign. The printed matter actually contained in all three leaflets was submitted and approved by the Sydney censor, and counsel for the defence yesterday produced in Court the original proofs, with the Sydney censor’s seal attached. Nevertheless, the Daily Post has to pay the heavy costs incidental to all litigation on the withdrawal of all charges.
– Withdrawn at the editor’s request, and on his assurance that he was not conscious that he was offending.
– The prosecution should never have been instituted.
– Because the offender stated that he had erred in ignorance. Obviously this is a case of mistaken leniency. Senator O’KEEFE. - Was not the editor of the Daily Post entitled to believe that he was not breaking the law?
– Then why did he say that he had erred in ignorance?
– The article in the Daily Post continues: -
The following regulation is buried in the dust of six months’ antiquity, and is dated 6th June, 1916:-
Regulation 28aa is amended to read as follows: - “ 28aa ( 1 ) No person shall without lawful authority print (otherwise than for submission to the censorship,in compliance with this regulation), publish, sell, or distribute any printed matter which relates or refers to the present war or to any subject connected therewith, or arising therefrom, unless such matter has first been submitted to and approved by an officer of the censorship staff, and any person who acts in contravention of this regulation shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.
This regulation shall not apply to any matter published in any newspaper registered under the Post and Telegraph Acts 1901-1913.”
I ask Senator Millen whether his own speech on theRepatriation Bill, which was printed in pamphlet form, and distributed in tens of thousands throughout the Commonwealth, was submitted to the censor? It contravened the regulation which I have just read quite as much as did any action on the part of the Daily Post. There is just one other instance which I wish to cite in order to show that the censor himself made certain admissions in Hobart. Colonel Evans, in reply to a question, on the occasion of the prosecution of the Daily Post said -
He had read the handbill produced, headed “Hughes denounces conscription.” On 13th December it was handed to him by his housemaid at his house in New Town.
Continuing, he said -
He was appointed Assistant Military Censor for Tasmania on 1st January, 1915. Conscription was a question concerning the war. The handbill had never been submitted to him.
The report proceeds -
To Mr. Okines. - He was sure that the handbill had never been passed by him. He would not deny that the reading matter contained in the handbill had been published’ in the *Daily Post. . . . *
Colonel Evans. - I would take objection to the “Yes” side issuing leaflets without approval. He did not. know how many War Precautions Regulations had been , passed this year. He would not say they were numerous, but there were a good many.
Mr. Okines How have you been treated in the Daily Post office?
Colonel Evans. - He had only been brought into contact with the editor. Mr. Dwyer Gray had treated him with the utmost courtesy and consideration on all occasions. He had served a notice on the editor about leaflets on 20th November,
Mr. Dobson. Will your Honour note that I object to all this cross-examination as irrelevant.
The Police Magistrate. - Very little is irre-. levant in cross-examination.
Witness (continuing). - He gave the notice referred to, to the Editor of the Daily Post on 29th November, and to the printer on 8th December.
To Mr. Dobson. The Daily Post has been under stricter regulation than any other newspaper since June last. The Daily Post had to submit to the censor since, everything they published. They had had trouble before that date. ;
To Mr. Okines That order expired on 5th December, but the order had been renewed at once for a further six months.
– There is nothing partial disclosed there.
– Yes there is. The censor himself admitted that the Daily Post had been under stricter supervision than had any other newspaper. But enough has been said to show the absolute partisan way in which the censor- ship is exercised. Then there are certain other War Precaution Regulations which require to be repealed before any fair-minded men can have anything to do with the Government which issued them. Take the interference of the Defence Department in small matters, but in matters which were very irritating. In the belief that there was too much racing in Australia, and that it interfered with recruiting, the Minister for Defence issued a regulation to the Military Commandants in each State to cut down race meetings. Now, in Tasmania, the Legislature had only a little time previously curtailed the number of racing fixtures by one-half. Then the Military Commandant cut them down still further, so that a few trotting events which were previously run at Eight Hours sports meetings cannot be run to-day. Representations were made on this subject to the Military Commandant, and a new regulation was issued. This regulation shows the utter want -of knowledge on the part of the Minister for Defence on the subject with which he was dealing. It provides that such gatherings as Eight Honrs sports, church picnics, and charitable gatherings shall be allowed to run such races, provided that the prize offered in connexion with any event is limited to ?10. The Minister was asked. to increase the amount to ?20, but he refused to do so. Evidently, if the prize be limited to ?10, the event will help t’o win the war, but if it be fixed at ?20, it will not do so. These are the sort of irritating things that have been done by regulation under the War Precautions Act. “Unfortunately, there is so much to complain of that it is impossible for one to enumerate all causes of complaint in the .brief period of a couple of hours. However, 1 do not propose to occupy the time of the Senate any longer. In conclusion, I wish to say that I listened attentively to the reading by Senator Earle the other evening of a statement which, in reality, was a Ministerial statement. The honorable senator may have assisted in its compilation, he may even have dictated shorthand notes of it to a typewriter; but the statement which he read was practically a defence of Ministerial acts and of Ministers remaining in office. He was engaged for nearly an hour in reading that statement which will appear in Hansard in the form of a speech. Consequently, it will read very well. I do not object to what was done on that occasion, but when, in the future, an honorable senator upon this side of -the chamber wishes, for propaganda purposes, to get a written statement into Hansard in the form of s>speech, I trust that he will not be prevented from doing so. I am aware, sir, that you were not in the chair at -the time of which I speak. Your place was being filled by the Deputy President, who gave a ruling which, to my mind, was a most peculiar one. He held that as our Standing Orders had been suspended, the Senate was in a sort of “ goasyouplease “ state. Senator Earle, I think, must have been reading Lord George Hamilton, who, in speaking of the late Mr. Gladstone, said that his friends believed he was a super-man.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
– During the adjournment I received a copy of instructions which have been issued by the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) under the War Precautions Act for the control of unregistered race meetings, and as they are quite idiotic in character, it is my desire they should be placed on record in Hansard. Earlier in my speech I referred to this action by the Minister for Defence, who, it appears, believed that racing was interfering with recruiting throughout Australia, and issued regulations empowering the Military Commandants of the various States to be the arbiters as to how many race meetings should be allowed. I might add that State Parliaments had also dealt with this matter, and I submit they are the proper authorities. In my own State the local Parliament, in February last, cut down the number of race meetings to about half the number previously allowed, and then on top of that, authority has since been given to the Military Commandant to still further limit the number of fixtures.
– What is the net result ?
– I do not know, but I think it is absurd that the military authorities should intervene on the plea that race meetings interfere with recruiting. As a matter of fact, many small country places where only one race meeting is held each year have given the largest number of recruits in proportion to population, and probably could furnish no more under any circumstances. It is utterly absurd that this regulation should be applied to such organizations as the Eight Hours Celebration Committee or picnic racing associations, which hold picnic race events, say, once a year. As a. concrete instance I may quote the Eight Hours Association in Hobart. It was only after a considerable amount of trouble that a special permit was obtained for the inclusion ofa few trotting events at the annual gathering under the auspices of that body, and subsequently the Eight Hours Associations at Launceston and Queenstown asked for the same privileges. The Minister for Defence may still be a believer in the objects of an eight hours gathering, but if he is, all I can say is that his method of showing his belief is very peculiar.
– The honorable senator knows that the Minister believes in it just as much as he does.
– Well, his methods are peculiar. The Launceston associations referred to asked me to come over specially to interview the Minister for Defence, and see if they would be allowed to include two or three trotting events in their annual gatherings, as had been done previously, . because, as a rule, they rely upon these events to bring in revenue and thus help to provide the prize money for the athletic fixtures. Mr. Spence was with me at the time, as he had also been asked by the Queenstown people to interest himself in the matter, but the Minister absolutely refused to grant an interview, which, as a matter of courtesy, I had every right to expect. I assured the Minister that we would not occupy his time for more than about two minutes, and that in a short interview we would be able to give him more facts than could have been furnished by lengthy correspondence. Still he refused. “ I have not the time, as the matter is not of sufficient importance,” he said; and then he asked me to submit the matter in writing, as he had a number of similar requests from other parts of Australia, and would deal with them all under one regulation. I did so by writing him, and to-day, during the luncheon adjournment, I have received a copy of the regulation from the Defence Department, which reads as follows: - ‘
With further reference to your letter of 14th January, and in continuation of my 3615 of 15th January, regarding the control of racing, I desire to inform you that the following instructions have now been issued by the Minister in connexion with unregistered meetings: - (1) All profits are devoted to patriotic, charitable, or religious purposes. (2 No cash prizes and no trophy or trophies of a greater value than £10 are given in any one race.
It will, therefore, be noted that the giving of cash prizes not exceeding £10 in any one race is permitted in the above-mentioned cases. ,
The people who know something about race meetings urged that the prize money for any event should be increased from £10 to £20. Originally, the Minister said that trotting events would only be allowed for trophies of the value of £10. Then, when I pointed out that he might as well shut down on the unregistered race meetings altogether, because bodies like the Eight Hours Association could not expect to get entries from horse-owners to race for trophies under such circumstances, as they wanted the prize-money to pay the riding fees and provide fodder for the horses, he admitted he was wrong by saying, “ Well, after all, what do you want?” Subsequently, he consented to allow cash prizes to the value of £10 to be offered, but definitely refused a request to allow a cash prize to the value of £20 to be offered. The idiotic regulations I have already quoted are the outcome of our representations.
I have nothing further to say except that until such absurd regulations as have been issued by this Government under the War Precautions Act are swept away, and we get back to common-sense administration, the Government cannot expect men of common sense to join with them, or give that assistance which our party will be prepared to give to any Government that will do the decent thing by them. When they keep the pledges they made to the people of this country, then it will be time for them to hold out what they call the olive branch to members of the Opposition.
– I do not intend to occupy the attention of the Senate for more than a few minutes. The debate so far has been, in my opinion, a very labouredone, and with the exception of two speeches everything else may be boiled down to nothing. Senator Earle’s speech was undoubtedly a creditable utterance; and Senator Bakhap took infinitely higher ground in regard to the present position than any other speaker who has contributed to this debate. I did not intend to speak at all, but for some remarks that fell from the lips of the Leader of the Opposition, and I am sorry that Senator Gardiner is not present, because he and I have been connected with the Labour movement in Australia for a very long time, and I wanted to mention certain matters referred to by him. However, as he is not present, I will defer my remarks until some future date.
I join with Senator Earle in his tribute to the Prime Minister. Notwithstanding the abuse that has been hurled at the head of the Leader of the Government by the various speakers during the debate on this Bill, I contend that the Prime Minister stands out as the one supreme figure in the Labour movement of Australia.
– Is the honorable senator a candidate for the Ministry?
– I am a candidate for nothing. I am simply indorsing the tribute already paid to a man with whom I have been personally acquainted for the past thirty years ; a man whose giant intellect organized and made the Labour movement what it is to-day. Notwithstanding all that the Prime Minister has done for Labour, his opponents of to-day are making every possible effort to kill him politically. They are endeavouring to put out of public life the most useful and the brainiest man that has ever been connected with the Labour movement.
– The greatest figure the Labour movement has ‘ produced.
– Absolutely. There is another matter to which Idesire to make particular reference. Senator Needham, in the course of his speech last night, referred to the Liberty Loan floated by the Treasurer (Sir John Forrest), and in doing so, I regret to say, made a halfhearted attempt to belittle his own State.
– I did nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator did. I inter jected at the time that he had told only half the truth concerning the Western Australian subscription to that loan. I propose now to put before the Senate the other half.
– Is the honorable senator jealous of Tasmania ?
– Certainly not. Surely the honorable senator will recognise that sinceTasmania, as a settled community, is more than three times the age of Western Australia, she would have been able to (contribute to the Liberty Loan three times the amount raised in my State. Not only is Western Australia a very young State, but she has few citizens who can be termed “ wealthy “ in the full sense of the word. The actual subscriptions made by Western Australians to the Liberty Loan floated by Sir John Forrest are not truly reflected in the figures quoted by Senator Needham. ‘
– Will the honorable senator dispute the figures I quoted, and which I obtained from the Treasury ?
– Certainly not. If the honorable senator had said that the amount subscribed in Western Australia was only one-half that mentioned by him, I should not have disputed the figures. What I do dispute is the conclusion which he drew from those figures. The wealthy men of Western Australia can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and their investments are made through various companies in which they are interested, and whose head offices, with the exception of the Western Australian Bank, are not located in that State. Whenever a Commonwealth loan is placed on the market, the insurance companies, whose head offices are situated in Melbourne or Sydney, subscribe largely to it. And so with shipping companies, who make large earnings in the trade between the eastern States and Western Australia. Their central offices are here.
– Or in Sydney.
– Exactly. That being so, money which is invested through these companies by the few wealthy men of Western Australia, is credited to Victoria or New South Wales, although actually found by citizens of Western Australia. I venture to say that the amount mentioned yesterday by Senator Needham as having been subscribed in Western Australia to the Liberty Loan represents entirely the contributions . of the working men and also the school children of that State, who, to my own knowledge, contributed their pence and their shillings to that very loan.
– We have in Western Australia men who could sign a cheque for the total amount of Western Australia’s contribution to the Liberty Loan. The honorable senator knows that.
– I do not. I say, without fear of contradiction, that we have not in Western Australia to-day half-a-dozen men who are “wealthy” in the full sense of the term.
– The total contribution was £294,000, and there are some men in Western Australia who, individually, could sign a cheque for £300,000.
– What is £300,000 ? The £294,000 was contributed mostly by men who are grafting for a living, and who are producing the wealth of the country.
– I said that the wealthy men were not contributing their share, and the honorable senator is proving my statement.
– I hold that the wealthy men have contributed in a way that is creditable to them, and that the same may be said of Western Australia as a whole.
Just as Senator Needham erred in dealing with subscriptions to the Liberty Loan, so he erred also when discussing the question of taxation. It is not the man without wealth who is paying the taxation of the Commonwealth; it is the wealthy man.
– That will do me.
– Every man who to-day is earning £156 a year, or less, is practically exempt from Commonwealth income taxation. If he has a couple of children under sixteen years of age, his income is exempt to the extent of £200 a year. No one whose income is between those two standards is liable to taxation.
– Does the honorable senator know what a man with six children pays per annum by way of indirect taxation ?
– I am talking not of indirect taxation but of direct taxation. It is direct taxation that we are imposing to meet war expenditure, and the taxation of that kind which we shall continue to impose must be paid by those who possess wealth so long as the exemptions to which I have just referred remain intact.
– We have not yet touched the fringe of taxation.
– Perhaps so; yet we are supposed to be taking at the present time at least 75 per cent. of the war-time profits earned in Australia.
Glib references to a wealth tax are made from almost every platform in Australia, but honorable senators opposite should first of all explain what they mean by a wealth tax. If they do that, I maybe able to indorse their views.
– Mr. Tudor’s manifesto explained it pretty well.
– I have only to say that it was the lamest approach to an explanation of wealth taxation that I have ever seen, and if it truly represents the taxation peg upon which our honorable friends of the Opposition are hanging their caps, I am very sorry for the poverty of their ideas.
– I shall not speak at any length, nor shall I repeat statements that have already been made during this debate. I desire to talk very plainly of one or two matters relating to the action of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). If a Nationalist Government is to continue bo control the affairs of this country, then I would rather the present Administration remained in office than that it should be succeeded by any other that might be formed from the same party. I say this, notwithstanding that I have nothing to thank the Prime Minister for in connexion with the recent referendum campaign. As a matter of fact, he tried to disgrace me by dragging me before a magistrate for an offence that I never committed. The Prime Minister attempted to disgrace me in that he sought to connect me with the German vote, and to show that I was endeavouring to stir up feeling on the part of disfranchised Germans against the regulation under which they had been disfranchised. That is a deliberate untruth. No one is more strongly opposed to that section of the community than I am, and if Mr. Hughes had done what I and my union did twenty years ago there would not have been so many Germans in Australia to-day. My union at that time refused to work with Germans and if the Prime Minister’s union, which comprised thousands of foreigners, had taken up the same attitude the position to-day would have been very different. We pointed out then what would happen to Australia as the result of the influx of Germans to this country. The press at that time, however, hounded us down, because, as they declared, we dared to insult citizens of a friendly nation. We refused absolutely to work with Germans, and yet the Prime Minister has tried to connect me with the German vote. He brought from Albury, at the expense of the Government, a German in the pay of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, with the object of securing a conviction againstme. He brought forward a German to try to “ pot “ an Australian. Although ho has done all these things, however, I believe I should prefer to see him in the position he now occupies rather than some of those who are trying to take his place.
– Did he do these things personally or were they done under a regulation authorized by him ?
– He was personally responsible. If he had not been in Sydney at the time in question he would not have seen a garbled report which’ appeared in a local newspaper, on the strength of which he launched this prosecution against me.
Senator Guthrie often hurls the word “ German “ at the heads of honorable senators on this side of the Senate. I have only to say that he is one of the members of the Nationalist party who tried to capture the German vote on 5 th May last. He was one of the Nationalist party who, on the occasion of the last general election, advertised for votes in a German newspaper published in South Australia. In view of that fact, it is difficult to understand how he dares to fling the word “ German “ at us. I have here a copy of the advertisement. Fancy South Australia, with a German newspaper, and South Australian National candidates for the Federal Parliament advertising in it for votes ! The names of the Nationalists appeared in this advertisement. I shall not read them, but I refer personally to Senator Guthrie, because of the taunts he is for ever hurling at honorable senators on this side of the chamber. Mr. Archibald, in another place, also referred to the Labour party as the German party, and he is one who, in an advertisement, begged for the German vote in order to defeat the Labour party, to which he and the others recently belonged. Part of the advertisement is worded as follows : -
Committees and electors in the country - be active. If you remain at home and do not vote, you help the other side.
– Was that published in the German language in a German newspaper ?
– Yes ; and yet an attempt was made to prosecute me. The most unprincipled lawyer would never have attempted to inaugurate such a prosecution under that regulation,; and I was sorry for the barrister who stood up and tried to make out a case, for the magistrate laughed at him, and the charge was ‘dismissed with five guineas costs, which the prosecutor was called upon to pay within ten days, or go to gaol for seven days. I got my cheque for the costs within two days; but the costs of Mr. Ryan, in Queensland, have not been paid, because to the non-payment of these no penalty was attached.
I also resent the statement by the Prime Minister that was sent to England, addressed to all our men in the trenches and the factories, and published in the British newspapers. In that statement the Prime Minister tried to cast a slur on the men who to-day are leading the great Labour movement here, or, as he says, attempting to lead it; The statement is thus referred to in a press account -
Hughes Hits Out.
Disloyalists, Extremists, and Shirkers.
Australia’s Federal election takes place on May the 5th, and all members of the Australian Forces, munition workers, and nurses are to record their votes, whether in trench, factory, or hospital, in France or Great Britain.
In connexion with the poll, Mr. Hughes, the Commonwealth Premier, yesterday cabled to Australia House, London, the following: -
Soldiers of Australia. “ On the eve of this momentous election in the history of your country, I ask you to support the party that puts the ‘war’ first and has subordinated all other things in order that Australia may stand unitedly behind you, and back up your great efforts for the cause of liberty against military despotism.
I could agree with that myself - “The Caucus party treats the war as a side issue, and is supported by every disloyalist, wild extremists, peace-at-any-price, and shirker in the country. Those men care nothing about the war. They sneer at the Empire: they say we should be just as well off under German rule; and they are now openly gloating over the fact that recruiting has fallen off. . “ These men, who pretend to speak for labour, but who never did anything for labour but live on it, are now trying to use it to serve their own selfish purposes, and are carrying on a campaign of deliberate misrepresentation in order to deceive the electors.”
That appeared in the Glasgow Record on the 1st May, 1917 ; and a member of my union, who was working there, wrote a letter regarding it to the Glasgow newspaper, but it was refused publication. Can I be expected to have any respect for a man who tries to make me out to be a loafer on unionism? I was a unionist in Sydney long before the Prime Minister left the white cliffs of England, and never in my lifetime have I earned my bread and butter as an official of a union.For fifteen years, while I was the secretary of my union, I worked at my trade, and when it was decided to appoint a permanent secretary, I did not take the position. But the Prime Minister himself has loafed on Labour ever since I knew him. I am not saying anything derogatory of his ability or energy, because he has done wonders for the Labour movement; but he is one who has been guilty of the very thing of which he accuses me in that statement. I know the Prime Minister as well as any man could know him.For forty-three years I have been in the union movement in Sydney, and I was there when he came to Australia. He was given a job in connexion with the Australian Workers Union, taken up by the Wharf Labourers Union, and subsequently organized the Trolley and Draymen’s Union. Yet that man writes 12,000 miles across the seas to tell the members of my union there that I am loafing on unionism to-day. How can I have any respect for a man like that ? As I say, I recognise his ability, and would rather see him in the position he occupies than any one else on that side, but this is the first opportunity I have had of resenting his treatment and I avail myself of it. He is a man who has never taken a. case into Court that he has not lost. He has had the conduct of many law cases; and yet he had not the sense or foresight to see that I was not offending against the laws of my country - that I was not offending against his regulation in what I did at the request of the returning officer. I have never pandered to Germans in any shape or form, and I refuse to tolerate the attempt, by means of a German employed by the Daily Telegraph, to have me disgraced by means of fine or imprisonment.
There was only one proper thing for the Government to do when the result of the referendum became known. They ought to have resigned unconditionally; and then it was the duty of the good old Scotch gentleman, who was so very accommodating, to send for the Leader of the Opposition and ask him to form a Government. Had that been done, the Leader of the Opposition, with his Government, could have introduced his policy, and the Nationalist party could have ousted him at any time they liked. Then, of course, a Nationalist Government could have taken up the reins; but the party chose to adopt a course which must discredit them in the eyes of all right-thinking men.
Many wonder why the “ No “ vote was increased at the recent referendum.
So far as New South Wales is concerned, the increase was due to the action of the employer class and profiteering patriots during the late strike. There was the “ sooling “ of the Premier of New South Wales to fight the workmen to the bitter end, the starvation of the men and their wives and families into submission to the employers, the mean victimization of the men - which is still going on - and the de-registration of the unions. Many thousands of good unionists who were fighting inFrance found that the rights and privileges for which they had long fought, and had hardly earned, were being filched from them by means of the de-registration of their unions. Who faced the Turkish bullets on Gallipoli? Who faced the German bullets at Bullecourt and’ the machine guns at Pozieres and in other parts of France? The 89,000 trade unionists who voted “ No.” Had it not been for those unionists, Australia could never have put an army into the field; and yet they, and thousands more who have returned to Australia, voted “No.” When these men enlisted, they were given a solemn pledge that, while they were away, their rights would be preserved.. How has the Government preserved those rights? By smashing the unions ; and the Government have stood by and seen the wharf lumpers and “coalies” suffer. A pledge as solemn as the marriage vow was given that the rights of the men who went to the Front would be preserved for them when they returned; and that pledge has not been kept, for the unions are being de-registered. It is the bounden duty of the Government, if they expect the sympathy and good-will of the unionists of this country, to see that these unions are restored to the position they occupied before the men went to fight for the old flag. Can we wonder why people voted “ No “ ? Can we wonder that they feel so bitter against the Government, and that, on all occasions, they seek to fight the National movement ? I have nothing to say against the good old British flag, or the ruling power in Australia. What I resent is the paltry and mean treatment the men have received from the Government, who ought to have stood loyally to their promise to keep intact those rights for which the men of the unions fought and suffered for so many years.
I had no sympathy with the late industrial upheaval, and tried to prevent its spread. However, there were those who thought differently, and they have fought and been beaten ; and the Germans themselves, if they were here, would give better treatment than many of those men are receiving to-day. They are being hounded out of their homes, which are owned by the Government, and their goods and chattels turned into the street, although the Government could have settled the strike in one day, had they so chosen. The Government have power, under the War Precautions Act, to seize State property, and could have taken action, in so far as the strike was interfering with the prosecution of the war. But they stood back, and looked on with a grim smile while the unions were being smashed. I have nothing to say against honorable senators opposite, with whom I have been fighting in fair fight for many years; but, as to crossing the floor to join them, I can only say I would feel more comfortable going to bed with a black snake. I am a unionist pure and simple, nothing else. As I say, I did not believe in that strike, because I regarded it as an unjust strike ; but if I had been with my union, I should have been on strike with them. That is the spirit that animates all unionists; an injury to one is an injury to all. The Government ought to step in now and see that these unions are registered, as they were before our young menwere asked to go to fight for King and country. I have nothing to say against the defence of Mr. Hughes and his Government put up by Senator Earle the other night: but what that gentleman said does not touch the matter. We have Judges in the Courts insulting trade unionists at every turn. That is something that unionists have never deserved. They ought to have better treatment, for, had it not been for them, as I said before, we should never have had an army in the field.
I should now like to say a few words about the treatment of the unfortunate returned soldiers. In hundreds of cases, these men are not getting the treatment to which they are entitled. Tradesmen who have come back minus an arm or a hand, and absolutely incompetent to carry on their trades were given a paltry pittance of a pension. No man should be turned off the pay-roll until he is fit to fight the battle of life as he did before he enlisted.
– The Joint Parliamentary Recruiting Committee made a recommendation to that effect, and it has been pigeonholed.
– I know that recommendation was made. Outside the Commonwealth Offices in Sydney one may see a physical wreck proudly displaying the medals he won on the battlefield, and he is earning a living by selling roast peanuts. Motor cars pull up, and the rich step from them into the Commonwealth Bank for their monthly dividend, and go off to spend it in riotous living. Do they feel the war? Not at all. But the poor, unfortunate returned soldier has to sell peanuts. Every day men are calling at suburban houses and trying to make a living by selling small articles. The Government must do something to prevent hardships of that character before they will get the sympathy of the working classes, and to govern the community they must have that sympathy.
The newspapers recently took up the case of a returned soldier named Nelson, who was formerly a carter. He has a wife and three children, and has been given a pension of 16s. a week. The doctors assess a maimed man as half, or quarter, or an eighth, of a whole man. If a soldier who was a carter in civil life returns minus an arm or a leg, he is assessed as half a carter, and gets a pension at half rates. I say that returned soldiers should continue to receive their pay until they are able to earn a proper living. Of course, the cry is raised, “ Where is the money to come from with which to increase the soldiers’ pay ?” There is plenty of money in this country for that purpose. On the racecourse every Saturday, and in the clubs, there is no lack of money. We can at any time see riotous living amongst certain sections of the community. But the stadiums in every State have been closed. Why? Because the boxers and those who patronized the stadiums have gone abroad to fight a greater battle - for the flag. But the rich can get as much money as they want and spend it how they choose. It is from them that the money should be obtained to give the soldiers more pay, and insure their dependants a decent living. The Repatriation scheme is still in the clouds, but I hope to see it soon lowered to earth, so that something may be done to assist the returned men. There is much talk about putting returned soldiers on the land, but 90 per cent. of them are not fit to go there. Before enlisting, they followed other avocations, and a man who expects to make a success on the land in Australia must serve his time and learn his occupation like any other skilled worker. As far as possible men must be returned to their former positions in society. There are many hard cases to deal with, I know ; but the case I have mentioned was not a difficult one to provide for, and I could mention many more of a like character. My suggestion for getting more recruits is to offer better conditions to the men who enlist, and to their dependants. The Joint Parliamentary Recruiting Committee recommended to the Government that the pay of our soldiers and sailors should be “re-adjusted to meet the increased cost of living, so that its purchasing power shall be maintained at the 21st July, 1914, level.” Since the date mentioned, the cost of living has increased by 33 per cent. One needs to enter the dwellings of the families of some of our soldiers to realize the starvation living they get. They have scarcely enough food to eat, they have no boots, and very little clothes. One newspaper in Sydney has stated distinctly that there are in New South Wales 1,600 families of soldiers who are in need of food and clothes.
– The honorable senator is notcorrect.
– It is disgraceful to the country that the honorable senator should make such a statement when it is incorrect.
– There is not in Sydney the wife of an absent soldier who is not receiving a decent living allowance.
– Here is a statement published in the Sydney Sun -
Imperial League’s Investigations. stories of suffering borne out.
The inquiries made by Mr. Potter, the secretary of the Returned Soldiers and Sailors’ Imperial League (the R.S.A.), intothe stories of distress among the wives and children of returned men related by Mr. Pontey, honorary organizer of the Fruit and Vegetable Fund, have . unfortunately confirmed them. Mr. Potter’s statement, which appears below, shows that too many of the loved ones of those in the firing line are wanting in the bare necessities of life. Are they to be left wanting?
We all answer “ no “ to that inquiry, but how are they to be succoured ? By charity, for what are these patriotic funds but charity. Soldiers’ wives must apply to those controlling these funds for money with which to buy food and clothes. No doubt the Minister believes that what he says is true, but he has not personally investigated cases as I have done. I have seen half starved and bootless children, and hanging on the wall of the home the portrait of the eldest son killed on Gallipoli.
– I will give the Minister the name of a woman who lives next door to me. Surely the honorable senator does not dispute what Mr. Pontey says.
– I do, absolutely, and I can give the reason why he said it.
-The Minister has never denied this statement.
– If I were to spend my time in denying every little bit of tittle-tattle I should have very little to do.
- Mr. Potter’s statement was -
Mr. A. G. Potter, secretary of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia, has supplied us with the following: - “ In response to a statement from our acting president, Dr. 1?. W. Kane, which appeared in last Sunday’s issue of The Sun, we have had close on sixty appeals for assistance from the dependants of soldiers now serving at the Front, many of whom have apparently left families of six and eight children behind them. “ Our investigations show that all cases are receiving assistance from the Lord Mayor’s Fund, but we can definitely state that, though the separation allowance to the dependants of Australian troops compares more than favor: ably with that of all allied countries, and the allowance from the Lord Mayor’s Fund is in all cases received, the present cost of living, especially in the purchase of clothing and boots, disqualifies these apparent advantages. “ Our inquiries show that very many cases are, regrettably, underheavy liabilities in connexion with time-payment furniture, but the very real and apparent need is clothing and boots for children of all ages up to sixteen years. I am assured by mothers of families from six to eight children that they can manage to provide food, but are absolutely unable to keep the children properly clothed or in boots. As one mother of eight, children stated to me yesterday, every week she either had to buy a pair of boots or have one or two pairs repaired for the children, and the strain was more than her limited income would allow. “ I am now appealing to the generous people of this State, who are less unfortunately placed than these dependants of our brave men on service, who are fighting for the Empire, to forward donations of clothing and boots suitable for children to the New South Wales branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League, who will insure such donations reaching the most needy cases.”
Honorable senators will see that an appeal is being made to charity for boots and clothing for the families of soldiers. The Minister says that he does not know of these cases, but there isone such case of distress in the house nextto my own - the family of a sailor on the Brisbane. They have had to appeal to charity. Mr. Potter’s statement continues - “ One other case in which assistance is needed is that of a soldier’s wife who has eight children to support. She is shortly to undergo an operation, and, of course, here military allowance, which is supplemented by assistance from the Lord Mayor’s Fund, is insufficient for her to pay a woman to come in and look after her children while she is in hospital. Might I now appeal to some patriotic ladies to offer practical assistance in this very genuine and needy case? “
– Did the honorable gentleman say this woman had eight children ?
– What an evidence of the success of the voluntary system !
– The voluntary system has nothing to do with the matter. I met a soldier friend of mine in France, an old boxer, who had left behind ten children. I am merely pointing out that these cases do exist, and, of course, the cry immediately comes from senators opposite, “ How much do they get?” That is always the cry. How much do the poor get? Never enough. How much do the workmen get? If they go to an Arbitration Court they must tell how much they get, and how they spend it - how much on tobacco and beer, and amusements. But the employer is never asked how . much he spends in that direction. I invite all honorable senators who doubt the truth of the statements I have made to write to A. G. Potter, secretary of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League, Macdonnell House, Pitt-street, Sydney. The men who make these statements are not anti-conscriptionists, but belong to the organization of which Senator Colonel Rowell is a member. There is further matter that I could read, but I think I have quoted sufficient to show that I am justified in saying that the soldiers and their dependants do not get the treatment to which they are entitled.
– la it not a fact that the wife of a private with eight children would receive £Z 10s. per week, and would not require to buy food or clothing for. her husband?
– Yes, and 25s: of that- amount is paid every week for rent.
– I agree that we cannot pay the soldiers: too well.
– That is what I say. There are many cases in which the family of. a soldier is receiving a bigger income than ever before, but that fact does not affect my argument. The poor should not suffer. These children to whom I am referring are running about without boots, and that is a state of affairs that should not exist.
I wish to refer to the Prime Minister’s state of mind when he made most of the silly regulations which were issued under the War Precautions Act during the recent referendum campaign, and when he instituted the. foolish prosecutions that took place. Speaking at a meeting held at Ashfield, he said -
Appropriate name, Rivett. The chairman, Mr. Russell, has handed me a statement made here on Monday night by Rev. A. Rivett. It is an infamous lie, and I’ll rivet it down now. (Laughter.) He told you that I said this at Castlemaine (Melbourne) before the last referendum, “I give my solemn pledge that, till I see the wreckage of the British Fleet strewn in the North Sea, I will not revive the conscription question again.”
I repeat that it is an infamous lie. This gentleman preaches the gospel of Christ; but what he told you is the gospel of Satan. (Loud cheers.) - Telegraph, 19th December, 1917.
I do not know Mr. Rivett, I have never seen him, but I know that he is a clergyman working where the followers of Christ should work - that is, among the poor. He is not one of those who are constantly praying to the god of gold, as most clergymen are doing to-day. I -do not know whether he is a young man or an old man, but, as I have heard one woman, saying “ Good old Mr. Rivett,” I presume he must be an elderly man. He wrote a letter to the’ Sydney Daily Tele graph on the 20th December, 1917, in reply to Mr. Hughes, and said -
Permit a word in reply to Mr. Hughes’ courteous reference to me at Ashfield last night.
If, as he- asserts, I am guilty of an “ infamous lie,” then he has his remedy, and can proceed to carry out his historic threat to place the first man who tells a lie behind the bars at Long Bay or Pentridge. But he dare not.
The Ashfield chairman evidently misinformed the Prime Minister. I said nothing about the “last referendum” in this connexion. I referred to a later date. So anxious was Mr. Hughes in May last to obtain the Bendigo seat at all hazards that he declared, on 24th April, to the electors of Castlemaine, in the hearing nf Mr. Samuel Mauger, ex-Postmaster-General who vouches for the accuracy of the statement, that “ Not until the wreckage of the British Fleet is floating in the northern seas will I again introduce conscription.”
If this is not true,, then let Mr. Hughes disprove it, or, failing that, as an honorable man, lift the embargo he has placed upon me in declaring me guilty of an “ infamous lie.”’
If the above is a lie> as Mr. Hughes alleges, how does he account for the leading article which appeared in the Age of 26th April, two days later, which stated, inter aiia: -
Mr. Hughes’ latest explanation of his party’s war policy is calculated’ to strike his warmest partisans speechless with amazement. - . . . Take the case of the defeat of the British Navy. Is it not manifest that such a development would give Germany absolute control of the sea, cut Australia off completely from communication with Britain, and place the Commonwealth hopelessly at the mercy of the Kaiser? For the present, we decline to believe that Mr. Hughes realizes the tremendous and terrible significance of his statement.
The following letter has been sent to Mr. Hughes, but, so far, without reply : -
Dear Mb. Hughes,
I have no desire to add to your difficulties. They are enough. When a man is beaten and out, one’s sense of chivalry naturally veers towards him.
When in Sydney last, you did not directly brand me an infamous liar but you said I was guilty of an “ infamous lie “ when I quoted a statement said to have been made by you in Castlemaine, on 24th April of last year, and heard and verified by Mr. Samuel Mauger. Of this statement you must, have full knowledge. Now that the period of passion has passed, you must see that you did me an injustice in branding me guilty of such an offence. I think I am entitled to the amende honorable from you, and feel sure you will’ not fail to make it.
Mr. Hughes failed, not only to withdraw the expression, but also to acknowledge
Mr. Rivett’s letter. That gentleman’s comment upon this is -
It lias been suggested that he be sued for defamation of character. But no! If a man is not man enough to admit a wicked wrong when clean bowled, then he is too small a creature to pursue in the Law Courts. Besides, this poor political wreck was so overwrought on the night he made his attack at Ashfield that hearers say , before he finished his tirade he advised them to vote “No.”
I know that Mr. Rivett spends the whole of his time among the poor of Sydney, and that he publishes a paper written by himself, and paid for by himself, which he distributes among the poor. A man who does that must be a good man. Very few of our paid patriots who stand in the pulpit and cry out against the Labour party would do that kind of thing: I am ashamed of many of my co-religionists who have used names in their pulpits that should never have come from clergymen. There are a dozen of clergymen in Sydney who signed a certain “ No “ manifesto, but they were all workers among the poor, and depend upon copper offerings for their living. Those who describe the Labour movement as everything that is bad gaze from their pulpits across congregations beringed with diamonds. One class preaches the gospel of Christ, the other the gospel of gold.
Now I wish to say a word or two in regard to shipbuilding. I am an iron shipbuilder by trade, and I have had many years’ experience in this country. When I went to Great Britain as a Commissioner for the War Chest Fund, I took the opportunity of visiting some of the largest dock-yards in England and Scotland. I did not have the opportunity to visit one of the largest dock-yards in Belfast, but, nevertheless, I had the pleasure of seeing work going on in the construction of war vessels. The building of all merchant vessels was then hung up. The hulls were simply left as they were when the war started ; some of them ribbed, some of them plated, but none of them finished. 1 have looked in vain for the appointment of some master-hand who would tackle a scheme of shipbuilding in Australia. I have the pleasure of knowing one Australian who has the ability and energy - and he has proved it - to undertake a shipbuilding scheme, but he has been overlooked; and here I enter my protest against the importation of any one from the Old Country to carry out this work.
I condemned the Labour Government which I supported for sending to England for a man to print bank-notes. When a man was needed to print stamps they sent to England for him. I produced a bank-note printed by a firm in Sydney, which was pronounced by an expert, Senator Vardon, to be as good a not© as had ever been printed. This Government has sent to America for men to make artificial limbs, though Australians can manufacture them just as well as can the people of any other country. One gentleman established a business for manufacturing artificial limbs at Harefield, in England, and sent to South Melbourne for a foreman and his staff. They perfected the work so well that an offer was made to supply the military authorities with limbs at £12 10s. each, but these gentlemen would rather send away to America for limbs, and pay the Yankees £25 each for them. They refused the offer. The men who were making these limbs weirs Australians who received their training in Australia. They have now returned to Australia, and the factory at Harefield is dismantled. It shows that men in this country are able to carry on any class of work as well as those who may be imported.
We are in our infancy in regard to shipbuilding. Men we may bring from th« Old Country can only commence shipbuilding on the lines to which they have been accustomed there. We do not want to make a start in a huge fashion with an army of clerks and typists.- We need only to mair© a start on the sea shore with a few practical men. Nine months ago an offer was made to the Commonwealth Government to build composite vessels, but the suggestion was turned down. I am not sure whether that was a wise step, but I was staggered when a little later on we were informed that the Prime Minister had made a contract for wooden vessels to be built in America. We have the men here, frames ban be rolled here, angle irons can be turned out here, as can also the plates. They have already been rolled in Australia. In my opinion, the Government should have taken over the means of producing steel plates, and should have commenced- the work without asking any one’s permission. Now we find that work in America has been delayed by strikes, though we thought strikes were hindering the construction of vessels in Australia only. The next information we get is that the work is delayed because the contractors are awaiting timber from Australia. Good heavens ! ls America getting timber from Australia to build Australian ships? That is something for the Australian native to think about. He is told that he can do nothing. Men have to go into the Australian forests and hew Australian timber in order to send it to America, where it will be used in building ships for Australia. We heard the other’ day that His Majesty the King was shown an improved method of plating a vessel, but that improved method was perfected in Australia seven years ago, and was employed in building the trawler Endeavour. That vessel was launched within six weeks from the day on which the keel was laid. Every straight plate in her side, and every frame was ready to hang up in its place before the keel was laid.
There is in Australia a man in charge of works who can make a model of a ship and build it, and finish it. An order was sent to England for a vessel which would carry 300 tons of silt, with a draught of not more than 3 ft. 6 in. When the vessel arrived it was found that it could not hold more than 250 tons, and it had a draught of 4 ft. 6 in. The gentleman to whom I was referring was asked whether he could build one of the dimensions and capacity required, and he said, “Yes.” The vessel he built carried 300 tons of silt, and had a. draught of 2 inches less than was specified. There is no need to bring out men for this work. When they come here they have to learn Australian conditions. In England ships are built in a scientific way. We have to grow up to that method. In England a man does one part of the work on the vessel, and nothing else, all his lifetime. In Australia we have not sufficient work of the kind to attempt to carry out that system. We must employ men who can do every Class of work on a vessel, and we have them here. I am told that this gentleman who is to control our shipbuilding is bringing out his .own workmen. I do not know whether the statement is true or not. but the next step required would be to have a huge building in which to house the staff. Let the man in control go down to the sea shore where a start is to be made with building these vessels, and let him put up a humpy there. It will be quite good enough.
I say that the Government are not sincere in their shipbuilding proposals. They are asking the workmen who are to be engaged in the industry to give away privileges which they have jealously guarded for years. I have been a member of my union for forty-three years, and during the whole of that time the employers of this country have attempted to introduce piecework and the dilution of labour into the shipbuilding trade. We have always resisted those attempts, and have always won. I am not saying that the piecework system may not be an equitable and just way of securing that a man shall earn what he is paid, but it is the abuse of the system resulting in speeding up and sweating that we wish to prevent in this country. We do not desire that these industrial evils shall find a place in Australia. However, the men engaged in the trade are prepared to give up the privileges which they won and have maintained for a long time in order that the Government may proceed with their shipbuilding scheme. The men are under the impression that the piecework system and the dilution of labour in the industry will continue only during the war, but once the speeding-up system is established it will never in my opinion be got rid of. In this country a lad serves an apprenticeship to the shipbuilding trade, but where dilution of labour is conceded a man who has been at some entirely different business until he is twenty-one to twenty-five years of age may be brought into a trade and so be the means of preventing the employment of a young man who has served an apprenticeship in it. The members of my union have given in on these matters, and are prepared to carry out the proposals of the Government. I hope that in the circumstances the Government will proceed as quickly as possible with the work of shipbuilding. I should like very much to see some tribunal appointed by’ this Parliament to control the business and insure that it shall be carried out in an Australian way.
There is only one other matter upon which I wish to say a word, and that is with reference to the financial obligations of the Commonwealth. I do not for a moment pretend to be a financial expert, but I have listened to and have read the opinions of men who are admitted to be financial experts. I remind honorable senators that Sir John Grice has given a timely warning to the people and Parliaments of Australia of what is likely to happen if we do not put our finances on a proper footing. He says definitely that the burden of taxation must fall upon the producing class. He has pointed out that it is possible for very wealthy men to obtain a return as high as 1 and even 10 per cent, from investment in the war loans. It is easy to see that if men can secure such a profit from that investment, they will not be encouraged to put their money into the development of any business or trade. The financial expert of the Melbourne Age has dwelt times out of number upon the reckless extravagance of every Government in Australia. He has pointed out that £9,000,000 will be required in a very short period to pay interest on our loans, and we have to ask ourselves where that money is to come from.
During the coming recess the Government must tackle the financial question, and if they handle it in an equitable way, and make the burden of taxation fall upon those best able to bear it, they will have my ‘hearty support. The financial institutions all over Australia are amalgamating to-day in order to save expense. All the banks are cutting down expenses because they can see that in this country, unless we are careful, we may be faced with financial chaos after, even if not before, the close of the war. Recently I saw some works completed, and the money spent on them might just as well have been thrown into the sea. Our financial difficulties should have been anticipated’ earlier, and there should not have been the pandering to the States which we have witnessed. There has been pandering to the States in connexion with the shipbuilding scheme. It is suggested that one ship shall be built in one State, and another in some other State j whilst, if all were built at the one place, the cost of construction might be very materially reduced.
– I should not care if they were all built in Tasmania.
I do not care where ships are built under the proposed scheme, so long as it is in Australia. No one has ever been able to accuse me of seeking special consideration for a particular State.
– The honorable senator is not a parochialist.
– No ; I am not. I think it is a suicidal policy, and it would merely be throwing money away to insist that some of the ships shall be built in one State and some, in another. Every intelligent man can see that it must add greatly to the cost of shipbuilding in Australia if the work is to be carried out in several different establishments in the different States, rather than in one establishment.
In my view, there is only one way out of the financial difficulties with which we are faced, and that is the unification of Australia under one great National Government. Under the existing condition of things, with separate Governments in each of the States, in addition to the Federal Government, every man, woman, and child in Australia is being asked to pay 3s. a week more towards the government of the country than it should cost. I strike out at once for a unified Australia, and I say that is the only remedy to meet the financial obligations we are incurring on account of the war.
I have not “ flogged the dead horse “ in this debate. I have said something which was not previously mentioned, and I have not quoted the newspaper cuttings, which have been used by others during the discussion. I repeat that I have no wish to be unfair to the Government. I believe they had no right to be where they are until they had followed the constitutional practice of defeating the man who should have been sent for by the Governor-Gen er,al. They are in power, however, and I cannot help it. There is, at the present juncture, nothing for me to do but to assist them in every way I can with a Win-the-war policy. So long as they are prepared to impose the burden of taxation upon those best fitted to bear it, to start the building of ships for the transport of our products oversea, and other works of that description, they will have my hearty support. I say, however^ that, up to the present, the Government shipbuilding scheme has been nothing but a farce. They are asking the shipbuilders to give away privileges that are dear to them. The workers have consented to do so, in the hope of assisting the Mother Country, and because those engaged in the shipbuilding trade desire to see the scheme properly started, since many of them are at present out of work and starving. I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to use his brains and induce the Government to get to work quickly with the shipbuilding scheme, and to submit equitable proposals for meeting our financial obligations. If the Government will do this, they will have no stronger supporter than myself.
– We need not make any apology for debating the subjects which may be considered on the motion for the first reading of a Supply Bill. There is good reason for the scope of the debate in the peculiar position in which parties in this Parliament are at present placed. We have, in the past, lived along very peaceful lines, and so long as security endured it did not matter very much at any time which political party happened to be in power. At the present time, so far as I am concerned, the Government of the country may be formed from the party on the right or on the left of the Chair, so long as it is in deadly earnest on one matter and one alone, and that is the mustering of the whole of the energies and resources of the country for the purpose of aiding the Allied nations to win the war. A few years ago I made a statement to the same effect in my own State. I said that for me at this time there was only one party, that it should have only one platform containing only one plank and that the winning of the war. It mattered not to me which party was in power so long as the Government conformed as nearly as possible to my views as to the way in which they should acquit themselves at this fateful if not fatal hourin our country’s history.
I was pleased to hear Senator McDougall refer to the shipbuilding industry. I wish to impress upon the honorable senator that, while spurring up the Government and galvanizing a party into activitymay be very necessary, something more requires to be done to make the establishment of the shipbuilding or of any other industry a success. One other important essential is the sym pathetic co-operation of the whole of the employees engaged in the industry. I might, in this connexion, refer honorable senators to what has happened in connexion with the construction of the cruiser Brisbane. I believe that it furnishes a very sorry example of the way in which an effort made for the establishment of an industry may not meet with the success it deserves. Subject to correction, I am given to understand that the building of the cruiser Brisbane cost this country nearly double what was paid for the cruisers Sydney and Melbourne’. I am not quite sure of my figures, but I will say that, while the people of Australia are quite content to give encouragement for the establishment of new industries to the extent of30 per cent. and 40 per cent., when it comes to paying 100 per cent. more for the building of a warship than its construction should reasonably cost another issue is raised. The people of Australia are likely to pause before they undertake work in this country which can be done for half the money elsewhere.
– And in half the time.
– I do not attach so much importance to an increase in the time required for the performance of the work, but I protest against the unwillingness of men in the position of Senator McDougall, and others belonging to the same party, who are always insisting upon the rights of the employees, to be equally insistent with respectto their duties and responsibilities. That is a charge which cannot be laid against me. I have said that I care not from which side the Government is formed at the present juncture, so long as it is actuated by the one desire to insure the safety of the country. I must say that while I was still a member of the United Labour party, and while, so far as the essentials of the Labour platform are concerned, I am yet more closely wedded to them than are those who have “ Labour” always on their lips - before I was politically beheaded, and told to walk the plank, I was, especially at election times, always insistent that employees who, when they got a fair day’s wage, did not give a fair day’s work for it, were the enemies of Labour, no matter what they might say of themselves. I hope that my words will not fall upon barren ground, but that they will be the means of inducing Senator McDougall and others to urge those who are to be employed in -shipbuilding, or in any other industry, that if they are given fair conditions and fair wages they must, in their turn, do their bit if there is to be any chance for the successful establishment of the industry.
I cannot compliment the honorable senator on his references to the treatment of returned soldiers, because if there is ‘any one thing that has been a more prolific source of discouragement to recruiting than another, it is the nefarious habit of some people of blazoning forth “the imaginary grievances of returned soldiers to every point of the compass in order to achieve a political end.
– Yes. I have as much to do with the grievances1 of returned soldiers as any man in the Senate, and I always find when I take a grievance to the proper quarter and have the rights and wrongs of it inquired into, that I never fail to get redress, and, therefore, I never come to this chamber to ventilate a hollow grievance, as Senator McDougall has been doing to-day. When asked for figures he failed to give them. When asked to- come down from the clouds and give specific instances of hardship and injury to returned men, he failed to do so. /That sort of thing is not just to the Senate or to the returned soldiers, nor is it playing the game as a member of the Senate. If an answer were wanted, what more crushing and effective reply could we have than the systematic help given to the Government by the Returned Soldiers Association, which is a body organized first and foremost with the avowed object of looking after the grievances of its members. Yet, men like Senator McDougall and others - and I do not exempt even some members of this party in the past - have resorted to a recital of imaginary grievances with only one result in prospect, that is, to add to the other causes operating to discourage recruiting. Every member of the Senate whose heart is in the right place and desires to see recruiting a success will agree with what I say, and in particular I adjure* honorable senators on your left, if they want to see their professed policy a success, to abstain from indulging in the recital of grievances that have no foundation or justification in fact.
I referred incidentally to the opportunity ‘which this debate gave us to deal with subjects of first importance. There is one subject that, to my mind. bulks more largely than all the others put together”, that is, how this country is going to fare now that our very fate may be decided on the battlefields of Europe. So completely has that thought seized upon my mind and directed my course of conduct in the past, that I have been for long like a voice crying in the wilderness. I mapped out a course of conduct for myself which I thought would succeed ultimately in getting Australia to take her proper share of the burden at last, and stand four-square under it- before it- was too late. To-day, while we are sitting on- easy seats, playing at the parliamentary game- in every State, and talking about inconsequential nothings, every shot fired may be bringing . us closer’ to the day when fate will write the destiny of this country, and, perhaps, not in our favour. Even members on your left have admitted that that is so. Why do w© trouble about what the Censor does, about unimportant trifles - matters that have been magnified beyond all warrant or justification during the debate - when the one thing that should concern us is the safety and liberty of Australia? If to-night, where those grim forces are opposed to. each other at that point near Cambrai, the Germans broke through, and to-morrow morning when we woke up we read that disastrous news in our paper for the first time, what would it matter to us what happened in our local politics, what thought would seize the mind of the man with the most sluggish imagination, what thought would be foremost in the mind of the men who recently led the agitation for the recording of the “ No “ vote? While the war is on we have no guarantee that such a shock is not in store for us. “ The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,” and while, the Allied nations are fighting for their lives, as Mr. Lloyd George puts it, we are wasting time indulging in a kind of play that does us as custodians of the welfare of the nation little or nov credit, for this country equally with the rest of the Empire is fighting for its life to-day. If we read that the German forces had broken through, what would it matter to us if every statute law piled up, sir, behind your chair, from the very first word to the last, went up in smoke ? What would it matter even if in this and every other Parliament House in the States not one brick was left standing upon another, if on some fateful morning we read either of the defeat * of the Allies or of a drawn battle’? What would it matter in that event if we enacted a law and scratched it off the statute-book again the next moment? What is the value of all those laws that we have so laboriously built up, when our very right to make a law at all is staked on the hazard ? The present position is so serious that I cannot, even with the present opportunity offering, devote .my time to dwelling upon those things which either singly or in the mass trouble mo not at all compared with the vital paramount subject of what we should do to assist the Allies to win the war. We have put up a fair .record in this country as records go, but from the first day that Australia resolved to share in the struggle standards have been constantly altering. When we sent the first 20,000 men we thought we had done very well; when the next 30,000 went we thought we had done still better, and when finally the voluntary system was in the heyday of its vigour and we reached the 100,000 mark, we thought . we had exceeded all the expectations of the most sanguine amongst us. But the standard has been changing from year to year, and even ‘ from month to month, aye, even from week to week, during the progress of the war, so that the standard which justified us in thinking we had done very well to send the first contingent does not apply to-day. The standard has altered in proportion to the necessities of the hour, and the necessity of the hour to-day is to win. When we sent the first 20,000 men we did not think that would win the war, but had in our minds the thought that we would need to send more, and still more. Men must, therefore, put nut of their minds the foolish notion, which seems to have taken possession of a good many, that we have done very well, or, as some think, too well. We shall not have done too well, or even, well, until we have done our utmost, and until, as- Mr. Tudor put it, the last man that is fit and able to fight takes his place in the ranks. I only wish the Official Labour party re-echoed their leader’s statement at the Richmond Town
Hall - “ I consider every fit man should take his place in the ranks.” Have we hearn that sentiment repented in this chamber by honorable senators opposite?
– Yes, often.
-More often we have heard the contrary, and perhaps ofoftener still we have marked a dull dead silence pervading the ranks of the Opposition in this chamber but for a few airy, vapoury references to the success of the voluntary system. Unfortunately, Mr. Tudors followers have not lived up to his spirited declaration.
In order that we may do our best and overcome the disadvantages created by the defeat of conscription, we must seek some form of co-operation, and try to discover the source of the difference that separates the members of this Parliament. I realize that that is very difficult, for the split is almost as hard to heal as an old sore. A kind ‘of factional sore has broken out in this Parliament, which I am sorry to say is the only one I know of in the English-speaking section of the, Allied Parliaments where bitterness and discord are rampant. I have tried to discover what influence is at work to produce this sore, and T long for the time when some expert will come on the scene and tell us the true source and nature of the difference that separates us to-day. He would, indeed, be a public benefactor if he could expose to the public gaze the real secret cause of the trouble. It is true that members on both sides try to make their own can«e the best, but the country is looking’ on. The electors are not deaf, but are listening all the while, trying to grope their way through the very serious puzzle why members of this Parliament do not pull together to see the country through its troubles. I am reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s remark when he signed ‘h? Declaration of Independence. Somebody said to him, “ I suppose, Franklin, wo shall have to hang together,” and he replied, “ If we do not ha ng together we shall hang separately.” I am afraid that, there is just a chance, so far as Australia’s contribution to this world-wide effort is concerned, that we may paralyze our powers and cut a sorry figure as a result. If we do not pull together now and henceforth, Australia will certainly be placed in a most disadvantageous position. My advice is that each party should get down to a clear and honest expression oi its aims and frank indulgence in plain speech. Plain speech is the great curative agency that is needed on the present occasion. This does not necessarily mean smooth words or eloquent phrases. The truth needs no adornment. Its beauty shines from its own face. No eloquence can improve it. We cannot gild refined gold. What is needed is for senators to frankly recognise the facts and causes which have brought about the existing disruption and discord. I propose to indulge in plainness of speech. It is often necessary to be cruel to be kind. The festering sore must often be cauterized before it will heal, and there is no burning iron like plainness of speech for the purification of political sores such as that which we have to cure. Plain speaking in the end leads to good. Any one who has studied human relations will admit that when two persons have been estranged, whether for a short or for a long time, plain, honest talk is the necessary prelude to reconciliation and future harmony. At this time there is greater warrant for the application of the searing iron to the malignant political sore than we have ever had before. I shall not take up time by referring to the mannerisms of this or that honorable senator, or to the indiscretions and blunders of Mr. Hughes. My duty now is to apply myself to the consideration of the aims or goal of the two political parties. A party that is judged by its objects cannot complain of .unjust treatment. I am prepared to stand by the aims of the Nationalist party i hope that honorable senators opposite are equally prepared to be judged by the aim - or, to be correct, the many aims - of their party. It is better to devote attention to discovering whether the aim or policy of a party is the correct one than to waste time and cause headaches to listeners by inconsequential references to what this one or that has done. Mv chief concern is, Where are we going? The voyager on a rough and stormy sea, and in the neighbourhood of shoals and reefs, is concerned only with his destination. So with the wayfarer in life. Men must be judged by their collective aims, and it is by such a judgment that I propose to compare the relative merits of the two political parties. We need not concern ourselves now whether this one or that has been guilty of indiscretion, or whether for a moment the true line of national policy has been temporarily deviated from. In human affairs, allowance must always be made for deviation. Even the mariner’s compass, that simple little piece of mechanism, a piece, of steel poised on a delicate point, which guides the ship over the darkest and stormiest ocean, is subject to variations caused by magnetic influence. Such variations will sometimes, if not watched and allowed for, bring trouble. But. as a rule, the needle points unerringly to the magnetic pole, and despite its variations, the compass has for centuries been the mariner’s safety. The destination of the ship is to be determined, not by what the captain or the steward mav have said, or by some inconsequential happening on board, but by the compass. The essential question is, How is the vessel heading ?
Before putting the two political parties into the scale, let us briefly consider the present position in Australia. This country, comparatively speaking, has been a recent discovery. Her political history is well within the memory of some of us ; but, owing to her peculiar geographical posi-. tion, many of her people have become neglectful and negligent of her true relations to other peoples, and of their responsibilities to the world at large. Distance is a bad stimulator of the imagination, and so, too, is absence. The fact that we are far removed frum the scene of warfare is mainly responsible for the unfortunate position in which Australia now finds itself. If, instead of being 12,000 miles from the fighting a,eas, our population were living in the neighbourhood of the Mediterranean, and within earshot of the 15-in. Austrian guns, would there have been the huge “ No “ vote that was recently cast against conscription ? If those who voted “ No “ could have visualized the sufferings of the men in the trenches, if they could have seen what was passing there, and could have known the superhuman sacrifices which were being borne there, the vote would have been different. If our people could have witnessed the. .scenes of violence in
Europe, if they had had a better opportunity to size up for themselves what our gallant men are doing, the result of the referendum would have been more pleasing to real patriots. Is our national attitude, then, a mere geographical result, or the fruit of a low grade imagination ?
We, in Australia, have been at once fortunate and unfortunate in having had the protection of the Navy. It has been said that it would have been a good thing had the German Fleet swept down our coast from the Chinese seas, and fired a few shots into bur coastal towns ; that our spirit and attitude towards the war would then have been vastly different from what it is to- day. The report of Admiral Patey shows that the Australia sent her jackals out to round up her prey, but that the German Fleet - the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and the others - knew what she was doing, and would not be driven within range of her guns. The German commanders knew the calibre and power of the Australia’s equipment. Had she had 6-in. instead of 12-in. guns, the position of this country would have been very different. The Germans would have given battle, and would not have hesitated to come down along our coast. Had they laid waste part of Sydney and Adelaide, and such other coastal towns as they could reach, the patriotism of the sleepiest Australian would have been awakened, and we should now stand in a better light in the eyes of the Empire and the Allies. Our trouble has been caused by the fact the the guns of the Australia at sea were taa big, and the minds of too many Australians on land were too little. It has been said that Australia has done well, and I do not decry what this country has done. Senator Long referred to it as “my country.” I am content to call it “ our country.” I somewhat resent the tendency of honorable senators who are Australian-born to reflect on those whose birth-place is elsewhere.
– By so doing, they “reflect on their fathers.
– I was going to say that it is very rough on the old man for a son to say, in arrogant pride, that an Australian native is better than one who has come here from the Old Land ; who bore the burden and heat, and is now told by his offspring that he, is an inferior being.
– Their fathers became Australians from choice; but they had no say in their Australian, nationality.
– Quite true. I have nothing against Australian natives. I have lived in this country twice as long as in any other, and love and respect it for all that it means to me’ and mine. Having heard the sentiments of which. I complain expressed in another place, and also in this chamber, I would be inclined to pass them by as merely the base emanations of a huckster’ a mind, but for the fact that they come from men who occupy responsible positions in this country. What havethese men done? Have they looked abroad in the world ? Have they read history as Emerson says, with their prejudices, and not with their eyes? Havenot they recalled the fact -that men did” not need to be natives of other countries, as these men are natives of Australia byaccident, to prove themselves the foremost and towering champions of those coun-> tries? Take, for example, Alexander-. Hamilton, who was born outside theUnited States, and who was the veryfather of its financial system. TakeEdmund Burke, who was “born outsideGreat Britain, and yet was one of thefathers of the House of Commons. Was he less true a Britisher because he wasborn in Ireland ? Take Thomas Paine, who was recognised as one of the foremost champions of the newspirit of liberty which was at the time being born in; America. He went toFrance, but was he any the less ardent spirit for the emancipation of the peoplethere than were men who had been bom there? Take Lord Byron, who breathed into the dead soul of Greece some of theliving fire of patriotism. These are examples which might with advantage be re- ‘ called by men who are contemptible Lilliputians in mind, and who have only thenarrowest mental horizon. If they could be influenced by reflection they would bebroadminded men, but they are men possessed of only local minds, not even of decent municipal minds if their qualifications be accurately appraised. Look at the long line of big men who do not owe their nativity to -this country, but whowere residents of’ Australia from choice. I have no hesitation in affirming that if it comes to a question of striking a balancebetween many men’ who are natives of this country by accident, and myself, that balance will be in my favour. I wish tosay frankly that this country is in my debt. I have been resident in it for over thirty years, and if my sojourn here-were placed on a cash basis, Australia would be greatly in my debt. But of all countries I know, there is none so dear to me as is this, the land of my adoption. It will be seen, too, that the f oremost men who have fought for Australian independence were not necessarily born here. Take William Charles Wentworth, Sir Henry Parkes, and the long line of sturdy Democrats that breathed into the infantile mind of Australia the fire of democratic feeling, and patriotic ambition - such men as Higinbotham, Sir Graham Berry, and Sir George Grey. They towered among their contemporaries, and were certainly none the worse for having been born outside Australia, while Australia is all the better for these men having come here and fought for her liberties. Then there is Sir Josiah Symon, who was born in Scotland, but who put up one of the sturdiest fights ever fought for the judicial independence of this country. Surely his career compares more than favorably with the careers of men who are natives of this country by accident and not from choice.
I come now to the permanent bone of contention - the” pledge which was given by the Government to the electors. I frankly confess that the Prime Minister did pledge himself that he would not continue; to ad-minister the affairs of this country if the* power to- conscript men for military service overseas was withheld. That power has’ been withheld by the electors,, and yet we find tha* he and his colleagues, still occupy the Treasury benches. But it has been well said that Mr. Hughes waited upon the Governor-General and tendered his resignation unconditionally. His Excellency, after having exhausted the resources of this Parliament, ultimately commissioned > Mr. Hughes again to» form another Government. So that technically, perhaps, the Prime Minister’s pledge has been broken. But the question of conscription having been subtracted from the situation, members of this Parliament now find themselves in exactly the position that they occupied on the night of the 5th May last. By an overwhelming majority the electors of this country had then directed them to occupy the Treasury benches. So that “there is not. very much to be alarmed abouti
I am quite content te- shoulder my share of the responsibility of supporting the Government on the present occasion, under the circumstances which confront us to-day. I am perfectly willing to justify my position on any platform. It is significant that those gentlemen who are so very keen in recording all the shortcomings of Mr. Hughes conveniently forget one of the memorable pledges or threats of Mr. Fisher. On one occasion that gentleman said that if certain proposals were not accepted, the electors would get something which would make them “ fall down with fright.” If that was not a pledge I do not know what it was. Yet these men who find fault with Mr. Hughes for having made statements with much the same import, failed to utter a word of condemnation about the unfulfilled . threat or pledge by Mr. Fisher.
So far as pledges go, we know that they assume different forms. It is true that the pledge given by Mr. Hughes was framed in definite words. But we can recall other instances during the course of the present war when men took up an attitude which- in essence amounted to a pledge, and subsequently found themselves compelled to abandon that attitude by reason of the pressure of circumstances. What did President Wilson say on one- occasion? He said that his. policy was peace’ without victory. The people of the United States of America are- quite1 entitled to look back and say to- him, “ There is your public declaration. Why are yos going to war now?” As a matter of fact, some of them were,, and are, saying such things. President Wilson has completely altered the attitude which he previously assumed, because he now says that we “ must have victory before we can have peace.” That is the attitude which is to-day assumed by the mouthpiece of a. powerful nation which is now actively engaged in the struggle. When Mr. Hughes is obliged to change his attitude in similar circumstances, why should he be condemned if we have no censure for President Wilson? Of course, all this criticism of the Prime Minister is traceable to the terrible hatred of him to- which I shall refer at a later stage. In the meantime, I wish to tell honorable senators why I still adhere to the Nationalist party, and have no- intention whatever of attaching- myself to the party opposite.
My reason is that the Nationalist party have a definite aim towards the accomplishment of which its members are united. They have sunk all their political and personal differences for the purpose of inducing this country to put forth its utmost energy towards the successful prosecution of the war. But when we come to examine the political party opposite, what kind of a situation confronts us? The members of that party are standing at opposite poles on matters affecting the successful prosecution of the war. One member declares himself in favour of a certain policy and another member says that he is in favour of an opposite policy. One man declares for action and another for inaction. How can I become an adherent of such a party when I find so many different counsels offered at such a fateful hour as the present? Let me recall what Mr. Tudor says as an example. Speaking at Richmond he said -
I consider that every fit and able man in this country should be in the ranks.
That is how he should have spoken, and I honour him for it. But when we come to his lieutenants, what do we find is their attitude? With the exception of one or two individuals, including Mr. Page, I have never heard any member of that party so emphatic upon the point that every fit and able man should enlist as is Mr. Tudor. Take the case of Senator Gardiner as an example. Did he say anything like that ? The Senate was entitled to a declaration of equal strength from Senator Gardiner, the responsible Leader of the Official Labour party in this chamber. And when we get down to the rank and file of the party, what do we find? Mr. Page declared himself against conscription, but side by side with his statement was the declaration that he would do all he could, short of advocating conscription, to obtain recruits and help this country to stand firmly to its declared policy of carrying on till victory is achieved. All honour to Mr. Page for his declaration. If the other members of the party opposite had spoken as emphatically, there would have been a happy prospect of re-union of the parties in this Parliament. But we have to turn from Mr. Page’s declaration and look at the other side of the picture. We have to take ac- count of what Mr. Considine, who comes from Broken Hill, has had to say on this subject. Has he given any such expression of opinion? I am afraid not, and we could say the same of the stand taken by many other members of the Official Labour party. Has Senator Ferricks, for instance, either inside or outside of this chamber, ever said a kindly word for the system of voluntary recruiting which he professes to support? v
– But he is a native of Australia.
– Yes, and, as such, is exempt. Others have taken up the « same attitude, and I notice they are not present this afternoon to take their “gruel.” It is only upon public utterances that we may arrive at the true purpose of the party opposite, and when we find that they represent so many differing opinions, it is -impossible for any man, loyally anxious to do his best for his country, to follow that party.
When we turn to Western Australia we find the very opposite sentiment holds sway there. I might inform the Senate that Mr. Curtin, the editor of the Worker, a paper representing the -Official Labour party for the time being, went to the gold-fields and spoke during the election campaign. Mr. Curtin, I may add, came from Victoria, and on occasions I have heard him, speaking on the Yarra-bank, where it has often been declared that this war was a capitalists’ war, and that the profiteers stood to make money out of it. So far as I have been able to ascertain, he never said a word about Australia’s interests being vitally bound up in the conflict. I warned him it would not do to tell the people on the gold-fields the tarra.diddles he was accustomed to utter on the Yarra-bank, because there he would be amongst a number of men who had travelled and were keen students of human affairs. What did he tell the people on the fields? It is on record. He said that the freedom of Australia to-day was being fought for in Europe. But I remind the Senate that when he made that statement his purpose was not to help forward any efforts Australia was making to win her freedom in Europe by getting men to go to the Front; but, if I may put it the other way, he was asking the people of this country not to compel those who were able to fight to leave these shores and fight for the freedom he said was in danger.
As I have already said, the Babel of tongues and the varying opinions held by the party opposite on this vital question of our country’s safety made it difficult for any citizen who had considered well the perilous position we occupy to follow them. Having, therefore, no alternative, I am here to-day, and without any .apology, speaking in support of the Government, the members of whom are charged with breaking pledges and other political crimes. I say the stern necessities of the hour are such that every man should throw aside predilections for any particular party or personality, and give his adhesion to a National ‘policy which will enable Australia to do her full share in this conflict. If we do not do this, the day will inevitably come when Australia will have to stand alone, stripped of every ,power, every national friendship, and without a single prospect of a friendly hand. In the light of tho recent referendum vote, how can we expect help from the Allied countries, seeing that by our vote we have deliberately declared we are tired of the war? We have, indeed, arrived at this position : We are in the war just so long as men who are willing to fight will come forward; if they do not come forward, then we are out of the war. If Australia declares herself to be prematurely tired of the struggle, then, when the time comes that this country will be obliged to stand by itself, we cannot expect, by all the rules of the game, that other countries will rally to our assistance. Consideration of this future possibility prompted me to become a strong advocate of a “Yes” vote during the recent referendum campaign, . and’ from the beginning ; so that, by facing our obligations now, we might, with all confidence, rely upon assistance when, in the future, either our policy or our geographical situation might involve us in entanglements with any other country. Unfortunately, Australia, by the recent vote, has almost cut herself off” from all chance of assistance. We cannot have it both ways, and I remind honorable senators that a member of the French Chamber of Deputies said the other day that if Australia was to acquire possessions, she would surely have to pay. That was a most significant declaration, and one that should not be forgotten. So far as I can see, the position is anything ‘ but rosy. Some people may call the referendum vote a democratic victory. I regard it as a national calamity - nothing short of it - a calamity of such dimensions that Australians must hang their heads in shame whenever they come in contact with the representatives of those other nations with whom to-day we are standing side by side in this grim struggle. But a short time ago, we could hold our heads aloft and say to our Allies, “ We have done as well as you.” But now, unfortunately, this country of ours is in a cruel position. But a short time ago, we were raised to the highest altitude of national pride by the exploits and heroic sacrifices of our men ; to-day we are in the depths of humiliation, not by anything which the Anzacs have done, but by something which the stay-at-homes have not done; by the attitude of the low-grade quality of manhood remaining here in safety; in safety, too, because our fighting manhood responded so nobly to the call.
I said just now that I had attached myself to the Ministerial party in preference to the Official Labour party. One would imagine, from the recent charges of pledge-breaking that honorable senators opposite were all George Washingtons men who had never told a lie, or otherwise disgraced or dishonoured themselves politically. But they may be judged by the papers that support them, and I am sorrowfully obliged to adopt this course. They talk about honour, and pledges, and high resolves; and by implication hurl charges against men who have been for long in the political and industrial firing line, and whose reputations are as stainless as theirs, if not more so. Honorable senators on this side, according to our opponents, have been guilty of pledgebreaking, acts of dishonour, and all forms of unworthy practices. I do not propose to say anything myself, but I will put members of the party opposite in the box, and allow them to be judged by their own official organs. I have by me a few extracts from Labour papers which will throw an interesting light on members of the party opposite; those men who are so jealous of honour, pledges, dignity, and good name. I intend to show how members of that party square their words with actions, and the test I am going to apply to show whether they have squared their public conduct with their professions in this Chamber, is furnished by their own press. I hope they will listen attentively. Time was when members of that party had some sense of honour, but the day has arrived when they have become devoid of that quality. This is what was said by the Brisbane Worker of 5th April, 1917: -
Away with noble resolves! Away with vows of purity J In such a strife as this they have no place. They do not help, but hinder us, and damage the cause we love. “ If you would win, you, too, must have recourse to dirt. For truth’s sake you must fling mud. That justice may be served, you must dip your weapon in the poison of the gutter.”
The above was quoted from the Austral-ion Worker of a previous date, and was written and sent out to the workers of Australia as a necessary portion of their election campaign tactics by H. E. Boote, editor of the Australian W Worker.
This statement throws a flood of light upon the spirit sought to be created in the Official Labour party by its press organs, which exercise the greatest influence upon it. I do not speak of the Labour party as ‘ ‘ a party of dirt. ‘ ‘ One of its own papers has so described it. I am not calling it “ a party of poison,” nor am I calling it “ a party of mud.” Its own papers do that. I am simply repeating what those two newspapers, the Workers, printed in Sydney -and Brisbane, said should be done by members of the very party who to-day are holding their hands aloft and disclaiming any intention of violating their honour or of breaking their word. I shall leave the matter at that. If such a castigation is not severe enough, I do- not know what would satisfy my honorable friends.
In determining the collective mind of a party, it is very necessary to ascertain what is in the mind of the power that stands behind it. ‘So far as the Nationalist party is concerned, there is no power intervening between it and those who returned it to this Parliament) there is uo power intervening between the Treasury bench and the people; there is no intermediary of any kind which directs, controls, or in any way influences our policy or actions, individually or collectively, from the time w« ?,re elected until we again seek election. That, how- ever, cannot be said of the Official Labour party. The real source of power, so far as the Official Labour party is concerned, does not consist in the number of its members who attend here, but is centred in intermediary bodies over which the electors have no control, and to which honorable senators opposite must always be subject. I refer to those Labour executives which have expelled honorable senators from the Official Labour movement. I refer to those executives that have said to a number of honorable senators, behind the backs of the electors, ‘ Your membership of this party ceases from this date.” I was subjected to thats treatment, and so was Senator de Largie. A number of members of the Senate were so dealt with by these interloping intermediary bodies. With them the opinion of the electors goes for nothing ; it is they alone who count. These executives constitute what is known as the “ junta.”
– A committee of nobodies.
– Quite so. Mr. Hughes was originally expelled from the Official Labour party by the Sydney Labour executive, not because of his advocacy of, or attachment to, conscription, but because he proposed to put into operation one of the leading, planks of the party’s platform. His only’ sin in the eyes of that all-powerful body was -that he sought*, to give effect to the principle of the referendum - a principle so long embodied” in the policy of the party that any man here could shut) his eyes and straightway put his finger on it in the printed platform. Because Mr. Hughes’ attempted to put’ into operation a deliberately chosen plank of the Labour platform he was expelled by this intermediate interloping body to which honorable senators opposite must bend the knee.
When seeking to locate the seat of the Labour party’s energy we must look, as in all other cases, hot at what appears on the surface alone, but at the power behind. We must search for the seat of effort. The views expressed by honorable senators of the Official Labour party by no means always represent tile opinions of the power behind them. The noise and futy in which honorable senators opposite indulge in this chamber does not disclose the unseen power behind the Official Labour party to-day. If one of our great grandfathers were to watch a circular saw cutting through a log he might at first sight imagine that it was in the saw itself, spinning through the log, that the power responsible for the cutting rested. But if he inquired he would find that he was mistaken. He would find that he could substitute for it a saw made of any other metal, and that it would probably do the work just as well. If he went still further and examined the engine working the saw, he would find that that engine, made perhaps of cast iron, could be replaced by an engine, made of steel or any of the precious or baser metals, or even of brass, which would do the work just as well. He would learn that neither the saw, nor the engine, nor the belting, was indispensable to the cutting of the log. He would learn that each could be changed, without affecting the result. If he went back to the fluid steam itself, as it flowed from the boiler, he would discover that it could be dispensed with, and that it was in the energy stored up in the coal that the real power rested.. That is the one thing that could not be exchanged. It is constant, unvarying, and indispensable. He could even do away with the boiler and the steam pipes - he could combust the coal internally - and in that way secure another source of power. The latent power stored in the coal is the source of energy driving all the whirling wheels of industry, and responsible for the output of our factories to-day. And so, in order to discover the real power operating the Labour party, we have not to look at the speeches, presence, or organization of honorable senators belonging to that party nor at the actions of the electors supporting them. We. have rather to go back to the seat of power which has been established by a few men standing to-day between the Labour party and the electors who support them. There we find the true power operating the whole party. That is where the high command of Official Labour resides. Those members of the party who find their way into this Parliament know they dare not say a word likely to displease the Labour executives. To do so would be to put an end to their political existence. If they dared to disobey the dicta of these executives, which arrogate to themselves the right from time to time to define the policy of the party, it would be more than their political lives were worth.
Having said so much by way of locating * the real power behind the Official Labour party, having shown that it is the Labour executives in the different States to’ which these honorable senators must be amenable if their political existence is not to end, I propose now to show what is the attitude of the Official Labour party’s seat of power on the vital question of prosecuting the war. Members of the party hold varying opinions on the question. On the one hand we have men who, like Mr. Tudor, say, “ I consider that every fit and able man should be in the ranks “ ; on the other, there are members of the party who, if not in so many words, at least by their very silence show that they hold the opposite view. We find in the party men who say, “ I have never been guilty of going on a recruiting platform.” These are the men of whom Mr. Tudor has said, “ We are as anxious to win the war as the so-called Win-the-war party.”
– That is not fair. At every meeting I have addressed for the last two or three years I have advocated recruiting.
– That cannot be said of all the members of the honorable senator’s party.
– It applies to most of them.
– Had Senator Maughan been here earlier he would know that I said there were some odd exceptions to this attitude of hostility towards recruiting. The honorable senator may have advocated recruiting outside - I accept his statement that he has - but I have not heard him do so in the Senate. I repeat that whilst certain members of the Official Labour party who, in my opinion, are in the minority, have taken a proper stand on the question of recruiting, an overwhelming number have either totally ignored the question or by their silence have shown their hostility to it. That is the point I wish to emphasize. When we are asked, therefore, to accept the statement by Mr. Tudor that the Official Labour party is just as anxious to win the war as is the Nationalist party, I am entitled to show what has been done by the Labour executives - the men whom the Official Labour party must obey, and without whose approval Mr. Tudor could not retain the leadership of the party. The attitude of these Labour executives is of two kinds. They are either against recruiting or against the war altogether.
– They are probably against both.
– As a fact, they are. We must always keep in mind the fact that these Labour executives deal with the in embers of the Official Labour party with an iron hand. The members of the Official Labour party shiver with apprehension at every trifling political development. They have to be careful at all times to ascertain how the executives regard their actions. They always have their ears to the ground or to the wind, or to the keyhole of every Trades Hall in* Australia’ to find out how the executives view the latest political development in this ‘Parliament. We know how much they are at the mercy of these Labour executives, which have knocked off the political, head of many an ardent worker in the Labour cause. Men who, right down the years, did all the heavy lifting, all the Clydesdale work of building up the movement, are to-day being dealt with by these executives in the most unjust way. They have been deprived of every status they enjoyed in the ranks of the party, and deprived of them mostly by new-comers in the Labour movement, who, never in their lives, sacrificed anything to advocate the cause that has suddenly lifted them to positions of opulence.
– “ Johnnycome.latelies.”
– Quite so. These men who sat, in judgment on men like Mr. Spence and Senator Guthrie, have not done - to use a seafaring term - so much as a dog watch in the Labour movement. Yet they have been endowed with extraordinary power. They were endowed with the power to sacrifice those grand old battlers who created the very movement which they have now entered, cuckoo-like, to enjoy the very best that it offers. Some of the old veterans of the Labour movement expelled by these executives had, in the old days, been on a decent “spree “ or drunk for a longer period than those who sat in judgment on thb … have been m lae ** ……* agree ment altogether. These, then, are the men who sit in judgment on veterans of the Labour movement who have given of their best to it; who denied themselves all the advantages and comforts of home life, who have gone into debt, or kept themselves dog poor, and wentup and down the country in their unceasing efforts to advance and promote their one object of raising their fellow-workers to a higher s’ocial level. The Labour executives, and their com- ponent parts, throughout the country have shown themselves antagonistic to recruiting, or antagonistic to the war, or both. When, therefore, we hear members of the party declaring that they are as anxious to win the war as we are, we have to liberally discount their utterances and ask them, “ What do your bosses say - what do the men say who sit in the seats of the mighty, and who are prepared to eject you the moment you offend?”
– Surely the honor-; able senator does not think we wish to lose the war?
– We cannot carry on the war without men, and we cannot get men under our present obsolete system without a continuous, industrious, and systematic policy of recruiting, involving the expenditure of a greatdeal of personal effort, time and money. Senator Maughan apparently approves of that sentiment, and agrees that we cannot get recruits without the expenditure of much effort. That being so, I remind the honorable senator that when the Brisbane Labour executive was asked, in the early part of last year, to co-operate with the State. Recruiting Committee, they sent a reply to the military authorities refusing to take any share. The reasons given were but a repetition of some we have heard here and on the Yarra bank; and from that day to this, so far as I am aware, that Labour executive of Queeusland has never been associated -with any recruiting effort.
– That is not surprising, because the Queensland State and Federal members were absolutely ignored, snubbed, and insulted. I was myself; and the fact is we would not wanted.
– It is quite plain from the records that’ the circumstances were as I have stated. The reply given by the Labour bodies appeared in a July issue of the Brisbane Standard, and it is clearly set out that, when they are asked to co-operate, they refused to do so on various grounds, the principal one being that the industries of this country would suffer if the recruiting effort was carried much further - that we could not afford to lose more men. From that time to this the Executive of Queensland has kept rigidly apart from any effort to put their chosen policy of recruiting into effect. Now, that is not playing the game. We have Labour executives and the power behind them, saying what has been said elsewhere over and over again, that the voluntary system has not failed. On every platform they have declared that the voluntary system is their policy and their political faith by which they are prepared to stand or fall. And yet, when they are asked to put one foot before another, and co-operate in order to make that policy a success, they refuse to do so. They cannot have it both ways. The best proof of a man’s faith is when he makes some sacrifice to put that faith to the proof. That is what the Labour men in the early days did, when they were prepared to risk much for the principles they advocated. There were also the Socialists of those days - and all praise to those men who then tried to make Socialism the success it partially proved - who gave much to advance their cause. There are now men amongst us who, down the years, have pub the faith in them to the proof, and made many sacrifices in order to bring about the accomplishment of their ideals. When the Official Labour party says, “ Voluntarism is our 1 ism ‘ - our policy,” I ask, “What have you done to make it a success?” The answer comes back in cold print, in every journal of every State, that they have, with foul deliberation, done nothing, and, perhaps, in isolated cases, have done something to prevent it being a success.
– It is from the families of the workers that the recruits have come !
– We realize that, and when these sons come back there will be “ wigs on the green.” Honorable senators may come here and advocate the raising of the soldiers’ pay, but when these men seek to find out which was the party that prevented help being sent, and it is found that it was the Labour party and the stay-at-home unionists, then, as I say, there will be “ wigs on the green “ as never before.
This is what happened in Sydney, according to the Sydney Morning Herald of the 22nd December, 1916. The Sydney executive of the Labour party in New South Wales were approached in the same fashion as were the other executives on the question of recruiting, and asked to co-operate in making voluntarism a success. The answer is given in the following communication in the Sydney Morning Herald : -
Mr. Cahill said: What actually took place was that the -president, Mr. Doyle, stated from the chair that he had been asked to get the attitude of the Political Labour League on the recruiting campaign elearly defined, because some members were becoming members of local recruiting committees. This was followed by Alderman Burke moving a resolution - “ That no member of the Political Labour League or of the Parliamentary Labour party take any part in the recruiting campaign.” Mr. Peter Bowling, Mr. Willis, Mr. Morby, Mr. McKell, and myself strongly opposed this motion, and Mr. Bowling moved, as an amendment, “ That members have freedom to do what they like.” Speaking on the matter, Mr. Willis said the resolution would forge a hammer to beat them to death, and added, “ If that is carried, 1 will resign.”
The amendment was lost by sixteen to five, and the motion carried by the same numbers.
When this commanding body in the Labour movement was asked to send re- ‘presentatives to the State Recruiting Committee to co-operate, they flatly and bluntly refused.
Then what about Victoria? It is well within our recollection, and Senator Barnes will support me when I say that the Trades Hall Council in Melbourne passed a resolution to the effect that neither State nor Federal members should go on the recruiting platform. A prosecution was instituted, and Mr. Pearce, whom I know very well, was haled before the Court on what charge I do not know. This shows that Victoria had fallen into line with Queensland and New South Wales in rigidly withholding support from their own chosen policy of voluntarism. In South Australia, as honorable senators from that State know, when similar proposals were made to the Labour bodies, , they were turned down unanimously.
– Do you know the reasons ?
-“ Reasons “ can always be found by any persons seeking- to escape the responsibility of their guilty action ; all I am waiting for is a reason why these- Labour bodies refused to co-operate in carrying their own policy to a success. In Western Australia, before that State became infected with virus from this side of the continent, there was a healthy Labour movement in step and in tune with every Labour body in every Allied country in the world except the so-called Labour bodies in Australia. We held a congress, and by an overwhelming majority arrived at a decision that if the Federal Government, which was then the Hughes Government, said there should be conscription, we in Western Australia would say, “ ditto,” and that if the Government advocated any other policy we would follow them. That was when Labour was in a healthy state, before it was inoculated with the poison of those so-called Labourites who visited Western Australia and got it to swing out of the high and righteous course. Since then, another congress has been held, of which the following is an account: -
At the Perth Labour Congress, held in March last, Mr. Carpenter moved - “That this Congress, representing the organized workers of the State, affirms its unswerving loyalty to Australia and the British Empire. While deprecating the horrors and cruelty of war, and earnestly advocating a sane policy of arbitration for the settlement of international disputes, it declares the present conflict justifiable as an armed protest by Great Britain and her Allies against military aggression, and urges continuous and energetic efforts in order to insure a speedy victory and an honorable peace.”
A motion, “ That the next business be proceeded with,” was carried, and Mr. Carpenter’s loyal motion was thrown in the waste-paper basket.
That was a motion - and I desire it to go on the records of the House - for which any Australian, anxious to win the war, and see that this country of ours occupies its rightful place among the Allied nations, could and should have voted. Yet it was thrown into the waste-paper basket, and the next business proceeded with. The following is a continuation of the report of the Conference -
Mr. Shanahan moved “ That this Congress expresses its fixed determination to prosecute the war to a victorious end, but in such a manner as is compatible with fair and just consideration for every soldier who has enlisted, or who may enlist, not only while on active service, but on his return to Australia. The term ‘ soldier’ to in- cludesoldiers’ dependants.”
Mr. Leighton moved “That the words ‘to a victorious end’ be struck out.”
This was carried by fifty-four votes to ten.
The effect of that amendment is that the Labour party in Western Australia, as represented by that latter-day congress, by fifty -four votes to ten, passed a resolution that the war was not to be pressed to a victorious end. Labour in Western Australia had sunk so low as to arrive at a decision by an overwhelming majority that the war was to be stopped. But those who supported that decision got their deserts later on. They put their men in the field, and challenged the position throughout the State. We met them face to face; and the result was that they did not get a single man returned - and no wonder. This was because they had arrived at a decision, either to stop the war or not to push it to a victorious end - we can take our choice. If we are not to press the war to a victorious end, why should we send another man or fire another shot? Why waste the lives of the men who have already gone? We had war manifestoes from’ the Labour party, and we heard Mr. Fisher’s word about the “ last man and the last shilling “ - we had a united Labour party saying that nothing but the fullest possible effort would be of any use - and, in spite of all, the party, as now constituted, attempts to misrepresent the great and worthy Labour movement. Of the Labour party I am a member still and will be as long as I live. It has now, however, been brought to the low level of telling the men at the Front that they are to be left to perish and rot - that they are to. receive no more support - because it does not wish to continue its efforts a single day. No. It is not the Labour party which is doing that. It is being done by those men who have arrogated to themselves the right to speak on behalf of Labour - who have put words into Labour’s mouth which, for the first time, have made Labour’s voice ring hollow. These men went before the Democracy, with the result that, in the case of the State election in Western Australia, their numbers were reduced to zero, while they did not succeed in returning a single man to the Federal Parliament. The last quotation I shall make as having a bearing upon what those who constitute the real power in the Labour movement mean in reference to the war is from the peace resolution passed by the Political Labour Conference in Sydney, and referred to in another place. After the preamble the resolution continues -
We are of opinion that a complete military victory by the Allies over the Central European Powers, if possible, can only be accomplished by the further sacrifice of millions of human lives; the infliction of incalculable misery and suffering upon the survivors; the creation of an intolerable burden of debt to the further impoverishment of the workers who must bear such burdens, and the practical destruction of civilization among the white races of the world.
We, therefore, urge that immediate negotia tions be initiated for an International Conference, for the purpose of arranging equitable terms of peace, on which Conference the working class organizations shall have adequate representation, and the inclusion of women delegates, and we further urge that the British self-governing Dominions, and Ireland, shall be granted separate representation thereon.
Now comes the essence of the whole resolution -
That prior to the disbandment of the combatant armies and the merchant navies employed in the war, they shall be utilized by an organized system of volunteer service for restoring the devastated territories at the expense of the invading powers, which shall also compensate the widows and dependants of all non-combatants, including seamen, who have lost their lives as a result of hostilities. I raise my hat to the Sydney Conference because of the latter part of the resolution, but I do not admire their intelligence when they propose to negotiate with a Power which has scouted every advance made by Mr. Lloyd George and President Wilson, to hold out the olive branch to Germany, which is still strong in the saddle, and to ask for things which cannot be got until the long, sinuous, and thorny path to victory has been trodden, and until we are sure of beating and crushing to the earth that Power which has destroyed for the time being the peace and security of the world. If they stand fast by that resolution we must still fight on. Compare that resolution with what has been done in the Western State. While the Labour organizations through their blind leaders, the executives, hold aloof from finding a single soldier; while they as a corporate body put forth no endeavour to make a success of the system in which they profess to believe, we must unmask their make-believe - I must call it blaring, blazing hypocrisy. If I believe in voluntarism, as I believe in my religion and in the Labour movement,. I must do something to make that religion, or that movement, a success. But the men who say that voluntarism is their policy have allowed others who have no faith in that system, who know that it is unjust and unsound, to go about the country wasting their substance in advocating it, while the real sponsors of voluntarism remain at home doing nothing but reviling us. That attitude cannot be allowed to continue.Fair play is bonny play, and the party which will not play the game will sooner or later be stripped of its mask, and exposed in its ugly, natural self. If those men were to come out into the open and state candidly that they were against recruiting, I should respect them. But Mr. Tudor has stated his belief that every fit and able man should be in the Army. We cannot get men into the Army unless we resort to recruiting expedients, miserable though some of them may be, but when we ask the anti-conscriptionists to share in the common endeavour to get recruits, they recoil within themselves, keep to their rooms in the Trades Hall, and throw upon men who do not believe in the voluntary system the responsibility of making it produce results. The time is coming when we shall have a clearing up of all these matters.
I am not here to indulge in idle words, I said at the outset of. my remarks that I would ‘ speak plainly, and I ask again why the members of the Official Labour party have not stood to their guns and put to the test the faith that is in them by using every power at their command to make a success of their own cherished policy for getting reinforcements. Upon them rests the responsibility for the failure or triumph of voluntarism, and I verily believe that had they only shown a moderate energy and desire to bring their own policy to fruition, we should not have the difficulty that confronts us to-day. It is for that reason I have taken the opportunity to-day of pointing out the wide and impassable gulf that divides the Labour party from the National party, having regard to what we have done to make the voluntary enlistment policy fruitful, and what our opponents have neglected to do in that regard.
– It is only fair to say that, outside of the executives, there are many men in the Labour party who are helping- us- to-day.
– That is so.
I referred incidentally to that extraordinary development in the political life’ of this country - the tyranny that has been exercised ever since the war began over men whose only crime in life is that they claim to exercise their judgment and follow the dictates of their conscience. I do not know for what a tongue is given to me if it be not to enable me to express my thoughts. It is quite true that Gladstone said that language was given to some men in order that they might conceal their thoughts; but it seems to me, when I look about this chamber and recall what has been said outside by false advocates of the voluntary system, that language has been given to other men to enable them to falsify their thoughts. For what is conscience given to a man? To be locked up and stifled by any political power? Not at all. The very essence of Democracy is freedom of thought ; the reverse of freedom is Autocracy, Tyranny.
We have heard much said about the tyrannical and dictatorial methods of Mr. Hughes. The men who hurl those charges are practising the blackest arts of tyranny that were ever conceived.. I, personally, have suffered because I stood for putting to the proof the Labour policy of conscription. Honorable senators opposite draw a fine distinction between compulsion for service overseas and compulsion for service within Australia. That is only a subterfuge. If I may again remind honorable senators who were absent, Mr. Curtin, who went from Victoria to edit the Kalgoorlie Worker, told the people of the gold-fields that the freedom of Australia is being fought for in Europe. The very fact of our having 300,000 Australian soldiers in Europe proves that contention; otherwise, why are they in Europe? That being so, when the freedom of the country is trembling like an aspen leaf, does it matter whether the attack is made on Australian shores or in Europe? In either case, the consequence, if the attack succeeds, must be the same. If a man is to be the victim of a murderous attack, is there any essential difference between his assailant climbing over his fence and doing him to death at rInSe quarters -“nd standing off at 1,000 yards and killing his victim with a bullet?
– Why did not the honorable senator protest earlier against that plank of the Labour platform which restricts compulsion to service within Australia ?
– We are living and learning, and when we framed that policy we were so much engrossed in the improvement of the social and industrial conditions of the Australian people that we ignored, to some extent, the necessity for insuring the safety of the country. In fact, until recently we lived in a fools’ paradise; we believed that nothing could happen, and /that we were safe under the guardianship of the British Navy. Thus questions of national defence were always subordinated to those more immediate social and industrial problems that always crowded the agenda-paper of the Labour Conferences.
– But we did not confine naval service to Australian waters.
– The Navy men are all volunteers.
– I will not quibble over that. But it is quite plain to any person who is acquainted with even the rudiments of history that a country’s freedom is more often fought for outside its own boundaries than within them. We cannot deny that the freedom of Australia is very intimately bound up with the success of the Allies. That fact confronts me at every angle from which I regard the situation. Therefore, I again ask why we are haggling over the manner in which we shall preserve our own freedom, and by our internecine strife plac ing Australia in an ignominious position in the eyes of the world?
The Leader of the Opposition said that there were barely 60,000 eligible men left in Australia. Senator Ferricks reduced that number to 45,000. But it is quite clear that those eligibles, whatever their number may be, are receiving more sympathy, support, and commiseration from the men of the Official Labour party than the men who have boldly gone forward and bled for their country. Why do honorable members opposite throw the mantle of their protection over the 45,000 or 60,000 eligibles who remain in Australia, and utterly neglect the other 300,000 men who are abroad, and who day after day are forced back to the firing line white they are still unfit?
– Does the honorable senator never wonder why all those men who are away, and who know what the Government are asking them to do, have not agreed to do it?
– Why men do not adjust their attitude to altered circumstances is a puzzle to me. They stand rigidly by a time-worn shibboleth, and by their adhesion to it place this country in a most ignominious light in the eyes of our Allies. The eyes of France are upon us, and we cannot ignore the significance of the silence of the British press and the comment of the Canadian press on the result of the referendum. , I deplore the fact that some men cannot get outside themselves or away from the prejudices of their great grandfathers. The Labour party decided that men should be conscripted for the defence of Australia, and a leading exponent of the Labour movement on the Western Australian gold-fields has said that the fight for Australian liberty is being fought in Europe. Still we have the old delusion that we can best preserve the liberty of this country by adhering to the motheaten shibboleth of voluntarism.
As I said earlier, I will speak as plainly as my time will allow, and adhere to the language of truth all the time. To those men who call Mr. Hughes a tyrant and a czar, and apply other choice names to him, I say that by their actions and by the actions of the party with which they are associated, they, themselves, every day in the week practise a tyranny deplorable in the extreme and compared with which his attempts to deal with the censorship and other instruments of government pale into insignificance. If one dares to advocate conscription the cry is, “Down and out with him.” He is branded for ever; he is anathema; he is ostracised. That is the freedom they give. In Queensland, when a member of the State Parliament, an honest man, was asked by an honorable senator of this Parliament why he was on the anticonscriptionist side, he said, “ Do you know that I have lost my blithering, blighted manhood?”’ That is how the Official Labour party’s policy has worked out - making1 a man of manly parts acknowledge that under the operation of tyranny practised by the party, he, for the sake of winning bread, had lost his “blithering, blighted manhood”; that is the effect of the tyranny exercised by those who heaped taunts on Mr. Hughes. Are they not ashamed of themselves? In the other Chamber, Mr. Anstey, speaking of the Labour party, said, “This party has no argument against conscription.” Yet he went out and argued against it. Other honorable gentlemen of the Official Labour party who could not get the Government to enact conscription fast enough1 for them afterwards went out also to fight and argue against it. What did they do when they got their orders from the Trades Hall, from that interloping body to whose words they listen with ears bent to to the keyhole straining to catch ;very s syllable? They quickly found that it was more than their political life was worth to say “No.”
In Western Australia, there are men who were at one time in their careers strong enough to respond to the call of conscience, and had stood on the platform and advocated conscription, prominent men in the Labour party - Mr. Angwin, Mr. Drew, Mr. Holman, and others. What did they do when the edict went forth, when the Western party became inoculated with the virus from the Eastern party, that decrepit body which was out of step with every other Labour party throughout the world? Tyranny happens on the scene and these men dared not open their mouths, dared not breathe heavily, dared not even sneeze because, if they did, it would be more than their miserable political lives were worth. That is the manner in which these exponents and champions of “ freedom “ dispose of those who dare to differ from them . I know very well that some of these men had regard for their positions in Parliament. Their situation is so desperate that if they lose their seats in Parliament they feel they might as well cut their throats. Therefore, they are stifling their consciences in order to keep their places. They are not like us. We are free. That is the difference between “ East and West,” between the right and the left, between the Labour party that was tolerant, and indulgent, and ready to concede to every man the right of conscience, and the Labour party of to-day which denies the right of any man to be master of his own mind. Those men who taunt Mr. Hughes with1 being a tyrant stand fast to their own form of tyranny, and there they are still, bringing a glorious movement down to the mud by virtue of a policy which every day is getting its quietus at the hands of the people. When I think of those men who are not allowed to open their mouths, I atm reminded of the words of Tacitus of old,’ when he described an unworthy Roman by saying, ‘ ‘ He earned his bread by crime.” ‘When I say that these men live by lying I am not far wrong. The frank but unfortunate man in Queensland admitted that he had lost his manhood. Could not his case be multiplied manifold owing to the reign of terror that prevails? Others dare -not speak. What has become of manhood, independence, and conscience in this country ? To what a state has this unspeakable form of Democracy, otherwise known as the Official Labour party, brought things. “ Speak, and out you go.” That is how independence is treated. Thank God, we have some who were manly enough to say, “ Go and get work, the lot of you.” Already many have gone looking for work, and if we had another election a lot more would be out with axes looking for jobs.
– You would be doing your bit.
– If I desire to be in this Parliament I will be here when some of my honorable friends opposite will be head- accountants in: barbers’ shops.
Here is. another illustration of what has been done, but it isi a. very old story, as old as the hills, as old as history itself - the story of’ the mam who is “ downed.” For more than twenty-five years I have known Mr: Hughes, the man whose matchless brain has been at the disposal of every person in the Official’ Labour party, and in large way by virtue of whose indefatigable efforts the Labour movement from the moment he entered it, putting all his heart into it, has been lifted from a lowly position to one in which it has become a dominant political factor in this country. Mainly by his efforts has this been brought about, yet now he is “ out,” hounded, and “ down.” But he merely suffers what men of his type all over the world have suffered before. I knew him, as I say, twenty-five years ago, when he went about with boots broken, and clothes thread-bare, and when he suffered all the pangs of hunger that come to a man in desperate straits. He was able and fit to earn- his livelihood:; he had the talents - no one can deny him those - and had he offered them to the highest bidder, as some of his wretched critics and revilers would have done, he would not have been in dependent circumstances all those years. But he would not do that. He chose to hang to. the cause he had espoused and the cause he loved, and the proof of his sincerity to that cause was to be found in the sacrifices that he freely made during, a quarter of a century. But now he is “ down and out” and anathematized. Not a fault was found with him until less than two years ago. And what- is that fault ? What is his crime ? What is the head and front of his offending ? Only that he has put to the test of operation a leading plank in the platform of the Labour party - the referendum. That and that alone is his offence. And those men who have sheltered under his wing and made progress under his able and guiding leadership - because when he was in the Labour party he was no cypher in shaping its destiny ; often was the party, pulled out of a hole by the intellectual power that he brought to bear upon the task - because he has dared to say that this country was rooking on its foundation, and that he would put his country before his party, as every labourite the world over has done, and is doing, except . here, the cry goes up from these1 unutterably contemptible, small-minded men), “ Out with you ; you are- a traitor, a- twister, a renegade,” and all the rest of the cata-logue of epithets. Do they cai! it fair play? Never will I subscribe to a- form of bastard’ Democracy which would dare* to “ down “ a, man whose great sacrifices’ in Labour’s cause have been so strongly exemplified during- the- last twenty-five years, and if others seek to do it they will only do it over my body - political and physical. I stand up for this man. Senator Long stood up in the very spot where he is now sitting, while yet. he was a friend of Mr. Hughes, and recognised that Mr. Hughes was wrongly done by; and- he used a word which did not find its way into Hansard. I can best express it in this way: An owner of a dog was too kind to kill it. He had no food to give to it, and no one would take it from him. Some one asked what its pedigree was. His reply was that it was gratuitously assorted. Senator Long referred to the critics of Mr. Hughes as “ gratuitously assorted samples’ of society,” otherwise mongrels. Where is that senator now that Mr. Hughes is condemned, ds “ down and out,” and branded with the red-hot brand of the derision of the so-called Labour party? Senator Long, who was loud in his championship of Mr. Hughes, is now as mild as mother’s milk, and dare not’ breathe heavily, or sneeze, for fear h« will have to “get out” the same as the rest.
– I thought that Mr. Hughes was loyal to the principles he advocated. I did not think that he, like you, would run away from them.
– Mr. Hughes is “ on deck” to-day, and that is the trouble of our friends opposite. He has been subjected to abuse, but that is one of the leading marks and characteristics of an able man. In human affairs we always find that when a man is severely abused, there is something behind it. There is always some one afraid of him. Those who abuse a man are afraid of his strength. We never see abuse heaped on a cypher. A cypher does not count for anything, not even for the amount of thought that might be expended in estimating its worth. The man of merit, the man who has made progress on the uphill road of advance in the Democratic or Labour field, who has made a number 10 mark on the sands of Time as a champion of his fellows, is the man invariably in every age and clime who has had the same barking critics at his heels that Mr. Hughes has had. This has been the case right through the ages. Of the Gracchi brothers, whose names are held in grateful memory by every land reformer of the centuries, one fell to the dagger and the other had to flee for his life from the fury of the Roman mob. Belisarius, who relieved Rome from the vandals under Totila, had t° search for food among the pariah dogs at the gate of Rome when he returned to the Eternal City. Danton, that towering figure who brought the French Revolution to a head, was turned on by the mob, and went to his death under the signature of Robespierre, another man who, in order to save his skin, met a fate which he deserved; because then it was a case of the Revolution being carried over the rightful point where it should be stopped. He met the fate that meets all men who stand to save themselves at the expense of their compeers.
When Danton went to his death, he said, “It is better to be a fisherman than to meddle in the art of governing men.” What was Washington’s reward? While the struggle against England was yet confined to the political arena in the Thirteen Colonies, ‘ he was bitterly assailed in the same way. A clergyman named Ordell, a poet of standing, called him a perjurer and a liar, which shows the temper of the time, and what a man of stainless honour had to suffer for the cause he had at heart at the hands of small-minded, petty, scornful creatures. Take the case of my own native country, Ireland. We know that Henry Grattan was tackled by the mob in the streets of Dublin, and that they made the blood of the Irish patriot flow. With Parnell the same story was repeated. Above all, let us consider the way in which Lincoln was treated . Let honorable senators remember that historic figure, and what he had to suffer. He had to bear in his time, as Mr. Hughes has had to bear to-day, the cruel taunts and scorn of factionists and midget-minded men whose types are now represented in Australia.
– Let the honorable senator tell us what he intends to do about conscription.
– I am telling the honorable senator how patriots and strong men have fared in the past, and how he would himself have fared if he had had any patriotism in him and had had the courage to stand up to his work. The honorable senator defended Mr. Hughes from this side of the chamber, and now condemns him from the other side. He will never suffer.
– I can admire any man who is loyal to a principle, even though I do not believe in it myself, but when a man runs away from a principle, as Mr. Hughes did, and the . honorable senator has done, I detest him.
– I do not know that I could seek a better credential than the detestation of a man of Senator Long’s stamp.
– The honorable senator is welcome to it.
– Lincoln’s character in history is unassailable.- He is now regarded as the “ Great Liberator,” “ The Emancipator,” and by the ‘coloured population of the United States of America, as the “second Messiah.” When the dark clouds of adversity had gathered, and the tenacity, courage, and mettle of men were tested, Lincoln found himself assailed by the small men, who applied to him every kind of opprobrious epithet. He was denounced by the peace-at-any-price party. We have the same party in Australia today - the men who talk of their country- but will not fight for it, even at a time when, as at present, we are being hurried into the danger zone and will get there unless we stand fast, shoulder our burden, and make the influence of Australia felt in the war. Lincoln had to suffer the taunts and opposition of these people, and also of’ the “ Copper-heads,” who were so called because they were secret, scheming, designing enemies who were within the ranks of the Federalists, but whose sympathies were entirely with the Southern States Confederation. They were called “ Copperheads “ because of the close resemblance it was felt that they bore to a species of American serpent, that prefers the dark, and carries a sting in its tail as well as in its fangs. These people were a source of trouble to the great Abraham Lincoln.
I want honorable senators to bear with me while I remind them again that Mr, Curtin, late of the Yarra-bank, when he’ was on the gold-fields in the Western State, made the pronouncement that Australia’s freedom was being fought for to-day in Europe.
– Was he not fined £15 for saying something of the sort ?
– That kind of. talk will hot get Senator Barnes out of the trouble. Mr. Curtin, when he went to the gold-fields in Western Australia, wa3 a very different kind of man from what he was on the Yarra-bank. Instead of telling the workers there, as he told them here, that this was a capitalists’ war and a trade war, he admitted that the liberties of the country were being fought for in Europe.
– Is this the gentleman who went to gaol here rather than go to the Front ?
– He preferred a Melbourne gaol as a safer place than a trench on the Turkish front. He is at present editor of the Western Australian Worker. It was quite unnecessary for such a man to go to Western Australia to tell the workers there that the liberty of this country was being fought for in Europe. He came from a State in which there is no enlightenment, whilst Western Australia is to-day the only enlightened quarter of the continent. In that State he learned the truth for the first time. It was further unnecessary for him to make such a statement, because the very fact that over 300,000 of the flower of the manhood of Australia are in Europe to-day should be sufficient to satisfy the dullest imagination that our liberties are at stake, and are being fought for in Europe, otherwise why should those men be there.
Turning again to the experience of Lincoln, from his various “Lives,” we learn he was called a “ blood-thirsty despot,” which sounds like an echo of the accusation against Mr. Hughes. He was also called “ King Abraham the First,” a “usurping tyrant,” &c. When the draft was finally approved by Lincoln, and put into operation, the officials got into serious trouble in New York, bub this true Democrat was not afraid to use the strong hand of force to maintain the true principles of Democracy, with the result that the Union was preserved, slavery was wiped out, and. the man who was called a “ blood-thirsty despot” and a “tyrant” is idolized to-day as the champion of Democracy and liberty throughout the world. So the time will come when Mr. Hughes, who is to-day denounced as a “ tyrant,” a “ despot,” and a “ czar,” &c, by these small-minded insects, will be referred to in terms of praise as was the great Lincoln, “The Liberator,” and the man whom the negroes call the “ second Messiah.” The members of the party opposite cannot keep Mr. Hughes down. I am reminded , by their puny efforts of the explanation given by the cannibal chief during a feast on a great scientist and explorer, and the sickness he experienced in the middle of it. His explanation was, ‘ You can’t keep a good man down.’.’ If ever an attempt at political cannibalism was perpetrated on this continent, it was when a number of political cannibals organized to make a feast of their former friend and champion, William Morris Hughes. The feast, however, did not come off. Mr. Hughes is still “ on deck,” and- will foe “on deck” when these insects have had the insect powder scattered over them at the elections, and will have become a decayed and harmless organism of the past. Bead Brown- ing’s “Songs of a Patriot,” and you will find an exact reproduction of conditions obtaining here. These people were loud in their praise of all that Mr. Hughes had done for the Labour movement during twenty-five years, but now, because he has said that to-day, when there is danger lest she should be robbed of her liberty, he puts his country first, they cast him aside and they call out for ‘Barabbas, as did the mob of old. The mob to-day are crying for blood and for Barabbas, and they are dishonouring the name of Labour. What have these men who to-day talk of Labour ever done for Labour? As 1 have already said, some of the pioneers of the Labour movement have been longer drunk than some of these people have been in the movement altogether. A glorious movement has been brought to ruin by the men now in charge, of its destinies, and who are dishonouring and disgracing the name of Labour because they do not know even the rudiments of Democracy and liberty. These men have been lifted high on the shoulders of men who devoted their lives and energies to the movement, and they look to enjoy the fruits of the labours of its pioneers. Senator Guthrie, who is deservedly called the Samuel Plimsoll of Australia, and whom I knew twenty-six years ago in the Labour movement, is the man who is responsible for civilizing the conditions of the seamen on our coast, but this man’s head has been lopped off and thrown into” the sawdust basket in the Trades Hall at Adelaide. When I was earning my living at sea I watched the honorable senator’s labours on behalf, of the seamen, and saw him struggling to the top of the movement, but those now controlling it have sat in judgment upon this benefactor of the seamen. This is the work of these cuckoos who never made a nest or laid an egg in their lives. What about grand old man Spence ? One has only to look into his countenance to recognise the nobility of his character. I have seen that man fighting for the liberty of the workers when some of the men who are denouncing him to-day were in short clothes - I was going to say before they shed their swaddling drapery, Mr. Spence was fighting for Labour when some of these men had not reached the adolescent stage. I saw this man fighting for Labour twenty-six years ago, but his head is also in the- sawdust at the Trades Hall in Sydney. The same may be said of Mr. Hughes, Mr. Christian Watson, and of Senator de Largie, who also suffered for the Labour movement before it was known to many of the gentlemen whom I have referred to as the Johnnycomelatelies, who look to enjoy the fruits of the labours and sacrifices of the pioneers of the movement. Do honorable senators call this fair play? Never! Thank God there is still in this country some regard for fair play, and some determination to see that no injustice is done, and sooner or later the people will turn and rend these upstarts and demagogues who have brought a great movement down. I am reminded by what has taken place of a quotation from Aristotle, which goes to show how demagogues have in all ages been the instruments that have wrecked glorious causes, including Democracy itself. The representatives of Labour on this side have ever sought the advancement of the majority of the people. We do not tout for votes. We have never crawled in our life time.
– Perish the thought!
– Senator Long had better not sneeze or breathe too loudly or he will be heard in Hobart, and then he will be done.
– My chance in Hobart is better than is the honorable senator’s chance in Perth.
– One cannot repeat a good thing too .often, and I said at the start that plain speaking between people is the way to a better understanding. I never knew of two people strange to each other who were brought together without the necessary prelude of plain speaking. That is the way in which hearts are brought together that were at one time sundered. That is-why I am trying to make honorable senators opposite realize the position which they should occupy as the mouthpieces of a great movement which, in spite of anything they may do, is destined to succeed. When the war is over we can take up the special requirements of Labour. Honorable senators opposite should try to understand that the Germans neither know nor care whether we are Liberal or Labour; all that Germany wants is to secure possession of this country. The trouble is that honorable senators opposite do not recognise this. I suppose it is really not their fault. If the stuff is not in their heads it is impossible to get it into them, even with a hypodermic syringe. The present unfortunate split in the Labour movement is due, to put it in plain language, to a combination of cowardice and stupidity. It is, to put it in another way, the result of great mental vacuity and the absence of bravery. I do not stoop to the language of the Worker. But we know that the Worker advised our friends opposite to use mud and dirt on all’ occasions. Justice can only be secured, they say, by a continuous resort to Billingsgate. What) a sad inversion of all morality and philosophy! I would not think of saying such a thing, but the editors, who are supported by honorable senators opposite, are saying . it, and have advised them to put a daub of mud on their standard, and march under that. That is what the Sydney Worker and the Queensland Worker have advised the socalled Official Labour party to do.
The unfortunate position in which Labour is at present placed has been brought about by the fact that men charged with the destinies of the movement had not the courage to tell of the things they saw. Those men being unable to see the danger to their country could not be blamed for it. One cannot blame the sea captain who- has no power to see the danger through the mist, or to divine the shoals threatening his ship if they are uncharted; but the man who sees the danger ahead of his nation and has not the pluck to warn the nation bf iti, is fit only for unutterable contempt and acorn. The man who is so intellectually barren that he cannot see the danger has my sympathy; but the man who sees the danger and has the courage to say so. even to- risk the loss of his seat in Parliament for telling the people so, is the man that is the salt of the human race to-day. He is the man who says, “ Hang the consequences ; there is the danger as I see it. Make the best of me for ill or well.” On this side are to be found the men who- saw the danger and had the courage to tell the people what they saw; but on the other we find the men who saw the danger, but, cowards in their hearts as they are, and anxious to- hold their seats in Parliament, and to earn their bread by lying, as some of them have shown by their actions, had not the pluck to tell the people. The man who says, “ There is no argument against conscription,” and then goes out to argue against it, must be earning his bread by lying. I can understand the frame of mind of that man in the northern State who said he had lost his manhood - peace to his ashes, for he has gone. There is a man in this chamber who said to him, “ Why are you now against conscription V And, to show tlx* depths of degradation’ that politics have reached in this co>untry,. making men stifle conscience, which is one of God’s choicest gifts, he replied, “I am advocating anti-conscription now. I have lost my blighted, blithering manhood.” There are many others who could say the same thing. For the sake of saving their seats they strangled their conscience. We do not care if we lose 100 seats. We are here for what we are worth, and have never crawled to the electors. The man or woman that I have crawled to, or have ever asked for a vote, is yet to be born. I have ploughed a lonely furrow for long, and am glad to see so many trusted comrades come across to join that party that puts country first, and to help to steer our country through the troubled waters in which it finds itself for the first time.
Of course, there are no demagogues in this country! A demagogue is a factious leader who will put the interests of a faction before everything else. Aristotle, one of the master-minds of the early days of the world, wrote thus about the ruin of Democracies1 -
The insolence of demagogues- is generally the cause of the ruin of Democracies. Sometimes they raise the upper and middle classes against them by seizing on private property, or the public revenue, and dividing the proceeds in various forms of. bribery and corruption. Sometimes they attack the rich by process of law, that they may have their property to apply to the support of their Government. Now, since oratory has been so much cultivated, men who are able speakers are the great demagogues.
The great instrument by which they accomplish their ends is the. confidence of the people, and thus they win by the hatred they display against the rich. Changes occur also from the old form of Democracy to one still more democratic, in which no- qualification is required either from electors or elected. In such cases demagogues, aiming at power through flattery of the people, bring matters to the pass that the populace become masters of the laws’, and govern as they please.,
That last sentence brings me to the necessity of emphasizing my earlier remark, that the very men who to-day are prating loudly about Labour and Democracy always, when wooing the electors, lay great stress on their rights, but say not a word about their duties and responsibilities. They insist on the people’s rights, with a big R, but at the same time they falter, and fag, and fail to impress upon the people, “ duty, duty, and responsibility.” I have told the electors, and have even told my colleagues at different times, that if men got a fair day’s wage, and did not give a fair day’s work in return for it, they were the enemies of the Labour party. I could never get a man to reecho that on this side of the continent; but the leading men in the Labour party in the West told it to the people as I did, which is the reason why we in the West are, in a political and national sense, so sturdy, and hefty, and wholesome.. The public leaders over there were men who stood in independent relationship to the electors. They did not debase themselves, and say, “ Your rights are everything,” but they told them, “You have duties and responsibilities as well as rights.” Aristotle wrote what I have quoted long before the birth of Christ, for he was born in 384 b.c., and died in 322 b.c. ; but right down through the ages we can read the history of Democracies. As has been well said -
Where nationsflourished that were not just The skulking fox lay scratching in the dust.
We have seen Democracies of olden times saddled with usurpers on the throne. We have seen those Democracies go down, as Aristotle says, by the action of demagogues.
While we are here we shall try to give a true direction to ‘the Democracy of this country. We may find ourselves at times disappointed and perhaps cast out, but it does not matter. If we want to preserve the Democracy some sacrifices have to be made.
– And you are the man to make them.
– I will make them, and have proved my readiness to make them. I have never crouched to the electors in my life, and I have, done more for the Labour movement than the honorable senator has ever thought of doing. I will put my record doubly against hisat any time, or against that of any man on the other side. The cause of Democracy in this country is trembling in the. balance as it never trembled before, but when we try to tell the other side of the dangers of the course they are pursuing, and show them the right path, they are not even grateful to us, as they should be. I have always tried to put myself in the other man’s place. Locke has told us that the thing that mostly divides ‘ men is “the failure to define terms and premises,” but I think, in addition, it is the failure of the average man to put himself in the other fellow’s place, and to ask himself, “ If I were there, how would I act?”
Now that we are here on this side, with the privilege of being the guardians and custodians of the country’s welfare, ‘ the first and only question I ask myself is, “ How are we to put this country right?” And my answer is, “By mustering to the last degree all our resources and all our man-power,” so that we may stand perpendicular and in line with the gallant nations that are fighting the battle of freedom and Democracy alongside us. We must not skulk and shirk in the background, husbanding our few miserable thousands of men here for the sake of selfish gain, while the freeborn citizens of other countries have agreed to go forward and fight our battles. We shall be a lonely island here if we do not look well to it. The portents are already appearing on the political horizon, and our lot will be miserable indeed if we do not make good that national calamity that lately occurred as the result of the “ No “ majority. There is the writing on the wall already in the statement made in the French Chamber of Deputies, showing how France will regard our claim to retain the German colonies’ in the Pacific, for it was well said there, “ He who acquires must pay.” That means that France will give no helping hand to us in any of our political or national enterprises here. What can we expect from the United States of America? I have been reading the journals that have come to hand from that country to see if there was any truth in the statements1 made by the anti-conscriptionists here, that martial law had been proclaimed in the Western States of America, which were in rebellion. I have gone through the list of those States, and find from The World’s Work that the men who registered there represented over 100 per cent. of the maximum registration expected in those Western States. That statement, therefore, was another of the many unworthy utterances resorted to during the campaign to delude the people into voting “No.” It appears that the United States authorities worked upon a registration of 10,000,000 men, and in those central States the number registered was in excess of the estimate. Do honorable senators think that America will conscript her free citizens to fight Australia’s battles without reflecting upon our latest policy of inaction? When we get into trouble over the White Australia policy, or over any other legislation involving international interests, we can expect no assistance from that country, for we have not laid up a stock of friendship by our actions. America will refuse to help us, and rightly so. If I were a Britisher I would say, “ I will measure my friendship for Australia by the efforts1 Australia has made to help me when I was fighting for my national life.”
– If they do that, that is all that this country will ever want.
– The only man in the party opposite that I have any respect for is Senator Barnes, because he has consistently refused to go on to a recruiting platform. He’ is honest in his convictions, because he does not believe in the war, and thinks this country can stand alone and fight its own battles. But I ask him does he remember how we invited the American Fleet here, and expended £100,000 in feting it and extending international courtesies to it? What was in the mind of the rulers of Australia when they extended that invitation and expended that money? Was it all for fun? Was it for an idle purpose?
– -The invitation was extended by Mr. Deakin, and he was a native of Australia.
– The accidental natives opposite did not come in when I was dressing them down.
– The honorable senator ought not to talk about that sort of thing. He came to this country, which gave him a chance to climb where he could never have reached if he had remained in his own country.
– The honorable senator, and others who interject, are reviling their poor old fathers.
– The honorable senator is prepared to send other people to fight for him, when he will not go himself.
– They are telling us, in a most vulgar way, that they are better men than their fathers. I am loth to make any reply to Senator Long’s taunt, but he forces me to say that, when I was a young man in this country - twenty-five years ago - I risked my life to save a life, and for what I did I received the award of the Royal Humane Society, which I still possess. When he can stand up in this chamber and say that he has done likewise, it will be time enough for him to taunt me. I fling the taunt back in his false teeth. I tell him that I am a worthier and braver man than he is, because there were men present on that occasion, embryo Senator Longs, who thought so much of their own skins, just as he does now, that they would not take the risk. 1 had a nameless grave m front of me, but I took the risk, and I am here now; and here is the recognition by the Royal Humane Society of what I did.
– Senator Guthrie may remind you that we rescued a woman once.
– You did not; but you got the advertisement.
– The honorable senator will remember what Shakspeare, says about “little wanton boys that swim on bladders.”
Sitting suspended from 6.S0 to 8 p.m.
– It is deplorable that the name of His Excellency “the GovernorGeneral has been dragged into this controversy by honorable senators opposite. Although on previous occasions the clash of parties has been violent, and there has been perhaps even more excuse for heated talk, both branches of the Legi’sla’ ure have, to their honour, hitherto abstained from unjustifiable references “to that high official. I am sorry for much that has been said during this debate by members of the Labour party regarding the actions of His Excellency; but such criticism as I complain of is completely answered by the avowal of a member of the party, the honorable member for Batman’ (Mr. Brennan). that he believes that the GovernorGeneral has discharged his duties in accordance with the highest traditions of his office.
A remark was made by Senator Barnes with which T would deal at greater length if the honorable senator were now in his place, but I cannot, in any case, allow it to pass without notice. The frankness of the honorable senator has always commended itself to me. He has left no doubt as to his attitude towards .recruiting. Unlike many other honorable senators of his party, he has not traded upon a false profession in regard to it, but has declared that he would never stand on a recruiting platform nor ask a man to go to the Front. But he has gone further, and has declared that this country is in no danger from foreign foe, and that, if it were menaced, it could defend itself against an enemy. T do not know the facts on which the honorable senator base? so extraordinary a belief. It must be remembered that, including New Guinea and the adjacent islands, which, from the defence point of view, are as important as the mainland, the Commonweath has a coastline of something like 12 000 miles to defend. If we were left to our own resources. we could not afford to leave a mile of that coastline undefended, because, bv doing so, we should create a gap through which an enemy could enter to take cover, or which it con!d use as a gateway for the invasion of the country. Now. 12.000 miles i« a very big distance, and its defence would be no mean task for a very strong nation, letting alone the small nation that we are in point of population : it is a distance nearly as great as that from Australia to the Old Country. If you were to measure from the north of Norway along the west coast of Europe through the Mediterranean, down the Red Sea across the southern coast of Asia tn Calcutta, and then well on towards Australia, you would not. in all that distance, cover more than 12 000 miles. I ask how would it b* possible for us to defend such a length of coastline without the help of the British Navy? It is a grotesquely impossible task. In the event of a drawn battle, or a partial victory for the enemy, the British Navy wo71 d have to be kept in the North Sea for the protection of the Hand home which is the heart of the Empire; not a ship would be free for the defence of Australia. It is time that we realized the seriousness of our responsibilities. Cast back on our own resources, »e could not. with a population of less than 5,000,000, defend our vast territory. The mere handful of p:0 people who are settled within the Commonwealth could no: say to -the forces of the world, “ Come on; we are ready to meet you all.” The defeat of conscription at the recent referendum was, to my mind, a national calamity, and must have caused displeasure in the Mother Country, W.here we must always look for support and succour in the hour of peril. I ask Senator Barnes, and those who think with him, why the American Navy was invited a few years ago to visit Australia ? What was in the mind of Australian political leaders and the people was this : That though we would have the British Navy as a first line of defence, and 50,000 troops, as Lord Kitchener said, could hold this country, yet it would be a prudent thing to have also the help of the American Navy, and the support of the American people.
Let me now shortly refer to the socalled arguments that were used during the referendum campaign by the opponents of conscription. These arguments were mutually- destructive. They combated each other most unmercifully. Each one was mutilated by its successor. Take, for instance, the statement of the Official Labour party that a compulsory monthly draft of 7,000 men for reinforcements would denude our industries of man power and cause stagnation. It was left to their hearers to suppose that; if 7,000 men were to volunteer each month, instead of the miserable 3,000 that is now being recruited, the industries of the country would not be prejudiced. They did not explain, however, how this could be, nor could they exp’ain how 7,000 men going as volunteers would not affect our industries while the same number going under compulsion would ruin our industries. Furthermore, in using this argument, the members of the party adopted what was for them an extraordinary attitude towards our industries.
It was the first occasion on which I have known them to express solicitude for those engaged in primary or in secondary production. For men like Mr. Anstey, Senator Ferricks, and Senator Needham to say there should not be conscription lest the producers of the country might be handicapped was for them to contradict the professions of their whole political life. Hitherto, they, and other members of the Official Labour party, have taunted those on this side, both Liberals and Conservatives, with having won their way into Parliament by championing and defending propertied interests. During the referendum campaign, however, they themselves assumed the role of defenders,;^ property. For a man like Mr. Anstey to tell the squatters that their sheep would not be shorn,that their wool would not be carted to market, and that their industry would be in a parlous state if conscription were adopted, because labour would then be lacking, was inconsistent with his usual attitude towards those following pastoral pursuits. These gentlemen manifested during the campaign similar concern for the farming industry, although previously they had never shown any palpitating desire to assist the farmers. This eleventh-hour solicitude for the rural producers by men who have hitherto done little for them, and have taunted their political opponents with their readiness to defend the rights of property, is too obviously hypocritical to pass muster with men of impartial mind.
– It was merely an appeal to selfishness.
– The farmers were told that they would not be able to get labour to strip their corn, or to take it to market. The ducks, I suppose, needed slackers to drive them to water in the morning. The marked and suddenly deve-loped sympathy of the party opposite for the owners of the industries of this country makes one suspicious of what they are aiming at. It is too late for them to assume this new role. It is too late for them to come forward and tell Mr. Cook and Senator Millen that they are not defending the propertied interests as they should. It is too late for Mr. Anstey to inform the people that these men have betrayed their trust, that he himself is the only champion of the squatters, the mine-owners, the timber corporations, the farmers, and those engaged in other allied industries, and that Senator Millen, Mr. Cook, and Sir John Forrest have gone back upon their principles.
I come now to the conscription of wealth. If we talk about the conscription of human life, we are told by our opponents that we should also conscript wealth. That is a clear and definite announcement of policy by the Official Labour party. By inference, its members declare that, if human life is not conscripted, then there is no need to con- scribe wealth. That is .the position of the party to-day. Moreover, Mr. Tudor, in another place, has said -
It is not the intention of the Labour party tomake a levy upon wealth for any purpose.
That was his announcement. But during the successive referendum campaigns the bogus cry was raised that the’ National party was determined to “ conscript human life” and leave wealth untouched. This hunk of false preten’ce gained them tens of thousands of votes. During the recent referendum it was the means of obtaining by false pretences tens of thousands of votes throughout the Commonwealth. We have been told by honorable senators opposite that there are only 60,000 eligible men in Australia to conscript. Another authority (Senator Ferricks) has reduced the number to 45,000. But the Official Labour party refuses to conscript wealth for the sake of these 60,000 or 45,000 men. lt pays no heed to the 304,000 men who have gone overseas to fight the Empire’s battles - 30,000 of whom have made the supreme sacrifice - it loudly proclaims that it will not touch wealth in any. shape or form in the interests of those men, but that, if the remaining 60,000 are to’ be conscripted, then wealth must be conscribed. That is the position taken up by the so-called champions of human life in this State. Obviously, it involves a contradiction, but it is only one of the many self-annihilating bogies which have been put forward by our opponents.
Another of these bogies is the increased cost of living. It has been made to do service for many a long month. When we asked for an affirmative vote during the recent referendum, we were met with the cry, “ Look how the cost of living has mounted.” It is .quite true that the cost of living has increased by reason of the war, but it has increased imperceptibly in Australia as compared with other countries. I have been through the figures carefully, and I propose to give honorable senators the results of my inquiries. To begin with, I propose to quote from the Labour .Gazette, an official publication in the Old Country, which shows that for the month of October last year the cost of living had increased by 85 per cent, since the beginning of the war. How are we faring in Australia ? Here is the position on the authority of Mr. Knibbs.
Honorable senators are familiar with the system which he has adopted in the compilation of the statistics set out in the following table : -
That is a fair comparison. What does Mr. Knibbs show? He shows that in Hew South Wales the weighted average of five towns during the quarter preceding the declaration of war was 1,190’, and that it increased to 1,406 during the second quarter of last year. The percentage increase for the period of the war has been as follows :- New South Wales,. 18.2; Victoria, 15.6 ; Queensland, 20.5’;. South Australia; 5.5; Western Australia, 8.3; and Tasmania, 20.2. It is. clear, therefore, that throughout the Commonwealth the average increase in the cost of living has been 15.4 per cent., as against 85 per cent, in the Old Country. Queensland, it will be noted, stands at the top. of the list and South Australia at the bottom. Now, in Queensland we have a Labour Government, with Mr. Ryan at their head. He has at his disposal all the means to make the cost of living in his- State reasonable. Yet Queensland shows the maximum increase in the cost of living since the war began. Further, Mr. Ryan- has a House of Assembly through which he can pass any measure for the rectification of this wrong, and also a Legislative Council which cannot baulk his aims. No Premier of any other State occupies so favorable a position to give effect to his own views as he does. In the other States, the Legislative Councils, which form the bulwark of the .propertied class: would probably prove an obstacle in the way of the passing of progressive legislation. Mr. Ryan has, therefore, been in a position to reduce the cost of living had he felt so in,clined. Yet we -aVid that in Queensland the increased cost of living has amounted to- 20.5 per cent., as against 5.5 per cent, in South Australia, where a National- Government are in charge of affairs. This circumstance gives rise to some very curious speculations. We know that when the authority of the latter must prevail, a conflict of authority may occur as between a State and the Commonwealth. We know, too, that within the ambit of its own functions each of these authorities is supreme. But where a State and Federal law are inconsistent, to the extent of that inconsistency the State law is invalid. The Arbitration Court case, in which the powers of the two authorities were tested, clearly showed that, whilst the Federal authority could fix the rate of wages at a certain minimum, a State could’ step in and say that that minimum should be higher, although it could not be Tower. Conversely, after the price of foodstuffs has been fixed by the Federal authority at a certain maximum, a State authority has power to step in and reduce that price should it feel disposed to do so. There are States in the Commonwealth which are not ruled by Labour Governments, but which are, nevertheless, governed by men who are exercising a more salutary influence in keeping the cost of living within reasonable bounds than are the Ryan Labour Government to-day.. From the figures I have quoted it appears that the profiteer and the Ryan Government are lying down together, after the fashion of the lion and the lamb. Mr. Ryan has said that the cost of living is rising. My reply is that he should use his. power to reduce it, and thus square his words with action. I repeat that in Queensland the Labour Government have been in office and have stood idly by while the cost of living has mounted. During the recent campaign it was argued that the cost of living would not permit people to cast an affirmative vote. But the men who advanced- that argument were not troubled about the cost of living. They were more concerned about the cost of dying for “this- ‘ country. The figures I have quoted speak eloquently. They show that the cost of living- has gone up slightly throughout
Australia, and that if the one Government in Australia that had it within their power to do so had lived up to their professions, the cost of living in that State could have been brought within reasonable bounds. I deplore the fact that a Government so situated should not have taken advantage of their opportunities.
We have been told that the referendum vote was a victory for Labour. Far from it, because during the recent campaign there was a conjunction of forces never before seen in the history of the Labour party. Constituencies which hitherto had never had an association with Labour on this occasion gave majorities of 5,000, 6,000, and 7,000 votes against the policy of the Government. They made common cause with the representatives of the Trades Hall, the Industrial Workers of the World, and every disloyal element in the country, and, in that way, there was a union of opposite forces which had the effect of bringing about the national calamity to which 1 have referred. And this is the party that has emblazoned on its banner - “ Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity !” Equality! Where is the equality? Is there any equality in a system which, as Senator McDougall pointed out, has made it possible for a man to volunteer and leave behind him seven, eight, and ten children ; a system that permits ablebodied sons to remain behind while married men enlist in our fighting forces; which sends the widow’s son and sometimes even allows those who remain behind to jeer at men who go? Equality!’ Damn such equality, I say, if that is what it represents. This is the wretched voluntary system which drains this country of its stripling youths, just approaching manhood, and of its married men, thus heaping an intolerable burden upon coming generations. This is the system which they call equality! And they have inscribed on their banners the motto - “Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity !” Fraternity ! With Australia’s flesh and blood buried in the blood-stained trenches - from which we have been told it sometimes takes three men to drag another out - while eligible men are here lying in ease and comfort in their beds. Take it away from me ; I will have none of it or of the party that supports such hypocritical policy; that stands idly by and does not attempt to reach a more just appreciation of its responsibilities.
I speak in this strain because I feel strongly. I do not forget that at the present time a terrible struggle is in progress in the European arena between the forces of freedom and the forces of autocracy. I could quote from one of the leading publicists of Germany, who said, plainly enough, that the eyes of Germany were upon Australia, and that soon they would establish themselves here. I could give other quotations showing that public men of that country, both in their capacity as members of the Reichstag and in semi-official positions, have mentioned Australia as. the promised land. These are expressions of opinion made, not by the chosen representatives of the people, but by the representatives of an autocracy that is propped up by the bayonets of its wartrained armies, by the representatives of the last remnant of the most powerful autocracy in the history of the world, which is now engaged in a death struggle with the free nations of the earth. Australia, being one of the free nations of the world, is vitally concerned in this struggle, but she is not extended to the utmost limits of her power. We need to be up and doing while the war is on, in order to write our good name on the pages of history in this fight for liberty.
For my part, I am prepared to do my best. I have taken risks before, and I am going to take them again: I will take no orders from anybody, executive or otherwise; no orders from any except those who have the right to send me here, namely, the electors of Western Australia. I will not allow any intermediary to come between me and my duty to. Australia. I will support the National Government during the currency of this war ; but nothing will prevent me from following a free and independent course, even to the extent of supporting the party opposite, if by some metamorphosis they change their opinions and regain the pristine character of the Labour party, entitling them to stand as the true representatives of Australian Democracy.In the meantime, I shall support the Government, so that the safety of our nation may be assured.
. I do not propose to speak for more than a few minutes, because I know honorable senators are anxious to terminate the debate. Owing to the imperfect steam-ship service between Tasmania and the mainland, I was unable to arrive in Melbourne until to-day, consequently I am labouring under a disadvantage because I have not heard all that has been said during the course of this debate. I listened -very carefully to Senator Lynch, and I must say that I am sorry that, at a time like the present, he should have seen fit, for two or three hours, to do little more than throw insinuations against another party.
– Was the honorable senator present while Senator Gardiner was speaking?
– I was not, unfortunately; but even supposing some of the other speakers made remarks that were not palatable, two wrongs never make a right.
– No; but I thought the honorable senator might include both in his comments.
– At a time like the present, we should all strive, as far as possible, to sink individual differences and tackle the big problems that are before us. Speeches like that to which we have just listened are not calculated to do any more than widen the breach; and while I extend to every man the right of “his opinion, so long as he is sincere, 1 hope the same right will be extended to me. I believe Senator Lynch is perfectly sincere in his advocacy of conscription, and 1 ask honorable senators to take my assurance I am just as sincere in my opposition to the system.
Referring to recent political events, I cannot help thinking that they” have degraded Australia in the eyes of the world, because what may be regarded as almost sacred pledges given to the people certainly have been violated. The wording of some of the pledges was as plain as it is possible to make them. The Prime Minister (Mr.- Hughes), for instance, said at Bendigo -
I tell you plainly that the Government must have thiB power, lt cannot govern the country without it, and will not attempt to do so.
Simply resigning and resuming office immediately afterwards will not satisfy an intelligent and honest people. I could quote almost every leader on the other, side and show that all the pledges were as emphatic as that given by the Prime Minister. Pledges were given by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Cook), the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen), the Minister for Works ana Railways (Mr. Watt), the Minister for Customs (Mr. Jensen), Sir William Irvine, and Mr. Massey Greene. The statements made by these gentlemen were just about as emphatic as it was possible to make them; and I am satisfied that a great number of members in the National party, if not the majority, are. not satisfied with the action of the Government in this respect. Personally, I have a good opinion of the majority of members of that party, and I feel satisfied they do not approve, of what was really a repudiation of the pledge - the resignation of the Government and their immediate resumption of office. If Mr. Hughes and his colleagues had said during the campaign, “ If you do not give us this power we will resign, but will immediately resume office,” would not the people have regarded it as a farce? And yet that is exactly what has happened. In my travels through Australia, I met people of all shades of political opinion, and, from what I have heard, have no hesitation in saying that the great mass of the people are dissatisfied with the action of the Government. They feel that politics in Australia have been degraded by the breaking of this pledge. The time will come, and before very long, when the electors will show their resentment of .such conduct on the part of the Government, and will take care that at least every man returned to this Parliament is a man who can be trusted and who will keep his word.
– Have they not always tried to secure that? I have heard this talk of pledge-breaking in political circles for the last thirty years.
– I do not think that any honest person will say that there has been an honest adherence to the pledge which the Government gave the electors.
Leaving that question, I desire now to point out that every word uttered by Senator Lynch in condemnation of- the Labour party and of the people who voted “ No “ at the recent referendum, applies with equal force to the men in the trenches who voted “ No.” I believe that a big majority of our boys in the trenches voted against conscription.
– The official figures do not show that they did.
– At all events, 90 per cent, of them voted “ No.”
– And it is reasonable to assume that the majority of the soldiers who voted “ Yes “ were not in the trenches but outside.
– We do not know that that is so.
– I have formed that conclusion from letters I have received f rabi the Trout, as well as from statements made to me by returned soldiers in regard to the voting at the first referendum. In almost every instance, the answer I received to my inquiry as to how the men in the trenches would vote was, “ Nine to one against conscription.” Senator Lynch this afternoon was, emphatic in reflecting upon the people of Australia who had voted “No,” and I repeat that every reflection that he cast upon them applies with equal force to the lads in the trenches who voted “ No.” The honorable senator occupied much time in endeavouring to show that honorable senators on this side are under the control of an outside authority. Is it not singular that Senator Lynch was for years a member of our party, working under the very platform that we have to-day ? It is only of recent date that he has discovered that the Labour party is everything that is bad, and that no good can come out of it.
– The Labour pledge was violated by the so-called Official Labour party when they drove their leader, Mr. Hughes, and others out of it.
– Mr. Hughes left the party before he was dealt with.
– He did not.
– He was presiding over the meeting of the Labour party, to which so many references have been made, as the leader of the party, until he voluntarily left it.
– Had he not been already expelled by the New South Wales Labour organization?
– How can it be said that he had been expelled from the party when he was still chairman of that party?
– But is it not a fact that he had. been expelled by the New South Wales Labour organization ?
– A resolution expelling him might have been” carried by that orga nization, but if he had been expelled from the party he could not have presided at the meeting of the party which he voluntarily left, taking with him certain other members.
– But after he left that meeting was not a resolution carried removing him from the leadership of the party ?
– All that took place at that meeting is on record. Senator O’Keefe will bear me out when I say that during my political career in this Parliament, as well as in the Tasmanian Legislature, I have never had one word, by way of dictation,, offered to me by any outside organization. I have riot had a single suggestion of the kind made to me by outsiders. I have been secretary of the Labour movement in Tasmania for over ten years, and I -have never written one word, as the authoritative mouthpiece of that organization, to any member of the State or Federal Parliaments telling them what they ought to do.
– Does the honorable senator question the statement made by Senator Lynch that former members of the Labour party have been so treated?
– I am speaking only for myself. I was included in Senator Lynch’s. condemnation. He referred to me by name as a member of a party that was under the dictation of some imaginary outside body. In reply, I say positively that since 1909, when’ I entered the Tasmanian Parliament, I have never had a suggestion - from any outside body as to what I should do. The same will be said by Senator O’Keefe and Senator Long.
– Admitting that, does the ‘honorable senator speak of the New South Wales organization as “an imaginary outside body?”
– I am speaking of my own experience.
– The New South Wales Labour organization dealt with the honorable senator’s late leader, Mr. Hughes, expelling him for doing what he had a perfect right to do.
– But he retained his chairmanship of the party after that resolution had been carried.
– I thought the honorable senator was going to’ deal with this matter in a straightforward way.
– How could Mr. Hughes have been x expelled from his party and yet retain his membership of it?
– Does the honorable senator mean to suggest that no one was expelled from the old Labour party 1
– No. I am merely controverting the statement made by Senator Lynch that the Official Labour- party is under some outside domination.
– So it is.
– It is not. A prominent supporter of the Government - Senator Bakhap- - when speaking publicly of the two parties, said on one occasion that one party was no more bound than the other - that they were equally bound.
I rose more particularly, however, to refer to one or two incidents associated with the recent conscription campaign. During that campaign opportunities arose for giving our returned soldiers some recognition. I cannot exactly say what was done throughout Australia, but I do not know of one returned soldier who was appointed to any position in a polling-booth in Tasmania on the day of the referendum vote. I have here a letter from a resident of the north-west coast of Tasmania, complaining very bitterly of the treatment meted out to a returned soldier, a very capable young man, who could not get an appointment as a poll clerk or presiding officer.
– Did he belong to the Labour party?
– I do not know. This incident happened at Penguin, on the north-west coast. I am informed that the Returning Officer, a Mr. E. D. Atkinson, who is a justice of the peace and an oldage pensioner - and he is none the worse for that - always has a Certain number of his following “ docketed.” I am informed, moreover, that the manager of the National Bank at Penguin was one of the booth officials, and he was seen all day long going from the polling booth to his bank that he might attend to his banking business, and at the same time do a portion of the work at the polling booth. The council clerk was also engaged in the booth, and was seen going to and from the council chamber during the day. There was no chance, however, for a returned soldier to get a job. Incidents of this kind stick in the minds of people. Let me quote a few lines from this letter, which was written to me in reply to an inquiry I had made -
I saw the returned soldier, Ira Naylor, today. He tells me he never had a chance to be a poll clerk or a presiding officer. He spoke to the A.R.O., E. D. Atkinson, and found that he always had the positions docketed. Private Ira Naylor was a son of the late Captain Winston Naylor, a retired Indian officer, who, after a residence in this district for thirty years, died just after the war broke out in 1914- nearly ninety years of age. Six of his sons early enlisted. I find two have made the supreme sacrifice - Quartermaster Winston Naylor and his brother, Private Ben. Naylor. Three are still at the Front, somewhere in France. Ira Naylor was at Gallipoli, and was in a shell explosion, and was wounded. After some months in the hospital he was invalided home, and came back just before the Hay election, where he voted, and .voted on Thursday last. The Naylor family of boys and girls were liberally educated. One of whom was an officer in the Commercial Bank when he decided to enlist. I asked Private Ira Naylor if he would have taken a position of presiding officer or a poll clerk? His reply was, “Bather! I cannot get the chance.” The A.R.O., Atkinson, took good care to find a position for his nephew - Colin’ Groom - and twelve or thirteen others who never served their country like the brave volunteers - like Naylor Brothers. I tellyou again that it is a mockery on the part of the Government and their hypocrites of Federal officers to talk about returned soldiers’ settlement on the land and finding employment congenial to the qualifications and fitness of our noble returned lads. They take good care who gets the “bun.”
I hope that the Minister leading the Senate will make a note of this matter. Returned soldiers, who - have done their duty, and are unfortunate enough to have been invalided and returned home, ought not to be denied the opportunity of earning a shilling or two, and steps should be taken to prevent such cases as I have described.
I should like to refer to the regulation relating to voters of enemy origin, for it seems to me that it might afford opportunity for most undesirable practices. In one case, a young man, named Edgar Gear, whom I know, on going to a polling booth in the Bass constituency, waa treated in a manner indicating that the presiding officer there certainly overstepped his duty.. So far as I can see, the regulation provides for questions on only two points, namely, the nationality of the voter and that of his father. In the case to which I refer the presiding officer - whether on his own account or in consequence of a suggestion by some one else - asked, not only the young man’s nationality and that of his father, but that of his grandfather. To the first question the young man replied thathe was a native of Tasmania; to the second, that his father was a native of the United States of America, and to the third, that, so far as he knew, his grandfather was a Scotchman. There is no power under that regulation, from beginning to end, to ask any person who desires to vote the nationality of a grandfather. And it has to be remembered that the mere asking of the questions makes it necessary for the person to vote under section 25. In any case, the result of the referendum was declared before these votes were counted ; indeed, I do not know that they have been counted yet. It may be that there were similar occurrences throughout Australia; and, if so, it means that many electors suffered great indignity. The interpretation of the words of the regulation puts great power into the hands of any unscrupulous man, especially if he happens to be a partisan. An opposing scrutineer has only to interrogate an intending elector in this way in order to insure that the vote will be given under section 25; and, though I do not say the suspicion is justified, there is a great deal of suspicion that these votes were not counted on the last occasIon. I ought to say that, in replying to this young man’s letter, I told him not to be afraid, because, according to my knowledge of the District Returning Officer for Bass, he was as fair a man as ever breathed, and would see that no injustice was done. However that may be, there is, as I say, widespread suspicion in regard to these votes. I made some inquiry at the head office for the Bass electorate just before the result of the referendum was announced, and I discovered that those particular votes had not been counted then; and the poll was declared before they were counted, if they have been counted at all. I shall not go into the whole question involved in the regulation; but I hope that never at another election in Australia will such indignities be heaped on the people. I ought to add that neither this young, man’s father nor any of his brothers were asked questions under the regulation. I hope the few remarks I have made on this point will bear some fruit, because it is deeply regrettable that people should be insulted in this way. One man who has suffered has told me that, although he has lived in Tasmania all his life, and has always been a reputable citizen, he intends, at the first opportunity, to leave the country; but my advice to him was to take no notice of what had occurred.
According to the newspapers, Senator Pratten, in the. course of his speech, made some sensible and pointed remarks on the policy we have adopted of exempting war-loan interest from income tax. iia Victoria some little time ago, Sir John Grice said that every time we raised a loan under existing conditions we narrowed the area for taxation.
– The same thing was said in this chamber two years .and a half ago, and honorable senators opposite would not believe it.
– I believe that view was then expressed by Senator Millen himself. For that I give him credit, and hope that he is still of the same opinion, and will, on the occasion of the next loan, endeavour to have the conditions altered. Since Sir John Grice made the speech to which I refer, many people throughout Australia have begun to realize, as never before, that we have made a great blunder in this connexion; and it is certain that, if -we continue to eliminate such incomes from taxation in the future, we shall, in the long run, have very few .incomes to tax. Sir John Grice pointed out that, on an income of £30,000 from War Loan investment, the interest amounts really to 7 per cent. - that it is only on the smaller incomes that it amounts to 4^ per cent. It would be much preferable, when we float another loan, to give a higher rate of interest, with no exemption.
During the recent referendum campaign’, much stress was laid on the fact that the first necessities of the Allies were food and ships. This same view has been expressed at Home by Lloyd George and others in high position ; and almost every day since the 20th December the cables have impressed on us that the first essential is food.
– Man-power is regarded at Home as the most essential.
– Man-power is of no use without food. I do not know anything of Mr. Hoover, except that he is regarded as one of the keenest intellects in America.
– He was once in Western Australia, and we did not recognise the fact.
– However that may be, Mr. Hoover, in view of the fact that, while we have surplus food in Australia, there is none.to spare in the United States of America, has suggested that Australia should land food on the western coast of America, and thus enable the” authorities to release food on the eastern coast for the Allies. It would he interesting to know whether the Government have considered that suggestion, and propose to do anything in that direction, because it would be very much easier to take food across the Pacific than to send it round to the Old Country by the ordinary route.
The shipping question is important and interesting,. I have before mentioned in this chamber that, as a shipsmith all my life, I have been closely associated with shipwrights, and possess some knowledge of shipbuilding ; indeed, there is no smithwork throughout a ship that I have not manufactured myself. I can thoroughly appreciate the great difficulties that must be surmounted in starting a shipbuilding scheme in this country, because we have not the men for a new industry’ of the kind on a large Beale.
– I am glad to hear an experienced man say that.
– That is my opinion; but, at the same time, the longer the question remains untouched, the greater the difficulties will grow. A start ought to have been made nine months ago; but I understand that, at ‘the present moment, not a keel has been laid. Mr. Finlayson, a very capable engineer on the north-west coast of Tasmania, told me three months ago that he had a contract with the Government to build one ship at Devonport; and though, for all I know, that contract may have been entered into, no start has been made with the work.
– Mr. Finlayson has been negotiating for several months.
– For at least three months. 1 frankly admit that any other man who starts will meet with difficulties, but it is certain that if we never start we shall never succeed. The sooner we start, the better for Australia, because it is time that this Commonwealth was independent of the outside world in the matter of shipbuilding.
I read in the Launceston newspapers on Wednesday morning that Senator Earle had stated that from the day exSenator Ready took the chairmanship of the Recruiting Committee in Tasmania he was a marked man in the Labour party. I deny that statement absolutely. On the 9th or 10th of January, 1917,. only a month or so before Mr. Ready resigned, a Labour Conference of delegates from all parts of Tasmania was held in
Hobart. I was present in my official capacity as secretary, and I say, without fear of contradiction, that the most popular man at the Conference was Mr. Ready. There was a vacant position, and Mr. Ready and another member of the Conference were nominated. Mr. Ready polled about four votes to his opponent’s one, and every’ time he rose in the Conference to speak he was applauded to the echo. Later, delegates to represent Tasmania at the Inter-State Conference ware appointed, Mr. Ready again topping the poll. If he was a marked man, would he have been treated in that appreciative way long after he had accepted the position of chairman of the Recruiting Committee?
– He was marked by Senator Earle’s friends and by the press.
– Mr. Ready and I were very close friends. We often travelled tq and from Tasmania in the same cabin, and he told me many of his private affairs. I remember him saying that Mr. Donald Mackinnon had asked him to take the chairmanship of the Tasmanian Recruiting Committee, and that when he accepted the position the other members of the committee decided to resign. I say nothing against Mr. Mackinnon. I do not know him personally, but he is a man for whom I have the highest- respect, because his actions during the last two years have proved him to be a man of integrity. Mr. Ready resigned from the committee, but after some time Mr. Mackinnon prevailed upon him to withdraw his resignation. He served as chairman of the committee, and his occupancy of the office never discredited him in the eyes of the Labour party in Tasmania. Knowing the facts, I thought it my duty to refute the statement made by Senator Earle.
I rose principally to speak of the unjust treatment received by the returned soldiers in connexion with referendum employment. Positions as Assistant Returning Officers may require the possession of certain qualifications, but it is not very difficult for a man to undertake the duties of poll clerk. Many returned soldiers were capable men, but they were never given a chance. I do not blame a Divisional Returning Officer for appointing a wholly new staff, but I think he might occasionally, when opportunity offers, engage a returned soldier as a poll clerk, and not, as was done at Penguin, on tie North Coast, docket the friends of the Presiding Officer and keep bank clerks and council clerks marching backwards and forwards between the polling booth and their offices, attempting to do two jobs and draw two salaries, while returned soldiers could get no employment at all. I hope we shall not have a repetition of that experience.
.- The debate has been prolonged and tedious, and in some respects disappointing, for, despite the fact that we are passing through a great crisis, in which civilization is fighting for its existence, no suggestion for a successful conduct of the war has come from the Opposition. We have heard nothing but small criticisms and a great) deal of abuse of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes).
My main purpose in rising is to refer to one question in which I take a very deep interest. Several speakers have referred in warning tones to the Eastern menace, and some honorable senators spoke of Japan in anything but respectful language. Even one honorable senator on this side of the chamber said that the bazaars of the East were filled with whispers about this large, desirable, and unpopulated country of Australia, and he warned us that if something were not done to increase our population the consequence might be serious. I have never been one of those who feared the Asiatic bogy. Australia has every reason to be proud of and gratified with the honorable way in which Japan has, during this war, kept her compact with the Mother Country. If J apan nad broken her treaty with Great Britain as the Germans broke the treaty regarding the neutrality of Belgium, Australia would have been at her mercy. I think we ought to recognise Japan’s strict observance of her treaty obligations. I take the view that the safety of Australia lies in its being an integral part of the Empire, and that, from my knowledge of the Australian people, I do not think there is any likelihood of our breaking the existing ties with the Old Land. There is not that extent of disloyalty which some people seem to think. Honorable senators opposite vent a great deal of their enmity and bitterness upon the Prime Minister, but one great thing I admire about him is his Imperial outlook. Many of the big things he has done have been lost sight of owing to small mistakes he has made, and his short-sighted opponents see only the mistakes and ignore the greater things. To me, Mr. Hughes stands as the representative of Imperial thought in Australia.
I regard the Empire as having a mission, not only to the people of Australia, but also to the people of the East, and from my point of view, by becoming a live part in the Empire and doing our best in this war, we shall be assuring our own safety and future against Japan or any other menace that may arise in the East. If Britain, in her wisdom, will recognise the grievances of India, there will be no danger to Australia in future, because India is a part of the Empire that we cannot do without, and that cannot do without us. Despite all the mistakes that have been made, British rule has been for India’s benefit. There are 317,000,000 Indian subjects of the British Empire, and at the present time their leaders are asking in very earnest tones for self-government. I am anxious that when the war is over Australia shall be represented at the Imperial Conference that must necessarily follow to devise a policy for the future development and consolidation of the Empire, and I think that a man with the knowledge that Mr. Hughes possesses would ably represent the Commonwealth. As the Empire is desirous of establishing self-government in all small countries, I trust that those who meet at the Imperial Conference table will see that India receives her share of self-government and 1/he right to work out her own salvation as part of the Em pire. If that privilege is granted to her, and she enters into the councils of the Empire, there will be no menace to Australia from the East, because India is strong enough to dominate Asia. Of course, some will say that Australia does not wish to be beholden to a coloured race for its independence, but India is as much an integral part of the Empire as is Australia, and if the Empire is to grow we must, despite any prejudices we may have as Britishers, have regard to the future solidarity of” the Empire, because it stands for peace, progress, liberty, and self-government among its own people in a way that no other nation or race has done. We stand before the world as an example of those who have been able to settle Colonies and create selfgovernments. The Commonwealth is one of the examples to the world. In this chamber, we have heard a great deal about the liberty of Australians, and so forth. Where did we get it ? We have inherited it from those who built the Old Country. It is not particularly a part of the soil of Australia; it is in the blood of the British race. It was brought here by those who came here. Our Constitution is the result of what Britain has built up in the past, and we can keep it only because we belong to the race and to the British Empire. We are all anxious to see the war brought to an end. We dd not know when it is going to end ; but, if the Secretary for India in the Home Government would see his way to granting India self-government, there would be no need for the Empire to fear Germany or any Allies which it might get in Europe; because India could supply millions of men if they were required. No conscription would be necessary; the men would be supplied willingly, so long as India was recognised as an integral part of the Empire. This is a thought that has ‘ been in my mind all through the war, though I have never mentioned it before in this chamber.
I am a strong conscriptionist. I hold that, in a democratic country like this, where we all have an equal voice in the making of laws, and equal liberties, all should be able and willing to fight for these liberties to the last man and the last shilling. But that policy is not being carried out, though the Empire is in very straitened circumstances owing to the submarine menace and the lack of man power. As Britain is producing all the munitions for the Empire, she may require outside help. Notwithstanding the part that America may play, I feel that the British Empire, with all its might and strength, is the one Power that will work for the future settlement of disputes and the maintenance of peace. But it can only be done by welding all parts of the Empire. Let India be brought in as an equal with the rest of us. From the point of view of winning the war, in which all our liberties are at stake, if India could come to the rescue, it could supply millions of men, some of them the best soldiers we could ever have. It must not be forgotten that the vast majority of the inhabitants of India belong to the Aryan race, as we do. Thousands of them have skins just as white as ours. We are merely a branch of the old Aryan family that went to Europe- thousands of years ago.
– Does the honorable senator think that the British House of Lords will give Home Rule to India?
– They will have to give it ; and if it came along now, the people of India would rally to the Empire and its Allies, and help to smash Germany for all time. If there is any way of getting Mr. Hughes to the Imperial Council, I trust that he will recognise that India is an indispensable part of the Empire. This Senate has passed resolutions that other countries should have selfgovernment and Home Rule. It would probably be wise for us to resolve that India, as a part of the Empire, should be given selfgovernment to work out her own salvation. When the war is over, the British Empire will have a strong part to play in maintaining peace, in bringing about liberty and progress, and in establishing Governments where they should be established, allowing each race to work out its own salvation. The British Empire is the only Power that can do this, ,and, for that reason, we should do our best to weld it together for the sake of the future peace of the world.
New Guinea is a country which we should keep as an integral part of Australia. We owe a debt to the Papuan race. They came into our hands, and we should treat them as children, enabling them to live their own lives. They are a trust given to us just as the Samoans are a trust given to the people of the Dominion of New Zealand. We cannot agree to the policy of no annexations. We must keep New Guinea for the sake of its people, and for our own future safety. We should look at matters from a national and Imperial point of view. The small things that have been brought into this debate could well be left alone, so that this Parliament could view the questions of the day in a more reasonable frame. of mind. I ask honorable senators to give serious consideration to this matter, with a desire to see the Empire consolidated, not only for our own sakes, but also for the sake of the future peace of the world.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Autralia) [9.38].- It is nob very pleasing for any one who has the honour of Australia or the interests of responsible government at heart to contemplate the events of the last eighteen months, beginning with the first conscription referendum, going .on. to the Ready- Watson-Earle scandal in the Senate - in regard to which inquiry was denied, although the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) said, on oath, in another place, “ If they want an inquiry they can have it” - and then passing on to the last referendum where Parliament, the people, and the laws of the country were flouted. Never in the history of Australia has patriotism been so prostituted or responsible government so dragged in the mire as during that period. When the Prime Minister was still connected with the Labour party, there was. a show of decency in regard to the conduct of the first referendum. There were some abuses, I understand, in the way of censorship - I was not here at the time - but the people’s representatives were consulted and a Bill was passed through both branches of the Legislature to authorize the holding of the referendum. These steps were dispensed with on the recent occasion. What happened after the different referenda? After the first, Mr. Hughes, then Leader of the Labour party, held a’ meeting of that party, but refused to abide by its decision, or, at any rate, refused to allow it to come to a decision, for as soon as he found that a proposal was hostile, though it might not have been carried, he and certain of his followers walked out. After the last referendum, when he, as leader of a combined party or series of parties, which he had led into a greater mess than that into which he had led the Labour party, found that he and his party were in a hole, he called his supporters together and submitted his case to them, saying that it was for the party to decide. On- the first occasion the Conservative press applauded the Prime Minister for saying that he was nob going to be influenced by Caucus, and that he proposed to take an independent course; they said that he was quite right in trying to flout his party and in leaving them. On this occasion, when he took the opposite course, he still did the right thing according to the press. Apparently, whatever he does is right. He did the right thing in consulting his party. Let us look at the farce of that consultation. Ministers and their Whips and the other officials of the party constitute a very considerable portion of the Ministerial Caucus. Each Minister has a little influence with his immediate supporters. Ministers and their Whips so arranged the motions that were to be submitted to the Caucus and so arranged matters beforehand in the Ministerial room that they were sure they would have the majority of the party with. them. Then, having passed resolutions expressing confidence in Mr. Hughes, and declaring that they would have no other leader, the meeting adjourned till the next day, in order to see how its actions would be taken by the public. Finding that the people were waiting for further information, and that they did not object very much to what had been proposed, another meeting was held and a further resolution was agreed to saying that no other party, that is, the Opposition, was to be permitted to carry on the government of the country. Then the Prime Minister, entrenched by resolutions in front and behind, rendering it impossible for any one else to carry on the government of the country, went bravely to the GovernorGeneral and submitted his resignation unconditionally. The Governor-General, although he is a Scotchman, seems to have a little sense of humour, for he entered into the humour of these proceedings, and after consulting several members of Parliament, just as every one wlm waa watching the little manoeuvre expected, he asked Mr. Hughes to take un office again. Mr. Hughes came back to office after all this white-washing, but with the same promise made to the people still unfulfilled, and with the same pledge to the country still broken. The pledge was not that Ministers would resign, but that they would absolutely refuse to carry on the government of the country unless the people gave them the powers that they asked for.
I am a fairly old political campaigner, but I have never had an easier case to deal with on the platform than that put up by the conscriptionists on the last referendum campaign. It was only necessary to quote their statements, one against the other. One lot of figures which they put before the public was immediately contradicted by another. Statistics as to recruits and casualties given on the one day were sure to be followed on the next day by an explanation pointing out that errors bad been made. It was necessary only to quote what Senator Pearce said at Sydney against what the Prime Minister said at Bendigo, and then make a reference to some message from General Birdwood, and the confusion in which the public were placed became so apparent that very little argument was required to show how hollow and absurd were the claims’ which the Government were making. At the first referendum, Mr. Hughes assured the public that, in order to save Australia and the Empire, and to preserve our boys at the Front from utter annihilation, it was absolutely essential that 16,500 men should be sent across the seas every month, and that in the first month double that number should be sent away. A few months later, after being defeated at the first referendum, and before the last general election, in May, when the Nationalist party desired to keep conscription in the background, Mr. Hughes confessed, in his speech at Bendigo, that the estimate previously given him by his military advisers of the number of men required was not correct, since the number of casualties that actually took place showed that onefifth of the first estimate, or 3,500 men per month, would have been quite sufficient for reinforcements during the period when the people of Australia were told that it was absolutely essential that 16,500 per month should be sent away. Mr: Hughes gave two explanations of this discrepancy. The first explanation was that the calculations of the military advisers were upset because there was a winter in Europe. It would appear that it was considered rather an unusual thing to have a winter in Europe. The Prime Minister’s military advisers, when they made their original estimate, apparently did not know that there would be a winter in Europe, when, as there would be less strenuous operations at the Front, there would be a smaller number of casualties than might be expected during the spring and summer months, when the great offensives take place. When the last referendum campaign was started, Mr. Hughes gave another explanation. He said, “ You will ‘ ask why, when I told you- some months ago that 16,500 men per month would be required, I now say that less than half that number will be sufficient for reinforcements. The reason is that, owing to the improved method of attack, by which an artillery barrage clears the way for our troops, they are able to attain their objectives ‘ with less than half the casualties they previously suffered in an attack.” When the second referendum was launched we were nearing the winter time in Europe, and the improved method of attack was in operation. When both these reasons were operating to reduce the number of casualties, how is it explained that, whilst 3,500 would have been sufficient to make good the actual casualties at the time the first referendum was taken, it was necessary to send double that number of men to make good deficiencies due to casualties when both the reasons for reducing the number of casualties were in operation? That has never been explained. Those who, even without military experience have some knowledge of history, must know that the first proposal was utterly preposterous.. It really meant that the whole of our Forces at the Front would be killed or disabled twice over every year, because 16,500 every month for twelve months would represent 200,000 men. It was clearly preposterous to say that 200,000 men were required every year for the reinforcement of five divisions. If we take the last estimate of 7,500 per month that would represent 84,000 in a year, and the inference is that every year fivesixths of our fighting force at the Front would be required to make good our casualties. If the first estimate were correct, there would not.be a fighting man left in Europe in two years’ time. The whole of the fighting front would be one vast cemetery, and the battlefields a scene of carnage which would stagger humanity. No experience in connexion with this war or with any other has shown that it is necessary to keep a fighting force at the Front to provide for a casualty list of 75 per cent, every year, as was estimated in the last proposal which the Prime Minister put before the country.
I desire to go over as little of the ground traversed by other speakers as possible; but it has been mentioned that the people were told by Mr. Hughes, other Ministers, and other speakers on the same side, that every man and woman who voted against the Government’s proposals were disloyalists and pro-Germans.
– Every one ?
– Yes; Mr. Hughes said so. He said, “Are you for the country or are you against it?”
.- Does not that imply that every one voting “No” at the referendum was against the Empire ? Surely if a person is against the Empire he is disloyal. The test of loyalty during the last referendum campaign, apparently, was not loyalty to King George V., but loyalty to “ Kaiser “ Hughes. Every one who did not believe as he did, and vote as he wished, was disloyal and a pro-German.
Then a most disreputable course was followed, and the feelings of friends and relatives of our brave boys at the Front were harassed by their being told that they were suffering undue hardships and could not get relief. It was said that they were up to their necks in mud and slush, and that, in the trenches, they were required to do double and treble work because reinforcements were not sent to relieve them. Was not that kind of thing repeated all over Australia?
– Yes; and, unfortunately, it is too true. Let the honorable senator ask any man who has come back from the war, and he will tell him how true it is.
.- I have been told quite the reverse, and I have seen many scores of men who have come back from the war. From my own experience, also, I am in a position to say that it is not true.
– I know, from the information I get from the Front, that it is true.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Our friends of the National party, apparently, did not watch the cables as closely as they might have done, otherwise they would have seen a wire from General Birdwood to the effect that the majority of the Australians were resting, and the remainder were in an easy sector. I know that honorable senators opposite do not like this,- because they know I am stating facts.
– The honorable senator is saying what is not correct.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Although the people here were told that every man in the Australian contingents was doing double work, when the trouble occurred in Italy we found that British battalions and some of the Australian Forces could be sent to help the Italians. Honorable senators will remember what was said of the way in which the Italians regarded the brave kilty boys. They never saw such a spectacle before as the men who were dressed in the garb which I have no doubt Senator Newland takes a great pride in. They could be spared for the Italian Front at a time when we were told here that not a single man could be spared from the trenches on the Western Front.
I want to give honorable senators a little of my own experience, and I am sorry that Colonel Rowell is not present, as I am sure that he would indorse what I intend to say.
– Colonel Bolton is here, and perhaps he will be able to confirm the honorable senator’s statements.
N- I do not know whether Colonel Bolton was in London at the time, but I do not think that any one will dispute what I am going to say. I was in London on last Christmas day twelve months, and was present at the great dinner given to Australians in London, and presided over by the High Commissioner, our old leader, Mr. Fisher, at the Hotel Cecil, inone of the largest rooms in London. Australian soldiers then in England were brought there and given a good time, and were afterwards taken to the theatres. The point I am coming to is that only a few weeks ago it was stated in the cablegrams received here that the proposal to entertain the Australian’s in London at Christmas time this year had to be abandoned. Do honorable senators know why ? It was because there was such an immense number of Australian boys on furlough in England and London at the time that no hall could be found big enough to hold them. Consequently the proposal was abandoned. I met in London hundreds of the men who were sent overseas in the transport of which I had charge. I do not wish it to be inferred from my statement that our boys are having a picnic. The work they have to do at the Front is strenuous enough without people here attempting to harass the feelings of their friends and relatives by making out that their condition is worse than it is. It is not possible to keep men in the trenches in such strenuous times without giving them ample holidays and recreation.
– Will the honorable senator deny that soldiers wounded three or four times were repaired in London and sent back to the Front ?
– All honour to them. I have myself known men who were wounded two or three times, and went back to the trenches, and were glad to go back. On many occasions. I have seen Australian soldiers who, after being wounded or through illness in the trenches, were condemned by a Medical Board as not being fit for further service in the trenches, and I never saw men more disappointed - all honour to them for it - because they were not permitted to go back to the Front. I mention my own experience, the wires received from General Birdwood, and the sending of battalions to Italy, in order to show that our boys have had ample reinforcements. We had a statement, from the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) on the’ subject in Sydney which he cannot go back upon. The Government - had not decided upon conscription at that time, and were boosting the voluntary system, and the Minister for Defence said that there was no time since the war started at which the Australian divisions were not ‘at their full strength, or were short of reinforcements. A few weeks later., when the Government desired to bolster up their demand for conscription, it was said that some of the battalions were not at half their strength, and the men were called upon to do double work in the trenches.
Another scare that was raised by the conscriptionists was that we were in absolute danger of invasion. We were invited to believe that if the conscription proposal of the Government was not carried the Germans would be here next day, and we could almost hear their guns booming in the Gulf. The suggestion that a bankrupt and war-worn Germany had any idea of coming to molest us in Australia was simply ridiculous. I have never heard an argument that would hang a dog to show that Germany ever had any serious designs upon Australia. If honorable senators opposite do not agree with that, I hope they will produce some evidence in support of their contention.
– Before the war broke out the honorable senator might have found a number of people in England who could not see any argument to support the view that. Germany intended to attack the Empire.
.- . This country has been open to the German people. We have welcomed them here, and they have been amongst our best colonists. We have asked them to come, and many came here to avoid military service and the restrictions of Prussian laws. Blood is, of course, thicker than water, and Germans here, no doubt, have some sympathy with their own country, but I never heard a German in Australia say that he would not prefer to live tinder Australian rule than under the laws enacted by the Kaiser and his Reichstag.
A day or two before the referendum was taken the Prime Minister painted the state of things on the Western Front in the most gloomy colours. He said, “ Our Allies are . contending there . against overwhelming odds; the position is imminent, urgent, and desperate”; the implication being that if conscription was not carried in Australia something dreadful would happen. That was the statement of the Prime Minister of Australia, 12,000 miles away from the scene of operations. Within a day or two after he made it, Mr. Lloyd George - the Prime Minister of Great Britain - after stating that we had great difficulties to ‘ contend with on the Western Front, said, “ There is no occasion for panic. Notwithstanding the defection of Russia, there is a vast superiority of the Allies on the Western Front over the forces opposed to them.” That was the statement of the man on the spot.
– That is the same man who, a little while before, pictured Russia as shaking Austria-Hungary to pieces.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.At any rate, of the two, I prefer to believe the man on the spot. I have here a speech - which I do not think any one else has quoted - delivered by the Prime Minister in Brisbane. ‘ Like Louis XIV., he seems to think he is the State, there are so many “I’s” in his speech. Somebody calculated the number of “ I’s “ in a threecolumn report of his speech at Bendigo, and found there were 111 - more even than Argus had, and he was reputed to have 100. That was the famous occasion on which he said that if he liked he could have led a united party, meaning that his party merely echoed his views. That is the opinion that- he seems to entertain of his followers - that they follow him personally, and not because of their own convictions, because he said distinctly, “If I went against conscription I could have led a united party; they would have all followed me.” He repeated that at Brisbane, saying that nothing stood between this country and conscription ex*cept his word, and that if he chose, by proclamation, to have conscription, it would be carried. Apparently, his colleagues do not count for anything. He said -
There has not been a day since the 5th of May when I could not have done anything I liked in this country! It is only my pledge which stands between this country and conscription. But without that power I shall not hold office. Without it it will be impossible to govern the country. It is only my pledge that is standing between these gentlemen and - conscription, my word, and nothing else. Just my bare word and nothing else. My word now alone stands between them and conscription by regulation or otherwise!
There is the almighty “ I.” It was as much as to say, “ There is no Ministry, no Parliament, nothing but myself, and what I say is law.” If we take from the Prime Minister’s speeches the in- _sinuations and innuendoes against every one who differs from him, and a little windy rhetoric and abuse of those opposed to him, there is very little solid left. His statements are a combination of ego and Iago. Outside those two prominent factors, there is very little in them.
I never had a higher opinion of the intelligence of the people of Australia than I have to-day. When I contemplated the tremendous forces arrayed against us in the fight - although I had every encouragement in conducting the campaign in my own State, and felt that we were on the right side, and had the majority with us - I could not help having misgivings. Practically the whole of the Parliament, the whole of the . press, and all the parsons were arrayed in one solid body against the forces that were fighting against conscription. They chose to slander the country they belonged to by saying that Australia disgraced itself in the referendum vote, although it has put up a record that no other country has ever done. I feel proud of Australia when I think that, in spite of our distance from the scene of conflict, over 300,000 men have gone voluntarily to fight the battles of the Empire and our own. I feel proud of being an Australian, and felt especially proud of it in London, where the word “Australia” on the shoulder strap, and the Australian hat, which is the chief characteristic of our troops, were enough to cause a man to be regarded practically as . a hero. The British people have the greatest regard for all the Dominions, but particularly for Australia and New Zealand, because they recognise the distance from which they sent their troops, and the pecuniary sacrifices, much greater than those of any other country, which they have had to make.
At Mr. Tudor’s meeting in the Exhibition Building, Adelaide, I stated that Australia had more men on the Western Front than Canada and New Zealand combined. Next day, the Prime Minister, in an inspired paragraph in the press, said my figures were altogether wrong, and quoted some figures of his own to show that Canada had sent more men than Australia. He quoted the number sent from Canada, but what I said had reference to those on the fighting front. He made the astounding statement that New Zealand was then sending reinforcements to the Front at the rate of 5,000 per month, a statement which had afterwards to be contradicted by the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), who explained that it was based on some misconception of a telegram from General Birdwood. We have since been told officially that New Zealand has reduced the number of her reinforcements because she finds she is not able to keep up the number she did before. The authority for my statement was Major-General Maurice, the Director of Operations on the Western Front. His figures, as published in a cablegram on the 10th November, were that on the Western Front, in the fighting line, there were 82 per cent. British, 9 per cent. Australian, 7 per cent. Canadian, and 2 per cent. New Zealand. That was a magnificent record for Australia, showing that she had as many men in the firing line on the Western Front as New Zealand and Canada combined.
– How could that be so if they were in London having a picnic?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Does tie honorable senator dispute those figures?
– I dispute your statement, which is the most foolish a man could make.
– It was published in the whole of the press on the authority of Major-General Maurice, Director of Operations on the Western Front - a man second only to General Haig himself.
– That was the number of troops on the line at a given time.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.It referred to the fighting line, as I said.
– The number of men there on a given date has no relation to the number of men from a given Dominion, who may have been immediately behind the firing line.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN It was the number who had been manning the firing line during that period. No amount of sophistry can get over those hard facts - 82 per cent. British, 9 per cent. Australian, 7 per cent. Canadian, and 2 per cent. New Zealand.
– Do you seriously say that is the contribution?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Those are the figures. They are official, and cannot be contradicted. They are supported by the statement since published, that Canada has four divisions, while Australia has five.
– Do you seriously contend that Canada has put fewer men in the field than Australia?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Tes ; she had less in the firing line at that time. That is the statement, and that is what counts. Only- two days ago, the Canadian Minister for Overseas Service stated that Canada had sent 350,000 men, and that the casualties had been only 125,000 to that date. Ours are considerably more than that now. Is not that the very best evidence possible?
– You said just now that the whole of the Australians had been withdrawn from the firing line and were on holiday.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.I am afraid the honorable senator does not understand much about military matters. The men engaged in defending a certain sector of the line are there for a certain time; they are then withdrawn for a rest, and afterwards go back again.
– You are taking the figures at one time only.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN Can the honorable senator explain why that official telegram was sent by the Director-General of Operations? Was it intended to deceive or to put a false complexion on the matter?
– I take those figures to be correct, but the honorable senator is arguing that the men in the firing line represent the sole contributions from the Dominions.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN I do not, but the men fighting are the men that count, and I have substantiated my statement by two other facts - the universally acknowledged one that Canada has only four divisions while we have five; and the other, published only two days ago, that the Canadian casualties are only 125,000. I wish ours were “ no more. Only yesterday, the Herald published the statement that the Canadian war expenses for nine months amounted to only £35,000,000.
– On whose authority?
Senator. Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.That was one of the cablegrams.
– Do you swallow all of them?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Perhaps the honorable senator thinks all these things are faked, to assist the “ No “ side in the campaign. . The honorable senator’s party gets all the publicity, because it has the whole of the press on its side. If anything has been faked, it has not been in support of our side. The Canadian war expenditure is at the rate of about £45,000,000 per year. I am sure our Treasurer would be very glad if our war expenditure was no more. According to these official figures, Australia had as many men in the firing line as Canada and New Zealand combined, and it is to be remembered that Canada has to transport men only one-fourth of the distance that we have to transport men, and has a population 70 per cent, greater than ours. Yet recreant Australians have said that the country has disgraced itself, arid this though our record’ is the admiration of the world, and has not been paralleled. My blood boils when men who live in Australia asperse the patriotism of her people in this way.
During the debate, we had appeals for unity. Was the campaign of slander in connexion with the two referendums likely to draw people together? Has it not had the contrary effect? Those responsible for this include the Prime Minister and other Ministers, upon whom, above all others, it devolved to set an example. When a great question is submitted to the people, there should be no party wrangling and recrimination. Having abused their opponents in every way, having liberated this poison gas, now that they find themselves beaten, they hold up the white flag, and say, “ Kamerad, come and join us.” I trust that never again will Australia be dragged in the mire by responsible politicians as she has been during the past eighteen months. We should endeavour to forget what has happened. I wonder what example this Ministry, which has come back to office whitewashed, and with ite sins forgiven, will set; and ‘what it is going to do with the recommendations of ite appointed Committee in regard to the amelioration of the condition of the soldiers.
– Does the honorable senator refer to a Committee, some of whose members, for party ends, broke the seal of secrecy under which certain matters were remitted to them?
– I have never used any but official figures, and the proposals to which I have referred were mentioned in the discussion of the Defence, Repatriation, and other measures. I was a member of a subcommittee of the Labour party which framed many of them.- >
– What of the statement that they had their genesis in that Committee ?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.They had not their genesis in that Committee. Most of them were discussed in this chamber in connexion with various Defence measures before being brought before the Committee. If Ministers wish to encourage recruiting, they must drop this abuse of the Labour party. Are not the recruits drawn from the ranks of labour ? It is the constituencies which voted “ No,” some by majorities of two and three to one, that are supplying the largest number of recruits? The charge has been made against the Labour party that it has not joined in the recruiting campaign; but in Victoria our leader, who was chairman of the State Recruiting Committee, was hooted and hissed, and could hardly get out of a hall in safety when he attempted to address a big recruiting meeting.
– Many others on this side were similarly served. They would not hear me at Broken Hill, and in many other places, when speaking on recruiting. I have been pelted with rotten eggs, but I still continue to address recruiting meetings.
– I have on many occasions taken part in recruiting meetings, and am willing to do so again, but many of these meetings were really -conscription meetings, at which the presence of a Labour member was embarrassing. On one occasion, when Senator Shannon was present, two gentlemen, for whom I make every excuse, because one of them had two sons fighting, and the other had lost a son at the war, made several statements against which I felt called upon to protest. One of them said that he had written to the Premier of .the State arranging a coalition with the Nationalists. Then he read a letter from a soldier at the Front, denouncing most bitterly and abusively all who at the previous referendum had voted “No,’1’ stigmatizing them as shirkers and a disgrace to their country. The other gentleman repeated the statement which Mr. Justice Heydon had to withdraw, and for which he had to apologize, namely, that the torpedoing of the Ballarat was owing to the fact that the coal lumpers of New South Wales would not supply coal at the proper time, or the proper sort of coal. He said that those who lost their lives in connexion with the sinking of that vessel had been murdered by the Labour party. At two or three other meetings I found that the presence of a Labour man on the platform was embarrassing. At each of them conscription was urged, and the speakers threatened the audience that young men who did not go would be sent. If we are to encourage recruiting, we must drop all that. To make voluntarism a success we must work hard for it. Under the voluntary system we, sent away 47,000 last year, notwithstanding the big strike and the referendum campaign, which reduced the enlistments by one-half. Without these- interferences we should have had over 50,000 recruits, aud if we continue to send away that number each year w© shall be doing a fair thing, and shall be meeting ‘ as many casualties as any army in Europe is suffering. We shall be doing all that can be reasonably expected of Australia. The reservoir from which we must draw our recruits is being exhausted, and, consequently, we cannot expect to obtain the same number of reinforcements that we were able to secure in the early stages of the war. But I believe that we can secure reinforcements to the extent of 50,000 per annum, and that, I believe, represents all that can be expected from us in justice to ourselves and to the production of this country, which must be maintained if we are to be in a position to meet the huge liabilities’ that we are incurring in connexion with the war.
– Apparently, it is only now that we are beginning to realize that, great as were some of the men whose lives are recorded in the pages of history, there is in Australia a still greater man who has spoken from the floor of this chamber tonight. One can but envy the feeling which must be in the breast of an individual who has done all his fighting on the carpet of a floor, and who ventures to pit his knowledge against tha£ of a man who has spent almost a lifetime upon the battlefield. Yet that is practically the position which this gentleman has assumed this evening. He has called into question the statements made by General Birdwood, has affirmed that the telegrams from that officer were “ f aked,- that the reinforcements sought were not necessary, and has declared, in effect, that his own statements must be regarded as more authoritative. He has told us that we are not to believe certain things; that no danger is to be apprehended; that if we only keep our heads this war will be won ; that Germany has never had any designs upon Australia, and that she did not desire to go to war with England ; that she practically begged the Old Country not to be drawn into the struggle ; and that she has kept her word right through the piece. These statements evidence that the honorable senator who has been “ barracking “ for Germany has never read anything outside the pages pf a novel, otherwise he would know that Germany has had distinct ideas in regard to Australia. If the honorable senator will refer to the Argus of only two days ago he will find in the cables, , upon which he laid so much stress, how this country was to be parcelled out by Germany - how Australia was to be the prize in this war.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - Who is the honorable senator’s authority ?
– I am quoting the authority which was cited by the honorable senator himself. But if he doubts that authority, I refer him to the leading German writers, and to numerous American writers, who show that Germany has spent no less a sum than £90,000,000 in propaganda work in the United States of America. As a matter of fact, Canada has to keep one-third of her military forces occupied in preventing the bridges between the Dominion and the United States of America being blown up.
With the knowledge that he must possess, I cannot understand how Senator O’Loghlin could utter the statements which he did. Let me examine the figures quoted by him. He affirmed that if General Birdwood sent telegrams to Australia announcing that 16,500 reinforcements per month were required, and if that officer now says that 7,000 will be sufficient, he did not know his business. I dispute the deduction of the honorable senator entirely. I ask him whether Great Britain has not revised her estimates in regard to this war? Has she’ not had to withdraw pledges which Mr. Lloyd George made to the working men in England in order that the Man-Power Bill might be proceeded with? We all know that, in the course of a protracted war, it frequently becomes necessary to revise the position. But, apparently, there is one man in this chamber with all-sufficient wisdom, who is the superior of General Haig, of General Birdwood, and of all those who are controlling the soldiers at the Front. Seeing that he has trodden the deck of a transport, surely he is the man, and all wisdom will die with him. Coming to the statement that 16,500 reinforcements per month were required, what do we find? We find that that statement was made immediately after the attack on Verdun, when France Had lost in two weeks 90,000 men, and Australia had suffered severely. Basing his calculation on such casualties, I hold that General Birdwood was justified in the statement which he made.
– Notwithstanding that Russia had just taken 250,000 prisoners.
– Does the honorable senator realize that the cause of Russia’s collapse was the insufficiency of her munitions? She had only four rifle rounds per man per day, and because she had insufficient munitions, and insufficient trained soldiers, her collapse took place.
– The figures which I gave were given on the authority of history and of the casualties that had been published.
– On the authority of history, the honorable senator might as well compare the casualties of the battle of Waterloo with the casualties of to-day. Does he not realize that when things are different they are not the same? Because the casualties during a fortnight numbered so many, they were taken by the authorities as the basis of the casualties for a period - of twelve months. As the fighting in the immediate future is expected to be more severe than it has ever been, it is only reasonable to ask for a still greater supply of reinforcements.
– The explanation of why they are not being asked for is that the authorities did not know there would be a winter in Europe.
– If the honorable senator can persuade himself that certain persons did not know that winter would succeed summer, he is a very clever logician indeed.
– Mr. Hughes did not know it.
– The honorable senator will recollect that the reason why the casualties were not as great as they were expected to be was because the winter intervened. Those were the words used. Winter was coming on, and therefore the casualties would not be so great. But casualties are greater in the spring, and spring is coming on, so there is reason to believe that a larger number of reinforcements will be required.
– They were 80 per cent. out, anyway.
– I want to take another of the honorablesenator’s statements and examine it. He said that the soldiers could not be entertained in London last Christmas because there was no hall large enough to hold them, and yet immediately afterwards he told us that the number at the Front was greater than those representing Canada and New Zealand put together. I have never yet heard that a man could be in two places at one and the same time, yet by some process of logic the honorable senator proves to demonstration, apparently, that our men could be in London -because he said there was no hall large enough to hold them at Christmas time - and also at the Front. This statement is on a parallel with the statement made during the previous referendum campaign that there were tens of thousands of our troops on Salisbury Plain; that we were in the last days, and even in the last minutes, of the war, which would be over before Australian reinforcements could get there. Our opponents, it appears, advance the argument that because at a given time and in a given engagement there was a certain percentage of Australians in the firing line, they were there all the time, and because of that fact they should be there always. On these premises they might even argue that our soldiers never suffered any casualties, and that therefore Australia had all the men she wanted there. I should not wonder even if they advanced one step further in the argument, and tried to persuade us that nobody had been killed.
Senator O’Loghlin tried to make out that because Canada’s expenditure totalled only £35,000,000, that Dominion had not as many men at the Front as Australia. But the argument is absolutely fallacious, because we must remember that Great Britain transported Canada’s troops at her own expense, and also clothed, fed, and paid them. Moreover, the distance from Canada is much less than from Australia, and consequently the total charges must be a great deal less.
– And their pay is less.
– Yes, that is so. If the foundation of an argument is insecure the argument itself cannot be maintained, and, as I have ‘shown that Canada’s cost per man is much less than Australia’s, it is reasonable to suppose that the Dominion’s forces at the Front are equal, if not greater, than those from Australia. And I have conclusive evidence on this point in the shape of an official list giving the number of troops sent forward by both Canada and Australia. These figures are absolutely incontrovertible.
– Nobody disputes them.
– Senator O’Loghlin did endeavour to disprove the truthfulness of these figures.
– No. Senator O’Loghlin stated that Australia had more men in the firing line than Canada, and so she has.
– Then does the honorable senator set up the argument that, as Australia has more men in the firing line, Canada has more men engaged in playing cricket?
– The honorable senator knows that Australia has five divisions at the Front, and Canada only four.
– If Canada has only four divisions, how is it that, according to these official figures, the number of Canadian troops is greater than the ‘ Australian figures ?
– How many divisions does the honorable senator say . Canada has, according to those figures]
– The figures do not state how many divisions there are, but, according to the honorable senator’s statement, Canada would only have 80,000 men in the firing line.
– That is what the daily papers say she has.
– Well, I do notrely upon the daily papers for this information. The official figures show that Canada has sent abroad 344,422 men, and Australia 315,853. We know that at a given time Canada had fewer men at the Front than Australia, but then, on the other hand, there was a period in the history of the war when “Australia had less men than Canada in the firing line, so that the statement that Australia had a greater proportion of men at the Front than Canada and New Zealand put together only applied for a limited time, and during one particular engagement.
Senator O’Loghlin also had something to say with regard to equality of sacrifice, and in this connexion I would point out that we cannot compare things that are incomparable. We cannot compare, for instance, any sacrifice of money as against sacrifice of human life or human suffering; but it is reasonable to compare the sacrifice of a soldier - the man who has offered himself - with the sacrifice of an eligible who remains at home; of the men who are here when it is their duty to be with their comrades at the Front. We can compare the sacrifice such men 1 are making for the benefit of those who remain behind, but we cannot compare the sacrifice of money with the sacrifice that a soldier makes on the battlefield. The two things are not comparable. I never attempt to compare them, but I regret to say that we frequently hear such a comparison being made.
In connexion with this war it is very often said, and said unthinkingly, that the wealthy men of Australia are doing nothing. Again and again in the Senate we have been told that the Nationalist party are doing nothing - ‘that Mr. Hughes is doing nothing - but as against that statement we know how much has’ actually been done by the party and its leader. It is in exactly the same spirit that the statement is so . often made that the wealthy” men of Australia have done nothing in this war.
– They have done a good many things that they ought not to have done.
– As the honorable senator knows, I have never “ barracked ‘ for the wealthy man, but there comes a time when we must do justice, when we must speak the truth that is in us, and not blind our eyes to the facts.
Let me commend to the consideration of my honorable friends opposite a few . figures bearing on this point. Since the commencement of the war the Commonwealth Parliament has passed into law measures which involve the payment of additional taxation sufficient to meet not only the interest on our war indebtedness, but sinking fund, war pensions, and the cost of repatriation up to the end of the present financial year. Such taxation must be very largely a burden upon the wealthy men of Australia. This extra taxation, levied since the war began, will yield revenue sufficient to cover the four items of expenditure to which I have referred. The estimated cost of the war up to 3rd June of this year is £148,000,000. Interest at 4^ per cent, on that amount is £5,760,000; a sinking fund of per cent, represents £711,000; the estimated cost of war pensions is £2,500,000, and the cost of repatriation up to 30th June next is estimated to be about £1,000,000. These are all the charges that can be made in the shape of our committments for war purposes up to the present, and they represent a total of £9,971,000. To meet these charges there has been imposed since the commencement of the war an increase of the Federal land tax, which in its highest stages reaches 9d. in the £1. We have also provided for an income tax with an exemption of £156 for a married person, plus £26 for each child under the age of sixteen years. This tax proceeds on graduated increases from about 3d. in the £1 on the lower grade until it arrives at the maximum of 6s 3d. in the £1. There is also a flat rate of £1 for single persons who are in receipt of a salary or income of £100 per annum. Then we have the bachelors tax, which was imposed last year, but which has not yet come into operation. We have in addition to that imposed probate and succession duties, and a war-time profits tax. From all these sources the estimated revenue expected to be obtained during the present financial year is about £10,250,000, as against war commitments up to the 30th June next, estimated at £9,971,000. I commend these figures to the consideration of honorable senators opposite in view of the fact that they are constantly declaring that nothing has been done to meet our war expenditure. They will not say that the increases made in the land tax and the income tax will touch the poor man nor that the war-time profits tax will do so.
– The Government are letting the “profiteers” touch the poor man.
– Directly we attempt to nail down our honorable friends opposite to a definite statement, they shift their ground. We reach the profiteer in two ways. We reach him by the war-time profits tax and also under the income tax.
– By a war-time profits tax estimated to yield £450,000 a year ! And a couple of hundred rabbit trappers have been robbed of £230,000 in nine months !
– I would refer the honorable senator to the reports of two large companies carrying on operations in Australia which show the extent to which they expect to be hit by the wartime profits tax. In the last report of the Mount Lyell Company iti is stated that they have set aside £368,600 to meet the Commonwealth war-time profits taxation for 1915-16 and 1916-17, Then, again, the Broken Hill Sulphide Company have, according to their latest balancesheet, set aside £369,000 to meet Commonwealth taxation for the two years just mentioned. It will thus be seen that the total taxation which these two companies expect to be called upon to bear for the two years period is £737,600. And yet honorable senators say that the burden of the war rests on the poor man.
– So it does.
– I have given the ‘ honorable senator my authority for the statements I have made, and; he will be able to check them for himself. Taking all these facts into consideration, he must recognise that the Parliament has made a very substantial effort to see that the burden of the war. shall rest upon those best able to bear it.
I recognise that, on the. whole, it is impossible to prevent an increase of prices, but, side by side with that fact, I invite the Opposition to recollect that to-day we are receiving from Great Britain and distributing in Australia more money for our produce than we have ever received before. What would be the position in Australia to-day if the large sum mentioned by Senator Earle last night as having been paid by Great Britain for the purchase of our products had not been circulated in the Commonwealth? What, would have been the position if our wheat had been lying in the fields or rotting on the wharfs, or if our minerals which have proved so valuable an asset to England had not been purchased by her? What would have been the position if Great Britain, instead of taking our minerals, had obtained such requirements elsewhere, as she could have done? If she had nob purchased from us these and various other commodities at a cost equivalent to- more than £2,000-000 per week, what should we have done ? If that vast sum had not been distributed in Australia our fields would have been untilled, our mines would have been unworked, our factories would have closed down, the shutting down of businesses would have followed, and we should have had want and poverty on every side - destitution such as Australia has never known. We should then have known what the evil fires of war were doing to us. To-day, however, we remain 1 unscathed. No other land enjoys such privileges as are purs.
I deeply regret that we are not all united in facing an enemy common to humanity. We find division, and acrimony, and, in this debate, not criticism, but statements that are almost slanderous in regard to the man who has done more than any other has ever done to secure prosperity and freedom for Australia. We talk of liberty, but what would our liberty be worth if the Germans came here? What would all that we have gained in the past be to us if to-day we were like Belgium ? Do honorable senators think that.it is impossible we should come to such a pass? What Germany has done to Belgium and Servia she could do to Australia if, we dared to oppose her. Our liberties are wrapped up in the safety of the Old Land, whose flag some of- us are glad to be under. As Australians we should not rest satisfied, but should use every ounce of our power, and every man that can be spared, to fight the battles, not only of England, but of Australia. I hope there will be an end to all acrimony, and that, on both sides of the Senate, there will arise a determination to unite. Now that the public have said that they will not have conscription, politicians, at any rate, may join and determine to do their best to induce men to enlist. A Tasmanian senator contended that the Labour party, as a party, had taken their full part in recruiting. Surely it is well known that the Labour party in South Australia were invited to send a representative to the State Recruiting Committee, and, through their secretary,- declined to do so. It is also well - known that the Trades and Labour Council of South Australia received a similar invitation, and also refused. I do not say that individual members of the Labour party have not taken part ; but it stands to the eternal disgrace of Labour in this country that, .while its supporters will not have conscription, they, with the same voice, declare that they will not have recruiting. We ought to feel that there is a common danger and responsibility resting on every man, and that, until every man has done his duty, we shall not Have done enough.
.- So far in this debate we have not heard much criticism of the Supply Bill, the discussion having been mainly confined to the question of recruiting. A number of honorable senators have devoted much time in an endeavour to prove that the manhood of this country has not taken its fair share in the war, while others have gone further and declared that Australians, as a people, are everlastingly disgraced because they have twice turned down conscription. Many of the previous speakers have quoted figures showing the number of men Australia has sent to the Front, and I think those figures compare favorably, and more than favorably, with those relating to most of the other countries engaged in the war. Of course, there are various reasons why the number of men now coming forward is not so large as formerly. When 300,000 men out of a population of 5,000,000 have left the country, we cannot expect to see the same number offering as was the case before there was any talk of conscription. Before conscription was mooted, the voluntary system- had provided men more quickly than the Government could provide vessels to take them overseas, coming forward, as they did, at the rate of 9,000 or- 10,000 a month. Then the Prime Minister returned from Great Britain and declared that we were not sending enough, and, in support of his contention, quoted figures which were afterwards proved to be wrong. However, he initiated a system that was repugnant to the people of the country, and they, rightly or wrongly, felt that he, as head of the Government, was trying to impose something which they would not tolerate, and believed he was not putting the case fairly. The people were of the opinion, and the figures bore them out, that the men were, enlisting fast enough. After the talk of conscription arose, recruiting continued at the same rate for some months, and then suddenly fell to. about half of what it had been before, and has remained at that ever since. It has been shown here, time after time, that the voluntary system has provided sufficient “numbers to fill every gap, and more than every gap, in the firing line up to the present.
There is much discussion as to the number of divisions at the Front. During the campaign I took the statement of the Government, namely, that there are five divisions, and, on their own figures, proved that they were wron» in their contention. I had accompanying me a returned soldier, who, at a public meeting, put it to Senator Pearce that there were not five, but seven, divisions at the Front when he left England in the previous May. He pointed out that there were five divisions in France, and that he saw a sixth division reviewed on Salisbury Plain by the King, whilst the Seventh Light Horse Division was in Palestine. Honorable senators can take that statement for what it is worth; but, for myself, I argued on the basis of five divisions as good enough for my case.
In 1916 the policy of conscription was forced on by the Prime Minister. I have no quarrel with the people who supported the right honorable gentleman, because they believed him to be right. He was trying to lead the people to believe that he was doing the best possible thing; but they thought there was some object beyond the mere reinforcement of the troops behind his proposal. And when conscription was defeated, the Government themselves proved that supposition up to the hilt. They were not content to accept the verdict of the people ; they immediately commenced to plot and plan for some other method of fooling the people. Sizing up the situation, they concluded that what had defeated conscription in 1916 was the force of organized Labour. That was the lion in the path, and it must be destroyed by some means or other. ‘ Nobody knew better than the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) what organized Labour would do under certain provocation, and a number of his supporters shared his knowledge. I say, and most people in the country believe, that the Commonwealth Government, in conjunction with the State Government of New South Wales, set about destroying the strength of organized Labour, and the means adopted to achieve that end was the introduction of the Taylor card system in New South Wales. They knew that the men would fight the system, and that organized Labour would not tolerate this innovation unless starved into it; that Labour would fight to the last ditch, would exhaust its financial resources, and lose its organization. Then when Labour was down and out, the Government, with the force of money at their disposal, and the support of the capitalistic press, would be able to impose conscription on Australia. Whether that view of the situation be right or wrong, it is what the bulk of the people believe.
– And where was Mr. Justice Higgins all this time ?
– Where was he when organized Labour in New South
Wales asked for Commonwealth intervention? Where was Mr. Justice Edmunds when he was asked to adjudicate on the demands of those men who were hounded down as disloyalists, Sinn Feiners, and traitors to Australia? Where were these two Judges when the workers asked that their case should be adjudicated upon by either of them, and promised if the decision went against them they would work on under the card system till the end of the war.
– The workers made the same promise when Mr. Justice Edmunds gave Eis award in the coal dispute.
– When the award in the coal dispute was given, Mr. Hughes was Prime Minister, and the strike did not interfere with the industry of the country for more than a few days, because he had behind him a party which said, “ Get to work and settle this business at once.” But later, when he was kept in office by a party that expected something for the support given to him, his attitude was quite different.
– Why did not the coal-miners observe the terms of the award ?
– Why did Britain enter this war ? Was it not for the reason that there, was a bully in Europe that regarded treaties as scraps of paper, and decided to trample a small nation into the earth ? And the miners entered this fight because the Government were tearing up scraps of paper, and trying to impose on the men conditions they would not tolerate. Although they were breaking the agreement with the Government, the same spirit actuated them as actuated Great Britain when she intervened on behalf of Belgium and other small nations. The coal-miners may have been .wrong in striking, but I hope that the spirit which prompted them will never die out, and that they will everlastingly be prepared to come to the assistance of their weaker comrades.
I have said that Mr. Hughes knew exactly what Labour would do in certain circumstances, and the Government deliberately played for a general strike, and got what they expected. But the after results were not what they had anticipated. Having, as they thought, weakened Labour in the big industrial upheaval, they again brought forward conscription; but the revivifying force of Labour came stronger than ever. We put up a better fight than at any time in the history of this country, and the Government were beaten again.
There are a lot of honest people who believe in the card system, and Senator Fairbairn said, last night -
The strike was attributed to the attempt to introduce a revised card system in New South Wales. An article published in the Age showed that in the United States of America the Taylor system had resulted in the men doing more work at greater convenience to themselves, and that it operated most harmoniously. ,
I propose to make a few quotations from Taylor’s book, so that honorable senators will not be dependent upon the Age for their knowledge or inspiration in regard to the card system.
– The honorable senator must first prove that it was the card system that was sought to be introduced.
– I know there is some dispute as to whether it was the Taylor system; but I, and most of the people concerned in the strike, believe that it was. I have here a book called Shop Management, by Fred W. Taylor. This is what it says about the man who is in charge of a body of workers, and desires to get the best results out of them : -
His first step was to place an intelligent, college-educated man . in charge of progress in this line. This man had not before handled this class of labour, although he understood managing workmen. He was not familiar with the methods pursued by the writer, but was soon taught the art of determining how much work a first-class man can do in a day. This was done by timing with a stop-watch a firstclass man while he was working fast. The best way to do this, in fact, almost the only way in which the timing can be done with certainty, is to divide the man’s work into its elements, and time each clement separately. For example, in the case of a man loading pig- iron on to a car, the elements should be: - Picking up the pig-iron from the ground or pile (time in hundredths of a minute) ; walking with it on a level (time per foot ‘walked) ; walking with it up an incline to car (time per foot walked) ; throwing the pig-iron down (time in hundredths of a minute); or laying it on a pile (time in hundredths of a minute) ; walking back empty to get a load (time per foot walked).
The author continues later -
When an establishment has reached an advanced state of organization, in many cases, a fifth element should be added, namely, the task should be made so difficult that it can only be accomplished by a first-class man.
This is the Taylor card system which caused the strike. Here is one of Taylor’s methods of timing -
Time filling a barrow with any material.
Time preparing to wheel.
Time wheeling full barrow 100 feet.
Time dumping and turning.
Time returning 100 feet with empty barrow.
Time dropping barrow and starting to shovel.
Loosening 1 cubic yard with the pick.
Percentage of a day required for rest and necessary delays.
Load of a barrow, in cubic feet.
Time per cubic yard, picking, loading, and wheeling any given kind of earth to any given distance when the wheeler loads his own barrow.
Here is a further quotation -
Mr. Taylor. Have you tried the incisive plan of centering on one man instead of going at the whole shooting match at once. I think failure is due to a -lack of patient persistence on the part of the employers, and then to a lack of centering right on to a single man. No workman can long resist the help and persuasion of five foremen over him. He will either do the work as he is told to or leave.
These are examples of what the Taylor card system really means. I have another magazine, the American Federationist, of December, 19.14, and it has to say -
The recent report of the House Committee on Labour upon the Taylor system of shop management emphasizes the physical effects of “ speeding up.” Persistent efforts to have this system introduced into the War Department have resulted in its partial installation in the Watertown and Hoek Island arsenals. Those establishing this system have concerned themselves principally with “speeding up” the workmen.
The report divides the system under three headings - standardization, systematization, and stimulation. The expense incurred for the first and second purposes of the system falls upon the operators; the costs of the third, stimulation, are paid by the workers in their physical health. This the House Committee’s report recognises: -
The Taylor system regards the workman as a machine to be “ speeded up “ to its maximum capacity.- When this human machine fails to function to the satisfaction of the management it is to be cast aside to make room for the new machine^a fresh workman. The authors of the system do not appear to have concerned themselves about the ultimate fate of the human derelicts who may be compelled to drop out because they cannot stand the pare. Mr. Taylor boasts that when he installed his system in the Bethlehem steel works he purposely made the tasks so hard that not more than one out of five labourers, perhaps even a smaller percentage than this, could keep up. . . .
This may be the kind of “ efficiency “ which produces dividends for the steel trust, but it is surely not the system which a beneficent government should force upon its employees.
The Taylor system endeavours to work men up to the very edge of a breaking strain. Stopwatch observations are used as a basis for setting a pace for workers. Upon the effectiveness of this method the House Committee on Labour quotes from a report made to the Sixty-second Congress. ‘ Two members of the present Cabinet) Secretaries Redfield and Wilson, were members of the Committee making the report, which said in part -
By the stop-watch you -may be able to determine the time in which a piece of work can be done, but you do not thereby alone determine the length of time in which it ought to be done.
The time study of the operations of any machine can be made with a reasonable degree of accuracy, because all of the elements can be taken into consideration in making computations. A machine is an inanimate thing - it has no life, no brain, no sentiment, and no place in the social order. With a workman it is different. He is a living, moving, sentient, social being; he is entitled to all the rights, privileges, opportunities, and respectful ‘ consideration given to other men.
He would be less than a man if he did not resent the introduction of any system which deals with him in the same way as a beast of burden or an inanimate machine.
This is the Taylor card system which the men of New South “Wales ‘and the rest of Australia fought against, the sort of thing that was sought to be imposed by a Government claiming in part to represent organized Labour in this country. The same magazine in its issue of August, 1916, says -
The American Federation of Labour has achieved a tremendous victory of far-reaching consequence in protecting workers in certain trades against the pernicious system that threatened, the manhood, the independence and initiative of the workers of those trades. Particularly the workers in the metal trades have felt the impending danger of efforts to fasten upon them systems of so-called “ scientific management.” These systems are endeavouring to establish a new” standard for paying wages, a standard that would inevitably undermine the health and mentality of workers, for it is a standard that aims directly to speed-up workers to the exhaust point, and to instil the mechanical habits of work.
In order to protect the lives and health of workers, Congress incorporated into the Sundry Civil Bill and Fortifications- Bill the following proviso: -
Provided that no part of the appropriations made in this Act shall be available for the salary or pay of any officer, manager, superintendent, foreman, or other person having charge of the work of any employee of the United States while making or causing to be made with a stop-watch, or other time-measuring device, a time study of any job of any such employee between the starting and completion thereof, or of the movements of any such employee while engaged upon such works, nor shall any part of the appropriation made in this Act be available to pay any premium or bonus or cash reward to any employee in addition to his regular wages, except for suggestions resulting in improvements or economy in the operation of any government plan.
There is a further quotation I desire to make from the same magazine’s issue for January, 1916. It gives a summary of the record of sixty-third Congress, and says that among measures enacted of interest to Labour were the following : -
Taylor system, stop-watch, and speeding-up methods in United States arsenals prohibited.
Taylor system, stop-watch, and speeding-up methods in the United States Navy Yards, Gun Factories, and Torpedo stations prohibited.
The men of America, organized Labour, and the Government of that country have seen the iniquity of the Taylor card system, and by the laws of Parliament have absolutely prohibited its introduction. Yet this is what is endeavoured to be instituted in Australia, the freest country on earth; and the men who fought against it, knowing something of its effect in America, the land of its birth, are called disloyalists. This is the plot which was brought about by the National Government in conspiracy with the State Government to break down organized Labour in this country, so that they would be enabled to inflict on it in its weakened condition conscription that they could not enforce in any other circumstances.
– Surely the honorable senator does not establish any connexion between the Federal Government and the Government of New South “Wales in regard to, the recent strike.
– The honorable senator might be quite innocent in regard to the matter, but I tell him frankly that there is a very small minority of people in Australia who believe that there was not a conspiracy between the Federal Government and the State Government to destroy Labour in Australia. That is why Labour has no faith in honorable senators opposite ; that is why it can have no sympathy with them, and will not believe them. Labour has ample evidence of what was sought to be- inflicted upon it, and believes that when the strike was brought about it was a deliberate plot to destroy the workmen of this country.
– Before God, I knew nothing of that strike.
– Senator Bakhap may be one of the innocents. I believe that he is. I do not believe that he would be a party to this kind of thing, but there are many tilings done under the present Government which he and others on the opposite side know nothing about. There are a number of honorable senators who have gone away from the Labour party and are now on the side of the socalled Win-the-war Government. They are constant in their recriminations against, honorable senators on this side; but while they claim to be still “ Simon Pures “ of Labour, they stand behind the Government who have been guilty of this thing.
– The honorable senator says that the Government are guilty, but he has proved no connexion of the Government with the matter to which he has referred, nor has he yet proved the introduction of the Taylor card system.
– I do not know what evidence Senator Millen requires.
– I want some proof that the system about which the honorable senator has been reading from American papers is the system which it was attempted to introduce at Randwick.
– I am giving that proof- so far as I am able.
– There is no stopwatch in operation there.
– The honorable senator says that the Taylor card system is not introduced at Randwick, because it is his business to say so.
– Senator Gardiner exhibited the cards in use at Randwick in this chamber.
– I know that that is so; but let me say that before the Government ever attempted to introduce that system-
– First of all, the Government did not introduce it, and had no connexion with its introduction.
– I know that Senator Millen says’ that the Government had no connexion with its introduction, but) I am telling him candidly that I do not believe that. I believe that the Nationalist Government, in collusion with the Government of New South Wales, deliberately laid themselves out to crucify organized Labour in Australia.
– Unless the honorable senator can produce some evidence of that, I am entitled to say that he is deliberately stating what is untrue.
– I am giving the evidence. I do not expect Senator Millen to accept it. I am not talking to him. 1 do not expect to convince him. I am talking to the people of the country.
– Where is- the evidence upon which the honorable senator bases his statement?
– I have given some of the evidence, and I will give more before I have finished. I say that the Government, in trying to introduce the Taylor card system-
– I say that the Federal Government had nothing to do with the matter, whatever the system introduced was.
– The honorable senator may say what he pleases, but I do not think he will get many people in this country to believe what he has said. Before the strike there was a card system in vogue in the Randwick work-shops, as there is in almost every, business place in Australia. That system is intended only to enable a person to find out definitely what it will cost’ to produce a certain article in connexion with any kind of business. But that was not the object of the introduction of the new system. Its object was to get the limit of the capacity of the manhood employed at the workshops out of the workers. That is why they fought it. Organized Labour recognised the fairness of the costing system in operation previously in connexion wit! every business in the country. But th< workers fought the system introduced in New South Wales, because, whether they were justified or not, they believed that it was the Taylor system that was t< be imposed upon them. They went fairly to work in making known their objec-tions to it. . Surely they made a fair offer to the Government when they said “ We are prepared to fight this thing, i necessary, but we do not want to fight Permit a Judge to - investigate the pre posed system. Hold up your order fo one week for that purpose, and if he dfcides against us, we will accept the ne1 system during the term of the war.’ What could have been fairer than that?
– They went on strike first.
– I am not admitting it, but even suppose they did go on strike first, what was wrong with that’* Surely it would not be the first time that organized Labour, or other bodies in this country, made a mistake. The Government were responsible for holding up the business of the country at the time of that strike. Supposing it is admitted that the men did go out on strike, was that a sufficient warrant for throwing this country into the great trouble that we had at that time? Anything would have been better than that. If the suggestion of the workers had been accepted, the commerce of the country could have been carried on properly. The Federal Government would not have exercised any great magnanimity if they had used their war powers, as they did in connexion with many far more insignificant matters, and had at that time said to the New South Wales Government, “ We are running Australia; the trade of this country must be gone on with.” They might have said to Holman, or to Beeby, or to whoever else was standing in the way, “ Get out of the road; we are going to appoint a Judge to deal with this matter. We intend to investigate the cause of the trouble.” They might have settled that matter as they. . have settled many other things in Australia. It did not take them long to pass a regulation to deal with persons who, according to them with telling lies, or to stop racing in this . country, which if it went on for 500 years would not do as much harm to the country as the strike did in one month. They refused to put their powers into operation to continue the industries of the country, and yet they expect the men of the working class to come crawling on their knees to the recruiting depots and say, “Yes, we will go and fight for these people who are trying to crucify us.”
The rabbiters of this country are only a handful of men carrying on an important industry, but this Government has deliberately robbed them of £230,000.
– That is not true,
– The honorable senator is aware that a member of this Parliament has said so.
– The Government gave the rabbiters a price with which they were satisfied. Having been paid for their skins, the market price of skins rose. There was no attempt to rob there.
– The Minister must know that there has been deputation after’ deputation on the subject, and that letter after letter has been written to the Department protesting against what has been done. The rabbiters earned the money, and they, and not the Government, were v entitled to it. The Government have refused to meet them, and will not give them what they earned. They have taken £230,000 from these men in nine months, and only £450,000 is to be taken from all the exploiters of this country who are starving the wives and kiddies of the soldiers fighting at the Front.
– In what way did the Government take £230,000?
– They decided to commandeer all rabbit skins. Rabbiters were compelled to send all skins to the Government, and sell them to them at a certain price. They had no option to do anything else, and in nine months, from April last year until December last year, the Government made a profit of £230,000 on the skins commandeered from the rabbiters. Surely that is a plain enough statement.
– What have they taken from the wool-growers?
– They let Mr. Jowett go to Sydney and fix the price of wool for himself. They arranged with the British Government to send a sufficient number of boats here to carry all the clip, and the wool-growers have received twice as much for their wool as they ever received before, yet now they are grumbling about it.
– There is no grumbling about it. The wool-growers have never said a word about it.
– There should be no grumbling from them. They are on the best wicket they have ever been on in their lives*
– The honorable senator should not say that they are grumbling.
– The more silent the honorable senator remains about the matter the better it will be. The woolgrowers will be able to enjoy the price they are getting for their wool whilst the present Government are in power. I am not grudging them the price they are getting.
– Then what is the honorable senator talking about?
– I am contrasting the methods adopted by the Government in wringing the last copper out of the poorer sections of the community and letting those who are well able to pay go practically free. Senator Fairbairn has the reputation of being a fair-dealing man, and I believe that he deserves that reputation. If he does he should not object to the people who in this country are best able to bear taxation doing their share of paying for the cost of the war. I should imagine that he would be one of the last to object to that. I am not growling about the price wool-growers are getting for their wool, but. objecting that a Government professing to be the friends of the people should allow this kind of thin? to go on, and then expect the workers to believe all they are told, to throw themselves into their arms and let the Government do as they like to them. The Government have bought all the wheat of the country, and have promised farmers 4s. per bushel for this year’s crop, and when the strike was on they organized, with the help of some members of the Senate, a bogus union which is now in operation. I have here a set of the rules of this bogus union, one or two of which I propose to inflict upon the Senate.
– I wish the honorable senator would not look so angry about it.
– That is merely my nature. I am not as angry as I look. Here is one of the rules of this bogus union which is behind honorable senators opposite, who profess to be as good Labour men as ever they were. This is the kind of thing that grows up under the sheltering wing of the Nationalist Government. I commend this rule to good old trade unionists in this chamber -
The union shall employ no paid officer (except a secretary), and shall have no connexion with politics, or with any trade or other organization or association which is connected with or interested in politics; and shall send delegates to no other industrial body or organization.
What set of slaves could you get more abject than that? What kind of trade union is it? What have you to say to that, you people who know something about organized Labour ; something of its methods and achievements- in Australia during the last quarter of a century? Here is another white-slave business put upon the worker. Men belonging to the Australian Workers Union or the Wharf Labourers Union - two great organizations that have been the means of putting many men into this or the other Chamber - who are driven to seek for work in order to get their daily bread, have to sign this sworn declaration. >
– Only wharf labourers?
– Anybody. If the honorable senator went down there tomorrow to handle wheat, he would have to sign it.
– Blacklegs took my job in this country twenty-five years ago.
– The Labour movement has improved since then.
– Tes, after Mr. Hughes came into it.
– There were people organizing Labour here before Mr. Hughes ever came to the country. I do not want to deprive” him of any credit due to him, but no one man ever made the Labour movement in Australia. It has been built up by the thousands of men and women who have put in their solitary “ bobs “ when they could ill-afford it, who have gone hungry, who have tramped the streets to canvass for members of Parliament, and who have done their starving and sacrificing. I was in the movement thirty years ago, which was before Mr. Hughes came to Australia. I was not doing much, but I was doing a little, and have been doing a little ever since. Thousands of men and women in Australia have built up the Labour movement; what is the use of saying that Mr. Hughes did.it?
– Mr. Hughes brought the Wharf Labourers Union together after the big strike.
– Others have done the same with other unions, but they do not claim to be the men who laid the foundation stone, or put the last pinnacle on the edifice ‘of Labour in Australia. I want to show honorable senators the sort of thing that is growing up under the protecting wing of the Win-the-war Government, and to see how much evidence there is in support of the claim of certain honorable senators opposite that they are still as loyal to Labour, and as able to safeguard its interests as they ever were. This is the declaration : -
In the matter of the Grain and Flour Workers Union, and of an application for membership thereof. I, of , in the State of Victoria, labourer, do solemnly and sincerely declare -
That I desire to become a member of the above union.
That I am a natural-born British subject (if not a natural-born British subject, the closest inquiries must be made, and a special clause inserted). I was born at on or about the day of , and have resided in Victoria for upwards of years.
That I am not a member of any other union or industrial organization. (If a member of any other union, &c, insert the word “ except “ and the name of such union.)
(If not a member of any other union, strike out this sub-paragraph.) I have duly delivered to the secretary of such last-mentioned union my written notice of resignation, and have paid all subscriptions, fines, and/or other moneys due or to become due by me to such union, but I have not yet received a clearance from such union because (as I believe) its rules prevent my resignation from being formally accepted until after the expiration of three months from the delivery of such notice.
(If not a member of any other union, strike out this sub-paragraph.) If I am elected to be a member of the Grain and Flour Workers Union I intend (and undertake) to obtain and produce to the committee, at as early a date as possible, an official clearance from the union mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) hereof, and I declare that I no longer consider myself to be a member of such union, and that, save as aforesaid, I have severed and intend from now onwards to completely and permanently discontinue all connexion between myself and such union.
I have read carefully the rules of the Grain and Flour Workers Union, and I am heartily in accord with its objects.
And I suppose every man on the other side of the chamber will be heartily in accord with them, too, because the members of the new union will not connect themselves with any other Labour organization, or interest themselves as an organization in politics, and never attend a Labour Conference of any kind, but simply stand outside like so many pariahs. That is the kind of organization of Labour that is growing up under the fostering care of the Win-the-war Government -
If I am elected to be a member of the Grain and Flour Workers Union I intend (and undertake ) to loyally obey and conform to all its rules and agreements, to do all in my power for its benefit and advancement, and to abstain from doing anything which might be injurious to its interests.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of an Act of the Parliament of Victoria rendering persons making a false declaration punishable for wilful and corrupt perjury.
That sort of thing was brought into existence at the time of the last strike. These are the men who are doing their best under the protection of the Government to disorganize the Labour forces. We were told by the daily press, when the fight was on, that 6,000 men were doing the work on the Sydney wharfs that the strikers had refused to do. We were told that they were magnificent specimens of manhood, physically splendid fellows, able to handle bags of wheat and wool like an ordinary man would handle a tin of sardines. They were called the loyalists of Australia, and were camped in some park near the Zoological Gardens in Sydney. When the strike was over, the New South Wales Recruiting Committee, backed by the Government, sent their most eloquent and powerful speakers to address them. They did it in these terms : “ You have rendered magnificent service to Australia doing the work on the wharfs while the disloyalists and traitors refused to do it. You have done it splendidly. There are 6,000 of you here now, The strike is over, and we have no further use for you at that kind of work, but we offer you now plenty of opportunities where you can give free play to your manly propensities at the Front. How many will go?” Out of these 6,000 loyalists - the saviours of the country, camped in that park - they got six. The men who have been filling the gaps in the trenches have come from the trade unions in the various States, and Mr. Donald Mackinnon the Director-General of Recruiting, in rebuking some one who said that the unionists were not doing their share in the fight, said that Newcastle and Broken Hill, the twoplaces where industrial troubles occur most frequently, had given the greatest number of recruits per head of population.
– And Kalgoorlie.
– That is another industrialcentre. I am not disputing that Kalgoorlie may be among the first, but am simply quoting Mr. Donald Mackinnon. It ill-becomes anybody to gibe at what Australia has done in this fight, or to taunt the trade unions with inactivity.
– You have been gibing at Australia because a lot of men in a camp would not enlist.
– I am simply stating what happened with the men the Government called the saviours of the country, and comparing them with the men the Government called traitors that are doing the fighting.
– Is not somebody else fighting ?
– Yes. I give every man who has gone there to fight all the credit to which he is entitled. No one can do anything but respect and admire the man who goes to lay down his life for what he believes to be right. But when it is said that organized Labour is doing its best to stop the war, and to keep men from going into the firing line, I strongly resent it. The records of the trade unions show, without any possibility of refutation, that it is the trade unionists who are the backbone of the fight. I know that any number of men have done gallant deeds there who never knew what a Trades Hall was, and never supported Labour. Perhaps they did their best to crush it. They are doing their bit in the war, and I have no fault to find with them for that. But, in reply to those who say that organized Labour has not done its share, let me repeat that my own union has over 30,000 members fighting, which is no small contribution to the fighting forces of Australia.
It has been said - I think wrongly - that the gaps in our fighting forces have hot been filled as fast as was desirable. I hold that, under the voluntary system, as many recruits were being obtained as were needed. Yesterday, when Senator Long was speaking, I asked what was being done with the 6,500,000 men that Great Britain has in , her Army, and was told that she had not that number of soldiers. But, according to Sir Auckland Geddes, whose speech on the introduction of the Man -Power Bill recently appeared in the Argus, the Allies are still substantially superior to the enemy, even after the defection of Russia and Roumania. He says that the Empire has up to date raised 7,500,000 men. Then Mr. Asquith, when attacking Mr.- Lloyd George about his Paris speech a couple of months ago, said that the Government had brought the British Army up to seventy divisions, that is, 1,400,000 men. If it be true that there are 1,400,000 men in the trenches on the various fronts, and 7,500,000 have been raised altogether, there must be 6,100,000 who are not fighting. They are being used, I suppose, to support andto furnish the relief. Roughly, there are four men who are not fighting behind every man in the firing line. A number of persons in Australia have said that if we do not send reinforcements faster our men will have to be withdrawn from the trenches. Well, if they had to be withdrawn, if Australia said, “ Our manhood is exhausted; we cannot send more men, and our five divisions must have a rest,” could not these 100,000 men be relieved by some of the 6,500,000 who are not fighting? I am not saying that I want this to happen.
– The question is, can we keep up the five divisions ?
– We have kept them up until now.
– No, we have not.
– Well, we have the honorable senator’s opinion, Senator Pearce’s opinion, General Birdwood’s opinion, and Mr. Hughes’ opinion, all of which conflict ; but the fact remains that, after accounting for every casualty since the beginning of the war, we have on the departmental figure’s 80,000 men to relieve those who are fighting.
– I speak from what I know.
– I have talked with a number of men whose wounds are evidence of their activity at theFront. They have told me what is happening there. Some of the things are calculated to make one open his eyes. Whether we can keep five divisions reinforced must depend on the duration of the war. We have kept them reinforced until now, but we could not go on reinforcing them were the war to last five years. I think that the figures show that there is not a large reserve of eligibles in the country, and the compulsory draft of 7,000 per month would have exhausted that reserve in a very short time. If you take up the newspapers you will find that in the Town Hall, in Melbourne, where recruits are offering every day, perhaps eight will be accepted out of thirty volunteers, the’ rest being rejected as medically unfit. That has been going on for about three years, so that by this time the great bulk of our manhood must have been through the recruiting offices.
– Many men go up time and again.
– That is so. Like most Australians, they are very willing, but the figures seem to prove that there are not the number of eligibles that the Government say are required. On the occasion of the first referendum we were told that the Government wanted 32,000 men for une first month aud 16,500 for every succeeding month. They have admitted that they were wrong in asking for so many, and I believe that later they will admit they were wrong in asking for 7,000 a month at the last referendum. The Labour party had to surmount tremendous obstacles during the last campaign, and put up the hardest and most splendid fight in its history.
– And the best financed one.
– We were well financed, but not, as it was said, with German gold. The money came from individuals who are as loyal as any in the country, but who considered it so important to the welfare of Australia to keep Australia free that they contributed all that they could afford to that end. They helped Labour to get the victory that stands to its credit to-day. The only way in which the Government can get the country to make its fullest effort is by conduct the reverse of that of the last few months. It has made no secret of its hostility to organized Labour, which it’ has done its best to crush. In that it has not succeeded until now. Notwithstanding the defections of gentlemen who assume the credit of having placed the coping stone on the Labour movement, we have been very much better without them than with them, and will continue to do more effective work. Even if those now in the party drop out, the movement itself will continue.
– You had a threemonths’ strike, and depleted the funds of the unions.
– You created that strike, and plotted for it. You sowed, but you did not reap the harvest that you expected;
– Who brought out the Melbourne wharf labourers on strike?
– If the honorable senator wishes to hear my grand speeches, he must remain in the chamber. To my mind, Labour will never again have any faith in the men who have, gone from its ranks. It would be too much to expect that the men and women all over Australia who had reposed great confidence in them, and who were largely responsible for putting those men into the positions which they occupied in the political life of this country, will ever have faith in them again. We know that a Labour representative has to submit to the will of a majority of his colleagues. I say that organized Labour made no mistake in regard to the question of conscription. It spoke upon that question unmistakably long before any member of this Chamber, with the exception of Senator Lynch, myself, and a few others, had declared himself upon it. I regret that there were in the ranks- of Labour so many men who owed more to the movement with which they were associated than it ever owed to them, and who were willing to sacrifice it on such a miserable issue. I am sorry that they refused to be persuaded on that memorable occasion, and were thus prevented from doing the best for the movement to which they belonged.
– They were to be beheaded. What was Mr. Finlayson’s motion?
– Senator Barnes was not game to stand up to it.
– There were so many motions by Mr. Finlayson, that I do not know the one to which the honorable senator refers.
– The men who left the movement had either to be traitors to their country by sacrificing their honest conviction?, or to get out.
– There was only one thing the honorable senator had to do. Let me tell him that the men who are connected with the Labour movement are not traitors to their country. There are thousands of them doing their duty to the Empire on the battlefields of Europe today. The honorable senator could have remained in this movement and have still been loyal to his country, just as other men have been.
– I shall be loyal to my country when the honorable senator is pleading that the Germans shall be allowed to “down” it.
– I do not know that anybody has particular reason to be proud of the honorable senator, and I do not intend that remark to be offensive.
– I take it to be offensive; and if the honorable senator were outside, I would show him something, notwithstanding all his bluster.
– I shall be outside presently.
– I ask Senator Plain to refrain from interrupting, and I must request Senator Barnes to be more careful in his choice of language.
– I apologize if I was transgressing.
– I do not ask for the honorable senator’s apology.
– I think that the time has passed when this Government could secure the confidence of Labour, without which it is helpless.
– What does it matter, if the freedom of the country has gone?
– There is no chance of that.
– One of the honorable senator’s colleagues has said, that the freedom of this country is being fought for to-day.
– Nobody disputes that. We are all agreed upon it. The other day there was, perhaps, a possibility of something being accomplished. The Government stated that they would adopt a certain courseif the electors did not vote in the way that they desired, but they failed to respect their promise. In such circumstances, how can they expect the people to have confidence in them? Had they done what honorable men would have done in similar circumstances, they would have got out. They might have been back in their positions in a comparatively brief - period, but the people would have realized that they had respected their pledge. Had Mr. Tudor been commissioned to form a Government-
– It has been stated by one of the honorable senator’s colleagues that Mr. Tudor gave the Go vernor-General an assurance that he would be able to carry on.
– I believe that he was justified in doing so. If he could not have carried on, my honorable friends opposite could have fired him out. I cannot imagine for a moment how the electors can repose any confidence in the present Ministry. I recognise that the latter have a heavy responsibility cast upon them. What do we find in the city of Melbourne? Notwithstanding that we have only a handful of soldiers returning here, more than 500 returned soldiers are out of employment.
– One of the leaders of the men has had £85 from our funds, and thirty-two billets have been found for him.
– Of course, we shall find both the good and the bad amongst them.
– In the honorable senator’s position as an organizer of Labour he must know that there is any amount of employment offering.
– I only know what I read in the daily press of this city. I suppose that a similar condition obtains in the other cities throughout Australia.
– Are the men to whom the honorable senator refers capable of doing work?
– I assume that the persons who give the public of this country information’ relating to unemployment investigate the position for themselves. Probably the unemployed register their names at the Labour Bureau. That being so, they must be credited with a desire to obtain employment, but they cannot make jobs for themselves. Surely it is the duty of the Government to do something in that direction, particularly at this time of the year, when there is usually more employment offering than there is at any other season. If there are unemployed in our midst now, the position will be much worse before the winter is over. It is a nice thing to learn that there are 500 returned soldiers out of work. That circumstance will cause eligible men, who might otherwise feel disposed to enlist, to ask what would happen to themselves if, after their service abroad, they were fortunate enough to return to Australia. It could not be expected that recruiting would go on satisfactorily under these handicaps, and it is nearly time that the Government did something to remedy the position. I sympathize with the Minister in charge of the Senate^, for I recognise that his hands are pretty full; but I do not think the Government “will meet “with any opposition from any member o’f this Parliament if they will come forward with a reasonable proposition that-
– Can the honorable senator explain why it is that the executives at the different capital cities have refused to co-operate in the recruiting movement ?
– I do not attempt to explain that matter, because I do not know that they have refused, although statements have been made to that effect.-
– One of the Trades Hall representatives was summoned and punished for being associated with a motion to that effect.
– But I understand he said that he was not responsible.
– But a man was punished, at all events, for submitting a motion to that effect. Do not back out; you know such a motion was carried.
– I believe that is so; but the man referred to said he was not responsible.
– Well, somebody was.
– I did not hear the evidence.
– Well, that is the policy of the honorable senator’s party, anyway. Why cannot we get together more closely?
– -For over an hour I have been endeavouring to tell the honorable senator the reason; I do not propose to go over that ground again.
– Well, it is the policy of the honorable senator’s party.
– We on this side of the Senate are not supposed to have anything to do with the policy. This responsibility rests upon the Government and their supporters, as they are in occupation of the Treasury benches. Had we been given the opportunity in the recent crisis, we would have had a policy. “ It might have been an unsatisfactory one from the point of view ,of honorable senators opposite; but, at all events, we would have had a policy, and have been prepared to give legislative effect to it.- The people now expect a definite policy from the Government, not that Parliament shall be summoned to meet for nine days, and then adjourn for a couple of months, so that this country may be governed by regulations;- without any parliamentary discussion at all - approved by two or three men meeting in Cabinet, where the business, I believe, is controlled principally by one man. The sooner the Government alter their methods, and achieve something of a practical character, the sooner will they have the confidence of the people of this country restored to them.
– I should have welcomed an opportunity earlier in the day to make a few observations on the several speeches addressed to the Senate in the course of the debate. The present circumstances, the hour being late, are- somewhat adverse.
Sitting suspended from 12.10 to 1.10 a.m. (Friday).
– -Before the sitting was suspended I made a reference to the somewhat adverse circumstances in which I was called upon to reply to this debate. I must say, however, that the brief interlude which we have enjoyed enables me to face the prospect with a somewhat lighter heart. I shall endeavour to detain honorable senators for as brief a period as possible, but I feel that there are some statements which have been made in the course of this debate that justify me, even at this late hour, in trespassing upon their time and patience. Complaint was made by more than one speaker that I introduced this Bill in the very briefest of terms without any statement coming from the Government. I was surprised to hear criticism of that character, for I knew of no subject upon which I should have been called at that stage to speak. The Government, through me,, was asking the Senate for Supply. The motion for the first reading df such a Bill, as honorable senators are aware, presents an opportunity for any one to speak, and the speeches made on such a motion are generally in the nature of complaints. I had no complaint to make. It is not to be supposed that I could anticipate any cause of complaint on the part of others; still less is it to be supposed that I was1 to enter upon a defence of the Government before it had been attacked. Any one but an amateur in politics would know that not’ only was there no necessity for me to speak at that stage,” but that had I done so I should have departed from a time-honoured precedent.
I regret that I am unable to compliment the Senate on the character of the debate that we are just closing. In view of the serious issues involved, remembering that this country is part of .the Empire, and that its fate is still trembling in the balance, one might reasonably have hoped for something more than a reecho of the noise and din,- the charges and counter-charges, which marked the recent campaign, and which surely might have been kept outside this chamber on an occasion of this kind.
I desire, first of all, to refer to some comments by Senator Gardiner. 1 make no complaint of any criticisms of the Government. This was the proper time for those who were disposed to make them to deliver themselves. But I feel I am entitled to ask. the Senate to enter its judgment as to whether those complaints were prompted by a desire to point to some better alternative, to direct attention to a more satisfactory handling of public business, or whether they were made rather as a means of opening the vials of wrath upon this Government, and particularly upon its leader (Mr. Hughes) .
Let me remind the Senate of some of the statements that have been made. Senator Gardiner commenced by deprecating the efforts which he said had been made to stir up strife. That sentiment was re-echoed by those of his party who followed him. But complaint of that character surely came very strangely from those who immediately proceeded to indulge in . the most vitriolic of party accusations. Senator Barnes gave an example of them only a few minutes ago.
– It was only noise.
– I regret to say that 1 believe Senator Barnes to be sincere in the views that he expressed. I may point to his speech surely as an indication that a party which so expresses itself - and Senator Barnes is one of the spokesmen of the Labour party - is utterly out of court when it denounces those who would stir up strife and issue. Not a single sentence in his speech could have any other effect, and I venture, with respect, to say that his speech, was intended to have that effect.
– It did not stir up the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator knows that he could not stir me up to any extent in that way. But the effect of such a speech on the minds of an audience outside these walls would certainly have been, not to create a feeling of cordiality towards the Government, not to encourage union between conflicting parties, but to render still wider that breach which marks the one from the other.
Senator Gardiner and Senator Barnes accused the Government of having participated in. the origin of the recent regretable strike. I invited Senator Barnes at the time, and I invite him now, to produce the slightest tittle of evidence that justifies that charge. Not only was the Commonwealth Government as innocent of the origin of that strike as an unborn babe, but there was in the minds of the State Government, and expressed by the press of Sydney, a very considerable fear lest the Federal Government should interfere and take any part in the struggle. That fear was expressed in the leading columns of the Sydney journals. The way in which they pleaded that the Federal Government should stand outside the ring was, at times, almost pathetic.
– That proves my case.
– Anything seems to prove Senator Barnes’ contention. He contended that the Federal Government was associated with the State Government of New South Wales in bringing about the strike.
– I say so now.
– Then why were the New South Wales Government and the press of that State afraid that the Federal Government might take a hand in it?
– The honorable, senator has absolutely proved my case. The Federal Government did not use the powers it possessed to settle the strike. It could have done so had it wished.
– I admit at once, that the Commonwealth Government could have stepped in. But it had to ask itself whether it was right that the men who had deliberately attempted to take the reins of government out of the hands of the State Administration were entitled to ask us to put into force the provisions of the War Precautions Act.
What caused that strike? We are told that it was the introduction of the card system. Senator Barnes, in the most reckless way, attacked the State Government, declaring that there was an attempt to introduce the Taylor card system. The offer was made to the men that if they would go back to their work there should be an inquiry into the working of that system. They declined that offer, and we know what followed. It is greatly to be regretted that Senator Gardiner, Senator Barnes, and others did not at that time endeavour to reason with those who look to them for leadership. Instead of doing so, they spurred them on, and stimulated them by every utterance they made in this chamber and outside to do all they could - as far as wor43 could effect that object - to extend the strike from one end of the country to the other. Having put themselves forward as the promoters of that strike they now seek to blame this Government for having caused it.
– We did all we could to induce the Commonwealth- Government to settle it.
– Every speech made in the Senate by the Opposition was an incentive to the men to continue the strike. The State Government, so far from desiring to do the men the injury suggested by Senator Barnes, clearly stated the purpose of the card system, and said that if the men would go- back to work, at the end of three months there would be an inquiry.
– Was not the Prime Minister asked to intervene?
– Certainly, he was. What is the position to-day? The three months have elapsed; the State Government have appointed a Judge to conduct the promised inquiry, and those who are afraid of it are the men themselves. They shrink from that inquiry because they know that, in the searchlight of experience, the introduction of the card system is not only going to justify itself, but demonstrate that no injury has been done them. They not only decline to take part in the inquiry, but, following a somewhat ancient expedients- they now impugn the honour and integrity of a Judge to whom has been handed the commission of inquiry.
There was another statement by Senator Gardiner to which I take the strongest exception. I allude to it now, not only because I take exception to it, but as an evidence of the attitude of my honorable friends opposite, who, while they talk about the desirableness of bringing about unity, are doing all they can to create strife. I refer to the statement made by Senator Gardiner as to this Government “ continuing “ to conscript men. This Government have never yet conscripted a man. Dwelling on the phrase “ continuing to conscript,” the honorable senator had. but one purpose - that of creating in the minds of the people the idea that, in some, malign way, by some unfair scheme, some method of getting behind the backs of the people, the Government might venture to intro-‘ duce the system of conscription which the people had turned down. But Senator Gardiner does not believe that the Government would have done anything of the kind, because, had that, been the desire, it could have been effected before the referendum. The Government have honoured its pledge in that regard, and will continue to do so. The result leaves us exactly where we were on the 5th May, and the people can rest assured that the Government will continue to keep its word to the end.
Senator Gardiner made an offer intended to still further create the impression that, if there is not union between the two parties, the Opposition” is not responsible; and he asked whether the Government would accept a proposition, the first clause of which involved the resignation of the Government. I feel certain that, so far as Senator Gardiner is concerned, he would feel satisfied if that were also the last clause; that is, indeed, all that he, and those for whom he speaks, desire. The honorable gentleman suggested a Ministry, the names of which I need not run over; but I direct attention to a “.peculiar fact’.. Senator Gardiner did not fill all the positions, but left one vacant. May I assume that it was his modesty that caused him to refrain from suggesting a name? He is not likely to overlook the number of portfolios, for no man knows it better than he does; and I can only conclude that he thought the members of the Chamber, and the people outside, would instantly supply the missing name. What is the proposition? I will apply a simple test to it. Is it genuine or not ?
– You asked for it.
– I asked Senator Gardiner, as I ask now, whether it is a genuine offer. I ask honorable senators opposite to say at once whether this offer has the authority of the Official Labour party ?
– Take Senator Gardiner’s word for it.
– Senator Gardiner has not ventured to say that it has. I shall see that to-morrow the honorable senator is made aware of the intimation I am now giving, and I invite him to say whether he is speaking for the official organization and his party. In addition, I wish to ask, as the honorable gentleman has included Labour names, whether, in making this offer, fie Official Labour party is content to waive that provision in their .constitution which forbids its members from joining members of other parties. If the answer be in the affirmative, I shall be entitled to submit the offer to my colleagues; but otherwise I can only regard it as what I believe it to be, a species of cheap kite-flying. There is no need for honorable senators to create fantastic Ministries of the; kind. The Prime Minister .has already stated that, so far as he is concerned, he is quite open to consider any rapprochement of my honorable friends. That offer was made, and we are now waiting an answer.
– Made and qualified in Hansard.
– Take either the original or the qualified offer-!- what do you say to it ? Why beat about the bush ? The members of the Opposition know that they are not free to join with their political opponents.
– We are free as air !
– Free as air! Let my honorable friend attempt to break that rule of his party and he will soon find himself “ free,” but it will be outside the party.
– I have always been free.
– I remind the Senate that early last year an offer was made to the Opposition to form a National Government. What was the answer? The answer .was that those who made the offer knew that it could not be accepted because of the rules of the Labour organization. I ask my friends opposite whether that rule still stands.
– There is no outside control, in the sense you mean.
– I do not know what the honorable member means by “ outside control,” because I regard it as very much “inside” control - the “ inside “ machine. The rule is known to everybody; indeed, the. members of the National party were taunted with having made an insincere offer, inasmuch .as they knew its acceptance was impossible. The first thing, to ascertain is - whether my friends: opposite are disposed to overlook or set aside that prohibition on their freedom. If not, it is idle to continue these suggestions, and create in the public mind an idea that they are anxious for united effort, while all the time keeping up the barrier which renders such effort impossible. Statements have been made here, and in another room not far away, which show that some senators are talking in a way. to suggest they would not be averse to co-operative action with us; but there are others who, like Senator Barnes, make no secret of the fact that union is impossible for them. I respect those who take up the latter attitude, because we know where >they are; they are as candid here as they are outside. I want the party opposite, as a whole, speaking through its official mouthpiece, either to take up some definite attitude or to cease suggesting what they know to be impossible.
I should now like to give my own view. There has been a lot of talk in the press, and in public about the desirability of all parties getting together. Nobody recognises more than I do what a valuable asset such a union would be to Australia, if it were possible. But it is not a question of party; I am not concerned about parties, but about aims. A party is merely a number of people organized for the purpose of giving effect to some object they hold in common. If that is the usual purpose of party, as it ought to be, it is idle to bring men together whose aims and objects are different. There is no value in associating myself with a man whose desire is to go south if my desire is to go north; we might as well talk of unity between right and wrong, or between good and evil, as talk about com.bining men of entirely different aims. 1
-Colonel O’loghlin. - You have already done that.
– I am not aware of having joined with anybody who has different aims from my own.
– You are so joined to-day.
– The party on this side hass been formed because its members are united on those things they regard as of major importance, and because they are content for the time being to put aside those things which, at this juncture, are of little or no account. What are the aims of the two parties which not only keep them apart, but must do so until there is a modification on one side or the other? The party on this side has been formed for one purpose. When the war broke out, I believe that the people approved of our participating with a clear conception of what was aimed at. When, a little later, it was seen that the Empire’s task was more serious and of greater magnitude, and made a heavier demand on our sacrifices and resources than had been anticipated, it was recognised that we required to make a special effort, and the party on this side was formed to give expression to that view. If I- may ^reduce the position to a few words, this party “believed that we could not, or ought not, to withdraw from the war until the Empire and its Allies had. secured that for which they went to war; and that) is the belief of this party to-day.
– It is the view of all parties.
– If so, then there is- nothing to prevent union at once. This party was formed with the belief in the minds of its individual members that Australia, or the Empire, could not safely withdraw from the war until it had secured that for which it had entered it. And what was that? It was not a peace founded on an agreement with Germany, because we knew we could not trust such an agreement; we were not open to some more or less fictitious or fanciful repetition of The Hague Convention. Australia, with the Empire, realized that the only peace we could rely on would be one secured when Germany had been rendered impotent for further evil . That was the aim for which this party was formed., and the aim which animates it to-day. Let me supplement that by pointing out that at the present moment there are, speaking from memory, fifteen out of every seventeen people in the world engaged directly or indirectly in this war, and there are twenty-seven nations leagued against the Central Powers.
Surely a serious position will confront us if in this contest we fail to secure that for which we entered it. If we cannot succeed now - and by succeeding I mean > relieving ourselves for all time of the standing menace of German militarism - when twenty-seven Powers are allied with us, what chance shall we have in the future, when, perhaps, in less happy circumstances, we are called upon to renew the war on our own account?
I have stated what the war aims of the National party are. Let us now see what are the war aims of honorable senators opposite. Of course, it is difficult to get them to speak in more than, the most general terms in regard to what their war aims are. I know that they are not entitled to speak for themselves; they owe allegiance to outside organizations that speak for them, and, therefore, I am entitled to see what those organizations are saying on this point. It is quite true that the Labour members of this Parliament are directly responsible to the Federal organizations, and that the Federal Labour Conference has not yet been held. But the Conferences of the Labour party in the two most populous States - New South Wales and Victoria - have been held, and have set out officially their war aims. The memorandum of the New South Wales Labour Conference commences by saying -
That, as the Governments of Europe, founded on class rule, and adopting the methods of secret diplomacy, have failed utterly to preserve peace, or to bring the present war within measurable distance of a conclusion …. apparently existing Governments are making no effort to obtain a speedy peace, but are devoting their whole endeavours to the ‘continuance of a disastrous struggle.
Whether the struggle is to be disastrous to us or not I do not know ; but I do say that this official document is a plea to withdraw from the war, whilst we on this side say that we ought to continue to put forward every effort until we secure victory.
– That is not an official document of the Federal Labour party. The Federal Conference has not yet been held.
– I’ have already stated frankly that this is not an emanation from a Federal “Conference, but it has been adopted by the two States which, in respect- of population, are the. largest in the Commonwealth.
– When the Federal Conference assembles, all the States will have equal representation. Do not forget, that fact.
– I do not forget it, but no undemocratic convention at which the small States are represented equally with the big ones can get away from the fact that more than half of that portion of the population of Australia represented by the Labour organizations has already committed itself to the sentiments I have read.
– The resolution is all right; it is the Minister’s interpretation that is wrong.
– I do not intend to argue with my honorable friends. Nobody can listen to these words without seeing in them two things. First of all, they are a denunciation of this war as a capitalistic war.
Opposition Senators. - Hear, hear!
– If it is a capitalistic war, we had no right to enter it, and we ought not to continue in it.
– Is that resolution a joint pronouncement by the New South Wales and Victorian Labour organizations ?
– It could not be a joint pronouncement, because the two conferences met separately ; but it is interesting, as indicating the trend of the Labour mind, that these two .conventions, sitting 500 miles apart, adopted, word for word, the same resolution . It continues -
We therefore rejoice over the revolution in Russia, and congratulate the people of that country upon their efforts to abolish despotic power and class privileges-
– Mr. Lloyd George was the first man to congratulate the people of Russia on the revolution.
– But Mr. Lloyd George did not proceed to utter the words that I am about to read - and urge the workers of every land where similar conditions exist to follow’ their example with the same magnificent courage and determination.
Whatever may be the inner workings of the Russian revolution, I am unable to regard it with that complete measure of satisfaction enjoyed by the signatories of that document,- when I remember that as a result of the revolution there have been set free hundreds of thousands of Ger- man troops to strengthen the attack on our Australian boys in France.
– The daily press also informs us that the Russian propaganda is breaking up Austria and crippling our enemies.
– I have noticed all through this war that Australia is divided into two classes. On the one hand are the people, and I stand with them, who say, “ When we are at war, and the national safety is jeopardized, we ought to make every effort to-day, and leave nought to chance.” On the other hand, is another party which says, “ Everything will be all right. Don’t bother ; wait till the trouble strikes you before you make a move.” All through this war Australia has been suffering from this . fatal Macawber-like habit of deferring- action until another day. Senator Barnes reminds ‘me of what is being done in Austria, and I wish to range the honorable gentleman’s optimism in that regard alongside the congratulations to the Russian revolutionists,, the hopes of the Labour delegates that similar results will extend elsewhere, and the pathetic hopes that are entertained by the framers of the resolution as to what will happen if we enter into negotiations with the Germans now. Negotiations heWeen the Russian revolutionists and the Germans have opened, and what has been the result? It is given officially in tonight’s paper -
The significance of the pourparlers is that they stripped from German Imperialism the cloaks borrowed from the democratic wardrobe, and exposed the cruel reality of the aims, involving the continued occupation of almost all the occupied territories.
The document concludes - “ Nothing more is to be expected from these pourparlers.”
We see at once in this document, official inasmuch as it comes from those who are leading and directing the Russian revolutionary movement, a plain statement that the Russians have been fooled by Germany, who stands to-day exposed, naked, if not ashamed. That is Germany’s attitude towards a country that wishes to enter into a safe and democratic peace.
– Has the Ministerread President Wilson’s speech?
– I have, but it is. not necessary to consider it when the peace of which President Wilson speaks rests, not upon a mere question of negotiations, but upon the guarantees that are to be given when that peace is secured.
– Those guarantees can be secured only by negotiations.
– The only guarantee under which this world will be safe is that that evil menace which has hung like a nightmare over civilization for thirty or forty years is swept away for ever.
– That is not what. Mr. Lloyd George or President Wilson say. They say that they do not desire to destroy Germany.
– Nor do I wish to destroy Germany as a peaceful people; but I do want to destroy that German military power which has not only enslaved the German people, but would also, if it had its way, enslave the rest of the world.
There is a Labour Conference sitting in London now, and it is cheering to turn from the statements made here by those who attempt to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, who, while professing with their lips their willingness to prosecute the war, are doing all they can to see the Allies pulled up by something they call a peace - it is, I repeat, cheering and refreshing to turn to what is taking- place in London, and see w,hat a more robust party is doing in England, a party that is just as anxious for peace as we are, and with greater justice. In spite of the fact ‘ that they are nearer to the firing line, where they have had brought home to them the real loss, sacrifice, and misery that war means, as compared with us here, where none of us lose a meal, or a bed, or an opportunity to visit the picture show, they are true to their breed, and are showing a tenacity of purpose which I commend to my honorable friends opposite.At this conference. Mr. WC F. Purdy, chairman of the British Labour party, is reported to have said that -
Peace by negotiation, while Germany occupied foreign territories, would mean a German victory.
We do not hear that talk in Australia. Here the cry is for opening “immediate” negotiations for peace. Mr. Purdy’s statement sums up the whole position. To enter into peace negotiations with Germany now would be tantamount to an admission that we have no hope of compelling Germany to step into line with the rest of civilization. Mr. Purdy continued -
There is as yet no sign that the enemy is willing to accept Mr. Lloyd George, President Wilson, or Labour’s principles.
How are we to make Germany willing to accept them 1 It is not a Conservative, nor even a Nationalist, who is saying this. It is the chairman of the British Labour party, who says that there is no indication that the enemy is willing to accept Mr. Lloyd George’s, President Wilson’s, or Labour’s principles.
– Mr. Purdy’s speech was a very good one.
– It was an excellent speech; and I am only sorry that the loyalty, tenacity, and robustness flowing through it do not find a unanimous echo in this1 chamber. Mr. Purdy continued -
Will the German Democracy define its war aims and face its Government as we have faced our Government? The way is open to Germany if the German people and Government sincerely desire a just peace, but it must be a peace leaving no germ for future wars. The military party in Germany to-day is in the ascendant, and a peace agreement under present conditions would mean the fastening of militarism more strongly on the people of Germany, the peoples of the British Empire, and peoples all over the world. Such a peace would only be a draw. We must have a clean peace, and, if it is only obtainable by fighting, then we must go on fighting to the end.
If Mr. Hughes/even with his skilful pen, had been asked to set out -the objective, the aims, and the fervent desire of those following his leadership to-day, he could not have expressed them better than in those words. Until my friends opposite can reconcile what they put forward as their war aim - seeking peace anyhow - without waiting until Germany is destroyed, not as a nation, but as a menace ; until they can withdraw the document to which I have referred, until we can reconcile bodies of darkness with messengers of light, there can be no coalition between us. There can.be no coalition between myself and those who seek to go in the opposite direction to that which I conceive to be my duty to the Empire.
Let me remind my friends opposite of another thing. Can it be said that the party - speaking of the party, there are individual exceptions, and many of them - is prepared to throw itself loyally into the efforts to obtain recruits ? Can Senator Barnes say that he is a fervent believer in the voluntary system ? He cannot say it when he has declared publicly that he will not even invite a man to become a volunteer. Senator Ferricks has said the same thing. Passing- from individuals, there was the resolution passed at the Melbourne Trades Hall practically prohibiting members of the Labour party from going on the recruiting platform. There was a good deal of side-stepping on the part of those responsible for that motion. There was some difficulty in finding out who had moved it, who had seconded it, and who was the chairman of the meeting. That the motion was put and passed is a fact that has never been disputed ; and as a motion cannot be put and passed unless there is a meeting, and presumably a chairman, and some one to move it, there must have been some officials connected with the Trades Hall who did it. If the party ‘disclaim any liability in regard to it,’ there is a simple way of proving it. Let those connected with the Melbourne Trades Hall pass another motion recalling it. Then we can assume, officially, at any rate, ‘that Labour places no prohibition on the freedom of its members to aid in the effort to obtain recruits. I remind Senator Barnes and others that when Mr. Mackinnon, on taking charge of the recruiting campaign, asked the Trades Halls in the different capitals to send delegates to confer with him, there was a flat refusal, so far as Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide were concerned. I do not know what happened in Brisbane, Hobart, or Perth.
– They conferred with him in Hobart. He did not go to Perth.
– Probably he thought it was unnecessary to go to the loyal State of Western Australia. These things stand as a bar sinister on theclaim of my friends that as an official party they are sincere and are desirous of promoting the voluntary system. If [ am misjudging them, if there is any mistake about the motions that have been carried, if they were agreed to under a misapprehension, it is the easiest thing in the world for that misapprehension to be removed. Let the bodies who have acted in this way publicly renounce the course they took, and say that they are prepared to work together with us in this movement to obtain recruits.
– Who are supplying our recruits ? Are they not being supplied from the ranks of the Labour party? .
– I have never said a single word to cast the slightest reflection upon those who may be said to belong to the labour class, in connexion with the persons who have shown a willingness to enlist! My accusation is not against them, but against the officials of the Official Labour party and those they control.
In this war it seems to me that we have reached the stage now when it is not so much a question of one army against another as a question of one national temper as against the temper of the opposing nation. It is, in other words, a question of the fibre of the races. That nation which will show the most tenacity, which can hang on longest as a nation, is going to win. A cartoon appeared in a French paper recently which appeared to me to illustrate this point. It represented two soldiers in the trenches under heavy fire. One said to the other, ‘‘I’ hope they will hang out.” His comrade said, “Whom do you mean?” And the reply was “Why, the civilians. of course.” There was no suggestion that the army would not hang out; but there was some little doubt as to what the nation at home was doing. That is the point. A modern war is not won by an army alone. The army that goes into the field unsupported by the full moral and material strength of the nation to which it belongs goes to its doom. We are trying by the action we have taken, in contradistinction to that of our friends opposite, to let our Allies know that we are nob consenting to a premature make-believe peace, but are willing to go on as far as we are able, not to the bitter end, but- to a victorious end that will give us the things for which we drew the sword.
Let me pass from that and deal with some other matters. I think it is very unfortunate, though a little characteristic, that some of our honorable friends opposite should have made the references they did to the action of the Governor-General. I have no plea to put forward on behalf of the Government. They must stand criticism’ at all times, and are quite prepared to do so. But I do say there are limits within which honorable senators should, in decency, confine themselves in their references to His Excellency. It is an unusual tiling for a GovernorGeneral to send down to Parliament a memorandum setting forth the steps he has taken in calling to his aid a new set of advisers. His Excellency, however, did so, and no man can read that document, with an unbiased mind, without coming to the conclusion that, step by step, His Excellency has therein set out the reasons which prompted him to invite Mr. Hughes to accept another commission. Knowing, as honorable senators on this side do, the various events which led up to that, I want to say that there was no possibility in this Parliament of forming a Government with any prospect of continued existence except under the leadership of the Right Honorable William Morris Hughes. Something was said about a precedent for what took place. I do not know whether my honorable friends opposite have brief memories, whether they purposely ignore these things, or pass through life in ignorance of what is happening around them. How long ago is it since, in New South Wales, Mr. Holman handed in his resignation and that of his Government, Mr. Wade was sent for, and twenty-four hours later Mr. Holman was asked to continue in office. Was it two years ago? I am not sure; it may have been three years ago. That incident occurred to my mind when Senator Gardiner declared that the Labour party could never hope for a fair deal until the position of GovernorGeneral is filled by an Australian. In the particular case to which I have referred, the Lieutenant-Governor, at that time, of New South Wales, was an Australian, and yet he followed exactly the same course that was followed on this occasion by a representative of the King who comes to this country from oversea.
– Mr. Holman was under no pledge not to continue to carry on the government.
– That had nothing to do with the Governor-General, whose task, if I know anything about constitutional procedure, was to obtain a number of men to carry on the King’s government. He was confronted with the fact that he required new advisers, as his previous advisers had resigned. Naturally he consulted the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor). I was staggered to-night to hear, though I accepted the statement as correct, that the Leader of the Opposition assured His
Excellency that he was’ willing to accept a commission - I was not surprised about that - and that he gave His Excellency an assurance that he could carry on the go,vernment of the Commonwealth. Does any honorable senator believe that such an assurance could honestly have been given ?
– Mr. Hughes gave a similar assurance when he had only twelve supporters behind him in the House of Representatives.
– Because Mr. Hughes had, at that time, experience to justify that belief in the treatment lie received from the then Opposition.
I want to ask honorable senators opposite whether they are so much perturbed about the pledge, or whether it is not a fact that they are unable to forget for one moment their deathless vendetta -against the Prime Minister himself? They have said in a dozen ways that they would not have cared if the whole of the present Ministers remained in office under some other chief.
– Who said that?
– I will go further. Not only have the members of the Opposition been saying that, but some professed supporters of the National party have been saying it. Whilst pointing to the pledge, they have been looking around and expressing themselves in the way I have indicated. So long as Mr. Hughes did not figure in the Ministry, they would have been content to regard the pledge as redeemed. I want to say- and I think I can speak for my colleagues other than the Prime Minister - that whatever obligations rested on the Prime Minister in respect of the pledge, they rested equally upon every one of’ his colleagues.
– Then they should all go out.
– Then why are all the attacks made upon the Prime Minister ? I recognise that, as head of the Government, Mr. Hughes naturally has the first call on the attention of our friends of the Opposition; but can any one deny that, when Mr. Hughes is being attacked by them, a vitriolic bitterness is displayed which is absent when they turn their attention to other members of the Government?
It was stated - I think by Senator Needham - that, although the memorandum of the Governor-General bore the signature of His Excellency, it was the hand of Mr Hughes.
– I said it was the voice of the Governor-General, and the hand of Mr. Hughes.
– My friends opposite seem unconscious of the fact that they are continually paying the Prime Minister the highest of compliments. Nothing happens that they do not put down to Mr. Hughes. A cable comes along from General Birdwood - it is Mr. Hughes. He, apparently, has General Birdwood so hypnotized that, on the slightest message from Australia, there is forthcoming at once from General Birdwood the cable that is wanted. Even the Imperial War Council is, apparently, not free from the hypnotic influence of the right honorable gentleman. The Imperial Government itself is but a puppet in the hands of Mr. Hughes. The Opposition seem unconscious of the fact that they are continually paying Mr. Hughes compliments, which I know they do not intend, and which, in many cases, he does not deserve. In all the attacks that they make upon him they reveal the reason for their enmity towards him, and it is that they recognise in him a capable man, whom they have cause to fear.
I should like here to say with what pleasure I listened to Senator Earle’s appreciation of the Prime Minister. The Senate will understand, and I hope will believe me, when I say that Ministers associated with . Mr. Hughes in the Government, have felt during recent weeks, when he has been the subject of so many attacks, that they would very much have liked to have said a word in his defence. But they have felt that to do so might have been interpreted as an attempt to defend themselves. No such suggestion could apply to Senator Earle.
– Two Ministers did make the attempt - Senator Pearce and Mr. Webster.
– Because of the silence of Ministers, the reason for which I have given, I all the more keenly appreciate the statement made by Senator Earle, who is not immediately associated with him as a Minister. In plain but eloquent terms, Senator Earle expressed, not only his own feelings, but, I venture to say, the feelings, both of those who believe in Mr. Hughes politically, and of a large number of his political opponents, when he set out the very many good deeds, good qualities, and outstanding capacity of the Prime Minister of Australia.
When I hear these attacks on Mr. Hughes I am tempted to read the following paragraph, dealing with his defeat at the referendum, from the Lokal Anzeiger: -
Thus disappears a personage known throughout the British Empire as a strong man and a famous pillar of the policy of carrying the war to the bitter end.
Thank God, Mr. Hughes is all that, and it is because he is that that he has rallied round him to-day the great majority of those in Australia who also wish the war to be carried through to the end for which we entered it; for unless we obtain that end, it will mean disaster, sooner or later, to this country.
– His recent actions have not tended towards that end. He has done more to prevent it than any man in Australia, by dividing the people.
– I admit that Mr. Hughes has one defect - he is not able to maintain that masterly silence which marked the honorable senator on his return to Australia, and lasted for some weeks.
– I took the earliest opportunity to state my views in the Senate, and I stick to them.
– I do not doubt it; but the honorable senator’s earliest opportunity was very late.
SenatorLt. -Colonel O’Loghlin. - I did it at the first meeting of the Senate I attended. Be fair.
– I wish to be fair; but when the honorable senator knew how tense public opinion was on the matter, how critical the position in this chamber was, and that not only his own constituents in South Australia, but the whole of the Commonwealth, wanted to know where he stood, he still found it incompatible with his conception of his duty to give the slightest indication of His position until several weeks after he landed here.
– Read my speech, and see if any one can doubt my position.
– I do not doubt it ; but the honorable senator took the longest possible time he could to size up the situation and see where he stood.
It must have been somewhat of a surprise to those who had not read the paragraph to hear Senator Bakhap’s statement last night of how the great democratic republic of America treats disloyalists. For declaring that conscription was slavery, some one there “was both heavily fined and imprisoned. One thing about the American is that he does things ‘properly. When I ‘hear about that incident, and think of the lamentations and denunciations of my honorable friends opposite, it strikes me that we have not learnt the A B C of censorship yet. Obviously, with the censors scattered over the continent, acting individually, and not under central control as to details, it -was inevitable, human beings being frail, that many mistakes should occur ; but let me give an instance of the stuff uttered in> the recent campaign. My honorable friends have brought up cases where the censor may have acted precipitately or unwisely ; but quite recently, at the Paddington Police Court, a man named James Breen was proceeded against for using these words at a campaign meeting on the anti-conscription side -
Twenty thousand British women were behind the firing line in Prance, doing service work and acting as concubines to the British officers.
Should any man be free to make .a statement like that at such a time as this? Senator Gardiner talked about “ pimps “ going to public meetings, and taking down what is said there; but the man who made a statement of that kind ought never to have been given the option of a fine, as this man was. That case is not singular, for innumerable statements of the kind have been uttered, and are on record, but my honorable friends opposite did nothing to show their disapproval of them. In that case the defendant tendered no evidence, and was fined £5. If I had been the judge, and the law had allowed me, I should have given him an opportunity of ruminating in silence over the true significance of the words he had used. Do my honorable friends who talk about free speech want freedom for that sort of thing? ls that the stuff they would allow when this country is fighting for its very life, when we are struggling to get even dribbles of recruits ? When we were asking the people, and particularly women, for their votes on the question, ought their minds to have been poisoned with stuff of that kind, which was a deliberately ‘ manufactured lie? We are at war. My honorable friends will recognise that things which might be tolerated in peace, and left to the good sense of the community to’ be frowned down, cannot be so dealt with at a time like this. . While I freely admit that there has been mistakes, all this nonsense about the censorship is a plea, not for liberty, but for licence.
– What about the censor who was photographed with the Prime Minister? Was not that an awful crime ?
– It was indeed in the eyes of people who pretend that civil servants ought to have full citizen rights. They made political capital out of the allegation that they had secured for every servant of the State, full civil rights, but that gentleman committed the offence of being under the camera at the same time as the Prime Minister. Why should he not?
Let me give evidence of what I regard as the rankest hypocrisy. Honorable senators opposite have said that we should give the soldiers higher pay if we want to get recruits. How long is it since they have made that discovery? They argue that the cost of living has gone up, and that the pay which was sufficient three and a half years ago is not sufficient’ now. That is perfectly true, but was not the proper time to raise that question on the eve of the first referendum? We had been at war. for two and a half years then, but the Opposition did not suggest that alternative, and the reason was that, whether they believed in the purpose of the referendum or not, they were still under Mr. Hughes’ banner and still part of the Government party. They did not care a hang then how much ‘the cost of living had gone up. They did not give it a single thought, but now, when there’ is another Government in office, they bring the matter forward, thinking that it gives them an opportunity to embarrass that Government.
– Is the ‘ proposal right or not?
– What does the honorable senator say? Is it right or wrong ?
– I would not advocate it if I thought it wrong.
– The honorable senator has been a mighty silent advocate for the many months for which he says the proposal has been overdue.
– Nonsense. I advocated it at the Recruiting Committee and on Bills that were considered here time after time.
– The honorable senator again refers to the Recruiting Committee. That was composed of an equal number of members of both sides, and met on the understanding that its deliberations were to be secret. Every member of it was pledged on his honour to observe that understanding. When I interjected that that pledge had been broken, Senator O’Loghlin said he had read in the newspapers that the same proposals had been discussed elsewhere. I do not dispute it, but that is quite a different thing from giving to them the authority of the name of that Committee, and trying to create in the public mind the impression that that official body < had considered them and put them to the Government and the Government had turned them down. When proposals coming from outside bodies were published in the press, honorable senators were free to talk about them, but when they brought in the name of the Committee, they were guilty, individually and collectively, of a breach of honour.
– Is it right or wrong?
– The honorable senator ‘ said that he believed it to be right, and stands self-condemned for not having opened his mouth in support of it when his advocacy of it as a Government supporter might have been effective.
– The honorable senator is wriggling.
– The man who makes an accusation must have a clean record. My honorable friend, when supporting a Government, had not a word to say about this matter, and is therefore open to the suspicion of having raised it now merely for political purposes.
Here is another piece’ of hypocrisy?Honorable senators opposite condemn the failure of this Government to levy on 1 wealth). During the conscription campaign the official organ of their party continually declared that this Government are the champions of the wealthy classes, and -it talked of what the Official Labour party would do were it in power, But what did it do when, in May last, it sought the suffrages of the people? As Senator Lynch has pointed out, it could not then run away from the wealth levy proposal fast enough. Honorable senators of the Opposition threw the proposal overboard then. In the words of their leader’s manifesto, they decided, ‘ on further consideration ‘ ‘ to abandon it. Apparently now, on still further consideration, they have decided, for political purposes, to revive the talk about it. The Government which Senator O’Loghlin supported raised less than £2,000,000 in 1914-15 by taxing wealth. He and his party try now to make the people believe that the present Government are not calling on the wealthy to contribute towards the expenses of the war. That is more hypocrisy. In 1914-15 less than £2,000,000 was raised by direct taxation, and in 1915-16, when the members of the present Official Labour party were supporting Mr. Fisher, and afterwards Mr. Hughes, the amount raised by direct taxation was just a little over £6,500,000. But in 1916-17, when they had turned against Mr. Hughes, the revenue from direct tax- ation was only a little under £9,000,000, and this year it will be about £10,650,000. If this Government are shrinking from the taxation of wealth, what can be said of those who held their tongues on the subject when supporting Governments which raised the insignificant amounts obtained from direct taxation in the early years of the war ?
– Most of the revenue now derived from direct taxation comes from the legislation of Governments supported by the Labour party.-
– That is absolutely incorrect. Between this year and last the increase in revenue from direct taxation has been slight; a little from income tax, a little from land tax, something from succession duties, something from war-time profits tax, and something from the entertainments tax.
– What nave you got from the war-time profits tax?
– We shall get £1,000,000 this year.
– Fifty per cent, more than Mr. Higgs proposed to get.
– When for three years honorable senators keep silent on a matter, but finding themselves then in opposition to a Government who are raising from direct taxation from 30 to 50 per cent, more than the Ministry which, they supported, commence to criticise, I must take leave to doubt their sincerity.
– The need for revenue is increasing.-
– And we are raising more revenue to meet it. This year we shall get nearly £11,000,000 from taxation. My honorable friends opposite have talked about a levy on wealth. Are they prepared to impose one ? In May they threw over the proposal. If the party were in power, would, it impose a levy on wealth?
– There are other ways of taxing wealth besides1 a direct levy. There is the income tax. You can conscript wealth.
– Would the honorable senator impose a wealth levy ?
– A levy on wealth, but not the wealth tax referred to.
– On the 5th May last the honorable senator’s party went to the country pledged not to levy on wealth.
– I would make wealth pay more than it does at present.
– The party told the electors last May that, on “ further consideration,” they had thrown the wealth levy proposals aside.
– That is only one form of wealth levy.
Senator- MILLEN. - My honorable friend interjected something about wriggling. I can understand how naturally that form of movement occurs to his mind.
– The Labour party is in favour of making wealth pay far more than it does now.
– You cannot get away from your leader’s manifesto, which said that it was not the intention of the Labour party to impose, for any purpose, a levy on wealth.
– Is not the criticism of the Official Labour party the same all through ? They are attacking under this Government the things of which they approved when they were supporting a Government. Take the terms of the War Loan. Every one knows my attitude in regard to- that’ matter; but not until they went into Opposition did honorable senators opposite find fault with the proposal to exempt War Loan interest from- taxation. They supported that proposal, although invited to vote against it. But, now that they are in opposition to Mr. Hughes, they see in the arrangement a dangerous device for fattening the wealthy man. Why did not they discover that before? Either they were stupid then, or they are animated now with a desire, notto do the right thing, but to make political capital at the expense of the man whom -they deserted.
Senator McDougall brought up the question of the insufficiency of the pay-‘ ments made to the wives and children of soldiers. I do not want to be misunderstood on this matter. I know that thousands of these women are not as well off as we should like them to be. There are cases, too, in which, because of special circumstances? many are hard put to it tomaintain themselves. But, speaking generally, it is not a fair thing to say that Australia has been neglectful of the interests of these people. We have heard of the maligning of Australia. That has’ been spoken of by the very senators who have insulted the country in the most deadly way possible by saying that, having invited soldiers to fight for us, and having promised to look after their loved ones in their absence, we have failed to do so. Let me give the scale of payments. % The only one for which I feel disposed to make an apology is the first that I shall read. I ask honorable senators to recall what is the basis of the living wage in Australia,- It is assumed that, on the living wage, it is possible for a man with - an ordinary family to live in decency and comfort. Now, it takes something to maintain a husband,- even in his own home. There is his food and his clothing. I do not know what Honorable senators are disposed to allow for that, but I ask them to add something on that score to the allowances that I shall read. In the absence of her soldier husband, a wife re- ceives £1 10s. lid. per week. If she has one child: she is paid £1 19s. 9d. per week; if two children, £2 4s. lid. ; and so on UP to £2 19s. Adding to those sums the amount necessary to maintain a. husband at home, it will be seen that the vast majority of these women are as well off financially as if their bread-winner were home. As an honorable senator interjects, some of them are better off.
Yes. But, taking the average, and the claim of honorable senators opposite that our soldiers have gone chiefly from the ranks of the workers, it is plain that, making an allowance for the cost of maintenance of the husband, these women have as big an income to Spend when their husbands are away as they would be likely to have if they were home. Let me now deal with another class - the class of women whose husbands are here, either in camp, or after their return from service abroad. In Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria a soldier, after enlistment, and before he embarks, and also after his return and before his discharge, receives 50s. per week, a man and his wife receive 65s. per week,, in addition to 5s. a week for- the first two children under sixteen years of age; and 2s. 6d. per week for every additional child. Can anybody say that that is an allowance- of which Australia need be ashamed ? . It is true that in South Australia the committee have not seen their way to adopt the higher scale. In Western Australia and Tasmania the assistance granted is- not based on a definite scale, but is determined, by the necessities of each case. In addition to this scale of allowances, the committees in Sydney and Melbourne, and I believe in the other States, make special allowances under special circumstances. For instance, where there is sickness or death in a family, special allowances are granted.
– Can the Minister tell us what is the average allotment from the pay of a soldier?
– I cannot say offhand, but the figures which I have given are based on the assumption that the soldier leaves to his wife the smallest allowance permitted under the Defence Department regulations, namely, 3s. per day. But if he chooses to leave an extra ls. per day - as is done in many cases - it means that 7s. per week must be added to the figures which I have quoted.
– If one chooses to ask the grocers he will learn what the women . are spending.
– In regard to that matter, we have to recognise that amongst a large body of women, as amongst! a large body of men, we shall find some who are indiscreet and foolish. The authorities in Sydney tell me that they frequently experience a deal of trouble with, women who outspend their incomes. But it is safe to say that under the auspices of the committees to which I am referring, the great majority of these women are being carefully looked after, and are able to live comfortably.
There is just one other statement which has been made during the course of this debate, and which I take the opportunity of denying. I refer to the suggestion that France is charging Great Britain for the occupation by British troops of a portion of French soil. Senator Grant and others have talked about paying rent for the dug-outs. I feel sure that no serious-minded man would ever credit such a suggestion. But by constant reiteration, of this libel, there ia a danger that somebody outside may be led to believe it. What is happening in France is this: No charge is made for the occupation of land for purely military purposes, but where our troops are- billeted, on. the French inhabitants the British authorities pay for them on the same scale as would be paid by the French Government for French troops. Similarly, when a; building; is: taken over for, say, hospital purposes, we pay rent for itv The French Government does likewise. But that is a totally different thing from the implied charge that France is acting as a rack-renting landlord by charging our soldiers rent for’ the dug-outs in which they are fighting.
I have nothing more to say except to tender an apology to honorable senators for having trespassed so long on their time at this hour of the morning. However, I felt that certain things had been said during the course of this debate which I could not pass unnoticed. I have already referred to the fact, as a reminder to those who so constantly attack the Prime Minister, that I and my colleagues accept our full share of responsibility for what has been done regarding the pledge of which we- have heard so much. Consequently, if there be any odium attaching to .him, it equally applies to us. There is no colleague of Mr. Hughes to-day who does not share with’ him the opinion that the feeling which underlies the criticism of which I speak has been engendered, not so much by any anxiety to see him redeem his pledge, as by the desire to see him led out as a scapegoat into the political wilderness. Not only shall we be no parties to any such attempt against him, but we shall do our utmost to de-, feat it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. t T. Givens). - Is it the pleasure of the Senate that Senator O’Loghlin have leave to make a personal explanation ?
Honorable SENATORS - Hear, hear !
– I thank the Senate for having granted me permission to make a statement, but I thought ifc was the right of every honorable senator, if he had been misrepresented, to make an explanation-.
– No statement can be made except by leave of the Senate.
– Then I stand corrected. I am sure that the Minister for Repatriation would not willingly misrepresent me, but when he says that after my return from Europe on the occasion of the last political crisis, I maintained a masterly silence before stating my views on conscription, he says what is absolutely incorrect.
– Will it .ease the position if I withdraw the word “ masterly “ ?
– Then I must say that the Minister’s statement was grossly incorrect. The very first day on which I appeared in this chamber after my return from Europe I explained my position. I stated that I was entirely opposed to coalitions, and that I was opposed to Kaiserism, irrespective of whether the Kaiser was William Morris Hughes, or William Hohenzollern. Prior to my coming to
Melbourne there had appeared in the South Australian press the report of an interview with me, in which my views on conscription were as clearly stated as they were subsequently stated here. But I declined to go upon the public platform in opposition to conscription while there remained a chance of reconciliation between the opposing members of the Labour party, and while all professed to follow the Labour platform.
– In moving -
That this Bill he now read a. second time,
I wish to set out its scope and purpose. The Bill is intended to cover the requirements of the Government for the months of February and March, and makes provision for a total appropriation of £2,284,037. On the 10th January a Supply Bill was introduced in- another place covering a period of three months, and providing for a total expenditure in excess of £3,000,000. By arrangement, that Bill was reduced in amount to cover requirements of one month, and the Allotment for that month was deducted from the total I have just mentioned, leaving the amount of the Bill before the Senate at £2,284,037. From 1st January, 1918, the system of actual fortnightly payments of salaries has been instituted in place of that of bi-monthly payments, which has been in. force hitherto, and the result is an extra pay-day falls due on the 5th April. The provision required on this account, £45,000, is set out in the Bill. No provision is made for any services not previously authorized by Parliament; but provision is made for increases of salaries under the Public Service Act and arbitration awards. In other words, the Bill merely makes provision for the ordinary public services upon the lines of the Supply Bill previously approved.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
PARLIAMENTARY REFRESHMENT-ROOMS : Press Statements - Public SERVICE COMMISSIONER - Taxation Office - Commonwealth Police FORCE - Mel- BOURNE to Darwin Steam-ship Service - Papuan Oil-fields - Brisbane RACE Meetings: Mb. John Ween - ORDNANCE Department - Rates of Pay - Defence Department : Irregularities: Reports of Committees of Inquiry - Coaling of Vessels : Reported Delay - Cost of Living: Inter-State Commission’s Reports - Jam Contracts - Telephone Charges : Sunday Rates : “ O.S.” Revenue.
– The first item in tHe schedule concerns the Parliament, and in connexion with the parliamentary expenditure, there is one item upon which it might he desirable that I should make some explanation, because that expenditure has been seriously questioned by one of the leading journals published in this State. Two or three days ago the Age newspaper published a long paragraph adversely criticising the. conduct and administration of our parliamentary refreshmentrooms, and in the course of the article it stated that the maintenance of the rooms - is a costly item, despite the fact that members are supposed to pay for what they receive. and further that -
In the detailed balance-sheet there is an item, “ Amounts due for refreshments supplied, £152,” thus indicating that some members regard the rooms as something in the nature of a benevolent institution.
No meaner or more contemptible ‘innuendo has been published in any newspaper regarding any public body or public institution, and honorable senators will “agree that the attack is especially mean and contemptible when I am able to state that of the amount owing at the date on which the accounts were audited, the Age newspaper itself owed £12 19s. 6d., or more than twice as much, and, moreover, owed it for twice as long, as any member of this Parliament; so if there has been any “ sponging “ at all on the public funds in connexion with these rooms, it has been done by the Age, which, as I have stated, is twice as guilty as any member of this Parliament.
– The Age will not publish that statement.
– It does not matter whether the Age publishes it or not; it is a fact. But, of course, there has been uo “ sponging “ on the public funds either by the Age or by any member of this Parliament. I may point out that the audit is made on 30th June, which is the end of our financial year ; and the monthly accounts are not sent out until the following day, so that of the £152 shown to be due to the refreshment-rooms on 30th June, the amount remaining unpaid at the end of the succeeding month would be a very moderate sum indeed. Our refreshmentrooms are not like any other business. They are not conducted on an absolutely cash basis. Every member has the right to run monthly accounts; and Ministers, accustomed to entertain visitors from other States, ,also enjoy this privilege. This course must necessarily be followed, because it is impossible to’ state exactly what will be the cost of meals’ immediately they are supplied; and, as I have already said, the Age and the Argus both run monthly accounts with respect to refreshments supplied to their reporters engaged on journalistic work in-‘ this Senate. It is a convenience all round, and I wish to inform the Senate and the country that, ever since the refreshment rooms have been established, we have not lost a single farthing by way of bad debts.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - A very good record.-
– And even the Age seems to have paid up.
– Of course, the Age has always paid. It is a convenient arrangement to allow monthly accounts, and the Age must have been quite well aware of the fact that it owed the amount I have stated, because the detailed statement of accounts owing on 30th June of last year shows that a considerable amount of the Age account dated from the previous March, and, as the bills were furnished on the 1st of every month, there could have been no excuse whatever for the Age people not knowing of their indebtedness. I resent very much the continual attacks, this vomiting of spleen, by the Age newspaper against members of Parliament, and against Parliament itself.
Now, with regard to the general loss as disclosed in the Auditor-General’s report, I have to say that the House Committee has tried, by every means in its power, to square the ledger with regard to the refreshment rooms, and, in order to obviate as much loss as possible, the price of liquors and refreshments supplied was increased by nearly 50 per cent, on 2nd August, 1917.
– The increase ought to be more than that.
– Perhaps that is Senator Thomas’ view with regard to liquors; but I have no doubt he protested considerably against the increase in other items.- I want to point out, also, that, up to the date of audit, the increases could not possibly have affected last year’s accounts, because they were made at a date subsequent to the audit. Further than that, I desire to say I have compared the cost of our parliamentary refreshment rooms with the cost of similar rooms in the different State Parliaments, and I can say frankly, without fear of successful contradiction, that the cost of our rooms and the service provided compare very favorably indeed with any others. The reason why there must inevitably be a loss here is that these rooms are run for the convenience of members of Parliament, a convenience which is shared to the full by the Press representatives engaged here, and in order to carry on the business of Parliament at the most convenient hours of the day. Parliamentary sittings mostly take place in the evenings, and frequently extend into the late hours of the night, as on the present occasion, and, in order that honorable members ‘ can conveniently and without undue hardship fulfil their duties on such occasions, the refreshment rooms axe. necessary. Ministers have to attend to their departmental work during the day, and it is more convenient for Parliament to sit in the evening. That being so, we must have refreshment rooms in the buildings, otherwise Ministers would not be able to remain constantly in attendance and to give to ‘the discharge of their duty that attention which is naturally expected of them. Because of this, and because of the uncertainty as to the extent of the demands that will be made on the refreshment rooms, and the intermittent character of the service required, a loss must inevitably occur. When both Houses are sitting, and a full attendance of members is expected at dinner, provision may be made for, perhaps, 250. As the result of an unexpected development, however, the sittings may be suspended, perhaps, at 4 p.m., the mem bers disperse, and the whole of the preparation made for serving dinner for 250 is practically wasted. These are the causes that make it inevitable that we should. have a loss. Instead of this continual vomiting of abuse upon the refreshment rooms, and every other institution of Parliament, these newspapers would do well to make themselves a little better acquainted with the facts, and to be a little more fair -and just in their criticism.
– Under the heading of “Public Service Commissioner” provision is made for salaries amounting to £2,123. I should like to draw the attention of the Minister for Repatriation to the fact that we have still only an acting Public Service Commissioner. This is one of the most important offices under * the Government, and I fail to understand why we should have had an acting commissioner for nearly two years. Either a permanent appointment should at once be made, or reasons should be given for the delay. I take it that an officer who is merely acting head of a Department has not the same prestige and control over his staff as he would have if his appointment were permanent. I believe a special Act of Parliament was passed some two years ago to provide for the appointment of an acting commissioner, but I think that this is a very long period for such a position to remain unfilled by a permanent appointment.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator’s contention regarding the undesirableness of having officers in the position of acting only, and I feel disposed to express my thanks to him for having directed attention to this matter. At the same time, I am not in a position to give him any information as to why this position has not been permanently filled before now. I shall bring his question under the. attention of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), and should there be any considerable delay before Parliament reassembles, I shall endeavour to give the honorable senator, through the post-office, a more specific answer than I can now furnish him.
– Under the heading of the “ Department of the Treasury,” we have an item of £33,779 in respect to the Taxation Office. I should like to ask the Leader of the Senate whether this amount shows any increase as compared with the provision made for the correspondingperiod of the previous year.
– It is the same, the only difference being that this Bill provides for two months’ supply, whereas the last Supply Bill made provision for only one month.
– I was wondering whether any new offices were tb be erected.
– This proposed vote does not include any item in respect pf works. Such provision is made in a separate Bill.
– In connexion with the provision made for the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, I wish to ask the Leader of the Senate if it is the intention of the Government to add to the Commonwealth police force, and, if, not, whether they intend to abolish it. I presume the control of the force is vested, in the Attorney-General’s Department since the Attorney-General himself created it.
– I am not in a position to answer the honorable senator’s question. This Government has only recently been formed, and it is not unfair, I think, to ask my honorable friend to be as generous in his treatment of it as he has been in the treatment of previous Administrations. Speaking for myself, I should say that the force will be added to if additions are shown to be necessary, but not otherwise.
– I appreciate my honorable friend’s jocular mood, but I am serious in putting this question to him.
– I ask the honorable senator to point out where any provision is made in this schedule for the Commonwealth police.
– All I can say is that it was the Attorney-General who, by regulation, created this police force, and the Attorney-General’s Department is now before us.
– I see no provision in the Bill for this force.
– I cannot help that.
– I have to conduct the business ‘ that is before the Chair.,
– And I am trying to help you. If you will point out to me any other Department on the consideration of which I can ask the question, I shall sit down. I wish to know from what source the money is obtained to maintain the force. Some Department must be responsible for the expenditure, and I wish to know from the Chairman under what authority the . Commonwealth police force was formed.
– It is not the duty of the Chairman to answer questions of that kind.
– But it is the duty of the Minister to tell us by what Department this police force is controlled.
– I have not attempted to withhold any information, but I can hardly be expected to have the information myself, or to keep a whole staff of officers by me at this time of the morning to enable me to answer problematical questions.
– Problematical ?
– I mean problematical Jin the sense that I did not know the question was to be asked. I was not joking when I spoke of this being a new Government. This police force is quite a recent creation, and I am not able to say whether the present Government will continue, extend, ;or modify it.
– Under what Department is this police force?
– The AttorneyGeneral’s Department; and the Chairman is quite right in saying that there is no provision in the Bill for the force. I suggest that if the honorable senator wishes to test the question of the appointment of the force, he may move to disallow the whole of the vote for the Attorney-General’s Department. At any rate, I am not in a position to answer the question he has asked.
– I notice that there ils ian item, “ Subsidy for steam-ship service, Melbourne to Darwin,” but that no money is provided for it. Is it (.No. 5) 1917-18. ‘ intended to provide money, and continue the service?
– These schedules are kept in print, and where blanks appear i’n the money columns opposite an item, it means that no money is provided. I have no doubt that if the honorable senator looked up the previous Supply Bill he would find an amount of money set against this item, but on this occasion no money is provided.
– The service to Darwin is most intermittent. Only one company is in .operation,, and from four to six weeks elapse between the arrival of the vessels. I observe that £1,100 is provided for the development of oil fields in Papua, and I submit that more serious attention should be given to this matter ‘ than has been given in the past. The development of these oil fields is most important to Australia, and I trust that the Government will push ahead with the work.
– I have to enter my protest against the concession that the- Government are giving to Mr. John Wren in the shape- of additional race meetings on his course in Brisbane. The State Recruiting Committee of Queensland, of which I am a member, several times approached the State Government with a view to a reduction of the race meetings in the State, and, after some trouble, the days were limited. The racing club of Queensland devotes all its profits to patriotic funds and other laudable objects, whereas Mr. Wren’s courses are conducted for his own personal profit. °
– To which item is the honorable senator, referring ?
– I am speaking with general reference to the Defence Department
– I see no item in the Bill connected with racing, and I cannot allow discussion on any outside matters. v
– I submit that we are. at liberty to discuss grievances before granting money for the Defence Department, which has control of this matter. Racing interferes with recruiting in the State which I represent, and I should be glad to know why Mr. Wren is granted a privilege that has been withdrawn from the local racing club?
– Do you say that some concession has been allowed to Mr. Wren after the arrangement . arrive.d at some time ago to restrict racing days?
– Yes. Mr. Wren has been allowed three extra meetings, which are conducted for his own private profit.
– I understand that one course belonging to Mr. Wren, at which eight meetings were held, has been closed, and that three of those meetings have been transferred to another course. ‘
– I am merely speaking on some information I gathered from the Brisbane newspapers, and I know that- the matter is creating some feeling in Queensland. I trust that, if the Minister cannot supply any information now he will make inquiries. There have been rumours as to why Mr. Wren is able to exert certain influence, which reaches even to Brisbane; and I am bringing up the subject so that the Minister may be able to give some explanation or some denial of those rumours.
. - I am sure that my colleague, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), if he were here, would thank Senator Reid for bringing up this matter, which, he tells us, is creating some discussion in Queensland. I understand that when some time ago the question of reducing racing was under consideration, it was decided that various racing institutions should have a reduced number of days allotted to them. Under that arrangement the race-courses controlled by Mr. Wren were allotted a certain number of racing days in Queensland - I think twelve. After a while, Mr. Wren approached the Minister for Defence with a request that he might be allowed to forgo his right to eight meetings in consideration of being allowed to hold three extra ones in Brisbane. Pot reasons that) the Minister for Defence thought good, that arrangement was approved. /
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [3.3 a.m.]. - I wish to direct the attention of the Leader of the Senate to a question I brought under the notice of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) with regard to the pay of men in the Ordnance Department. The only answer . that I received was that the matter was receiving consideration. It has been under consideration for over twelve months, and I know that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction in the Department. The pay of some of the foremen is less than that of the ordinary hands, and there has been no promotion for a considerable time. The Government should give some attention to this matter and furnish a more definite answer than I have been able to get so far.
. I can only undertake to convey to my colleague the representations which the honorable senator has made. Even if I were in a position to make inquiry into the matter at once nothing could alter the fact that the Minister says that the recommendations submitted to him are being considered.
– I asked the Leader of the Senate a few days ago if his attention had been drawn to a report of certain irregularities in the Defence Department. The Minister promised to bring the matter under the notice of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) on his return to Melbourne. In view of the allegations in the Audi. tor-General’s report that irregularities have been and are taking place in the Defence Department, will the Minister inform us that the Cabinet will immediately inquire into these statements, even if the Minister for Defence is not in Melbourne? The Auditor-General’s statement has gone abroad and has agitated thepublic mind.
– The Assistant Minister for Defence (Mr. Groom) has already taken action to obtain from the officers concerned a report dealing with the statements made by the Auditor-General.
– I think the Minister might lay upon the Library table the reports made by the various committees which are supposed to be investigating and reporting upon the business side of the Defence Department. As a recently elected senator, I have no knowledge of any report having been made available since the war began on any matter connected with the Defence Department. I believe that Mr. James Chalmers, a wellknown business man in Sydney, is at present formulating and completing a report on the business dealings of the De fence Department. When that report has been considered by Cabinet will it be available for honorable senators? We are told from time to time that business men are investigating and recommending in this direction and that direction, but we are never told anything about their conclusions. Their reports may be acted upon or they may not. The veil of secrecy should be lifted to some extent from the Defence Department, which is admitted to be spending £60,000,000 or £70,000,000per annum. Unless these reports are made available to honorable senators we can only come to the conclusion that the Minister dare not let us see them.
.- - Speaking from memory, I believe that the first report of the business committee, comprising Messrs. Chalmers, McBeath, and Burkell, has been presented and distributed for Cabinet’s consideration during the last few days. As to whether it will be made available to Parliament I cannot say definitely, but I assume that it will, unless it contains something which the commissioners themselves regarded as confidential. .
– From time to time many of us are much concerned as to what may possibly be taking place behind the military veil.
– A report is presented annually.
– I would remind the Minister of the Howell-Price frauds, the pay-sheet frauds, and also the alleged irregularities: mentioned by Senator Needham. Many other disturbing things are mentioned in the press, and one hesitates to believe that things are as they should be in that Department. Even if it were necessary to hold a secret session of the Senate, I should be very glad if the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) would take us completely into his confidence. We must always bear in mind that the Defence Department is spending probably two or . three times as much as the whole of the other Departments put together, and a very tight rein on it should be kept. I have mentioned in debate that there are round pegs in square holes and square pegs in round holes, and there are few military officers as such fit for many of the civilian positions they are occupying now.
Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) [3.10 ‘a.m.) - At the request of Senator Grant, and on his behalf, I wish to ask if the information he sought in regard to the delay, since the 14th January, in the despatch of the hospital ship Kyarra, the troopship Ayrshire, and a British-India vessel, consequent upon the refusal of the stevedores, .at the direction of the Coal Board, to employ members of the Coal Lumpers Union, unless they repudiate their union, is yet to hand
– At the same time the Minister might inform the Committee whether the hospital ship mentioned is the one which these men refused to load during the strike? *
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria- Honorary Minister [3.12 a.m.]. - This question indicates how necessary it is for members of Parliament to make careful inquiries into many of the rumours that come under their notice. Naturally, there is a shortage of shipping on the coast and for overseas trade, and if a man cannot get a vessel when he wants one, he has some grievance. However, I can say that there is no truth in the rumour reported to the Senate by Senator Grant. Mr. Treacy, Paymaster-in-Chief and Director of Naval Stores, has furnished the following report: -
I have to inform you that the statement that the hospital ship Kyarra and the transport Ayrshire are being held up at Sydney owing to the difficulty in obtaining labour for coaling, is inaccurate.
The Kyarra is being overhauled and dismantled, and will not be ready to take cargo for some time. In the meantime she has been coaled. ‘
The Ayrshire received goal the week before last, and proceeded to dock for overhaul. She has sufficient coal to proceed on her voyage at any time.
The supply of coal, has nothing whatever to do with these vessels’ stay in Sydney.
It is presumed that the British-India ship referred to is the Aratoon Apoar. Arrangements were made to supply coal for this vessel, but owing to incessant rain for thirty-six hours, no work could be done, and the colliers had to be removed, as urgent orders had been received to coal the hospital ship Karoola, which takes precedence’ of all steam tonnage in port.
The Aratoon Apoar has since coaled and sailed from Sydney.
As for the question raised by Senator de Largie, I have no memory for such past, events.
– I understand that the Inter-State Commission, which was authorized to inquire into the cost of living, have made reports to the Government, but, so far, they have not been presented to Parliament or made public. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs inform us as to the conclusions arrived at by the Commission ?
– Two partial reports and one complete report have jut come to hand from the Inter-State Commission. They are now under the consideration of Cabinet, and will be laid on the table at an early date.
– I thank the Minister for his reply; but if the public press can be relied upon, a complete report has been in the departmental files in the Prime Minister’s office for more than a day. This is a very important question.’ We remember the outcry raised about the cost of living, and how certain people demonstrated outside Parliament House as a protest against that increased cost, some of them being imprisoned for so doing. We know, further, that as a result of the endeavours of these demonstrators to get to the ear of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), the Inter-State Commission was authorized to make an inquiry into the cost of living. That was four months ago. Surely it is not a fact - I am not disputing the Minister’s reply - that the complete report has not been available until now; and if there are partial reports, as the Minister says-
– There is no “if” about the matter. I am not responsible for what appears in the press. As a responsible Minister, I gave the facts that there were two partial reports and one complete report.
– If two partial reports and one complete report have reached Cabinet, the public should be made aware of what they say. Other Commissions have furnished interim reports, which are the same as partial reports, and they have been supplied to Parliament. Why have not the contents of these partial reports been supplied to Parliament, and through Parliament to the country?
– -I have no desire to enter into a. discussion of the matter. I have already supplied the full information. The reports are not completed; they are confidential, and are now under consideration. They deal with a very ticklish matter affecting prices of commodities, and if they were made public, the market would be disturbed. It has happened before. As the documents were confidential,*” Cabinet decided to give them full consideration before making them available to the public.
– I thank the Honorary Minister for his further statement. He did not, in the first place, say that the reports were confidential. As he has now explained that they are confidential I accept his statement.
.- On last Tuesday I asked a question regarding the jam contracts that are being received from the British, American, and Indian Govern- . ments, and the allocation thereof by the Trade and Customs Department. The question is on the notice-paper of the Senate, but so far I have had no reply to it, although it does appear to me that the information for which I have asked should be readily available. I ask the Minister representing, the Minister for Trade and Customs whether a reply to my question will be available before the Senate rises.
– I am glad to say that we have the papers, but unfortunately they are just now under lock and key. I shall be able to supply the honorable senator .with, an answer to his question at a later hour of the day.
– Before Parliament went into recess I raised a question on the last Supply Bill concerning the double charges for the use of trunk line telephones on Sundays. I received no reply from the Post and Telegraph Department. I have since then seen the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, and, as a result, I have been furnished with a reply. I think we should have some definite reasons given for the charging of double rates on trunk lines on Sundays. We ought to know why the double charge does not apply equally to metropolitan areas as well as to the country.
– Are the employees paid for double time on Sundays?
– I think they are; but that applies all round, and not merely to those in charge of trunk line telephones. I should be glad to assist the Government to do away with unnecessary work on Sundays, but if telephonists are at) work on the Sunday I can see no reason why an extra charge should be made for the use of trunk line telephones on that day. . I asked for a return of the revenue from the trunk lines on Sundays for three months previous to the increase of the rate and for three months subsequent to that increase. I received a reply that the preparation of such a return would be rather expensive. I was surprised to learn that it would take time and would be a costly matter to prepare such a return because we have a very good accountant and staff in the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, and I was in hopes that since the initiation of the new system of keeping the accounts of the Post Office iti would not be difficult to get the information I sought. I later asked for a return’ of the revenue from the Sydney and Melbourne trunk lines for the Sundays for three months prior to the increase and three months subsequent to that increase. I have been informed that the revenue for the first three months was £114. and for the period during which the charge was raised from 5a. ito 10s. the revenue was £139. An increase is shown, but it is not anything like double the revenue derived at the lower rate. If no greater work is thrown upon the telephonists, and there is no material, increase in the revenue as the result of the increased charge, I think it would be better to revert to the lower rate in order that an increased number of persons might be able to take advantage of the trunk line telephone. In the reply furnished to me the statement is made -
The retention or otherwise of the present practice is not dependent upon the revenue question so far as this particular class of the Department’s .work is concerned, hut on the policy of the Department generally.
I direct attention to that statement. I want to know what is the general policy referred to. If the change which has been made does not depend on the revenue question on what does it depend? I can quite understand that the Department is not run entirely as a commercial institution, though there should be> a decent effort made to square the ledger. Services, such as country mail services and telephone services in country districts, are granted for which the Department does not obtain full value, which is quite right, but it seems strange to me that the doubling of the trunk line telephone rates on Sundays should be said to be due to the general policy of the Department. There is one other point to which I should like to refer. I should like to know how much of the revenue from trunk line telephones, and especially from the Sydney and Melbourne line, is received from the public and how much upon O.S. messages. I am told that I cannot, get that information, and the statement of revenue supplied to me covers the revenue from, both classes of messages. If that is the way the books are kept in the Department, I have not so high an opinion of the system as I had previously.
– I understood that you established the present staff.
– I did, and thought I had done something for the Post Office and the country. The staff is still there, and I still have a very high opinion of Mr. Haldane, the Chief Accountant; but if the Department does not know what the revenue is for On Service work and what from the general public, it is about time it did. I recognise that no Department should do work for any other without getting credit for it. I was surprised to hear Senator Needham say that the rate for Sunday work for telephonists was time and a half. I thought they were paid double rates. The Department may argue that as it has to pay extra for Sunday labour, it is necessary to charge more for the service rendered; but, if it is so, why is not the extra charge applied to the metropolis? When telephones are established in country districts, they might as well be used on Sunday for social messages as much as possible. I asked a question to ascertain the number of telephonists employed before and after the increased charge, to see whether the double rate was devised in order to lessen the work on Sundays, but found it had not affected the amount of labour employed, as only one telephonist had been used at each end. If the Government says it is not a matter of revenue, but of general policy, to charge double rates to the people in the country on Sundays, will the Minister during the adjournment inform me what the Government policy is, and why double rates are being charged on Sundays for telephone calls in the country and not in the city?
. I shall bring the report or the honorable senator’s speech under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Webster), and try to secure from him a complete reply at an early date.
Schedule agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request, and passed through its remaining stages.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the determination of the sitting this day, to the day on which the Senate next meets.
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 3 p.m. on a day to be fixed by Mr. President, which day of meeting shall be notified by Mr. President to each senator by telegram or letter.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– When the Supply Bill was in Committee, I asked from what source the money for the payment of the Commonwealth police force would be derived, but the Leader of the Senate was not in a position then to answer the question. Probably he is no better informed now, though it is a remarkable thing that, when a Bill to provide two months’ Supply for the services of the Commonwealth is introduced, no information should be available to Parliament on a subject like this. The Minister probably realizes that he occupies a very absurd position.
– Although on the motion that the Senate do now adjourn an honorablesenator may address himself to a question not relevant to that motion, a standing order prohibits any allusion to a previous debate of the same session, and another standing order provides that a discussion cannot be revived unless on a definite motion. Therefore, the honorable senator is not now in order in speaking about a matter which he had full opportunity to deal with when the Supply Bill was in Committee, and I rule his remarks out of order.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, and now, without referring to any previous debate, ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister if he will inform Parliament and the public from what fund money will be obtained to pay the Commonwealth police?
– I think that the honorable senator is now attempting to evade my ruling.
– No, sir. I am merely asking for information, and I think that, with your usual courtesy, you will not prevent me from obtaining it. If the Minister has not now the information which I desire, he should say that, prior to the re-assembling of Parliament, he will make public the source from which these payments will be made.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia)[3.46 a.m.]. - I call the attention of the Leader of the Senate to the fact that there are on the businesspaper, in the name of the Leader of the Opposition here (Senator Gardiner) several important notices of motion, and I ask the honorable gentleman when the Senate will have an opportunity to discuss them? We have been sitting only a couple of weeks, and so cannot be considered hard-worked, and there is no reason why we should not meet next week to discuss these motions. The regulations under the War Precautions Act which the honorable senator wishes to have disallowed were passed by the last Government, and the Minister who represents the Government here has reminded us that this is an entirely new Administration. We should have an opportunity to place before this new Government reasons for disallowing the regulations.
– Because of the motion just passed, the question is one not for the Minister, but for me, to answer.
– So long as I get the information which I seek, I shall be satisfied.
– I am not in a position now to make any announcement on the subject, but I shall make an intimation, as I am required by the terms of the motion just passed, when I am satisfied that there is sufficient business to warrant the calling together of the Senate. The honorable senator allowed the motion for a special adjournment to be passed without comment or discussion. It provided for the adjournment of the Senate to a day to be fixed by me. It is on that motion that he should have risen to ask his question. I have no objection to the Minister making any reply that he may please to give, but the Senate can meet only on a date to be fixed by me. The Minister is not in a position to comply with the request that the Senate shall meet next week to discuss the motions referred to by Senator O’Loghlin.
– A day or two ago I asked why this Ministry had taken the liberty to give itself, on the covers of Hansard, a title such as it is not the practice of Ministries to assume. Hitherto, as I have already pointed out, a Government has been known by the name of the Minister at the head of it. We have never yet had a Government calling itself the Protectionist Government, the Free-trade Government, the Labour Government, or assuming any similar title. From the 22nd October, 1915, until the 14th November, 1916, the Government was known as the Hughes Administration. Then, for some reason, Ministers christened it the Commonwealth War Administration, bub, since the 17th February, . 1917, they have assumed the title of the Australian National War Administration, and that name appears on the Hansard cover.I think it is a disgraceful thing for the Government to have done this. The Minister for Repatriation said the other day that Ministers were not responsible for the name appearing in Hansard; but my in- information is that they are responsible.
– I withdraw what I said on that point, and plead guilty.
– My object in rising is to ask the Government to withdraw this offensive advertisement from the pages of this official publication. It is in the nature of a pink pill advertisement, and reminds one of the small boy who, upon first going to school, drew upon his slate something over which he had to write, “ This is our own poley cow,” in order that his teacher might know what it was intended for. In the same way the Government, owing to their inactivity, find it necessary to use an official publication by this Parliament to intimate to its readers that they are the Winthewar Government.
– When I raised the question of the jam contracts earlier this morning, . I had no idea that the Senate would not sit again this week. I was under the impression that, later on, I would have an opportunity of asking a. question upon the matter. Apparently,
I shall be unable to do so, and, therefore, I wish to express my regret that the information for which I asked the Trade and Customs Department last Tuesday in regard to particulars of these very large contracts has not yet come to hand. I gave notice of the question last Tuesday, and expected an answer on the following day, or yesterday at the latest.
– The honorable senator will get the information before he leaves Melbourne.
– But that will preclude me from again alluding to it in this chamber until we reassemble after the adjournment. I thought it might be advisable, after my inquiry had been answered, to refer to the matter again. I cannot say more at this juncture. I hope that to-morrow I shall get the figures which I seek, so that it will not be necessary for me to revive the question.
– Senator Needham has put three definite questions to me. He wishes to know the Department, the fund, and the source from which the money necessary to pay the ‘Commonwealth police comes. My answers are - Department, AttorneyGeneral;Fund, Treasurer’s Advance; source, the Treasury. Senator O’Loghlin has mentioned certain motions standing on the business-paper in the name of Senator Gardiner.. I do not wish it to be thought that the action taken in connexion with the proposed adjournment of this Chamber was taken with a view to delaying discussion upon those motions. Senator Gardiner had full knowledge that the Senate was about to go into recess, and left for Sydney this afternoon with a thorough appreciation of the position. Consequently no complaint on that score can be laid against the Government. In regard to the statement of Senator Barnes, I apologize for having said that the Government was not responsible for the Ministry’s title which appears on the Hansard cover. I have since learned, owing to an intimation received from the Hansard staff, that my statement was incorrect, and that the Government are entitled to select their own description of themselves.
– They baptize themselves.
– I presume that it is thought they are best qualified to select their own name. I am not sure that it is not owing to lack of imagination that the practice has not been adopted in the past. I repeat that I erred unintentionally when I made the statement which I did earlier in the day. My colleague, Senator Russell, has already informed Senator Pratten that the information which he seeks in reference to the jam contracts will be in his hand some time today.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.56 a.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 January 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19180124_SENATE_7_84/>.