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Friday, 9 July 1920

Mr CONSIDINE (Barrier) .- It is rather refreshing to hear the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) taking credit to himself for all the good services he has rendered to the men who made it possible for him to enter into parliamentary life as the leader of his fellow workers who still remained in the mines.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - That is exactly your position.

Mr CONSIDINE - But I have not done what the Minister for the Navy did. I can quite understand the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) not failing to back up his predecessor in leaving the miners and the rest of the workers to look after themselves.

Mr Hector Lamond - It was the minerswho put me here, and that is what the honorable member did not like.

Mr CONSIDINE - If what the honorable member says is true, it is no wonder the miners are in trouble.

Mr Hughes - Who are in the most trouble - the miners of Illawarra or the miners at Broken Hill?

Mr CONSIDINE - The miners of Broken Hill and the miners of Illawarra are both in the same trouble - are bothin the " same boat " - and mutually assisting each other in trying to get justice from those who in the past have paraded themselves as Labour leaders.

Mr Hughes - I do not know about that, but I think that the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) and myself have done about 9,000,000 times more than you, or any of your kidney, have done for the miners.

Mr CONSIDINE - And I suppose you have also "done" about 9,000,000 more people than I have.

Mr Hughes - You were never any good when you were in the Wharf Labourers Union, and were never any good when in the other union.

Mr SPEAKER - Order !

Mr Hughes - I was very sorry that I did not "chuck" you out then, as I would like to " chuck " you out now.

Mr CONSIDINE - The Prime. Minister has seen fit to give me a certificate of good conduct.

Mr Hughes - You sat next to a Russian Jew-

Mr SPEAKER - It is time we came to the question before the Chair.

Mr CONSIDINE - In passing, I may say that this is not the first time the Prime Minister has announced his intention of getting rid of my humble services, but he has not yet succeeded.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! That is not embodied in the motion.

Mr CONSIDINE - I am glad to see that the Prime Minister receives all the protection he needs. However, the question that the honorable member for Illawarra has brought forward this morning, in order to help the Prime Minister no doubt, in his laudable desire-

Mr Hector Lamond - The honorable member is " stone-walling."

Mr CONSIDINE - Not at all; I am endeavouring to deal with the position that the honorable member has laid before us this morning in his anxiety, as a good' party man, to protect the Prime Minister. No doubt, he wishes us to believe that he is acting solely in the interests of the miners of Illawarra.

Mr Hector Lamond - And of the Newcastle miners as well.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) has been speaking for five minutes, and, so far, has not touched the motion.

Mr CONSIDINE - The motion,I understand, affirms the necessity of providing means for the miners to have their grievances adjusted in order that industrial trouble may be prevented, and I think I am justified in examining the bona fides of those gentlemen who are responsible for its submission. In my opinion, neither the present Conciliation and Arbitration Act nor the measure foreshadowed by the Prime Minister will prevent industrial unrest in this country ; it cannot be prevented by legislation of that character. The causes of industrial unrest in the mining districts-

Mr Hughes - The cause of the industrial unrest in this country is addressing this House.

Mr CONSIDINE - The Prime Minister does me too much honour; but he knows full well that no individual, or any number of individuals, in this or any other country, is responsible for industrial unrest. The honorable gentleman knows that it is the present economic conditions that breed the unrest.

Mr Hughes -i know that.

Mr CONSIDINE - I am glad the honorable gentleman apologizes!

Mr Hughes - But I also know that you are one of those who, instead of settling matters in a peaceable way. have always advocated violence - always.

Mr CONSIDINE - The honorable gentleman is not now at Ballarat.

Mr Hughes - No; but I remember you in the coal miners' strike of 1909-10.

Mr CONSIDINE - That was the time I opposed you both inside and outside the union. That is the time you helped to " railroad " me to Darlinghurst gaol.

Mr SPEAKER - I must ask the Prime Minister not to interrupt..

Mr Hughes - But I think the honorable member should be called upon to withdraw the statement he has just made ; there is not a word of truth in it.

Mr SPEAKER - I must ask the Prime Minister to withdraw the last part of his statement, and keep order, and assist me in doing so.

Mr Hughes - Certainly. But what did the honorable member say? He said that I helped to get him into Darlinghurst gaol.

Mr SPEAKER - The Prime Minister must know that the expression he himself used is contrary to parliamentary procedure. I must look to the honorable gentleman to assist me in seeing that the rules of the House are observed, and I ask him to withdraw the expression.

Mr Hughes - Certainly, I shall be only too glad to help you, sir, in any way that I can, and if I have said anything against the Standing Orders of this House I am only too pleased-

Several honorable members interjecting,

Mr SPEAKER - I must ask honorable members to cease interrupting. These personal interjections lead only to unpleasantness .

Mr CONSIDINE - I quite agree with you, sir. But as the Prime Minister has seen fit to refer to our mutual exchanges in the industrial arena in 1909, I am quite satisfied to place my record in the industrial movement alongside of his. I admit that, because of my years, it is considerably shorter than his, but it is also considerably cleaner.

Mr SPEAKER - Order !

Mr Hughes - That statement must be withdrawn.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) must withdraw that statement. He is now making a personally offensive allusion to the Prime Minister.

Mr CONSIDINE - No. What I have said, sir--

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member must withdraw his statement.

Mr Hughes - It must be withdrawn first, and the honorable member may say whatever he may choose to say after-1 wards.

Mr CONSIDINE - I will not withdraw.

Mr SPEAKER - I hope that the honorable member will not persevere in that attitude. I am merely desirous of seeing that the decencies of debate are preserved, and that our Standing Orderspre observed. The honorable member, in making an offensive personal allusion to the Prime Minister, has transgressed the Standing Orders. Only a minute previously I called upon the Prime Minister to . withdraw an offensive interjection which he had made in regard to the honorable member himself, and I now cask the honorable member to withdraw the offensive statement which he has made concerning the Prime Minister.

Mr CONSIDINE - If I have said anything of an offensive nature I withdraw it.

Mr Hughes - That will not do at all.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member for Barrier may proceed.

Mr CONSIDINE - I again say that no individual who has temporarily occupied the position of mouth-piece of the industrialists -of this country can be held responsible for the prevailing industrial unrest. The unrest is inherent in the economic basis of society, and nobody knows that better than does the Prime Minister. So long as society is constituted as it is, neither the special tribunal proposed to be appointed by the Prime Minister nor the Arbitration Court can remedy it, because it is inherent in the conflicting interests of employers and employees. Therefore, my own view is that these periodical tests of strength between opposing forces must continue so long as society is constituted as it is at present. It is idle to apply plasters to the outside of the skin in order to cure a disease which is deep-seated in our economic system. As society is constituted to-day - divided as it is fundamentally into two classes, whose interests are opposed to each other - I contend that there can be no adjustment until the basis of our present economic system is altered. Holding that view, and expressing it as I intend to do both inside and outside of this Chamber-

Mr Hector Lamond - I do not hear any loud cheers whilst the honorable member is making his declaration of Labour policy.

Mr CONSIDINE - The reason for the cheer is absent in my case.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - There will be some weighty speeches undelivered to-day.

Mr CONSIDINE - Possibly. I can quite understand the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers), who has just entered the Chamber, being rather annoyed at the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) getting in on him with this motion this morning, seeing that there is still a portfolio to be filled. One views- with a certain amount of pleased surprise the number of individuals on the opposite side of the Chamber who take such a keen interest in the welfare of the miners of this country; and judging by the honorable member who yesterday nodded his approval of compulsory labour--

Mr Hughes - Hear, hear! Like Trotsky, . Lenin, and others.

Mr CONSIDINE - I am glad to sea that the Prime Minister is also coming round to my way of thinking.,

Mr HUGHES - Long live Lenin ! Long live Trotsky! but to hell with Considine!

Mr CONSIDINE - It does not matter whether Considine goes to hell or anywhere else.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member's time has expired.

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