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Wednesday, 14 July 1920


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - lt is not in order for honorable members to repeatedly interrupt. I ask them not to interject.


Mr Mahony - Especially regarding the Ballarat election.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Dalley is out of order.


Mr HUGHES - This once great party, which at one time held an almost unchallengeable position in this country, stands to-day where? It is rendered almost hysterical because it has won a byelection, thus increasing its strength in this House from twenty-five to twenty-six members. Let me remind honorable members opposite that on the day when, in the room upstairs, we were faced with a great crisis in the history of the country, I was the Leader of a party of seventy-two men. That same party to-day has a strength in both Houses of twenty-seven, whilst I lead a party of seventy-two.


Mr Stewart - If I were you, Iwould not say too much about that.


Mr HUGHES - It is a fact. Why is it that the Labour party, whose record for years and years was an uninterrupted series of victories, has fallen on such evil days ? Let me remind honorable members opposite of what they know only too well : In 1901, the Labour party numbered in the House of Representatives 16, and in the Senate 8, making a total of 24; in 1904, in the House of Representatives 24, and in the Senate 14, or a total of 38 ; in 1907, in the House of Representatives 26, and in the Senate 15, or a total of 41 ; in 1910, in the House of Representatives 41, and in the Senate 23, or a total of 64; in 1913, in the House of Representatives 39, and in the Senate 29, making a total of 68 ; in 1914, in the House of Representatives 42, and in the Senate 31, making a total of 73 ; in 1917 - when the party appealed to Csesar - in the House of Representatives 22, and subsequently 23, and in the Senate 13, making a total of 36; and in 1919, in the House of Representatives 26, and in the Senate 1, making, a total of 27. Let us probe beneath all this debris and look at the buried masonry of the once glorious temple of Labour.

Honorable Members interjecting,


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order !


Sir Granville Ryrie - They cannot take their gruel.


Mr Tudor - This is some of what I got all the time I was speaking.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! At least I look to the Leader of the Opposition to support the Chair.


Mr Tudor - What treatment did they mete out to me when I was speaking?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Give them as good as you got.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Parker Moloney) is again out of order.


Mr Fenton - Let us have two eyes at work instead of one. No one-eyed businesshere.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Maribymong is distinctly out of order. I call attention to a rule which is one of the most stringent that we have for the guidance of business. I may say that an ordinary interjection here and there is not usually taken notice of by the Chair, but a constant stream of interjections is decidedly disorderly. Standing Order No. 280 states-

No member shall interrupt another member whilst speaking, unless - (1) to request that his words be taken down; (2) to call attention toa point of order or privilege suddenly arising; or (3") to call attention to the want of a quorum.

This is not merely a rule for the guidance of this Parliament, but is under constant reference for the governing of the procedure of the House of Commons; and there is no order which is more strictly enforced and adhered to, for without it the proceedings of Parliament would become impossible. I point out to honorable members who are so constantly interjecting that their words almost assume the length of speeches in themselves ; and that every honorable member has the right to speak actually at great length upon the motion before the Chair; and I again emphasize that any interjection, coming from no matter which side of the House, is disorderly. It is painful to have to call upon honorable members to maintain order, hut I ask that the Chair be assisted, and neither ignored nor defied.


Mr HUGHES - I have said that they appealed to Caesar, and I have shown how Caesar has answered them.


Mr Mahony - Go on; give us something fresh.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Dalley is again out of order, and if he offends once more, I shall be compelled to take the unpleasant course of naming him.


Mr HUGHES - In 1910, the figures in connexion with the Senate election showed that the votes cast for Labour totalled 2,021,090; for Liberals; 1,830,353, and for Independents, 166,676; majority for Labour, 190,737. I may say that, in none of the comparisons which I "am now about to make between the two parties are the votes of Independents included. In 1913, the Labour vote was 2,802,529; Liberal, 2,840,420; Independent, 109,248; majority for Liberals, 37,891. In 1914- the year of the double dissolution - the Labour figures were 6,223,900; Liberal, 5,500,223; Independent, 9,799; majority for Labour, 723,677. In 1917, official Labour votes totalled 2,776,648; Nationalist, 3,516,354; Independent, 57,368; majority for the Nationalists, 739,706. In 1919- and here I shall quote first preferences only - the figures for official Labour were 795,858; Nartionalists, 868,016; farmers, 172,626; Independent, 21,323; majority for Nationalists over Labour, 72,158; combined vote against Labour, 1,040,642; combined majority of Nationalists and Farmers over Labour, 244,784. As I have said, independent votes are not taken into account.

The figures speak for themselves. They demonstrate that at every election from 1901, every year, an increasing number of Labour supporters entered this Legislature until that black day in 1916, when i.he action of the majority of the party, taken at the bidding of those who had captured the machinery of the Labour movement, rent the united Labour party asunder. From that day to this, Labour - owing to the actions of those who have led it - has been wandering in the wilderness discredited and powerless. It has betrayed all those great principles of which it was so proud, and which it had held up to the topmost heights in the years that have gone. It has turned its back on those things which it had declared as being beyond price. It stood here stalwartly advocating an amendment of the Constitution; yet at the bidding of some of its leaders urged the people to vote against it. Compulsory training emanating from the Labour party, and declared by it to be the one thing necessary for the salvation of the country has been trampled -under foot. But a few short years since the Labour party was never tired of boasting that it had placed compulsory training on the Statute Book. But the gentleman who is to be returned here from

Ballarat in a few days openly proclaimed himself opposed to it. We were inordinately proud of what we had done for the Australian Navy, and we declared that any man who would do anything to weaken it would be thrusting a dagger at the heart of our national safety. Yet the man who isabout to return here says he is not in favour of an effective Australian Navy! Why have they turned their backs on these great principles which they advocated so long and with such earnestness?' Is there one thing they stand for to-day for which they formerly stood?

Let me remind honorable members of some things they would fain forget. Let me recall an incident of 1915, which, perhaps, tells its own story better than anything else. In that early year of the war, at the Inter-State Labour Conference, in Adelaide, a certain resolution was passed; and I ask honorable gentlemen opposite whether, in any Conference at which they may gather to-day, such a resolution would be met by anything 1 .t scorn and derision. At the Adelaide Conference, on 3rd June, 1915, the following motion was proposed: -

That the following message be sent to HisMajesty: - " The Commonwealth Political Labour Council, in conference assembled at Adelaide, loyally presents birthday greetings to His Majesty King George V., congratulates him on the attainment of his fiftieth anniversary, and confidently hopes that during the coming year his reign will be crowned by victory for the British and Allied arms in the great war of freedom and the realization of an enduring peace."

This motion was carried to the accompaniment of cheers. When we turn from this striking evidence of the loyalty of the Labour party when led by men who had made and led the Labour movement from the beginning to the record of this same party since 1916 ; when we examine the chronicle of its doings during the years which followed the split, we perceive a complete explanation of its present position. We realize also the reason why it is where it is, and why it did what it has done.

The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) said something about the Nationalist party, and concerning our getting funds from Flinders-lane.


Mr Tudor - I was quoting the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Gibson).


Mr HUGHES - I know nothing of the matter. I will say this:No one today is able to call me his servant, to bid me come at his will. There is no outside organization, of any sort that can say to me, " Do this," and I will do it. There was an organization - the Labour party as it once was - which could do so; but it asked me to do the one thing which was impossible, and I refused it. It asked me to do that which was dishonorable to myself and treacherous to my country, and I would not do it. But there does not exist to-day any organization of any kind which can bid me do anything. Honorable members opposite cannot say that and still maintain their places here:

I have just recalled one incident in the Adelaide Conference of 1915. I have set forth the figures of Labour's sweeping majority in 1914, when we polled 6,223,000, as against 5,500,000 by our opponents, giving us a majority of 723,000 in the electorates, and an overwhelming majority in both Houses of the Federal Legislature - there being thirtyone of our members in the Senate, and forty-two in the House of Representatives, making a grand total of seventy-three. Let me recall one or two things in order to make it clear as day to all who are not wilfully blind why the Labour party was triumphantly victorious in 1914, and why it has been overwhelmingly defeated ever since. I will read, for the benefit of honorable members, an extract from the Labour manifesto of 1914, the manifesto which fits the loyal resolution just quoted as a glove does the hand. It states -

Our interests and our very existence are bound up with those of the Empire. In time of war half-measures are worse than none. If returned with a majority, we shall pursue with the utmost vigour and determination every course necessary for the defence of the Commonwealth and the Empire in any and every contingency.

That was the spirit of the Labour party as it existed in 1914. This attitude typified the very soul of the Australian people. It was in the genuine belief that we were animated by this spirit that the people decided to intrust us with the difficult task of governing the country during the supreme crisis of its history. But what is the position to-day? I turn from the manifesto of 1914 - in consequence of which we re-entered this Parliament with seventy-three supporters - to the sayings of those who to-day are admittedly in the inner council, in the holy of holies, of the Labour party. Here are some of their utterances : -

They did not intend to sing the National Anthem. - Dr. Mannix(vide Argus, 18th June, 1919).

What does the Union Jack stand for so far as the Irish people are concerned? It stands for 700 years of oppression and alien rule; it stands for the depopulation of Ireland; it stands for the ruin of Ireland's trade and prosperity; it stands for coercion and martial law; it stands for famine and exile; it reminds Irishmen of the blood shed by those who loved their country above their lives. This is what the Empire flag stands for in the minds of the Irish people. We cannot be expected to think as English people think, and we do not pretend to do so.- Dr. Mannix, May, 1919.

We are here for a declared definite purpose - to support Ireland's claim as expressed at the last general election in Ireland, and to support her chosen leader, Eammon Do Valera. This is no time for halting words, or balanced phrases. We are with the Irish people, or we are against them. We help them openly, or we leave them to their fate. - Dr. Mannix, at IrishRace Convention.

And here is something of what De Valera has said: -

That so long as Germany was England's enemy, and England Ireland's enemy, so long would Ireland be Germany's friend.

That he would never advocate another rebellion without hopeful chances of success. Proper organization would result in 500,000 fighting volunteers being raised. There is no hope of success except through a German invasion of England, and the landing of troops in Ireland. They should be prepared to leave nothing undone towards that end.

And now something to link these statements of Dr. Mannix and De' Valera together -

I shook hands with him. I have nothing to apologize for. I have nothing to explain. I have done nothing I am ashamed of. - T. J. Ryan.

Honorable members interjecting,







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