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Thursday, 22 July 1920

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) .- I appreciate the spirit in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) quoted from Hansard the names of the five honorable members who voted in opposition to the Fisher Government on that important division which took place during the discussion in Committee of the War Precautions Bill. There must be some honorable members now present who remember the attitude I have always taken up when anything relating to the Defence Department or the War Precautions Act, in particular, has been before the House.I never allowed a clause to pass by if there was the slightest doubt that the civil power would not be more powerful than the military law. I moved amendments to the War Precautions Bill; other amendments were moved by the party to which I belonged, even when we were sitting behind the Fisher Government, andI permitted no clause of that measure to pass without the assurance of the then Prime Minister (Mr. Andrew Fisher) upon the point of the dominance of the civil power over military law. Towards the end ofthe night, when the Bill was under discussion, the present Prime Minister, who was then Attorney-General in the Fisher Government, became angry, and asked me why I would not accept his assurance on the point. I told him that I would not take his word on account of the deception put up in the Melbourne Trades Hall, at the time I was Vice-President of the Central Executive of the Labour party, and he, accompanied by Mr. Andrew Fisher, Senator McGregor, Mr. Batchelor, and other members of the Watson Government, came to us as a deputation, informing us that in order to. " dish " the Reidites the New South Wales Executive had passed a resolution granting immunity to any of the Liberals supporting the Watson Government to the end of the Parliament, and asking the Victorian Executive to adopt a similar resolution.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - How does the honorable member propose to connect his remarks with the motion before the Chair?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I am showing the attitudeof the Prime Minister on that occasion, and endeavouring to point out the illegality of actions taken under the War Precautions Act. At any rate, when I refused to accept his assurance in regard to the point I had raised in the House, he left the chamber and brought in Mr. Fisher, who informed me that the particular provision of the Bill to which I was drawing attention left the civil authority more powerful than the military. Will any honorable member say, in regard to the deportation of persons without trial, that the military is not stronger than the civil power? The civil power has been degraded by the War Precautions Act. That Act was passed on the understanding that it would have force during the war, not for three or six or eighteen months after the war. I have never defended a guilty man. Any one who is a traitor to Australia is a traitor to my country, which, with me, comes before England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales. But the war is ended. We are no longer fighting with Germany, with Austria, or with Hungary.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Peace has not been signed with all the countries with which we were at war:

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The infernal military party in England, like the military party here, is keeping the struggle alive. There are no armies now facing ours.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - It is the international jurists and diplomats who are' arranging the basis of peace.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - We have too much law and too much quibbling. I am proud that I, with four others, voted as I did in the division to which attention has been directed. Of the five, only one is now missing from the House, but of all those who voted against us, Ministers, and others, there are many now missing; gone to the political limbo!

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - We have not all such safe seats as yours.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - My seat is safe, I suppose, because I trust the people, and have given them the right to recall me if they wish to do so. For between thirty-five and forty years I was a member of a German workmen's club here, and in its gymnasium I developed the comparatively large chest which I possess, and which, I believe, saved my life the other day. When the authorities proposed to close that place, I introduced a deputation to that superfine gentleman, the ' Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), who said- that there was nothing against the management of the . gymnasium, but that on account of difficulties that had arisen in Melbourne, it was thought well to close it ; so the place was closed, with a mortgage upon it. Over thirty young men of German parentage went from it to the Front; to Gallipoli, to France, and elsewhere; and many of "them will never return. My Democracy was taught to me by old members of that club, and if they had their way, there would be neither Kaiser nor King on any throne in the world. Now this Governmnent is trying to rob the club by offering a paltry £8,000 for a property for which £10,000 has been offered. I sent the figures to the Minister, and asked that this wrong should not be done. People fought not to be ' forced to the Law Courts to get their rights. The Government does nothing for ,the physical training of the young men and young women of this city,; but hundreds of nien owe their fine physique to that club. The members of the City of Melbourne Swimming Club, of which I am president, have started a -free gymnasium, in the hope of doing good in this way. As a medical man, I say that the closing of the gymnasium to which I referred put a blot on the escutcheon of the Defence Department. By some persons, no one having a German name, no matter how good he may be, is regarded with honour. Lieutenant-General Monash is a good Australian, who proved his qualities on the field, but the gilt-spurred roosters in the Defence Department do not give him his rights, because he does not belong to the little gang that has the ear of Senator Pearce. The House, however, will not allow him to be passed over. I have had a ^quarrel with him, and would like to know who wrote or forged his name to a telegram in regard to Ozanne, which was sent out here.

Mr Jowett - Is that matter sub judice?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Unfortunately, it is not. It has been settled by, in my opinion, a biased Judge. If the recall of the Judiciary were in operation in

Australia, there are Judges now sitting on the Bench who would be removed.

Mr Fowler - Is it not distinctly disorderly to reflect on the conduct of a Judge?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon J M Chanter - I ask the honorable member to withdraw the observation.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I withdraw it. Our rules of debate need amendment ; we have not the freedom of speech that they have in the Senate. No man would dare to tell his constituents that he was opposed to any one having a fair trial. The War Precautions Act is being manipulated by the Departments. Within the past two or three days, thirty or forty regulations, all having the force of law, have been sent to honorable members. Not a legal man in the city can say that he has a grasp of the law created by these regulations. During the war, as many as 340 were issued within a single year, and this year about. 120 have been issued. They are turned out like sausages from a machine. Andrew Fisher was an- honest politician. He gave his word that the civil law would be more powerful than the military law. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews), and myself fought continuously to make that certain. The promises made have been wilfully and brutally broken. No honorable member can now truthfully say that the civil power is not subservient to the military power. Is this to continue for all time? No honorable member would dare to tell his electors that he favoured allowing the military to be superior to the civil power. If men are guilty, let them be punished ; but if they are not traitors to our beloved Australia, do not send them away. What chance would a man of German birth have of sitting on the Ministerial bench?

Mr Lazzarini - He might sit on the Government side. .

Sir Granville Ryrie - Dankel was a member of the Labour party.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I think that he was a supporter of the present Government. In England, a Minister of the Crown is of German birth.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Who?


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Quite wrong.

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

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