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Thursday, 22 July 1920

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) .. - The honorable member . for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has challenged the honorable member for West Sydney to point to any other Government in the world that has granted trial by jury in regard to deportations; but if it is impossible to do so, it is only because there is no country in the world which has a Labour majority. All the Governments in the world have been constituted as our present Government is constituted. That is to say, they are not representative of the Democracy of their countries. This afternoon it was pitiful to see the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) running back to six years ago in order to explain a matter referred to by the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) the other day, when he took so much trouble to show how certain Labour members hud voted on an amendment to the War Precautions Bill, moved by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey). The Minister for the Navy very conveniently overlooked the fact that in 1918, six weeks after the war had finished, the Labour party decided unanimously that the War Precautions Act should be repealed, and voted accordingly in this House, and consequently this party ought to be relieved of all responsibility for anything that has taken place under its provisions since then.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - At the same time, some honorable members did vote against trial by jury.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is absolutely incorrect. There was a Labour Government in power at the time, and Mr. Andrew Fisher, who was Prime Minister, gave the House the assurance that the civil law should prevail. He asked the Labour party, which he then led, to treat as inadvisable the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke, because it meant the combining of jury and military. On that occasion the honorable member for 'Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked a question in these words : "Will the civil power be dominant over the military power?" and before we voted on the matter the then Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes), whom we had just followed back from an election, and' who was then true to Labour principles, gave us this assurance - " Yes, the civil power will remain dominant." We voted with the Government because we believed that a Labour Government would be true to its pledge to preserve that plank of the Labour platform which gave trial by jury, and therefore our vote was one to insure trial by jury. So long as the leaders of that Labour Government remained true to their pledges they remained in power, but we kicked them out when they were false to them, and now the members of that Ministry;- with the exception of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor), are sitting side by side with the Minister for the Navy, wEo formerly sat in opposition to them, and who is now violating the principle of trial by jury which we maintained when in power.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon J M Chanter - The time for the discussion of motions has expired.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - Cannot questions on notice be answered?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - With the concurrence of the House, 'questions on notice can be answered. . Perhaps as there are only two hours now available for private members' business, one hour might be allowed for Orders of the Day (private members), and an hour for notices of motion.

Honorable Members. - No.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - In the circumstances questions on notice might be answered.

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