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Wednesday, 16 March 1932

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- I regret having to descend to the level of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Thompson), but it appears to be necessary to get into the sewer in order to reply to rats such as sit on the other side of the House.

Mr Lane - Is it permissible for the honorable member to describe as " rats " honorable members who sit on this side of the House?

Mr James - We should apologize to the rats!

Mr WARD - Either the honorable member for New England misunderstood what I said this evening, or he has deliberately misrepresented me. What I said was that the honorable member came along the corridor of the train and sought out the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) so that he might ascertain exactly what our attitude was to be when the matter came before the House. After discussing the matter with the honorable member for New England, the honorable member for "West Sydney asked members of this party if they were prepared to see the thing through. The honorable member for New England was lobbying, anxious to secure as many votes as possible against the action of the Government in connexion with the tobacco duties. When the fight came on, he beat a retreat, and now he is trying to cover his tracks by placing the blame on somebody else. If the political ethics to which the honorable member refers require that one must not tell the truth, I am glad that I have introduced ethics different from those which previously obtained in this chamber. Every statement that I have made is accurate. If honorable members are afraid of their actions becoming known, they should not adopt shady tactics in an endeavour to obtain support. I leave no doubt as to my attitude upon any question that is put before this House. If I, think that by lobbying I can further the interests of my party, I shall indulge in that practice, and will not apologize for my action. Lobbying is indulged in by all political parties, so why should the honorable member for New England object to it? The honorable member has made a personal attack upon me, deliberately, or while labouring under a misapprehension. He also declared that it would have been futile to obtain the support of the " corner " group. Members of this party number five, and it has been demonstrated that their influence can be important in a division. The honorable member has merely been beating the air in his feeble explanation of what took place.

Mr Thompson - I rise to a point of order. I take strong objection to the statement that I approached the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) in -an attempt to lobby. That statement is not true, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

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