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Wednesday, 31 July 1912

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - I think that Senator de Largie has only done his duty as a public man in disclosing to the public some of the methods which are occasionally employed to kill a man. Mr. Chinn is not the first person upon whom an attack of this character has been made. I think that we must all recollect a case which was nearly successful. I do not propose to deal with the character of Mr. Chinn, because, as far as I know him, he can very well look after his own reputation. I have undoubted evidence of his capability, but I think that Senator de Largie has produced sufficient evidence that those who have attacked Mr. Chinn in so dastardly and so cowardly a way ought, if they have any manhood in their composition, to go in sackcloth and ashes for the next four or five years.

Senator Vardon - For the rest of their lives.

Senator HENDERSON - I think so, too. The animosity displayed in the attack, as well as its object, must be apparent to the merest school-boy. When it is charged that this is a political appointment, one would almost think that a political appointment was something new in the history of politics. My candid opinion is that the present Government are not half doing the thing as they ought to do, I think that those who have been familiar with Australian politics for the last quarter of a century are aware that every appointment of this character has been made with political ends in view. I do not see the slightest harm in appointing a good man to a good position, even though he is carrying the stain of being a member of the Labour party. Even a member of that party may possess ability ; in fact, some of them have very nearly demonstrated that they do.

Senator de Largie - They have no ability at all, if we are to judge by the appointments made by the other side, because they have not appointed one Labour man yet.

Senator HENDERSON - Never to my knowledge has a Labour man been appointed to any position by the other side. I do not think that any crime is chargeable against Mr. Chinn other than that he holds political views that are not shared by those who would not only govern Western Australia, but would be kings of the universe if they possibly could. That is precisely the position. Mr. Chinn has the courage of his convictions. He holds sensible political views. He expresses them in an intelligent, sensible manner, andhe uses his franchise with the fortitude of a man who knows exactly what he is doing. The only mistake that I think has been made in connexion with this matter - though it may not be a mistake - is of a different kind. I have sometimes wondered, since the discussion on this subject began, and since the evidence became so clear, whether it was not a mistake that Mr. Chinn was not given absolute control over the railway. Taking the evidence of his ability to handle a work of this kind, I question whether any man on the job has credentials equal to his. Therefore 1 say that if a mistake has been made, it may have been made in that direction. Those who have brought this discussion about - the traducers of this man - those who abused their position to traduce him, knowing that he was helpless to defend himself - are out for his blood. They are out for the blood of all Labour men if they can get it. But I do not think they are likely to get it in this or any other case.

Senator Lynch - They have been sucking it long enough !

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