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Thursday, 17 June 1915

Senator GUY (Tasmania) . - Last week, when Senator Bakhap was making a very interesting speech, he implied that while the Liberal party allowed its members freedom of action the members of the Labour party were not allowed the same freedom. I interjected that I heard the honorable senator make a statement in the Tasmanian Parliament that both parties were equally bound. The honorable senator denied this. I admit that one cannot remember everything one says over a lengthy period, but I remembered the incident well, and said I could produce it in print. The Tasmanian Parliament has no Hansard, and has to depend for the records of its debates on the reports in the two daily papers. These are cut out, and an official of the House of Assembly pastes them in a scrap-book, which constitutes the only record of the debates of the Tasmanian Parliament. I sent to Hobart for a copy of the Daily Post of 5th July, 1912, and in it the following appears: -

Mr Bakhap - He was an advocate of elective Ministries and ventured to say that the electors of Tasmania did not desire another election.

The subject before the Chair was a noconfidence motion -

But he wished to see both parties in the House unite in the carrying out of the business of the country. Theoretically, all are free; practically, there was not one free man in this House. There were times when he might have to remember that for the honour of the Administration he would have to vote for certain measures for which otherwise he had little or no sympathy.

The following is an extract from the Mercury of the same date : -

Mr Bakhap - He was in favour of elective Ministers. He did not believe elective Ministries would spoil the principle of party government.

Mr Earle - If you and I were in the one Ministry there would be rows.

Mr Bakhap - I am afraid the Leader of the Opposition does not comprehend what I mean.

Sir ElliottLewis. ; Who would be Minister for Mines? (Laughter.)

Mr. Bakhapsaid the electors of Tasmania did not desire another election. If the fetish of dissolving Ministries was going to take them before the electors, he intended going on every platform, and advocating the adoption of the elective principle. He did not like party government, though he thought it could be said that he was a good party man, and worked with the tools which came to his hand.

A Labour Member. - You don't like the crack of the whip.

Mr Bakhap - Theoretically they were all free; but practically no member of Parliament was free, because they had sometimes to accept measures which a party or Ministry had collectively promulgated. He had, therefore, sometimes to vote for a measure to keep a Government in power, though it did not altogether agree with his views. Would it not be better if they could all come into the House and vote as their consciences directed them?

Those reports exactly confirm my statement.

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