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Wednesday, 14 July 1915

Senator SENIOR - But why did you oppose them ?

Senator MILLEN - I opposed them because I do not believe in them.

Senator SENIOR - We do believe in them.

Senator MILLEN - My honorable friends say, in effect, " Because we believe in them, therefore we should be free to go ahead' with them, but you who do not believe in them must remain silent and take no action."

Senator O'Keefe - Many of the leaders of your party believe in them.

Senator MILLEN - One of the most brilliant leaders of the Labour party does not.

Senator O'Keefe - Mr. Holman is not in this party.

Senator MILLEN - Not in the Labour party ?

Senator O'Keefe - Not in the Federal Labour party.

Senator MILLEN - No; but, like all other members of that party, he joined a Political Labour League for both Federal and State purposes.

Senator O'Keefe - He is a State righter

Senator MILLEN - It makes no difference that, here or there, there is a man on the other side.

Senator SENIOR - Why quote Mr. Page?

Senator MILLEN - Because I wish to show that the Labour party regarded these matters as so essentially party matters that they' said that any man who does not believe in them cannot remain in their ranks.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - You said just now that it does not matter if a man, here or there, does not believe in them.

Senator MILLEN - It does not matter if there is a man here or there on either side who is not in line with his party. It does not disprove the statement that they are all the while party measures. It is made clear that they are party matters when the Labour party holds them to be so vitally important that it will drum out of its ranks men who are otherwise loyal to the platform, and able to subscribe to the various proposals.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Not drum out.

Senator MILLEN - They are drummed out in regard to the referenda proposals. It is the only term which can be used in regard to Mr. Page.

Senator Lynch - What did your party do with Sir William Irvine?

Senator MILLEN - If that interjection were true, it would afford further proof that these are party matters, and are treated as such. Parties do not muzzle members or drum them out in regard to unimportant' matters. There will, for instance-, be no drumming out over the Tariff, because we know that, on various items neither party will be solid. But if the Labour party is dealing with a question on which it has pledged its existence, it does make it a party matter, and is not prepared to tolerate any opposition in the ranks.

Senator Lynch - Your party. made Sir William Irvine eat his words, anyhow.

Senator MILLEN - The interjection, if correct, would only go to prove that this is a matter of the most pronounced party character. So far as Parliament is concerned, to my mind it would be, perhaps, quite a negligible disadvantage if we had to deal with these proposals here only. But when we are going to ask public men to take th© platform for and against them, invite the electors to range up again in line, disturb the public mind with these complex and momentous matters, do we show any recognition of the fact that the fate of this Empire is still undecided ? I abstained from speaking earlier on these measures in the hope that, even now, the Government would venture to take that truly national course which I think lies clearly before them. They have not done so, and, of course, the responsibility must be theirs. Ali that I can do is to express the hope that the evils which I fear will result from the presentation of these proposals to the electors may not be so serious as I anticipate they will be, that the desire of the people of the country, to devote their whole energies to the prosecution of the war, will enable them to brush on one side that bitter controversy which otherwise might arise, and that we may look therefore to the good sense of the electors to do what the Parliament has absolutely failed to do.

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