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Wednesday, 14 July 1915

Senator FINDLEY - That is the kind of business we are going on with.

Senator READY - There is the reply. The very reason why the Government are resorting to the extreme length of registering the manhood and the wealth of Australia is so that they can systematically and scientifically organize the resources of this great nation, not only as regards sending men to the front, hut as regards carrying on the great businesses and the commercial industries of the country. The registration is undertaken for no other purposes than to guard against any waste of effort or overlapping. The object is to completely systematize our industries, in order that we may fight the Germans with their own weapons.

Senator FINDLEY - That is all that the Vice-President of the Executive Council meant when he said that the Government was carrying on its " business as usual."

Senator READY - Exactly. My leader's use of the phrase was based on the thought that now, above all times, we must see that there is no stoppage in industry. What are the Government doing ? Why are they spending loan money? Why did they go to the rescue of the States and finance them ? It was in order that everything should be kept going entirely as it was before the war. The Leader of the Opposition makes it plain to us that he has got stage fright; that he is stricken between party fear and cold feet. To-day this honorable gentleman, who once advocated an entirely different course, had the colossal impudence to get up here and tell us that we are wrong, that they were wrong, and we should abandon everything. Do we want craven hearts in the Government? The country needs not only an enterprising, hut, if necessary, a Socialistic policy, in order that" its resources shall not suffer in the greatest crisis in the world's history.

Senator Seniorinterjected that the Commonwealth was not only having " business as usual," but " business as unusual." Day after day and week after week cases of exploitation and colossal robbery have been brought under the notice of honorable senators.

Senator Bakhap - Who are these people ? Give us some names.

Senator Findley - The Colonial Sugar Refining Company are prepared to back up your party financially.

Senator Bakhap - I should think they were when you are trying* to ruin their business).

Senator READY - Senator Bakhap asks who are these people. I will tell him of one case. When I came over from Tasmania in the Loongana a week or two ago, I met a prominent business man of Launceston, who is head of his firm, and I said to him, " You are doing pretty well out of chaff, are you not?" and he said, " I am trying to do pretty well out of it, but I cannot." I then asked him the reason, because I knew that Tasmania had the stuff to sell, and he replied, " It is because of the firms who control the chaff on this side. They are too big for us." I will give Senator Bakhap, or any other senator, the nam© of this firm privately. The gentleman to whom I referred told me that there was one firm in this State, a firm in Melbourne, who had this season made £80,000 out of chaff. That is "business as usual," of course! It is to deal with this class of business that we are asking for authority to organize our resources through the medium of the referenda proposals.

Senator Findley - Some of our own people cannot even get dripping;, it has been cornered.

Senator Millen - Why do you not quote New South Wales, where the Government is dealing with these matters?

Senator READY - The same can be said of butter, for w© learn that in a recent shipment of 6,000 cases of Queensland butter by the Warilda, the men who shipped that produce to Sydney mad© £1 per case, or a total of £6,000 over the transaction. That is one of the reasons why we are asking that the National Parliament should have national powers to deal with national crises. That is the position. The party aspect of the matter is not introduced by honorable members on this side, but by Senator Millen and those who follow him. Hundreds of Liberals to whom I have spoken are agreed that these powers are necessary, and Sir William Irvine, who is more patriotic than the honorable senator who has just sat down, said he would follow the Fisher Government, no matter what proposals they brought forward - referenda or not.

Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - Not with regard to this matter.

Senator READY - Apparently the honorable senator does not believe his own colleague's statement when dealing with a big national question like this. Senator Millen flung taunts across the floor of this chamber, and told us that there would be no preference to unionists at the front. There is not. But let me tell my honorable friend that there will be preference against the men who are fighting so bravely for Australia, and that it will b© his party which will give preference against them, when they return to this fair land, as we hope they will in the fulness of time. When they come back, not one-third of them will have a vote or any say in the Legislative Councils of many of the States of Australia.

Senator Guy - And that is the only effective vote.

Senator READY - Yes. They are regarded as good enough to fight for this country, but when it comes to managing its affairs they must, according to the Liberal view, have some sort of property qualification, or be denied any say in the representation in the Legislative Councils. In the face of all this, the honorable gentleman flings his taunts across the floor that there will be no preference to unionists at the front.

Senator Guy - They will not give the mothers of these men a chance even now.

Senator READY - The honorable senator in his speech, with sinister cunning, attempted to insinuate that the course we are taking in putting through the third reading of this Bill is unprecedented. Is that the position ? Is the course which we are taking in Australia unprecedented ? It is not true, and to prove it I remind the Senate of what Canada is doing. In the Dominion a general election is to be held in which the personal issues of all parties in the Parliament will be involved. On the other hand, what we are doing is not a personal matter at all, but a great national matter which ought to be above party feeling.

Senator Guthrie - We did the same thing last September, when we held a general election.

Senator READY - Yes, and New Zealand did the same last December. I wish now to read an extract from a well-known English paper bearing on this matter.

Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - The honorable senator is trying to justify this course at the very worst time.

Senator READY - The honorable senator does not recognise the position.

Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould. - Yes, I do.- I recognise the whole circumstances.

Senator Guthrie - What is the difference between to-day and last September ?

Senator READY - The extract I wish to read quotes the Toronto correspondent of the London Times, the greatest English newspaper, and it is as follows : -

Canadian Politics.

The indications suggest an almost immediate dissolution of Parliament. The argument of the Government is that, as it is subject to constant hostile criticism and attack, that with twenty-two western constituencies without representation cither in the Senate or the House of Commons, and that, with enormous obligations on account of the war and its own action in sending an army to Europe, it is desirable to have an authoritative declaration from the country. It is also pointed out that Ministers must shortly appear at an Imperial Conference to consider terms of peace and problems of the gravest importance to the Empire, and that, while there is a conflict of authority between the Commons and the Senate, they cannot speak with such decision as is desirable.

Senator Guy - Surely that must be a Labour Government?

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