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Thursday, 1 July 1926

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - In supporting the candidature of Senator Newlands for the office of President of the Senate, I desire to avail myself of the opportunity to say a few words in respect to the contest that has just been concluded. The Senate, so far as I can understand, is a place where explanations can be given, or apologies made, and where the results of experience may also be mentioned. As honorable senators are aware, in the contest which has taken place, I was a candidate for the position of President. I received, roughly, the support of one-third of the members of the party to which I belong. To those who voted for me, I am very grateful. I feel, however, that I lost the position of President largely, if not entirely, by the vote of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Pearce), and I now desire to express my regret that I have not behaved as well and as kindly towards that gentleman as perhaps I should have done, and have hot appeared to be more concerned about him. I could direct attention to many occasions when that gentleman called upon me to step in and help his Government through in connexion with debates in this chamber. I need only refer to two in order to refresh his memory. I may remind him that, on one occasion, Senator Duncan came to me when the Government was short of a vote, and when it was necessary to send to Geelong for Senator Guthrie. I then stepped into the breach as usual, and held the fort until that honorable senator arrived. On another occasion, Senator Pearce sent the Government Whip (Senator Drake-Brockman), to me to reply to statements made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham), when the Crimes Bill was under discussion. These are instances of which I think it necessary to remind honorable senators, with the accompanying assurance that I am afraid I did not on those occasions serve Senator Pearce and his Government as well perhaps as I might have done, hut I did my best.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator is doing me an injustice.

Senator LYNCH - I can refer to several instances which have occurred since I first came into contact with the right honorable senator 25 years ago. I refer more particularly to the war period, when Senator Pearce, who was then a Minister, sent me a special cypher message. I was at the time engaged on my farm in Western Australia. I left my work- in fact, I left everything- -in order to obey the request presented to me in that cypher message, dispatched through the Defence Department. For what purpose? To request me to enter into a wordy and lengthy warfare with the Fremantle wharf lumpers, with the object of getting them to return to their work of loading the ships in order to despatch supplies to our fellow citizens, who were engaged in an important field of endeavour in Europe. I was the only one selected for the purpose, and I believe I performed my duty loyally. That brought me into conflict with those men in a way which honorable senators can well imagine. I did my duty on that occasion. Apparently I was singled out because I was considered the only one fit for the work, but in carrying out the duty I was requested to perform, I made myself very unpopular. On another occasion during the war, .when a Government of which. Senator Pearce was a member was in office, I was selected to interview a number of miners at the Kalgoorlie mines and prevail upon them not to go on strike. I was to see to it that the aliens were dislodged. I was the spear head on that occasion, as on others. I was doing the work of Ministers, and of the Government. I came in contact, as Senator Graham knows, with hundreds of } Kalgoorlie miners, and in doing so was performing the work of Ministers who remained in their offices in Melbourne. On another occasion, when the late Lord Forrest died, I was specially commissioned by a Government of which Senator Pearce was a member to proceed to Western Australia to endeavour to heal the breach between two contending branches of the party. In doing so I made myself unpopular with many in the farming districts of Western Australia, as honorable senators from that State can testify, just as I did in connexion with my work amongst the Fremantle wharf lumpers and the miners on the Kalgoorlie goldfield. I acted not in my own interests but in the interests of the Government, and of Senator Pearce, but I now feel that I have not served him as- well as I might have done. There are further instances to which I could refer, but those I have mentioned will throw some light on the present situation. Apparently, I have not found favour in his sight this time. This gentleman impugned the race to which I belong, at a public gathering, when he stated that the Country party in Australia was founded by Sinn Feiners, but I made him eat and swallow his own words, and therein may lie some explanation of why I did not receive sufficient support on this occasion. I may [not have gone far enough. I am sorry if I did not. As for my loyalty to this gentleman, I may say that I have been as docile to his interests as I could possibly be. I made speeches from hundreds of platforms, from which he gained the benefit. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) was in Western Australia and the tide of popularity was running hard against the Government, the Prime Minister spoke, as also did Senator Pearce. What did Mr. Bruce say on that occasion? His remarks are on record. The Prime Minister said, " It was worth my while coming all the way from Melbourne to hear the manly speech of Senator Lynch on my colleague's behalf." Was I speaking for myself? Not much. On those occasions I was speaking for others, and particularly for the gentleman to whom I have referred. I could go on, and on. It is, perhaps, useless to make these references, but when I entered the contest, I did not expect to see any foul blows struck. The ordinary relations that govern men of character and uprightness, and particularly of gratitude, should be observed in contests for this exalted position. I could go on and say more, but ] 3hall forebear. I shall return to my humble calling, thanking God, but nobody else. No one can dislodge me from the confidence of the people of Western Australia, as far as I know, and it will- not be men of an ungrateful and blackhearted type that will stop my grass from growing or my sheep from increasing. There is a higher power, thank God, that governs these things. Ungrateful man has nothing to do with them. And when I bring my produce to market, I venture to say that men even of the type of Senator Pearce will buy it, particularly if it is available at a farthing below the price at which any one else is prepared to sell. So I am independent and, perhaps, I shall be in a better position than if. for the present, I occupied the coveted plush chair in this chamber. I leave this subject. It is a painful one for me.. I know that the right honorable gentleman has supported me in the past. On one occasion, when I was sitting beside him at the Ministerial table, he said to me, " How proud I am to have a man . like you up here beside me, fighting at the table." I was then Minister for Works, because, no doubt, there was fighting to be done. I was approached by Senator Pearce to take the portfolio. We all know what that means. But when it is a question of distributing plums, it appears that I am considered not good enough ; that I must be shoved aside. Paddy Lynch, it seems, was good enough to do the fighting, but when plums were to be ladled out, Paddy Lynch must be thrust into the background. But I have my character still. No lodge-ridden serf will ever cross my pathway and prevent me from attaining that position of independence that I shall yet attain. A3 for my popularity among honorable senators, I can say that I have never crouched to them in my life. I have never asked any member of this chamber for a vote in connexion with this contest, nor have I ever asked any man for a vote, except on the public platform. I am going, as I said, to retire to my place, but I shall continue to occupy my position in this chamber, too, and take my part in the conduct of the affairs of the Senate. I entreat that, for the future, in the filling of these posts, we should look for men of character. As far as I am concerned, although I say it myself, I feel that mine has been fairly well tested with acid and in the crucible. For the present, I have, finished what I intended to say. I thought I should recall these incidents, if. only for the sake of showing how kissing goes by favour; how the past is forgotten, and how a person, particularly of my name, race, and religion, can be regarded as an excellent spearhead or buffer to stand all the abuse or odium that may attach to his efforts, but when gifts are to be distributed, as one to be shoved on one side, in the interests of a pet. British fair play, gentlemen ! Where is it ? If I am good enough to be in the forefront of the battle, I should be good enough to enjoy the safe and comfortable positions offering. British fair play, they call it ! This is a rare example of British fair play. But I leave the matter now. I thank again the members of my party who voted for me, and also other honorable senators who would have voted for me but for this incident, and for the fact that the past has been forgotten, no matter how I have tried to serve my party and the right honorable gentleman, and because there are favorites to be served.

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