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Thursday, 14 December 1905

Mr MALONEY (Melbourne) - I very much regret that the House, in its wisdom, cannot see its way clear to proceed with the consideration of this Bill. It is a very important measure, and any reader who is conversant with the political literature of the world must recognise that trusts are a source of danger. The Japanese, for whom the honorable and learned member for Parkes has so great an admiration, have grasped the tobacco trust by the throat, and have practically crushed it out of existence. Surely he should assist to pass legislation of this character. Might I suggest to the Prime Minister that, if we cannot pass this Bill this session, we should proceed with other work, and have a special session in January for the purpose of dealing with the question. I regard this as the most important Bill that has been submitted for our consideration during the current session. What have we to fear ? Even if the Bill were carried in a form which was far from perfect, does anybody suggest that harm would result? What Statute is perfect? If we approved of this Bill at the present time, the Government would have an opportunity during the recess of formulating a better measure, the merits of which would appeal to every honorable member. Surely this is not going to be made a party question. Personally, I always respect a free-trader who is honest in his convictions, because I know that he will certainly help his own race in preference to another. Within the past few days I was visited by an old schoolmate of mine - one of many who have lost their positions as the result of the operations of this harvester trust. He said : " You have known me for years, and you are aware that I cannot save much when I have to support a family of eight. I have a little home for which I pay no rent; but I am feeling the pinch now that I am for the third week out of employment." I repudiate the suggestion that I am speaking on behalf of Mr. McKay. As a matter of fact, I have reason to loathe one of his actions. I know that he removed from Melbourne in. order to avoid complying with the Factories Act. But in this Bill there is a principle involved. There are other manufacturers who are honestly endeavouring to comply with the law, and it is on their behalf that I am speaking. I say that if we cannot pass the Bill before the session closes, we should meet in January for the purpose of dealing with this question. Surely within a fortnight we should be able to pass a Bill which would permit the Government to do all that is necessary before the beginning of next session.

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