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Thursday, 19 July 1906

Mr SALMON (Laanecoorie) .- I am very loth to say anything, upon an occasion of this kind, but I feel that the extraordinary remarks of the honorable member for New England regarding the party to which I belong call for some protest. One is often staggered to learn from the newspapers that the most remarkable ideas are held concerning the views expressed by honorable members of this House, but I think that such speeches as that to which we have just listened are primarily responsible for any misapprehension that may exist. The honorable member has stated that the members of a certain party in this Parliament were so utterly selfish, so completely blind to the benefits that have been showered upon us by the motherland', and altogether so unjust and unfair, that they were prepared to disregard ability and merit and to give preference to an applicant for any position, merely because he happened to be an Australian. I contend that that is an absolute travesty of the view held by honorable members on this side of the House.

Mr Lonsdale - I accept the responsibility for all those statements.

Mr SALMON - I freely acquit the honorable member of any blame, because I do not believe that he realizes what he has been saying. I deeply sympathize with him.

Mr Lonsdale - I sympathize with the honorable member.

Mr SALMON - I do not seek to induce the honorable member to alter his opinions, because I recognise that that would be hopeless. I do not ask the honorable member to qualify or withdraw anything that he has said concerning the party to which I belong, because I realize that it is impossible to change his present frame of mind. I am proud to belong to the party which holds the view that if an Australian is as fit as any other applicant for a position in Australia, he is entitled to the preference.

Mr Lonsdale - I say that too.

Mr SALMON - I arn not prepared to go beyond that. I think that what I have stated should be sufficient to dispose of the honorable member's attempt to ally me with any party having such ignoble aims and such unworthy motives as he has indicated.

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