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Friday, 27 July 1906

Mr FISHER (Wide Bay) . - I consider that the leaders of the House are fighting shadows in this matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member's colleagues did not say so last night.

Mr. FISHER.Weare not founding our legislation on British precedents. The question between the Prime Minister and' the honorable member for Parramatta seems: to be whether the mail-ships shall be purchased for the performance of any public service other than fighting.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Whether the power to purchase should be given to provide for our defence, or to meet general socialistic purposes.

Mr FISHER - We are a nation of peace, not a fighting people.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And, therefore, do not need any provision of the kind.

Mr FISHER - We have no need to announce to the world that we desire to have the right of purchase in order to obtain vessels for use in time of war, because we are not anxious to fight any one. The object of the contract, according to the statements which were made from all sides of the Chamber, is to obtain a mail service which will be as useful as possible in transporting Australian goods to markets at the lowest possible rates.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - To socialize the service.

Mr FISHER - The honorable member can use any terms he likes to employ. The sooner we recognise principles which are sound, and follow them regardless of the bandying of words, the more likely are we to do good work for the people whom we represent.

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