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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr REID (East Sydney) .- This proposal may be connected with a scheme for founding a Commonwealth line of mail steamers, such as my honorable friends of the Labour Party are anxious to establish. It will mean a very small beginning, but it will, nevertheless, be a decided one. It will affirm the principle of a State-owned line of steamers, and also to some extent the principle of a national industry. Here, again. I am not in a position to quarrel with the Govern ment. I look upon the development of our fisheries as one of the best and greatest objects that they could have in view.

Mr Hutchison - Is the right honorable member weakening in his antiSocialism ?

Mr REID - Had the honorable member allowed me to complete the sentence he would not have put that question. I have in view the magnificent development by private enterprise of the fisheries on the coast of the mother country, where tens of thousands of hardy fishermen have established a great national industry ; I have in view a magnificent development of private * enterprise instead of the creation, in the future, of a fleet of Government trawlers. I look upon this proposal as one to which we need not object, because the object which I expect to be achieved is the development of one of the greatest of the private enterprises of Australia. This is the only difference between my honorable friends, the Socialists, and myself. We both believe in making the best use of the powers of the' Government for the benefit of the people, and I only part company with my honorable friends on the point that they look upon this, as the beginning of' a fleet of national trawlers, to be manned' by sailors wearing the Government uniform. Long before the question of Socialism was discussed in the Federal arena, I had an opportunity to make experiments in. this direction. I believe that I was the first Premier of an Australian State to fit out a trawling expedition at the expense of the Government. I provided the necessary funds, and a gentleman well known in connexion with the fishing industry - Mr. Frank Farnell, who has been identified with these matters all his life - was placed in charge of a properlyequipped trawler to ascertain' what were the resources of the coastal waters of New South Wales.

Mr Higgins - Was not that very wicked and socialistic?

Mr REID - No. I have just mentioned the point at which I part company with my honorable friends the Socialists. If is foolish to believe that Socialists alone favour the using of the powers of the Government for the benefit of the people. Australian public men used the powers of the State for the benefit of the people before the Socialists were thought of, and will continue to do so long after they have been forgotten. I claim to be just as fearless as the Socialists are i". making use of the powers of the Government for the benefit of the genera] community, but I draw the line at their desire to convert the whole community into an army of Government servants.

Mr Higgins - Who desires anything of the kind?

Mr REID - The Socialists.

Mr Higgins - Where are they?

Mr REID - A few of them are at present in the Chamber, and the honorable and learned member has got them into hot water owing to his soundness on the question of Home "Rule. They find it impossible to' secure the withdrawal of the 10ml- nation of a candidate in opposition to the honorable and learned1 member. But there has been no trouble with the Central Council in regard to the finding of opponents to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Bourke, who voted against Home Rule.

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