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Wednesday, 25 November 1931

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- The Treasurer stated that not a tittle of evidence has been adduced in support of the charges against him. .We know from his past career that a lot of evidence is required to convict him of wrongdoing. A government could not be guilty of anything more contemptible than to exploit the unfortunate unemployed to gain a political advantage. The Treasurer sought to excuse himself by alleging political patronage by a State Government; that has nothing to do with the matter now before the

House. I charge the Treasurer with having deliberately misled the members of this House in regard to the manner in which workers needing relief were to be engaged, in order that he and others might be able to put their own particular cronies into jobs at Cockatoo Island. On the 29th October, when the relief grant of £250,000 was being discussed, I asked the honorable gentleman, amongst other tilings, what method would be adopted for the engagement of relief labour, and whether the employment that was to be given would be distributed through the State Labour Exchanges. The Treasurer replied - " I cannot answer that question; the details have not yet been settled." Yet on the 30th October instructions were issued to the Commonwealth Works Department by the Government, notwithstanding that the Treasurer had stated on the previous day that the details had not then been settled. Not only did strange things occur in the Dalley electorate in connexion with registration for employment, but a member of this House went so far as to break the defence regulations in order to make a political attack on the Premier of New South Wales and exploit the unemployed. The Treasurer has asked for specific evidence; I have here one of the original notices posted at Liverpool Camp -


Mr. A.K Rowe, M.H.J?., Federal member for til is electorate, will visit Liverpool on Tuesday, tlie 10th November, 1931, and wishes to obtain a list of names of men seeking employment: lie would bc glad to interview, personally, those who wish to be placed on his list, at the Works Office, Liverpool, at 9 a.m. on the above date.

Remember - !) o'clock next Tuesday morning, at the Works Office, just inside the main entrance to Liverpool Camp. 1'. G. Whiteside, K.A.E.,

Works Officer, Liverpool.

Certain Government supporters even made use of the military department in order to have the men mustered. The meeting was duly held inside the gates of Liverpool Camp, on military property, and a political address was delivered, in which not only the Premier of New South Wales, but also the members of the Beasley group, were castigated. During the meeting some of the unemployed objected to the procedure that was being adopted in distributing labour, and the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Rowe) replied, " If you do not want work, go to the State Labour Exchange; if you do want work, enrol now". Even then, the men who were enrolled were not given work in the order in which their names were taken. Discrimination was exercised against certain men, because their political views were known ; because they were not supporters of the Premiers' plan and of the present Commonwealth Ministry. No known Lang supporters were given work. Evidence to that effect can be obtained in hundreds of instances. It is perfectly true, as the Treasurer has said, with his usual adeptness in confusing the facts, that we supplied lists of men ; but what we complain of is that the supporters of the Government had previous knowledge, and were able to supply their lists a week before we did. We were not informed that names were being taken by the Commonwealth Works Department, and we would never have known that fact had we not ascertained it by accident. We certainly submitted lists when we found that other honorable members had already done so. One member of the Permanent Military Forces at Liverpool Camp attempted to get into touch with the Minister for Defence (Mr. Chifley) to protest against the breaking of the military regulations, and to suggest that the arrangements be cancelled with a view to engaging labour through the local bureau. He could not get into touch with Mr. Chifley, so he made representations to Senator Dooley, who refused to take any action. It is also true that members of the Federal Government have received letters from men in the East Sydney electorate seeking employment. These men wrote to the Government supporters. Knowing the type of Government with which they had to deal, they were of the opinion that if they submitted their names through the member for East Sydney no work would be given them. These things certainly warrant an inquiry. Discrimination has been shown against certain men. One member of the East Sydney electorate was fortunate enough to receive a notice to commence work, but no opportunity was given him to commence work. The following is his declaration : -


I, James Frederick Baird, of 35 Waterloo- street, Sydney, in the State of New South Wales, solemnly and sincerely declare that 1 was engaged by a Mr. Todd, of the Public Works Department (Commonwealth at Customs House, Circular Quay, for the purpose of relief work, painting the Balmain telephone exchange. I reported for work on Monday, 16th November, at 7.30 a.m. When I arrived on the job at Balmain, which cost me tram fares,I was informed by a Mr. Gardiner that he had received instructions not to start me. Othermen were treated the same way, andI make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same tobe true and by virtue ofthe provisions of the Oaths Act 1900. jamesfredrick Baird.

Subscribed and declared at Sydney this 24th day of November, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-one before me,

W.E. R. Bates,

Justice of the Peace, Paddington.

One of the suggested reasons why that man was not allowed to start work is that his brother is one of the Lang party candidates at the municipal elections at. Paddington. The Treasurer has brushed lightly aside the charges made against him. It takes quite a lot of evidence to convict him.

Mr White - Who gave Mahony a job at Cockatoo Island?

Mr WARD - The honorable member is in a better position than I am to answer that question. The Treasurer (Mr. Theodore) has made certain attacks outside of this House against the Beasley group. I remember an occasion when he demanded the right to defend himself against certain charges. All that he wanted was the opportunity to be sworn and to be cross-examined on oath. But when he was given the opportunity he did not take advantage of it. He was too cowardly to subject himself to cross-examination. The facts that have been submitted to the House warrant an inquiry being made. I have much pleasure in seconding the motion of the honorable member for West Sydney.

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