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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- I support the bill, and in doing so I am called upon to say something about our own supporters. Only three weeks ago our party met and came to a unanimous decision.

Mr Guy - Unanimous ? What will the Whip say?

Mr JAMES - Yes, we reached a unanimous decision on this matter. There was no opposition. The question was carried on the voices. But, since then, the Premiers have met and we find that opposition is to come from Queensland members. It appears that the Premier of Queensland, Mr. Forgan Smith, is filling the role he occupied on a previous occasion - that of dictator of the Labour party of Australia. I remember a referendum being held in 1937. After Queensland members had committed themselves to abide by the Parliamentary Labour party's decision to oppose the referendum, Mr. Forgan .Smith arranged for the Queensland Central Executive to instruct members from that State to vote for the referendum proposals. That meant asking them to vote against their own party in Parliament under threat that their endorsements would probably be withdrawn. The Deputy Leader of our party in his second-reading speech committed himself to oppose the referendum. He was told in no uncertain terms, "You had better go back on your tracks or your endorsement as a Labour candidate will be withdrawn ". I have heard about the dictatorship of a certain individual in New South "Wales, hut his dictatorship never extended to interference with the members of the Commonwealth Parliament. We had the spectacle last week of the president of the Australian Labour party meeting honorable members from Queensland in this building.

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