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Friday, 17 November 1911

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - The members of the Opposition are very hard to please this morning. The Minister and Senator Rae are doing their best to provide a nomination form which will suit them, but their efforts are wasted. So far as honorable senators on this side are concerned, the present form suits them admirably; but we should require a nomination form which might, be altered by regulation at any moment to suit the party opposite. This difficulty may be met if the clause is agreed to as proposed to be amended by Senator Rae.

Senator Vardon - Are the Government going to accept Senator Rae's amendment ?

Senator DE LARGIE - I do not know what they will do until a vote is taken on the amendment. So far, it would have been impossible .for any Parliament, in a hard-and-fast nomination form, to anticipate the name by which the party opposite desired to be called.

Senator St Ledger - That may be all the better for our party.

Senator DE LARGIE - It has not operated in that way so far. At every fresh election, honorable senators opposite fly a different flag and if Senator Rae's amendment is accepted, it will be possible, under this clause, to meet that difficulty. At the last election, they called themselves " Fusionists."

Senator Walker - That is what we were called by the other side.

Senator DE LARGIE - That was the name the members of the party called themselves, and they were no more fortunate under it than they had been previously under other names. My political opponents in Western Australia were at the first Federal elections called Free Traders and Protectionists. The only party who have been true to their name throughout has been the Labour party. They have stuck to the old name and are still doing business under it. In the second Senate election, the party representatives of the party opposite ran away from the fiscal names and came out as the " Nationalist party." At the third election in Western Australia, we had them calling themselves " the Western Australian party." Fancy the presumption of people calling themselves " the Western Australian party." The inference was that the Labour party were not Western Australian ; but when the figures were up, it was found that they had the support of the people of Western Australia, and the presumptuous " Western Australian party " were in their proper place, at the bottom of the poll. At the last election, our honorable friends opposite called themselves "Fusionists." Now they call themselves "Liberals," and the Lord only knows by what name they will call themselves at the next election. It is only by a regulation, which may be altered every five minutes, that it will be possible to frame a nomination paper which will suit the Opposition. The Minister is evidently proposing this clause in the interests of our honorable friends opposite, and' not in the interest of honorable senators on this side.

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