Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 23 June 1937

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) . - I subscribe wholeheartedly to the Address-in-Reply so ably moved by Senator McLeay, and so ably seconded by Senator Marwick, and endorse its expression of loyalty to the Throne, and the thanks it conveys to His Excellency the Governor-General for his address to this Parliament. The whole procedure of the re-opening of Parliament was without a marring incident, and there is no doubt that His Excellency is deserving of thanks, not only for his Speech, but also for the great interest which he has taken in the affairs of the Commonwealth. In his Speech, he mentioned his visit to the various parts of the Commonwealth, and I can assure honorable senators that his visits to some of the most outlandish parts of Western Australia were much appreciated by the people there. There is no doubt in my mind that the appointment of GovernorsGeneral direct by His Majesty the King is the best system, because, no matter what cheap sneers may be hurled at the appointment of governors-general from overseas, the fact is apparent to the great bulk of the people of Australia that the system could not be improved. I appreciate the fact that the long line of honorable gentlemen who have been the personal representatives of the King in this Commonwealth have done yeomen work and service toAustralia. Those former Governors-General who are still alive in the Old Country continue to render that service.

Senator Collings - What was wrong with the last Governor-General?

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I have every respect for the last occupant of the high office, but he was not appointed by the method which I think is to be preferred. On that point let us agree to disagree. So long as the present system continues, let us resolve that no discourtesy or disrespect shall be shown to His Majesty's representatives.

Senator Collings - No Australian need apply.

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator's interjection might be appreciated in the Sydney domain, but not in this chamber. Honorable senators generally are agreed that every respect is due to the Governor-General, and, indeed, every State Governor, as representatives of His Majesty. It is true that a Labour government in Western Australia secured the appointment of an Australian, in the person of Sir James Mitchell, to the high office of Lieutenant Governor. For no man in Australia have I a higher regard than I have for Sir James Mitchell, but no Australian occupant of the office can, at the expiration of his term, render at the hub of the Empire the service to Australia that can be rendered by a resident of Britain.

Senator E B Johnston - No one has filled the position more satisfactorily than has Sir James Mitchell.

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I agree with the honorable senator. For many years I have been a close friend of Sir James Mitchell, than whom, in my opinion, no man has served Western Australia better. I repeat that, in my opinion, the present method of appointing governors-general is the best, and I hope that it will long continue.

The Governor-General's Speech made only brief mention of the coronation of Their Majesties the King and Queen, but it was long enough to remind us of the enthusiasm and loyalty of the people of the British Empire on that historic occasion. No one who listened to the radio description of the ceremonies could have failed to be impressed by the enthu siasm displayed throughout the Empire. Not only in the large cities, but also in every hamlet, the spirit of the people was the same. To those with names like mine the coronation brought an additional thrill, because of the fact that on the Throne of England there is a Scottish Queen. Honorable senators with such names as Grant, Crawford, Plain or Payne, no less than McLeay, McLachlan and MacDonald, have a special reason to exult.

When it is remembered that less than 200 years ago there was enmity between England and Scotland, often resulting in bloodshed, we have cause for joy at the union of the two peoples. I, personally, rejoice in the coronation of Her Majesty the Queen, the Lady of Glamis, no less than in that of His Majesty the King, and I fervently pray that they may long reign over a peaceful and prosperous British Empire.

When the debate was adjourned last night, the Senate had just listened to a spate of praise of the Government because of its achievements during its term of office, and its policy for the future. I desire to add my meed of praise, not only for what the Government has done, but also for what it proposes to do before its present term of office expires. It remains to be seen what will happen before the end of this year, when the electors speak through the ballot-box, but, at this stage, I desire to congratulate you, sir, and the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) on having again been selected unanimously by the political organizations to which you belong to contest the Senate election in Western Australia. Both of you have fought many election campaigns, and, despite the assertion of the Opposition that Labour will win the election, I do not think that you and your supporters will be daunted. It may be that Labour representatives, by continually referring to Labour's forthcoming victory, are imitating the little boy whistling in the churchyard to maintain his courage in the dark.

Senator Collings - The honorable member should remember Gwydir.

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I do not know what the position is in New South Wales or Queensland, but I take second' place to no one in gauging public opinion in Western Australia. I say unhesitatingly that, in my opinion, the Labour party is in for a sorry defeat in that State.

Apparently your name, sir, and those of Senators Pearce and Marwick, will again be in the middle of the ballot paper. Prom time to time, suggestions for an alteration of the present system of setting out the names of candidates on the ballot paper have been made. For some years, I have endeavoured to have a change made, but recent happenings in New South Wales have demonstrated more clearly the defects of the existing system. Ever since the names of candidates have been grouped according to the political party to which they belong, the Labour party seems to have aimed at selecting candidates whose names commence with letters at, or near, the beginning of the alphabet. I do not know that gentlemen whose surnames begin with " A " are more fitted to govern the country than are those whose names commence with " M ". In New South Wales, the Lang party has selected four candidates whose surnames commence with " A " to contest the forthcoming Senate election. To many, the selection is ludicrous; but the position would be still more ludicrous were the names of those gentlemen placed at the bottom of the ballot paper.

Senator Foll - The people of New South Wales are laughing at the Labour party already.

Senator ALLANMacDONALD.The Lang group in New South Wales has attempted to place a premium on ignorance by deliberately catering for the ill-considered votes of ignorant people. We cannot tell to what extreme these practices might be indulged in if they be not checked. Something should be done promptly to counteract them, and there is nothing radical in the proposal that the position of the names of grouped candidates on the ballot-paper should be decided by lot. In that way every candidate, whether his name starts with A or Z, will have an equal chance with other candidates.

Suggest corrections