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Wednesday, 2 March 1904

Mr MAUGER (Melbourne Ports) - I move -

That the Address be agreed to by the House.

I should like, at the outset, to heartily reciprocate, on behalf of honorable members, the good wishes expressed in the speech of His Excellency. I am sure that we all trust that the bountiful harvest to which he has alluded, and the good times which he has predicted, may be enjoyed by himself and his good lady, as well as by the community generally. I am sure, too, that honorable members join with the Government in the hope expressed that the war between Japan and Russia may soon terminate, and that the neutrality of Great Britain may be maintained. I agree that it is the duty of the Government to learn as much as possible from the experience of other nations, and I therefore hope that the intention to send an experienced military officer to the seat of war will be carried into effect. I trust, however, that the officer chosen will be an Australian. I am sorry that there has been an inclination on the part of those in authority to rather keep back officers of Australian, birth and training, and I hope, therefore, that the Government will require that an Australian soldier shall be sent on this important mission. I heartily congratulate the Treasurer upon the good work which he did in connexion with the recent Conference between him and the Treasurers of the States. The difficulties in the way of funding the debts of the States are exceedingly great, because the interests at stake vary so much, and the problems to be solved are so intricate. Still, a matter is in good hands when the righthonorable gentleman has charge of it, and although a great deal has not yet been accomplished, .1 look forward to the time when this work will be consummated. I hope that the Treasurer will have the honour of having brought about its consummation.

I have heard with pleasure the anticipation of the Government that the settlement of the question will lead to the early establishment of old-age pensions. Such an event is to be heartily welcomed, and I hope that the present Government will bring it about, so that we may have something more than a mere promise. Although there are Government Old-age Pensions Departments in some of the States, they are not all working satisfactorily, while there are States in which this great privilege - or right, as I should rather call it - is denied to the people.

Mr Fisher - It is either a right or they have no claim to a pension at all.

Mr MAUGER - Surely every honorable member must have been pained to learn that a large number of old and worthy colonists cannot obtain pensions because they are living in parts of the Commonwealth other than those in which they were born. There has been quite a number of such cases, and there will be no satisfactory settlement of the difficulty until we' establish a national system of pensions, making the pensions a right and not a mere dole. I am reminded by the Minister for Defence that the Minister for Home Affairs when in power there gave New South Wales its OldAge Pension Act. I hope that he will determine that the Cabinet of which he is now a member shall confer a similar benefit upon the Commonwealth. I heartily join in the congratulations expressed by the GovernorGeneral in regard to the bountiful harvest.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is there to be any legislation for that?

Mr MAUGER - More should be done to make proper use of this harvest. Water is now being allowed to waste and grass to wither which might be conserved with a view to prevent the recurrence of distress such as that which the community has recently experienced, and which, without such conservation, will assuredly overtake us again inthe future. It must be recognised by all who have travelled through the country that the fruits of the recent good season are not being conserved as they should be.

Mr Fuller - The protectionists would not allow the farmers to obtain the machines necessary to do this work.

Mr MAUGER - What is required is foresight. The machinery now at our disposal is not being properly used in this direction. His Excellency's speech introduced the all-important but controversial question of preferential trade. The Government believe that they have the people behind them in their desire to arrange for some system of preferential trade, and I think that they are right in that belief. Although New South Wales has returned many memberspledged to free-trade, some of her erstwhile free-traders are now in the van of those who support preferential trade:

Mr Reid - Erstwhile !

Mr MAUGER - I used the word "erstwhile" because they recognised that they were on the wrong track, and think this is a splendid opportunity to get upon the right one.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is the proposal of the Government?

Mr MAUGER - The Government are quite rightly waiting for a proposal. I am sure that the country is behind them.

Mr Reid - Yes, in waiting.

Mr MAUGER - They are prepared to assist the Imperial Government in every practicable way in bringing about this desirable end, and the country is behind them in that.

Mr Reid - How much will they reduce the duties on hats, boots, and shoes ? Are they prepared to reduce them by 5 per cent?

Mr MAUGER - I expected that question, and I am voicing the opinion of leading protectionists when I say that we shall be prepared to give preference to Great Britain not only by increasing, but also by decreasing duties.

Mr Reid - That is a new departure.

Mr MAUGER - I am quite sure that there is no desire to make any one-sided arrangement.

Mr Reid - How much duty would the honorable member place on hats and boots ?

Mr MAUGER - I must ask the right honorable member to allow me to proceed. The idea in the mind of free-traders that we are only anxious to avail ourselves of this opportunity for the purpose of obtaining increased protection without making any concession, is altogether erroneous. We are prepared, after due and careful consideration, to make concessions to the old country, and I am sure that by mutual concessions and mutual consideration a very great deal can be done to foster, not only the industries and agriculture of the Commonwealth, but also the industries and agriculture of the old country.

Mr Poynton - Will the honorable member take 10 per cent. off the duty on hats?

Mr MAUGER - That is not the point we are at present discussing, and there are numerous other articles besides hats on which an increased duty of 10 per cent. might be placed, or in regard to which there might be a reduction in the tariff. However, it is interesting to note in this particular that in the year 1901 - which is the latest year from which I can secure returns - Australia imported food and drink from foreign countries, but which ought to have been imported from Great Britain, to the amount of£2, 315,000. In the same year Australia imported from foreign countries raw material to the value of , £910,000, and manufactures to the value of no less than £9,211.000. It is urged that we cannotexpect Great Britainto give us any preference, in view of our " Highwall Tariff " - that we continually shut out British manufactures, extending them no preference whatever, and that therefore we have no right to look for any concessions or help from Great Britain. But there is a striking fact or two which I desire to lay before honorable members. I have here a return prepared by the Board of Trade, and based on the latest Custom House reports of Great Britain, showing "the estimated average ad valorem equivalent import duties levied by the undermentioned countries on the principal articles of British export from Great Britain. Acording to this report, the duties levied by Russia amount to 131 per cent., by the United States to 73 per cent., by Austria-Hungary to 35 per cent., by France to 34 per cent., by Italy to 37 per cent., by Germany to 35 per cent, by Belgium to 13 per cent., and by Australia, the lowest of all, to a little over 6 per cent. Notwithstanding the fact that Russia imposes duties amounting to 131 per cent., I find that the United Kingdom, in 1902, imported from Russia goods which I think ought to have been imported from Australia, in the shape of food-stuffs to the value of £13,500,000, and raw material to the value of £10,000,000.

Mr Reid - Why did Australia not supply these goods?

Mr MAUGER - Because we had not made arrangements by which the goods could be supplied by Australia, though there is no doubt we ought to supply them. In addition, the United Kingdom imported from Russia manufactures to the value of £195,000, semi-manufactures to the value of £205,000, and other articles to the value of £1,170,000. This gives a total of £25,000,000 worth of imports into Great Britain from Russia, a country which imposes duties to the extent of 131 per cent.

Mr Glynn - Those are picked items.

Mr MAUGER - I am giving the returns as prepared by the Board of Trade, which shows the duties on articles imported from Great Britain, and does not give a general average.

Mr Kingston - Was not the average of duties in South Africa 7 per cent., and in Australia, 6 per cent. ?

Mr MAUGER - That may be so.

Mr Reid - Why, that is a free-trade tariff !

Mr MAUGER - It is nearly so.

Mr Reid - No wonder colonial industries are suffering.

Mr MAUGER - Colonial industries are suffering, as I shall show directly.

Mr Reid - The 6 per cent. might be reduced.

Mr MAUGER - What I am quoting from is a table showing the "estimated average ad valorem equivalent import duties levied by the undermentioned countries on the principle articles of British export from the United Kingdom."

Mr Reid - Exported, not imported.

Mr MAUGER - If they are exported there they are imported here.

Mr Reid - That may not be so.

Mr MAUGER - I beg the right honorable member's pardon, but that is the case. In Russia the duties on these articles amount to 131 per cent., whereas in Australia they amount to 7 per cent., and my point is that, notwithstanding the high duties imposed in Russia, Great Britain in 1901 imported from that country £25,000,000 worth of goods.

Mr Fisher - What does that return prove ?

Mr MAUGER - It proves that any addition to the duties imposed at present by the Commonwealth would not in any way prevent trade with Great Britain. It further proves that Russia took £14,000,000 worth of goods from the United Kingdom in the same year, thus showing that these duties do not in any way interfere with trade. The imports to which I have alluded embrace a large number of articles in which our farmers and producers are deeply interested. The returns show that from British possessions in 1902 there wasimported £2,534,286 worth of butter, while from foreign countries there was imported no less than £17,992,404 worth. Icontend that by proper arrangements a large percentage of. this trade ought to be se cured to the Commonwealth, and not allowed to go to Russia and other foreign countries.

Mr Wilks - Great Britain looks to Denmark for butter.

Mr MAUGER - Surely Denmark is a foreign country ?

Mr Wilks - It is not proposed to shut Danish goods out of England.

Mr MAUGER - But it is proposed to give us a preference which we are. anxious to secure. I am confident that whether the gentleman who is leading the movement in England is successful on the first occasion or not - and I ask honorable members to view the proposal on its merits, irrespective of the statesman who makes it - the Commonwealth and Great Britain must and will be in the near future brought more closely together on the lines which that gentleman has indicated, and to which the Government have alluded. I notice that the Government propose giving assistance to farmers by means of bonuses and speedier and cheaper transit. That proposal is very rightly placed ' before the succeeding paragraph. I am sure that the most practical way to secure population is to make the present population as thriving, industrious, and successful, as possible. If we can encourage our own farmers and extend our manufactures we shall do more than we should by any action in Great Britain, to increase our population in the way desired by the Government. At the same time, I am quite with the Government in their desire to increase the population of the Commonwealth, and to make known to Great Britain and the other older countries the facilities which the Commonwealth offers in the particular directions indicated ; and I hope the Government will do their best to co-operate with the States Governments in this matter.

Mr Page - Does the honorable member really mean that?

Mr MAUGER - I notice that the Government have already taken the first step towards redeeming their promise to introduce an Industrial Arbitration and Conciliation Bill. I hope that the measure will be successfully piloted through, and that the workers will reap the benefit of its provisions. I observe that the Employers' Union have been meeting in New South Wales, and that, notwithstanding the fact that the country has proclaimed emphatically in favour of this very desirable measure, they propose entering a protest against it becoming law. All I can say is that I am sure the Government, in introducing the Bill, have the country behind them, and that the employers have nothing to fear from the working of such a measure, which must tend to the benefit of the employes and the country generally.

Mr McDonald - Railway servants as well ?

Mr MAUGER - My friend hopes so, and I am sure that I am earnestly with him in that hope. I desire to briefly allude to the fact that the Government have promised to introduce an Iron Bonus .Bill, and to direct the attention, especially of New South Wales members, to the circumstance that since such a measure has been before the country the ironworkers of New South Wales have waited on the Government of that State in order to urge the calling of tenders for locomotives to be manufactured within the State. I should like also to direct the attention of the honorable member for Parramatta to the fact that the trades unions, representatives of which formed the larger part of the deputation, urged that the Government should, even at considerable expense, take steps to have the engines manufactured in New South Wales. The deputation . pointed out the desirability of confining tenders to the State, and the Premier, Sir John See, in replying, said that he intended to give a bonus in order to have the engines manufactured in the State, and that he hoped the effect would be the development of the iron deposits to. be there found.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is putting the case quite wrongly.

Mr Fuller - There is a Royal Commission inquiring into the question in New South Wales at the present time.

Mr MAUGER - Honorable members, say that I am wrong in my statements, but I have here the report of the speech of the Premier of New South Wales, who said distinctly - "Yes, I am prepared to give a bonus, for the" reason that we will give employment to our own people, and circulate a large amount' of wages throughout the community. ' '

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But the deputation did not ask for a bonus.

Mr MAUGER - Mr. McGowanand Mr. Hollis. who were with the deputation, stated that they were anxious for the locomotives to be manufactured by the Government if possible, but, failing that, they desired them to be manufactured within the State; and to this end they were prepared to support the giving of a higher price to local tenderers than to foreign tenderers.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - These were not the views of the deputation.

Mr MAUGER - Of course I do not know the views of the individual members of the deputation, but I know that Mr. McGowan is the leader of the, New South Wales Labour Party, of which Mr. Hollis is a representative member, and their clear and definite opinion, as expressed, is that it is to the highest and best interests of the community that these locomotives should be manufactured within the State - that, seeing there is no chance of the Government undertaking the manufacture, the Government should go to the extent of offering a considerably enhanced price to the manufacturer who undertakes the work.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is misrepresenting the whole case.

Mr MAUGER - I must really beg the honorable member's pardon. I shall not detain the House by reading the full report of the deputation, but I can assure honorable members that I am not misrepresenting the case in any way.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Government did tender through the Government workshops.

Mr MAUGER - And I believe that was the lowest tender received.

Mr Fuller - And a Royal Commission is now inquiring into the whole matter.

Mr MAUGER - That does not affect my argument.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The object of the deputation was to insist on the locomotives being made in the Government workshops.

Mr MAUGER - The report of the deputation sets out quite an opposite view. The Premier of New South Wales is reported as saying -

Practically we offer a bonus for the manufacture of the engines within the State. I have every reason to believe that they can be made just as well and as cheaply asthose imported. In support of that statement. I may remark that a shipping company with which I am connected, imported a steamer and machinery in sections. After she was put together a larger steamer was locally built at a less cost in proportion to its greater size than the imported vessel.

Then the Premier was asked - " Is the Cabinet encouraged to take this step by reason of the Federal Tariff ? " To this he replied -

I do not say so necessarily. It does seem to me to be a common-sense proceeding to encourage our own skilled workmen rather than those of another country.

The Premier also said that he was quite prepared to undertake the manufacture of the engines or to give an enhanced price for the locally made article.

Also the leaders of the Labour Party were most emphatic in their assertion that they wanted these engines made in the country.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the Government workshops.

Mr MAUGER - I will hand to my honorable friend the newspaper reports of the deputation, and from them he will see that he is wrong. While the leaders of the Labour Partywere anxious to have the engines manufactured in the Government workshops, they were still more anxious to have them manufactured in the country. They were prepared to give a bonus rather than that the locomotives should not be manufactured in the country at all. That fact strengthens very much the position taken up by the report of the Royal Commission on Iron Bonuses, and it also demonstrates clearly the important fact that the workmen of the Commonwealth are. beginning to recognise that it is the first duty of the Government to find employment for our people, and not by means of imports, to employ foreign workmen while our

Own workmen are standing idle.

Mr Kelly - Where does Great Britain come in, in regard to a preference on iron ?

Mr MAUGER - There are plenty of things on which we can give a preference to Great Britain; and if my honorable friend is in earnest in his remark he will be willing to join with us to secure that object. There are, for instance, such things as motor cars and cotton goods in regard to which a preference can be given to Great Britain without in any way destroying or retarding our own industrial progress.

Mr Kelly - The manufacture of iron is a staple industry of Great Britain.

Mr MAUGER - Notwithstanding that, the largest proportion of our imports of iron come not from Great Britain but from foreign countries; so that in establishing our own industries we shall not be injuring Great Britain, but shall be taking trade from foreign countries. I also want to allude to the question of ocean mail contracts, and topoint out that it is a very remarkable fact that although the Leader of the Opposition has been offering strong opposition to the attitude assumed by the Government in determining to carry out the wish of this House, yet the very same position was arrived at by two Postal Coferences held prior to the Commonwealth being established. The honorable member for Parramatta was a member of the Postal Conference heldin Tasmania, which unanimously resolved that it was the duty of the States Governments to pay no further bonuses or bounties to ships that were not worked by white labour. The same resolution was arrived at when the honorable member was chairman of a conference which sat in New South Wales, and I suppose that that resolution was assented to by the head of. the Government of which he was a member.

Mr Reid - Does the honorable member ?

Mr MAUGER - If it was not assented to by the right honorable member, it was not objected to by him.

Mr Reid - Is the Premier of a State bound by the decision of an Intercolonial Conference of Postmasters-General?

Mr MAUGER - I should say that the Premier of a State was bound by the acts of his Ministers, and was responsible for them.

Mr Deakin - He did not repudiate them.

Mr Reid - I am not responsible for a lot of things.

Mr MAUGER - I have yet to learn that my right honorable friend disputed what was done or even raised his voice against it.

Mr Reid - I had sense enough to know that it would never come to anything.

Mr MAUGER - Were the resolutions passed with the intention that they should not come to anything, or did the right honorable member's colleague intend that they should come to nothing ?

Mr Reid - I never read those documents. I was too busy. I never heard of them until the subject was mentioned a month or two ago.

Mr MAUGER - But the right honorable member knows full well that he never raised any objection to the resolutions, which expressed the unanimous wish of the Conference long before the Commonwealth was established.

Mr Watson - The leader of the Opposition was questioned about the matter at the time in the New South Wales Parliament.

Mr Reid - I am glad, to hear it. I have no recollection of it.

Mr MAUGER - I have no doubt that my right honorable friend knows all about it. He is very innocent, but he is not so innocent as he looks. The fact remains, that he never repudiated the act of his colleague. The Parliament of the Commonwealth only did its duty when it ratified the decision of the Conference to which I have referred, and although we have not been able to arrive at any satisfactory solution, I am satisfied that' this House is just as determined as ever that it will not subsidize steamers that carry any but white labour. I am quite sure that, rather than yield that principle, we would put up with all the inconveniences of a poundage system. ' A great deal of nonsense has been talked about " a white ocean." The position which this House has taken up is this : That we will refuse to subsidize ships that carry other than white labour. Surely that is a tenable;, a reasonable, and a just position to take up. We do not object to black men earning their living, but we do object to subsidize boats which use black men with the effect of degrading white labour.

Mr Glynn - We do not lose anything by the contract; the amount is made up by the increased rates charged.

Mr MAUGER - We pay a great deal if we, do not lose anything. Another matter to which I should like to direct attention is the question of the employment of Chinese labour in South Africa. I should like to congratulate the Government heartily upon the stand they took up and upon the protest they made against the employment of Chinese labour in the South African mines. I also notice with pleasure that the British Government, in replying to the Premier of New Zealand, acknowledges that that colony and the Commonwealth of Australia are quite within their rights when they enter these protests.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn - Who says that?

Mr MAUGER - It is contained in the letter sent by the home authorities to the Premier of New Zealand, in. which the Colonial Secretary says -

I fully recognise the title of all the selfgoverning colonies to explain their views on so important a question, and especially of those who, like New Zealand, rendered memorable service in the South African war.

Our right to enter a protest is acknowledged by the home authorities, who say that the fact that New Zealand and the Commonwealth sacrificed so much in money and lives in connexion with the war is a sufficiently strong reason for their expressing their views.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn - Not for entering a protest ; for expressing an opinion.

Mr MAUGER - That is only another way of doing practically the same thing. I do .not think that there is very much difference between saying that we are entirely opposed to the employment of Chinese labour in South Africa and formally protesting. against it. In my belief, this matter of the employment of cheap labour in the mines of South Africa has been coming to a head for a very long time past, and I would direct the attention of honorable members to a very significant article upon the subject.

Mr Reid - The honorable member would not have the same objection to the employment of the natives of the country?

Mr MAUGER - No, but I want to direct some attention to that phase of the question. A very striking article appeared in the Nineteenth Century of November last from the pen of Sir Harry Johnston, in which he makes these striking statements - White men are expensive and too unruly. The kaffir requires £3 a month. The natives of Central Africa are accustomed to receive 3s. a month, and would think themselves well paid with £1 to 30s. a month. More than i» hours a day should be prohibited, and Sunday should ~be regarded as a day of reasonable liberty. The minimum wage should be £1, and only 10 per cent, paid to the men as pocket money during service.

Mr Tudor - No strikes there !

Mr MAUGER - No. Then I want to direct attention to a very important conference of the Society of Architects and Engineers which took place in China last year. Mr. Stuart, a member of the Society, said -

As a result of a rather long experience in superintending Chinese labour, he had great respect for Chinese workmen. He could not perform so much work in a given time as the white man because he was not so strong, but he made some amends for this by working on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and holidays. His working year contained about 15 per cent, more working hours than the British workman's, and he seldom went on strike. I hold that this has to do with Australian and British workmen, inasmuch as it lowers the standard of living, and is degrading to all white labour.

Mr Reid - The same thing has been going on in Central Africa for ages. It is a horrible thing.

Mr MAUGER - Mr.Herfoot, at the same conference, said -

The previous speaker had undoubtedly proved that the Chinamen were from 40 per cent, to 50 per cent, cheaper in most industries than white' labour. Taking his own industry, cotton spinning, comparing Chinese with Lancashire operatives, who were the best in the world, he found that for similar work the Chinese were from 30 per cent, to 40 per cent, cheaper. An additional reason why Chinese labour should be more and more utilized, =not only in the mines, but in all industries, is set forth thus -

The young people were coming into the mills at nine and ten years of age, and would make the labour cheaper still.

In view of such observations, and in view of the fact that we did so much in regard to the South African war, we are quite within the range of our business when we enter an emphatic protest against introducing Chinese labour into the mines of South Africa. I would briefly allude to the proclamation of the Defence Act, and would say that to me it is a matter of regret that this Act did not incorporate a Council of Defence, such as I advocated on the floor of this House. Great Britain has recently adopted such a Council, and has abrogated the old system of governing the army through a Commander-in-Chief.

Mr Page - Is that due to the honorable member's advocacy?

Mr MAUGER - At any rate, it has been adopted since the question was discussed here. It will also be noticed that the United States Government has done the same thing, and that e%'en Japan has got rid of her Generalissimo, or CommanderinChief, and has adopted such a Council. I do not wish to cast any reflection on any gentleman at present occupying a high post in connexion with our defence forces, but I do hope that before any future appointments are made the Government will consider the subject, and review the whole staff system, with a view of bringing our forces more into line with the idea of a citizen soldiery.

Mr Reid - But there is Sir John still in the Cabinet.

Mr MAUGER - But the right honorable gentleman referred to will not dominate in the wrong direction. In regard to the white labour question in Queensland, we all rejoice to know that the amount of 'white labour employed upon the sugar plantations is increasing. Facilities ought to be afforded for all the planters who want to employ white labour to obtain it at the places where it is wanted as cheaply as possible. The Queensland authorities, I am glad to know, are doing much to facilitate the attainment of that object, and that fact ought to be made known as widely as possible.

Mr McDonald - There is plenty of white labour there now.

Mr MAUGER - I am glad to know that it is being recognised that the contention that the growing of sugar could not be done by means of white labour is now disproved. That is demonstrated by the fact that it has been done, and is being done, and by the probability that it will be done to an increasing, extent as further experience is gained. I also notice that the Government are proposing to deal with another question which was raised in this House last, session, in regard to land tenure and the liquor traffic in New Guinea. I am quite sure that the Government will recognise the decisions given by this House in regard to both of those questions. I notice that. the Government are making inquiries. I hope that they are making inquiries from the right people. I- have not much confidence in official reports; and I trust that no step will be taken until the House has again had an opportunity of debating and. reviewing the decisions they arrived at. I wish to make a final allusion to the question of Electoral reform, lt has been stated on behalf of the Government that they are going to make use of the experience gained at the recent elections. I hope that they will. While I recognise fully the magnitude of the work which had to be done, I cannot help thinking that the desire to be over-economical tended to a great extent to make the difficulties greater than they would otherwise have been. A number of men were put into positions in which they knew less about the work than the work knew about them. In many instances these men, if they were not sweated, were paid miserable pittances for the work which they did. Poll clerks were paid 15/ for a day of something like 16 hours. The State always paid something over £1 for similar work. I hope that the Government will do something more than rectify mistakes. It is a great reflection upon the people of the Commonwealth that not one half of them recorded their votes.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I could not record mine, for the simple reason that I was not on the roll.

Mr MAUGER - Why did not the honorable member see that his name was on the roll ? He was entirely to blame for the omission.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No, I was not; because my name, after being placed on the roll, was taken off again.

Mr MAUGER - Whilst there may have been many omissions from the rolls, a great reflection still rests upon the people of Australia in that they were so much engrossed with provincial affairs or the pursuit of pleasure that they did not record their votes. I hope, also, that the Government will try to provide some machinery by which majority representation may be secured. We have heard a great deal about minority representation, and I find that of the sixteen "Victor; ian constituencies in which there was a contest at the last elections, eight returned representatives of minorities.

Mr Johnson - The honorable member is responsible for that.

Mr MAUGER - Who says so?

Mr Johnson - The Government.

Mr MAUGER - The honorable member is a new member, and does not know any better. He is placing the responsibility upon the wrong shoulders. Eight or nine of the Victorian constituencies' are represented by gentlemen who were returned by minorities, and this ought not to be permitted. In Germany they have overcome the difficulty by means of a second ballot, and I hope that the Government will give the introduction of some system with a similar object their earnest and careful consideration. Whilst we are anxious to conserve the rights of minorities, we should see' that effect is given to the wishes of the majorities in the constituencies. I have great pleasure in submitting the motion.

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