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Friday, 20 May 1904

Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) (Minister for External Affairs) . - Honorable members will agree with me that the task which has fallen to my lot is a difficult one. The late Prime Minister and leader of one section of the present Opposition, last evening directed his remarks, in his usual admirable fashion, to one particular phase of the present situation. The honorable and learned gentleman was not unnecessarily diffuse. He apologized ' for introducing some personal references' to himself. Such an apology, I feel sure, was unnecessary. His personal references were, I will not say looked for, and. expected, but, at any rate> were such as removed them from the ordinary sphere of personalities, and they directly bore upon the present situation. The honorable and learned gentleman gave certain reasons why he objected to the retention of office by the present Ministry, and to-day he is followed by the right honorable and learned member who leads another section of the House, and who has advanced at very considerable length his reasons for so doing. In the main, those reasons are not identical with those of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. In very many particulars the right honorable and learned gentleman has struck out a line of his own ; he has introduced much matter that is more or less irrelevant. But that is quite excusable under the circumstances, and one need riot animadvert on his action. It is difficult, indeed, to find in the remarks of these two honorable and learned members any particular point on which they agree, so far as to permit of one reply. Necessarily, therefore, my task is the more difficult, as I must perforce deal with each in turn. First then I wish to make a few comments on the remarks of the late Prime Minister. He saw fit last evening to point out that the Labour Party differ in essentials from any other party. I have to remind the honorable and learned gentleman that he has but lately found out, or indicated, this great defect in our organization and in our party. As other men, perhaps, as the years roll on, he finds out very many 1 things on occasions like the present which heretofore had escaped his notice ; and we are now told that there are defects inherent and almost irreparable in our organization, and in the nature of our part" which belong to no other section or party in this Parliament. I must remind the honorable and learned gentleman, however, that he was willing to coalesce with this party with all its defects, with all those shortcomings which he has thought fit to denounce. He was prepared, and he preferred, if we are to believe his statements - and I do believe most emphatically what he does say - to join with us hand in hand. His great objection, I understand, is that there ought to be but two parties in this Parliament. The objection of the honorable member for East Sydney, it is to be noted, is of an entirely different nature; and the late Prime Minister was willing to coalesce with either of two parties to effect his purpose. That is a direct and intelligible position. But I may be permitted to remind him that it is hardly consistent with such a position for him to denounce the organization of that party, and the alleged inherent defects in its methods, when he was willing, and perhaps anxious, to coalesce wilh it.

Mr Deakin - Never unless those defects were first removed. I called attention to them in the State Parliament many years ago as clearly as I did here last night. .

Mr HUGHES - Then all I have to say is that the defects to which the honorable and learned gentleman alluded must have been " defects " that affected the organization of the party outside. Probably the reference was to methods that were mainly directed towards securing . for each of the component parts of that party an understanding which would insure to the several members of those parties a clear run at the next election.

Mr Deakin - A clear and equal chance.

Mr HUGHES - That, however, is an entirely distinct position from that taken up bv the honorable member for East Sydney, who objects to us for other reasons. It so happens that he is the person to whom we turn at this critical juncture in our historyj and ask him to step into the box as a witness for our cause to prove that we have done this thing which the honorable member for Ballarat doubts whether we could or would do. The right honorable and learned gentleman knows that in New South Wales, in 1 895, we went out with him practically to all intents and purposes a united party.

Mr Reid - Never 'a united party. I was never at one of the meetings of the Labour Party, and the honorable gentleman was never at one of the meetings of my party.


Mr Reid - There was an alliance between two distinct parties-

Mr HUGHES - An alliance such as we were speaking of was practically agreed on in New South Wales, between the right honorable and learned gentleman at the head of the Opposition 'and the party to which I have the honour to belong.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Was it observed in all cases?

Mr HUGHES - We had an alliance on two or three fundamental principles, we appealed to the constituencies on those principles, we agreed that neither party should oppose the candidates of the other, and we loyally abided by that decision.


Mr HUGHES - We came back a united party. The honorable member for Hume can bear out my statement that after the general election of 1895 hewas absolutely in a minority without our assistance. The party which he was either leading orto which he was attached as a prominent member, did gain a signal victory. That is to say, it increased its numbers. But generally the alliance or the campaign - call it what you may - was successful ; and during the whole term of his Government the honorable member for East Sydney never was absolutely in. a majority in a Parliament, not even in the Parliament of 1894-5, if we exclude the honorable member for Parkes, that lamented statesman who really did more towards founding this Federation than any other man - I mean Sir Henrv Parkes - Sir William McMillan, and Mr. B. R. Wise. The votes of those four gentlemen were absolutely necessary to give to theReid Party in that Parliament a majority independent of the Labour Party.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They were all returned as pledged supporters of that party. Why make that distinction ?


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The other men were returned pledged to support our party.

Mr HUGHES - I do not say that they were not.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable gentleman ought to say it, though, because it makes all the difference.

Mr HUGHES - I know, and everybody else knows, that the way in which thoss four members supported the Government did not meet with the approval of its head, who preferred the broad sword or the bludgeon of the honorable member for Hume to the iron hand in the velvet glove.

Mr Reid - That is quite true - it was a bludgeon.

Mr HUGHES - The right ' honorable and learned gentleman was very thankful indeed for the allegiance of our party, which was returned to support him, and did support him without reservation.

Mr Reid - Hear, hear.

Mr HUGHES - We were not men who were on this side one day and on the other the next day. We gave to him an unswerving support, and even now he has to admit it.

Mr Reid - I do admit it freely.

Mr HUGHES - The right honorable and learned gentleman admits it, so far as I know without reservation, and withoul pressure of any kind. The criticism directed by the honorable members for Ballarat and East Sydney against our party is to an extent mutually destructive. At any rate, the experience of the latter does in effect afford to the former an explanation, which, when I have added a few words, will prove conclusively that we were, and are, in a position to enter into any campaign.

Mr Conroy - The Labour Party broke their pledges, and opposed three of our men then. They might do the same thing now.

Mr HUGHES - When was that? I say that when the circumstances of the case are taken into consideration - when all those things are remembered' against us that the right honorable member has urged - it is found that in the whole of New South Wales there was only one man who did not adhere to the understanding between parties. And the circumstances of that one case were so peculiar that they could not be expected to be under our control. It could not be expected, in the history of any party, that it could have absolute control of every individual electorate. But, taking it "bye' and large." we fulfilled on every occasion the spirit and letter of our bond.

Mr Reid - I never had any ground of complaint against the honorable and learned gentleman's party.

Mr Deakin - That has not been the experience in Victoria.

Mr HUGHES - That may be so. Yet I am persuaded - and I know that there are honorable members who sit on this side of the House who have excellent reason for believing - that it is no longer the case even in the State of Victoria.

Mr Deakin - Take the present State elections.

Mr HUGHES - I shall leave it to the individual judgment and individual taste of the honorable members who know the facts that .the honorable and learned member for Ballarat has urged against us - to those men who know absolutely that that position is no longer the case in Victoria - either to make the real state of the case public or not as they please. But I am here to say now - without entering into any details whatever as to whether that statement is any longer true in Victoria - that so far as the' Federal Parliament is concerned, at all events, those who elect to sit behind us, whether we are in a Government or in Opposition, are in no worse position than' any member of our own party. Indeed, they are in a better position. For whereas we may have to submit ourselves to a ballot of our own leagues, these gentlemen have no occasion to do so._ And they have the assurance, positive and unfettered, so far as we are concerned, and so far as the organizations with which we are connected are concerned, both in relation to the party inside and the party outside Parliament, that everything is to be done that any party in this Commonwealth or in the world can do.

Mr Reid - Now they ought to go straight !

Mr HUGHES - I intend now to deal with the criticisms of my right honorable friend the member for East Sydney. He has covered us with eulogy. He has testified to our ability, our singleness of purpose, our patriotism, and he has asked the House and the country to look at our record. He says, from the wealth of his own experience, that during the five years that he knew us in New South Wales, we never incommoded him, and never endeavoured to put undue pressure upon him, except in one instance. I do not know what that instance was. But he says we have treated him absolutely as we ought to have treated a parliamentary leader.

Sir William Lyne - I think that that one instance was with regard to the tea duties.

Mr Reid - No.

Mr HUGHES - It is not tea time now, so why allude to that ? The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was able to add to that assurance from his experience of our party in this Parliament. He said that we had exerted no unworthy pressure. While we had the right to exercise that public pressure in the House which our position in the country and the position pf affairs might warrant - although we have exercised in New South Wales and in this Parliament considerable influence and power - still it is admitted that \ye never used it improperly. And we shall never do so. Now, we come, with this eulogy heavy on- our brows - wearing ihe laurel that has been placed upon our head by the two honorable gentlemen to whom I have referred - to deal with this projected coalition. We come to consider the arguments used against our party holding office. Perhaps it would be well' before we do so, to consider the circumstances under which we find ourselves occupying . the Ministerial benches. Our party, at the last election, sought the suffrages of the people upon a distinct programme. That programme has been, dealt with at considerable length this morning. Very many of its planks have been touched upon, and much light has been thrown upon them, of a. disinterested character, no doubt, by a disinterested critic. ' The people were appealed to upon a distinct programme, and we were returned. The position which we hold iri. both Houses to-day is the direct result of that. Amongst other things, we were returned to include States railway servants under the Compulsory Arbitration Bill.

Mr Reid - All the public servants.

Mr HUGHES - The Commonwealth and States servants. The party was returned upon that pledge. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat at that time stated in a speech at Ballarat that he intended to oppose such an inclusion, for the reasons which he advanced - very comprehensive reasons indeed, and very admirable the}' were, although unconvincing to us - during the last Parliament. He said that he would continue to oppose' the inclusion of the States civil servants. Further, he said one thing which, so far as I know, we heard for the first time in the history of politics in this country. Although I see around, me many ex- Premiers, I do not know of one who has hailed the innovation of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat with that enthusiasm which so distinct and so great a novelty seemed to deserve. The ex-Prime Minister proposed to risk the fate of his Government upon that issue. My right honorable friend the member for Swan was for many years a very great - and, indeed, the controlling - influence in Western Australia. He never did that. My right honorable friend the member for East Sydney never did that in New South Wales.* I think I am also right in saying that my honorable friend the member for Hume never did that. And I say that, judging by majorities, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat who did this thing committed the deadly sin of acting without precedent. However, he determined upon taking that course, and it has been admitted both by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and by the right honorable member for East Sydney, that we in this party did nothing to precipitate the crisis. Rather must it be admitted by every fairminded man that we did everything to prevent it.

Mr Conroy - The honorable and learned member's party fought on that issue.

Mr HUGHES - I do not object to interjections when they come from, a free man. But when they come from a gentleman who has yielded up his conscience and his opinions I do object. I like to hear a lion roar when it is a lion right through ; but when it is something else with a lion's skin over it, which roars only when one pulls its. tail or blows the bellows for iti it is after all but' an ass. Not that I mean to use the word ass in an offensive sense.

Mr SPEAKER - I must ask the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, a& well as other honorable members, not to interject to such an extent. It must be obvious that the Minister for External Affairs is unable to proceed as he desires when he is interrupted so continually.

Mr HUGHES - I was referring to the action of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat as compared with the action of other honorable members who have been at the head of Governments. What I wanted to make clear was this - that the circumstances under which we came into office were such that we could not be accused of deliberately precipitating the crisis.. On the other hand, I can say for myself, and, I believe, for every one of my colleagues in the Ministry and outside, that if we by any means could have avoided taking office we should willingly and gladly have clone so. We were placed here, first and foremost, avowedly, according to the late Prime Minister, because he was determined to put an end to tripartite regime in the House of Representatives, and, secondly, because of the action of the right honorable member for East Sydney. We shall see which of those two reasons bear the better comparison - we shall see which will better bear the light of inspection. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat has stated his view of the subject. He saw that at the end there would, at the worst, be two parties, and he, therefore, did nothing to avoid the crisis. But what was the action of the right honorable member for East Sydnev? His action was. unhappily, but too much on a par with all his other conduct of late, either to make it singular, or to call for much comment. But the right honorable gentleman, when adjured by the Sydnev Dress to act the part of a leader, and take with him his party and save the Government, absolutely declined to do so. That party now follows him, apparently, willingly; at any rate, it follows meekly and humbly enough, with one or two refreshing exceptions ; but the right honorable gentleman either did not desire to bring his party with him and save the Government, or he thought that his party would not follow him.

Mr Reid - I thought, perhaps, that my party ought to vote in accordance with their pledges to their constituents.

Mr HUGHES - These tender scruples - this tender regard for the principles of his followers - this late-found consideration for his friends - are like the scruples of a maiden, overcome, perhaps, for the moment, but they come a trifle too late. When the right honorable member was adjured by the Sydney press to stand fast and act the part of a leader, what did he do? He said nothing.

Mr Reid - I did not obey the press.

Mr HUGHES - The right honorable gentleman adopted that last resource of eloquent men - he said nothing. He waited and did what was necessary through the agency of his agile and admirable lieutenants ; and when in the ordinary course of affairs the Government would have been successful, they were defeated by the open apostacy of certain members of his party - by the votes of men who declared that they, voted for one purpose and one purpose only- Of those honorable men who voted for or against the Government because of their convictions, I have nothing to say. But that men should put out a Government by voting against their cherished convictions and pledges to the people, is a position, unhappily, not unparalleled, but one which no right-thinking politician, to say nothing of a great statesman, ought to encourage or approve. Yet I have the best of reasons for believing that it was at the direct instigation of the right honorable member for East Sydney that this thing, which stinks in the nostrils of the people, was done.

Mr Reid - Mr. Speaker, I wish at once to state, in parliamentary language, that the statement of the honorable and learned member is absolutely without foundation.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable and learned member for East Sydney is not in order in interrupting a speech in order to contradict a statement therein made. If any honorable member desires to make an explanation, the proper time is when the honorable member in possession of the Chair resumes his seat.

Mr Reid - Every man here knows that the statement is absolutely without foundation.

Mr HUGHES - I trust I may be permitted to say that which I have to say, and which I have reasonable ground for supposing to be true. If the right honorable gentleman did not say most publicly that his party, and those members of his party, who voted the other way, would get no "black looks" from him - that, in effect, he would crack no party whip - I humbly apologize. But if the right honorable member did say so, what need is there for me to say more. Are politicians suckling children ?

Mr Reid - Will the honorable and learned member let me state what I did say ?

Mr HUGHES - The honorable member may say whatever he wishes to say.

Mr Reid - I was speaking in reply to those very press attacks, to which the honorable and learned member has referred.

Mr HUGHES - If the right honorable member can say that he did what he could to save the Government, it is another matter.

Mr Reid - Good Gracious !

Mr HUGHES - What did the right honorable member do to prevent the position which he now affects to regard as intolerable? I. say that it stands at the door of the right honorable gentleman that we are here to-day as a- Government.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What did the party of the Minister for External Affairs do to prevent the position?

Mr HUGHES - What did our party do? Ours is a party pledged to vote for principles irrespective of the results to ourselves; and no man can charge us that we have ever hesitated to do so; at any rate, the right honorable member for East Sydney is the last one who could make such a * charge. Our party, times out of number, voted for him, and we did so on one" occasion when it meant a dissolution, because our principles forced us to that way, though expediency lay in another direction.

Mr Reid - And voted against the principles of the party. I had protectionists voting for free-trade all the time.

Mr HUGHES - If this discussion is to be a trial of physical strength, I candidly admit that I can do no more. There will be ample opportunity - the " swollen ranks of Tuscany " are opposite, and although they cheer now, they may answer me by-and-by if they are able or. desirous to do so. For ths present, let me say that the Labour Party were, according to the statement of the right honorable gentleman, returned on that principle, and we should have been recreant had we not voted in its favour. We are here, therefore, through no fault or desire of our own.

Mr Reid - Indeed ! Were the present Government forced to take up the task by any one in the world?

Mr HUGHES - We are called here constitutionally, and although the right honorable member for East Sydney dug the pit for us, in order that he might emerge triumphant, he himself fell into it, as, before now, men have dug traps and fallen in. If the right honorable member was desirous of keeping the Labour Party out of power, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat some months ago held out in an honorable way the olive branch for an alliance.

Mr Reid - The honorable and learned member for Ballarat never once addressed me on the subject.

Mr HUGHES - He did, most emphatically. According to the opinions of the Sydney press there was room and opportunity for coalition, but the right honorable member for East Sydney never said a word in favour of such a course, so long as the road was open to him to reign supreme. But when that road was no longer open - when there had been dug for us the pit into which he himself has fallen - he. saw for the first time the beauties of a coalition. It was then, after having told us that we had been humiliated - that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat had directly intended to humiliate us - that the right honorable member for East Sydney saw the necessity of a coalition, and entered into negotiations. As to his right to do so I have nothing to say ; it is for the electors of the Commonwealth to decide whether he had a right to enter into a coalition, and to do all he has done. At the proper time, doubtless, they will not be slow in giving him his answer. But it is proper to remind the country and the House how we came to be in power to-day - what has caused us to be here. We have been placed here not through any will of our own, or through any move of ours, but because-

Mr Reid - That is a novel constitutional doctrine. Did any one force the Labour Party into office?

Mr HUGHES - We were forced into office by the intriguing of the right honorable gentleman, by an intrigue set on foot with the deliberate purpose of placing him where we now are ; an intrigue which failed, and whicli was a premonitory sign of a second intrigue, which, for the time being, has failed too.

Mr Reid - Poor fellow ! Is it so very precious ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I must go over to the other side ; I cannot hear on this side.

Mr SPEAKER - Unless the privilege which has hitherto been accorded to honorable members, of making such interjections as will not interrupt the member addressing the Chair, be fittingly used, it will be necessary for me to stop interjections of every kind. I hope that that will not be necessary, and, therefore, I appeal to honorable members to make only such interjections as appear to them to be absolutely called' for, and will not interrupt the speaker.

Mr Fuller - The Minister for External Affairs was interrupting the right honorable and learned member for East Sydney all the morning.

Mr SPEAKER - I admit that he was allowed to interject on several occasions, but at no time did he do so in such a way as to interrupt the right honorable and learned member. Many of the interjections recently made, however> have been of such a character as to interrupt the Minister for External Affairs.

Mr HUGHES - I do not complain of interjections as such, but I am entitled to protest against a tor,rent of interjections such as makes it necessary for me to unduly raise my voice in order to be heard. We have attained our present position constitutionally and regularly, and under the circumstances I have explained, and the Prime Minister has put before the House and the country the programme which we ask Parliament to approve. He has explained that programme, and it is for the country to criticise it, and for Parliament to reject or adopt it. But we are now being subjected to opposition such as has never before been directed against any Government in Australia. We are being judged, not upon our programme, or upon our past record for faithful and honorable service and adherence to principle, but in quite another fashion. . We are not being judged upon our programme and our record, because the former commends itself to all sorts and conditions of men here, and to the majority of men outside, while the latter entitles us to consideration, and to that fair play which we have extended to every Government, and should be extended to us in return. We are, however, to be driven office, because we are a Government recruited :from the ranks of the Labour Party. But I believe that there is a sufficient number of men in this House imbued with the spirit of fair play, to see .that we are dealt with as other Governments have been, upon our programme and the record which stands be hind us. If it be asserted that we are incompetent to administer the great Departments of State intrusted to our charge, let us hear at once that it is so. If it be urged that we are corrupt, let us hear it ; and let the country have the details of our corruption. If it be known that we are, in any sense of the word, unfit, let us be told so. If we are incapable of carrying our legislation through this House, let us be informed of the fact, and let us be instructed as to where we fall short. But, in regard to all these points, we have the double assurance of the two members who have spoken from the opposite side, that we lack nothing ; that in point of ability, of honesty, of character, and of record, we are at least equal to the occasion. What then do we need ? According to the right honorable member for East Sydney, the organization and circumstances of our party, the peculiarity of our methods, impose an embargo upon, and create an insuperable objection to our being intrusted with the government of public affairs. I propose, as' briefly as I may, to deal with that contention. I am sure that the House will, in any case, permit me to do so, since the gravest charges have been made against our party arid our methods, and it is only right that we should set ourselves straight in the eyes of honorable members and of the country. The right honorable member has stated that our programme was made, not by the Ministry, and not even by the .party, but by people outside. Possibly that may be true. So far as our programme is contained in the document from which he quoted, it is the result of conferences which the citizens of Australia were invited to attend, and from which no man who chose to enter our organization was excluded, though, perhaps, the representatives of the party here did more than any others to secure its acceptance. But that programme is our programme by and large, and differs iri no essential circumstances from the manifestos of conventions of protectionists or freetraders, which, from time to time, draw up bases upon which their organizations are to I work. The American political institutions - not that I for a moment think it desirable to emulate their methods - are similarly based upon what my right honorable friend has alluded to as an incurable; ineradicable, and undesirable defect. The American political system embraces the popular convention, and from it a policy drifts through various assemblies, until at last the party machine effects its purpose, and it is echoed in the Congress of the United States. So much for the general programme of our party.. But the programme which the Ministry ask the country to support, and Parliament to adopt during the current and ensuing sessions, is one for which we, with the approval of our followers, are alone responsible. No one outside Parliament can add or take from it a single word, and we seek for it the support of only those members who believe in our principles We have no coalition ; there has been no attempt to bind together men of hostile and diverse opinions; there has been no attempt to gather into one net men who, in their political views, as in everything else, are as wide as the poles asunder. But we are making an earnest and singlehearted effort to bring into one fold all who believe in one set of principles. No Ministry ever had a more honorable task intrusted to it, and no Ministry ever had to apologize for attempting to perform such a task before. We seek the support of only those men who believe in what we put forward. We do not ask for the countenance of those who do not believe in us. Every man who sits behind us, whether on this side-

Mr Reid - Or who skulks on this side.

Mr HUGHES - Every man who sits behind us, whether on this side or on that, must believe in our programme. If the fortune of war decree that Ave shall be put out of office and go into opposition, it will affect us little. During the twelve or thirteen years of our experience in this country we have never set our faces towards the Treasury benches; and, as I have already said, we have done nothing to precipitate the present state of affairs. We have never done anything to lead any one to believe that we desired office. I appeal to my right honorable and learned friend to say whether during the time he held office as Premier of New South Wales any member of our party ever asked him for a portfolio, or even hinted that such an appointment would be desirable.

Mr Reid - I never heard of such a proposition ; no one but a madman would ever dream of it.

Mr HUGHES - Did the right honorable and learned gentlemen ever gather such, an impression from anything done or said by any member of our party ?

Mr Reid - Never.

Mr HUGHES - I appeal also to the honorable and learned member for Ballarat to say whether he ever saw the slightest indication that any member of our party was seeking office with him. * I think that he will attest to the contrary. Therefore, it is nothing to us if the House decides that we shall go into opposition. We say to those honorable members whose support we seek, that if thev desire to sit behind us they will have the same voice as every other man who sits here- now, in moulding the policy of the Government. There will be no difference between those who are in and those who are out of the pledged fold. Every honorable member who gives us his support will have the same vote as those who are regarded as pledged members of the Labour Party. That is the answer I give, to the right honorable gentleman, and it should be sufficient. It will be useless for him to say that the pledged party which stands behind us now, with the one or two other honorable members who have come over, has it within its power to control the decisions of other honorable members who may support us. All honorable members who elect to follow us, either here or on the other side of the House - if we ever cross over - will have absolutely the same voice, and the same vote, in regulating the policy of the Government. So much for that. Thus, our programme differs in no essential particular from that of any other Government. It is subject only to modification in detail bv the whole of the members of the Ministerial party, irrespective of whether such members are what are called pledged men or unpledged men. Whether they are attached or unattached is quite immaterial to the great principle. So much for that, too. Now, let us consider the Government programme. How admirable it is, and with what degree of foresight this party framed it, is to be judged from the fact that another party, meeting under conditions wholly dissimilar, and composed of men as widely separated as the poles, not only from us, but from each other, framed one that is identical. To those honorable members who believe in Spiritualism, and I understand that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat is among the number, the similarity of the two programmes affords- further proof that there are certain influences, of which we are not fully conscious. Even to those honorable members who do not share the spiritual convictions of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat such a coincidence may well give cause for reflection. Here we have two parties who have framed the same programme. It is true we framed ours first, but that has nothing to do with the question.

Mr Reid - The programme of the Government comprises much that was in the Governor-General's Speech.

Mr HUGHES - At any rate, we framed our programme first- The right honorable gentleman stated that that aided him not at all, and that he framed his programme without any assistance from us. Our programme, then, commends itself to the whole of the people. Here was a coalition bent on securing support from every section of the House, bent on bringing to its aid every man in this country and every constituency, and it could find no better programme than that which the Government have adopted. How eloquent a tribute is that to the skill with which we framed our programme, and to the principles which we have embodied therein. These principles were not adopted by us, as by some men, but yesterday, but Ave have advocated them since Ave entered political life. They were not found but yesterday, but Ave stood upon them at the last election. We shall see in a moment upon Avhat principles some members of the coalition stood, and Ave can judge as to the position in which they will stand when Ave ask the people of the country this great question : " Since the Avhole House agrees to one platform, to whom will you intrust thework of carrying it out - to those men Avho have always believed in these principles, Avho have adA'ocated them, and who stood upon them at the last election, and who came constitutionally into office, not by virtue of intrigue, or by the most complete abandonment of principle ; or will you put your trust in those men who at the last election utterly denounced these principles, Avho Avould have none of them, whose

Avildest denunciations Avere insufficient to express the fullvolume of their decrial?" Which of these two parties will the people of Australia select on this occasion ? Well, Ave shall see. I Avould suggest to the right honorable member that there is a short and easy way of at once determining which cf us has the better cause ; which of us has the public at our backs. Let us go to the country upon this one question : " Under which King?"

Mr Reid - Hear, hear. I am ready.

Mr HUGHES - Since all parties are now agreed on a programme, under which Government shall we stand? Under those men who have abandoned principle, whose lips are yet curved with the vows they uttered at the last election, and from the denunciations of the programme which today they hold up for the approval of the people of Australia ? Under which King ? Under those men who have betrayed their hustings pledges whilst the froth of their eloquence is still drying on their lips, or under those who have at least the merit of being true to the pledges they gave at the last, and at many prior elections? Even with all the enormous influence that the right honorable member for East Sydney can wield in the State to which I belong, I yet venture to doubt whether the press of that State can see its way to any longer hold up such a load. When the right honorable and learned gentleman speaks of the policy of this coalition, it is intolerable that he should come to this House and ask us to support him in putting forward a programme, nearly every plank of which he openly denounced a few months ago. I propose now to deal with the right honorable gentleman and his public professions at the last general elections, and shall commence by reading an extract from the Sydney Daily Telegraph of 18th August, 1903, dealing with the attitude taken up by him in reference to the policy of a White Australia. We have all read the proposals of the coalition, and I shall say this much for the honorable and learned member for Ballarat East-

Mr Watson - The honorable and learned member for Ballarat.

Mr Deakin - Ballarat - east and west, north and south.

Mr HUGHES - Quite so; but in these days of confusion we turn our faces to the east and west, and no man knows which is the east and which is the west. But I will say this for the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, that, so far as I am able to judge, there is nothing in the programme put forward by him in connexion with the projected coalition that he has not always favoured.

Mr Deakin - Every item was contained in the Governor-General's Speech at the opening of the present Parliament.

Mr HUGHES - Whatever, then, may be said of others, so far as this matter is concerned, nothing can be said against the honorable and learned member. He stands to-day where he has always stood, or, at all events, in the position which he occupied at the last elections. I wish to show the country where the other partner in this projected coalition stood at that time. The extract to which I have referred is part of a report of a speech made by him at a public meeting. He is an adept in addressing public meetings. He is, perhaps, the best platform speaker in Australia.

Mr Fisher - In the world.

Mr HUGHES - I do not say that, but search the world over, and the man who is able to excel my right honorable friend as a platform speaker must be a very good one indeed.

Mr Reid - I am ready to die now.

Mr HUGHES - The right honorable member anoints our heads with the oil of fair words before he cuts our throats. It is surely permitted to me to follow such an illustrious example, and to say that which is no compliment, but the honest truth. The right honorable gentleman knows that in my opinion his powers of oratory and ability are without question, and that I have always thought so. But I am dealing now with his principles, and that, unhappily, is a different matter. The extract is as follows : -

I want now to say a word or two about the White Australia policy. While I am thoroughly in favour of that policy, I think that we have got into a position in reference to mail contracts which puts Australia into a ludicrously false position. The Government, by their treatment of the subject of coloured labour on mail contracts, has brought the policy of a White Australia into utter contempt.

Mr Reid - I say that now.

Mr HUGHES - The right honorable gentleman continued -

I would not wish my greatest enemy any. thing worse than to be in the stokehole of a mail steamer in the Red Sea. ... I will take that clause out of the Act if I have the power -

I claim for one moment the attention of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. Am I to understand that it was the intention of the coalition to stand fast by the White Australia principle, or for coloured labour on mail steamers? Yes or no?

Mr Deakin - No proposal for an alteration was included in the programme.

Mr HUGHES - Then listen to this.

Mr Reid - Let me add one word to the statement made by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.

Mr HUGHES - I must be allowed to proceed with my remarks. I accept the statement of the honorable and learned member, for Ballarat that there was to be no alteration in the policy.

Mr Reid - That is not quite correct. The honorable and learned gentleman will surely allow me to say a word or two in explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. The Standing Orders fix a time for making any explanation.

Mr Reid - My honorable and learned friend has fairly given way, so that I maymake a short statement.

Mr HUGHES - Quite so. -

Mr SPEAKER - It is not a question for the determination of any honorable member. The Standing Orders fix the time for making explanations, and under these Standing Qrders the right honorable and learned member may make an explanation when the honorable and learned member has resumed his seat.

Mr Reid - I shill be on my way to Svdney bv that time.

Mr HUGHES - So- far as I am concerned it is merely a question of time. The right honorable gentleman to-day occupied three hours in addressing the House, and I had only about an hour and a half in which to put my views before honorable members. If the right honorable member has anything which he desires to explain, I shall, however, be quite prepared to listen to him now.

Mr Reid - I will explain the matter in one or two words.

Mr SPEAKER - The Minister for External Affairs has no power to set aside the rules of the House. The House itself has power to suspend its Standing Orders, and if it is its pleasure that the right honor, able member for East Sydney be permitted to make an explanation I shall offer no objection.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.

Mr Webster - No.

Mr SPEAKER - The consent of the House must be unanimous, and as there is an objection, I cannot allow the explanation to be made.

Mr HUGHES - I wish to say that I entirely repudiate any effort to prevent the right honorable member from making an explanation. I would ask the honorable member for Gwydir to withdraw his objec tion, because it gives the right honorable member an opportunity to complain. Tf he will not do so, I cannot help it.

Mr Reid - I may as well retire from the Chamber.

Mr HUGHES - At the meeting to which I have referred the right honorable member went on to say -

I will take that clause out of the Act if I have the power to do it - (cheers) - and I will alter that White Australia Act which allows a respectable working man from England to be kept as if he were a prisoner on reaching the shores of Australia. (Prolonged cheering.)

Mr Mauger - The right honorable member was referring to one of the vital principles of the Act.

Mr Watson - The contract section.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member's own party is now breaking it.

Mr Mauger - That is a matter of opinion.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr HUGHES - The report continues -

The Fiscal Flag.

I want to tell you frankly that, although all sorts of temptations have been addressed to me to sink the fiscal question, and although I believe I would be an infinitely stronger man, so far as the whole of Australia is concerned, if I would only sink this question, I cannot do it. My whole public career would be a fraud if I endeavoured to get political power by sacrificing the great principle of my political existence. I cannot give Australia as small a Tariff as I gave you in New South Wales, because it must be a Tariff realizing a large sum in the interests of the States ; but what I can say is, that if the people of Australia must bear these financial burdens, I will do all I can to see that, in bearing these burdens, the Tariff shall be so adjusted that their hard-earned money, which is to come out of their pockets under an Act of Parliament, shall go honestly into the public Treasury.

That was Mr. Reid at the last elections. Here, then, is a distinct statement of fact. We find that he was against that White Australia policy which has given us what is known as the case of the six hatters, the Petriana case, and the Max Stelling inci dent. He is against the exclusion of coloured labour from mail steamers, and yet he comes down now prepared to swallow all this, and much more, and asks the people of the country to intrust him with the administration of these measures.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the honorable and learned gentleman give the House the date of that extract?

Mr Watson - He has promised to do so. We are looking it up.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is very important that we should have the date. The speech in question was made before the elections took place.

Mr Watson - Would that make any difference in the right honorable gentleman's opinion of the policy of . a White Australia ?

Mr HUGHES - I have quoted this newspaper report of the right honorable member's speech, because I considered it desirable to do so. It would be unnecessary to quote it in New South Wales, for there every man knows on what side the right honorable member has taken his stand. The right honorable member denounced the Max Stelling incident, the Petriana incident, the incident of the six hatters, and coloured labour upon the mail steamers, and there sits alongside of him now an honorable and learned member who denounced the whole thing, root and branch.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And will do so again.

Mr HUGHES - This refreshing candour ! The honorable and learned member does so still, and yet the coalition, with its all-capacious arm, embraces him, and takes him to its bosom, and says .to the people of Australia, " Here, come with us upon this programme, and help us to give a White Australia." The coalition includes Mr. Bruce Smith, the honorable and learned member for Parkes, the honorable member for Kooyong, the honorable member for Grampians, and other honorable gentlemen, who stand with them in that noble phalanx into which the darts of a White Australia have never been able to enter. These are the men into whose hands the conduct of White Australian legislation is now to be intrusted. What an abandonment of principle ! What a complete abnegation of anything like principle ! What a complete repudiation of pledges given at the last general election ? There are some honorable members who, in joining the coalition, do not need to do any such thing. There are many honorable members who have sat upon the opposite side - I speak of the late Opposition pure and simple - who were as earnest in their advocacy of White Australian legislation as we were ourselves. In fact, there was in this. House but a handful of honorable members opposed to that legislation. lt went through with the approval, I believe of seven out of ten - aye, of nine out of ten of the members of this House. Therefore it has the imprint not merely of the Labour Party, but of the late Government, and of the late Opposition, under the right honor able member for East Sydney. But when we see that the very men who alone opposed it are included in this coalition, and that they are now prepared, not merely to go the length of fighting in favour of a White Australia, but of standing up for those very measures which they have denounced- unsparingly from the time they were passed until now, I ask this House and this country what credence and what faith is to be placed in a coalition, of this kind?

Mr Cameron - Every one of them has not done so.

Mr Watson - Hear, hear ; the honorable member is still faithful.

Mr HUGHES - Yes, I am glad to say that there is one man who has not yet bowed the knee to Baal. But, though that may be true, there are half-a-dozen who have done so.

Mr Cameron - I cannot help that.

Mr HUGHES - Well and good. I would rather a hundred times that a man should stand up here and denounce the White Australia policy until his breath should fail him, than that he should dishonorably abandon his pledges and principles for the mere purpose of securing any petty advantage, or ousting any political party, no matter how detested.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We shall show that the honorable and learned member has done that himself.

Mr HUGHES - It is idle to remind the honorable and learned member for Parkes of his repudiation of pledges. If I chose, and had sufficient time, I could mention a hundred things, any one of which would shrivel up an other man, but which, perhaps would hardly affect the honorable and learned gentleman. I point out to this House and the country that the coalition opposite embraces men who have been bitterly opposed to the legislation to which 'I have referred, but who yet are prepared to abandon their principles and sink everything that they may put us out of office. I ask the people who believe in our principles whether they can have any faith at all that a Government including such honorable members would carry out their pledges? What assurance have we that the men who to-day have broken their pledges, but five months old, will not to-morrow break them again? The breaking of pledges, like lying, becomes more easy every day.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How does the honorable and learned member know ?

Mr HUGHES - To break a pledge a first time, no doubt, tears a man asunder and puts him to confusion; but if he continues to break his pledges it becomes to him as nothing, after all. The right honorable member for East Sydney, unfortunately, has gone from this chamber, owing to the action of the honorable member for Gwydir, which I bitterly regret.

Mr Wilks - The honorable member will drive supporters of the party away if he keeps up that sort of game.

Mr HUGHES - I entirely repudiate his- action, because I believe that fair play is the essence of evervthing. I have listened to some unsparing denunciations of myself with as much calmness as a man of my disposition can, and I ask no more from other men than I am prepared to give them. Since both parties have the same programme, and both are asking the country to support them on the same principles, I ask the House and the country to decide under which they shall elect to stand. I have no doubt that there are men in this House so strongly in favour of the White Australia policy, that, come what may, they will not give their support to the right honorable member for East Sydney. Who may follow us or who may move us is another matter, but that they will follow the right honorable gentleman I utterly refuse to believe. There is growing in Australia a keener criticism of the actions of public men than the attitude of some honorable gentlemen in this Chamber would lead people to suppose. No man can now break his pledges with impunity. It is idle for men to think that they can shelter themselves beneath the wing of some great leader, or, under the protecting influence of some greater newspaper. Every man is now asked by the free and independent electors - " Did you say this, or did you do that?" and no excuse will save him, no subterfuge will aid him> by no possibility can he escape the inevitable doom of repudiation of pledges. We have been charged that our programme is a socialistic programme - not the programme which we have put before Parliament, but the programme which has been prepared by the various conferences, and which is printed in the brochure which has been handed round this morning. All I can say is that it is a difficult thing to define what Socialism means in this country. We are advancing so rapidly towards Socialism, or towards some " ism " pr other, that some of us find ourselves unable to keep up with the trend of public opinion. Though I am here called a Socialist, I am denounced with the most unsparing invective by the socialistic party in New South Wales.

Mr Wilks - They call the honorable and learned member an aristocrat over there now.

Mr HUGHES - Undoubtedly.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They put the honorable and learned member in the same category with myself very often.

Mr Thomas - Never !


Mr Thomas - Has the honorable and learned member for West Sydney fallen so low?

Mr HUGHES - Here is the programme we are content to be judged upon. ' It is a programme, I was going to say, like that of my honorable friend the member for New England, or of the honorable member for Lang ; it is a programme which extends into the illimitable beyond. It may be ten years, it may be twenty years, it may be any time before we shall see the full fruits of this programme. But one assurance which the House has that we should not go beyond the bounds that it likes or desires, is that it has us absolutely at its mercy. There are, I believe, in the Chamber a sufficient number of men to prevent legislation from going any further than the Government purpose either this session or next session. What better assurance can honorable members have, and what better assurance do persons outside the walls of this chamber need than this: that the people's representatives decide how far any Government shall go ? They did it before, they will do it again. And outside there is at least a final tribunal to which all parties and all Governments must appeal. It is for the' people to decide how far they will embark in any socialistic or other kind of experiment. Without their approval no Government can do anything; without their approval no Government, with any degree of common-sense, would think of attempting to go a step forward. Under these circumstances, therefore, the House and the country have the best of guarantees that we shall not go outside the programme laid down by the Prime Minister yesterday. The right honorable and learned gentleman, not content with saying that we were going too far, said that we were not going far enough. Hard, indeed, is our lot when we cannot please him with a promise to go a long distance; nor With a promise to halt half-way. He says, that ours is a milk-and-water policy.

Oh, that such a charge should come from such a man ! If ours is a milk-and-water policy, what is his? In this House we have heard of what boiled milk did, and can do; and milk and water we know. But what kind of policy is that of the right, honorable and learned gentleman who was in favour of milk, and is now in favour of kerosene oil ; who was in favour of this thing, and is now in favour of its opposite; who believed in the antidote, and now swallows the poison without the antidote ; who is prepared to do anything in the way of swallowing what he said at the last election, so long only as he can get in or push us out, which is much the same thing. So far, from our putting forward a milk-and-water policy, may I point out that our platform as it now stands includes the maintenance of a White Australia, the enactment of compulsory arbitration, the institution of old-age pensions, the nationalization of monopolies, the creation of a citizens' defence force, and the restriction of public borrowing. We propose to nationalize one monopoly. The creation of a citizens' defence force has always been our aim. Never mind what are the sins of other parties in other places, we stand here, and no man can accuse us of being other than in favour of the restriction of public borrowing. Next session we propose to deal with old-age pensions, navigation, and nationalization of monopolies. So that, in effect, we propose to ask the House to deal with the majority of the planks of this fighting platform in this and the ensuing session. Is that a milkandwater policy? Is that a bartering or a surrender of principles? Certainly, if it be such a surrender, the right honorable member for East Sydney is not the one who ought to make the charge. But it is not a surrender of principles; it is a standing fast by principles, and because of that, because of our record, because of the circumstances under which we came into office, and because of that spirit of fair play which animates all public assemblies; and on which no. man in any Parliament that I have known has relied in vain, we believe that we shall obtain a majority here to support us while we do that which is right. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat told us that we are only a minority of the House. I would remind him that on at least two or three of the principles I have mentioned, we have a majority at our back. On the inclusion of public servants in the

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, we have demonstrated that we have a majority. On the nationalization of monopolies, why only yesterday the Senate, by a majority of seventeen votes to eight, agreed to the nationalization of the tobacco industry.. But for the absence of two members of the Labour Party, the Senate would have decided in its favour by an absolute majority. Therefore, we have a majority in another place on that question. The leader of the Opposition said a great deal about industrial legislation. He said that we proposed to restrict individual effort, to introduce- an era of unification, to do somehing that we ought not to do. On this subject, I propose to quote the words of Sir William McMillan, the acting-leader of the Opposition in the last Parliament, when the honorable and learned member for East Sydney was absent. Let me say of that gentleman, that although he has opposed us on many occasions, no man can ever accuse him of going back on his principles. He has stood up for one set of principles since he entered public life, and so far as I know he stands up for them still. Speaking here on the 28th June, 1901, he said -

I hold generally that everything that affects the rights and liberties - especially the industrial life of the community - ought to be in the hands of the national Parliament. I have seen, since that Convention, certain attempts at legislation in some of the local Parliaments. I am not. going to say whether that legislation is sound or not, but it certainly is of such a far-reaching character with regard to the liberties of, the people in their industrial life - and, after all, Australia is an industrial community - that I do not think those great subjects should be settled except by a national Parliament.

Sir WilliamMcMillan made that speech, and apparently there was not one man in the House who dissented from it sufficiently to call for a division ; the motion was carried on the voices. Are we to be accused then of seeking to introduce some new and dangerous principle- into the arena of legislation, when we only propose to do that which has commanded the unanimous support of this Chamber, and the approval of that honorable gentleman? So much for our programme. Now for a word or two on our methods. A great deal has been said about our pledge, the methods of selection, and so on. I do not deny that these, when first introduced into this country, were somewhat new. But I deny entirely that -they are singular now. I would point out that at the last election in> New South Wales the majority of bodies, adopted our principles, that a great nurn- ber of them insisted on written pledges. I ask the honorable member for Parkes does he, or does he not, believe in a written pledge ?

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not approve of written pledges.

Mr HUGHES - If the honorable and learned member does not believe in written pledges, why did he give one? And further, why did he add to it that which no other man in New .South Wales did ? Why did he do it after a denunciation of the principle which made his subsequent acceptance of it absolutely dishonorable ?

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the honorable and learned gentleman say what he means?

Mr HUGHES - I shall not say any more than this - that the honorable and learned member, in the State of New South Wales, after declaring that he would not be bound, and that he thought that no man should be asked to give such a pledge, and that he refused to do it, subsequently gave a pledge to the organization in New South Wales, and did something which, so f;*r as I knew, no other man who gave a similar pledge did. Unless the honorable and learned member gave several pledges he knows what I mean.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I deny what the honorable gentleman says.

Mr HUGHES - Deny how much of it ? Does the honorable and learned member deny that he gave such a pledge ? He can deny it categorically, he can deny it generally, he can deny it how he pleases, but he knows full well that if it is necessary I will in detail prove anything that I have said.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable gentleman may if he chooses.

Mr HUGHES - Not only so, but nearly every organization in New South Wales, and throughout Australia, has, more or less, fallen into this method. In New South Wales today, at the various selections of reform candidates, every man is asked to give a pledge. Most of the candidates, if- not all, are asked to give written pledges. They are not merely asked to give pledges, but they are pledged to stand down if they are not selected. Does any honorable member deny that ?

Mr Wilks - They are copying the methods of the Labour Party, because they have seen how successful they are in the hands of honorable members opposite.

Mr HUGHES - I see. What greater tribute could there be to our methods than that tardily they have copied them?

Mr Wilks - And when all parties have copied them, honorable members opposite will be " done."

Mr HUGHES - As a matter of fact, our methods were, and are, admirably adapted to third party politics. But we are for the first time confronted with a new situation. We are no hide-bound Conservatives ! It is a matter for historians and soldiers to speculate what would have happened if the legions of Caesar had met the phalanx of Alexander. Every one knows that when they met the phalanx of later Greece, they broke them up ; but what would have happened if they had met the phalanx of Philip or of Alexander no man can tell. What would have happened if the thin red line and the British squares that met the forces of Napoleon at Waterloo had been met by troops who fought upon the methods of to-day, I do not know. But I know that the methods of to-day are suitable for the warfare of to-day ; and so far as we know it has been demonstrated that our methods, for third party warfare, are not to be excelled. We have done very much. We are now a Government. We shall never become less than an Opposition at the worst - or at the best. Therefore, it may be necessary to adopt other methods. I have said that there Is another way by which men who are now in this Parliament, but who are not in the party to which I belong, may sit behind and support this Government on absolutely equal terms, without bothering their head's about any pledge of one kind or another. We ask from them what a coalition and what every party would ask from them, faithful and loyal service. I ask any honorable member opposite - if he were to break away from the Free-trade Party, or from any party, whether he would not expect that that party would oppose him at the next election? Undoubtedly. I put it to the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, i whether if one of his party deliberately, while he was leading the Protectionists, broke away from the party, and went to the other side of the House, leaving his supporters in an extremity, he would not, or his organization would not, do all thev were able to do to put that man out at a subsequent election? We do not do more than that. We are entitled to do that, and we have done it. Fortunately, for many reasons, we have hardly ever had occasion to do it but I say, subject to that qualification, that any man has as much assurance with us as he has when sitting with any other party now in existence. I want to say a word or two more about our methods - about what has been termed machine politics. I ask the New South Wales members to recollect that their machine, so far as the Senate is concerned, is absolutely of the most rigid character. No man, unless he acts with the machine, can possibly hope to win at a Senate election in that State. Three men were selected at the last election. By whom were they selected? By a junta - by a body of men - not by the right honorable member for East Sydney. The right honorable member might say that he thought that so and so ought to be selected, but it was by the free-trade organization that the candidates were selected. These act .with the machine, and the machine pulls them through. If honorable members want undeniable proof of that statement, let them turn to the results of the last election. I ask any honorable member for New South Wales to prove that I am not speaking the absolute truth. One of the candidates proposed for the Senate was Lt. -Col. Neild, a man as widely known as Australia itself - a gentleman who has occupied a dual capacity as senator and colonel, and who has lately caused a certain amount of disturbance in the Military Department, and has almost paralyzed the Major-General himself. This gentleman was unable to secure very many more votes than a man who was practically unknown, and another man who, whatever his qualifications on the floor of the Senate, however admirable his gifts as an exponent of free-trade and finance - upon which he is to be taken as a very great authority - is certainly not as widely known as the gentleman to whom I have referred. Yet Lt.-Col. Neild was unable, I say, to poll very many more votes than these two men.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Both the other candidates were as well known as he was.

Mr HUGHES - People had to vote for the three selected candidates to avoid giving votes away to the protectionists. There was no option for the people of New South Wales. There was an ironbound rigid system. Every candidate was bound to the ticket. Talk of American politics ! No man, unless he could get into the machine in New South Wales, had the slightest hope. Though one rose from the dead, or came down from on high, he must be in the machine or he. could do nothing. I will read the figures showing the result of that Senate election. They were - Neild, 189,892 Pulsford, 188,101 ; Gray, 185,716. Four thousand votes separated a senator 1 whose gifts of oratory in New South Wales have on many occasions made us stand amazed, and whose character has impressed itself upon the Departments, civil and military, from a man who was comparatively unknown. In other words, Lt.-Col. Neild was unable to beat Senator Pulsford by more than 1,700 votes, and Senator Gray by more than 4,000. The machine is on top in New South Wales. The " right honorable member for East Sydney says that ours is a rigid machine. A rigid machine ! I would . that we had half so perfect an organization as the right honorable member has !

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Let the honorable gentleman, give us the output of his party's machine.

Mr HUGHES - I say nothing in com-, plaint about the machine. I am no.t complaining of the Sydney press.

Mr Wilks - The honorable gentleman was in both machines.

Mr HUGHES - The Sydney press has always treated me well, but of that I say nothing. I am ready to take advantage of any machinery, and make no pretence otherwise. No one can say that on either my free-trade or my labour principles I have ever gone back on my hustings pledges. I am amazed and grieved that I have not had an opportunity of giving effect to those pledges, which I made to my constituents on the last occasion, by saying one word or casting one vote for the great principle of free-trade, which my late respected leader apparently had not the courage to test here.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member now has a chance to give effect to his free-trade principles.

Mr Watson - Against his own party and leader?

Mr HUGHES - When I see on the Opposition side amongst the " ranks of Tuscany," as I have called them, free-traders like the honorable member for New England, with whom it is a religion to regard free-trade as the most sacred thing on earth - who believes that the beginning and end of all things is a tax on the unimproved value of land and free-trade - and along with him the honorable member for Lang, standing behind a coalition which has agreed to sink free-trade, I know that in the realms of the blest, when I have there to answer for my sins, I shall be able to urge one excuse - "The single taxers swallowed their principles, and how shall one, who falls far short of them, be held inexcusable ? " The honorable member for Lang only last week wrote a letter to the Sydney press, in which he denounced the sinking of the free-trade question; but I have since, with agonised earnestness, looked in vain at the columns of the daily press in the hope of finding the name of " Johnson " arrayed amongst those who have cast off the yoke of coalition.

Mr Johnson - The honorable and learned member never saw my name attached to any socialistic programme.

Mr HUGHES - I regret very much that I am unable to finish my remarks in the time available. I feel sure, however, that honorable members will agree that I should have a further opportunity, and I, therefore, ask permission to resume my speech on Tuesday.

Mr SPEAKER - Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable and learned member have leave to continue his address on Tuesday?

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.

Leave granted ; debate adjourned.

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