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Wednesday, 25 May 1904


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have not had the advantage of reading the speeches which were delivered yesterday., but I have had an opportunity of reading the reports published in the newspapers. Therefore, I feel justified in taking part in the discussion at this stage, .because I think I can take up the current of the debate without being placed under any special dis; advantage. When listening to the speech of the Minister of External Affairs I could not help being struck with the acrimony which he has thought fit to introduce into the debate. It was the first occasion on which the honorable and learned gentleman had taken part in any debate in this House since he assumed Ministerial office; and it bodes ill for the future if that honorable gentleman intends to follow the course which he adopted on Friday last, and again yesterday, of making personal attacks upon members sitting on the opposite side of the House, simply because their opinions happen to conflict with his own upon such impersonal questions as the constitution of the party to which he belongs. Every honorable member will agree with me that if there has been one characteristic more than another that has distinguished the deliberations of this Chamber from those of the States Parliaments, it is the absolute good-will that has existed since we first met in March, 1901.


Mr Mcwilliams - I wish the honorable and learned member would say " some of the States Parliaments."


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Franklin comes from an ideal State, where things are better managed than they are in larger countries. But whatever may be the condition of things in Tasmania, or elsewhere, I can say that, after membership of the New South Wales Parliament for twelve or fifteen years, I was very much impressed by the absence of illfeeling and acrimony which characterised the first Commonwealth Parliament. It is true that we gave utterance to some very direct statements concerning one another, and one another's policy. We did not hesitate to make those statements in the most straightforward way, but I do not recollect a single instance in which one could truthfully say that, as a result, ill-feeling had been engendered between members holding opposite opinions. The fact is that, in espousing certain views, we have invariably credited one another with sincerity. If opposing parties are prepared to do that, there should be a complete end to bitterness, because all sincere politicians are endeavouring to arrive at the same ultimate result, even though they may be travelling by different routes'. I hold that it is to the advantage of the country thatwe should conduct our deliberations amicably, instead of allowing the personal element to create bitterness and to retard the transaction of business. The Minister of External Affairs entered into a number of personal matters which very much astonished those who have for many years associated him, in State as well as in Federal politics, with the right honorable member for East Sydney. Not only did that honorable gentleman speak of the Minister in complimentary terms, but the honorable and learned member for Ballarat did likewise. Indeed, I think that the right, honorable member for East Sydney almost overdid his complimentary references to the ability of the Minister of External Affairs. I repeat then that it bodes ill for the future of this House if that honorable gentleman, as a politician possessing some years of experience, intends to set the example of bitter personal attack upon those who disagree with him. I should like to know why the honorable and learned gentleman so bitterly resented the complete investigation of his party's methods, which was vouchsafed to this House by the right honorable member for East Sydney, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. Is he ashamed of the constitution of his organization? Is he ashamed of the methods that are adopted by the caucus being driven home to him in the extremely logical way in which they were treated by those honorable members? Is he ashamed of having given a pledge, which, as a member of the Labour Party, he is bound to respect? If not, he ought rather to rejoice that some of the practices and principles which guide the regulation of his party, are being emulated by honorable members upon this side of the chamber. But the Minister seemed to think that to analyze the methods and the organization of his party, or the pledge which he gave to it and to the "labour" supporters throughout Australia, was a sort of indictment against his political and moral character. Indeed, in order to put the tu quogue reply in as offensive a manner as he possibly could, he turned upon me, and charged me with having emulated the methods of the Labour Party by giving a policy pledge. That observation brings me to a somewhat personal matter. The Minister, as we all regret, is somewhat deaf,- and his deafness places him under a very ' great disability in this House ; because it very frequently happens that an interjection is not heard by him, or is heard in such a way that he misunderstands it. During the course of this debate one unpleasant episode occurred which was due to- a member of the Labour Party, and for which I hold neither that party nor the Minister of External Affairs responsible. When the right honorable member for East Sydney wished to make an explanation of some matter which was charged against him bv the Minister, a member of the Labour Party objected to granting him the necessary permission to do so.


Mr Maloney - In accordance with the rules of Parliament.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not object to those rules.


Mr Maloney - Why not wipe them out ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They are very good rules, and I have no desire to wipe them Out. But, although those rules are laid down to prevent an abuse of the practice to which they apply, it is a very common custom, when the leader of a party desires to make a personal explanation, for the honorable member who is addressing the Chamber, to allow him to do so at the time when the charge is fresh in the memory of the House. Mr. Speaker very properlyasked the House whether it approved of the right honorable member for East Sydney being allowed to make an explanation. With what result ? With the exception of one honorable member the whole Chamber saw the justice of acceding to the request, but one honorable member exercised the power which he undoubtedly possesses to say, " I object-." I refer to this question simply to justify my own course of conduct. The Minister of External Affairs was angered because the organization of his party, and the principle of the caucus and the pledge, had been criticised, and accordingly he turned a very vigorous hi quoque upon me. He challenged me to deny a certain fact. I declined the challenge. Why? Because I knew perfectly well that the same spirit which .ha d animated one honorable member of the Labour Party to prevent the leader of the Opposition from making an explanation, would again be exhibited if I attempted to make my explanation. But the Minister of External Affairs allowed his anger to lead him into an indiscretion. He charged me - and I think I am one of the most independent members of this House-with having emulated the methods of the Labour Party, by giving a political pledge. I now challenge him to produce any- such pledge that I have ever given; and I should like him to know that I issue that challenge. I understand what he meant, and I shall tell the "House what it was, because I am very anxious to preserve the good opinion of honorable members, not only in regard to my politics, but in regard to my consistency. This is a personal matter which is absolutely dragged from me by the circumstances to which I have referred. Upon one occasion, although I am a Protestant, I resolved to send a child of mine to a Roman Catholic Convent. I was liberal enough to recognise that it was possible for one of my own children to receive a good education there. The child went to that convent and died there, and I had sufficient liberalism in my disposition to publish the fact that the death of the child occurred at the convent. What was the result? I lost my seat at the Federal Convention, and during the last election the matter was again brought up against me. Certain Protestant bodies doubted my impartiality with regard to the Catholic creed, and I was asked four direct questions upon paper.


Mr Fowler - Is that the state of politics in New South Wales ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was the state of politics at that time.


Mr Maloney - It is shameful.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not object. I merely desire to show what a poverty of resource the Minister of External Affairs laboured under when he levelled this charge against me. I was asked whether I favoured public appointments going to men and women irrespective of their creed, to which I answered "Yes;" whether I favoured Sunday observance, to which I replied " Yes ;" and whether I approved of clerical precedence being given to that Church which had the greatest numerical following.


Mr Ronald - What did the honorable and learned member say to that?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I said "Yes," certainly. . I was also asked whether I favoured Government inspection of charitable industrial institutions, to which I answered "Yes." I added, at the foot of the four questions, a note somewhat to this effect: - "These are all questions which every liberal-minded man must answer in the affirmative." That is the only pledge - political, religious, social, or otherwise - that I have ever given in my life. The House, therefore, will realize the poverty of material at the disposal of the Minister of External Affairs when he charged me with having given a pledge, knowing full well, as he did, tha.t a member of his own party was resolved to prevent any honorable member upon this side of the House from making a personal explanation. Since then scores of people have asked me how I reconcile my action in having given a pledge with the attitude which I have always assumed in regard to the practice of intellectually handcuffing politicians.


Mr Watson - Was it not necessary for the honorable and learned member to give answers to those questions as a prelude to his selection by a certain organization?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not know. Does the Prime Minister repeat the statement of the Minister of External Affairs? I was prepared to answer those questions upon any platform and at any time in my life. The Prime Minister talks about "a prelude to selection." It shows the narrowgutted way in which he views matters. He has asked me whether answers to the questions were necessary as a prelude to my selection.


Mr Watson - Were they?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not know, neither do I care. The Minister of External Affairs charged me with having signed a pledge. I am thankful to say that I have never signed one. The alleged pledge which I gave would never have been signed under any other circumstances.


Sir William Lyne - Was not a similar document sent to the other candidates?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I merely know that it was brought to me by one of my supporters, who stated that many of the electors were under the impression that I favoured Roman Catholicism. I replied - " I have no actual bias either towards Protestantism or Catholicism. I value men for what they are, and for what they do - not for the creed which they may follow." The Minister of External Affairs further charged me with having stultified my expressed opinions upon a number of other questions. The honorable gentleman assumed for the purposes of debate that the list of political principles which had been published in the press had been converted into a kind of pledge by every one who contemplated assisting the coalition movement. When my leader spoke to me in regard to the projected coalition, I replied that I would support him in any movement to bring about a coalition, provided that there was no sacrifice of any vital principle. I shall tell the honorable gentleman, who made the charge, what the honorable and learned member for Ballarat has already told the public, that it was never intended that every honorable member, who contemplated taking part in the coalition movement, should agree to adhere to >every item of the so-called programme. Does any honorable member, who is in his right mind, imagine that, after I had separated myself from my party, and stood almost alone in regard to "the policy of a White Australia, I should stultify myself and go back upon my principles for the sake of a miserable coalition? The man who imagines that I would, could not have read the conditions associated with that list of legislative proposals, or he would not make such a charge.


Mr Tudor - " Miserable coalition " is a good name for the proposed combination.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That may be so from the point of view of the Ministry and their supporters.


Mr Tudor - That is the term which the honorable and learned member applied.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I would apply to the observation made by the honorable member for Yarra a remark once made 6y

Lord Beaconsfield, who said that the most effective satire is a majority. The honorable member may laugh on the other side of his mouth before a very long period has passed.


Mr Fisher - We are glad to hear that the courage of .the Opposition has been roused.


Mr Page - Why do not the' Opposition adopt a straight-out course, instead of resorting to all this fencing?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall ask the honorable member by-and-by why he does not come at once to his policy. I shall show the House how he has dealt with it now that responsibility is thrown upon his party. That will be a very pleasing part of the duty which I propose to perform this evening.


Mr Page - We shall be very pleased to listen to the honorable and learned member.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope that it will be understood that although I somewhat vigorously resent personal attacks, such as have, unfortunately, been made by the Minister of External Affairs. I bring no bitterness into this matter, and do not harbour any resentment. To my mind, the Minister of External Affairs has been guilty of a great want of judgment. He has displayed a lack of Ministerial wisdom ; and if his example were followed by other honorable members, this House, instead of being a very pleasant assembly to which to belong, would become unbearable, and one to which a very few men would care to be returned.


Mr Fisher - It would become something like the New South Wales Parliament.


Mr McColl - The language used by the Minister was scandalous.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I say, then, with all solemnity, that I regard the present position as a crisis in Australian history. The press may regard it from a narrow standpoint, and contend that it is merely a question of the ". ins " and the " outs !' ; people may think that, after all, it is merely a question of whether Mr. Watson, Mr. Deakin, or Mr. Reid should be Prime Minister ; but, in my opinion, we have reached the gravest political juncture that has yet occurred, not merely in the history of the Federal Parliament, but in the history of the Parliaments of Australia. We shall have to decide, sooner or later, whether the society of Australia - and I use the word society in its sociological sense - is to be conducted upon the lines followed at the present time by all civilized countries, or whether it is to be handed over to a body of enthusiasts - and I use that word with all respect - who are firmly convinced of the wisdom of nationalizing all industries and of converting society from a self-helping, self-sustaining body, in which the individual has the fullest freedom, to one in which the community as a whole completely dominates the individual. That is the issue. The honorable member foi Southern Melbourne may smile; he may not be able to grasp the gravity of the situation.


Mr Ronald - Not in that respect.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member lacks, perhaps, that appreciation of the position which would enable him to recognise the far-reaching consequences of this issue. I assert with -all good will that we have reached the parting of the ways. We have to determine whether the Government, with its undoubted belief in all the immoderate aspects of Socialism, is to have not only the legislative but the executive power of this country placed in its hands, or whether the country is to be governed on lines which, as I have already said, are at present followed by every civilized community in the world.


Mr Watson - We are all going in the same direction.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable gentleman think that that makes the position a right one?


Mr Watson - Not necessarily.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the honorable gentleman ever heard of that great Greek orator who once said something which elicited the vociferous applause of his audience, and, turning to a friend observed : " What was it that I said ; it must have been something very foolish." Does the honorable member think, that because the rest of the world is, as he says, " going in the same direction " it is right for us to do so ? How can that assertion be advanced as an argument?


Mr Watson - The honorable and learned member is advancing the argument that we are going contrary to all other nations.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I say that no nation has been built up on the principles proposed by the Government. I shall challenge the Prime Minister, by and by, to give the people of Australia a single instance in which a community, started upon a socialistic basis, has ever emerged from obscurity. That, after all, is one of the- tests that the people of Australia will be forced to apply by-and-by in order to determine which of these parties shall be in the ascendant. We have reached a grave juncture in our history, because at no time has the reign of a Habour and Socialistic Ministry been so imminent. I am sure that honorable members opposite are now so accustomed to the application of the term " Socialists " to them that they will not consider me offensive in speaking of them in that way.


Mr Fisher - Hear, hear.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member will recollect that in the earlier life of this Parliament the word " Socialist " was applied with bated breath. A supposition prevailed that some of -the members of the Labour Party insisted on the use of the word . " Democrat," as distinguished from the word "Socialist."


Mr Watson - It has now become a reproach to be an individualist.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think it is admitted that the policy of the Government is a Socialistic one, and it will be my duty to analyse that policy, as well as some of -the utterances of the Labour Party, in order that we may know exactly where the party and their policy is likely to lead Australia.


Mr Watson - The honorable and learned member will take the honorable and learned member for Werriwa as his guide.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not accept any honorable member as my guide. The Minister of External Affairs said that the question was " Under which king ? " That may be a very heroic and very satisfactory way of putting the issue from his point of view, but I should like to present it in a much more matter-of-fact and, I think, much more comprehensive way. The question is, as I put it, " Is Australia to be governed by a fifth or a sixth part of its people in the interest of its own class?" I use those words very deliberately.


Mr Watson - In the interests, not of a class, but of Australia.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No; in the interests of the fifth or sixth part.


Mr Fowler - In view of our franchise, is not that impossible?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It will be impossible so far as legislation is concerned, so long as we have an Opposition as strong as is the present one. But I mean to>point out to-night to the House that the . gravest danger to this community - if Socialism is a danger - lies not in the passing of legislation by the present Government, which would be well checked by a dominating Opposition, but in allowing that Government to exercise the Executive powers of this country during a period of many months of recess.


Mr Fisher - That is the point.


Mr Page - Hear, hear ; that is the point.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member knows that it is. I would invite the House to take note of his beaming countenance.


Mr Watson - We do not know what his feelings are.


Mr Page - We do not know what is in his mind.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not know whether the honorable member quite sees the point of view from which I am dealing with this matter. I am not thinking of what is possibly in the honorable member's mind - the matter of Ministerial pay.


Mr Page - Nor am I. I am thinking only of the question of administration.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly. The House knows very well that the same laws may be administered in totally different ways.


Mr Watson - We have found out that that may be so.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We have had an instance of that kind, to which I shall make reference later. Another question for our consideration is, whether this country is to be governed by one-third of the members of this House. No exception can be taken to the stating of that proposition. It must be remembered that the members of the party now in office have in the past cried themselves hoarse in support of the principle of Government by majority; and yet with the support -of only one-third of honorable members of this House they occupy the Treasury benches, and claim " fair piay."


Mr Fisher - We say to the Opposition - " Put us out if you can."


Mr Watson - And, " If you cannot put us out, keep quiet."


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I take it that these honorable gentlemen are impressed with the morality of Government by majority; and if they have recognised and admitted it, as I shall show they have, from time to time, surely it is their duty not to wait to be put out of office. The proposition appears to be considered by honorable members opposite to be humorous.


Mr Watson - It is, when we come to think that the suggestion is that we should give way to another minority.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is a Humorous proposal to a party, the members of which have in the past pledged themselves again and again to support the principle of government by majority. The honorable gentleman at the head of the Government admitted, when speaking in connexion with the May Day celebration deputation, that he had not a m'ajority in the House.


Mr Watson - I said that so far as we knew we had not, but that we hoped that we had a majority.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable gentleman did not say that " so far as he knew " they did not possess a majority, but that they had not a m'ajority.


Mr Watson -i think I did.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall quote what the honorable gentleman said. He said that the Government had not at present a majority in the House.


Mr Watson - I think I said that, so far as I knew, we had not a majority.


Mr Ronald - What report has the honorable and learned member in support of his statement?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have a newspaper report of the speeches.


Mr Maloney - -A report from a Victorian newspaper?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, and I have also reports of some of the speeches made by the honorable member.


Mr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I disclaim the whole lot of them.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It seems to meand I did not at the outset intend to make this suggestion - that the idea of there being a moral aspect to this principle is a subject for humour so far as honorable members opposite are concerned.


Mr Watson - The suggestion that we should give way to a minority is.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the admission to which I have referred has been made, there can be no question as to the proper course for the Government to follow. The Minister of External Affairs said - " We are h.ere by no fault or desire of our own ; we have been forced into office." I should like the people of this country to recognise the absurdity of that statement. The honorable member at the head of this Government was sent for by the Governor-General, not to put him into office, in the constitutional sense, but to invite him to take office. It was a first step which should have led him to a second one - to ascertain whether he could, according to true constitutional principles, count upon a working majority by which to carry on the affairs of this great country.


Mr Carpenter - What would the honorable and learned member have said if the honorable member for Bland had not taken office? He would have called him- a coward.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should have said that, having the conviction in his mind which he has expressed since he took office, that he could not command a majority, or that he had not a majority in this House, he had done what was constitutionally right in declining His Excellency's offer.


Mr Watson - Will the honorable and learned member quote me correctly? I have a report of the speech here.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - So have I ; but if the honorable gentleman will lend me his report, I will quote from it the passage to which I refer. It is this :

Unfortunately, at present we have not got a majority in the House, upon the general programme of the party, so far as we know.

The words " so far as we know " are, I admit, omitted from the report which I have, though that passage will help my argument equally well. The Minister of External Affairs has told us that the Government have been " forced into office by no fault or desire of their own." I think, from my reading of constitutional practice and history that it was the duty of the Prime Minister, when he was asked by the Governor-General if' he could form an administration, to first of all ascertain, and to know definitely, whether he could count upon a working majority in this House.


Mr Watson - We had a majority on the question of applying the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to the public servants.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As he no doubt knew then, and, as he has admitted that he knows to-day that he had not a majority in this House, on his general programme, it was his positive duty to inform the GovernorGeneral of the fact. He did wrong in taking office.


Mr Watson - What about our position in connexion with the amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope that the honorable gentleman will not try to get away from the point on which I am speaking. My contention is that he has admitted that he could not command a majority on his general programme, and that it- was, therefore, his__duty to decline office. It was contrary to the constitutional principles of all British communities to deliberately undertake to form an Administration when he knew that he had not a majority on his general programme. That, fact being admitted, what folly it is for the Minister of External Affairs to exclaim - "We are here by no fault or desire of our own. We have been forced into office !" I charge the members of the Ministry with the full knowledge that they took office without a working majority ?


Mr Fisher - What is the penalty?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope that the honorable gentleman does not .think that gaol or fines are the only forms of penalty which should frighten men. There is a tenderer sense of right and wrong than that which is governed by fear of such results. This is . how the Prime Minister was reported by the newspapers in which I read an account of his speech -

They had not at present a majority in the House on the general programme of the party.


Mr Watson - " So far as we know."


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The words " so far as we know " do not occur in the report which I read, but they do not affect my argument. So far from their having been, forced into office, it is ludicrous to so describe the position of the Ministry. The temptation to take office - I do not say on monetary grounds - was so irresistible that they stepped over the constitutional principle, which they must have known as well as I do. They took office voluntarily and deliberately, with their eyes open, and in such a way as to render the statements of the Minister of External Affairs absolute nonsense. I can support my arguments on this subject by recognized constitutional authority, and I ask honorable members who may not have had time to look up the Question for this occasion to listen to one or two authorities.


Mr Poynton - Who was responsible for a member of the Labour Party being sent for ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member must not expect me' to answer conundrums. Todd, on Parliamentary Government, vol. I., page 19, says: -

In order that the Ministry may be in a position to devise and recommend to Parliament a policy that shall commend itself to the highest intelligence of the country, it is indispensable that they should have sufficient strength in the popular Assembly to enable them to withstand the pressure of temporary political excitement.

Then in vol. II., page 394, he says: -

Ministers of the Crown are constitutionally responsible, not merely for the preparation and conduct of legislative measures through both Houses of Parliament, and for the control of legislation -

I ask honorable members to consider for a moment how the Labour Party, whose members number only a third of this House, could control the legislation which they put before us, if it were not favorably regarded by those who are opposed to them?


Mr Bamford - Does not Todd give instances of breaches of that rule?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If . the honorable member will quote them, I shall make it my business to sit here and listen to him. I credit Todd with consistency, and I am speaking now of general principles, not of special cases - general principles in the nature of deductions from the whole of the precedents upon which he relies. He contends that the Ministry are constitutionally responsible -

Not merely for the preparation and conduct of legislative measures through both Houses of Parliament, and for the control of legislation undertaken bv private members, but also for the oversight and direction of the entire mass of public business which is submitted to Parliament. Nothing should be left to the will and caprice of a fluctuating majority in the Legislature.

Let me ask what would be the effect of the control of this Ministry if honorable members opposed to them chose to bring in private measures which Ministers considered inimical to the interests of the country.


Mr Poynton - That would be impossible.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not see why it should be impossible for any member opposed to the Ministry - and the Ministerial supporters number only onethird of the whole House - to bring in a measure which the Labour Party 'would consider inimical to the interests of the country. In vol. 2, page 395, he continues -

Immediately upon the formation of a Ministry, it assumes in addition to the ordinary duties of an executive government, other and more important functions - unknown to the theory _of the Constitution - namely, the management, control, and direction of the whole mass of political legislation, by whomsoever originated, in conformitywith its own ideas of political science and civil economy : and so long as a Ministry commands the confidence of the House of Commons - here the House of Representatives - it should have sufficient strength to prevent the adoption by Parliament of any measure which it may judge inexpedient or unwise.

How could this Ministry, with a following of about twenty-three members, control the management or regulation of a proposed new law which they thought inimical to the interests of the country, but which was supported, on this side, by more than twenty-three members ?


Mr Poynton - How does the honorable and learned member reconcile the fact that the policy of the two parties is so similar ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As Kipling says, " that is another story." I hope that the honorable member will allow his mind to take more relevant courses. He is asking me, when I am in the middle of my speech, about something which will be dealt with at a much later stage. Todd says, further -

In order to enable Ministers to carry on the Government in harmony and agreement with Parliament, without their being subjected to the degradation of becoming the mere tools of a democratic Assembly, it is necessary that they should be sustained by an adequate majority in both Houses, and especially in the House of Commons.

If it is a degradation to be at the mere mercy of a democratic Assembly,, is not the present Ministry in that position ?


Mr Batchelor - We do not know vet.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A great many members of the Labour Party seem to think that the only matters to which they have to give attention are the few Bills' which they propose to introduce this session. They lose sight of the fact that we have a very active body of members here, who may embody in private legislation ideas of which the Ministry do not approve. . I should like to know how the Ministry can, with dignity, or even with common self-respect, maintain their position as the governing committee of this House, if measures of which they disapprove are brought in by members sitting in opposition to them.


Mr Bamford - What we ask is that we shall be given a proof that we are in the minority


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The best proof is the admission of the honorable member's leader, that they are in a minority on the main body of their programme. Whilst that side of the House takes the socialistic view of things, most honorable members take what I call the individualistic view. Therefore, if a proposed law were introduced by a private member, the Ministry would be impotent to secure either its modification or rejection, although it might be opposed to their policy. Todd, therefore, speaks very properly of the -

Degradation of becoming the mere tools of a democratic Assembly.

That may be an ugly way of defining tHe position. It means simply that the Ministry become a dependent committee of the House, and must submit to legislation of which they do not approve.


Mr Fowler - Does not Bagehot state that that is the proper function of a Ministry - to be a committee of the House, amenable to the decisions of the House?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Ministry should not be a dependent committee of the House. It is, of course, a committee of the House - th* is the whole principle underlying our constitutional government - but a committee having the control of the House. The honorable member will recollect, apropos of his remark, an instance which I gave in this Chamber a short time ago. When the late Sir Henry Parkes found that a Committee of the New South Wales Parliament would not agree to the Chairman sitting again to reconsider a certain question, he handed in his commission to the Governor, and resigned, because he had not control of the House. The Ministry should be, not an irresponsible committee, but an independent committee, capable of controlling a majority of honorable members. I have been asked what I should have done under the circumstances. That is one of those vague and broad conundrums which a speaker is not called upon to answer; but if the Prime Minister, when called upon to form an Administration, recognised that he could not command a majority in this House, it was his duty to decline the offer of the Governor-General, and to leave it to honorable members to readjust themselves until majority rule was possible. I wish now to ask an important question. What is the "Labour" policy? I shall justify myself in entertaining a doubt about it. I desire to ask whether that policy is one which is put forward in the interests of the whole country.


Mr Carpenter - It has been indorsed by honorable members of the Opposition.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope that the honorable member will be patient. What I wanted to know was whether the Labour Ministry were following the policy which they have advocated in Australia for manyyears past? That is what I want to ask the honorable member, who is a very quiet follower of the present Government. Of course, the object of this Government is obviously to get well into the saddle. I can quite sympathize with that aspiration. Their object is to get well into the saddle ; and it must have been noticeable to everybody that the labour programme, which has been before the country for fifteen years - although certainly not in its present form - was a whole and complete policy, and that the measures which it comprehended were arranged in rotation, presumably, in accordance with their, supposed importance. Now, however, Ave have a doable policy - a "first session" policy and a "second session" policy - and it is very easy to see that the whole order and arrangement of the items of the labour programme has been altered in order to keep within this session those measures which are. supposed to be approved by the majority of honorable members on this side of the House, and to shift out of their order, into the next session, those items which are now regarded as constituting the initial steps in a great nationalizing policy. If honorable members who are not acquainted with the original labour programme, will refer to it they will see that the first item was " the maintenance of a White Australia." The second was " compulsory arbitration for the settlement of industrial disputes." The third was "Oldage pensions," and the fourth "The nationalization of monopolies." That was the programme which has been recognised by the Labour Party for many years past. I wish honorable members to particularly notice the third and' fourth items. Honorable members who have read the Address which was published by the Labour Party of Australia in the press a short time ago, will have noticed that the nationalization of the tobacco industry was linked with oldage pensions as the means whereby the money was to be obtained for the purpose of paying the pensions. Now, what is the result? We already have a White Australia, and the next item was compulsory arbitration. According to the original labour programme, old-age pensions and the nationalization of the tobacco industry should be taken next in order. Do they come next now ? No. They have been thrust forward into the next session ; other measures have been put in their place for this session, out of the turn given to them in the original programme. Why is this?


Mr Batchelor - To what measures does the honorable member refer?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am referring to the original programme of the Labour Party, which mentioned' - first, the maintenance of a White Australia; secondly, compulsory arbitration ; thirdly, old-age pensions; and fourthly, the nationalization of monopolies.


Mr Batchelor - That is the order in which they appear in the Government programme.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister is quite wrong, because if that were the order in -which they now appeared in the Government programme, the moment the Arbitration Bill was disposed of we should have a Bill brought down to nationalize the tobacco industry, and also an Old-age Pensions Bill.


Mr Fowler - Is it not possible that that arrangement is purely accidental?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think it is quite possible, but I shall show that there is a little method in this coincidence. The nationalization of the tobacco industry, which is the prelude to the establishment of old-age pensions, is part of the nationalizing portion of the labour programme - one of thf most definite parts of the Socialistic portion of the programme of the Government. It is not included amongst the work for this session, although it stands next to arbitration in the original programme of the party. I see a strange coincidence in the method in which the unobjectionable measures are brought forward this session, whilst a proposal which would submit to the first test the nationalization programme of the Government is pushed into next session, in order that the Government may enjoy three or four months of office, and then pass quietly into recess for eight or nine months, during which thev would enjoy full unchecked executive power. This is perfectly clear, perfectly methodical, and perfectly understandable from the Ministerial point of view. But it points to this, that since the Labour Party came into office a very distinct change has been made in their policy, as compared with their programme before they were called upon to take charge of the affairs of the country. This is what the Prime Minister said to the May Day celebrations deputation : -

If the Government was given an opportunity it' would do as much as possible this session, and attend as well to necessary matters outside this programme for the successful working of the Federal machine.

There is no talk there about bringing the next item of the original labour programme, namely, the nationalization of monopolies, into the programme for the current session.


Mr Frazer - The Prime Minister does not make a policy speech every day.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No;' one is enough for my purpose, because by the speech made by the Prime Minister a few nights ago, we were shown that the third item in the original labour programme was to be held over till the next session, instead of coming immediately after the Arbitration Bill.


Mr Ronald - What is wrong about that ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not expect to convince the honorable member, or, in fact, any other honorable member on the Government side of the House. One cannot put his head through a brick wall. I do not wish to speak disrespectfully of the honorable member's brain power, but I regard him as being so imbued with party spirit that he is induced to take any outlook which will best suit the party view.


Mr Ronald - The honorable and learned member is quite wrong.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then my remarks may have some effect upon him. What I ask honorable members on this side of the House to believe, is that the whole programme of the Labour Party has been distorted in order to bring unobjectionable measures within the work of this session, and to postpone the socialistic part of their programme until next session. By adopting this method of procedure, the Government hope to enjoy three months of office as a Ministry, for the introduction of legislation, and nine months in recess, as administrators.


Mr Batchelor - The honorable and learned member has not shown that the items of the labour programme have been taken out of their order.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If what I have said has not convinced the Minister, I must wait to show him privately that my view is the correct one. There is no doubt that the Labour Party and the Ministry are on the horns of a dilemma, because it must be clear to every man who regards the situation from- a cool and unbiased stand-point, that if they were to put forward during this session the objectionable part of their programme, which includes the proposal for the nationalization of the tobacco industry - which I predict will be defeated as surely as was the Bonus Bill - the Ministrywould sound the death knell of their own party. The question they will have to consider, however, is what effect their change of programme, and their postponement of what their party regard as one of the most important measures in their programme, will have upon their followers outside. This is the opinion expressed by a newspaper which I am sure every honorable member on the Government side will credit with knowledge and sincerity. I refer to the New South Wales Worker. That word "worker" ought to be sufficient to make what I am about to read palatable to every labour member.


Mr McDonald - It makes it very unpalatable to the honorable and learned member.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No, it does not. I do not think that I' have shown any very strong class bias in this House.


Mr Batchelor - Oh !


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister may think so - I cannot help that. This is what the Worker says -

It is for the new Ministry to convince the people of the Commonwealth that it is absolutely sincere, absolutely honest, absolutely courageous, absolutely determined to embody in the Statute-book the more pressing of its principles, even if it should go down in the attempt. To do other would be to lose supporters and to earn public contempt.

I think I am rational in assuming that the labour programme, which has been before us for years, was arranged in the order of the importance of the measures included in it.


Mr Batchelor - Hear, hear.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am glad that the Minister assents to that. Therefore, with the White Australia question out of the way, and with compulsory arbitration disposed of, the next question to be submitted for our consideration should be the nationalization of the tobacco industry and old-age pensions. These items ought to be included within the programme for this present session, and I hold that the Labour Party show a lack of courage in not having brought them forward as part of the business to be immediately submitted to us.


Mr Batchelor - Nonsense !


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - These items form part of the policy which has been put forward for years. They have been regarded as the most necessary measures, but now there is a retreat on the part of the Government. They have put these measures into the background of their policy, and have consigned them to the sweet by -and -by of next session instead of including them in the programme for this session, and bearding the lion at the outset. How long do honorable members anticipate that the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill will occupy in this House? Surely it can be disposed of within a month-


Mr Frazer - It has already occupied; three months.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is a very good reason why it should not occupy more than another month. Let us assume that its consideration absorbs that period. The very next item upon the Ministerial programme is the nationalization of the tobacco industry. But we are informed that that matter will not be dealt with until next session. Surely, if the Government remain in office, Parliament will not be pro- rogued when the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill has been passed into law ! Why is the proposal to nationalize the tobacco-, industry not to be dealt with during the current session ?


Mr Thomas - We want to enjoy a little holiday.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not now considering the position of the honorable member, but that of the Government. Why have they not the courage of their convictions ?


Mr Batchelor - Does the honorable and learned member expect that a programme which is intended to cover the life of a whole Parliament, should be introduced during the first session ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not all of it. I do expect, however, that the item which stands next to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill in the Ministerial programme willbe brought forward during the present session. In an interview with the Prime Minister, which was published in *he Sydney Morning Herald, of the 16th May, I note that he is credited with saying :

The whole party would endeavour now that they had to bear the responsibility of office, to do their best for all.

Why would they do their best for all "now"? Why not always? What justification is there for the Government effecting a change of front from class legislation to legislation for the whole people, merely because they have taken upon themselves the responsibility of office ? There is no possibility of mistaking the meaning of these words. Everybody who has followed the journalistic literature of these States must have become heartily sick of reading expressions of opinion bv different individuals as to the necessity for looking after the interests of the particular class to which they belong. When I observed that "now that they have undertaken the responsibility of office," the whole people are to be considered, I naturally asked myself why the fact that the Labour Party are in power should make any difference in its policy. Almost every member of that party has indulged - principally before his constituents - in diatribes regarding the injustice with which his own class is treated. Usually they give the electors to understand that it will be their chief duty to look after the interests of the workers.


Mr Watkins - That is not correct, and the honorable and learned member knows it.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has no right to make that statement, because upon all sides we see statements made by the Labour Party - both inside and outside of Parliament - that the time is coming when they will be able to rectify existing abuses, and to do for their own particular class something which they could not previously accomplish. The members of that party never declare that they propose to pass legislation which will benefit everybody. Their cry always is that they intend to ameliorate the conditions of life as applied to their own class. I had become so thoroughly impregnated with that idea that I was pleased to learn from the Prime Minister that "now that the party had to bear the responsibility of office, they would do their best for all." At this stage I should like to say a few words in reference to another very important aspect of the present situation. A great many honorable members seem to think that so long as there is a large majority upon the Opposition side of the House, the country is perfectly safe in the hands of the Labour Party- I mean " safe " from that class of socialistic legislation of which I, in common with many others, do not approve. The Minister of External Affairs said there was a great advantage in having a powerful Opposition to prevent unwise legislation. But I wish to point out - and I do not think sufficient attention has been paid to this phase of the matter - that if the present political crisis passes, and the Ministry continue in office during the current session, it will not be the legislation that is enacted which will be regarded with anxiety, but the exercise of the Executive power of the Commonwealth for a period of, say, nine months. I take it that eight or nine months will elapse between the prorogation and the re-assembling of Parliament. Of course, it may seem a very ordinary " matter that Ministers should be left in their offices to deal with State papers: But every person who reflects upon it will see that it is infinitely more important that men holding the views which Ministers entertain should be prevented from exercising the Executive power of the country than from introducing their own fancy schemes of legislation. In exercising the Executive power of government, they practically have the Ministerial unchecked interpretation of all. the laws of the country. Let me take," for the purpose of providing an illustration, the Customs law, which has been administered by two different individuals - the right honorable member for Adelaide, and the honorable member for Hume. Under the administration of the former, we know that the Customs law was interpreted in such a way as to excite the anger and indignation of the whole commercial community in Australia.


Mr McDonald - That is not correct.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is incorrect ?


Mr McDonald - The statement that the administration of the right honorable member for Adelaide excited the anger of the whole community.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hold that it is.


Mr Frazer - It excited anger only amongst the " crook " ones.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is just one of those hysterical party utterances which are made without thought. Does the very youthful honorable member opposite, who,bytheway, was not present in the last Parliament, know that it was admitted in this House that, out of 400 prosecutions, there had not been one case of fraud, with the exception of that which was alleged to have occurred in Queensland?


Mr McDonald - " Alleged " ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Such statements may be all very well for platform purposes, but in this Chamber we ought to look at facts with scientific accuracy. The right honorable member for Adelaide admitted here, that out of 400 prosecutions there was only one in which fraud was thought to have been sheeted home to the persons charged with 'it. Therefore, what honesty is there in the statement that only the " crooked " members of the mercantile community complained? I happen to know - and I have as good an opportunity of knowing as has any one in Australia - that from Brisbane to Perth, the entire commercial community was justly indignant at the very autocratic way in which the Customs law was administered by the right honorable member for Adelaide. As evidencing that he was responsible for an unnecessary exercise of Executive power, I have merely to point out that the very same law has since been administered by the honorable member for Hume, with the result that the whole of that anger has now disappeared. Why?


Mr McDonald - I could give the honorable and learned member one or two little instances.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Hume is no political friend of mine, and I am not anxious to sound his praises. I merely wish to use him as an illustration. He saw the justice and the expediency of appointing a committee to investigate cases of suspected fraud, and to select from them, for the purpose of prosecution, only those in which fraud was disclosed. What was the result ? I suppose that there is as much fraud committed now as there was previously. But the mercantile community, whose members were formerly dragged in scores before the Police Courts and prosecuted for simple arithmetical mistakes on the part of their clerks, are now aware that if such errors are made by any of their employes, they will be carefully investigated by the committee, and only in those cases in which fraud is clearly apparent will proceedings be taken against them, whether their firms be long-established or otherwise.


Mr Fisher - The committee is really a Court.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, but the Minister knows that merchants of twenty-five, thirty, and fifty years' standing will not be dragged before the Police Court because of clerical errors, and compelled to wait there until cases of drunkenness have been disposed of. It is a Court the proceedings of which are not published in the newspapers.


Mr Fisher - It is a Court, nevertheless.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not an ordinary Court of Justice, or a Criminal Court. The cases which came before it are analyzed without any reflection on the person suspected before any case is selected for a criminal prosecution. I cite this as an illustration of the different methods which may be adopted by different individuals in administering the same Customs law. If that difference can exist, honorable members will realize at once what interpretations might be placed upon our statutes by a Ministry whose views favour a certain class, if it chose to enforce them.


Mr Watkins - I hope that the honorable and learned member is not speaking from experience.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have not had that experience as a Minister.


Mr Watkins - The honorable and learned member has himself held office in a State Ministry.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Quite so; and I have had some experience of attempts on the part of other people to secure attention to class interests. It was my pleasing duty, as a Minister, to frustrate those efforts in every possible way. If time would permit, I might refer to cases in which, within the knowledge of the honorable member, I took an active part in the effort to put a stop to such practices in the Department that I controlled. When I entered upon my. duty as Minister of Works in New South Wales, I found that the papers relating to every proposed expenditure bore the name of the representative of the constituency in which the work was to be carried out. I abolished that practice. I refused, as Minister, to look at the names of members interested. The papers were put before me, by my direction, in a condensed form, so that I was able to deal with them without any knowledge of the constituency in which the work was proposed to be carried out. I established an entirely new set of books, known as the " Ministerial Decision Books," and I never saw any of the original papers in connexion with these proposals, with the result that, at the end- of one year,I found that I had approved of a larger expenditure in constituencies represented by members of the Opposition, than in those represented by members of my own party. Whatever my political views may be, I have been second to no man in the desire for purity of administration on the part of any Government of which I have been a member, or which I have . attempted to support. But let me return to my main proposition, from which I have momentarily strayed. It is this : that honorable members on this side should concede that, in allowing the Government to remain in office, we are not merely permitting them to remain there, as framers of legislation - because we' can check all proposed legislation - but are allowing them an opportunity to get well into the saddle,' and ultimately to embark upon the unchecked exercise of the Executive power of this country during a period extending over s.everal months. ' From my personal knowledge of the members of the

Government, I have very little doubt- about their sense of justice. I have very great personal respect- for every one -of them, 'but I cannot forget that they are the representatives of a party which does not give them that freedom which a man, as a representative of the Crown, or of the people in the Parliament, ought to possess. I do not make this assertion in any spirit of ill-will, or with any desire to stir up animosity but honorable members of the Labour Party know as well as I do - and the matter has been so well threshed out that it has practically become stereotyped - that they do not exercise that freedom of action, or of political thought, that other honorable members are able to do. I therefore regard their possession of the Executive powers of the country for a period of perhaps nine months as one of the gravest of the dangers which go to make up the serious juncture at which we have arrived.


Mr Fisher - Does the honorable and learned member seriously suggest that the Government would be influenced in the exercise of their administrative duties by the members of their party?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have no desire to suggest anything that might hurt the feelings of any honorable member.


Mr Fisher - No, no.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall make my meaning quite clear. I have no wish to hide my opinions, and I say that there is a danger of such a thing. We are here to guard against such dangers, and we must do so. I have shown how two members of the same party - men who originally belonged to the same Government - may administer a law in two different ways, one of which excites the indignation of the whole of the commercial classes of Australia, while the other softens the administration, and yet achieves the same results. If two members of the same Ministry can exercise the Executive powers of the country in such a way as to make that difference, what might not be done, with the best intentions, and with the greatest good-will, by a member of the present Government, who has the Labour Party principles deeply embedded in his mind, as contributing towards the welfare of the whole country ?


Mr Fisher - The insinuation is that our actions while Parliament was in recess would be different from what they would be while it was in session. That is not a fair insinuation.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Now, I maintain that honorable members on this side of the House should seriously consider whether we ought not to sink all microscopic considerations in order to take a big step, and relieve the country of the present Ministry.


Mr Fisher - That is right; let the Op- . position take that step.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable gentleman may rely upon action being taken.


Mr Fisher - Hear, hear.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not speak ex cathedra, but, as one possessing some knowledge of what action is likely to be taken, I should be very, sorry to be a member of a party in this House at the present juncture in the history of Australia that was not prepared to take some decisive step. If honorable members on this side of the House regard the present situation as seriously as I do, they will recognise that there is no more important duty resting upon them than that of, at least, dividing the House, and letting the people of Australia see who are for the Socialist Party and who are not. With regard to the question of the Executive, I should like to give the House one quotation from a work that is very well known in this State. It is a book with a European reputation, written by the late Professor Hearn, and known as Hearn on the Government of England. He wrote -

Although in matters of State, Parliament possesses so unlimited a power of criticism, it has not the smallest share of direct authority. Jt may censure and complain of any proceeding in which the prerogative has been improperly exercised -

He is speaking of . the Executive authority-

It may remonstrate against any anticipated act of* the Crown. It may recommend any line of policy. It may express its opinion that any officer or public body should exercise his or its power in a particular manner. But these powers are merely acts of admonition.

I make this quotation merely with a view to emphasize the fact that although Parliament while in session can criticise proposed legislative measures, yet, as soon as it rises, a party which has come into power, and is considered by those opposed . to it to be dangerous to the general welfare of the country, will enter upon an unchecked career extending over a period of months, during which the powers of the Executive will be entirely in its hands. It is then that the real danger begins, for during this period, the Executive will be entirely iri the hands of a body of men who have not the confidence of Parliament. I shall now make some reference to the labour programme. The programme is well known; but I wish to read one or two short pas sages from a speech made by the Prime Minister at the Lord Mayor of Melbourne's luncheon, inasmuch as they have an important, bearing upon the present position. The honorable gentleman said upon that occasion -

He had merely to say on the present political situation that his party had a set of well-defined principles about which there had been no concealment as far as the elections were concerned -

The honorable gentleman was referring to the whole programme. He went on to say -

He, however, could assure those present that there was no necessity for a Ministry in order . to retain office to go back one iota on the proposals they had so often indicated. That it might not be practicable to realise all these proposals within the course of the next few months he would not deny. But he had no desire to mislead the people. His party was determined to carry its ideas into practical effect, and, therefore, there was no need to say more at present.

Those words are conclusive, in regard to two points. They show, first of all, that we may expect an attempt to carry out the labour programme in its integrity - that there is to be no departure from it. It may be, as the honorable gentleman said, that the whole programme is not going to be carried out within the next three or four months. That is quite in harmony with the action of 'the Government in proposing to defer until next session the consideration of the two very debatable questions of oldage pensions and a tobacco monopoly. But there is to be no departure from the- Labour Party's programme. The people may take it, from this courageous statement on the part of the Prime Minister, that there is to be no alteration of their policy. In these circumstances, we are quite justified in regarding their policy as one with which we have to deal - as one which they will seek to carry out, if they remain long in power, and have such an opportunity to make political capital as to enable them to dominate the situation at any future day. The Prime Minister was also present at a meeting in connexion with the May Day celebrations in Melbourne. Every one knows that expression was there given to certain very drastic principles.


Mr Conroy - Was the Prime Minister present at the May Dav celebrations?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes.


Mr Fisher - The honorable and learned member is in error. He was not present, but representatives of the meeting waited upon him.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Whether he was present at the celebration or not is a matter of no moment, so far as the point which I have put before the House is concerned. He had, at all events, an opportunity to learn what were the principles advocated at the celebration.


Mr Fisher - A deputation waited upon him to present the resolutions passed at a public meeting.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - All that I say is that the Prime Minister had an opportunity to learn their principles, and to comment upon them. I do riot know whether the celebrations were conducted by a league.


Mr Fisher - A socialistic league.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I wish that to be clearly understood. The body which waited on the Prime Minister, and presented him with the May Day programme, was a socialistic league.


Mr Fisher - They presented the Prime Minister, not with their programme, but with certain resolutions carried at the meeting.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And those resolutions embodied their programme. They informed him that they were -

Opposed to militarism in all its forms, and expressed their determination to overthrow wagedom and capitalism, and establish that bon accord in which all instruments of industry will be owned and controlled by the whole people.

I believe that the right honorable member for East Sydney said that these proposals meant social revolution - not a revolution of a bloody character, or anything of that kind, but a revolution in the existing state of society. There can be no question as to that.


Mr Batchelor - Will the honorable and learned member accept responsibility for everything that a free-trade association may say ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The words which I have read were part and parcel of the resolutions presented to the Prime Minister of Australia, whose duty it was at that time, if. he disapproved of them, to say to the deputation - "You have embodied in your resolutions certain principles which I regard as destructive of the present state of society ; and, therefore, in the exercise of my duty, I tell you plainly that I am out of sympathy with you. As Prime Minister of this country, having the conduct of its affairs, I shall not, even for a moment, be suspected of indorsing your views."


Mr Mauger - The same resolutions were presented to the late Prime Minister when he held office.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That does notaffect the question. What did the Prime Minister say in answer to the deputation? He said, in reply, that -

The Government was in hearty sympathy with the general spirit behind the May Day movement.


Mr Fisher -The spirit of peace.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable gentleman say " Peace " ?


Mr Fisher - Yes.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable gentleman talks of peace when he refersto a body that is opposed to principles which have been in existence since the coming of Caesar to England, which have been recognised and acted on in Europe since the earliest stages of its civilization. The Minister speaks of peace, when these men proclaim their pledge to overthrow the foundations of that form of society. I contend that, on the contrary, it means war, and war to the knife. It means a social war, and an internal disturbance such as the Minister of Trade and Customs and his colleagues have never witnessed or contemplated. Does the honorable member imagine that a community of British people would submit to society - and I use the word "society" in its broadest sense - being completely subverted according to principles which have never been successfully embodied in the laws of any community in the world? I defy the honorable member to name a community in which the principles which were expressed by that May Day league have ever been successfully carried into practical effect. I shall show that they have been attempted from Aristotle's day down to the present time. I am well, acquainted with the works of men like Karl Marx, Lassale, Fourier, St. Simon, and of other French and German socialistic writers. I know their writings fairly well. I am also acquainted with the experiments which have been made in the United States to establish communities upon the principles they have advocated. I know, too, all about the Paraguay settlement and its history, and about the experiment at Alice River, in Queensland. I say, confidently, that the honorable member cannot name a community which has been started on, or has adopted these principles, and has not come to grief.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - The Alice River settlement is still flourishing.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall read to the honorable member something about that.


Mr O'Malley - Did not Brigham Young run his show on these lines?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No; on individualistic lines.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should like to show the spirit which is abroad amongst some of the working classes in regard to what they wish to do, and consider themselves justified in doing in the future. They are only little incidents, but they serve as feathers to indicate the direction of the wind. In the course of a conference, in Sydney, between representatives of the employers and the operatives in the iron trade, the chairman remarked that if the men wished the work of constructing locomotives to be kept in New South Wales, they must assist the employers, and, to show how valuable that assistance might be, he added that they were a factor in the Government now. "We are the Government," was the reply of the deputation, through its chairman. That is the confident spirit which is getting abroad throughout the country, and which 'will grow more and more unless something is done by the other parties in the community to check it. Then a very interesting event occurred at Kalgoorlie. We have been led' to believe hitherto that the working classes of this country are perfectly content, as I think they might well be, with preventing Europeans from coming here whenever they were seen to have been what is called the " victims " of contracts requiring them to accept certain rates of wages. The confidence which the success of that measure has engendered is leading to a further demand which throws an interesting light upon the possibilities of the future if such men get control of the affairs of this country. This is what occurred at Kalgoorlie

In connexion with the matter of aliens and the extent to which foreigners, chiefly Italians and Austrians, are displacing British workers, a meeting of Kalgoorlie ratepayers last night indorsed the request by the municipal council that a Royal Commission should be appointed to investigate the matter.


Mr Mahon - A meeting of ratepayers.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable member afraid to let me finish my quotation?


Mr Mahon - No ; I merely wish to emphasize the fact that the meeting was a meeting of ratepayers, not of unpropertied. men.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I admit that a great many persons who have a little money are attracted by the doctrines of Socialists. As the honorable member points out, this was a meeting of ratepayers, or persons who own houses or pay rents for the occupation of them; though it does not require much money to be able to rent a house nowadays. The report continues -

It was resolved - "That the laws governing the admission of immigrants into the Commonwealth should be amended, so as to require proof of fitness, and the intention to settle in the State, and that the State Government should without delay consider the question of prohibiting the employment of aliens in the industries of the State.


Mr Mahon - Hear, hear ! ' Some of these aliens cannot speak English, and the lives of other men working with them are jeopardised.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That, of course, is a great danger ! It is a strange thing that in the report I have read there is not the slightest reference to the danger of which the honorable member speaks.


Mr Mahon - I will produce evidence of it in the official reports of mining inspectors.


Mr Fisher - There is no doubt that that is the basis of the whole trouble.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The report speaks of aliens.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes. It was proposed to exclude, not Kanakas; Japanese, Chinese, and Indians, but Austrians and Italians.


Mr Conroy - Who may be able to speak as good English as any other person in Australia can speak.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No . one can doubt for a moment that the whole purpose of this movement is an economic one* I admit that in the present condition of society the persons who are objected to sometimes compete successfully with our own citizens. Coming here as free men, -they sometimes work for lower wages. But it shows the trend of affairs when a large body of men in a mining district, not. content with the existing legislation, ask to have it amended so as to require proof of an alien's fitness - I do not know whose opinion is to be taken on the subject - and of his intention to settle in the State. They also ask that the Government shall, without delay, consider the question of prohibiting the employment of aliens in the industries of the State. " That is an unconditional prohibition. There is no talk of examining these aliens to see if they know English, so that the lives of Englishmen or of Australians working with them may not be jeopardized.


Mr Mahon - The resolution which the honorable member has read was passed by a meeting of ratepayers, the representatives of property, indorsing the action of a municipal council.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This further resolution was passed at another meeting-

A meeting held at Coolgardie last night, under the auspices of the Political Labour Party, resolved - " That in the opinion of this meeting the influx of aliens is becoming a menace to the best interests of the State, and that some immediate steps should be taken to prevent the continuance of the evil."

Those extracts are mere feathers, but they show the whole tendency of the opinions of a great part of the community. They show a desire to ultimately construct a sort of legislative wall round the country in order to keep Australia for Australian working men. I do not draw attention to this matter for the edification of the members of the Labour Party, because I am sure that my remarks will have little effect upon them ; I mention it so that the members of the party opposed to the Government may know the type of legislation which is desired by some - legislation which I have no doubt would be enacted if the Labour Party were permitted to dominate the political situation.


Mr Watson - Is there a party opposed to the Government?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We shall see. We must treat the Ministry as a socialistic one. I shall not labour that point. I wish merely to read a further short passage from a. speech made by the Prime Minister when presented with certain resolutions after a May-day demonstration. This is what he said -

The people who had governed Australia in the past had paid too much attention to the interests of certain classes. Because of that, themasses of the. people had now to stand up for their rights, and undo a lot of what had been previously done.

It is rather interesting, in a country like "Victoria, which has been governed by menlike Sir Graham Berry, Richard Heales, Sir John O'Shanassy, and the late Prime Minister, to be told that the masses of the people now have to stand up for their rights, because those rights were not previously considered. Having lived in Victoria for many years, and having a full knowledge, of its conditions, I do not hesitate to say that, in no other British community hasmore been done to remove the inequalities of the various classes. The pendulum has rather been driven in the other direction, so that there has beae built up a body of law which has created something in the nature of class privileges. Honorable members must remember that it is possible to have a democratic toryism as well as an aristocratic toryism, and the moment State interference goes beyond providing the members of a community with equal opportunities, so far as they can be created by artificial means, it begins to create class privileges. When that happens, we have not liberalism or democracy, but democratic toryism. In no country in the world has the term " liberalism " been stretched further than it has been in Victoria. Yet the honorable gentleman at the head of the Government made use of the expression I have just read. The principle which I deduce from the resolution which was "presented to him was a determination to overthrow wagedom and capitalists, and to establish that bon accord in which all instruments of industry will be owned and controlled by the whole people. The Prime Minister continued -

The Ministry and the Labour Party felt that, while they had their aspirations as to what was possible, and while they would steadily work towards their goal of freeing the people from their industrial shackles -

Can any sane man conceive of any more ludicrous utterance than that - " To take the shackles off the people of Australia." As applied to Victoria and New South Wales, I say that that is a travesty of our language. It is the lowest form of platform appeal that could possibly be made. Where are th; shackles on the people of Victoria or of New South Wales at the present time ?


Mr Watson - Land monopoly is one of them.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is not the honorable member's own career, for which I give him every credit, a splendid example of the fact that it is possible for a man to rise from the lowest to the highest rung of the ladder ?


Mr Fisher - To what "lowest rung" does the honorable and learned member refer?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am using the term in the popular sense. The Prime Minister has occupied as humble a position as any man in this country.


Mr Watson - Hear, hear.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And I respect him for it. He has demonstrated that he is living in a community in which a man can go from the very bottom rung of the ladder to the top within a few years. By his own ability, his own skill, and the freedom of the institutions under whichhe lives, he has been able to rise until he now occupies the first position in the land.

An Honorable Member. - There are many others whose conditions prevent them from rising.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not say that this is all the Prime Minister's own work. I am quite able to judge between the results of his own efforts and those of his party. I say, however, that we live in a country where the expression " shackles on the people" is ludicrously inapplicable, because the Prime Minister has illustrated the fact that nothing whatever of an artificial character stands in the way of a man's progress from the bottom to the top of the ladder.


Mr Watson - Why is the manhood of Victoria being driven out of the State?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Prime Minister asks me a conundrum. If I were to tell him 'my opinion, he might not agree with me. I say that protection has been the cause.


Mr Watson - Land monopoly, I think.


Mr Bamford - New South Wales is also losing population.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has been wrongly informed. During the last ten years, whilst Victoria has been losing population, New South Wales has been gaining.


Mr Watson - That is because she has more land available for settlement than has Victoria.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I could tell the Prime Minister why people are not coming into the Commonwealth to the extent that they should do, and that is because of the Immigration Restriction Act.


Mr Fisher - The honorable and learned member stands to. his guns.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do, and I am, I hope, quite good tempered over it. I respect honorable members opposite as much as they esteem- me, so far as honesty of purpose is concerned. I wish to make clear the meaning of Socialism, as it is embodied in the programme of the Labour Party.. I shall show how it is explained by a man whose utterances the Labour Government practically indorse and support. I refer to Mr. Tom Mann. According to the Age,Mr. Tom Mann is supported by the Trades Hall of Melbourne.


Mr Thomas - Hear, hear; and a fine fellow he is, too.

An Honorable Member. - He is their paid organizer.


Mr Thomas - Hear, hear.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall show honorable members later what the paid organizer of the Victorian labour bodies says, and I want every sensible man who has children and something of his own, and some regard for the future of this country, to think of the programme that we have in prospect. In the meantime, I wish to direct attention to two matters, which have been brought prominently under my notice, as illustrations of the danger of adopting the socialistic policy espoused by the Government and the party behind them, and of placing the executive powers of the Commonwealth in the hands of a body of men with strong class prejudices. I admit that they may be quite sincere, but, nevertheless, they hold strong class prejudices which might work incalculable injury to the community as a whole if the executive powers were wielded by them. Only this afternoon a number of questions were asked of the Minister of External Affairs with regard to that very episode at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, to which I have directed attention.' I read an extract which showed that at a meeting of ratepayers, and at a meeting held under the auspices of the Labour League of Coolgardie, a distinct resolution had been passed in favour of amending the Immigration Restriction Act, in order to keep Italians and Austrians out of this country unless they were prepared to say what the Act does not require them to say.


Mr Frazer - We only want a more stringent administration of the Act.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not need the honorable member's help. I prefer to rely upon the reports of the meetings rather than to " accept the honorable member's paraphrasing of them. The reports show that at the meetings referred to resolutions were passed, upon which no other construction can be placed than that an attempt should be made to keep out of the Commonwealth certain Italians and Austrians who were coming into competition with Britishers and Australians.


Mr Frazer - That is if they were brought here under contract.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is not a word in the reports about contract labour. It is simply represented that the introduction of these men is inimical to the interests of the Australian workmen. I only wish to refer to the facts for the purpose of showing honorable members on this side of the House, who are hesitating, out of regard for certain minor details which are now standing in the way of a coalition, the danger in which this country would stand. if we allowed the present Government to enter upon the exclusive control of the Executive powers for a period of eight or nine months. To-day the Minister of External Affairs was asked a series, of questions with regard to the steps which had been taken by the Government to practically please the persons who took part in the meetings at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. It appears that already an officer has been instructed to exercise greater supervision than ever with regard to the influx of certain aliens. Amongst other things, the Minister of External Affairs was asked -

1.   Has an officer been appointed to carry out the Immigration Restriction Act at Fremantle?

I presume that there was no officer there before.


Mr Watson - There was a Customs officer there who acted as Immigration officer.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And I understand that now a special officer has been appointed for the purpose of exercising supervision over immigrants. The Minister was further asked -

2.   Have instructions been issued to him?

3.   Will every person landing at Fremantle, either to remain in Western Australia or en route, be interrogated as to his intentions to remain or to proceed further?

4.   Will the interrogation be to the people o'f all nations; and, if not, to what particular nations will it be made?

The answer to the last question was "yes" ; which means that the interrogation will be addressed to people of all nations. Now, the papers relating to this matter have been laid upon the table, and they reveal the fact that that answer is an official falsehood.


Mr SPEAKER - Order ! Does the honorable and learned member refer to an answer given in this House?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do.


Mr SPEAKER - Then I must ask the honorable and learned member to withdraw.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - With pleasure. I shall read the paper, and honorable members can draw their own inferences. Fortunately, there is no embargo in Parliament upon the inferences or conclusions drawn by honorable members. The papers contain the following remarks: -

The Minister directs that a special officer be instructed to visit vessels likely to contain Austrian and Italian immigrants.

That is impartiality ! That is the outcome of the two meetings at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, one a gathering of ratepayers, and the other a meeting under the auspices of the Labour Party, who have agitated in a manner which is not only unreasonable, but unbrotherlv and inhuman, against the people of two European nations, because evidently they are competing with Australian workmen.


Mr Frazer - It is the outcome of an Act which has never been previously properly administered.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This is what the House has . to look for if the Labour Ministry are allowed to continue in office, and ifwe are to have what the Labour Party call " proper " administration. What the Avord " proper " means is to be a matter of interpretation for the Executive.


Mr Watson - Hear, hear.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is my very point. I contend that the laws will be interpreted by a body of men Avho are distinctly biased, though perhaps unconsciously, in faA'our of a particular class. We haA'e here a case inwhich tAvo meetings took place in mining towns in Western Australia, andwe find that the Ministry are so sympathetic that they have at once appointed a special officer to go out and make inquiries with regard to immigrants of two nationalities.


Mr Watson - There Avere more than two meetings; the agitation has extended over a period of tAvelve months.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The minure ro which I previously referred, reads as folIoavs : -

The Minister directs that a special officer be instructed to visit vessels likely to contain Austrian and Italian immigrants, and examine all immigrants separately and carefully, particularly as to whether they are under contract to perform manual labour." If he is satisfied that they are under contract they are to be treated as prohibited immigrants.

There is no objection to that.

If he is not so satisfied, but has reasonable ground to suspect that false statements have been made to him in this regard, he should permit the immigrant to land, and instruct him not to leave Fremantle until advised that he may do so.

Here is an illustration of the arbitrary power that is to be placed in. the hands of a special official Avith regard to immigrants of two nationalities Avhich are named. The officer is not only to ask . a question, and abide by the ansAver, but if he has reasonable ground for suspecting that the ansAvers given to him are not true, he can actually detain the immigrants in a community of free men until instructions are received from the Government. That is a beautiful illustration of the unconscious abuse of Executive pOAver. I cite it to emphasize the danger of alloAving the present Government to remain in office after they have passed the milk-and-water policy Avhich they have outlined for the present session. Still another illustration has occurred Avithin the last day or tAvo. In the Melbourne General Post Office there is a gentleman with a record of forty-one years of service. He is universally recognised as one of the ablest officials in Victoria, and, indeed, in the Commonwealth.How has he been treated? The PostmasterGeneral has practically endeaA'oured to coerce him into recognising the unions of postal employes and dealing Avith the organizations to which they belong.


Mr Watson - To comply with the regulations under Avhich he is Avorking.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is no regulation in existence Avhich requires a Commomvealth official to recognise any organization save that of the employes in the postoffice themselves,who may come to him and make their representations.


Mr Watson - Does not the honorable and learned member knoAv that the officer in question came into conflict Avith the previous Government ?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No.


Mr Watson - I can assure the honorable and- learned member that it is a fact.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The circumstances which have now arisen furnish an admirable illustration of the class prejudice

Avhich will probably be exercised if the present Ministry remain in office. Inow propose to deal briefly Avith the socialistic^ policy to Avhich the Government are attached in principle, and to Avhich they will endeaA'our to give effect so soon as they have a sufficient folloAving at their back. From a Sydney neAvspaper, I learn that -

Mr. TomMann, who has been carrying out political organizing work for the Trades Hall, says that the Socialist- programme will be well on its way in about ten years. " I know that it would not be right," he says, " to declare that the Labour Party of this State is definitely straight-out Socialist. It is not. It can only be truthfully described as a socialistic body, by which I mean one that is making more and more and relatively rapid strides in favour of Social, ism clean and avowed. The most energetic minority are undoubtedly the avowed Socialists or Collectivists; the others are rapidly travelling in that direction ; but that means nothing more than that they endorse both voluntary and State cooperation, and seek to have it universally applied." He says that the party will go in for the nationalization of mines, the control of land, and machinery of production. Every person is to be rewarded according to the services which he or she renders to the community. There will be no need for gaols, except for idlers. A man will be allowed to retain what he gains from actual work -

I suppose that means physical work.


Mr Maloney - It does not say so.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I did not say that it did.

He will be allowed to have his furniture and his bicycle, and, perhaps, his motor car, but whether he will be permitted to have his house will be dependent on the stage of development which Socialism reaches. Ultimately, the municipalities will control house accommodation. Well-behaved people will always have food, clothing, and other necessaries, and will be allowed a fair amount of travel.

That is the policy of Socialists, as expounded by Mr. Tom Mann, -who is admittedly the political organizer of the Trades Hall in Victoria.


Mr Fowler - That extract represents' only a travesty upon the man's utterance.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I propose to read somewhat similar statements from other documents presently. Mr. Storey, M.L.A., in speaking at the picnic of the Mort's Dock employes, which was held in February last, delivered himself as follows : - " Labour members did not go into the House as a third party ; they went there to represent a section of the people, who hitherto had no representation, and to voice, and, if possible, give effect to, certain definite views on public policy.

I now come to the most important document of all. Mr. Bromley, the leader of the Labour Party in the Victorian Parliament, is a man whom I have known for fifteen or sixteen years, and with whom I am upon the most friendly terms, although our politics are as widely separated as are the poles. I wish to assure honorable members' that there is nothing flippant about Mr. Bromley. He has the most serious and funereal cast of countenance that' I have ever met. Both his voice and manner bespeak the most extreme earnestness. In an interview with a representative of the Age, which was published a few days ago, Mr. Bromley, upon being questioned as to the attitude of the Labour Party towards Socialism, said -

It all depends upon the definition you give to Socialism. There are so many, people nowadays who condemn everything which the Labour Partyadvocate, as socialistic, that it is hard to find just where liberalism ends and Socialism begins. I suppose we live in one of the most socialistic countries in the world, but you cannot get a large section of Australian's to believe it. Toput the position of the State Labour Party briefly, I should say that we are collectivists asopposed to individualists. We believe in State co-operation, or State control of such services as can be run by the community for its cwn' profit and advantage. We have already the rail- ways, the schools, the postal and telegraphic services, in the hands of the State, and these hi- ve proved so successful that the Labour Part\' is anxious to see an extension of the system. Such things as gas and water supply, electric lighting,, tramways, and so on, should certainly be' nationalized or municipalized, because from this aspect there need be no distinction. Of course, as a party we are strongly in favour of a State bank and a State life and fire insurance office, and the establishment of the Crown as the only landholder. Personally I do not consider myself am extremist in Socialistic principles. I believe firmly in the nationalization of monopolies, for example;, but I would never think of advocating the instant and comprehensive taking over of all industries by the State. It is all a matter of evolution. Perhaps fifty years hence the people will be wiser than we are now, and better able to realize the benefits of State control in everything. But at the present day we must go slowly. I should start with the nationalization of all industries which affect the health and well-being of the community - provided, of course, that such industries had developed into monopolies. But ever* then it would not do for the State to start on the co-operative basis, unless the proposal was a practical one. We should have to proceed on a business footing. But some risks might very well be undertaken, and we might profit by the example of other countries which have tried experiments and succeeded with them. Such examples might easily be extended and improved upon. For instance, one of the first things I would do would be to nationalize the coastal and Inter-State shipping. Ideally, all shipping should be run by the State, but I am afraid we cannot yet hope to take the oversea division in hand."

No doubt that will be verv comforting to the P. and O. and the Orient Companies. Mr. Bromley, who declares that he is a moderate Socialist, continues -

But the coastal trade is on a different footing, and I think that the States should assume control of it. We have our State railways on shore ; why not our State steamers on the sea? The private shipping companies would have to be bought out, or, if they refused to negotiate, squeezed out of competition-.

I ask honorable members to note that the State is to take up what shipping it can, and is to run it at the expense of the tax- payer, in order to compel recalcitrant shipowners to sell their interests to the Government. Mr. Bromley proceeds -

The coal mines, also, should be purely State owned. In regard to the land question, I believe there are some who consider that all the alienated area in Victoria should be resumed by the Crown without any compensation being awarded to the owners.

That statement, I presume, applies to the extreme Socialists. Let honorable members observe what the moderate Socialists propose -

As a practical politician I must unreservedly condemn that suggestion. I am most decidedly in favour of the State becoming ultimately the landlord. But to me it is obvious that reasonable compensation should be paid to those whose land has been taken away from them. Therefore I recognise that the process of getting back the lands which have been sold outright by the Crown will be a slow one. The way to effect the change would, in my opinion, be to impose a graduated ' land tax without any exemptions whatever, beginning with a small impost for the small holder, and increasing progressively as the acreages increased. The proceeds from that tax I would apply to the compulsory repurchase of the large holdings, and the cutting of them up for closer settlement.

The moderate Socialist who is utterly opposed to anything in the form of confiscation, is quite prepared to purchase land at a reasonable price, having first extracted the necessary money from the land owners by means of a progressive land tax. It will be comforting to honorable members to know that he also says -

I do not think, however, that either as individuals or as a party you would find the State Labour Party in favour of the more advanced ideas urged by Socialists on the Continent of Europe. We are not communists, and I do not imagine that the time is ripe for the State to interfere with the family. Perhaps later, when the community is more highly educated, that may come too, but not yet.

Did any man out of Bedlam ever before seriously propose such unqualified nonsense ?

An Honorable Member. - What is the date of that interview?


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was published three weeks or a month ago. A few months back a small Australian publication came into my hands, entitled, " What is Socialism?" I should like to read one or two passages from it," because on general principles its matter corresponds very closely with the proposals of the Labour Party, though it is a little more elaborated. This publication states -

Socialism is a theory of a system of human society based on the common ownership of the means of production and the carrying on of the work of production by all for the benefit of all. In other words, Socialism means that the land, the railways, the shipping, the mines, the factories, and all such things as are necessary for the production of the necessaries and com. forts of life should be public property, just as our public roads, our public parks, and our public libraries are -public property to-day, so that all these things should be used by the whole of the people to produce the goods that the whole of the people require.

Further -

By the discoveries of science, the inventions of genius, the application of industry, man has acquired such power over nature that he can now produce wealth of all kinds as plentifully as water. There is no sound reason why poverty and want should exist anywhere on this earth.

It is a beautiful millennial thought - one of those Utopian pictures which writers of' fiction portray for the amusement of the people. It is a sort of More's Utopia, Butler's Erewhon, or Lytton's Coming Race, in which there is to be no more trouble or anxiety of any kind.


Mr O'Malley - Hear, hear.







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