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Wednesday, 25 May 1904

Mr O'MALLEY (Darwin) - During the course of this debate we have heard a great many speeches which resembled the thunder from Sinai. Indeed, I thought that the waters of Niagara Falls had been let loose until I recollected that I was still in Australia. I have never yet read or heard of such a combination of intellectual giants pitching into the humble democrats of the Labour Party. From the utterances of some honorable members one would imagine that we had committed highway robbery. I must confess that I entertain a great respect for the right honorable member for East Sydney. I regard him as a star of the first magnitude. I believe he was intended to be a luminary and a . blessing to the world, but he . has gone astray. He ought always to be at the zenith, and not on the margin of the horizon, as his brilliancy will betray him in matters he may himself strive to hide. I feel sure that whatever he may do the people will climb the highest mountains,, and descend into the darkest caverns, to admire such a political luminary. Therefore, I am sorry that he went astray about two years ago. He was misled by false prophets. At that time the newspapers predicted the absolute annihilation of the Labour Party. But that party is founded upon justice. It comes from "the Creator; from the manger of Bethlehem ; from the twelve apostles. It comes to bestow a benediction upon the universe, and to lift humanity out of the mire. Let no one imagine that because I am politically opposed to the right honorable member for East Sydney that I do not respect him. I look upon him as the Daniel Webster of the Southern Hemisphere. I also entertain the greatest admiration for the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, but I have always recognised that if these two great forces are brought together the lesser must go down. The right honorable member for East Sydney is one of the five greatest platform speakers in the world.

Mr Tudor - Where are the other four ?

Mr O'MALLEY - In America. I entertain . a great opinion of the honorable and learned member for Parkes. He is a brilliant man. I always enjoy listening to his speeches, although I do not agree with them. That, however, merely proves that he does not agree with me. To-night I wish to enter my protest against the waste of time that has been incurred in this debate. The discussion has convinced me that the British system of parliamentary government is not sufficiently modern. The Labour Party have proved that the intellectual domain of the world is open to the many, and not to the few. The present Government have demonstrated that men are not born to fill Ministerial office - that there are hundreds and thousands of men in Australia who are quite capable of stepping on to the Treasury benches. I believe there is no member of the House who is not qualified to satisfactorily discharge the duties of a Minister.- The present session of Parliament opened on 2nd March, but what has been accomplished? I recognise that we must go to America ' for a new system of government.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The American system is not a socialistic one.

Mr O'MALLEY -It is one of the most wonderful socialistic systems upon earth. In the course of his address, the honorable and learned member 'for Parkes emphasized the advantage of a business experience. I claim to have had a thorough business training. So also had my friend, the honorable member for Melbourne, who rose to be an accountant in a bank. Surely that is a business training. In America, too, I have- conducted some big business transactions. It is a great pity that ;in discussing questions of stupendous magnitude, some honorable members are always ready to reflect upon members of the Labour Party on account of their lack of business experience. It has been said during the course of this debate that the members of the labour Party are not free agents. I hold that they are absolutely free. Who is freer than I am ? We merely sign a pledge that, if we are not nominated at the next election we will stand down and assist the selected candidate. Next month two great conventions will be held in the United States for the purpose of choosing candidates for the Presidency. When the delegates attend those Conventions they will sign a pledge agreeing to be bound by the determination arrived at. Is it not ridiculous for my honorable friends -who are absolutely sworn to the freetrade fallacy - to talk of honorable members breaking a pledge Why, in Australia I have found that we require plans and specifications to discover ihe whereabouts of some of these political brethren, simply because they are bound by no pledge. I have no desire to be offensive, because I have the greatest admiration for the Christians opposite. The word " Christian," by the way, is one which is very much misunderstood. I claim that every man who acts j U s t 1 v upon this earth is a Christian.

An Honorable Member. - The honorable member acts justly according to his lights.

Mr O'MALLEY - That is the position. Candidates for a seat in Parliament as members of the Labour Party sign a pledge that if they are not selected they will support the men who are chosen. I remember on one occasion attending a Convention iri the United States, at which two publicans were present. They did not sign the pledge, and when we nominated two men for Congress - one who was a teetotaller, and' one who was not - they decided to work for the man who was not a teetotaller, and to fight against the man who was.

Mr Glynn - Did the teetotaller sign the pledge ?

Mr O'MALLEY - He was not in it. We should have men bound to their principles. Members of* the Labour Party enter this House bound to support principles which must tend to uplift humanity. But how are we going to carry out this work? For some days we have been fighting over the present situation. We have been discussing it, and fooling about, and wasting time to such an extent that we are drawing our. pay under false pretences. I almost feel ashamed to draw my allowance.

Mr Conroy - The Government do not propose to increase the present allowance?

Mr O'MALLEY - I am ashamed, in the first place, to draw my allowance, because of its small proportions; but I am also ashamed to draw it because I feel that I am not at present earning it. That is due to the action of honorable members opposite.

Mr Lonsdale - The honorable member promised, that we should have an increase of .£200 per annum.

Mr O'MALLEY - I cannot do anything' unless I receive support. If the honorable member will support the proposal, I will give him my assistance, and will vote to throw the Labour Ministry out of office if they decline to increase the present allowance to honorable members.. I wish to make a candid statement in regard to this question. Let us seek to devise a system under which it will be possible for us to deal in a proper way with the business of Parliament. I propose that we run the House on the butty-gang system, or that we have three shifts. We have first of all. the Opposition, then we have the brother who, with his party, occupied the Treasury benches a little while ago, and we have also the Ministerial Labour Party. The life of the present Parliament has still two and a half years to run. Let us, therefore, divide it' into three shifts of ten months each. There is no difference in our policies, arid, that being so, what are we fighting about? We all admit that every honorable member is an honest man. We recognise that every honorable member is capable, and intellectually fitted to hold a seat in this House, and, that being so, I should not have the slightest objection to the carrying on the work of the' Parliament by means of three shifts. Let the present Ministry reign Tor ten months, let them be followed in turn by the right honorable member for East Sydney and his. party, and then let the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and his followers take the third shift. We should in this way be able to assist each other in giving effect to a policy on which we are all agreed.

Mr Conroy - What about mv policy?

Mr O'MALLEY - I should be prepared to put the honorable and learned member into office after the others had had a show. If we do not agree to some system' that will do away with the jumping of the Treasury benches from time to time, we shall arouse the feeling of the people against the Parliament. We shall rouse that mighty tribunal outside this House, which forms, the last Court of Appeal. An appeal may be made from Festu, to Caesar, but we shall appeal from Caesar to the people who make the Caesars. Let us, if it is thought desirable, have an elective Ministry. It would be open for the House to elect a Ministry by secret ballot. We should, at all events, enter upon the work before us in a businesslike way, and not seek to throw out a Ministry because of every little Tom, Dick and Harry foolishness, as we do at the present time. Some honorable members have had much to say of individual freedom. What is individual freedom? When I lived amongst the Yaki Indians in Mexico, the great Sagimore ordered a man to be killed when it did not suit him that he should live. If a young buck disagreed with another, he was taken out and shot. Is that what honorable members opposite want? Let me tell the honorable and learned member for Parkes, and the honorable and learned member for Wannon, that I once heard of an old buck belonging to the Wabunsee Indians, in Western America,- who thought that he could stop one of the locomotives travelling through his country from the East. He was ignorant of the power of steam. He told his fellow -Indians that he would stop that locomotive, but when he went out and butted his head against it, he was knocked into a thousand pieces. The engine went on - and so will the Labour Party. We are going ahead. Every man who runs against the party will be knocked into a thousand pieces, and perhaps buried without either flowers or parson. There never was a party better prepared than we are to bury its enemies. We have a doctor to feel their pulses, a preacher to read the burial service over them, and an undertaker to plant them. We have even a lawyer to draw up their wills. I have the greatest respect for the individual opinions of honorable members opposite, and I need hardly assure them that there is no feeling of bitterness rankling in my bosom. In view of. what some honorable members have said in regard to the banking proposals of the Government, I would remind them that, in 1893, when every Inter-State bank having its headquarters in Australia crossed the Jordan, not one bank in Canada suspended payment. Some honorable members may say that the

Bank of New South Wales, which did not close its doors, has its head-quarters in Australia. That is not the" case. Its headquarters are in London.

Mr Conroy - No.

Mr O'MALLEY - I will give way to the honorable and learned member, and sa\tha"t every other Inter-State bank whose head-quarters were in Australia crossed the Jordan in that year.

Mr Conroy - What about the City Bank, the Royal Bank, and one or two others that did not close their doors?

Mr O'MALLEY - The Royal and the City Banks are not Inter-State institutions. Every one of the Inter-State banks of the class I have named crossed the Jordan and went down like McGinty's cart.

Mr Lonsdale - The Bank of Australasia .did not do so.

Mr O'MALLEY - That is an English institution. If it had not been for the action of the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria, .who came to their rescue, every one of them would have suspended payment. During the same year hundreds of telegrams appeared from time to time in the American press, telling of banks that had gone to the wall. But how many broke in Canada? I would ask the honorable and learned member for Werriwa to name one Canadian bank which closed its doors in 1893.

Mr Kelly - But how would the confiscation of ,£8,000,000 of the banks' reserves strengthen their position?

Mr O'MALLEY - The opposition which is being shown to our banking proposals reminds me of the arguments that were used against the abolition of slavery in the United States. Slave-masters down South declared that if we destroyed that great fabric which came down from the ages we should destroy the Republic. They considered that slavery was a Heaven-blest institution. But the Government propose a banking system which has been a success in one of the most Conservative countries in the world. Had the honorable member for Wentworth lived, as I have done, in the Arctic regions of Canada, he would know that one of the most Conservative Governments in the world holds office there. Sir John McDonald, who, with the exception of the intervals in which McKenzie held office, was Prime Minister practically from 1867 until his death, was a Conservative Scotchman, and we have Scotchmen on the Treasury benches in this House. I remember speaking to a prominent banker in British Columbia-

Mr Lonsdale - Can the honorable member explain the Canadian system?

Mr O'MALLEY - I shall not do so now, although I understand it thoroughly. I do not pretend to be familiar with everything in the world, but I do understand this system, because it is founded upon the Rock of Ages, and I shall discuss it fully when we are' called upon to deal with legislation on the subject. The bankers in the United States did not agree with the action taken in Canada, and on one occasion a Kansas banker told me that it was a rotten system. That man is to-day humping his bluey on the Rocky Mountains. Under the Canadian system the banks are guaranteed by the Dominion.

Mr Lonsdale - To what extent?

Mr O'MALLEY - To the extent of the 40 per cent. which they take from the gold reserves. Have honorable members heard of the Irishman who, when the banks were suspending payment in 1893, went to a Victorian institution, and said, " Give me my money. If you can pay it, I do not want it. But if you cannot, I will not leave the bank till I get it." I wish to use that incident as an illustration. There is to-day from £20,000,000 to£22,500,000 worth of gold lying unused in the banks. If any one is using any portion of it, he ought to be criminally prosecuted, for it comprises the gold reserves. We 'do not want this money whenwe know that Ave can get it, but Ave ahvays require itwhen Ave know thatwe cannot get it. That is the position to-day. These gold reserves are maintained solely in order that they may be forthcoming if it be considered that a bank is in a shaky condition. If Ave knoAv that a bank is backed by the CommonAvealth, Ave shall never Avant to call on the reserves. When the Bank of New Zealandwas about to close its doors, the State Government came to its assistance, and to-day it is a solid institution. It is not a Government bank, for the Premier of New Zealand, who is one of the great men of the Southern Hemisphere, had not the courage to take itover. . But the people knoAv that the Go- vernment are behind it, and they are satisfied. When a bank Avas about to close its doors in one of the Avestern States of America, the Government ' guaranteed' it ' to the extent of only $200,000 ; but that Avas sufficient to avert the panic. The fact that the bank had that guarantee behind it restored the confidence of the people. Have Ave lost confidence in the Commomvealth ? If we have, Ave should leave the country. I

Avould say to those Avho have lost confidence in Australia,' " Leave the country, and may the Lord speed you." I, for one, have every faith in Australia. I believe in the country and its people, and I am not afraid that its affairs will not be wisely controlled. If Watson is not. fit to manage them, and if Reid is also unsuitable, let some one else be placed at the helm.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member must not refer to honorable members in thatway.

Mr O'MALLEY - I beg pardon. I wishnow to refer to the proposal to make the tobacco monopoly a State concern. I should like honorable members from Sydney to leave the train at Wangaratta, and have a chat with the local producers of tobacco. I have heard much about the sacredness of private property. The Government do not propose to rob you. As a matter of fact, Ave shall lose a bit ourselves.

Mr SPEAKER - Will the honorable member address the Chair?

Mr O'MALLEY - I will, sir. Let fifty men attempt, against the Avish of the

OAvner. to knock down a private building in Melbourne, and there will be fifty others to preA'ent them doing anything of the kind. The desire of Britishers everywhere is that there shall be universal justice. There is something better in theworld than the mere desire that 'one little class should be stuck up and beautifully fed and dressed, Avhile others, because of the greed of many, are hungry, miserable . wretches. The Labour Party intend to uplift humanity. Has it been shoAvn that since the tobacco monopoly Avas formed any factory has been closed, or any hands dismissed ? Not a Avord has been said about it. Yet if honorable members turn up the issue of the Age in Avhich the matter is dealt with, they will find all about it there.

Mr Kelly - Why does not the honorable member tell us about it himself?

Mr O'MALLEY - I am willing to tell the honorable member privately ; I have not the time now. A monopoly of any kind leaves the community in poverty. The monopolist has a licence to study his private greed at the expense of the public Avelfare. The beef trusts and other trusts in America are illustrations of this. The State is. the people. This country Avas here before

Avhite men came to it.

Mr Lonsdale -But there were blackfellows here before that.

Mr O'MALLEY - I hope that the honorable member' for New England will give me his attention. I always listen to his speeches, because I like to hear a man who is sufficiently independent to say what he thinks. A' State monopoly belongs to the people. The people are the State, and it is the duty of the Government to preserve the rights of the people.

Mr Conroy - To preserve the rights of every citizen.

Mr O'MALLEY - Yes; and to guarantee the protection of their interests all round. But humanity is higher than merchandise. The trouble with us is that until lately the country has been, governed by the mercenary representatives of Mammon, whose actions belie their pledges, whose declarations are insincere, and whose presence is a profanation of the temple of democracy.

Mr Conroy - And yet we have manhood suffrage here!

Mr O'MALLEY - Yes ; but the man who owns twenty houses in Melbourne has twenty places in which to vote, or, at any rate, he can choose where he will vote.

Mr Conroy - It is not so in New South Wales.

Mr O'MALLEY - Coming back to the tobacco monopoly, I would point out that at the present time thousands of pounds leave Australia for Virginia. My countrymen are playing a big hand out here.

Mr Kelly - Is the honorable member a Tasmanian ?

Mr O'MALLEY - No ; I am an American. But I am sorry that I am not a Tasmanian. . I wish that I had been born there. If that important function ever takes place again, I shall try to arrange to occur in Tasmania. Hundreds df thousands df pounds leave Australia for America. The growers of tobacco throughput the Commonwealth are robbed. But if the industry becomes a- State concern, part of the profit made by the present monopolists will go into the pockets of the growers of tobacco, and the balance will be spent on old-age pensions. Coming now to the proposed coalition, or collision, whichever it may be, to me it will be a very sad occurrence. I heard of my friend- the honorable member for Macquarie wandering down the streets leading a picnic of Sabbath school children.

Mr Tudor - It was in my electorate.

Mr O'MALLEY - No doubt he was trying to divert attention from his political doings. He is an honorable member for whom I have the greatest respect. We all love Syd. But' this is the position: I do not desire to say anything offensive, because I think that we should' be able to debate these questions without becoming personal. Therefore, I ask my honorable friends opposite to banish all resentment, all passion, all personal desire, all hankering after the gilded crumbs of office. Let me advise them to go to the pure, unadulterated fountain of justice, and making a solemn lustration, return divested of all sinister, sordid, and sinful motives. Then let them proceed with consciences clear towards their country and their Creator, to help us to carry on our administration. I look upon' the Prime Minister as the James A. Garfield of this Commonwealth. In 1881 I had the pleasure of standing in the city of Washington, and seeing that great man installed as President of the United States. When the Chief Justice had administered to him the oath of office, he left his wife and daughter and two sons to go over to put his arms round his old mother, who had carried sacks of grist to the mill to give him a start in life. I heard the kiss he gave her.It was such a smack that one could hear it from the tepid waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic snows of the North. It was one of the kisses of the world which that grand old mother Garfield received on that day. We ought to be proud of such a man. Garfield was a man poor in pocket, but rich in principle. So is Watson.


Mr O'MALLEY - I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker ; I mean the Prime Minister. But. I am a democrat, and do not like this formality. I say that this coalition is an unnatural one.

Mr Lonsdale - Why?

Mr O'MALLEY - Because you cannot mix oil and water. There is a great principle at stake. I am a protectionist.

Mr Lonsdale - Then the honorable member believes in monopoly.'

Mr O'MALLEY - I believe that this country must have protection, because we are in debt. We owe money, and we have to pay the interest upon it. May be there will be a coalition ; such an unnatural consummation may take place.

Mr Conroy - There is a coalition of free-traders and protectionists in the ranks of the Labour Party:

Mr O'MALLEY - A coalition is possible. If it takes place it will be as a chastisement of the Australian people for their sins and transgressions. The rod of Providence may be applied to us in that manner. But I say fearlessly and without ill-feeling that if -such a thing takes place it will be the triumph of the inutility and impracticability of ultraism, the triumph of a most extraordinary conjunction of irrepressible extremes. It will be the victory of fossildom, of boodledom, and of irresponsible radicaldom, the fusion in a league of two widely differing parties, at the cost of principle. It will be the victory of perpetual agitation at the expense of tranquility and peace. Such a thing may lead to the most unhappy and, disastrous consequences, and will militate against the future success of the great national principle of protection.

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