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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Mr WEBSTER (Gwydir) - I should not detain theHouse at this late hour, were it not that it has come under my notice that the honorable member for Lang during his speech yesterday made a number of statements concerning my career, which I was not present to listen to, and to which I think I should make some reply. When I spoke in the debate which has just concluded, I stated that. the honorable member at one time contested an election as a pledged labour candidate, and is now opposed to the party of which he was once a member. That was a perfectly legitimate statement to make, but the honorable member, I understand, entered upon a long dissertation with regard . to my past history. I have no reason to fear any investigation' of it. First of all, the honorable member said that I was a free-trader. I plead guilty ; . but I was never a fanatic. He has said that I was an alderman and a councillor. I plead guilty again. I was an alderman and a councillor for six years, and in those capacities I have left a record of which I have no occasion to be ashamed.He went on to say that the Labour Party was started in New South Wales in 1898, and that he was. the father of the movement in that State. I cannot confirm that statement, because I took part in the ' initiation of the movement in New South Wales, and I have no knowledge of £he honorable member being in any way interested in it at that time, whilst I am glad to say that it has since grown beyond any possible danger of identification with the honorable member. In the early days of the movement in New South Wales a number of men set to work-

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