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Tuesday, 31 May 1904

Mr CROUCH (Corio) - I appeal to the Prime Minister -to vote on this occasion in the way in which he induced me to vote on the 2 1 st April.

Mr Watson - I trust I did not induce the honorable and learned member to vote against his convictions.

Mr CROUCH - No; those were then mine and his principles. I also asked the Minister of Trade and Customs to TOte as his convictions led him to vote on the 21st April. I ask honorable members generally of the Labour Party to see whether in this matter they cannot be consistent. It is not too late even now for them to withdraw from their present position. Although on the previous occasion to which I refer it was necessary for me to vote against my party, I was expressing my honest convictions upon the matter. It is very unfair of the present Government to make a vigorous whip of their supporters to get them to desert the position they previously took up. I need not remind honorable members that twenty-three members of the Labour Party voted on the 21st April for the absolute inclusion of all the public servants of the Commonwealth and of the States. I intend to press my amendment to a division, if I can get only one honorable member to assist me, in order that we may discover how many of those twentythree honorable .members have any conscience in this matter, or whether they are prepared to eat their own words at the suggestion of one honorable and learned gentleman who has been included in the Ministry, and who would appear to have swallowed up the whole of the twenty-three. Some time ago I had here a visitor from Geelong, who does not know much about politics. He happened to be in the public gallery when the honorable member for Bland was speaking, and he asked me on what subject the honorable member was speaking. I told him that it was clause 4 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. Strange to say, on the 19th April he came in here again, and he said to me - " Oh, I see, the same gentleman is speaking. On whit is he speaking " ? I said - " Still on clause 4 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill." This gentleman was in again this afternoon, and he asked me what the Prime Minister was speaking about ? I said - " Clause 4 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill." He listened a few minutes, ' and then he said - "If he has been speaking all the time, he has not only changed his seat at the table, but he has also changed his opinions."

Mr Watson - 'He must have come from Geelong.

Mr CROUCH - Probably SO; because there they recognise honour in election pledges. I trust that my appeal will not be in vain. The members of the Labour Party have promised, for the last three years, not only at the Commonwealth elections, but during the State elections, that the public servants of the States', as well as of the Commonwealth, would have their consideration. They have said that they believed that, not only the railway servants, but every one else should be included in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I hope that we shall find that they are men of conviction, that those who have held the democratic flag so high for so many years will be found to be really staunch in their democracy, and that on this occasion I shall fin-1 not more than one or two voting for my amendment, but, possibly, .also some of the missing twenty-three.

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