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Friday, 12 August 1904


Mr TUDOR (Yarra) - I do not intend at this late hour to delay the House at any great length. I do not think that I should have risen had it not been that, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat went out of his way to cast a slur on the

Government by suggesting that the AttorneyGeneral was the only member of the Ministry for whom he had respect.


Sir Philip Fysh - No.


Mr TUDOR - I admit that he subsequently endeavoured to tone down his statement, just as he has sought to whittle down other statements that he has made. He tried to wriggle .out of the position in which he found himself involved.


Sir Philip Fysh - The words used by him were : " The Attorney-General, for whom I have respect."


Mr TUDOR - The honorable and learned member said that the AttorneyGeneral was a member of the Ministry for whom he had respect, thereby suggesting to the mind of any reasonable man the inference that other Ministers, because they happened to be members of the Labour Party, were not worthy of the respect of the House.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member did not say that the Attorney-General was the only member of the Ministry for whom he had respect.


Mr TUDOR - Later on the honorable and learned member pointed to the Opposition corner, in a melodramatic style, and suggested that the association of certain honorable members with the Labour Party would mean that the latter would either destroy or swallow them. Perhaps he was thinking at the time of the way in which he had been swallowed, metaphorically speaking, by the Free-trade Party. The right honorable member for East Sydney recently made some reference to an " untamed tiger," seeking whom it might devour, but it seems to me that he has practically swallowed nearly the whole of the party with which the honorable and learned member for Ballarat has hitherto been associated. With one exception those honorable members have not had the courage to discuss the motion now before the Chair, the exception being the honorable member for Moira. ' It is, to say the least, somewhat singular that the honorable and learned member for Corinella should have moved an amendment to prevent the recommittal of clause 48, in order that honorable members on this side of the House might be gagged, and prevented from dealing with the situation as fully as they would have been able had a direct motion of want of confidence been submitted. Many of the amendments proposed by the honorable and learned member while the Bill was in Committee were of such a character that they reminded me of the story that when the Commandments were brought.down from the Mount they were submitted to Satan, who, when asked to express an opinino upon them, said, " I desire to make only a slight alteration in each ; let me take out' the ' nots ' ". It seems to me that the honorable and learned member for Corinella is acting in a somewhat similar way, and would like to deal with various clauses as his Satanic majesty would have done with the Commandments. I shall apologise to Satan, if necessary, for having compared him with the honorable and learned member for Corinella; but at all events I apologize to the House if my illustration be unparliamentary. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat asserted that the seats that were lost by the late Government at the last general election were lost through the action of the Labour Party, and that 'it was owing to the action of that party that they suffered defeat in certain constituencies. I would remind him, however, that the only seat which the Deakin party lost in this State was that of Corangamite, and that it was not contested by a Labour candidate. Not one of the seats previously filled by supporters of the late Government was. lost to the Labour Party at the last general election. I might go further, and say that the Ministry of which the honorable and learned member for Ballarat was the leader, did me the honour to bring out a candidate to oppose me, while the Melbourne daily newspaper which supported them did its utmost for my opponent, and gave me only one very short report. Notwithstanding this opposition, as well as the opposition of the other paper, which, of course, I expected, I succeeded in securing a victory by a small majority.


Mr Watson - 1A majority of something like 10,000.


Mr TUDOR - I polled a larger vote than did any other honorable member representing a constituency in this State, and also obtained the largest majority. The honorable and learned member said that the Labour Party opposed every Liberal. I would remind him, however, that we gave him a walk-over at the last election, although we might have made a good fight against him.


Mr Deakin - No.


Mr TUDOR - At the next election he will probably find that we shall be able to make a very fair fight against him. And so with the honorable and learned member for Corinella, who was not opposed by the

Labour Party at the last election. I think it is fairly well known-


Mr Conroy - Clause 48.


Mr TUDOR - If the honorable and learned member desires to discuss clause 48 Jet him do so. When he dared to rise last night, with a view, apparently, to address the House the arms of one of his party were thrown about him, and he was induced to resume his seat.


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is out of order in discussing that matter.


Mr Conroy - I am simply waiting for something to answer.


Mr Watson - The honorable and learned member is held down by the machine.


Mr TUDOR - I do not wish to detain the House, for I am anxious that a vote shall be taken without further delay. I would say, however, that the honorable and learned member for Corinella has done his utmost to render the Bill ineffective by moving various amendments. By moving the insertion of various provisos, such as that which he succeeded in adding to clause 48, he has sought 'to make the Bill absolutely useless. He knows very well as a lawyer-


Mr Cameron - What about the-


Mr TUDOR - If the honorable member desires to speak,' why does he not do so. I suppose that he, too, has submitted himself to the will of the caucus. There has been a conspiracy of silence on the part of honorable members opposite, and it is quite possible that when we take possession of the Opposition benches we shall be able to play the game as well as they have done.


Mr Cameron - The Labour Party will not have the numbers.


Mr TUDOR - The incoming Government will find that we are not so unscrupulous as some of their number have shown themselves to be. Surprise has been expressed that the Opposition should have resorted to this method to secure the defeat of the Government. I, foi one, am not at all surprised. Over' a fortnight ago I informed the Prime Minister that it was my belief that the Opposition would endeavour to prevent the recommittal of clause 48, but my honorable leader replied that he did not think they would lower themselves by resorting to such tactics merely in order to prevent legitimate discussion. We were told this morning by the honorable member for Barker that more than a week ago-


Mr Watson - A fortnight ago.


Mr TUDOR - The honorable member said that more than a week ago he was questioned as to whether he would vote for or against the recommittal of the clause, so that this plot, including the determination to gag the Opposition, was hatched some time since. We had an example of this conspiracy of silence last night, when the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, after rising to speak, was prevented from doing so. Such an incident has never been witnessed, so far as I know, in any other Parliament.


Mr Conroy - The statement is not true.


Mr SPEAKER - I call upon the honorable member to withdraw that remark.


Mr Conroy - I withdraw it, sir, and will say that the statement is incorrect. I . explained last night to the honorable member what really took place.


Mr Watson - The honorable and learned member will admit that he was muzzled.


Mr TUDOR - I know that the honorable and learned member rose to speak, but that as the honorable member for Moira desired to make a personal explanation, he was given precedence. At the close of that explanation, you, Mr. Speaker, called on the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, but when he rose various honorable members of his party displayed a desire to prevent him from speaking. The right honorable member for Swan shook a bundle of notes at him. I do not know whether it was a bundle of notes of a speech which he was going to deliver, or a bundle of bank notes to be used for some other purpose.


Mr SPEAKER - I think the honorable member will see that he certainly owes it to the House to withdraw that remark,- and to apologize to the right honorable member.


Mr TUDOR - I certainly withdraw it I only made it by way of a joke. The right honorable member probably produced the notes to satisfy the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that he had intended to speak upon this particular question. I trust that I shall always play the game of politics with more fairness than has been exhibited by the Opposition on this occasion.







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