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Thursday, 8 September 1904


Mr SPENCE (Darling) - I have listened with some degree of interest to the statement of the policy of the peculiar Government that now controls the destinies of the Commonwealth.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not more peculiar than is the Opposition.


Mr SPENCE - It is the most peculiar Government that has ever been brought into power.


Mr Reid - There are some peculiar combinations in the Opposition.


Mr SPENCE - We are peculiarly solid. We all should, doubtless, have liked to hear the opinion of the late Sir Henry Parkes, who was a high constitutional authority, on the position of the present Government. I have some recollection of a speech in which he dealt with the principles of constitutional government in the sense that the head of a Government should be responsible to the King's adviser., and have the right to act as the mouthpiece of his Ministry. In that respect we find that the present Government occupy a most extraordinary position. It is a double-headed Government. We have two Prime Ministers, each of them speaking according to the dictates of his own conscience.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Only one Prime Minister.


Mr SPENCE - I think I shall be able to show, from statements made by the respective leaders of the coalition, that there are two gentlemen at the head of the Government who are " equal in all things. ' ' It is known as the " Reid-McLean Government," which means that it has two heads. I expected to hear from the first spokesman on behalf of the Government some declaration as to the methods which they will adopt in proceeding to work, but no such statement was given. The Prime Minister occupied much time in dealing with the one question on which the Ministry - and presumably their supporters - appear to be somewhat solid - the policy of anti- labour.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is not so.


Mr SPENCE - The Government programme is the most miserable, threadbare policy of which I have ever heard.


Mr Isaacs - They have none.


Mr SPENCE - The Prime Minister is said to have referred to the programme of a certain Government as a "crawling " one, but the policy which he has put forward cannot be described even in that way, except in the sense that the one dominant idea in the minds of the Government is to crawl into recess. The Prime Minister occupied considerable time in dealing with the alleged tactics of the Labour Party, and statements have been made by him, as well as by the other head of the Government, that are not correct. I am somewhat surprised that these honorable members who have occupied high and important positions for many years, and who have been more or less in close touch with the Labour Party, should have made such assertions in regard to the methods of the party. They have either been asleep, so far as the Labour Party and its work are concerned, or they have designedly misrepresented the true position of affairs. I should be sorry to say that they would wilfully misrepresent the methods of the party, but I have no hesitation in asserting that those methods have been misrepresented, both inside and outside this House, with the deliberate intention, if possible, to discount the influence, and to check the growing power of the great labour movement. It is worthy of note that the Prime Minister occupied more time in dealing with the planks in the Government platform, with which they do not propose to do anything this session, than with those on which" they are solid. They may be said to be solid so far as the introduction of t'he Papua Bill and the Trades Marks Bill - both measures left over by previous Governments - are concerned ; but there appears to be nothing else on which they are united. We are told that Parliament is to go into recess before dealing with the High Commissioner Bill, and that the members of the Government are to be allowed to vote as they please in regard to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. We are not told how it will be possible to secure the passing of that measure, unless some one takes charge of it. Is it to be left, with the consent of this double-barrelled Government, in the care of a private member, or is some member of the Ministry to have a free hand in introducing that contentious measure? Almost every question of importance is in the same position. We tried to induce the Minister of Trade and Customs to say how it was possible to carry on business in connexion with matters about which he was speaking, such as preferential trade, but the honorable gentleman declined to reply. The Prime Minister also declines to say how it is possible for Parliament to deal with those questions, unless the Cabinet 'lias some definite opinion upon them, and provides some method for dealing with them. If the members of the present Administration have any hope that they will last, and if they are to be the great Government they are claiming to be, which is going to set up the constitutional system, restore responsible government, and give effect to all the .ideals put before us by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, as a justification for bringing about a coalition, they must expect to retain a sufficient majority to enable them to carry on until the Imperial Government sends out some proposal in connexion with preferential trade. But they decline to tell us what they will do when it comes. They decline to say whether the question will be dealt with on free-trade or protectionist lines?. What has been disclosed shows that the coalition on the other side has been formed for certain objects, ulterior to the questions now before the country ; and that the principal object has been to put out the Labour Government and to keep them out, because they were a Labour Government, and not because of anything they had done, or of anything they proposed to do. The chief object was to take their places - in whose interests I shall presently show. Apart from that object, they do not seem to care whether they have a programme or not. They do not propose to make any issue vital except that of holding on to the Treasury benches. That has been the one issue in their minds, and for which they have been scrambling in a way which, to say the least of it, has been a little bit tricky.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is very rough.


Mr SPENCE - I am not as rough as I feel inclined to be, nor as I think the circumstances warrant; but I am not given to saying extremely strong or hard things, because I have some sensitiveness with respect to people's feelings. Considering the general interests of the community, I take up the position that an unholy combination now holds office, that it is a menace to the welfare of the Commonwealth, and should not be permitted to remain in power a day longer than we can help. That is a somewhat new position for members of the Labour Party to take up.


Mr Johnson - What about the unholy combination on the other side?


Mr SPENCE - Hitherto in the various States we have been satisfied that legislation of which we approved should be passed by other parties. We have endeavoured to take a hand in the moulding of legislation, that it might be fair to al! classes of the community. We have here, however, a Government in power who are go]ng to represent the minority, who areorganizing deliberately outside to secure as a power behind them 'all the most reactionary influences that exist. It is therefore not in the interests of the Commonwealth that this Administration should exist at all - that it should be tolerated for even a day. I propose in a few words to show what has led up to the present situation, and I desire particularly to deal with the right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government.


Mr Henry Willis - The honorable member now admits that the right honorable member for East Sydney is the head of the Government.


Mr SPENCE - During the last contest in New South Wales the right honorable member for East Sydney is reported to have made these remarks -

It is. my proud boast that when I got power in New South Wales I compelled the men of wealth to pay their share of the taxation of the country. There had been some at the head of the liberal and free-trade parties for fifty years who shirked .their plain duty, but the moment I got power I used it to take £800,000 worth of burdens off the masses of the people, and to shift them on to the land-owners and wealthy people of the country.


Mr Johnson - And yet the Labour Party turned the right honorable gentleman out of office.


Mr SPENCE - In doing that, the right honorable gentleman was -helped by the members of the Labour Party. He has quite recognised, that, and has always borne testimony to the fact. But what does the right honorable gentleman who made that boast do now ? Does he propose now to relieve the masses of taxation which he said it was his proud boast to have done in New South Wales? Now the Commonwealth Government has charge of taxation, of the raising of revenue for the States, yet we hear no word from the light honorable gentleman about lifting any burdens from the masses of the people.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Some honorable members opposite claim now that more should be put on.


Mr Johnson - The honorable member supports those who insist upon increasing the burdens.


Mr SPENCE - I am aware that the honorable members for Lang and Parramatta are very uncomfortable, and I do not wonder at it, when I find the honorable member for Lang sitting behind a protectionist.


Mr Reid - The honorable member is himself sitting behind one now.


Mr SPENCE - I was not returned on a fiscal policy. I am carrying out my pledges whilst the right honorable gentleman is not carrying out his pledges.


Mr Reid - I did my, best.


Mr SPENCE - The right honorable gentleman said that it was his proud boast that he was able to take £800,000 worth of burdens off the masses of the people, and whilst he certainly did so, I wish to know from him whether the present Minister of Trade and Customs has agreed to join him in relieving the masses of the people of the burdens of customs taxation? Has that honorable gentleman agreed to do so by introducing the same method of taxation on land values as that adopted by the Prime Minister, or has the right honorable member for East Sydney given up his policy and deserted his principles in that respect? I desire to direct the attention of honorable members and of the people outside to the change in the attitude of the right honorable member for East Sydney. In New South Wales he was a straightout free-trader, who believed- in an absolutely; free port, and in raising revenue by direct taxation.


Mr Johnson - What does the honorable member for Darling propose to do?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What are the honorable member's fiscal opinions? He has been here four years, and we do not know what . they are.


Mr SPENCE - If the honorable member for Parramatta expects to throw me off the track by his interjections he makes a mistake. If the honorable member does not keep quiet I shall have a shot at him presently.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not mind a bit. The honorable member's little pea-rifle will not hurt anybody.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta knows that what I am stating is correct. He is aware that the present Prime Minister was in New South Wales a believer in absolute free-trade, apart from duties upon stimulants and narcotics.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What has the honorable member to do with fiscalism?


Mr SPENCE - I should like some degree of attention from the honorable member who, although he has now become a chronic interjector, sat very quiet while a member of the Reid Ministry in New South Wales. The honorable member, while in that position, never said a word for five years.


Mr Fisher - The position in which the honorable member is now requires a lot of explanation.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member was a member of the Government who, in New South Wales, took the action to which I have referred. I am proposing to show what kind of a Government we have now in the Federal Parliament, and to show that the present Prime Minister is not a man who should be intrusted with the welfare of the Commonwealth. When he carried direct taxation in New South Wales, the right honorable gentleman was a believer in absolute free-trade, but when he entered Federal politics, he became from the very start associated with those who in Victoria have been recognised as the most conservative body in the1 politics of the State. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat is aware that the revenue tariffists of Victoria, the men who used to be called the "Flinders-lane crowd," were dead opposed to land value taxation, or any other form of direct taxation. The right honorable member for East Sydney, who did such noble and creditable work in New South Wales, has become associated in Federal politics with those who have been notoriously the class of men who have formed the Legislative. Council of Victoria, and who have consistently blocked every m democratic measure that came before them." In New South Wales, the men with whom the right honorable gentleman was associated, were real free-traders, men of the Single Tax League, and of the school to which the honorable member for Lang belongs, and I recognise that there are democrats amongst them. I am aware, from the active part I have taken in political life, that the class of men with whom the right honorable gentleman has been associated in Federal politics are amongst the most ultraconservative politicians to be found in Victoria. He has been associated with them in connexion with the fiscal faith he set up as the only policy upon which the country should be run. From my point of view, it is but natural that the .bad company which he has kept should have led him away from the progressive and liberal faith disclosed bv his political action in his State.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The right honorable gentleman is on a missionary tour.


Mr SPENCE - I shall be able to show from quotations from the public prints what his missionary tour is. I wish to show the peculiar combination which is now ranged behind the right honorable gentleman. In speaking in Sydney he prefaced one of his addresses by some remarks applied to the honorable and learned member for Bal larat, which I think would be more appropriate if applied to himself. He is reported by the Daily Telegraph to have said -

Mr. Deakin,who was all things one time or another, and nothing very long, except an eloquent and courteous gentleman, had given them a few ingenious catch-cries with which it would be interesting to deal.


Mr Thomas - Who said that?


Mr SPENCE - The present Prime Minister. That shows the kind of friendly feeling there was between the two honorable gentlemen. The reference to being all things at one time and another is, in my opinion, much more applicable to the Prime Minister than to the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - From what is the honorable member quoting?


Mr SPENCE - From the official organ of the right honorable gentleman's party - the Daily Telegraph of 3rd September, 1903 - during the recent electoral contest.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the honorable member vouch for the 'accuracy of the report ?


Mr SPENCE - I vouch for the fact that the report appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, but I never vouch for the accuracy of anything that is published in the press. I shall not deal very lengthily with the changes of opinion, and the various arguments which have been expressed in regard to fiscal peace, but I think that it is important to know what sort of Government we have in power. Before we support the Government, we should be satisfied that we can place faith in them. Now, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reports the right honorable member for East Sydney as saying, prior to the elections -

Regarding the question of fiscal peace and free-trade, the protectionists had all the fight taken out of them. He had challenged Mr: Deakin and his colleagues to fight the battle of free-trade and protection to .a finish, and, although they had accepted his challenge, they now came along 'with the flag of fiscal peace. Well, they would get no fiscal peace from him until he pulled them out:

Can honorable members recollect any occasion when the right honorable gentleman tested the question in this chamber, and tried to find out how many others held his views? As1 a matter of fact, he has left the question untested. Then the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, speaking of th'e present Prime Minister, was reported to have said -

He has played round the question of contract labour and employment of white seamen upon mail boats, but has formulated no distinct policy in these regards. Of course, foreign traders fight for foreign ships as well as the goods they bring. The Government prefers a preference to British ships. Foreign traders would leave our coasting trade open to all commerce without conditions. The Government aim at protection of Australian seamen; but on none of these points does the Opposition challenge us.

The right honorable member for East Sydney, in every spe'ech on the subject that I remember to have read', has raised great objection to the provisions of our laws which prohibit the immigration of labour under contract and the employment of coloured labour on mail boats, as well as to fiscal peace and preferential trade unless it meant a lowering of the fiscal barriers in; favour of England, even if they were left up against the foreigner ; but his keynote has always been the treatment meted out to the six hatters. I am therefore astonished that, now that he has had an opportunity to present a policy to this Parliament, he has not asserted his intention to alter the law which affected them. If the matter was so important as to warrant the fighting of an election upon it, surely it might be expected to appear in the Government programme. The right honorable member, however, said not a" word > about it. Then I should like to know how the .honorable member for Eden-Monaro squares his present position with the following statement to the electors of Surrey Hills :-

When they talked about free-trade, -and the socalled glorious change that would be wrought by putting Mr. Reid into power, they must have sufficient common sense to look at Mr. Reid's political past. The elector who did not support the present Government was simply working against Australia, and proposed to send all the money to the foreigner.

I wish to know if the honorable member has lost his common sense. Surely he should follow his own advice, and not support in power a dangerous man who will send all the money to the foreigner. No doubt he at the time believed what he said, and I should like to know what has influenced him to change his position. These are the surprises, the unique circumstances of the present state of affairs, and I should like to know how government is to be carried on under them. The combination which has been brought about has been arrived at in a somewhat peculiar way. Both the origi nal parties - that led by the right honorable member for East Sydney, and that lead by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat - were holding secret meetings and attending caucuses day after day. Then we saw some proposals put into black and white. Very nice complimentary letters passed from one party to another, and we were given to understand that the party led by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat declined to join a coalition unless their leader was made leader of the coalition. The moment this Parliament met, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat stated that one of his aims was to bring about a union of parties, so -that there would be only: two parties in the House. To carry that out, the secret meetings to which I have referred, were held. I do not know that they took place in the vaults. I have been told that they were held in one of the suburbs. At any rate, Ave read interesting stories about the honorable member for Macquarie taking out children for a walk to mislead the general public, and even the kind of hat in which the right honorable member for Balaclava Avas going away was mentioned. Other statements were made which were calculated to bring both parties into ridicule. Then, notwithstanding the manner in which honorable members opposite have denounced the caucus as a wicked thing, both parties sat in caucus daily. I would like to be informed by the supporters of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat how the decision of their caucus, that there should be no coalition Avith the Reid party, stands now.


Mr Johnson - Why not tell us about the negotiations of parties opposite ?


Mr SPENCE - We have . no negotiations. We are not a secret party. All that

Ave do is done openly , and Ave are not ashamed of it. It is those who are associated Avith underground engineering who measure others' corn with their own bushel. We are now told that those who have 1 broken away: from the resolution of their caucus not to support the Reid party are the only true protectionists, and that the others are secessionists. That is a most extraordinary statement. It appears to me that the protectionists who have remained loyal to their fiscal faith are those who sit on this side of the Chamber, not those who have been swallowed up by the right honorable member for East Sydney.


Mr McDonald - That is Socialism. The Government ha\'e half, and Ave have t the other half.


Mr SPENCE -- I shall show presently what kind of Socialism it is that honorable members opposite are supporting. They are going in for minority rule red hot.


Mr McLean - The late Government left office as a protest against majority rule.


Mr SPENCE - There is no truth in that statement. They set an example which other Governments would do well to follow, but which this Government does not seem likely to follow. They walked out of office rather than abandon their principles, and they did not crawl into office, or take advantage of a side wind. I should like to see how the following paragraph from the election speech of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat fits in with the present position : -

A White- Australia goes further than the preservation of the complexion of the people whose homes are here. It means the multiplying of those homes, so that we shall be strong enough to use and defend the whole of this Commonwealth. It means the maintenance of conditions of life fit for a white man and a white woman. It means equal laws and equal opportunities for all, and protection against the under-paid labour of other lands. It means social justice, so far as we can establish it, and the payment of fair wages. A White Australia means a civilization whose foundations are built in healthy lives, lived in honest toil, under circumstances that do not imply degradation. A White Australia means protection. We protect ourselves from armed aggression. Why not protect ourselves from aggression by commercial means? (Cheers.) We protect ourselves against undesirable aliens; why not protect ourselves against the productions of the undesirable aliens' labour? (Loud cheers.) Unless a White Australia is to have more than a surface complexion, it must represent a policy which goes down to the roots of the national life from which the whole of our social system and political organization must spring.

We know how strongly the honorable and learned member, and his predecessor Sn the office of Prime Minister, were in favour of a white Australia, and we know, further, that the first Parliament' of the Commonwealth was almost unanimous on the subject. We have had from the honorable and learned member for Ballarat a definition of the meaning of a White Australia policy, and now we find that honorable and learned member allying himself with the Prime Minister, who has denounced the White Australia policy, and the measure passed into law to give effect to it. We may now pertinently ask whether the Prime Minister will remain true to his election pledges, and endeavour by means of his administra tion to defeat the object of the Immigration Restriction Act. Is contract labour to be admitted?


Mr McLean - The administration will be in accordance with the law.


Mr SPENCE - The Minister must know very well that the question of adhering to the law is very much a matter of opinion. When the Immigration Restriction Bill was before us, it was pointed out that the question whether it would prove effective or. otherwise would very largely depend. upon the administration, because so much reliance would have to be placed in the discretion of the Minister and the officers under him. Furthermore, we have had evidence that the object of the Act has been defeated to a large extent in Western Australia, because officers who were unfavourable to the law had winked at the admission of Chinese,


Sir John Forrest - I never heard of that before.


Mr SPENCE - It has been admitted, and certain officers have been removed in consequence.


Sir John Forrest - It is true t'hat officers have been removed, but the reasons for their removal have not been published or submitted to this House.


Mr Mahon - The removals took place whilst the right honorable gentleman was in office.


Mr SPENCE - I am not making charges against the officials generally in connexion with the administration of the Act, but it is admitted that the effectiveness of the law depends very largely upon the wise exercise of their discretion. I have no faith' in the present Government as administrators of such a law. The Prime Minister has turned somersaults upon nearly every subject upon which he has declared himself, and he may perform a similar acrobatic feat in this matter. I complain, however, that he has not sufficiently taken the House into his confidence as to his intentions with regard to the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act He has given us practically no information, but has contented himself with abusing and misrepresenting the Labour Party, and I think that I am fully justified in entertaining suspicions as to his intentions. The Government have no policy, except that of clinging to office. I leave it to honorable members now sitting on the Government benches, who believe in the earnestness and sincerity of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, to explain how it is that they are supporting the Government, led by a declared opponent of the White Australia policy.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member forgets that the Government which he supported proposed to alter the white mail service.


Mr Mahon - In what way?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In regard to the land service.


Mr Mahon - That is a mare's nest.


Mr SPENCE - I know nothing of any departure from the White Australia policy on the part of the late Government. Since the last election, the Prime Minister has been very active. He was never noted for his constant attendance at Parliament ; but he has been prompted to give very close attention to public business by his ambition to secure the position of Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. He has been active outside the House, as well as here, and has apparently been paving the way for the situation which he has at last succeeded in bringing about. When he addressed a meeting of farmers at Kyneton recently, he said- -

If they asked him what was the thing upon which the Labour Party was to be most heartily congratulated, he would say, it was that the members of that party, though they came from every State in the Commonwealth, found some bond of union strong enough to enable them to sink all their State and provincial jealousies and hatred, and to work together upon a broad basis of Australian brotherhood.

It would appear from this that the Labour Party was one which the right honorable gentleman might very well support, unless there was something very wrong with their policy. He said further -

He had never denounced the labour leagues. He cherished esteem for members of any organization which endeavoured to advance the intellectual and political welfare of the country in which they lived. The great labour agitation had its root in a sound cause. It aimed at bringing about a political ideal in which the manhood and womanhood of the land would have equal power; but. the time had come when it devolved upon him to stand right across the path of the Labour Party.

At a later stage he also said -

The Labour Party was a selfish, formidable organization, which strove to terrorize the workers of Australia into their ranks or drive them into the gutter.

In the first part of his speech the right honorable gentleman made the most kindly references to the Labour Party, but he ended by denouncing them. He stated what was absolutely untrue with regard to the aims and objects of the party. He advanced no arguments in support of his assertions, and has said nothing whatever to justify his statements that the party was a " selfish, formidable organization which strove to terrorize the workers of Australia into their ranks, or drive them into the gutter." No greater slander could have been uttered. The statement has no foundation in fact. If the Labour Party had any such aim as that which he has indicated, it should not have been spoken of in the terms used by the right honorable member at an earlier stage of his address. I do not propose to deal with the methods adopted to bring about the defeat of the Watson Government. I entertain very strong feelings with regard, not to the defeat of the Government, but to the way in which a measure of vast importance, involving very large interests, including those of the most valuable industry in the Commonwealth, has been sacrificed in order to gratify the ambition of those who wanted office. History tells us that the great Napoleon, as he was called, in order to gratify his ambition, sacrificed the lives of 2,000,000 persons who had no interest in his quarrels. So in the present case the interests of a very large and important section of the community were sacrificed in order to gratify the ambition of the Prime Minister, if the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill had first been launched on its way I should not have had any grave cause for complaint; but the course adopted by the right honorable gentleman and his supporters was such as to indicate that they had no regard whatever for the interests of the masses. They were actuated to a far greater extent by consideration for the classes who are behind them. After the defeat of the late Government some statements were made by different party leaders, and I desire to call special attention to some remarks which fell from the Prime Minister. He said -

I think this division marks a line of cleavage which will dominate the politics of the immediate future. The crisis which brought into line men like Mr. Deakin and myself points to some great national emergency. It cannot be said that this is one of those old time combinations in order to secure the distinctions of office. It is notorious .that Mr. Deakin's one anxiety throughout the present crisis has been to avoid office. I think the public of Australia will give us credit for having in our minds some higher purpose.

The system of government under which we live has been outraged by this new form of caucus Cabinet and caucus Executive. Then we have the network which surrounds the present Government in relation to despotic outside bodies, which are Ihe masters of the Ministries, and all the time hold their political destinies in the hollow of their hands. All this has come to an end.

Then, again, the honorable member for Gippsland, speaking in reference to the caucus machine, said -

They were told that all parties had caucus meetings. He well knew that all parties went into caucus for the election of a Speaker or Chairman of Committees, but- they never heard of other parties going into caucus to compel a minority to change their views and support the views of the majority. That process, in his opinion, was destructive of the wholesome principle of government by majority. The Labour Party numbered twenty-five in the House of Representatives. Suppose on an important question, thirteen held one view and twelve another view. They went into caucus ; the twelve men might fight hard for their views and try to induce their comrades to accept them. If they were finally outvoted, they would have to come out of the caucus meeting a solid vote, and be prepared to vote against their own convictions. Twelve votes taken from one side and put on the other meant twenty-four votes in the House of Representatives, out of a total of seventyfive.

That statement was cheered. I do not say that the Minister of Trade and Customs would wilfully make an incorrect statement in regard to the Labour Party, and the fact that, unlike the Prime Minister, he has not been in close touch with the party and its methods, is some excuse for the mistake that he made in the speech which I have just quoted. No such practice is adopted as that to which he referred. We do not compel members of the party to change their views in caucus. The only questions that are discussed by the caucus are those dealt with in our platform, and even those are discussed only in relation to any Bill that is introduced, the desire being to see whether that Bill is designed to give effect to the principles which we favour. The reference made by the Minister of Trade and Customs to machine politics,' is entirely incorrect.


Mr Wilks - But the Labour Party can change their platform by conference?


Mr SPENCE - Misrepresentations of this kind- are undoubtedly made with some ulterior object in view. The Minister of Trade and Customs probably did not know better-


Mr Hutchison - He repeated the same statements after he had been put right in this House.


Mr SPENCE - -The same remark applies to that section of the press which is opposed to the Labour Party. If I mistake not, the copy of the pledge from which the

Minister of Trade and Customs quoted, was taken from the Argus. That newspaper, in setting the pledge before the people, deliberately caused an alteration to be made iii regard to one word, so that it would appear that we met in caucus to deal with every question. The position is entirely different. Our platform for the last election provided for the maintenance of a White Australia, compulsory arbitration, old-age pensions, the nationalization of monopolies, a citizen defence force, the restriction of public borrowing, and navigation laws. The caucus can deal only with those questions, and I repeat that the Argus deliberately misled its readers. The Minister of Trade and Customs was probably misled in this way, and he will find that the caucus deals only with questions relating to the platform of the party.


Mr McLean - That was stated in the pledge which I read.


Mr SPENCE - Then, how does the honorable gentleman justify the statement which he made? We have constantly to fight against misrepresentation of this kind from quarters whence it ought not to come Whatever difference of opinion there may be between honorable members, that difference should be honestly based on facts, and when a distinct statement is made, and is just as distinctly denied, it should not be repeated. If the Minister of Trade and Customs knew that the labour pledge was that which I have mentioned, he certainly misled the public by inferring that the Labour Party was bound, in regard to all matters, by the caucus. As a matter of fact, we meet every week and transact business. It is because we are an active, militant party that other sections view us with a jealous eye. We transact a great deal of business, but a reference to records of divisions taken in this House will show that on questions of detail the members of the party are frequently at variance. Our opponents do not seek to enlighten themselves by reference to such facts; they wish to continue to misrepresent our position. I can find no excuse for the misrepresentation of which the Prime Minister has been guilty, for he had the support of the State Labour Party of New South Wales for a period of five years: If after so intimate an acquaintance with the methods of the party as that support must have afforded him, he does not know what are the true facts in regard to the caucus, he certainly is not fit to hold office as Prime

Minister of the Commonwealth. The caucus of the Labour Party did not interfere in any way with" the late Government. I can support the statements made by the leader of the Opposition, that no attempt was made by the caucus to interfere with his Ministry, and that it had no hand in the framing of its policy. The Prime Minister appeared very anxious a little time ago to know what was transacted at the labour caucus, but now that I am prepared to enlighten him, I find that he is not in the chamber.


Sir John Forrest - The Labour Party, from first to last, supported the late Ministry.


Mr Hutchison - That was because the Government did not go beyond our platform.


Mr SPENCE - Let me refer to one incident which will show that the Labour Party, as a whole, was careful not to interfere in any way with the late Government. During the life of the Barton Administration the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was referred to a sub-committee of the Labour Party, in order that it might be considered clause by clause, the desire being that it should be as perfect as possible. That work was carried out, and the sub-committee, in its report, which was adopted by the caucus, suggested certain slight alterations. One important principle - that relating to the appointment of permanent Judges, in addition to the Justices of the High Court - was discussed, and some members of the party held very decided views upon it. The caucus adopted the recommendation of the subcommittee, that that portion of the Bill which dealt with the matter should be allowed to pass as it stood ; but when the Labour Government came into power, it was found that its members held a different opinion. Without consulting the party, the Cabinet made an amendment, providing for assessors to be appointed in respect of each dispute that came before the Court. That action was taken contrary to the decision of the labour caucus, and yet no exception was taken to it by the party. Honorable members opposite praise the work performed by the late Government. They say that each Minister left an absolutely clean sheet behind him in his Department, and that no fault can be found with their administration. Nothing can be said against their policy, or in opposition to the planks on which the members of the Labour Party generally were elected.

We have nothing whatever to do with what some labour newspapers may advocate, or with that which Mr. Tom Mann may say. The present Government has snatched a temporary victory, and taken advantage of a Ministry which had the courage to stand by a principle in which it believed. The present Government find themselves in office, not because of any fault that could be discovered against the Administration which they displaced. They are unable to denounce the Labour Party because of anything which it has done, or proposes to do, but they set up a bogey, and appeal to the country by means of misrepresentation and slander. A Government which has at its head a right honorable gentleman who is capable of such tactics, is unworthy of the confidence of the Parliament. I have to make another quotation from a speech made by the Prime Minister, in which he said -

It is not for us to dictate to the electors of Australia what the issues of an election, on perhaps a distant date, should be. That is a matter entirely within their own province ; but I feel bound to say that the war with the Labour Party upon which we have entered to-night would lead to absolute disaster, to utter failure, if we were to begin by a division upon fiscal matters in this great fight before the people of Australia. The evils of split voting have been painfully in evidence in the Victorian and New South Wales State elections. We must not give a triumph to our opponents by divisions amongst ourselves.

I look upon the vote of to-night as one which must be followed up by determined organization, not only within the walls of Parliament, but throughout the whole of the Australian States. We must strive to emulate, if not the cast-iron and despotic methods of the Labour Party, their personal unselfishness and unflagging zeal. It is the absence of these characteristics, one or the other, which has brought upon Australia all the miseries of minority Government and minority rule. We must endeavour to adjust the difficulties of the great fight which is bound to come, so that the voice of the great majority of the people will be heard, and can be translated into the proper exercise of the powers of Government and of the Legislature.

The point I wish to emphasize very strongly is that when proposals for a coalition were first .submitted, a time limit was fixed to the life of that coalition. In speaking at a conference of farmers held recently at Kyneton, the right honorable member for East Sydney said that each party was to keep its powder dry, and that, although they were going to reduce the three parties in the Parliament to two, and to abolish minority rule - he did not explain how that was to be carried out - each party to the coalition was' to maintain its separate organization until the next election. Honorable members will see from a later statement made by the Prime Minister that his present intention is that the coalition shall be a permanent one, and that the anti-Labour plank is to occupy a permanent place in its platform. The desire is to keep the Labour Party out of power. The original proposals made foi coalition between the followers of the right honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat failed only because some of the followers of the last-named honorable member declined to accept them. Those proposals have gone by the board ; and certain honorable members of the Protectionist Party, having been trapped into following the leadership of the right honorable member for East Sydney, are to continue to permanently occupy that position. 'I am pleased that the House is now divided into two parties. We have at last the Conservatives on the one side - unfortunately they are in power - and the Democrats on the other.


Mr McCay - The only point is that the honorable member makes a mistake as to the sides on which the two parties are ranged.


Mr SPENCE - We have a Government " by the grace of Watson." I hope that the Ministry will have. such a heading printed on their note-paper. I have to make another quotation which, I think, is rather important as showing the position taken up by the Prime Minister, who apparently! admits that an apology is necessary for his coming into office. The speech made by him yesterday certainly seemed to me to be very much in the nature of an apology. Without consulting the other head of the Government, the Prime Minister issued three manifestoes, and thought that it would be quite sufficient to deal with Western Australia and Tasmania in a postscript. What has the right honorable member for Swan done that the great country from which he comes should be dealt with in that way? I certainly do not think that two States should be dealt with in a mere postscript to a Ministerial manifesto.


Mr Wilks - The postscript is the best part of a love letter.


Mr SPENCE - It is considered the best part of a lady's letter, and it generally has reference to something that has been forgotten. The Prime Minister was so absorber] in welding together the two great States of Victoria and New South

Wales that he altogether forgot there were other States in the Commonwealth. This postscript was written when he remembered that there was the State of Western Australia and the little island State of Tasmania. I propose now to quote something which the right honorable gentleman said in his official manifesto, which was 'his first utterance to the public, and his apology for being the leader of the Commonwealth Government. He says -

Under the guise of a noble desire for " industrial peace," we are beginning to suspect the existence of a gigantic conspiring against the freedom of the general worker, and -an organized desire to make the trades unions, instead of a body of artisans concerning themselves, as they used to do, with their own industrial interests, a series of political agencies, forcing men to join their ranks, or forcing an Australian Court of Justice, known as a :: Conciliation and Arbitration Court," to place a barrier between the non-unionist and his means of subsistence. The trades unions, the political labour leagues, the central executive's, the "labour" members of Parliament, the " labour " caucus in Parliament, and the Judge of the Arbitration Court - these are the intended instruments of a dangerous and selfish movement, which seeks to assert political domination in order to trample under foot, not only political equality, but far more - the industrial equalities and opportunities of the working classes of Australia.

There is again a statement without any foundation. I challenge the right honorable gentleman to give any evidence that it is true. The whole of his statements are mere assertions. I challenge the honorable member for Gippsland to give one instance in support of his contention. Members of the present Government make statements for which there is no foundation, and they are repeated as a parrot repeats the lesson it is taught in a press which has always been antagonistic to the labour movement.


Mr FISHER (WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND) - Having no policy, they must abuse their opponents.


Mr SPENCE - I have already said that they have no policy but that of opposition to the Labour Party. They have termed the labour platform a socialistic platform, and I shall show honorable members what kind of Socialists they are. I make one other quotation, in which the right honorable gentleman speaks strongly of organizations, because I have an object in doing so. The right honorable gentleman is reported to have said at a meeting of the Farmers', Property -owners', and Producers' Association -

As men of intelligence, you must have noticed how a minority has for years exercised a tremendous unconstitutional influence upon the Parliaments of Australia. How is it that twentythree or twenty-five men in a House of 100, or a House of seventy-five, should have absolute power? It is that, although their avocations are humble, yet they all learned one or two lessons well. The first is organization. The organization of the Labour Party would do credit to the most intelligent body of political wire-pullers that ever existed in any country. If you would break that down, you must show yourself loyal and unselfish too. They do this in the labour ranks, can't we do it too? I had five years experience of the Labour Party in the New South Wales Parliament. During most of the time I was practically in the hollow of their hands. They will tell you that the result was I got my free-trade tariff passed with the help of protectionist labour men. They can always call on me in a deal of that sort. " I may not admire the principles of your caucus," I say to them, " but the direction of your vote meets with my entire approval." To those who say I have just discovered the wrong position which the labour leagues occupy, I will say, "Look at the Sydney newspapers of 1894 and you will find as strong a denunciation of the principle of the labour caucus as if I spoke for twenty years." It is no new thing with me. They gave me what I wanted, and then I was too slow for them, so they cried to Sir William Lyne, and they got more out of him in twelve months than they would have got out of me in 200 years.

Then he went on to speak of their tyranny, but I need not quote his references to that. I Wish to show that the right honorable gentleman has been doing something outside of Parliament which he has given us no account of in this chamber. He has been attending the meetings of the various bodies which are not labour organizations, and what I "have quoted is an instance of the kind of thing he tells them. I invite honorable members to consider the extraordinary logic of the right honorable gentleman. It was quite right for the Labour Party to support him. He said that they had him in the 'hollow of their hands. That was all right, so long as he got their votes, but it suddenly becomes a .wonderfully wicked thing that they should support some body else. If their support was bad, why did the right honorable gentleman put up with it for five years, in order that he might 'hold office? If it was the wicked thing which he is now inviting the country to believe, what honorable man would have availed himself of its support, and would have thus shared in the wickedness? The right honorable gentleman contends that the power of the Labour Party is a wicked thing in Federal politics, because we do not now hold the balance of power in his favour, as we did in the State Parliament of New South Wales. It is true that we got more out of the honorable member for Hume than we should have got out of t'he right honorable gentleman in 200 years. What did we get from the honorable member for Hume? We got measures abolishing sweating and giving the employes in the work shops some chance of a life worth living, by securing for them reasonable hours of labour.


Mr Wilks - With the assistance of the votes of Reid supporters.


Mr SPENCE - We secured the Arbitration Act and Female Suffrage. We are now told at this late stage, because the right honorable gentleman desires to please the Federated Employers' Union, t'hat we should not have got these things from him in 200 years. That is an extraordinary confession for a right honorable gentleman to make, who has posed as a democrat, who talks democracy, and who calls himself a liberal. I am astonished that the honorable member for Dalley, who is a democrat, should sit for an hour behind a -leader who has so evidently surrendered all his democratic principles. The right honorable gentleman hit the right nail on the head when he said that we got more from the honorable member, for Hume than we should have got from him in 200 years. He admits now that we should never have had the four or five important measures, including Female Suffrage, to which I have referred if he had remained in power. The right honorable gentleman has by his own confession shown that the Labour Party in New South Wales did the right thing when they exercised their votes to turn him out of office, and I say that they will be even more decidedly right if they now turn him OUt of office in the Federal Parliament, because he is adopting principles which he did not profess to hold Phen. A number of meetings of the Farmers, PropertyOwners, and Producers Association, and the Victorian Reform League have recently been held. I suppose that the Victorian Reform League can hardly be called a democratic body. We have never looked upon it in that light. I have not heard that its special interest is to look after the masses who most need protection. At the meetings of these bodies the chairmen and all the speakers have joined iri denouncing Socialism. It would appear that their whole object now is antisocialistic. These meetings have been addressed not only by the Prime Minister, but also by Senator Drake, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who said at one meeting -

The new Government, for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, was supported by a majority of members of the House. It was a small majority, it was true, but it would be carefully looked after, and he hoped that it would continue.

It is very suggestive to say that the majority would be carefully looked after. I have underStood that honorable members now occupying the Government benches are so unanimous in their desire for majority rule, and in getting a coalition to secure responsible Government, that they would not need to be carefully looked after, as though they were a number of sheep who might stray away. It appears that the Vice-President of. the Executive Council is satisfied that they require to be carefully looked after. He continued -

What they wanted was unity. It was a feature of the opposing force that they were always in their places in Parliament.

A Mr. Felstead interjected "They have nothing else to do," and the report announces that there was laughter at the suggestion. To these people to whom the Government are looking for support, it would appear to be some sort of offence that members of Parliament should attend to their duties. It is a somewhat new feature, I admit. The old political idea was that politics were something to which a man might give the fag end of his brains, after he had attended to his private business. People who have so much to say about private enterprise, are astonished that members of Parliament should stick to their work. One of the best characteristics of the Labour Party is, that its members have always done that. I take it as a high compliment to them, and I believe that the electors generally look at the matter in the same light. One reason why the Party is gaining ground at . every State and every Federal' election is, that the electors have found that the members of the party consider the welfare of the country, and devote themselves to carrying out the duties they are elected to perform. The Farmers, Property Owners, and Producers Association held a convention quite recently, and over the report of the proceedings, there are a number of cross headings, " Fighting the Trades Hall," " Proposed National Organization," and so on. No less than 120 delegates were present, and it was stated that they represented 100 branches. Thev passed some very decided resolutions, all strongly anti-labour. This body, and representatives of the Reform League subsequently met together.


Mr Chanter - They are only free-trade organizations under another name.


Mr SPENCE - No, these bodies are not free-trade organizations. I wish now to read a portion of a newspaper report of a meeting of the Farmers', Property Owners', and Producers' Association. The first paragraph will make the honorable member for Gippsland feel comfortable -

The secretary read a report in which it was stated that, although the association had only been in existence a few months, it had already made it impossible for a socialistic labour candidate to be elected for a Gippsland constituency.

After debate, it was resolved - " That it is advisable to take steps to confer with the Chamber of Agriculture, with a view to settling a modus vivendi, whereby the sympathy and cooperation of the chamber may be secured without any sinking of our individuality, or alteration of our constitution."

The following motion was then moved by a delegate : -

That, in the opinion of this meeting of delegates, it is desirable that each and all now assembled do unite with the Farmers', Property Owners', and Producers' Association, thus forming a strong organization to oppose to the utmost all socialistic or aggressive legislation affecting country interests, and to uphold the rights of property owners and producers of all kinds.

He said that the -

Convention should take a leaf out of the book of the Labour Party and fight them with their own weapons. (Applause.)

Mr. J.Willis (Geelong), in seconding the motion, read the pledge of labour candidates for Parliament, and said that a man who allowed such a chain to be put around his neck should have something else put round his neck, and be strung up to the yardarm of a ship.

I suppose that loud cheers would have followed that proposition if there had been any chance of carrying it into effect. I shall now quote again from the newspaper which so strongly supports the movement - the Sydney Daily Telegraph. This is a portion of a report, which shows how the work is going on in New South Wales -

Movement in New South Wales. - Conference to be Held. - A Wide Basis of Representation.

Something has been done in New South Wales with a view to the ranging of forces into line against a menacing Socialism, but it has not been of a very definite character. Mr. Deakin's now famous speech helped to stir people up to the necessity for some action, and now Mr. Reid's speech to the Farmers' League of Victoria will give a further stimulus to the movement. The initiative has been taken by the Employers' Federation, and at a meeting of the council of that body yesterday it was decided to take definite steps to organize a conference, or large public' meeting, representative of the stable interests of . the country generally, to consider a plan of organization. To this end every agricultural, horticultural, ' and pastoral body, every creamery and butter factory, the Farmers' and Settlers' Association, every country municipal council - in short, every country interest, is to be asked to send delegates to meet those representing town interests. Provision will also be made for th'e extensive representation of all wage-earners who are not in sympathy with the socialistic party's platform. The date of the meeting or conference has yet to be settled. It is desired that the time fixed should be as widely convenient as possible to the country people. The co-operation of women will very probably also be invited.

I think that I have now produced evidence sufficient to show the work which is being done by the Government and those upon whom they are depending for support. If the organizations which have been created do what it is said that the labour organizations do, the Government will be controlled and dictated to by a body outside Parliament. Active work is now going on to bring about the organization of what we term the reactionary forces - forces that no one can term democratic, their whole object being antisocialistic and anti-labour. The Government represents such organizations, an- the Prime Minister is taking an active part in their creation. He is assisting their paid organizers. I am not finding fault with these bodies for organizing, because I have always been a preacher of unionism and have advocated the organizing of all classes of the community. But it cannot be denied that this Government represents a particular section of the community, which it is assisting to organize. No doubt we all of us share the desire for a reasonable recess ; but, in my opinion,*the real object of the long recess which has been advocated, on a plea of peace, is, not to bring about harmony, because no other Federation has been established with so little friction between the federating States and the Federal Government, but to organize forces. The object of the organization which the Government support is declared and open. I find no fault with that, because it is of advantage to us. We have always looked upon Mr. Walpole as a helper, since his statements have been so candid at times that people have been prevented by them from joining his organizations. It is impossible for those who have heard him speak to be foolish enough to imagine that the class amongst whom sweaters have been found, and whose members do not consider it their business to pav decent wages if they can get employes to work for less, is to be regarded as representative of the workers, or as likely to advance the interests of labour. The first and chief plank in the platform of the Farmers', Property Owners', and Producers' Association is this -

That at all elections, whether Federal or State, where a socialistic candidate nominates for a constituency, the members of this association sink all political differences and go solidly in support of a candidate to be selected by the association in opposition to such socialistic candidate.

We have heard the Prime Minister denounce the labour method of selecting candidates ; but he is assisting in the creation of an association whose first plank is to follow labour methods. He has, indeed, advised them to follow the methods of the labour leagues. The first plank of their platform is to sink all political differences. The Government, too, have done that. Nothing is vital to them, but to continue in office, to get into recess, and then to vigorously organize.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - To keep in the tart shop at all hazards.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta knows what hard work is. He knows the sufferings which strikes entail, because he has been in close touch with them, and he has represented men who have, had to work in coal mines. Now he is assisting to organize the Federated Employers.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is talking at random.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta has followed his chief in every movement, erratic or otherwise, and must follow him again. It is a new thing to find one of whose conduct I have not previously had cause to complain, associating with a movement which is so distinctly opposed to his past history. I have no fault to find with those who have always belonged to the class of whom I am speaking ; but those whose associations and professions have been different should open their eyes to what this movement means. Plank 3 of the Association is-

To watch over all measures proposed by the Federal or State Parliaments affecting the association, and guarding the interests of the same.

I have nothing to say against that plank; but I find that those who are opposed to anything socialistic, who believe in the indi vidual fighting his own battle and would put no restriction upon private enterprise, are asking for a good many things from the State. Here are a few of their requests : They want the State Government to give them water conservation, land on deferred payments, a Manure Protection Bill, reduced grain freights, wire netting on deferred payments, a bonus on foxes' scalps, help in time of bush fires, starving stock rates, cold storage for produce, a credit foncier, to enable them to borrow money ; grants for. shows, a market for fruit, instructors in the growing of tobacco, and subsidies for agricultural colleges. They also seriously discussed the advisability of asking the Government for assistance to pay for reapers and binders, though, I believe, that they did not finally agree to do so. Yet these are the antiSocialists, the persons who are opposed to State interference. Iri reality, they wish to get all they can out of the Government. They are the chief scramblers for Government aid. The Kyabram district, from which the movement originated, has borrowed large sums from the State, which it has not paid back, and is now asking for another ^1,000. Their impudence is beyond description.


Sir William Lyne - The honorable member does not mean to say that. the farmers are asking for those things?


Mr SPENCE - Yes, I do. I have mentioned fourteen items ; but those are not all. This association, which the Prime Minister is organizing upon declared antisocialistic lines, is asking for these concessions. I should like to know whether any honorable member can point to an instance in which the labour organizations have sent deputations to the Government asking for subsidies, or for concessions such as these I have indicated ?


Mr Wilson - They have asked for a lot more than that.


Mr SPENCE - Honorable members cannot point to any case in which the labour organizations have gone to the Government and asked for favours of any kind, or in which they have sought to dip their hands into the public Treasury.

An Honorable Member. - What about relief works?


Mr SPENCE - Surely a man is entitled to ask for work? If a man works, he produces more in value than that which is paid for his labour. It is the man who lives on rentals, and who draws interest; without giving, anything in return who is a burden upon the community. Would not the honorable member apply for work if his wife and family were starving ? The organization to which I have referred is one for political purposes which have been openly declared, and I have indicated how its members propose to protect their interests. I am not condemning their proposals as such. The Labour Party have supported many of them, and are still in favour of granting certain concessions to farmers. I desire, however, to direct attention to the political hypocrisy of these people who, whilst stating that they are opposed to Socialism, declare themselves by their policy to be equally as socialistic in their ideas as any section in the community. They say that they are opposed to State interference, and yet they want the State to do. more for them than has ever been asked for by the wage-earning class. We have heard a great deal about minority rule, and I wish to show the direction in which the Government is now trending. I will confine my attention to the condition of affairs in the1 two larger States, because Western Australia and Tasmania are now apparently regarded as mere postscripts. The only two States in the Commonwealth that are worthy of consideration, according to the view of the Prime Minister, are Victoria and New South Wales, and the mission of the Government is to establish brotherly feelings between those States. In New South Wales there are 110,000 land-owners, of whom 66,000 hold under 1,000 acres each, embracing a total of 1.0,800,000 acres in the country districts. There are 1,314 land-owners who hold 27,000,000 acre's in the country districts, and there are 738 owners who hold half of the total area of private lands in New South Wales. I am quoting from Coghlan.


Mr Robinson - Is the honorable member quoting figures as to value or as to area ?


Mr SPENCE - I am dealing now with acres.


Mr Robinson - Those afford no criterion.


Mr SPENCE - My object is to show the small number of persons who would be represented in organizations such as those now being formed. The'se persons would * represent a very small minority of the people in the State. The employers number 53.000 in New South Wales, and 48,006 in Victoria; whereas the wage-earners in New South Wales number 362,000, and in Victoria 321,000. Those who are working on their own account in New South Wales number 82,000, and in Victoria 94,600. Assuming for the sake of argument that the statement of the Minister of Trade and Customs is correct, and that the Labour Party represents only .the wage-earning classes-


Mr McLean - The Labour Party represents only a section of the wageearning classes.


Mr SPENCE - I am assuming for the sake of argument that we represent the wage-earning 'classes of the community only. I contend that we represent others as well. We should still represent a majority of the electors, whereas the Prime Minister, and those who are organizing the employers, would represent a minority. It is idle for honorable members to prate about the representation of minorities when they are actively organizing for political purposes a section which constitutes a very small minority, and are hoping for a long recess in order that they may bring together in one association the most conservative classes in the community. These people are the best able to assist themselves, and I should be ashamed to assist in organizing them. I should give them fair play, and fair play only. Notwithstanding all that has been said with regard to the organization of the Labour Party, we can come here only through the same door as that which is available to other honorable members. We, like them, are dependent upon the will of the electors. Many labour members in the States Parliaments, and more than one in the Federal Parliament, have been elected by constituencies in which there has been no labour league, or other organization of that kind. Why should our organizations be objected to because thev insist upon shunting out of political life those who fail to adhere to their principles? Does the Prime Minister defend traitors? If a man breaks his pledges, is he to be lauded to the skies? When a mam dishonorably breaks his pledges, is he entitled to be trusted again? Our organizations have been denounced because they have discarded men who have been recreant to their trust. The labour movement has not been built up by traitors, but by those who have worked zealously and unselfishly, in order to forward the cause of labour, men who have not gone to the Government to ask for any favour, but who have always been prepared to work for their living under reasonable conditions. The Minister of Trade and Customs has stated that members of the Labour Party are under the necessity of passing through the ordeal of selection by the Labour leagues. That is not correct, so far as New South Wales is concerned. I was not asked to submit myself for selection at the last election. I had the right, according to our rules, to offer myself for re-election, unless I had misconducted myself by breaking- my pledges.

If there was any charge of that kind to be brought against me, I should have to be notified three months beforehand. In the absence of any such call, I was entitled to re-submit myself as a representative of the Labour Party for the constituency for which I was formerly returned. The labour organizations are not the only", ones which discard their representatives. Mr. Hawthorne, who formerly represented Leichardt in the New South Wales Assembly, was " bumped out " by his party after having worked very hard for its leaders, including the present Prime Minister. No consideration was shown to him, and it does not lie in the mouths of those who were parties to the treatment accorded to Mr. Hawthorne to find fault with the methods adopted by the labour organizations. Honorable members talk about our representing a minority, but I would ask them how we could get here unless we could successfully appeal to the electors? How can that statement be made in the face of the experience of the last twelve years? The Labour Party has gained ground in every State, not because of its organization, but because of the proposals which it has put forward. We have submitted humanitarian and other proposals of importance to the community generally. None of our planks refer merely to the interests of the wage-earners. How is it that many of the country districts return labour representatives ? There are not a sufficient number of wage-earners in the district which I represent to return me without the assistance of others. I represent a district in which the pastoral and mining industries are very largely carried on, whereas the honorable member for Bland represents a purely farming district. If we are such enemies to the employers and to the land-owning class, how is it that we find such favour in their eyes? Is it because we carry out our platform, and because we do not, as the Prime Minister has done, surrender our policy for considerations of expediency ? He fought for free-trade, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat opposed him. In the old days in Victoria many of us fought with the late Sir Graham Berry against the very forces which are now being brought into prominence by the Prime Minister. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat and the Minister of Trade and Customs have allied themselves with a party whose main design is to bring about class rule. The trades unions are naturally -formed for the purpose of protecting the interests of the trades with which they are connected ; but the membership of the labour leagues embraces many persons other than unionists or wageearners. We have a large number of employers in our ranks, who believe in our aims and principles. The Prime Minister has told honorable members that at one time the Labour Party held him in the hollow of its hand. Why did he submit to that? Because his platform and that of the Labour Party were brought into agreement. We had to accept some things which we did not like, because we knew that the alternative was worse. We supported the right honorable gentleman in fighting for free-trade- -for an absolutely free port. That was something very different from freetrade as it is understood in Federal politics. Will the representatives of the large landholders who sit in the Government corner support a tax on land values? Will the honorable (member for Corangamite and the honorable and learned member for Wannon support a tax on land values similar to that for which the right honorable member fought? He said that the members of the protectionist party gave him free-trade, but he overlooked the fact that they regarded a tax on land values and other forms of direct taxation as being of the utmost importance, and considered that even if a prohibitive Tariff were imposed it would still be necessary to resort to direct taxation. We were not satisfied that he would go fast enough to suit us, and we therefore put another honorable gentleman into office. That honorable gentleman gave us great measures, which conduced to the well-being of society. I am surprised to learn that the right honorable gentleman, who is now at the head of the Government, has said that he would not have given us these measures. That statement shows that we were right in turning him out of office. I have endeavoured to show that the Prime Minister is out of touch with the great mass of public feeling in the Commonwealth, that he is out of touch with democracy in any form, and that he is in league with all the reactionary forces that are now so militant. At the last general election he received the support of the Employers' Union, which devotes its attention to the interests of employers, as employers only, and does not do or pretend to do anything for labour generally. That organization and many others of the same kind were behind the Prime Minister and his party.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is wrong ; they were behind the protectionist party.


Mr SPENCE - They were not behind the protectionists as a party. The Reform League and the Employers' Federation of New South Wales have united 'to denounce what they term " Socialism." They do not understand the true meaning of the word, and they know that many people are ready to adopt their definition of it. In the same way they are making use of the word " reform," and thus a party has been brought together to support what is distinctly a class movement. It has been created to protect the interests of a class that is strong enough to look after itself, and it is surprising to me that such a democratic assembly as the Federal Parliament is generally admitted to be, should be expected to allow a small minority to control the majority. I wish to show that the Government are opposed to democracy. I 3b riot know how far the remarks which I am about to make will apply to the second leader of the Ministry, and to that section of the Government supporters which follow him. I believe that they will apply mainly to the old freetrade section of the party. That party, so far as economic principles are concerned, are consistent in their support of antilabour movements.


Mr Lonsdale - No.


Mr SPENCE - Then they are in favour of anarchy. They are in favour of the " let-alone " policy. They believe in a political economy that was in full play nearly 100 years ago. At that time the key-note of social reform was the cry of "natural rights," while, so far as economics were concerned, we had the policy of laissez faire.


Mr Fuller - Who was responsible for all the liberal legislation which is to-day in force in New South Wales?


Mr SPENCE - I am not now dealing with that point, although I should not hesitate to give credit to the man responsible for that legislation if he were present. The policy of the Government is not in keeping with the modern trend of public thought. We cannot expect such a Government to be in keeping -with it. To-day " co-operation " is the key-note of social reform, but it does not necessarily mean that we are ready to make every industry a State-owned one. The Labour Party have to be judged according to the direct proposals that we put forward. No one has a right to charge us with some supposititious policy which we have never advocated. In social reform we find that the watch-word is "co-operation," while in economics it is "character." In the .old days, a man was merely considered to be a moneymaking animal, but to-day we have regard to his all-round capacity. We consider the well-being of individuals as such ; we regard man not as a mere commodity to be bought and sold in the market, as is held by many in that economic school with which the Prime Minister has been associated. We consider man from the stand-point of everything that makes for his well-being. The reason why I quoted the very excellent remarks made recently by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat was because they showed a recognition of modern economic thought. Matthew Arnold defined civilization as -

The humanizing, the bringing into one harmonious and truly humane life the whole body of society.

Actions to-day are regarded as moral only when they contribute to the well-being of our fellow-men. The unionist movement and everything else that has an influence in developing human character, and in improving the race is of the right kind. Legislation with that object in view may be an interference with the liberty of the individual, but it is not the fact of interference, but the effect of interference, that we have to consider. Mazzini said long ago that every political question is becoming a social question, and every social question is rapidly becoming a religious question. That is the problem of to-day, which is responsible for the activity of the Labour Party. I may perhaps be pardoned for quoting Arnold Toynbee, who puts the exact position in the following words: -

Two conceptions are woven into every argument of the "wealth of nations" - the belief in the supremacy of individual liberty, and the conviction that man's self love is God's Providence, so that the individual in pursuit of his own interests is promoting the interests of all.


Mr Kelly - Hear, hear.

Mir. SPENCE. - I hear an honorable member say, "Hear, hear." If a man understood his true self-interest his pursuit of it would, make for the welfare of all. It is said that true self-interest lies in the recognition of the fact that we are dependent and inter-dependent one upon the other. The position from the point of view of wealth production has altered. The old idea was that the wealth of a nation was to be determined from the stand-point of its material production, man being considered as a mere producing animal, to be hired and treated as his employer might think fit. But that is not the position today. At the present time production, distribution, and the good of man, all receive consideration. I believe, with Ruskin, that-

Wealth means well living. Life is more than meat. Man should own property, not property own man.

I should like to quote a very clear and comprehensive statement made by Dr. Findlay, a barrister-at-law, who was formerly in partnership with Sir Robert Stout. In commenting recently on the New Zealand Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, Dr. Findlay said -

The tendency of the age is to make that compulsory which is desirable ; to discredit free contract, to foster fair contract, between employer and employ^; to fix the status of all workmen by regulation as far as possible, and to assess the worker's share at the lowest resort on his needs rather than on the employer's greeds It is all nonsense to talk of liberty and freedom of conscience in this connexion. As a matter of fact, social man has no natural inalienable and irrevocable .rights. He only owns those things with which society is content to clothe him, and no more.

That is the economic foundation on which Conciliation and Arbitration Bills, and other like measures, are based. The views of several members of the present Government are in opposition to all modern principles of political economy. Is it reasonable for us to expect democratic legislation from a Government, which, by a peculiar combination of circumstances, has secured the support of those who hold views contrary to those of the Prime Minister? It is difficult to understand how professed Liberals have allowed themselves to be associated with men who are opposed to interference in any way with freedom of action, who are opposed, to any form of restriction, and would allow every man to transact his business as he pleased. These men endeavour to justify their position by the mere use of words. We want to measure a Government, not by mere words, but by the effect of the legislation which it introduces upon the lives, the actions, and the character of men. I maintain that we are justified in fighting against a Government that holds such views as I have mentioned. There has been much misrepresentation in reference to the Labour Party, and but for this we should have achieved a still greater measure of success. It is always difficult to overtake slander, more particularly at election time, and the Labour Party may justly complain that it has been continually misrepresented., both by the press and by other means. There are honorable members of this House whom no one could accuse of desiring to deliberately misrepresent the Labour Party, yet they have been guilty of misrepresenting us. The increase in the membership of the Labour Party is due, in a large measure, to the effect of their propaganda and platform work, in correcting misrepresentations and supplying the electors with the truth, and also because our platform and aims appeal to the people. There are amongst the electors men and women who study economic questions, and who can recognise the difference between the lines of thought which characterize various parties. They recognise at once that their interest lies with those who are considering the well-being of the people as such, instead of mere material wealth-production, irrespective of any consideration as to who owns, controls, or secures the larger share of it. They are looking now to the distribution of wealth in such a way that the standard of living may be generally improved, and the mental standard may be improved side by side with the increased production of wealth. In connexion with the system of misrepresentation which has been followed, I think I shall be justified in quoting some remarks which Mr. Justice Cohen felt himself called upon to make in New South Wales a short time ago, in connexion with some misstatements respecting the- operation of a measure similar to one of great importance, which has been before the Federal Parliament, and which has wrecked a couple of Governments, and will probably wreck another.


Mr Tudor - When it is found that they have swallowed the inclusion of the States servants.


Mr SPENCE - I may deal with that presently. Mr. Justice Cohen said recently in New South Wale's, in dealing with certain misrepresentations concerning the effect of the clause in the New South Wales Arbitration Act, giving preference to unionists : -

I have no leaning one way or the other, but in the public interest it would be far better, if the preference clause is being unduly used as a means of oppressing or harassing employers, that the Court should be assisted by evidence of that. I am not saying in this particular case, because I do not know - but from general statements, I see in the press that this preference clause is the means of harassing the employer, and placing him in an unfair position of working his business. I say it would be much better if the Court were enlightened by evidence of these things. We read in the press of general statements being made - one person takes it up from another person at the corner of the street - and I see general assertions made with regard to what the Court has done, which will not bear any test - they are absolutely without foundation. Therefore, what I say' is, in the public interest, in the interests of the Arbitration Act - which, after all, is a most important experiment - it would be much better if people, instead of expressing their grievances in the way in which I have stated, would come to the Court and point out preference has been given in certain cases, and the result is so and so. This is not done. I am not going to be guided in my decisions by what I see in the press. I am guided in my decisions by the sworn evidence in the Court, and that is the only evidence I will be guided by in arriving at my decisions ; we are sworn here to decide, in accordance with the evidence placed before us, and that is the only evidence by which I intend to be guided.

Mr.Wade. I would not for a moment pretend to suggest to the Court that they should be guided by outside opinions.







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