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Thursday, 8 September 1904


The PRESIDENT - I know, from my own knowledge what I read, time after time, of actions attributed to this Court which the Court has never performed. Almost daily in the press you see that. Mind you, I am not saying one way or the other, as to whether this preference clause is or is not worked duly. I have no evidence one way or the other. 1 will not be guided by what I see in the public press. These general statements are made, and if you put the statements to the proof, in almost all cases they will fail. I do not expect any clause we lay down will work with perfect harmony and satisfaction to every one. AH the wisdom of the legislature has not formulated a law to which some objection could not be taken.

A member of the Court said : I would like to say, to show there cannot be very much in these general statements, in every industrial agreement that has been filed in this Court preference has been given. We had an instance of it yesterday in the Shipwrights' dispute, and, in fact, the Court pointed out, in making the common rule, they might have to make some slight qualification in that preference clause. I would like to encourage the parties to make agreements, and I have no hesitation in saying, if all the employers in the State made agreements, they would all grant preference as has been done in the past. I have no doubt, if the two parties in the catering dispute came together at a later stage, and tried to frame an agreement, the employers would grant preference.

That, coming from so high an authority, is a proof that statements were being made which were absolutely untrue, and it should be remembered that the statements were not brought before the Court in order that they might be inquired into with a view to ascertain whether injury had been done by the preference granted, which might be remedied. In view of the discussion which we have had here concerning the granting of preference to unionists, that statement by Mr. Justice Cohen will probably be considered important. In this connexion also, I desire to quote from a leading article appearing in a newspaper published in my electorate. The quotation will show the kind of men who are in some places educating the public mind - journalists, employers of labour, men engaged in the great reform movement now being backed up by the ReidMcLean Administration, the anti-labour, anti-union, and anti-socialistic movement.


Mr Fuller - Not anti-labour.


Mr SPENCE - It is anti-labour straight out, and if the honorable and learned member for Illawarra does not believe in that, he has no right to sit behind the present Government. In any case, the honorable and learned member is not in his proper place behind the present Government, because I am aware that he has democratic ideas. In the recent State election in New South Wales, for an electorate which is included in my own, and which is also known as the Darling electorate, the electors did a terribly wicked thing, in the eyes of some persons by selecting a labour man by a majority more than equal to the votes polled by his two opponents.


Mr Higgins - Who was he?


Mr SPENCE - Mr. J. C. Mehan, the secretary of the local branch of the Australian Workers' Union. I may add that he defeated the retiring member, Mr. W. N. Willis, of whom some honorable members present have knowledge. This is the advice given in a leading article by the Bourke Banner, in dealing with the election: -

We now advise a course which may seem drastic, but which alone can be effective. No employer should give employment to a member of the Australian Workers' Union......

Let the hundreds of union men, to whom the union is their God, look to the union and not to the capitalist for work and wages - for food and clothes for themselves and their families.


Mr Higgins - That must be a black banner.


Mr Hughes - Do they support the present Coalition Government?


Mr SPENCE - Of course they are of the party to which- the Coalition Government belongs. We know that the Prime Minister has quoted the remarks of Mr. Tom Mann, as reported in the press, and has charged them to the members of this party, and if I followed the right honorable gentleman's example, I should be justified in charging him and his party with supporting the view of the Bourke Banner.


Mr Robinson - The Victorian members of the Labour Party in this Parliament subscribe to Mr. Tom Mann's salary, and the honorable member knows it.


Mr Hughes - That is absolutely untrue.


Mr SPENCE - The question as to who pays Mr. Tom Mann's salary has nothing to do with the matter.


Mr Hughes - I desire, Mr. Speaker, to call your attention to an interjection made by the honorable and learned member for Wannon, in which 'he declared that the members of the Labour Party-


Mr Robinson - Victorian members.


Mr Hughes - That the salary of some person outside was chargeable to the members of this party.


Mr Robinson - I did not state what the honorable and learned member for West Sydnev has said. What I said was that the Victorian labour members contributed to the expenses of Mr. Tom Mann's propaganda.


Mr Tudor - - That also is absolutely wrong.


Mr SPEAKER - I am sorry to have to call attention for the second time in one day to the fact that conversations carried on across the chamber, and especially in a loud tone of voice, are very disorderly and must be discontinued.


Mr SPENCE - If this is only one of those attempts to shunt an old hand off the track, honorable members opposite ought te know by this time that it cannot be sue cessful. I unhesitatingly say that-, adopting the same form of logic, I should be justified in charging honorable members, who are associated with the movement to which I have referred, and which is not a new movement, but is only specially active just now, with supporting the advice of the Bourke Banner - which I have quoted. I am sure that not one of them would do so.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We never heard of it until the honorable member quoted it.


Mr SPENCE - The advice given is that, because a man has chosen to exercise the franchise in a certain way, he should be prevented from earning a living. I make the quotation that 'honorable members opposite may know the company they are in. There is an old .Spanish proverb which says, " Show me whom you are with, and I will tell you what you are."


Mr Lonsdale - Chinese.


Mr King O'Malley - What does the honorable member know about it.


Mr SPENCE - I have read the quotation to show honorable members the organizations which are behind them outside of Parliament, and what they are prepared to do.


Mr Ring O'malley - On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for New England spoke about Chinese, and I wish the honorable member to say what he meant by, it.


Mr SPEAKER - An honorable member has a perfect right to make the remark " Chinese," and I do not know that any honorable member has any right to require that he should explain his meaning.


Mr SPENCE - I feel sure that no member of the House would advocate this on the public platform; but what is proposed has been done in that district. What is set out in black type was acted upon in Victoria in the last State election. I have had experience of the influence of employers. I have known them to try to coerce men to vote in certain directions.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Every one has "had that experience more or less.


Mr SPENCE - Has similar influence ever been used by the Labour Party, or the labour organizations? Has it not always come from the class which is now being organized ? The views which are put forward are held by large numbers of these persons, though not by all of them. Why is it that the masses were denied voting power, and that the right to vote was given only to the classes? Why was preference given to the classes?


Mr Lonsdale - That was wrong. Mr. SPENCE. - Honorable members who have opposed the granting of preference to unionists have been associated with those who have opposed the giving of a vote to every adult. The members of the Legislative Council of Victoria are the backbone of the Employers' Union. They not only oppose the granting of the suffrage to women in the State elections, but tried to prevent the effective exercise of the women's vote in the Federal elections. I have hitherto let the honorable and learned member for Ballarat off very lightly ; but I cannot help making a reference to some rather characteristic remarks in the speech with which he started the National Organization at Ballarat. Formerly there used to be a National Association, but as it used to be termed the National Ass. for short, it fell into disrepute. , Speaking at Ballarat, the honorable and learned member seemed to think that organi zation was a good thing so long as. it was not too effective. While it was only a half-and-half sort of measure, it appeared all right ; but immediately an organization became effective, it was to be denounced. That seems an illogical position. If it is good to have an organization, surely the more influential and perfect that organization can be made, the better it will be. In dealing with organizations, what has first to be considered is their objects, the class of people who control them, and what they are likely to do. I believe in organizations in the interests of all classes. But the organization of which I am speaking is one to weld together those who are antagonistic to a certain section of the community, not because of anything it has done or proposes to' do, but because of something it is alleged to be likely to do. These persons belong to a class which is necessarily in a minority everywhere, yet they wish to take charge of public affairs, and to shut labour men out of Parliament. Still, honorable members who are helping the movement have the want of conscience to tell us that they are democrats, and to charge us with being class representatives. We could not obtain election as the representatives of a class. We can get here only by securing the votes of a majority of our constituents. There is no minority representation about us. Is it likely that the members of this or of any other Parliament would allow a small section to dictate to them, if they] did not believe in the principles of that section? The legislation which has been passed at the instance of the Labour Party has been passed because the members of the other parties in the House believed in it. The present Government, however, is reactionary. Its only object is to keep the Labour Party out, not for anything we have done, or are likely to do, but merely to retain possession of office. We hear a great deal about minority rule, but the majority of the present Government, if it exists at all, will have to be very tenderly nursed, to use the expression of Senator Drake. Even the supporters of the Government will hardly claim that the honorable and learned member for Parkes is an advanced radical, or an extreme democrat ; but the difference between the two parties in the House now is so small that he can control the destinies of this twoheaded Government. If he chooses to vote against them, where will they be? A section of the conglomerate party which sup ports the Ministry is totally opposed to certain important measures of which a majority is in favour. How can the Government carry out a programme under such circumstances? The House has fortunately been divided into two parties, the democrats on this side, and a mixed party on the other. For some of the supporters of the Government there may be salvation even yet. We have heard before of the open door. Well, the new party, the progressive, go-ahead radical coalition, has an open door.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - With a crimson carpet leading to it.


Mr SPENCE - If honorable members come to us we will give them liberty of speech, which they are now denied. The difference between the two parties is that the methods of the leader of the Government are the methods of the autocrats, while our methods are those of democracy.


Mr Lonsdale - What is in a name ?


Mr SPENCE - There may not be much in a name, but there is something in actions. We have heard a denunciation of caucuses ; but honorable members opposite are ruled by one man. They must do what they are told. That accounts for their silence at the time of the crisis, when they could not be stirred up even by. the admittedly powerful invective of the honorable and learned member for West Sydney. All that they were allowed to do was 10 make personal explanations. They may boast of freedom, but they have no conception of what the word means. They do not enjoy freedom themselves, and will not give it to others. On the occasion to which I refer, the honorable and learned member for Werriwa got up to speak, and was pulled down by his coat-tails, while the honorable members for Parramatta and Robertson were allowed only to make personal observations. Although our party "is governed by caucus, we have proved that it did not interfere with the late Administration. We recognised the older methods, which are supposed to be constitutional ; but, even if we had Interfered, our action would have been more democratic than that of the leader of the Government, whom honorable members foi low so blindly. Now they are going to follow two leaders, and they have no policy upon which they are solid. How the Government could carry on legislation under existing circumstances is a mystery which will never be made known, because they will not remain long enough in office to pass any. Honorable members opposite, who speak of freedom and liberty are associated with men against whom I have been fighting for the last thirty-five years. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat will admit that the free-traders, the revenue tariffists of Victoria, were the Conservative body in the State, even in the days of Sir Graham Berry. Yet they are the men with whom the supporters of the Government have been associated ever since the right honorable member for East Sydney entered Federal politics. The men I speak of are not like the free-traders of the NewSouth Wales school. They believe in direct taxation. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was associated with Sir Graham Berry in fighting these men ; but now he has led his followers into the meshes of an entanglement, so that they are associated with one who is the champion of those whom we have fought in the past, and who have " cruelled " Victoria. I have the greatest admiration for the honorable and learned gentleman, and I regret that he has not seen the danger of a coalition with reactionaries. The people of New South Wales do not fully understand what class of persons they are who in Victoria call themselves free-traders. What does the Minister of Trade and Customs expect from such a following? The honorable member for Moira is now supporting the construction of the Transcontinental Railway, although he at one time threatened to stone-wall all night the proposed authorization of a survey of the line..


Mr Kennedy - Did not the honorable member once serve under the present Prime Minister ?


Mr SPENCE - The honorable gentleman has now joined a party which is going, to carry out that railway.


Mr Kennedy - Who says so?


Mr SPENCE - If the honorable member does not say so, why is he sitting on that side of the chamber? What is this party? We had three parties in the House previously, but how many parties are there! now? I am inclined to think that every honorable member on the other side is a party in himself. The Government have introduced a condition of pure anarchy. We shall now have an opportunity of seeing how it will work. We have not yet had anything like anarchy in Australia, and it will be interesting to see how it will operate in Parliament. According to the statement of the Prime Minister, it would appear that every one of his supporters is free to introduce any Bill he likes, and to vote as he pleases. This is the grand result of the operations which have been proceeding for the last six months with the object of re-establishing constitutional government, and forming a solid party. Fortunately, there is one solid party in this House, and it is to be found on this side of the chamber. I hope that honorable members like the honorable member for Moira, the honorable member for Dalley, the honorable and learned member for Illawarra, and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, whom we do not class with the Conservatives, will come to the conclusion that they are not in proper company. They must already be feeling very uncomfortable. They should leave the ultra- Conservatives to themselves, and take their proper positions in the House. We are going to do our best to bring about the truest form of responsible government - in fact, we shall insist upon it. We have not accomplished very much this session, but the Watson Government succeeded in settling within three months a question with which the previous Government could not successfully deal in three years. Wc may as well devote the rest of the session to an endeavour to place members in their proper positions in the House. I would commend that object to the veryserious consideration of honorable members opposite whom we still class as democrats. If present conditions are allowed to exist much longer the bad company in which they now find themselves may have an unfortunate effect upon them. There has been a great deal of misrepresentation and misunderstanding with regard to the pledge which labour representatives in this House are required to sign. I have here a copy of that document, and I may as well read it in order to show the Minister of Trade and Customs how the Argus sometimes misleads the people. That newspaper has made it appear that every question is dealt with by the caucus, whereas the only questions upon which we are pledged to our constituents are embraced within what is called the fighting platform. Many of the platforms that are adopted in the States differ materially from the fighting platform adopted for the purpose of the Federal election. The former embrace proposals, some of which are admittedly socialistic.


Mr McDonald - Ours is a socialistic movement, anyhow.


Mr SPENCE - Yes; but what I wish to emphasize is that, in relation to the pledge signed by members of the Labour Party, we go to the country upon what is called a fighting platform. There were seven items in the last platform, and Ave were called upon to subscribe to those. Anything that may be done bv outside bodies can have no effect upon representatives in this Parliament, who are pledged to their constituents upon the basis of the fighting platform. The pledge signed by members of the Labour Party refers only to the matters included in that platform. The fate of the Ministry is not included in that pledge. We can vote as we like upon matters affecting the fate of a Government, and we are very careful to act according to our constitutional powers. The pledge is as follows : -

I hereby pledge myself not to oppose any selected labour candidate. I also pledge myself, if returned to the Commonwealth Parliament, to do my utmost to ensure the carrying out of the principles embodied in the Federal labour platform, and on all .such questions to vote as a majority of the Federal Labour Parly may decide at a duly constituted caucus meeting comprised of members signing this or a similar pledge.


Sir John Forrest - That is pretty wide.


Mr SPENCE - The pledge is confined wholly and solely to the questions upon the printed platform, upon which we run our elections, and we are not affected by anything which Tom Mann may say or which may appear in a labour newspaper.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the honorable member say whether the fate of a Ministry would not be remitted to the caucus and decided there?


Mr SPENCE - It might or might not. Our meetings are held for the transaction of business, and we can discuss anything we like.


Mr Hutchison - What is wrong with that, anyhow ?


Mr SPENCE - There is nothing wrong about the caucus, so long as the truth is told. In fact, our system is so good that other sections of the community have been urged to adopt similar methods. I have been astonished to hear some men praise our methods in one breath, and denounce our organizations in another. We adhere strictly to our policy and principles. We are not like the Prime Minister, who did everything he could, at the last elections, to smash up the protectionist party, and afterwards gave way. Our party fights on - it never stops fighting. It does not matter whether we have one representative, or twenty, in Parliament, we stand or fall by our policy. The Labour Party in the New South Wales Parliament has not a majority. at present, but it has not given up its principles. It is because we have stood to our principles that we have gained ground. What is to be said in defence of parties like the protectionists and the free-traders who, under certain circumstances, do not carry on their fight. In cases where coalitions involve the giving up of principles, they must eventually result in the ruin of the parties concerned. The present Government will certainly go down before very long, and the reactionary forces behind them will fall to pieces, because public feeling will declare itself against them. The time has gone by for one-man rule, or class rule. As Harrison says, the day has come when the only class that is not a class is the working class. We are, in fact, all workers, and yet we are told that the Labour Party represents only a small section of the community. Many sneers have been directed against members of the Labour Party, but I would point out that those men who have received their practical training in connexion with trades organizations are called upon to exercise the highest abilities. They are required to work for others, and that in itself is calculated to widen their sympathies. The management of some of our organizations would tax the best abilities of some of those honorable members who apparently think little of our qualifications to take part in national affairs. Some of the most difficult problems of life have to be dealt with in the trades unions, questions involving the means of livelihood of thousands of men and women. The men who grapple with these subjects receive a training which fits them to deal with the larger questions of State in Parliament, and . we can afford to ignore the taunts and jeers of honorable members who have not by any means shown themselves to be heaven-born statesmen. It has been persistently represented that one of the effects of labour legislation has been to drive capital out of the country. The honorable and learned member for Parkes, and other supporters of the Government, are never tired of making assertions of this kind. I now wish to present some facts which bear upon this question, and as I always prefer to select an opponent as an authority, I propose to quote certain figures given by the financial editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, who is a recognised authority, and who, when he does not happen to think of labour, which is a bugbear to him, may be relied upon. The financial statistics for the year 1903 show 7 p that only three of the Australian banks were not on the dividend list. For the first time since 1892 the London Bank of Australia paid a dividend at the rate of z\ per cent. The Australian life offices did increased business to the extent 0^3,163,117. During the March quarter, the amounts held by the banks of New South Wales at current account increased by ,£950,000, and the coin and bullion by £675,060. There was a decrease in the advances of .£850,000, which showed that the public did not require to draw upon the banks as much as formerly. The June quarter showed some slight change. A considerable amount of money was transferred from current account to fixed deposit. The reports of the annual and half-yearly meetings of the various cornparties are also instructive. Tooth and Co. Ltd. declared a dividend of 8 per cent, the total amount being £61,942 for the halfyear. The North Coast Steam Navigation Company paid a dividend of 6 per cent, for the half-year. The Wellington Meat Export Co. paid a dividend of 8 per cent. ; the Australian Gaslight Co., 9s. per share. The A.A. Co. showed a profit for the year of £61,022, and paid a dividend of 25s. per share. The Hetton Coal Co. paid a dividend of 6 per cent, for the half-year ; and the Colonial Sugar Refining' Co., about which we have heard a great deal, paid a dividend of 10 per cent. It is interesting to note that at the meeting of the last-named company the chairman could not resist having a fling at the Labour Party, and saying something about Socialism. He said that it was not proposed, in the present unsettled state of politics, to lay out any more money ; but when he came to give details with regard to the working of the company, he said that they had sufficient machinery for all their requirements. It therefore appeared that there was no necessity to spend any more money. Messrs. Elder, Smith and Co., of Adelaide, declared a dividend and bonus amounting to 9 per cent. The Australian Joint Stock Companies' year-book for 1903 shows the amount of capital invested in New Zealand and the Commonwealth to be £585,000,000. This was a smaller amount than was invested two years ago by about £6,300,000. The reductions in mining investments amounted to £12,300, 000, in bank shares to £4,000,000, and in debenture issues of trading and other companies to £4,900,000, making a total of £21,000,000. The writing down of the

I capital of the Midland Company of

New Zealand, and the dulness in the mining industry, accounted for a great proportion of the reduction. The live capital of the whole' of the investors of Australia increased by £3.900.000. Mr. Nash points out that it is very satisfactory to find that the dividends exceeded ,£23,000,000, irrespective of the £1,750,000 distributed by the banks on their interest-bearing deposits. The dividends paid were ,£1,267,000 more than those for the previous year, although they were declared in respect of a smaller capital. Apart from State debts, there is a clear average of 5 per cent. These figures show how ruinous progressive legislation must be to capital ! The figures relating to the transactions of the very class which make an outcry against democratic legislation are a sufficient answer to their allegations. They prove that, in spite of the abnormal drought from which we suffered in 1903, capitalists found in the Commonwealth the best investments in the world. Every one knows what a very low rate of interest is paid in other parts of the world, so that all the talk of industry being ruined by labour legislation - by such measures as a Conciliation and Arbitration Act - is without foundation. The position is much the same in regard to the outcry against the granting of preference to unionists. Mr. Justice Cohen has shown that there is no foundation for the statement made from time to time that the preference section in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of New South Wales has worked injuriously ; and he has pointed out that in some of the agreements voluntarily arrived at between employers and employes, provision is actually made for preference to unionists. I do not intend to stop at this point. Let me give the House the following figures, showing the land tax and income tax returns for New South Wales-

 

If the people were not receiving dividends on their investments, and if land values were not increasing, there would be no such increase as is shown by these figures. Let me take another test, which is admittedly a very sound one, in determining the general prosperity of the community. I refer to the Savings Banks returns. I shall quote those relating to the Savings Banks of New South Wales, and I may add that a similar state of affairs is shown by the returns relating to the Savings Banks in other States. In 1893 there were 179,727 depositors in the Savings Banks of New South Wales, while the deposits amounted to .£6,535,758, or an average of £36 7s. 4d. per depositor. In 1902- the latest year for which a return is available - the number of depositors had increased to 323,3 r 2, and the deposits 10 £1 2^425, 464, or an average of .£38 8s.iod. per depositor. These figures do not show that those who . lodge deposits with the Savings Banks are being ruined by labour legislation.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Was not thclimit to deposits increased between the periods named by the honorable member?


Mr SPENCE - That does not alter the facts.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It certainly does.


Mr SPENCE - I recognise that it is a factor which must be considered ; but these figures show that the people of New South Wales have money to place on deposit. The figures which I have quoted have been taken by me either from Coghlan, or from artices written by Mr. Nash, of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, who is admittedly a sound financial authority.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The increase of the limit allowed persons of larger means to become depositors.


Mr SPENCE - That does not alter the fact that this large sum of money exists in the country, and that the people are not being ruined, as has been urged, by democratic legislation. The number of dividendpaying banks has gradually increased, until there are now only three in Australia that are not on the dividend list.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The fact that the limit as to the amount of deposit has been increased throws out the honorable member's average per head.


Mr SPENCE - That is so; but I simply wish to get at the facts. The Labour Party has been constantly misrepresented purely because of political considerations, and I may say that Australia as a whole has been subjected to the same treatment. If we wish to ascertain one of the main reasons why many persons are not induced to come to Australia, we have only to turn to the lying statements published by the great daily newspapers of Australia, as well as the false statements made by members of their staffs, who act as correspondents for the English press. It is our duty to put forward any facts which controvert the false statements to which I have referred. I have been carefully noting Mr. 'Nash's recent comments on finance and trade, but have no desire to quote the increase which has taken place in land settlement, or the immense increase in the shipping trade of New South Wales.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Or the big increase in the public debt, which has given us much of the capital to which the honorable member has referred.


Mr SPENCE - That increase is not, after all, so very great. In any case, it is included in the investments to which I have referred. Full details are to be found in the Investor's Year Book. On referring to the Sydney Morning Herald's review of the operations for the year 1903, I find that within a radius of fifteen miles of Sydney a total of £3,020,793 was expended on buildings. Let me give honorable members the items which make up that total. Private enterprise - which the present Government specially represents - accounted for a sum of £2,489,500; the Public Works Department spent £257,871; the Harbor Trust, £141,715; the Tramways Department, £60,646 ; the City Council, £42,482 ; the Public Schools Department, £27,759; and the Fire Brigades Board, £822. These figures are in themselves a sufficient indication of the extent to which private enterprise has been influenced by recent legislation, and show that the assertions which have been made from time to time against the Labour Party have no foundation. They certainly prove that remarkable progress has been made, within a fifteen miles radius of a long established city, during a time of exceptional drought, and notwithstanding the operation of a Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Fortunately, the people are beginning to realize that the statements made from time to time against the Labour Party are put forward only to serve political pur poses, and that they are not true. I cannot refrain, however, from quoting an article which appeared, some little time ago, in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. In one of those rare lapses from its ordinary line of policy, during which the truth' slips into its columns, it published, in July, 1903, the following comments on a cablegram stating that capi tal had been frightened out of France by the socialistic tendency of legislation in that country : -

Owing to the socialistic tendency of legislation in France, the cable excitedly informs us that " capital is leaving the country:" Parbleu ! As if we were likely to go into hysterics about it. We are not going to scare over the alleged migration of capital from any country. We have heard about it too often. Never in the memory of the oldest inhabitant has any rational legislative proposal been made in this State without capital girding up its fat loins and threatening to leave by the next boat. In England, in America, in France, everywhere, it is the same. Capital is perpetually on the wing. The mystery is where it goes to when it leaves the country. Should French capital go to England, if current stories are true, it will .meet on the way English capital in a similarly terror-stricken state fleeing from enfranchised democracy, which is suspected of lurking round the political corner waiting for a chance to bludgeon it with some objectionable law. Should it make for America, or Australia, or Germany, or Russia, it will be met by the same kind of outrush, due to the same cause. Of course it might go to one of the South American republics, which capital never seems to leave, it being all used up in the form of ammunition for the different parties who abstain from obnoxious legislation to shoot each other with. Capital, therefore, keeps away from those places, but, as it is always represented as bolting incontinently from everywhere else, where it goes to is quite impossible to guess. An equally perplexing conundrum is what it lives on "when it gets there.

This article neatly summarises the position in regard to the bogy, which is from time to time trotted out in Australia. I have not much' more to say. I have urged that, in the interests of Australia, and having regard to the well-being of all classes, the present Government should not be allowed to remain in office. I have referred to the attitude taken up by it outside this chamber ; but we have not yet 'heard members of the Government say in this chamber what they have said outside. No explanation has been made of the charges levelled against the Labour Party. Nothing has been said of the assertion that the Labour Party is a gigantic conspiracy against the welfare of the community. That was a very serious statement, coming, as it did, from the Prime Minister of United Australia, and as persons charged with conspiring against the common weal, we are entitled to have a fuller explanation than we have yet "had from him." I have proved that the right honorable gentleman is associated with outside organizations which, as representing a class, are dangerous to the welfare of the community.


Mr Hutchison - That is where the real danger lies.


Mr SPENCE - Undoubtedly. I have shown that the Government are not in touch with the people, and that on these, among other grounds, we are justified in desiring to oust them from office. I might 'have commented more fully on the fact that we have in the Prime Minister a right honorable gentleman who has made so many political somersaults that one is inclined to inquire whether, like one of the characters of which the late Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in so interesting a manner, he has a dual personality. One feels tempted to ask whether " Dr. Jekyll " or " Mr. Hyde " is to rule. Then we ought also to have some clear intimation as to who is to be the mouthpiece of the Government, in regard to all communications to His Excellency the Governor-General. I remember the late Sir Henry Parkes referring on more than one occasion to the importance of having but one head to a Government - one who will be the mouthpiece of the Cabinet, and consequently of Parliament, in all representations to the Governor, and through him to the British Crown. We 'have here a Federation of all Australia. I could make a quotation showing that there was a certain sensitiveness on the part of the Minister of Trade and Customs as to what his colleague, in the leadership of the Government, should be saying or doing without his authority or consent. In the circumstances, we ought to know exactly what the members of the Government propose to do, and on what principles they 'are going. They have told us that every one of their number is to do as he likes on everything but the Trades Marks Bill.


Mr Batchelor - They are solid on the Trades Marks Bill.


Mr SPENCE - They hope to gratify their ambition by putting the Trades Marks Bill through with their imprint - to show that they were in office for, at any rate, a short time. We have, however, yet to learn that they are solid on the Trades Marks Bill. I am prepared to prophecy that they are not solid on anything but what I have emphasized throughout my address, and that is on being antilabour. " Socialism " is only a bogy. There is no more in it than there is in the statement we often hear about driving out capital. What we have a right to be judged by is what we do, and what we propose to do in our platform, and not by what certain people choose to say we propose to do. We do not go to a man's enemy to get his character, or to find out his views. If we desire to know what his views are, we go to him direct, and it is unfair to the Labour Party, as a party, as it would be unfair to the Government, to ask our opponents what are our views. All that the members of the present Government have done so far has been to set up a bogy and then throw stones at it. The speeches which have been made by both heads of the Government, whether they are called half, or double Prime" Ministers, have been devoted to an attack, not upon what the Labour Government had done, or proposed to do as a Government, but upon something founded upon misrepresentations which have been made outside Parliament, and, in some instances, in Parliament - something that has no existence, except in the imagination of some honorable gentlemen opposite, or of those outside who are attempting just now to prevent an accession to the numbers of the Labour Party in t'he event of a dissolution. They may as well attempt to stop the tide with a broom, as a celebrated character in fiction is supposed to have attempted to do, as to try to stem the tide of democracy in the Commonwealth. People are daily becoming more educated, and largely through the propaganda work of the Walpoles and Tom Manns, who are all doing some good.


Mr McDonald - Tom Mann has been one of the best organizers we have ever had.


Mr SPENCE - That is so. We stand, however, on the economic basis, which I have quoted, and on that we shall score every time. Honorable members opposite are joined to the reactionary forces that are economically a hundred years behind the age - in the Imperialistic period, the period of the autocrat, of slavery, and of sweating. I by no means charge every honorable member opposite with being of these classes, but I speak of the organizations which are the. mouthpieces of these classes. Between a Government representing a minority and people who believe in Imperialism, the difference is only one of degree, and not of principle. Government by a second Chamber, elected by a minority of the community, is Imperialistic and autocratic. It is only a question of degree. We in this Parliament have laid down a broad franchise for both Chambers, and it is wrong that any Government favouring class representation should be in power in this Parliament for a day. Those who vote against labour men, honestly believing that they represent a class, do right; but we say that, since the Labour Party took an active part in politics, we have denounced class legislation, and we came into existence mainly because of class legislation, and for the purpose of abolishing it. We give intelligent and close study to these questions, and we are not likely to fall into the error of setting up something which we became organized to knock down. I may have spoken somewhat warmly, but honorable members will know that I have spoken politically, and that, personally, I have a great respect for all honorable members, and for all honest differences of opinion. I have felt that we have reached a time when serious developments external to this Chamber, and influencing the policy of Parliament within, are moving with great rapidity. I feel that the Labour Party are in duty bound now to make the departure which we are making, and that we should' no longer say to the present Government, as we have said to past Governments - "If you put proper legislation through, it will be all right, and we shall not care by what name you are labelled 1." We contend that the present is ar. altogether exceptional case. The manner by which the present Government secured office, as well as the work they are doing, the people with whom they are associated, and their whole surroundings, must be taken into consideration. In our opinion, it must be detrimental to the best interests of the Commonwealth to allow them to retain office for one day longer than we can help, and chiefly because they propose to set up class rule and class domination, and to bring us back to past ideals from which we hoped we had for ever escaped.







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