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Tuesday, 20 September 1904

10.   12. 1903. - Now, whether we like it or not, we cannot get away from the questions which are at issue - fiscal peace under Mr. Deakin, or fiscal war under Mr. Reid. It all comes down to that in the end. 14.12.1903. - We cannot doubt, from the history of many Victorian elections, that liberal protectionists form the vast majority of the voters of this State. These people all want to see the Tariff battle cease for a few years. They want fiscal peace as proclaimed by the Deakin Government. 16.12. 1903. - To-day the electors will return their verdict. They are to-day more truly a jury in their country's cause. For this State, we know beforehand, the overwhelming preponderance of the popular voice is for the Deakin Government and fiscal peace as against Reid. and another fiscal war. 18.12.1903. - The net result of the whole polling in all the six States is to leave the strength of the respective parties almost exactly as before, with, perhaps, a gain of one seat to the Government, and a more solid vote than ever for fiscal peace and preferential trade. Indeed, on the one chief point which Mr. Reid insisted on making his battle cry - that of Tariff revision - he is hopelessly beaten. 19.12.1903. - When the new Houses meet, the Opposition will find itself powerless to make an effectual attack on the Tariff. That matter is, therefore, at rest for three years at least. . . .

There can be no longer any doubt about the verdict of the people on this' fiscal issue. The new Parliament will contain at least a majority of nine protectionists, and a majority of twentynine pledged to fiscal peace. 30.12.1903. - The free-traders, having fought and lost the late election as enemies of fiscal peace, are now putting out feelers for an alliance with the protectionists. . . ' . It is much more useful to recall to mind the. true division of parties as they came from the country on the issues fought there. These are -


When Mr. Reid says he does not think the fiscal question can be re-opened, he may be thanked for nothing.

1.   1. 1904. - For one thing, we have cast off definitely the threats of the free-trade leader that he would force a new struggle over the Tariff.....

As to the fiscal question, that will be at rest for a few 'years at least; and for this respite every one will be thankful.

4.   1. 1904. - The Prime Minister (Mr. Deakin) has just made manifest one of the good results of getting the fiscal question out of the way.

That was published this year ! Now I will pass on. We came out of this contest before the electors as representatives of the people. The then Prime Minister, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, honorably acknowledged . the issue that he put to the people, and he was gratified, as he might well be, at the fact that an unmistakable majority had responded to his demand for a fiscal truce, and that there should be no Tariff campaign in the new Parliament. Whilst the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, the then Prime Minister, was making this statement, I interjected " Yes, I must admit that was the decision of the constituencies."

Mr Mauger - That was after the event.

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