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Tuesday, 20 September 1904


Mr SPEAKER - Will the Prime Minister please withdraw that statement?


Mr Reid - Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I shall say that the statement is absolutely incorrect.


Mr HUGHES - In the New South Wales Parliament of 1894 he had a majority which, as I have already mentioned, was made up of three members whose1 votes never went on his side during that Parliament - men who were his most bitter personal as well as political opponents.


Mr Reid - I have even now a number of such opponents.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - - Those men principally opposed the right honorable member .because the Labour Party supported him.


Mr HUGHES - What has that to do with the matter?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the honorable and learned member cannot see what bearing my remark has upon the subject he must be verv dense.


Mr HUGHES - The honorable member for Parramatta may as well attend to his own little shortcomings, and leave the right honorable gentleman to look after himself. He is well able to do so.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I shall also attend to the honorable and learned member.


Mr HUGHES - The Prime Minister, who came into office to restore majority rule and responsible government, never held office, with the exception of a few months which I have mentioned without our support. Even during those few months he held office because we fought for the same principle. And yet he speaks of coming into power to establish majority rule ! He has come in with a majority of two, and he is afraid to-night that that majority has dwindled away to nothing. When one honorable member incautiously pinned' his card to a seat on the Ministerial side of the House, the Prime Minister said, " My majority has gone up 100 per cent." How much has it now gone down ? Two hundred per cent. He wishes to know why we oppose his Government. Let me tell him. I hold that we have a right to oppose a Ministry that came into power to restore responsible government, and has evaded all responsibility by crawling on all fours ever since. We have a right to oppose a Ministry which came in to restore responsible government, but whose first public announcement is that it is not going to be put out of office until it is pulled out with a block and tackle. When I made an interjection a few nights ago about responsible government, the Prime Minister replied. " There is no rule without an exception." The right honor- able gentleman is made up of exceptions, and so is his Ministry. Yet he has come in to restore responsible government.! He came into office once before, in the Parliament of New South Wales, to take the burdens off the shoulders of the poor. He did a little in that direction, and has never done anything since. The right honorable gentleman is very anxious to know something about the new alliance. A complete statement of its principles, and the terms upon which it united, has been published, but I desire to say that it has something better even than that to recommend it. It is an alliance of men who, so far as principles, excepting fiscalism, are concerned, are absolutely united. The members of the alliance believe in the same principles, and what is more natural than that men who are agreed upon essentials should combine? The Prime Minister desires to know what sacrifice of principle is involved. Let me deal with that question. I take the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. He is a protectionist, and has never hesitated to declare that he is. I am a free-trader, and no one will deny that, when I have stood on the free-trade ticket, I have always done my part in the advocacy of free-trade. I am so much a better freetrader than is the right honorable gentleman that, unlike him and the honorable member for Lang, I am in favour of resorting to land values taxation. The honorable member for Lang is opposed to land values taxation.


Mr Johnson - The honorable member for Lang will speak for himself.


Mr HUGHES - The honorable member surely cannot be the " Mr. Johnson " who spoke the other evening at the Henry George celebration. He cannot be the honorable member for Lang, who delivered an address on " Henry George and land values taxation," and the Prime Minister, who is opposed to land values taxation, surely cannot be the man who, in 1894, stumped New South Wales in favour of that principle.


Mr Webster - He is.


Mr HUGHES - These honorable members now talk of free-trade. My record, as a free-trader, will bear favorable comparison with that of the Prime Minister, and the record of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports as a protectionist will bear favorable comparison with that of the Minister of Trade and Customs.


Mr Maloney - It is much better.


Mr HUGHES - On every point, except fiscalism, I venture to say that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and I are perfectly in accord.


Mr Robinson - Then why did the Labour Party oppose him at the last election?


Mr HUGHES - I am just about to deal with our methods. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports says that he does not approve of our pledge; but on the broad principles which underlie our platform he and I are agreed. There is, therefore, nothing more natural than that, in the face of these serried ranks of honorable members opposite who have abandoned every principle, we should join our forces. We have before us the honorable member for Parramatta, hand in glove with the honorable member for Kooyong, and the sworn brother of the honorable member for Flinders. The honorable member for Parramatta also finds a particular friend in the honorable member for Corangamite. And so the list goes on. What more natural in these circumstances than that we, who believe in the same principles, but are not quite agreed as to the method of attaining those principles, should now band ourselves together, stimulated, and, indeed, compelled to do so, by the combination that we see on the Ministerial benches, consisting of honorable teembers who have abandoned every principle of which they have for a long time declared themselves in favour, and who apparently have no set principles, except a desire to get into recess as quickly as possible, and to evade the consequences of their treachery and misdeeds. When we compare the alliance with the coalition we find in our ranks no such divergences of opinion as are represented by the honorable and learned member for Parkes, and the honorable member for Lang.


Mr Johnson - The honorable and learned member for Parkes is a better judge of democracy than is the honorable and learned member.


Mr Page - The honorable member's idea of democracy is a remarkable one.


Mr HUGHES - If, as I understand, the honorable member for Lang regards the honorable and learned member for Parkes as an ideal democrat, it would ill become me to disturb such a pleasing belief. All that i have to say is that, as the honorable and learned member for Parkes has been throughout his political life bitterly opposed to everything that the honorable member for Lang has permitted a longsuffering country to believe he insisted on, either one or the other cannot be a democrat. They cannot both be democrats, and I shall leave them to settle the delicate question as to which of the two is. The right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government is not a Socialist, or at any rate he is only a kind of " so-so Socialist." He is in favour of Socialism as long as it does not interfere with the exercise of individual freedom. He does not mind how far the Government and the nation go in restricting individual liberty. That is to say, so far as a straight line is a straight line, and can be made straight without curves he is in favour of straight lines, but when it comes to corkscrews - when it comes to circles - he altogether objects to straight lines. When we have a clear, definite, and unambiguous statement of that kind, no man can be under any misapprehension any longer. My right honorable and learned friend at the head of the Government, says he is opposed to Socialism. He says, "Restrict human liberty only so far as is necessary ; but I will go no further " ; and he does not even go so far ! But what is the position of the honorable and learned member for Parkes? He, at any rate, is logical. His position requires no defence. By right of his opinions, he takes his position on the Government side of the House. He is opposed to our party, because he is a Spencerian, who believes to the very uttermost in individual effort, as opposed to State aid, or governmental effort. He believes in the " survival of the fittest ' ' without qualification. He believes in no public libraries, no State-owned tramways, no public baths or washhouses, no municipal effort. He stands as a clear individualist, without any sort of kink or reservation. Mv right honorable friend, the leader of the Government, has never dared to oppose State railways or State tramways. He is in favour of doing anything that he can do towards assisting individual effort, when it can be done without affecting individual liberty - and above all, can be done without risking his position upon the Treasury bench. Here, then, is a combination - the right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government, the honorable and learned member for Parkes, and the honorable member for Flinders, who stands, I suppose, as the living embodiment of individual effort. He, however, is at least not so consistent as the honorable and learned member for

Parkes. As the leader of the Opposition said this afternoon, he is not one of those anti-Socialists who want everything done for them by the State, but refuse to allow the State to do anything for anybody else. The head of the Government says that one of the reasons why he is opposed to us is, that we stand for class legislation. I would ask the honorable member for Flinders, when he has time to get this idea thoroughly into him. I should like him to tell the House what he calls class legislation. Is it not class legislation to give to one section of the community aids in the direction of butter bonuses, assistance in the way of irrigation, and cheaper freights, and greater opportunities for displaying their goods in the markets of the world, and otherwise? Are not all these things advantages for a class? It is very necessary that they should be done - very desirable. And I stand by everything that the leader of the Opposition said on this subject. I desire that these people should get all these things, but not that they only should get them. I desire that some other sections of the community should get similar advantages. So that we are not for a class, as the head of the Government and the honorable member for Flinders and others are for 'a class ; but we are for the whole nation. That is our position. We are opposed to this Government, that has come in, according to one of its leaders, to oppose Socialism, to restore responsible government, and to fight against class legislation, but which has behind it the Property Owners' Association. What is a property owner? How does he differ from an ordinary man? We stand for men - for citizens - not for property owners. Every man and every woman is not asked whether he or she has any property, on wishing to join our associations. We do not ask whether they have " a stake in the country." It is sufficient for us that they are men and women. That is all that we want to know, and we are here to help them. If they are down-trodden and suffering an injustice we are ready to help them. So much for class legislation, and now for another matter. My right honorable friend came in to abolish third parties - or at all events, one of the heads of the combination did. I give the Prime Minister credit for this - that he does not stand here to abolish anything that will abolish him. It so happens that the abolition of third parties would destroy my right honorable friend. Therefore, he is opposed to their abolition.


Mr Reid - Honorable members opposite, of course, came in to abolish themselvespoor disinterested people !


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable member for five years in New South Wales lived by virtue of a third party. To-day he is quite consistent to his old belief and opinions. He is living by a third party, or, for aught I know, by a third and a fourth, party. There is one party who stand by themselves - that solid phalanx of men who represent people who have a " stake in the country," men of solid and prosperous appearance, who are so different from us wretched Cassiuses. We are not sleek, fat-headed men. I am sorry that we are not. The honorable members to whom I refer are such men as Caesar would have desired to have about him -

Let me have men about me that are fat, sleekheaded men, and such as sleep o' nights;

They sleep o' nights, while other poor devils perhaps cannot sleep by virtue, it may be, of some of the laws which these gentlemen are going to oppose or introduce. We are asked why we oppose this combination. What is the position that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat occupies in this interesting coalition? Where is he? He does not believe in the policy of the coalition Government to the extent of joining it. He believes that the coalition is a jolly fine thing, but he will not become a member of it. His statement about it is very much like the advice given by certain people - "Go on the land; cultivate the soil"; b'ut who will not go on the land themselves, and who would never cultivate anything more than a geranium in a flower-pot. The h'onorable and learned member for Ballarat says that he is opposed to our party, because we are over-organized, because we are dominated by machine politics, and because we are controlled by caucuses of men outside Parliament. He desires to re-establish responsible government, and so he gives his support to a Ministry which comes in to restore responsible government. How gratified he must be at their early movements made in that direction ! I feel sure that he sheds tears of joy to see the herculean efforts of the Prime Minister towards that end. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat went out of office because he considered that third parties were obnoxious. He must be highly pleased with the result of his action. He is followed by a small and rapidly diminishing band of faithful men who will not go into the ordinary room which the followers of the Government use, but go into a little room of their own. If the fates are as kindly to them as they have been, the honorable and learned member will soon be able to put his party into a piano-box or a packingcase. He started out with a party of some fifteen or sixteen, or more. They are down to some six now. Some of them sit opposite; some of them are with us. None of them . are dead, I hope ; but at any rate there are very few left. Some have been seduced by the siren's voice of the half-head of the MinistryThere they are - two of them - no, there are three, and they have accepted the advice of the right honor: able gentleman, and gone into the thing thoroughly. They have trampled on their scruples, and they have forgotten their little remarks to their electors. Some were not asked to join the Ministry, and the iron has entered into their, souls ; and with the faithful leader of the party, who believes in the abolition of third parties, they have. gone into a little room of their own. And if the honorable and learned member for Ballarat says to-morrow that black is white will the right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government say that it is not? The Government is absolutely at the mercy of that eloquent, inconsistent, and ingenious gentleman who set out to destroy a third party by the extraordinary expedient of establishing four, and who restored responsible government by putting in a Government which denounced the late Government because it had a " crawling " policy, and has substituted a policy of crawling away with tremendous energy and towards the lettuce of recess. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat .is in favour of the abolition of third parties ; arid I want to know what party he is leading now - the second party, the third party - or the fourth party? At. any rate, he will not acknowledge such men as the honorable member for Kooyong, the honorable member for Flinders, the honorable member for Corangamite, or the honorable and learned member for Wannon.


Mr Wilson - Why not?


Mr HUGHES - Why not? Ask me not why not. Ask the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. I think that this refusal of recognition gives the honorable member for Corangamite a legitimate ground for complaint against the honorable! and learned member for Ballarat. Are those gentlemen- illegitimate followers of the honorable and learned member, that he will not acknowledge them. Why the honorable and learned member will not acknowledge them I do not know. Perhaps the room will not hold any more. A humorous effort was made by a newspaper a little while ago, when it said that only seven gentlemen attended the alliance meeting. How many followed the honorable and learned member for Ballarat into that little room? And who leads that other combination of righteous souls on the Government front cross bench? Is the honorable member for Moira in this, or that, or the other combination? Where does he sit? Where does he stand ? Where1 is his resting place ? We have a right to know. The Prime Minister says that the country wants to know all about the alliance on this side. What the country really wants to know all about, is what the present Government are doing in office ? The Government came in to do something that the previous Government were unable to do. The present Government came in to restore responsible government. When the Prime Minister sat in Opposition he said that not for twenty-four hours ought the Labour Government to be allowed to remain in power, for we were, as it were, cutting right into the heart of responsible government - cutting right into the heart of those representative institutions under which the Empire has reached its present imposing proportions. But the Prime Minister never did anything after that. ' Having counted noses, he found that while not a day should be lost, many days had to be lost owing, to the fact that he had' no majority, and the time went on. Instead of challenging the late Government, as one would imagine such a man of principle would, he simply waited until the honorable and learned member for Corinella moved his ingenious little amendment. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat, whose speech about the Arbitration Bill would have moved even the angels to admiration, drafted, or assisted in drafting, that amendment.


Mr Reid - Who drafted the proposal of the Labour Party as to clause 48?


Mr HUGHES - By whom does the right honorable gentleman think the proposal was drafted?


Mr Reid - I have an idea it was not drafted in Melbourne.


Mr HUGHES - I trust the right honorable gentleman is not suggesting that we have any improper relations with any other place.


Mr Reid - None whatever - they are business relations.


Mr HUGHES - I thought the right honorable gentleman was going to suggest that it was not drafted on earth. The' emanations from this part of the House are deemed so suspicious as to lead to the belief that they come from " below."


Mr Reid - They would be too clever down " below " to make the mess which the party of the honorable and learned member did.


Mr HUGHES - I did not smell any brimstone about the amendment ; but the brimstone may have been there all the same. Anyhow, it was an amendment which the right honorable member, while not believing in it, voted for. He was quite surprised when the late Government elected to make it a point on which they should resign if defeated.


Mr Reid - No. I was not; I never expressed any surprise of the kind.


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable member said that he could not understand the late Government resigning on a matter of detail. "


Mr Reid - I said I could not understand the honorable member, after making the statement he did in the debate on the Address-in-Reply, .in reference to the 'action of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, doing as he did.


Mr HUGHES - That is another exception. I notice that when the honorable member for Bland declared his intention to regard the amendment as serious, the present Prime Minister said, " Quite right ! Quite right !"


Mr Reid - I should think so.


Mr HUGHES - There was an opportunity for the right honorable gentleman to attain the position he now occupies. We are opposed to this Government because it stands for a policy that dare not be enunciated. What is the Government policy? Why do those organizations outside, which stand for monopoly and reaction, pin their faith to the present Government? It is not because of any declaration of policy, or programme, because no declaration has been made. But they believe in the Tight honorable gentleman at the head of the Government, supported by the honorable member for Kooyong, and the Conservative corner, and by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, whose principles are hazy to a degree calculated to bring tears to the eyes of his friends, and joy to the hearts of his opponents. They believe that this Government is the only one that can help them, and that sooner or later, with, perhaps, a few recruits from this side, the Government will be able to put in force that policy for which the right honorable member, with as little reservation as is possible with him, says he stands. The Prime Minister stands for the policy of the abolition of a White Australia.


Mr Reid - The honorable and learned member will say anything after that, and he has been saying a good deal.


Mr HUGHES - The Prime Minister stands for the policy of the abolition of a White Australia.


Mr Reid - What rubbish!


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable gentleman said this afternoon that the section which permitted the six hatters to be detained-


Mr Reid - Are not our fellowcountrymen from England, Scotland, and Ireland white people? The honorable and learned member is a disgrace to the people from which he sprang, if he takes any other view.


Mr HUGHES - The Prime Minister has declared himself against the policy of a White Australia. But I ask him what he is going to do, not in the matter of the six hatters, but in the ' matter of six potters, whom he is now prosecuting in Sydney? Six potters were brought all the way from England and landed in this country. Although thev are here, citizens of our own flesh and blood, bone of our bone, sinew of our sinew, under the regime of the right honorable gentleman instructions have been given to the SolicitorGeneral of New South Wales to file against the man who brought them here an information under the section of the Act which did not permit of the six hatters coming in. Under the potters' thumb the right honorable gentleman now stands ; the mark of the. beast is on him.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What will the Argus say to-morrow?


Mr HUGHES - This is the right honorable gentleman of whom the Daily Telegraph on 17th November, 1903, said -

Mr. Reidhas specifically announced that he would endeavour, if placed in office, to repeal two enactments specially dear to the Labour Party, and which were only carried by the cordial co-operation of that party with the Government.


Mr Reid - Hear, hear; I have not repealed them yet.


Mr Batchelor - The right honorable gentleman does not dare to propose it.


Mr Reid - The honorable and learned member knows that I am sworn to carry out the laws of the country, and if I did not do it, he would accuse me of treachery in breaking the law.


Sir William Lyne - Of what did the right honorable gentleman accuse Sir Edmund Barton ?


Mr HUGHES - The Daily Telegraph further said -

One of these enactments is the notorious section of the Immigration Restriction Act, by which it was sought to keep the six hatters out of the Commonwealth. The other is the equally notorious section of the Postal Act by which the Government seek to prohibit mail, steamers from carryinglascar seamen.


Mr Reid - I said it to-day again.


Mr HUGHES - It is a singular thing, and something more than a coincidence, that the right honorable gentleman should in the last few days have been compelled to bow down to these two enactments.


Mr Reid - To the law; that is what I bowed to.


Mr HUGHES - He has permitted an information to be laid against the men to whom I have referred. Proceedings have been directed to be taken, by the Department over which the right honorable gentleman presides against a man in Sydney for importing six potters into the State of New South Wales under contract.


Mr Reid - And in violation of the law, which I am sworn to administer.


Mr HUGHES - And the six hatters were introduced also in violation of the law.


Mr Reid - On the contrary, they were admitted, on the ground that their introduction was not a violation of the law. That is the answer to that. They are here now.


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable gentleman seeks now to evade the full responsibility of his action. I ask the honorable and learned member for Ballarat whether it is not a fact that the point in dispute between Sir Edmund Barton, as Prime Minister, and Mr. Anderson, was simply this: that Mr. Anderson had not sought that permission to land those per- sons which the Act required before persons introduced under contract could be admitted ?


Mr Reid - It was not that at all.


Mr HUGHES - The honorable and learned member for Ballarat acknowledges that I have stated the matter correctly, and that is the refutation of the statement of the Prime Minister.


Mr Reid - The question was whether they came under that section or not.


Mr HUGHES - They had to ask permission.


Mr Groom - They had to get a certificate of exemption.


Mr HUGHES - Persons who had contracted to perform manual labour came within the section.


Mr Reid - The question was whether those persons did come within the section. That took a week to find out.


Mr HUGHES - And this is the first time the right honorable . gentlemanhas said, in his denunciation of the proceedings relating to the six hatters, that this was the matter to which he took exception - the question whether they came within the sectjonj. What he said, according to the Daily Telegraph, is something very different. According to that newspaper, he objected to keep men of our own flesh and blood out of the Commonwealth - our own race, white men.


Mr Reid - I say that now.


Mr HUGHES - Yet the right honorable gentleman now proposes to deport these six unfortunate potters - at any rate that could be done under the section - and to imprison the unfortunate man who brought them here - to paralyze his industry, and to drive out our own flesh and blood. The right honorable gentleman is pledged on this question. " If I have the opportunity," he said, " I will strike this iniquitous section out of the Act," and the first thing he does when he has the opportunity is to give instructions for a prosecution under it.


Mr Reid - What would the honorable and learned member say of me if I deliberately broke the law of the land? Would he not denounce me?


Mr HUGHES - I am not here as a magistrate to declare what I should do with the right honorable gentleman if he broke the law; but, as a member of the House of Representatives, I call upon the right honorable gentleman to redeem his pledge, and strike that section out of the Act. The right honorable gentleman not only gives orders for a prosecution under the Act, but he says, "I am now with men who believe in this Act, and I am not going to say one word against it any more."

To do a great right, do a little wrong;

And curb this cruel devil of his will.

The right honorable gentleman talks of breaking the law ; but if it suited him he would break the law and the prophets. He asks why we oppose the present Government coalition? I say, because it stands upon a policy which it dare not enunciate. It stands for a policy which, so far as it is enunciated, is entirely a policy of negation. What policy is the right honorable gentleman for? Is he for the policy of White Australia, or against it? He denounces it on one occasion, and yet orders a prosecution under the Act.


Mr Reid - The potters are white men, not blackfellows. What question of ' White Australia ' ' is raised by white men coming here.


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable gentleman said he was opposed to the section, until these potters came here. What sort of a White Australia would it be if the right honorable gentleman had his way ; or, rather, if the property-owners, the Employers' Association, and the other nonclass institutions which stand behind him had their way? He has said that we on this side are responsible for every word that Tom Mann has said.


Mr Maloney - A very good man, too.


Mr HUGHES - I do not know that I agree with everything that Tom Mann has said, but I know that I would much rather stand by what Mr. Mann has said than by what Mr. Walpole Has said. Let the Prime Minister stand by what Mr. Walpole has said. Let the right honorable gentleman go to his own electorate and advocate the policy put forward by Mr. Walpole. At any rate, that would be an honest course to take.


Mr Reid - I did not ask the honorable and learned member to advocate the cause of the disloyal men behind him - anarchists and republicans.


Mr HUGHES - Here is a statesman, a widely-read economic thinker, and he says that the anarchists are behind us. A man has only to go down to the Yarra Bank any Sunday he has an hour to spare, and he will hear the most unsparing denunciation of the Socialist Party by the Anarchists, and he can hear the most unsparing denunciation of the Labour Party by the Socialists, if he goes to Sydney.


Mr Reid - They will all vote for the honorable and learned member's crowd against ours.


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable member either does not know what he is talking about, or is saying that which is not true. At the last elections the Socialist party declined to vote for our nominees, and put up several candidates of their own. I have been opposed on two occasions by Socialists, and other members of the party to which I belong have been similarly opposed. >We oppose the present Government because its policy, so far as we can understand it, is to do nothing, to delay, and to hurry into recess. The Government have not dared to enunciate their true policy, but, judging by the appearance of those who sit behind them, it is a policy of reaction, a policy that stands for monopoly and for class legislation, a policy that would paralyze industrial legislation, and aims at holding back the swee'ping tide of democracy. It is a policy which is supported in this House by men who have abandoned every principle for which they have stood. I am not now referring to fiscal principles, because, of course, there is a fiscal truce. We are opposed to the Government because its members and those who support it have nothing in common with each other. Take the honorable member for Hunter. What are his views? Has he anything in common with the honorable member for Flinders?


Mr Liddell - Yes. We represent exactly the same kind of electorates - farming constituencies.


Mr Robinson - And they do not believe in bringing the farming industries under the Arbitration Bill, as the honorable and learned member and his party do.


Mr HUGHES - I have only lately realized what a happy escape I have made. I used to sit with some of those honorable gentlemen, and I thought that they were fairly democratic. I now understand that the honorable member for Flinders, who is one of the bulwarks of the men with a stake in the country in this great State of Victoria, and the advanced democrat who took the place of the conservative Sir Edmund Barton, who passed the White Australia legislation in which the Prime Minister does not believe, but which he either voted for or did not oppose, have the same opinions. What those opinions are no one seems to know.

Directly one asks, "Are you in favour of this? "he is told, "No, not just now." Judging by the men who sit behind it, the Government stands for the policy of reaction, of conservatism, of monopoly, and of class legislation. As such, I stigmatize them, and as such, I shall oppose them. The Prime Minister to-night said something about fiscalism, and contrived, in that way of which he is such a master, to make it appear that we are sacrificing something if we do not stand by our various fiscal opinions. I wish to say, first of all, that it is true that I stood with the right honorable gentleman as a freetrader in this Federal Parliament. I will not deny that I have always been a freetrader ; but I deny that for five years any man knew whether I was a protectionist or a free-trader. In New South Wales I sat behind the Government of which the right honorable member was at the head as a member of a party which had sunk the fiscal issue. One of the reasons why the honorable member for Parramatta left that party was that it sank the fiscal issue, which he regarded as of paramount importance.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is absolutely incorrect.


Mr HUGHES - I thank the honorable member for those words, for when he says that, I know that everything is right.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member is a good judge of what is right, and what is wrong. !


Mr HUGHES - I am indeed. ' I have seen the honorable member do so few right things, and so many wrong things, that I am an excellent judge. When he did right, I supported him ; but when he did wrong, I ceased to support him, and he went down, and has never been up since.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member never did any wrong in his life.


Mr HUGHES - I thank the honorable member. I shall get him to sign that statement, so that should I lose my present position, I may have a character which will take me anywhere.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member is a regular George Washington.


Mr HUGHES - I thank the honorable member again. The Prime Minister said to-night that we should stand by our fiscal opinions. For five years in New South Wales, the party to which I belong supported the Government which he led.

At that time, we were against having anything to do with, or to say upon, the fiscal question. I was elected on the first occasion in opposition . to a nominee of my right honorable friend; but afterwards) he did not oppose me, because he was afraid that, if he did, some one who would sit in opposition to his Government would be elected. There was, therefore, an alliance between himself and myself, and between himself and the party to which I belong. That alliance existed de facto for three elections. We went to the country together, and we worked together harmoniously. It was only in rare instances that a candidate of one party was opposed by a candidateof the other. During those four or five years, the right honorable gentleman did not say a word against our caucus methods or pledges. He was perfectly satisfied with the party, and was delighted with the way in which we supported him.


Mr Reid - The honorable and learned member is entirely wrong again. I publicly denounced the methods of the party during the elections of 1894. .


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable member, denounced us in 1894, before we supported him, but after we supported him he discontinued his denunciations until 1899, when we were again opposed to him, and he again denounced us.


Mr Reid - I would' take support from any one who would vote with me.


Mr HUGHES - Even the section of the Labour Party which supported the right honorable gentleman after 1899 were not denounced. Only quite lately he said nice things of the honorable member for Canobolas and myself, and exempted us from the avalanche of criticism which he levelled against our party generally. We had done all that was right, and he gave us a character' like that which the honorable member for Parramatta has just given to me. The Labour Party in New South Wales, for five years, supported a Ministry headed by the right honorable member, and went to the country practically in alliance with him. He cannot, and does not, deny that. We supported him, and he supported us. After five years we had to put the right honorable member out. and we put the honorable member for Hume in. The latter introduced legislation of which we approved, and a great deal more of it than the right honorable member had given to us. The Prime Minister said the other night that we had squeezed more out of' the honorable member for Hume in two years than out of him in five years ; but the truth is that the honorable member for Hume proved himself so much the better democrat, that in two or three years he gave the people of New South Wales more and better democratic legislation than the right honorable member had given to them in five years. That is a fact.


Mr Wilks - Legislation that he originally opposed.


Sir William Lyne - That is not so.


Mr HUGHES - I know that the honorable member for Dalley did not oppose that legislation.


Mr Wilks - I supported certain legislation, but not the honorable member for Hume.


Mr HUGHES - We supported that legislation. The honorable member knows very well, because he is perfectly acquainted with all the circumstances of the case, that we supported legislation introduced by the honorable member for Hume, who proved himself to be at least as good a democrat and a statesman as the Prime Minister. We passed legislation under his leadership which stands on the statutebook of New South Wales to-day, and which has done for the people of that State much that is good. Very many people bless the name of the Government that introduced and passed such legislation. Now we are told that we must stand fast by our fiscal opinions. This admonition comes from a gentleman who, all his life, has been a free-trader. He is a free-trader first, last, and all the time. Now I am not a free-trader, first, last, and all the time. I am a member of the Federal Labour Party, a member of the Labour Party of Australia, and I believe the aims of that party to be infinitely more important than fiscalism. I have declared not once, but a hundred times, in the Parliament of New South Wales, that I was in favour of the labour platform as opposed to fiscalism. The Prime Minister never said a word when Mr. McGowen and Mr. Arthur Griffith and other men who were solid protectionists gave his Free-trade Administration for five years their consistent support. He never said that they were betraying their principles. He accepted from- Mr. McGowen, and Mr. Griffith, and others, their faithful and unswerving support, and he relied upon them. Now he says that we must not, at this stage, do what we did then. As to what I am going to do upon the fiscal question in this Parliament, my position is abundantly clear. I was returned to revise the Tariff, and to support the right honorable gentleman in doing it. My honorable friend, like the brave old warrior that he is, never tried to do it. I remember him saying - when we members of the late Labour Party in New South Wales said that Federation would kill free-tr.ade, and when be knew it - " Let us have Federation, and I will fight like a tiger for free-trade."


Mr Reid - And so I did - more than the honorable and learned member ever did. Not once did he stand upon the platform with me in. support of that policy.


Mr HUGHES - That is one thing that stands to my eternal credit.


Mr Reid - The honorable and learned member took my flag and my support, but did not back me up.


Mr HUGHES - I never had, in my electorate, any man outside of my own party who said one word in my favour. I never asked for it, and the greatest boon that they could confer upon me was to keep away.


Mr Reid - What?


Mr HUGHES - The greatest boon they could confer upon me' was to keep away.


Mr Reid - Who are "they"?


Mr HUGHES - They are " they ; " ye are " they." I am not denying, and I have never denied that I was ready enough to accept the support of the Free-trade Party, and they have always been ready enough to accept mine.


Mr Wilks - Did not the honorable and learned member ask for the support of the Free-trade Party?


Mr HUGHES - Undoubtedly I did.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And received it to a verv material extent.


Mr Reid - When the storm was on the honorable and learned member was very good to me; we got on splendidly.


Mr HUGHES - I had a right, occupying the position that I did, to know whether or not the Free-trade Party proposed to supportmy candidature as a labour representative, and I asked the right honorable gentleman whether he proposed to sup- port me, and he said, " Of course." I had a right to expect that, because for four previous elections the right honorable gentleman had supported me.


Mr Reid - When the honorable and learned member explained that he was free on the fiscal question I was quite satisfied.


Mr HUGHES - On the fiscal question, I was returned to this Parliament to revise the Tariff, and I followed my right honorable friend, because he was the reviser.


Mr Reid - And now the honorable and learned member is following the honorable member for Indi.


Mr HUGHES - For two and a half hours I listened to the right honorable gentleman, and did not interject once, and I cannot go on if he persistently interrupts me.


Mr Reid - I shall not do so any further.


Mr HUGHES - The right honorable gentleman was returned here to revise the Tariff. Now, what did he say? He is reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of 1 8th August, 1903, as having spoken as follows : -

I want to tell . you frankly that, although all sorts of temptations have been addressed to me to sink the fiscal question, and although I believe I would be an infinitely stronger man, so far as the whole of Australia is concerned, if I would only sink this question, I cannot do it. My whole public career would be a fraud if I endeavoured to get political power by sacrificing the great principle of my political existence.


Mr Reid - Hear, hear !


Mr HUGHES - Now the right honorable gentleman is a free-trader first, last, and all the time. I am not, and never have been, and do not want to be. I believe that free-trade is a better policy than protection, but I have declared, and I say again, that the planks of the labour platform are infinitely more important to me than any form of fiscalism. Does the right honorable gentleman say that a White Australia - or rather a Black Australia - is more important to him than fiscalism? No. He says free-trade is to him the beginning and end of everything; and yet there he sits in calm community with the Minister of . Trade and Customs, the Treasurer, and the Minister of Defence. These three protectionists and another leaven the lump. The right honorable gentleman has sunk his fiscal belief. He is in favour of amending the Immigration Restriction Act with a view to removing the present restrictions upon, the immigra tion of contract labourers, but he will not do that at this stage, because his friends in the Ministry do not agree with him. In fact, the right honorable gentleman is a seething volcano of convictions, but he cannot find an opportunity to carry them into effect. He says he will fight like a tiger for free-trade, and he will fight more like a hyena to carry out his other convictions ; but circumstances are not favorable, and he cannot go on. He asks us to formulate in detail our objections to the Government. Why, it is with difficulty that we can bring ourselves to consider the claims of such a combination to ordinary treatment. Consider the circumstances under which the late Government came into office, and the conditions under which they were thrown out. Consider the promise we got from the honorable and learned member for Ballarat that we should have fair play. Consider the circumstances connected with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. Consider the volume of opinion in this House that had led the country to believe it was in favour of the whole of that measure, and consider how it changed the moment that we assumed control of it. The head of the fourth party, or the third party in this Chamber - the honorable and learned member for Ballarat - wanted to give us fair play. He himself said so. He was in favour of entering into an alliance with us. That honorable and learned member who is opposed to the existence of third parties and to the methods of the Labour Party, made overtures to us some considerable time before the House met, that we should join with him. He did nonqualify those overtures with any objection to our methods, to those irresponsible persons outside of Parliament, to the caucus, to the pledge, or to anything else. He was willing to ally himself with our party, ignoring ,what he now professes to regard as blemishes in our movement and platform. The House met. He was still in favour of an alliance, so much in favour of an alliance as such, irrespective of the party with whom he allied himself, that he was also in favour of an alliance with the right honorable member for East Sydney. That was, indeed, putting the virtues of an alliance before anything else. He made overtures to the right honorable member for East Sydney, and to us. We were unable to agree to his overtures. The right honorable member for East Sydney was in a very different position. He had taken a very rapid bird's eye view of the situation, and saw clearly enough that there was no hope from fiscal strife, or anything in that direction. . He knows when he is " licked," and says so. Anybody who has watched his career would know so much without his saying so. No man accepts defeat more readily, or declares it more readily, when it suits his purpose to do so. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was negotiating with two parties at the same time. The right honorable member for East Sydney objected to that. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat said he was very sorry, but could not help it. It was one of the consequences of his insatiate desire for an alliance of some sort, and if there had been three or four parties in the House, doubtless he would have offered to ally himself with every one of them. That is why I cannot understand why the honorable member for Corangamite has not been admitted to the little room in which the Ministerial protectionists meet. Yet, although the honorable and learned' member for Ballarat wanted to ally himself with the Labour Party, because he conceived it would be a natural alliance with the Liberal Party which hd was leading, he now stands behind the present Ministry, the head of which says he is glad to intimate that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat is his warmest friend, and that he has now only one mission in .life; namely, to bring the blessings of brotherly love to the people of Victoria from those of New South Wales. He declares that his one mission in life is to bear the olive branch. He desires to embrace al! the people of Victoria. He loves them so much that he wishes them to understand that those cruel things which he uttered a little time ago, were uttered in a frenzy, and must not be considered seriously. According to the Age of 17 th May, 1904-

There is really a good deal of humour in politics " would men observingly distil it out." One exquisite piece of it lies in* the tearful yearnings of the inventor of the Petriana Myth towards Mr. Deakin. Only a few months ago, when the local free-trade press was vainly trying to get the Victorian electors to accept Mr. Reid's nominees and throw over those of Mr. Deakin, no abuse was too rabid, and no falsehood too foul, with which to bespatter the protectionist leader. He was held up to the odium of the world at large as a man who pushed shipwrecked sailors back into the sea, and denied them a foothold in Australia. When Mr. Deakin branded1 these fictions with the name of the " Petriana Myth," and proved by irrefragable documents that his accusers had deliberately invented their accusations, he was told that he was a mere tool of the Labour Party, ready to cling to office by any means, however grovelling.

That represents the attitude of the right honorable member for East Sydney towards the honorable and learned member for Ballarat a little time ago. Now all is changed.


Mr REID - I never made such a statement, and only the Age, would, say so. It is an absolutely false statement.


Mr HUGHES - Anyhow, the Age does say so. When the late Government came into office, the1 honorable and learned member for Ballarat was still smarting under these gentle, amicable olive branch overtures on the part of the right honorable member for East Sydney, and he would not look at him. On the contrary, he declared that he1 was one of our warmest friends. According to the Age of 19th May, of the present year -

When Mr. Watson sat down yesterday, after making his statement to the House, of the Ministerial programme for the current session, Mr. Deakin rose and complimented him on having announced a policy almost identical with that which had been agreed upon between Mr. Reid and himself. .

The honorable and learned member for Ballarat promised that we should receive fair play. At that time he was not opposed to our party to the extent to which he has latterly betrayed himself, but he was still angling for a coalition with the supporters of the right honorable member for East Sydney. Upon 20th May last the Age said -

The liberal caucus has silenced the cry of conservative coalition.

The honorable and learned member for Ballarat did not begin to see the! vices which are inherent in the organization of the Labour Party until some time after. Possibly he thought that the Watson Government would fall into decrepitude and decay almost before it was out of its swaddling clothes. Possibly he hoped for' the very best - that is, for the very worst. Perhaps he thought that we .should require his assistance - that we should run to' him, as to a foster mother. At any rate, we were promised fair play at his hands, and we expected to receive it. He urged then, as the chief reason why he acted as he did, that three parties in the House were undesirable, and rendered constitutional government impossible. Upon 23rd May last the honorable and learned member had altered his opinions to such an extent that the Age made the following remarks -

Mr. Deakinis at great pains to emphasize the differences between himself and Mr. Watson, and to minimize the points of dissimilarity between himself and Mr. Reid. . . . Having admitted that the business programmes are identical, he flies off to something which Mr. Watson has outlined as possible work for another session ; and so, as there are no difficulties for to-day drags in possible differences of the future. That is not the attitude of a friendly critic, and shows a disposition of .mind which is anxious to cause a quarrel. But the singular thing is that the leader who thus strains after something to justify him in opposing men to whom he has promised a fair trial quite ignores the dangerous differences which ought to have guarded him against all present thought of coalition with the free-trade leader.

Here then, the honorable and learne'd member for Ballarat begins to evidence that objection to the Labour Party which latterly has become accentuated. Now he is not only opposed to third parties as such, but he is opposed to the Labour Party as such - the very party with which, a few weeks or a few months ago, he was perfectly willing to ally himself, upon almost any terms - at any rate upon equal terms. As to this coalition, to which my honorable and learned friend has lent his powerful aid, but to which' he has not committed himself body and soul, I would remind the House that as formerly projected, it was dealt with by the Age in its issue of 26th May last! I understand that the present coalition is the lineal' descendant of that first proposed. I presume that the basis which supported the one first proposed supports the present. May I ask the Prime Minister for an approving nod.


Mr Reid - The honorable and learned member will not allow me to interrupt.


Mr HUGHES - Jove sleeps. I presume that the present coalition is the same as that which formed the subject of the famous effort made by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.


Mr Watson - He said some time ago that it was not the same ; therefore, there has been no public notice of the understanding.


Mr HUGHES - If it be not the old coalition, what is it? What guarantee has the honorable and learned member for Ballarat that it is going to do that which be' said it would ? Where is the agreement for the maintenance of a White Australia? Has my honorable and learned friend not obtained it? I believe that he has. Can he' rely on it? I believe that he cannot? Is he satisfied with a mere declaration? Does he not desire that it shall be in black arid white ? Will the honorable and learned member who does not believe in written pledges take the mere ipse dixit of my right honorable friend in this matter ? I do not think that he will. I think he betrays a weakness in this little matter for black and white. And the Prime Minister, who has nothing but scorn for the labour pledge, says of the terms of the alliance, '' Let us see it in black and white." Will he not take the word of an honorable member ? It is, nevertheless, very convenient apparently to have everything in black and white. Now, this is what the

Agesaid of the coalition as first proposed in its issue of 26th May last : -

It may be at once conceded that if a coalition were necessary to make a policy effective, or to avoid any great danger to the integrity of parties, a coalition between the Liberals and the Labour Government would be quite a natural one. It would be a coming together of the two great branches of the Liberal party - a union mostly of affinities as contrasted with a union of discords in the proposed coalition with the conservative free-traders.

Here, then, we find that the Age emphasized that coalition which it believed ought to have been effected. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was in favour of that coalition, but it did not come about, and he has ever since consistently opposed the party to which I belong. I have merely a few more words to say on the attitude of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, and I shall have done. The honorable and learned member was in office for nearly three years as a member of the Barton Government. During that time the Labour Party supported him, and he never said a word against it. Then he became Prime Minister, the Labour Party supported him, and he still was silent as to our organization and our methods. He next went to the country, and the verdict was so much in our favour that he thought it would be unwise to continue without our aid. He then requested us to join him. He made overtures of the most liberal character to us, and said not one word against our pledge, our methods, or our outside organizations. He did this publicly, in his Ballarat speech, and subsequently privately. We did not accept those overtures. He hoped by decisive action, possibly, to bring us to his way of thinking. Following that, he offered to coalesce with the right honorable member for East Sydney. He still hoped, I believe, during all this time, to coalesce with us. He never shut the door to a coalition with the Labour Party even while he was endeavouring to coalesce with the party led by the present Prime Minister. After that coalition had been consummated, however, he denounced our methods, although not to the extent he has since done. He denounced third-party Government, the methods of our selection, and everything in connexion with us. He demanded that the Labour Party, because of these things, should go out. At the very time that he was willing to coalesce with our party he had apparently some over whelming objection to us. As time went on his denunciations became more bitter, And so we come down to the present day. We find that for three years he accepted our support, and said nothing against us. We find him during all this time willing to accept the aid that we would give him, glorifying in it, and willing enough to join with us in preference to coalescing with the party led by the right honorable member for East Sydney. Having coalesced with that party, however, he gradually withdrew that fair-play treatment that he- had so liberally promised, and now we have not a more consistent opponent than is my honorable and learned friend. That is a very saddening reflection, and it is a matter which I should be glad to hear the honorable and learned member attempt to explain. On a previous occasion he smarted so much under some criticisms that I had offered, that he made some personal accusations against me - -accusations which perhaps would have come better from some other man - but I ask him now to endeavour to explain, if he can, not to me, but to the country, the attitude at present taken up by him. I call upon him to explain his opposition to third parties, when he himself leads such a third party; that little band of honorable members who go with him to the little room to which I have referred. I ask him to say whether the members of that little band owe allegiance first to him, or to .the Government. I ask him to say where he stands with the conservative phalanx on the front cross bench on the Government side, and also to state how he stands in regard to democracy in Australia, in regard to the policy of a White Australia, and to that reversal of such a policy which the Prime Minister has promised. The people of Australia have a right to receive an answer to these questions. If they be answered, we shall know something about majority rule ; we ' shall then learn who is ruling the country - whether the little band behind my honorable and learned friend control it, whether it is run by the conservative phalanx in the Government corner, or whether it is controlled by my right honorable friend who has placed himself in the hands of outside class organizations, employers' unions, and property-owners' associations to such an extent that he stands here to-day without a declared policy, except that of getting into recess. He has thrown over the High Commissioner Bill. Where is the right honor- able member whose last "Swan" song amused the late Government? He has been thrown over because the Government's march to a speedy recess would not be expedited by the introduction of the High Commissioner Bill. The Prime Minister has inquired why we are opposed to him, and has requested us to formulate some reason for seeking to displace him. The late Government were butchered in the most cowardly and unprecedented fashion by honorable members who had not the courage to formulate in detail their reasons for displacing it, and were unable to deal with us as every other Government has been dealt with in this House, irrespective of from what section of the House it came. This Government, which comes into office with its hands stained with the last Government's blood, composed of honorable members who have abandoned their principles, and have nothing in' common save a desire to remain where they are, now ask for consideration. If the Government wish to know why we are opposed to it, let me say that it is because it stands for reaction, for monopoly, for class legislation, and for what it terms " anti-Socialism." I shall not deal with that phase of the question, for it has already been dealt with by the leader of the Opposition. The difference between the policy of our party and that of the Government, so far as it has been enunciated this afternoon by my right honorable friend, may be briefly stated. The Prime Minister says the difference between his party and ours, so far as Socialism is concerned, is that while we are prepared to gp to extremes - to socialize everything - he will only go a certain length in that direction^ I appeal to him to be specific in this matter, and to tell us at what particular point he will stop. Where will he stop? As for us, our policy is clear, and our methods are open to all men. We would socialize everything when, and only when, it became a monopoly. When it is necessary in the interests of the community to socialize anything, is when, in our opinion, it has become a monopoly, and, therefore, dangerous to human liberty. Let my right honorable friend dare to say what his masters outside wish him to say, that he stands against Socialism in that direction, and that he will not nationalize monopolies because the employers' associations outside and other associations - class associations - that he stands for, are in favour of them. We are opposed to this Government, because it has no policy. We are opposed to it, because it threatens us with a dissolution if we dare to do anything against it. We are opposed to it because it is made up of men who have nothing in common. We are opposed to it because it crawls on all fours towards recess, and because it stands for nothing but reaction.


Mr Reid - Has the honorable gentleman got to the peroration yet ?


Mr HUGHES - Peroration, with an individual like the right honorable gentleman sitting in front of me ! He interrupts in such a way that Demosthenes himself would be unable to perorate under the circumstances. If I were to perorate as I should like to do, I should tell of a man who has shamefully betrayed his hustings pledges, as the right honorable gentleman has done, and it would be a peroration that would burn into his heart and mind, and be engraven there for ever. It would be a peroration that would penetrate even that pachydermatous hide of his that no ordinary criticism seems to be able to pierce. He would not then sneer about a peroration, but would betake himself to some quiet, secluded recess, where he could commune with himself and ask whether repentance was not possible. We have no confidence in this Government, we can have none, and, therefore, we oppose it. I believe that if an appeal were made to the country, the people of Australia would be only too ready to approve our opinions as to this Ministry. We believe that this Government does not occupy the Treasury bench by the will of the people of Australia. We say that it is there first of all by a trick, and secondly as the result of a combination of men who have abandoned their principles. Not all of them ; I do not say that for a moment. I do not say that men like the honorable member for Flinders have abandoned their principles; but I do say that the Government is composed of men who are so widely dissimilar in their opinions that if they have not abandoned their principles, some tremendous explanation or excuse is necessary to explain to the country how' it comes to be that they are now united upon a policy which absolutely is so tenuous as not to bear examination, and which we, as an Opposition, do rightly challenge and denounce.







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