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Wednesday, 21 September 1904

Mr FOWLER (Perth) - I rise to take part in this debate with a feeling, ' which I dare say is shared by many honorable members, that our methods of government are not by any means an unqualified success. Apart altogether from the regrettable bitterness which is now being introduced into our parliamentary debates, for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, I think the fact that we shall shortly have had three Governments displaced in the course of a few months is an achievement of which none of us are in the least degree' proud. It seems to indicate that, after all, this system of party government is very short of an ideal one, and I believe that the people of the Commonwealth have reason to cast about for some definite improvement. I have given some consideration to this aspect of the question, and have come to the conclusion that reform is very urgently needed. The most practical and advantageous reform would be to adopt the system of electing our Ministries. I know that to suggest the adoption of such a system to the old parliamentary hands, is to have it poohpoohed as impracticable, as leading to all sorts of intrigues, and as open to criticism in many other respects. But it is no new thing. It has been in operation in Switzerland for some considerable time, and I believe that it could with advantage be adopted in Australia. We adopt that system in the selection of our Speaker, and I feel sure that, if we used it in connexion with the selection of our Ministers, we should obtain equallvgood results. In making Ministers responsible for administration, and the Parliament as a whole responsible for policy, we should be adopting a system which would lead to the expedition of public business, and would do away with a goodmany of the objectionable features of the present method of Government. In connexion with this debate, I find myself in a very unpleasant position. I have the conviction that what is regarded as a minor issue, is more important than the general question which we are debating, and, to my mind, the minor issue involves the progress of the movement to which I belong. In discussing this matter, I am in antagonism to the majority of the members of my party, which is at all times an unpleasant situation, and I feel the position very keenly, because on every other occasion I have been able to act harmoniously with the majority. It is only because the particular matter at issue between us appears to me to be so veriy important that I am obliged to deal with it to-night as incidental to the larger question which we are discussing. It is, of course, well enough known that I have taken up a definite attitude on the questi on as to whether the Labour Party should or should not enter into an alliance with some other party, and, as generally follows when one who is in the minority takes up such an attitude, all sorts of objectionable and despicable reasons have been assigned for ray action. It has been said that I am a disappointed office-seeker, and that I am a free-trader first and a labour man afterwards ; hence my attitude on this matter. So far as the first charge is concerned, I do not intend to traverse it. I am satisfied to leave a contemptible slander of that kind to be dealt with by members of this House, and especially by those who have been longest associated with me. Although an insinuation of that kind is sometimes very useful to close the mouth of a guilty person or of a coward, I am determined, in spite of it, to perform to-night a duty which I feel I owe to my electors and to the labour voters throughout the Commonwealth. I feel confident that every member of the party with which I have had the honour to be associated since the inception of Federation will give the lie to the charge that I am a free-trader first and ' a labour man afterwards. No member of that party has more anxiously endeavoured to place the fiscal issue in its true relation to labour politics than I have, and I think that before I proceed much further I shall be able to show that I am still true to the position which I have hitherto occupied in relation to that much-vexed question which has caused so much trouble in the labour movement, and which we are now beginning to get past. I am glad to say that I do not stand alone in connexion with this particular matter. Protectionists and free-traders alike have united to do their best to oppose the so-called alliance. It has, therefore, nothing to do with the fiscal issue. A little while ago I felt obliged to enter my protest against the action of the party, and I shall read it now as an indication of the attitude1 which I took up, and also as giving the basis of my objections to the alliance : -

Melbourne, 10th September, 1904.

To the Hon. Secretary,

Federal Labour Party.

Dear Sir,

As I shall be unable to be present at the meeting on Wednesday, 1 desire to enter my protest in writing, against the alliance whichhas been entered into, with a section of so-called Liberals.

A few weeks ago, our party carried unanimously a refusal to entertain an alliance of a similar kind. None of the majority of the Labour Party, who have since voted for the present alliance, have shown any justification for this remarkable change of front.

As one of the minority, I contend that no majority, however large, has any right or power to force upon a single dissentient such a serious innovation, for which no authority exists either in the platform or in any resolutions of Conference.

In any case, such a new departure in policy should not have been made until the labour organizations and labour electors of the Commonwealth had been placed in possession of the proposals, and had been given reasonable time to consider them.

It has been a very general conviction, even outside labour ranks, that our movement contained within itself elements of popularity which, in conjunction with the democratic Federal Constitution, assured ultimate success. ' We have already arrived within easy reach of a straight out labour majority, and the movement should not at this juncture have been practicallyplaced in the hands of a few outsiders, some of whom have been amongst the bitterest critics and traducers of labour men and labour methods.

Therefore, holding, as I do, that the action of the majority of the Federal Labour Party in entering into this alliance is hasty, unauthorized, and contrary to the interests of the labour movement, I entirely repudiate the said action, and refuse allegiance to the Liberal-Labour alliance, or any section of it as such.

Finally, as the affairs of labour, in connexion with Federal politics have reached a stage when further public silence would only facilitate the ruin of- the movement, I propose to publish this protest, and also hold myself free to take any further action which the interests of the labour movement may require.

Mr Johnson - A proper and independent stand to take.

Mr Reid - At any rate it throws a great deal of daylight upon the subject.

Mr FOWLER - I may be charged with playing into the hands of my political opponents. Necessarily I must abide by such a charge; but I feel sure that those who have the interests of the labour movement at heart will acquit me of any such intention, and will recognise with me the necessity for plain spe'aking at a serious crisis like the present.

Mr Johnson - Hear, hear. We can appreciate honesty on any side.

Mr FOWLER - I feel sure that in doing this I am performing a duty which I owe to the labour movement, and as I have already indicated, I intend to conscientiously carry out the policy which I have deliberately adopted, and by every means in my power prevent even the appearance of an alliance which, I am sure, is fraught with no good to the movement in which I am interested. As regards the charge that I am a free-trader first, and a labour man afterwards, I have yet another indication to show that the charge is false. The honorable and learned member for Indi has placed on the business paper a notice of motion proposing the appointment of a Commission to investigate the fiscal issue. I am willing to vote for that motion, and I go even further. I tell the honorable and learned member, the House, and the country, that if the investigations of the Commission show that any particular trade is not parasitical, that it is not living on others, and that the workers in it are being unduly exploited by outside competition, and particularly by cheap labour, I shall concede to it' and to them the utmost protection required. 1 .

Mr Page - Will the1 Prime Minister indorse that?

Mr Reid - I think that the honorable member for Perth will exercise his judgment wisely on the facts, and I, like him., shall look at the facts.

Mr FOWLER - I think that I have shown conclusively that the fiscal issue plays no part in my objection to the proposed alliance.

Mr Reid - Has the honorable member pledged himself to a revision of the Tariff in a protectionist sense, before the Commission is appointed?

Mr FOWLER - Certainly not. I have pledged myself to a very definite line of action, and I am prepared to carry out that pledge. I have mentioned the matter as proof of my bona fides in connexion with my objection to an alliance which appears to me to be contrary to both the policy and tha [principles of the labour movement!, and especially of the Federal labour movement. I am willing enough to admit that in connexion with State politics, alliances of the kind suggested may be necessary, and even desirable. In some of the States the labour movement is confronted with what are at present insurmountable obstacles, and as the movement must progress if it cannot get over the obstacles, it is perfectly legitimate and proper to go round them. If the members of a State Labour Party find others, like themselves, anxious to get round a particular obstacle which they cannot surmount, I think that they will be acting wisely in uniting their forces, so that each may arrive at their common goal, and, having got there, proceed on their several ways. But in Federal politics there is no need for any alliance of the kind. We have an absolutely democratic franchise, and a Constitution which, if not absolutely democratic, at least gives us two Houses which are thoroughly amenable to popular influence. With those conditions we have the entire basis of any action which a Labour Party ought to take. We are, under these circumstances, in a position to win our way rapidly, so long as we adhere strictly to our principles. I take it that even at the present time we are well within reach .of that state of affairs which has been so anxiously hoped for and worked for - a straight-out labour majority in the Federal Parliament. It appears to me nothing short of fatuousness for the party to suddenly swerve at this particular juncture from the well defined policy, enunciated time and again by the leading members of the party in this House, and in another place, that there should be no alliance. It is to me incomprehensible that in view of those statements, which have been repeatedly made, and in view of the success which we all hope to attain within a very short space of time, we should join hands with a few gentlemen who, however amiable, are by no means going our way. So far as the motion is concerned I am quite at one with the honorable member for Bland, in my desire to fight Conservatism. I have always opposed Conservatism, and from the time I was able to form anything like an opinion upon political matters my mental trend has been in the direction of

Socialism. I am not afraid of the antisocialistic agitation. On the very first platform I occupied, when I entered upon the Federal campaign, I avowed myself a Socialist, and I have never concealed the fact that I believe in Socialism. On the other hand, I have done all in my power to advance that movement, which, I believe, makes for the betterment and happiness of mankind in general.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is the honorable member's particular brand of Socialism?

Mr FOWLER - I can readily see that it is something different from that of the honorable member, which has been so much refined away that a microscope would have to be used to discover it. In Western Australia we are not afraid of Socialism. Even the right honorable member for Swan, who, in theory, is violently opposed to Socialism, is, like many other good men, better than his words, and has been a zealous worker in the cause, with the very happiest results to the State. Take, for instance, the Coolgardie waterworks scheme, which forms a notable instance of the success of Socialism, and. redounds to the honour and credit of the right 'honorable gentleman. The success which has attended that undertaking has caused a later Premier of Western Australia to emulate the right honorable gentleman in giving the State still further instalments of Socialism. We now have State mining batteries and a State hotel, and I believe that it is intended to increase the number of hotels. Both the batteries and the hotel have been conducted with unqualified success.

Mr Reid - That is al better kind df Socialism. I can understand that hotel - equal shares in the cellar.

Mr FOWLER - The Prime Minister was, I think, particularly unfortunate in the remark he made a few nights ago with regard to certain kinds of Socialism. He said that he believed in Socialism that was applied in a business-like way. There is no such thing as genuine Socialism that is not applied in that manner. No wild, chimerical proposition can easily be branded as a socialistic scheme. As a matter of fact, Socialism means the bringing down of a workable proposal to a definite business-like basis. We have advanced far beyond the region of Utopianism, and Socialism, if anything, is eminently practicable. If any socalled socialistic scheme could not succeed in a business-like fashion, I am certain that most believers in the principle would drop it. Let me refer to a most striking instance of the application of the principle of Socialism, in connexion with municipal institutions. It is in the domain of municipal action that Socialism - at least in Englishspeaking communities - has achieved its greatest degree of success. ' I can remember that, when I was a young man in Glasgow, every now and then there was an outbreak of indignation in connexion with the way the tramway system was being conducted. The employes were worked for brutally long hours, they received shamefully low wages, the public were badly served, and apparently the only people who derived any benefit were the shareholders in the company. At last the Glasgow municipality took over the system. Within the first six months they reduced the working hours of the employes very considerably, and increased their pay ; they reduced the fares by exactly one-half, and at the end of the six months they had several thousands of pounds to the good, which went into the public Treasury. From that day on to the present time, the system has been conferring greater advantages on the public, and has been contributing more largely to the municipal treasury. I think that at present a clear profit of £80,000 per annum is being made.

Mr Reid - Does the manager of the trams receive no larger salary than the men who clean out the cars?

Mr FOWLER - That tramway system is managed upon business lines, and the right honorable gentleman has not acquired a knowledge of even the A B C of Socialism, if he pretends that the humblest worker and the business manager of a scheme of that kind' receive the same remuneration.

Mr Wilks - It depends upon the brand of Socialism of which the honorable member is talking.

Mr Hughes - The honorable member might as well talk about a particular brand of private enterprise.

Mr FOWLER - Socialistic schemes, in order to confer advantage on the community, must be worked on business lines and ability, and brains must be paid for ; and for the right honorable gentleman to talk as he does about Socialism is to altogether mislead the people as to its meaning. I am surprised that he did not devote some attention to the well-worn topics of confiscation and free love. These matters are often hurled in the teeth of Socialists, and although they have been proved to be utterly inapplicable, I suppose that honorable members will continue to drag them forth for some time to come. I have indicated my belief in Socialism. I believe that the labour movement is essentially socialistic, and that it has no meaning if Socialism is not its basis.. I welcome the new line of cleavage which is dividing political parties in the Commonwealth. We have, on the one side, those who call themselves individualists, but who are in reality Socialists of a kind - Socialists who believe only in that Socialism that will operate to their own particular benefit, or the advantage of the class to which they belong. The Socialism of those connected with the Labour Party must be applied all round for the common benefit. That is the form of Socialism which I indorse, and for which I believe the. labour movement stands. It is because I see this new line of cleavage between the so-called individualists upon the one hand, and the socialists on the other, that I deplore exceedingly the position which has been taken up by a. majority of members of the Labour Party. It seems to me that in a very short time the trend of events would have driven into our ranks those who believe with us politically, and would have compelled those who do not believe with us to have joined the ranks of the opposite side. That is a consummation for which I have wished and fought in my own way. It seems to me that a magnificent opportunity has been missed, or almost missed, by the leaders of the labour movement by neglecting to adopt the attitude of welcoming to the ranks of the Labour Party those who are willing to join us, and of saying to those who refuse to do so, "If you are not with us, you must be against us." . The door of admission "to the labour movement is still wide open, so tha't anybody who cares to do so may enter. For us to leave our entrenchments, to advance into the open, and to Welcome those who will not come to us, leaving our distinctive weapons behind us, is to take a step which I venture to believe is very dangerous to the movement indeed. One inevitable result of the suggested alliance will be to make the Labour Party moderate. I believe that I have been branded in some of the newspapers as a moderate labour member, and with being almost conservative in instincts. But I repudiate emphatically any suggestion that " moderation " ought to be the watchword of the labour movement. When the leaders of that movement are praised for their moderation, the friends of labour will regard them with suspicion. I say, therefore, that those who are charged to a large extent with the responsibility of formulating a policy for the labour movement ought to be very careful indeed when they find themselves commended for their moderation. The labour movement is undoubtedly upon its trial at the present time. Those who ask us to be moderate will never give us a vote. Are those who believe in us as a party which will do honest work for the benefit of the masses likely to praise us for our moderation, when that moderation means leaving them in the slough in which they are wallowing at the present time? Is it not a fact that the great enemy which we have to fight is lack of faith in the bona fides of the labour movement on the part of the masses of the community ? Is not the trouble which we frequently experience with our own people a more or less indefinite suspicion that we are merely self-seekers - that we only desire to develop the Labour Party for our own good. If we in our moderation do nothing which will be of any particular advantage to those who send us here, I claim that that suspicion will be justified, and a very short shrift will be given to the labour movement by a majority of the community. We are told by way of justification for this alliance that the Labour Party remains unchanged, that its principles are unaltered, and that there has been no -departure from the old position. So far as the distinctive planks of the labour platform are concerned, I say that the hatchet of the trimmer' is very much in evidence indeed. I contend that in this respect no parliamentary party has a right to allow any of the planks of the platform which has been formulated bv the various organizations in congress to be whittled away in the least degree. They have been carefully considered, they are essentially workable, and when we find significant modifications introduced into them as the basis of this alliance, what can we conclude but that those charged with responsibility have to some extent forgotten the duty which they owe to the electors who sent them here ? During the course of a recent speech one honorable member objected that the Government were solid on the Trade Marks Bill. I am. very- much afraid that this alleged alliance is not even solid upon that measure. I feel sure that there are some members of the alliance who will not be able to see eye for eye with members of the Labour Party upon the very important proposal submitted by Senator Pearce in another' place in reference to registering a trade union brand. Similarly, in regard to other matters, very radical alterations indeed have been made. One of the distinctive planks of the labour platform, which I believe every member of the party regards as very important, and one that has the enthusiastic support of every man who votes for a labour representative, is that of oldage pensions. It stands in our platform in that form - " old-age pensions " - no more, no less. Those words are allsufficient - definite enough for anybody. What is the position when we come to consider the basis of the alliance? There I find that the old-age pensions proposal has something tacked on to it of a very significant character indeed. In the alliance programme it reads -

Old-age pensions on a basis fair and equitable to the several States and to individuals.

I ask any member of the Labour Party what that means. Is there a single member of the party who can explain that addition to the plank as it originally stood ?

Mr Frazer - The honorable member does not desire a scheme for old-age pensions upon an inequitable basis?

Mr FOWLER - We did not propose to establish an old-age pension scheme upon an inequitable basis, but I say that when qualifying words are introduced in a particular way we must endeavour to discover the reason for their introduction. That reason does not exist within the ranks of the labour movement. It will probably be found to arise from the fear in the minds of our alleged allies that additional taxation will require to be levied to give effect to a proposal of that kind. As a result, it will probably be found to supply an easy hole through which any member of the alliance can crawl who is charged with attempting to saddle a certain portion of the community with taxation which he thinks it ought not to bear. That is the only meaning of it.' It has really no meaning whatever to any member of the Labour Party ; it has no relevance to any action that we have taken or have proposed to take, and it certainly does not stand in the agreement at the instance of any member of the party. I have no doubt that the honorable and learned member for Indi can give us some explanation of this clause, and I challenge him to indicate to us what is his particular proposal in regard to old-age pensions.


Mr FOWLER - The alteration was not made at the instance of any member of the

Labour Party, so that it must have been made at the instigation of our allies ; and as the honorable and learned member has taken a leading part in the formulation of these proposals, I take it that it is his duty to intimate to members of the Labour Party, and to labour electors generally, what is meant by this very interesting development of the three words, "old-age pensions," thatcomprise a plank in the fighting platform of the Federal Labour Party. I come to another distinctive plank of the platform, and that is the "nationalization of monopolies." It is a peculiarly socialistic proposal, which, while receiving some support outside our ranks, is essentially a labour proposition. The honorable member for Boothby has placed on the notice-paper a notice of motion which reads as follows: -

That, in the opinion of this House, a Royal Commission should be at once appointed to inquire into and report upon -

(1)   The present position of the tobacco trade in relation to the production, manufacture, and distribution of tobacco.

(2)   The extent to which it is controlled by a monopolistic combination.

(3)   The best method of regulating that trade, whether by nationalization, or by anti-trust legislation, or otherwise.

It is to be nationalized, if Parliament de- . cides that it is expedient to do so; but the honorable member suggests the regulation of the trade as a possible development of the. work of the Royal Commission. A littlewhile ago, in another place, Senator Pearceproposed, and succeeded in carrying, thef ollowing motion : -

1.   That in the opinion of this Senate, in order- to provide the necessary money for the payment of old-age pensions, and for other purposes, theCommonwealth Government should undertake the: manufacture and sale of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes.

2.   That the foregoing resolution be referred to- the House of Representatives, with a message requesting their concurrence therein.

3.   That a Select Committee, consisting of six members of the Senate and the mover, be appointed, with power to sit and confer with a similar number of members of the House of Representatives, to inquire into and report on the best method of carrying the foregoing resolution into effect.

That resolution contains no suggestion that the trade should be regulated. It is a frank proposal that it shall be nationalized, and it was carried in another place. In these circumstances, an honorable member of the Labour Party who comes down to this House with such a motion, as that of which notice has been given by the honorable member for Boothby, takes a distinctively retrogressive step, and one which is not in conformity with our present platform. Then, with regard to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, I wish to know how far our allies will assist us to put back some of the essential features of the measure that were accidentally omitted while the Labour Government was in power.

Mr Kennedy - The' honorable member found out on the recommittal of clause 62 how far they would go.

Mr FOWLER - But I wish to know what assistance we are going to receive In this direction from our allies.

Mr McCay - The alliance programme will show the honorable member.

Mr FOWLER - These are three important matters upon which I desire some information, but in regard to which no particulars have as yet been supplied. I take it that the labour electors throughout the Commonwealth are entitled to have this information, and in the long run it will either have to be supplied to them in a satisfactory form, or they will treat the alliance in a very unceremonious way. The fact of the matter is, that if the Labour Party, with the assistance of its allies, gains possession of the Treasury bench, we shall be able to hope for only the mildest milkandwater legislation, such as almost any party could give the country.

Mr Lonsdale - But the Labour Party will obtain protection.

Mr FOWLER - I have already indicated the position that I shall take up on !he fiscal issue, and I do not think it is necessary for me to deal with that interjection. I hold that the labour electors will r.ot gain from this alliance anything that could not be obtained practically from almost any other section of the House. The labour movement was brought into existence, and continues to exist, because it goes further than mere Liberalism has yet suggested in remedying those social and economic evils under which the workers suffer at the. present time.

Mr Isaacs - The. Labour Party will not get from their allies the declared war against labour that has been announced by the other side.

Mr FOWLER - Perhaps not, but even a declared war from straight-out opponents is better for the labour movement than is assistance from those who will not enter our ranks, but carefully remain aloof, as if they would be contaminated by association with us.

Mr Isaacs - That is not the general opinion of the Labour Party.

Mr Robinson - It is a very sensible one.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is the general opinion of labour supporters outside.

Mr SPEAKER -Order !

Mr FOWLER -There is another aspect of this agreement to which I take very strong exception. I refer to the promise of immunity from opposition which the Labour Party has given our so-called allies. No parliamentary party, or section of a parliamentary party, has any right to commit labour organizations to a pledge of that kind. I feel sure that the labour organizations will resent it.

Mr Mauger - Most of them have agreed to it.

Mr FOWLER - Most of them have not done so, and I feel sure that as soon as they realize the situation, they will protest, even more strongly than they have done. The labour organization, as I have already indicated, is open to any one who chooses to enter it, to secure the benefit of it, to get the enthusiastic assistance of those who support us in the work which we have at heart. But we have gentlemen coming along now, who refuse to enter the movement, who will stand at the next election - or who are expecting that they will stand at the next election - on a liberal platform, but who will gain as many advantages from labour organizations as if they were right within the ranks. I say at once that, if they are expecting any material assistance from the labour organizations on that basis, their expectations are doomed to failure. Our organizations exist for the furtherance of the labour movement, for the increasing of our members within our own ranks, and not for the creation of an outside party, which will only lead to confusion, and will ultimately seriously damage the prospects pf the movement. We have always regarded those gentlemen who profess themselves labour men in all respects, except that they decline to take the pledge, as the most dangerous enemies to our movement that we have. We have justification for that attitude in view of the significant denunciations of the labour movement and labour principles when their own particular political interests required them to take that course. But they are no friends who would assist us only in fair weather conditions. We want men who will stick to us when the storm is raging. Who will give us their assistance through difficult and critical situations. And we have found from expexience that we cannot depend on any to do that for us, unless they are regularly constituted members of our ranks. I hope it will be understood that, in making those remarks in connexion with our alleged allies, I make no criticism of a good deal of the. excellent work they have done.I recognise that, in' many respects, their opinions are identical with' my own. But the weighty factor in the situation is, asI have already indicated, the fact that they still remain outside the labour movement, and that undoubtedly they have denounced labour methods, labour principles, and labour men in a way that, I think, ought to entitle us to expect some expressions of regret with regard to those statements before they profess to be our friends. We have the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who is reported in the Melbourne Age as denouncing the Political Labour Council as "not only a failure; it is an absolute fraud."

Mr Mauger - Not the Council. Nothing of the kind.

Mr FOWLER - I am surprised that anything which appears in the Age should be repudiated by the honorable member.

Mr Mauger - I denounced the political methods.

Mr FOWLER - I shall be glad to hear the honorable member's correction as; to what he did say, because a charge of that kind is one that ought to stand in the way of any one who professes to come and join us in this form of alliance. Then, again, we, have the honorable member for Bourke referring to the Labour Party in this way-

To have the Labour Party in power would be as bad as letting loose the animals in the Zoological Gardens.

That kind of criticism ought, I think, in common decency, to be repudiated and regretted by those friends of ours who are now so anxious to assist us. I say that in the absence of any repudiation, we must regard them as still holding those criticisms as justified ; and if they still hold them, I do not see how it is possible for an alliance of any kind to be patched up on any basis. I am quite sure that so far as this alliance is concerned, the La bour Party will not take it in earnest, except to repudiate it in the most emphatic way possible. I think there is both safety and wisdom in numbers, that in this respect the instincts of the vast majority nf the labour electors will lead them right, and that no temporary aberration on the part of any portion of the party will have any influence upon their actions. If 1 thought that this alliance was likely tq be as successful as some of those who have sought it thought it would be, I am not sure that I should not have taken the extreme step of voting against any action that would place the allies on the benches opposite.

Mr Watkins - I am not sure that the honorable member ought not to vote that, way now.

Mr FOWLER - That is a matter that I have the deciding of for myself. So far as I am concerned, I feel so strongly on this matter that if the labour organizations and the labour electors had not appeared to be sufficiently seized of the importance of the crisis, I should have voted to give them a further opportunity to be acquainted with the circumstances before they were committed irrevocably to the actions of the so-called alliance. But, sir, I believe that a very unpleasant step of that kind on my part is not necessary. I believe that this alliance is a mere pretence and no more - that is has never had any sound basis. The electors are likely to deal with the alliance, if there should be an election, in a way that I am certain will make it impossible for it to exist in the next Parliament. It is not to my mind an arrangement of which any labour man has any reason to be proud. I have exceedingly regretted the alliance, and have opposed it, and will continue to oppose it. In doing that, I believe that I am fulfilling a duty I owe to the electors who sent me here, and to the labour electors of the Commonwealth generally. As I have already said, I am entirely opposed to the coalition which sits on the Treasury bench. I shall vote in support of the motion submitted by; the leader of the Opposition, because I have no desire to see the present Government in power any longer than I can help. I am certain that if the labour organizations, and labour electors are true to their own best interests, the result of the election will be a straight-out labour majority in possession of the Treasury bench giving the labour electors of the Commonwealth and the people generally that kind of legislation for which they are hungering, and which they have every reason to expect from this democratic Parliament.

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