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Thursday, 22 September 1904

Mr SPEAKER - I ask the honorable member whether he believes that the subject of fares upon the Melbourne tramways has anything to do with the motion?

Mr LONSDALE - I may point out that the late Prime Minister, as a proof that Socialism was better than private enterprise, gave this illustration of the. tram systems in Sydney and Melbourne. I believe that the honorable member did not state the illustration correctly. If he was in order in making the statement to which I refer, I am surely in order in making a reply to it.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honorable member propose to connect the matter with the question under discussion ?

Mr LONSDALE - I propose to connect my remarks on the subject with the motion under discussion, in the way I have stated. 1 desire to show that the illustration, as stated by the ex-Prime Minister, was not correct. If you pay a 3d. fare at the Spencer-street station, it will run you through to the terminus of a line, and if you desire it, you can get a transfer which will carry you beyond the terminus.

Mr Tudor - You cannot get those transfers free.

Mr LONSDALE - If you pay 3d. you can get a transfer.

Mr Tudor - The honorable member is wrong.

Mr LONSDALE - I know that you can get a transfer, because I have made inquiries.

Mr Tudor - I am sure the honorable member is wrong.

Mr LONSDALE - The honorable member can speak in reply. I have made inquiries on the subject, and though I cannot speak from actual experience, as I have not received a transfer, I am told that transfers are given. I know that, entering a tram at Spencer-street, you can go to the end of your journey for 3d., whilst on the Sydney trams you pay for one' section, on any road, id. Again, under the Melbourne system, you can buy six tickets for is., which will take you right through the journey on each line.

Mr Tudor - No.

Mr LONSDALE - It will take you from the Spencer-street station to the end of the Fitzroy terminus.

Mr Fowler - No.

Mr LONSDALE - I have travelled the journey with a ticket.

Mr Fowler - The honorable member has " had " the company.

Mr LONSDALE - It is half-an-hour's ride. You can also get eight tickets for 1s., which will carry you within the city.

Mr Watson - That is only for a mile.

Mr LONSDALE - It does not matter what the distance is; I am simply showing that the honorable member's contention is not borne out by facts. It should be remembered also that at the end of twelve years from now the Melbourne Tramway Company must hand over the whole of the property with the exception of the cars and carriages.

Mr Watson - But the road was built for them. They did not have to pay for the road.

Mr LONSDALE - I do not know what they paid for. The business is done in the way in which I have stated, and that does not bear out the illustration, as the ex-Prime Minister stated it. I tell honorable members at once that I am. not in favour of public utilities being controlled by private enterprise. I have held, and advocated these views for years. I suppose that there are but very few men to be found in the States who do not hold the view that public utilities should be controlled by the public. But there is a vast difference between the opinion of those holding that view and the opinion of men who advocate that all implements, materials, and methods of production shall be controlled by the people.

Mr Thomas - It is only a question of time.

Mr Batchelor - The honorable member would be called a wild, raging Socialist in Adelaide at the present time.

Mr LONSDALE - The honorable member for Perth pointed out that under the system of Socialism in which he believes, there would be differences in the reward of labour ; that in the case of a public tramway system, for instance, the manager would get a larger payment than a gripman. The honorable member admitted that there would be these gradations' of payment, but I do not know how he squares his views with those of the honorable member for Barrier, who does not believe in wages at all. When I was speaking the other night, the honorable member interjected that what we wanted was to get rid of the wage system; and I suppose the honorable member's idea is that we should all receive a dole from some Government office. The Socialism being taught to people outside is a Socialism which is going to improve the position of every man, and give him greater advantages than he enjoys at present. It is strange that we should not have this Socialism in connexion with our railways. In the past, we got rid of State control, because it was found that it was not in the interests of the public to carry on the railway systemsin that way.

Mr Watson - When did we get rid of State control of the railways?

Mr LONSDALE - We got rid of State control by putting them under Commissioners.

Mr Watson - That is still State control.

Mr LONSDALE - I understand that; I know just what I am talking about ; and I know that the Labour Party would like to get rid of the Commissioners.

Mr Watson - No, they would not; that is a misstatetnent.

Mr LONSDALE - They would like to get control of the whole thing, so that they might crowd the service as it was crowded in the past.

Mr Watson - Who supported the Public Service Act?

Mr LONSDALE - I know that it is the desire! of the men at the head of the Labour Party to get rid of the Railway Commissioners.

Mr Watson - That is not true; I say that it is incorrect.

Mr LONSDALE - It is true.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. I must ask the honorable member for Bland to withdraw that statement.

Mr Watson - I withdraw any apparent reflection upon the honorable member's personal veracity. But I must be allowed to say that the honorable member's, statement is absolutely incorrect.

An Honorable Member. - The honorable member knows it.

Mr LONSDALE - I do not know it.

Mr Watson - Then it is time the honorable member did.

Mr LONSDALE - While I was a member of the State Parliament of New South Wales, the Labour Party time after time attacked the Railways Commissioners, and tried covert influence with Ministers. If that is not trying to get rid of the Railways Commissioners, what is? What is the good of Railways Commissioners, if vou exert upon the Ministers behind them all the force of political power, in order to secure anything that is desired ? That is only another way of getting rid of them. That is what has been done time after time, and the honorable member for Bland knows it.

Mr Watson - I know nothing of the sort.

Mr LONSDALE - The very fact that we have had to put all these institutions under Commissioners shows distinctly that they cannot be controlled where political influence is allowed to come in.

Mr Watson - Hear, hear; I am with the honorable member in that.

Mr Kelly - If honorable members opposite are satisfied with the Railways Commissioners, why did they propose to put the Commissioners' employes under the Arbitration Court?

Mr Watson - Because the Commissioners, in the same way as every one else, should be subject to the law.

Mr LONSDALE - The members of a railway league in my district, wrote to me, asking me to vote for the inclusion of railway servants in the Arbitration Bill ; but I wrote back and told them that I should do nothing of the kind. In their own interests, as well as in the interests of the State, I refused to be a party to putting them under the control of the Federal Arbitration Court. That is the attitude which I have taken up on that matter. Honorable members on the other side say .that they are going to help the masses ; but what are they going to do? They are going to have a national tobacco- monopoly. They are going to give better conditions to the poor of Melbourne and all the States by a national tobacco monopoly. Will any honorable member on the other side tell me what this national tobacco monopoly is going to do for the poor people of the State? Is it going to increase their wages ?

Mr Fowler - It will put ^600,000 per annum into the public purse.

Mr LONSDALE - It will do nothing of the kind, unless we increase the price of tobacco.

Mr Fowler - No; we shall lower it.

Mr LONSDALE - The late Prime Minister told us that the people would not get a cheaper smoke as a result of the nationalization of the industry. They were not to have even that advantage, because tobacco would continue to be sold at the same prices.

Mr Watson - I said it would make no difference in that respect.

Mr LONSDALE - This proposal for a national tobacco monopoly is only a farce. Though honorable members opposite stand upon platforms outside and speak of -these things as in the interests of the people, they know that they will have but little effect upon the condition of the masses.

Mr Fowler - If the honorable member will but ask the retail tobacconists, he will find that the monopoly in force is a very real thing at the present time.

Mr LONSDALE - That may be, but if the industry is put under State control the conditions will be very much worse than they are to-day.

Mr Frazer - It will be under Commonwealth control.

Mr LONSDALE - It is the control of the nation to which I refer. The members of the Labour Party object to borrowing money, but they wish to have a forced loan from the banks. Like myself, I suppose they would like to get it on the cheap. They do not object to a loan, but they object to paying interest upon it, and they propose,' in accordance with their Socialistic ideas, to take gold from the banks and give them paper in place of it. They will have to be a little smart to do that, because the gold would not be left long in the banks of Australia if they got an inkling that that was going to be carried out. We should find that it would soon be making its way over to New Zealand.

Mr Higgins - Why New Zealand?

Mr Watson - The honorable member knows a .lot about it when he talks like that.

Mr LONSDALE - So far as the note issue in Canada is concerned, the position is altogether different. When thev carried this kind of legislation, they had a larger note issue in Canada than we have in Australia, and so far as token money is concerned, it was very scarce. Honorable members will also find that in Canada the banks issue the larger notes, and the Government issue the smaller notes. I do not think that we should be able to force small notes upon people here to take the place of our token money.

Mr Wilks - Is the alliance in favour of that proposal ?

Mr LONSDALE - I do not know; but I feel that no' good would result from the adoption of it. The community would not be helped bv any system of enforced loans. What little benefit we should derive from its adoption would be represented in the saving of a certain amount of interest; but if the State took up the whole note issue the note tax would be lost, so that the Com- monwealth would not gain any material advantage. The alliance opposite has been formed on a very peculiar basis. One party to it has been actuated by a desire, we are told, to secure a greater measure of protection, and I have extracted from the alliance programme all that bears upon that question. The programme provides for -

Legislation (including Tariff legislation) shown to be necessary : -

(1)   To develop Australian resources.

(2)   To preserve, encourage, and benefit Aus tralian industries, primary and secondary.

(3)   To secure fair conditions of labour for all engaged in every form of industrial enterprise, and to advance their interests and well-being without distinction of class or social status.

That looks very well on paper; but these proposals are not in themselves sufficient for the combination. They have had to introduce three additional paragraphs, setting forth that -

As to any regulation arising under this paragraph only any member of either party may, as to any specific proposal -

(a)   Agree with the members of his own party to be bound by their joint determination ; or -

(b)   Decide for himself how far the particular circumstances prove necessity, or the extent to which the proposal should be carried.

In other words, any member of the alliance may either agree to be bound by the decision of his party, or exercise his own individual opinion, and vote as he pleases with regard to Tariff legislation. That is practically the meaning of this proposal, and yet it has been placed before the protectionists of Victoria as an indication that if this alliance comes into power they will secure a revival of protection. The whole thing is a farce.

Mr Mauger - Why should the honorable member grumble about it?

Mr LONSDALE - I am simply showing that these proposals are mere humbug. The two paragraphs which I have just read are marked "a" and "b" and if we assume that those letters stand for " asinine humbug " we fairly estimate their value. The members of the alliance have not for one moment anticipated that anything in the shape of a protectionist revival will result from the combination.

Mr Mauger - Why should the honorable member object to that?

Mr LONSDALE - I wish the public to know the real facts of the position. They are not always told the truth in regard to these matters, and it is time that it was put before them. We are told that increased protection is needed by Victorian industries, which have been protected almost for ages. Notwithstanding that they had had a large measure of protection for many years, the . moment a slight reduction in the Tariff was made they cried out that they could not exist.

Mr Mauger - Does the honorable member call a reduction of 100 per cent, a slight one ?

Mr LONSDALE - A reduction of a duty of 25 per cent, to 12½ per cent, is a very fair one. I am in favour of the appointment of a Tariff Commission, but it must be based on fair lines. It should be fairly representative of both the protectionist and free-trade party.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - We have no objection to that.

Mr LONSDALE - Those who are agitating for the appointment of a Tariff Commission will find, if it be appointed, that its investigations will not bear out their assertion. They will' show a different state of things from that which the protectionists opposite suggest. I am informed- thatthe Denton Hat Mills Company, of Melbourne, has refused orders, on the ground that they have already booked so far ahead that they would not be able to carry them out.

Mr Mauger - That is not correct. I was at the mills this morning, and I know that business there is very dull.

Mr LONSDALE - If the honorable member challenges my statement, I shall submit to him letters received in Sydney that bear out my assertion. I can place my hands on documentary proof of my statement. I have been promised those letters, which show that the Denton Hat Mills Company has refused orders, on the ground that it could not carry them out. We are told that a Victorian nail factory is being ruined, but, in July last, it had its record output.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - For barbed wire.

Mr LONSDALE - The factory had a record output in that month-

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - But not in nails.

Mr LONSDALE - It was the factory's record output in respect of manufactured goods, but I cannot say whether it related to nails.

Mr Mauger - The honorable member has not made any inquiries.

Mr LONSDALE - We are also told that the glass bottle works in this State need greater protection, but I know that they have been doing well.

Mr Mauger - Have they?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Two nail factories have been closed since the passing of the Tariff.

Mr LONSDALE - In 1903 Victoria's export of manufactured goods was , £1,000,000 in excess of that which she exported in 1900. That increase took place under the Federal Tariff.

Mr Mauger - But what did she import ?

Mr LONSDALE - Facts like these prove that the assertions of the Protectionist Party about the state of trade are utterly absurd.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The increase to which the honorable member refers was not in manufactures.

Mr LONSDALE - It was in goods of Victorian manufacture. I saw a statement in the press recently setting forth- that this increase had occurred, and on inquiry at the office of the Government Statist I learned that it was correct.

Mr Mauger - In what newspaper was this statement published ?

Mr LONSDALE - In a commercial journal. I do not put such statements before the House without first making inquiries, and it was. for this reason that I went to the Government Statist's office. I wished to verify the report.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Did not Senator Trenwith say much the same thing?

Mr LONSDALE - I do not know what he said.

Mr Mauger - We have lost a very large proportion of Victorian trade.

Mr LONSDALE - I am dealing only with the attempt to bring about a protectionist revival. If a Tariff Commission be appointed, I am satisfied that its investigations will prove that local manufacturers have been benefited, rather than injured by the Federal Tariff.

Mr Mauger - There are hundreds of men out of work in Victoria.

Mr LONSDALE - There were hundreds of men out of work in this State, even when the protectionist Tariff was at its highest.

Mr Mauger - But thev were not following the trades to which I refer.

Mr LONSDALE - Protection has been a curse to Victoria. I am here, not to play anv game, but to tell the truth. If the workingmen of this State would onlv open their eyes they would see that protection has been a curse, rather than a bene fit to Victoria, and that they have been fooled by the men who call themselves their leaders.

Mr Watson - Is the honorable member speaking for the Ministry?

Mr LONSDALE - I 'am not.

Mr SPEAKER - I desire to call the attention of the honorable member to the fact that he is turning round, and addres-. sing the galleries, andi that he ought to address himself to the Chair.

Mr LONSDALE - I was addressing honorable members in the Opposition corner, who feel so keenly on this question.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member will please address the Chair.

Mr LONSDALE - I wish to impress upon these honorable members the truths that I am uttering. I desire them to look back at the position of Victoria at a time when the protectionist Tariff of this State was at its highest - to see for themselves how the working men have suffered under that policy, and to exercise their intelligence in determining where the real trouble lies. 'Instead of seeking to bring about a protectionist revival, which would be only a greater curse to Victoria than it has ever had, they should support a policy that will improve the condition of the people.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member should address these remarks to the Minister of Trade and Customs.

Mr LONSDALE - I have nothing to do wilh the Minister. I am a supporter of the Government, but am opposed to any revival of protection. If the Minister of Trade and Customs attempts to revive that' policy he will find in me a bitter opponent. We are promised a Federal system of old-age pensions. Honorable members opposite sneer at the proposal of the Ministry to confer with the States Governments in regard to this question. But we know that without the co-operation of the States such a system is impossible.

Mr Mauger - Nonsense.

Mr LONSDALE - We know full well that it is impossible for us to provide for a Federal system of old-age pensions by means of a tax on land values. When honorable members opposite tell the people that it can be provided for by a tax on land values they know that they are talking of something which is really impossible. The only way in which it is possible to secure Federal old-age pensions is by the Commonwealth Government conferring, as they propose to do, with the Governments of the States, and inducing them to agree-

Mr Poynton - To a Federal land tax.

Mr LONSDALE - No ; but to make provision for the payment of old-age pensions out of the Customs revenue. If a Federal system cost £1,500,000 per annum, it would be necessary, under our Constitution, to raise £6,000,000 in order to pay for it, so that we must make some arrangement with the States to utilize Customs revenue in that direction. If the Labour Party are so strongly in favour of oldage pensions, how is it that the Queensland Labour Government has not introduced the system there?

Mr Frazer - They will do so.

Mr McCay - Their programme does not include such a proposal.

Mr LONSDALE - Why does not the Labour Government in Western Australia do the same thing? I am opposed to the position taken up by the Labour Party, but I do not wish it to be understood for one moment that I am hostile to the cause of labour. Labour has my deepest sympathy, and I am prepared to assist in passing any legislation in its interests. But to attempt by means of a Conciliation and Arbitration Act to help the masses, is just as useless as it is to seek to quench a fire by spitting on it. No good would result from the passing of such a measure. How is it possible to keep up the standard of wages in a falling market? I have been opposed to conciliation and arbitration legislation, because at best it can be only a palliative. It cannot prevent the recurrence of such disputes and difficulties as have arisen in the past. I shall certainly do all I can in opposition to the passing of any restrictive legislation. I believe in developing the freedom of every individual, and in giving every man the fullest opportunity to use the powers with which he is endowed. By working in that direction alone shall, we secure the salvation of the people. We cannot hope to help them by restricting the use of individual power. We have seen the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of New South Wales working in such a way that, as the result of the section dealing with the limitation of apprentices, many lads have been prevented from obtaining work, and have been sent out into the streets. Instead of giving every man the fullest opportunity to do the best he can for himself, it is having the opposite effect. I am not one of those who believe that every worker should be paid the same wage. All men differ. Their capacity varies, and each man ought to receive only that which he himself earns. I feel that no man, whether engaged in manufacturing or other pursuits, should by law receive any special privilege over the rest of the people. If our States were to adopt a different system - if we were to make use of our unoccupied lands, under an intelligent land policy - the trouble" and difficulty which exist to-day in the Commonwealth would soon disappear, and instead of the poverty and misery which we see about us, we should have happy homes and much brighter conditions. But these attempts to establish a tobacco monopoly, and other proposals of that nature, to help the community, are silly and absurd, and so far as I am concerned will receive no assistance.

Mr Hughes - The honorable member for Parramatta yesterday made a number of statements which may be left to look after themselves ; but there is one thing that he said which I shall take this opportunity to correct. He said - or is reported to have said - I am now quoting from the Age of to-day -

He knew that Mr. Hughes had gone to the Orange Association and asked to be put on the Orange bunch.

I wish' to say that that is not correct ; that I have never, either at the last election, or any other election, gone to the officials, or to any person connected however remotely with the Orange institution or the Protestant Defence Association, or any religious body in New South Wales, or in


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Or any one connected with them?

Mr Hughes - Or any one connected with them, and asked them to put me in the bunch, or asked to 'be included as a nominee of theirs. I have asked to be taken out of their list, and that is the only communication I have ever made to them. I have always endeavoured to deprecate the introduction of sectarianism into politics ; I .have never been indebted in any way to such institutions for my return ; and I hope that I shall not be so indebted in the future.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I desire to make a personal explanation in view of what has just fallen from the honorable and learned member for West Sydney. I wish to say, in reference to some remarks that were made yesterday, that I did not speak without having what I believed to be full warranty for my statement. I have proof here which satisfies me, and which, I believe, justified me in the statement which I made. Here is a wire signed by Mr. Packer, the editor of the Watchman, in Sydney. He says -

Hughes called on me at office - that is definite enough - during last Federal campaign in great concern. Said Roman ticket being used for all it was -worth for Warren against himself, and asked me to do what I could through Watchman, and privately, to stir up Protestant vote. He also gave me some tit-bits to use against Warren in paragraphs. Never asked to have name withdrawn from list. Said, left it to my judgment whether I would withdraw it or not, though he hoped to get some Roman votes unless they became alarmed.

There is justification for the statement I made yesterday.

Mr Hughes - I desire again-

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