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Thursday, 22 September 1904


Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) - There seems a probability of the debate being a very prolonged one, and there is apparently a disinclination on the part of some honorable members to rush into the fray ; but I see no reason to delay my remarks on the subject. I have been struck by the fact that this motion has been submitted by the honorable member for Bland, in whose Ministry the House practically expressed its want of confidence a few days ago. I do not know what may be said by other honorable members as to the constitutional position, but it seems to me that an honorable member whose Ministry has been defeated, either on a direct motion of want of confidence or on a division which it was well known involved the fate of the Government, has no right a few days later to . move a motion of want of confidence in the succeeding Administration. The House practically said a few days ago that it had no confidence in the Ministry of which the present leader of the Opposition was the head.


Mr Page - It has never said so.


Sir JOHN FORREST - It has practically said so. Every one knew that if the late Government were defeatedon the motion relating to the recommittal of clause 48 it would retire from office.


Mr Bamford - What about the honorable arid learned member for Bendigo?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not know anything about his position, and if I did, I should not discuss it; but I know that the division in question was followed by the retirement of the late Ministry. The members of a Ministry which has been defeated and has resigned, should not immediately come back to the same House with the samepersonnel, and ask for a renewal of its confidence.


Mr McDonald - I have seen it done.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Perhaps in some State Parliament, but, in my opinion, it ought not to be done.


Mr Page - What about the dissolution of the Queensland Parliament which took place a little while ago?


Sir JOHN FORREST - A dissolution is a very different matter.


Mr Page - But the same Ministry came back.


Sir JOHN FORREST - They had not resigned, and the other side could not form a Government. Honorable members know very well that the resignation of a Ministry is never accepted by a Governor until another has been formed, or practically formed. I hold certain views on this aspect of the question; but honorable members are, of course, free to differ from me. I repeat that an honorable member whose Government has been defeated, and has resigned, is not the right man to move a want of confidence motion in the succeeding Government a few days later.


Mr Fisher - Will the right honorable member quote an authority for his assertion ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not know of any case in which a different course has been pursued, except, perhaps in one of the States Parliaments of Australia, where they create precedents for themselves.


Mr Thomas - It has been done in South Australia.


Sir JOHN FORREST - An honorable member who adopts such a course flouts the House, unless he gives a full and satisfactory reason for his exceptional action. The House has said that it has no confidence in the late Ministry.


Mr Watkins - The right honorable member has never had any experience in this connexion ; he never had any opposition in Western Australia.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The speech delivered by the leader of the Opposition, in support of the motion, showed that his heart was not in his task. It lacked that fire which usually characterizes his utterances, and, as a matter of fact, he did not place before us any good ground for refusing to give the Government a trial in the same way as his Ministry was given a four months' trial to prove its worth.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - But the right honorable member would not have given the late Government a week's trial.

An Honorable Member. - Or a day's trial.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I should not have given them a week's trial if I had had my own way, but that was due to only one teason; that, in my opinion, they had not a majority in this House. During the course of this debate we have heard a great deal of the ancient political history of New South Wales. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that it is time that we set aside such matters, and confined our attention to that which has taken place in this Parliament. We should deal with that which has been said and done here, and refrain from basing our arguments on something which has been done or said years ago by some honorable member in one of the States Parliaments.. I rejoice that honorable members of what is called the Labour Party - and as I have already defined the meaning of the term, I need not do so again - are in Opposition. I prefer to see them there, or in possession of the Treasury benches, rather than directing the Government from the cross-benches.


Mr Page - Can the right honorable member give us one instance in which we directed the Government of which he was a member ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - Yes; the great pressure which was exerted resulted in, section t.6 of the Postal Act being inserted in the Bill, and the previous action of the Government in the Senate being reversed. The Labour Party, as members of the Opposition, have now a responsibility which they never felt while they sat on the cross benches. They are no longer a power in the back-ground, felt, but not seen. The party have now a burden to carry. lt rests upon them either to introduce measures for the welfare and advancement of the Commonwealth, or to oppose them, and to take the full responsibility for their actions. My remarks might not be so' apropos if the party were a small one, but as it is as large as, if not larger than, any other party in the House, it must be recognised that it now has a responsibility which, except when the Labour Government held office, was not apparently cast upon it. We shall now have their physic direct from their own hands. We shall not have to take physic from a third party, as has been the custom, not only in this Parliament, but in all the States Parliaments of Australia, in which there is aLabour Party. Hitherto they have not been so numerically strong as they are, but they have occupied the position of a third party, with the balance of power, and have wielded that enormous power that all third parties similarly situated exercise in the administration of the affairs of a country.


Mr King O'Malley - Does not the right honorable member think that we gave the Government, of which he was a member, ' a good innings ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member for Bland no longer occupies that commanding position of real power which he held for the three years, during which his party sat on the cross benches. It is no longer " Yes, Mr. Watson." The honorable member is now a humble suppliant for an alliance, in order that he may regain the power that he has lost, and which, of course, he d'esires again to exercise.


Mr Carpenter - It is now " Yes, Mr. Cameron."


Sir JOHN FORREST - It is at any rate no longer " Yes, Mr. Watson." It is, in my opinion, a very good thing that we now have no party sitting on the cross benches, dominating the affairs of the Commonwealth, and accepting no responsibility. It is highly desirable that those who have the real power should also bear the responsibility. My honorable friends opposite and their leader must have realized long ago how foolish they were to disturb the Deakin Government.


Mr King O'Malley - We did not desire them to resign.


Mr Page - The right honorable member was the disturbing element.


Sir JOHN FORREST - They must realize that, although they were at one time a " Samson ' ' in the House, they have since had their hair clipped, and that the strength, power and influence which they wielded for several years has now disappeared. They have had to make a humble alliance with protectionist members who have seceded from the Protectionist Party.


Mr Maloney - The protectionists on the Government side are the seceders.


Mr Austin Chapman - The Opposition will see who are the seceders when we go before the people.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Some one interjected a moment or two ago that I was not willing that honorable members opposite should remain in office for even a day. That is not quite accurate.


Mr Fisher - The right honorable member said in this House that he was not willing that they should.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not think I said that I would not give the Labour Government time to formulate a policy, but I assert most distinctly that the leader of the Labour Party, according to ordinary constitutional usage, had no right whatever to form a Government. I expressed that opinion when he first formed his Ministry, and I reiterate it. If the representative of the Sovereign sends for an honorable member to form a Government, that honorable member must be able to give his Excellency an assurance that he has reasonable grounds for the belief that he has a majority behind him.


Mr Groom - Did the present Prime Minister give that assurance?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I know that the honorable member for Bland, when sent for by the Governor-General, had made no representations to either of the other two parties in the House. Knowing that he had no support except that coming from the members, of his own party, he accepted from the Governor-General the commission to form a Government to control the affairs of the Commonwealth, and he formed a Ministry when, so far as I know, he had the support of only a minority. He might have had great hopes, but those hopes should have had some tangible foundation.


Mr Watson - He had the suggestion of fair-play from this side of the House.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Surely the honorable member did not expect those who had been defeated by him to keep his Government in office if it were in a minority ?


Mr Page - It is because we believe that the present Government is in a minority that we wish to put it out of office.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Honorable members have interjected again and again, that I desired to oust the Labour Government from office from the very first day that they met the House. The suggestion, apparently, is that I had some personal objection to the honorable member for Bland assuming office. That was not the case. The honorable member is just as good a man to hold office as is any other member of the House. My sole objection to his Government was based upon constitutional grounds, but if my contention in that respect be erroneous, then my argument, of course, falls to the ground.


Mr Watkins - Did not the right honorable member and his party remain in office when they were in a minority ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - No; I have already explained the difference between the position of the Barton and Deakin Governments and thar occupied by the Watson Government. We were there, and had to be displaced.


Mr Groom - And the other party got there.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Yes, by accepting office contrary to constitutional usage.


Mr Groom -But, having got there, they had the same argument in support of their position as the right honorable gentleman's party had.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable and learned member is too keen a lawyer not to see my point, and it is, therefore, useless for him to interrupt me in this way. We were in office before the first general election took place, and we remained in office until we were defeated on what we had made a vital question. That is altogether different from the position of a Government which assumes office without having a majority at its back. I will state a case to explain my contention. A Government is defeated, and an honorable member, who, perhaps, may be the weakest man in the House, is sent for by the GovernorGeneral ; he undertakes to form a Government, but gives no assurance to His Excellency that he has a majority ; he comes down to the House and asks for an adjournment of three or four weeks in order to formulate his policy, occupies the Government benches and controls the affairs of this country for a couple of months, and never had any chance whatever of commanding a majority. Now I am sure that honorable members do not desire to see such a state of things. I admit that the honorable member for Bland nearly had a majority, but he could not have commanded an absolute majority of the House if a no-confidence motion had been moved.


Mr Watson - I was assured that I had a majority in case a no-confidence motion was moved.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Was the honorable member assured of that? -


Mr Watson - Yes. I was assured of that by honorable members whose word I accepted, and whom I have never reproached for taking their own course.


Sir JOHN FORREST - My point is not that the honorable member might not have gained strength as he went along, but that at the time he undertook the formation of his Government he had not that assurance which was essential.


Mr Mauger - How does the right honorable member know that?


Sir JOHN FORREST - That is my whole point. If he had such an assurance, all my argument falls to the ground.


Mr Thomas - Next' week we will see whether the Prime Minister has a majority.


Sir JOHN FORREST - That is a very different case. The point upon which the leader of the Opposition was turned out was equivalent to a no-confidence motion, and there was a majority in favour of it.


Mr Thomas - Was not the amendment with regard to the railway servants equivalent to a no-confidence motion ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - It was never made such.


Mr Page - But the Deakin Government went out upon it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - There were different combinations operating against the Deakin Government. I should like to assure my honorable friends opposite that any objection which at any time I have taken to the actions of the honorable' member for Bland, and those who supported him, were not based upon any personal grounds whatever. I have no personal feeling against honorable members opposite.


Mr Page - We all know that.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Well, I am much obliged to the honorable member for saying so, because I am sometimes led to believe, from interjections and remarks which are made, that I am thought to be opposed to honorable members opposite, because they belong to the Labour Party. I have no such feeling.


Mr Thomas - The right honorable member never called us "steerage passengers."


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am personally just as friendly with honorable members opposite as I am with honorable members who sit behind the Government. My objection to the policy of the Labour Party is not personal, but is based on public grounds.


Mr Thomas - The right honorable member is the most popular man in the House.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Honorable members opposite know perfectly well that I am opposed to them because of their programme, which I call socialistic, and because of their methods. But I must say that the members of the Labour Party in this House are far more moderate than those outside whom they represent - those who go haranguing and preaching all over the country, and whose views are represented in labour journals, like the Tocsin and the Worker, seem, to be different people altogether. But I cannot forget that the members of the Labour Party in this House are the representatives of those persons. I cannot forget that, moderate as they are, they are the representatives of people whose principles and political views are by no means moderate.


Mr Watson - The right honorable member merely practises Socialism ; he never preaches it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not believe in the programme of the Labour Party, nor do I approve of the position which they occupy in this House in relation to their constituents. I consider that that position is not one which representatives of the people ought to occupy. I do not see why the unions should treat their representatives as they do, hampering them in the exercise of their duties, and depriving them of their independence.


Mr Spence - They do not hamper us.


Sir JOHN FORREST - It must be so. If they are continually passing resolutions, disapproving of what their representatives do in this House, those representatives cannot act as independently and as freely as they ought to do.


Mr Fisher - The organizations in the constituency of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat are passing resolutions against him.


Sir JOHN FORREST - He is not altogether dependent upon them for his position in this House. In my opinion, the position occupied by the members of the ' Labour Party, not only in the Federal Parliament, but in the Parliaments of the States, is not that of representatives. They are delegates of the unions. I trust that the time will soon come when a wider and more liberal view will be taken of representatives sent to Parliament than appears to be taken now. Every single action that honorable members opposite take, if they exercise their own judgment, is adversely criticised, /and the resolutions passed are scattered broadcast throughout the unions of Australia.


Mr Fowler - The same thing happens outside the labour unions.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Not to the same extent. At all events, other organizations do not seem to have the same power. They have not, for instance, the power of nomination, as is the case with the labour unions. That power appears to be most drastic. My honorable friend, the member for Perth, has to get the support of some sort of caucus before he can even be nominated as a candidate.


Mr Fowler - I have every confidence that they will do the right thing.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member's confidence may yet receive a rude shaking.


Mr Maloney - Would not the right honorable member like that?


Sir JOHN FORREST - That doe's not seem to me to be the position a representative ought to occupy. It is delegation, and not representation. Honorable members opposite1 represent the unions. They do not represent the people as a whole.


Mr Carpenter - Whom did the right honorable member's nominees represent at the last election?


Sir JOHN FORREST - If we nominate any persons they are at liberty to forget their nominators.


Mr Spence - What does the right honorable member do with them then?


Sir JOHN FORREST - It is not as easy to do anything with them, as it seems to be with honorable members opposite. My honorable friend, the member for Perth, made a speech last night. He knows that I have a great respect for him as a man and as a member of this House. Therefore anything that I say concerning him will not be said from any but friendly motives. But I must say that it is open to those who are opposed to the honorable member to say that there never was a finer piece of acting than his in the apparently earnest speech which he made.


Mr Fowler - There was no acting about it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - It might have been regarded as a very fine piece of acting. The object of it was, I suppose, to show that the caucus could not bind him in the matter at issue, and that he was independent.


Mr Bamford - It cannot bind any one.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The speech, as I say, was intended to show that the honorable member for Perth was independent, and that he would let his party know that they could not bind him to support the new alliance. He made it clear that he thought that those who had formerly called the members of his party by opprobrious names - who had said that the Labour Party was a sham and a fraud - ought not to be accepted in alliance until -they had apologized. But when it came to the point, what did the honorable member do?


Mr Watson - The disappointing part of the speech was the end of it !


Sir JOHN FORREST - I think I am justified in saying that the speech was, after all, only a little bit of " fast and furious." Notwithstanding all he had said, the honorable member for Perth declared that he would support the motion. He was bold enough to bark, but not bold enough to bite. If I did not know the honorable member as well as I do, I should say that if was a capital piece of acting, intended to show how independent he was, although it really showed that he did not intend to exercise his independence, even in respect to an alliance with persons who had called his party a sham and a fraud. I want to ask the honorable member this question - Suppose that the motion of the honorable member for Bland is successful, and that honorable members opposite form a coalition Government, including some of the persons who have called his party a fraud, and a sham ? Where will he be then ?


Mr Spence - Does not the right honorable member recollect that the present Prime Minister called him and .his party, plunderers, thieves, and brigands?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I have never seen or heard that he has done so. The honorable member for Perth has said that those honorable members who have attacked his party ought to apologize. I ask him again - if this motion is successful, what will be his position in sitting behind a new Government, and voting with those whom he denounced last night?


Mr Fowler - I will carry out my pledges, and that is all.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But those pledges mean everything. The honorable member will do exactly what the party does. He will do what the unions tell him to do.


Mr Fowler - It is not fair to say that. I have acted on my own responsibility oh several occasions in this House.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I remember one, and I think that the honorable member had a good deal of trouble about it. I do not profess for a moment to be well grounded in the rules and regulations of the Labour Party ; but it seems to me to be rather inconsistent that the rules and regulations of that party affecting' State elections, should be more stringent and farreaching than those affecting candidature for the Federal Parliament.


Mr Fowler - The circumstances are different.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not think the circumstances are very different, though, as the honorable member must have noticed, the conditions of candidature vary in each State.


Mr Fowler - The conditions vary according to requirements.


Sir JOHN FORREST - And yet, after all, the unions are composed of the same people. In Western Australia, for instance, the conditions of candidature of the Labour Party as regards the State Parliament, and the conditions of candidature of the Labour Party as regards the Federal Parliament may, or may not, be different; but it seems to me that the objects in each case are the same. Therefore, I do not think much of the argument that the conditions' of the Federal Labour Party are less stringent than the conditions of the States Labour Party. The two seem to be so interwoven that the same conditions really apply in each case.


Mr Fisher - Does the right honorable member not see that the programmes ' are different, because the members of the party are free men?


Sir JOHN FORREST - But the same associations nominate the candidates for both Parliaments, and it seems to me that the principles which govern them cannot be very different - the objects they have in view are exactly the same.


Mr Fisher - They are intelligent men, and know their own business best.


Sir JOHN FORREST - However, I should like the conditions of candidature to appear in Hansard, and, therefore, I propose to read them to honorable members. There is a good deal of talk about these conditions, and I find them in a little publication from the north.


Mr Fisher - Hear, hear; the Queensland Worker !


Sir JOHN FORREST - The conditions are as follow : -

1.   That all candidates for the Federal Parliament shall sign the following' pledge : - I hereby pledge myself notto oppose the candidate selected by the recognised political labour organization -

It is a " big order " to say a man shall not oppose a league candidate. The honorable member for Perth, after years of service, would not be able to become a candidate if he were not recognised by the local political labour organization.


Mr Thomas - A man may be nominated on his own account without going before the organization for selection.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But in that case he would be a "black-leg" - not a member of the Labour Party at all'. Doubtless the honorable member for Perth would come over to our side then. The pledge proceeds - and if elected, to do my utmost to carry out the principles embodied in the Federal Labour Platform, and on all questions affecting the platform -

It is difficult to say what this means - it might mean anything.


Mr Spence - We know the questions.


Sir JOHN FORREST - " All questions affecting the platform " ! Who is to know what those questions are?


Mr Page - The right honorable member has the platform before him.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Further - to vote as a majority of the Parliamentary Party may decide at a duly constituted caucus meeting.

According to this, if there were twentyfive members1, thirteen could absolutely rule the other twelve.


Mr Watson - There will always be more than twenty-five members in a league.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am speaking of the Parliamentary Party ; that is, of the members of the Labour 'Party, who are returned to Parliament.


Mr Thomas - That is the " cabinet " of the Labour Party.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Yes; and it is a "big order" to make all the members bow down to what the majority may decide.


Mr Thomas - That was done in the Cabinet of which the right honorable member was a member.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But that Cabinet was very much smaller.


Mr Tudor - And the right honorable member was always in a minority.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The document proceeds -

2.   That, subject to the acceptance of the Federal Platform and Pledge, each State shall control the selection of its candidates for the Federal Parliament.

3.   That all labour candidates shall have a free hand on the fiscal question.

I should like to know where the Indi-Hume Party are in this matter. They have joined a party which has no fiscal faith ; and I shall have something to say about them presently.


Mr watson -What is the right honorable member's fiscal faith at present?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am a moderate protectionist, and always have been.


Mr Thomas - What does the right honorable member mean by that?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I could moreeasily explain what I mean than the honorable member could explain the meaning of the words " and on al 1 questions affecting the platform." A further condition is : -

4.   That no member of the Federal Labour Party shall accept office in the Federal Government except with the consent of a duly constituted caucus of the party.

It seems to me that the members of the Labour Party are bound hand and foot. One of them may not even accept office without obtaining the consent of the majority. It seems to me that the Labour Party is becoming, if it is not already, an absolute menace to Parliamentary Government in this country ; the members are a solid phalanx, and there is no room for individual views. In regard to a great many matters, which cover nearly the whole gamut of politics, they are a1 solid party ; a machine controlled inside1 by the caucus, and outside by the labour unions.

Mi. Frazer-. - The right honorable member would never do for a caucus, that is certain !


Sir JOHN FORREST - It is clear that if the party is fifty strong, twenty-six members will rule absolutely the others. Those conditions of candidature might have been all very well in the early days when the party was fighting an uphill battle, and had no chance of obtaining control of the destinies of either a State or the Commonwealth. Such conditions were excellent then, because in a small party unity is necessary if they are to exercise that influence without which nothing can be done. But circumstances have now changed, and honorable members opposite have become, in some cases, almost the dominant party in the House. Conditions which were good enough in the early days, when the party were few in numbers, cannot apply to the altered circumstances; and', as sure as I stand here, they must break down.


Mr Page - The conditions are more necessary mow than ever they were.


Sir JOHN FORREST - In my opinion that is not sq, and I am sure that the conditions will break down.


Mr Thomas - Why is the right honorable gentleman so anxious» about us?


Sir JOHN FORREST - Because I hopethe conditions will break, down. I consider that, a combination such as that the Labour Party presents, is an absolute danger to this country. Freedom of action is denied, and a large body of men are bound together on a platform embracing numerous matters of great importance, which come before Parliament. The conditions of the Labour Party are too stringent, and, as I say, are an absolute menace to the good government of the country. It places the absolute control of the minority of the party in the hands of the majority. Such a position .has never been known in any Parliament in a British country.


Mr Carpenter - Majorities always have, control.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Not: the control that is exercised by the members of the Labour Party, because nolens volens they are bound, and if one breaks what I was going to call the almost sacred pledge, he must take the consequences.


Mr Page - We consider the pledge sacred..


Sir JOHN FORREST - Such conditions are all- very well, with a small party for the purposes of aggression,, but in my opinion they cannot last ; and I hope, that the Labour Party will, not: be able to apply them in the administration of the Government.


Mr Isaacs - The conditions were all right when the Labour Party were supporting the Government of which the right honorable gentleman was a member.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not think that that remark is very apropos, seeing that the honorable and learned member himself supported that Government.


Mr Isaacs - I did, and I was very sorry to see that Government go' out.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable and learned member: is not the first to use the jibe that the Labour Party supported for three years the Government of which I was a member. But why did the Labour Party support that Government? Because we were carrying- out legislation which they desired ; and there was some of that legislation which several members of that Government were not greatly in favour of, as- I shall show directly-.


Mr Watson - What happens to a man who votes against his- party in England, where there is- no Labour- Party in the sense understood here ? Such a man goes, out on his "pink ear."


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not think, so. Liberal-Unionists in England did not come to grief when they separated from the Liberal Party.


Mr Watson - That was. because they were adopted by another party.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The Unionists in England stood alone for years.


Mr Watson - No.


Sir JOHN FORREST - At any rate,, the members of that union were free men - they were not bound as are the members of the Labour Party. The speech of the honorable member for Perth last night might- be described as a fine piece of acting.


Mr Fowler - I rise. to. a point of order. I take exception to the continual assertion that I was guilty last night of a piece of acting. I was never more in earnest in my life, and the right honorable gentleman knows that.


Mr SPEAKER - What is the point of order ?

Me. Fowler. - Is the right: honorable member in order in accusing, me of acting - in misrepresenting my statements?


Mr SPEAKER - If the honorable member for Perth is displeased with the expression used, I am quite sure the right honorable member for Swan will withdraw it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Certainly, I withdraw it absolutely. I do not think that the honorable member was acting, but I say that his delivering the speech he did, and then declaring his intention to vote for the motion, might give people the idea that he was acting. I believe the honorable member to be incapable of anything dishonorable. I should now like to say . something about the alliance of the honorable members, led by the honorable and learned member for Indi, with the Labour Party.. The real reason which actuates the honorable and learned member for Indi, and those supporting him in joining the Labour Party, is their desire to have the Tariff revised ; but the honorable member for Bland, when submitting the motion before the House, never once mentioned the Tariff. Why ? Because the free-traders of his party would not allow him to do so.


Mr McCay - The caucus had forbidden it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The leader of the Opposition was not able to say one word about the Tariff in connexion with the alliance.


Mr Page - It is said that there is a Tariff truce ; whv mention the matter ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I say that this alliance, so far as the main object which those who have seceded from the main body of protectionists have in view-


Mr Groom - The right honorable member left us after he had assisted in passing a resolution declaring he would not.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Who is the honorable and learned member's leader?


Mr Groom - The right honorable member's leader is the Prime Minister.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable and learned member has deserted not only his partv, but also his leader.


Mr Groom - I keep to my principles.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I should like to know where those- principles are ; perhaps the honorable and learned member will tell us where he keeps them.


Mr Groom - They would not be safe in the keeping of . the right honorable member.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The main reason for this great alliance has . been treated by the leader of the Opposition with contemptuous silence, and has been repudiated by the honorable member for Perth, who will have nothing to do with seceders from the protectionist party who have referred to the Labour Party as a sham and a fraud, unless they apologize. The honorable member for Bourke had better set about . making an abject apology.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I will correct a misstatement at the right time.


Mr Fowler - I gave other reasons as well.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I assume that the honorable and learned member for Indi and the other protectionists have joined the Labour Party in order that the Tariff may be reconsidered, but the honorable member for Bland has not promised to re-open the question if this motion be carried. Honorable members must think that the public are rather stupid df they suppose that they will be misled by their action in giving notice of motions for the appointment of a Royal Commission to consider the working of the Tariff, and to inquire into the tobacco trade, immediately before the moving of a motion of -want of confidence. We might have expected from the mover of this no-confidence motion a statement of the terms of the alliance between the Labour Party and the protectionist seceders, and he might have told us what he was going to do for them.


Mr Watson - There is plenty of time yet for : a statement of policy by me.


Mr Page - What was the bunch of carrots which the right honorable member for East Sydney held out to the right honorable member for Swan to induce faim to join the coalition ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The right honorable gentleman has not offered me anything. He made no overtures to me.


Mr Page - What did he offer the right honorable member's party ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The Prime Minister has explained the terms upon which the Ministry was formed.


Mr Watson - He said that the terms placed before the public were not adopted, and that the proposed coalition went by the board, so that there has been no statement of the terms of the present coalition.


Mr Isaacs - Up to the present, it is a secret treaty.


Sir JOHN FORREST - There is no secrecy so far as I am concerned. The party of which I am a member went to the country at the last general elections on a definite policy, which was announced at Ballarat by the then Prime Minister, in

October last, when I was present as a member of his Government. Referring to the existing Tariff, he said -

We are prepared to preserve that Tariff, because we believe that the best boon to this community that its public men can give it is fiscal peace.

Further on, he said -

We are willing to wait and trust to experience, to show our confidence in the working of the protectionist part of this Tariff.

That was the pith of the policy upon which we went to the country, and I believe that every member of the party adopted it. But what has been the action of the honorable and learned members for Indi, and Darling Downs, of the honorable members for Hume and Bourke, and others? This alliance with the Labour Party is founded on the repudiation of their public pledges to their constituents and to the people of Australia.


Mr Isaacs - The right honorable member should justify the statement that I gave any such pledge to my constituents.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I hold. that the honorable and learned member who was a leading member of the Protectionist Party, by his silence, assented to the programme put forward by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. He was returned as a supporter of the Deakin Administration, and it is idle for him to say now that he did not in the main support the policy of his leader in regard to fiscal peace. That policy was very clearly enunciated, and the Age newspaper, which supported the Deakin Government, declared in no uncertain terms for it. In its leading columns, of the 30th October, I find the following: -

The first and foremost necessity of the times is a truce on the fiscal question. As long as that struggle goes on, it bars the way to any progressive legislation on other national or social questions. There is a time to draw the sword and a time to sheath it. All the interests of trade and industrial development demand for the present a cessation of fiscal hostilities.

Therefore I ask why this falling off on the part of the honorable and learned member for Indi, and on the part of the honorable member for Bourke, and others, all of whom have now joined the Labour Party? Not only have honorable members seceded from the Protectionist Party, and repudiated the pledges which they made to their constituents, and to the people of Australia, but they have deserted their leader.


Mr Storrer - -He deserted us.


Mr Isaacs - We would not follow him into the enemy's camp.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not believe in deserting -my leader, or in profiting by desertion, as the honorable and learned member for Indi will do if this motion succeeds.


Mr Webster - That is not true.


Sir JOHN FORREST - He will be a member of any coalition Government.


Mr Fisher - It is not so.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Well, I withdraw the remark. The policy of fiscal peace, announced by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, was universally accepted by the Protectionist Party.


Mr Ronald - No.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not mean to say that every individual protectionist accepted it; but it was accepted by the party throughout Australia. I do not know what was said in Queensland and Tasmania, but in Victoria and in New South Wales, " fiscal peace " was the election cry of the Protectionist Party.


Mr McDonald - What they declared for in Western Australia was labour.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am dealing now with the fiscal issue. What did the honorable member for Barker say upon this matter? He ds a protectionist, and was a member of the Protectionist Party. He said -

The Tariff was not by any means perfect, but he was for fiscal, peace during the next Parliament.

Surely that is a very clear pronouncement. What was my own position in Western Australia? .My pledge to the electors of Western Australia, which was printed in the press, reads -

I am in favour of the existing Tariff being given a fair trial. It was arrived at after much labour and controversy, and I recognise it would be unwise to disturb it, and to do so at the presenT time would be detrimental to trade and injurious all round. The verdict of Australia at the coming elections will, I feel sure, be in accord with the above views.

The verdict of Australia was in accord with those views. Speaking for myself and all who belonged to the Protectionist Party at that time. I ask "Where is the mandate from our constituents to alter the Tariff ?" We have none. The protectionists' throughout Australia declared in unmistakable terms that they accepted the pronouncement of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat that there should be fiscal peace during the life of this Parliament. Where is the mandate of the honorable and learned member for Indi, or the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, or the honorable member for Hume, or the honorable members for Bourke and Melbourne Ports, to ask for an alteration of the Tariff?


Mr Mauger - That mandate comes from the exercise of common sense, and the knowledge that industries are being destroyed.


Mr Isaacs - We have the same mandate as has the right honorable member' if he will only obey it.


Mr Groom - We received no mandate to place ourselves under the free-trade leader.


Sir JOHN FORREST - In my opinion the protectionist supporters of the Government are as safe now as they were before. The honorable and learned member for Darling Downs will be absorbed, and will sign the- pledge of the Labour Party.


Mr Groom - I am quite prepared to run the risk.


Sir JOHN FORREST - What have the seceders done? They have joined a party which .is very much stronger than is their own - a party which has no fiscal faith whatever.


Mr Carpenter - They have not joined the Labour Party. The two parties are quite distinct.


Sir JOHN FORREST - It has Been stated that the agreement between the two parties has been confirmed.


Mr Isaacs - We have not been ""gobbled " up by, the Free trade Party.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The seceding protectionists have joined a party which has no fiscal faith whatever, and which helped to. defeat the protectionist Government in this House. No matter- what the members of the Labour Party may say to the contrary, the fact remains that they hurled the protectionist Ministry from power. Concerning the statement that I was not prepared to allow the Watson Administration, to continue in office for a single day, I wish to say that had it not been for the fact that it was a Labour Ministry, it would have received a very much shorter shrift than it did. There was a general feeling in the House that a party which had had no experience of Ministerial office, should be accorded very generous treatment. We had as much chance of deposing that Government when it first met the House, as honorable members opposite have of succeeding with the present motion.


Mr Watson - Not by a long way.

M;t. Carpenter. - Honorable members opposite were conspiring all the time to defeat the Watson Government, but could not do so.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I repeat that there was a general desire that we should not act precipitately in regard to the La' bour Party, which for the first time, had assumed the reins of Government. From the time when the Protectionist Party met in the 'room upstairs, and decided not to enter .into an alliance with the Free-trade Party, no meeting has been held, and no agreement ratified in regard to the present coalition.


Mr Mauger - The meeting to which the right honorable member refers, decided that there should be no coalition.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member should be ashamed to make any mention of that meeting. He attended with a determination to prevent any coalition being arranged. He was present only for the purpose of creating trouble and obstruction.


Mr Mauger - And I succeeded.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member temporarily succeeded, but I am satisfied that, within a brief period, we shall again have him in the fold. The alliance between the protectionists and freetrade members upon the Ministerial side of the House is not the result of any agreement arrived at by meetings called for the purpose. But we believe that Australia will be better governed by the present Administration than it would be by honorable members opposite!.


Mr Mauger - That decision was not arrived at bv any meeting which was held.


Sir JOHN FORREST - There are some agreements which are better than those made with pen and ink - I mean agreements which are arrived at by mutual consent in cases where people come together of their own accord.


Mr Mauger - Four seats in the Cabinet represent good pie all the same.


Sir JOHN FORREST - At any rate, I am not a member of the Government. I believe, however, that I can accomplish just as much good on behalf of Western Australia, and exert quite as much influence as a private member as I could if I filled a position in the Cabinet. I am not so foolish as to think that a coalition Government can find portfolios for everybody. Those who will not abstain from4 urging any claims which they may have reason to believe they possess, in a time of great difficulty, must be satisfied to be branded as self-seekers.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - Does the right honorable member think that he will get back next time ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - Certainly. I may add that neither directly nor indirectly was I ever consulted by any member of the Ministry concerning the programme which they have submitted. I had confidence that they would do what was just to Western Australia, and if they had not I was free to express my dissent, and to act as I considered best.


Mr Groom - They did nothing.


Sir JOHN FORREST - They have brought forward one measure in which I was specially interested - the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill.


Mr Isaacs - Oh !


Sir JOHN FORREST - At any rate it is to my credit that I never had any conversation with Ministers upon that subject.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - The motion relating to the survey of that line was carried with the aid of members of the Labour Party.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am very much obliged- to them for their assistance. Honorable ' members are aware how very interested I am in that project, and knowing the intimacy which exists between members of the Government and myself, may have been disposed to think that I requested them to include that measure in their programme. But neither directly nor indirectly did I ever mention the subject to them. Of course it would be idle for me to deny that I was aware of the compact which was made between the honorable and learned member for Ballarat and the present Prime Minister.


Mr Isaacs - What was that compact ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I refer to the compact into which they entered, subject to the approval of their respective parties. I knew that that compact would be the basis of any understanding which might be arrived at between those parties. I was in favour of it-


Mr Mauger - The majority were opposed to it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I had every confidence that that compact would form the basis of any alliance which might be entered into.


Mr Mauger - The right honorable member seceded from the Protectionist Party in order to get it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I mentioned the subject of the Transcontinental Railway for a purpose. The. Deakin and Wat son Administrations having approved of the Bill relating to the survey of that line, it was only reasonable to assume that the coalition Government would approve of it.


Mr McDonald - Then there is no credit due to the right honorable member.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But I wish to show the view which is entertained by a member of the other branch of the Legislature, who is at present upon a visit to Western Australia. In the "West Austro^lian of 6th September,. Senator Croft is reported to have said -

We have no idea as to what Mr. Reid's policy is likely to be, but I am credibly informed that it will contain little or no reference to the TransAustralian Railway, and will not even provide for a survey in that connexion.

I should like to know by whom he was "credibly informed." My idea is that he was not credibly informed, and it would take a lot of persuasion to induce me to think otherwise. Another paragraph appeared in the West Australian newspaper of the 8th September, quoting the right "honorable member for East Sydney as stating as a part of his policy-

We propose to deal with the Bill providing for a survey of the Transcontinental Railway line.

Yet Senator Croft said that he was credibly informed that nothing would be done- Does any honorable member in this House believe that the honorable senator was credibly informed to that effect? If no communication was made to me or to my friends, how could this wiseacre who went to the West have been " credibly informed " to that effect?


Mr Carpenter - Knowing the opponents of the railway who were in the Ministry, we were a little suspicious about it until we saw the policy stated.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Do honorable members think that, in my position as a supporter of the Government, I would not have been informed if the Ministry did not propose to do anything?

Mr.- Spence.- -No: the right honorable member would not be consulted at all.


Sir JOHN FORREST - All I can say is that if Senator Croft was " credibly informed," no one else was so informed. These pure-minded patriots go about the country trying to create ill-will and mischief by making statements which have no foundation.


Mr Carpenter - It is not so bad as sending telegrams.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am willing to stand by anything I have sent. - Mr.. Watson. - I suppose that Senator Croft is equally ready to stand by what he said.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Then let the honorable senator say who " credibly informed " him.


Mr McDonald - Considering the speech delivered by the honorable member for Gippsland, and the fact that the honorable member represented half the head of the Government, was it not a natural conclusion for Senator Croft to come to?


Mr McLean - I stated in the speech to which the honorable member refers that I hoped the Government would get the fullest possible information.


Mr McDonald - But the honorable gentleman denounced the proposal in another speech, made in Gippsland.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The other day when the honorable member for Bland gave notice of the motion .of want of confidence in the Government, I interjected that if the Western Australian members of the Labour Party had brought pressure to bear upon the honorable member he would never have precipitated his motion until the KalgoorliePort Augusta Railway Survey Bill had had a fair chance of being got out of the way. I said that ;f those honorable members had supported the proposals in the way they ought, the honorable member for Bland would not have done anything so detrimental to Western Australia. The honorable member for Coolgardie, when replying to me, said :

I am afraid that my idea of loyalty to my leader and colleagues must be different from that cherished by the right honorable member for Swan.

Loyalty to his leader and his colleagues ! What about loyalty to his constituency and his State?


Mr Carpenter - The right honorable member does not know what the honorable member for Coolgardie had done for his State that same morning.


Sir JOHN FORREST - We do not know what the honorable member did, but we know what he said. The honorable member spoke of loyalty to his leader and his colleagues, but he said nothing whatever about his loyalty to his constituents and his State. It appears to me that, with the honorable member, they are a secondary consideration, and his first consideration is' the Labour Party, to which he is bound hand and foot.


Mr Carpenter - That is very unfair.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I say that it is absolutely true.


Mr Carpenter - The honorable member for Coolgardie had done everything for Western Australia that a man could that same morning.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not know what the honorable member may have done in caucus,' that is not reported here.


Mr Mahon - I merely meant that I did not disclose Cabinet differences in this House.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I have quoted the honorable gentleman's statement, when 1 told him that I thought he should have brought more pressure to bear on the honorable member for Bland. Do honorable members think that I would have approved of such a thing being done, as the honorable member for Coolgardie allowed to be done, especially when there was no reason or advantage to be gained by doing it?


Mr Mauger - No; the right honorable member would have smashed things.


Sir JOHN FORREST - If the party were to be injured, or some great catastrophe were likely to happen, it might be justified. But to avoid a few hours? delay in giving notice of a motion, the honorable member for Coolgardie sacrificed his loyalty to his constituency and his State for loyalty tq his leader and his colleagues.


Mr Carpenter - It .was because of the conduct of honorable members opposite.


Mr Isaacs - It is not five minutes since th2 right, honorable gentleman placed loyalty or so-called loyalty to a leader before loyalty to a whole country.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I absolutely deny that. Cannot the honorable and learned member for Indi allow other people to defend themselves? Must he always rush in? Is the honorable and learned member the only member with any sense in this House? Does he desire to be- the protector of everybody ?


Mr Isaacs - I wish to show, how very little consistency there is in the right honorable gentleman.


Mr Austin Chapman - Some honorable members opposite are good judges of consistency.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable and learned member for Indi is in a difficult position ; and I suppose one must make some allowance for him. The first .allegiance of members of the Labour Party is to the labour unions outside, and their constituents come second.


Mr Carpenter - That is a very foolish statement to make.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I say that here, and I shall say it to the honorable member's constituents when I have the opportunity.


Mr Carpenter - The right honorable gentleman says many foolish things.


Sir JOHN FORREST - What is the shelving of that Bill, and the sacrificing of his own State to the honorable member for Coolgardie?


Mr Carpenter - The right honorable gentleman's comrades on the other side sacrificed the Bill.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Will the honorable member for Coolgardie deny that that Bill, which has been so longed for by the people of Western Australia, was shelved without any reason at all? I' said at the time that the chief opponent of the Bill, the honorable member for Moira, had gone home. I was not then absolutely certain of the fact, but I find that I was correct. .Surely, with all the means at the disposal of the party opposite, they could have found out where the honorable member for Moira was? The honorable member was on his way to the North, and probably at that time he was half way to his home on the Murray.


Mr Mahon - Did not the right honorable gentleman himself vote to shelve the Bill some time ago?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I say that this Bill, which is of so much importance to the people of Western Australia, was shelved, and I say that the honorable mem* ber for Coolgardie temporarily sacrificed his own State, because, when I objected to what had been done, the honorable member" said that it had his full approval and indorsement-


Mr Mahon - Hear, hear. I repeat that now.


Sir JOHN FORREST - This shows how much the honorable member cares for his constituents and the people of Western Australia. Why should the honorable member care for Western Australia? He is a stranger there; he is scarcely known to the people there, though he is a representative of the State.


Mr Webster - Is . this an electioneering address?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member for Coolgardie and I are personal friends, but that does not prevent me from telling the honorable gentleman the truth.


Mr Mahon - The right honorable gentleman knows very different from what he is now stating.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member did not look after his constituents the other day, or that wrong to the people of Western Australia would never have been perpetrated. There was no reason for it at all, unless it was to enable the honorable member for Bland and others to return to Sydney on Thursday instead of Friday. Was that a sufficient reason to justify the abandonment, of a Bill which was so eagerly longed for by the people of Western Australia ?


Mr Mahon - And which the right honorable gentleman was three years in office without advancing a single stage.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member has said that the . Government of which he was a member did more, but they did nothing.


Mr Mahon - We did.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable gentleman and his Government found the resolution relating to the Governor-General's message on the table when the Deakin Government went out of office, and it was still there when the right honorable member for East Sydney came into, office.


Mr Mahon - The right honorable gentleman put the Labour Government out, and in doing so he helped to shelve the Bill.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Though what I have said may be considered bv some honorable members to be ungenerous, it is not nearly so ungenerous as is the honorable gentleman's statement that, although I was three years in office, I did nothing. In view of the facts, that is a most ungenerous statement. I did all that I possibly could do,- and I admit that the honorable gentleman helped me.


Mr Mahon - The statement is quite as true as what the right honorable gentleman said just now.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable gentleman may have acted in a weak moment, or thoughtlessly-


Mr Mauger - The right honorable gentleman had better withdraw the statement.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I shall not withdraw it. I shall reiterate it in Western. Australia, unless the honorable member for Coolgardie explains why he allowed this; wrong to be perpetrated.


Mr Mahon - I shall explain what the right honorable gentleman did also.

Sir JOHN(FORREST. - The people of Western Australia do not know the honorable member for Coolgardie, and would not listen to him. The honorable member is a stranger in Western Australia.


Mr Mahon - They know the right honorable gentleman too well.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Of what use is it for the honorable gentleman to talk about what he will do ? If he were to walk down the streets of any of the principal towns of Western Australia, the honorable gentleman would be unknown. He must know that, as well as I do.


Mr Mahon - Thirty thousand of them would not chase me to the railway station.


Sir JOHN FORREST - People who do nothing are never found fault with. People who are unknown, who have no public service to their credit, have never anything said against them. But the man who tries to do something for the benefit of his fellow-men, may depend upon it that he will tread upon the toes of a lot of people in doing so.


Mr Mahon - Hear, hear. Let the right honorable gentleman send up one of his tools to Coolgardie, and see how he will get on.


Sir JOHN FORREST - We shall do it. We shall try to secure that the place which knows the honorable gentleman shall know him no more.


Mr Mauger - The right honorable gentleman is excited.


Sir JOHN FORREST - It is not excitement ; it is only a little earnestness. During the last month or two, since I retired from office, and since I have been in a position to express myself freely, I have been misrepresented a good deal in this House. I wish the honorable member for Hume were present, because, although that honorable gentleman is an old colleague of mine, I desire to tell him that he was not correct in something that he said. The honorable gentleman has said that, because I voted against some of the extreme clauses of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, I am, for that reason, opposed altogether to the Bill.


Mr Ronald - Hear, hear.


Sir JOHN FORREST - That might be used as an argument if I had no evidence t:> prove the contrary. But I was the first man in Australia to introduce and pass a compulsory Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, brought up to date with the provisions of the Act then in force in New Zealand, with one or' two exceptions.


Mr Groom - With preference to unionists?


Sir JOHN FORREST - No. That was not in the measure. I am opposed to preference to unionists, as being unnecessary and unfair. I do not think it was in the New Zealand Act at that time.


Mr Groom - It was held to be.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I did not know that at the time. I do not think the State Parliament of Western Australia would have passed a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill giving one man an undue preference over another


Mr Groom - Has it passed it since?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I may tell the honorable and learned member that even now, though the measure I passed has been amended, with the assistance of the Labour Party, which was not in existence in my day, and has been liberalized in some directions and brought up to date with theNew Zealand Act, there is no preference to unionists in it, and the Court in Western Australia has refused to give preference to unionists.


Mr Groom - Has the Court held that it has not the power?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The Court has held that the law in Western Australia does not permit of preference to unionists.


Mr Carpenter - It does not direct the Court to give preference.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member for Fremantle will admit that the Court has refused to give it. Mr. Carpenter. - I admit that ; the Court may not think it has the power.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I am aware that there is a difference of opinion upon the point, but up to the present time, the Court has held that the law cannot be construed to mean that a preference shall be given to unionists. I repeat, that I was the first man in Australia to bring in a measure for compulsory arbitration. Whatever may be said against me, in respect of my action upon the extreme provisions upon which we divided - the inclusion of farmers, civil servants, and railway employes, and the giving of an undue preference to unionists - it is very unfair to say of me that I am opposed to the passing of any Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.


Mr Mauger - But the provisions against which he voted were in the right honorable gentleman's Bill'. As a member of the' Government that introduced the Bill, the right honorable gentleman was responsible for it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member for Hume is in exactly the same position as myself in that respect. He voted against provisions appearing in the Bill as agreed to by the Deakin Cabinet, because he was opposed to them.


Mr Mauger - The honorable member for Hume desired to liberalize the measure.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I have understood that if as a Minister one does not agree with any provision in a measure proposed by the Government to which he belongs, when he is no longer a Minister he is free to exercise . his own judgment on such a provision. That is the understanding on which I have acted. It is, therefore, unfair to say that because I did not vote with the Labour Party on the few divisions that took place on extreme provisions in the Bill. I am opposed to the whole measure. The Bill I passed in Western Australia may not have been so up-to-date as present requirements demand, but circumstances change as the years roll on, and legislation has to be amended from time to time. When' I introduced it in 1900, representatives of the labour organizations of Western Australia waited on me, and in the course of the interview said that my name would be always honored by the labour organizations of Australia as that of a man who had done good service in the cause for which they worked. Now I am told by the same persons that I am opposed to them.


Mr Carpenter - Not by the same persons.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I voted against extreme provisions in the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Bill because I had always been opposed to them.


Mr Fowler - I do not think that any member of the Labour Party has said that the honorable member is opposed to the whole Bill.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The honorable member for Hume has publicly said that I arn, and I think the honorable member for Bland said I- intended to destroy the Bill altogether.


Mr Fowler - The honorable member for Hume is not a member of the Labour Parfv.


Sir JOHN FORREST - In the courseof my previous remarks, I made an unfortunate observation concerning those whom I called' the seceding- protectionists, who had deserted their leader and their party. I said, amongst other things, that they had done it because they hoped to make a profit out of it. I desire to say, before I go further, that that was a very improper observation on my part, which 1 very much regret, and I unreservedly withdraw it. I am informed that, when I was not in the House, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie referred to my having attended women's meetings in Victoria, but said that I had never done anything for women. I desire to point out that I gave the franchise to women in Western Australia, and that the franchise

Gould not have been extended to them at that time without my assistance. Western Australia was the second State in Australia to extend the franchise to women. So that the honorable member was not correct if he said - as reported to me - that I had not done anything for the women of Australia.


Mr Carpenter - The honorable member referred to the Prime Minister, and not to the right honorable member.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I understood that he referred to me, but if it is not so my remarks are not necessary.


Mr McLean - He referred to me, and to the right honorable member also.


Sir JOHN FORREST - He certainly was in error in referring to me, because I stand second amongst the Premiers of the Australian States in this respect. The State of- South Australia, either during the. Premiership of the right honorable member for Adelaide, -or during your Premiership, Mr. Speaker, was the first, to extend the franchise ' to women. Western Australia, under my Premiership, was the second State to do so. I now wish to refer to a matter of very great importance to . mistralia and to all honorable members. It is the White Australia policy. What I have to say will be -in opposition to section- 16 of the Post and Telegraph . Act. I am opposed, and personally always have been opposed, to the terms of that section, which provides that no coji tract or arrangement shall be made for the carriage of our mails in ships unless, such ships are manned by white crews. I am very glad to have an opportunity to express my opinions on this subject. Every one must see that to mix up the question of coloured labour on mail, ships" with the question of a White Australia is 'a mistake. But lest any one should think that I am opposed to the White Australia policy. I wish to point out that I was the' first Premier in Aus- tralia to introduce and pass through Parliament a measure founded on the Natal Act, which is practically the same legislation as we have in existence in the. Commonwealth at the present time. I was in England at t;he Diamond Jubilee of her late Majesty in 1897, when the other Australian Premiers were there. . We all agreed to do our best to pass through our respective Legislatures Bills based upon the Natal Act, rather than a measure embodying prohibition. Honorable members know that a measure involving prohibition was passed by the Parliament of New South Wales, but the Royal Assent was withheld. I carried out the promise which I made in England. I believe that my right honorable f riend the Prime. Minister also carried out his promise, and that a similar measure was passed by the Legislature of New South Wales. In Victoria a similar Bill was introduced by my right honorable friend the Treasurer, but he was not able to pass it. In South. Australia it was introduced, I think, but afterwards withdrawn.


Mr Carpenter - In South Australia we refused to accept the Natal principle.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The point which: I wish to make is that I was the first Australian Premier to carry such a measure, through . the Legislature. If honorable members like to read my speeches: in the Western Australian Parliament - I have quoted from them before in this House - they will see. that there was no lack of sympathy on my part concerning the White Australia policy. But while. I am in accord with the idea that we must do our utmost to keep Australia for the white race, I am altogether opposed to section 16 of the Post and Telegraph Act, and for many reasons. I may . also point out: that when I passed the Act to which I refer, and also when I passed the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, there was no payment of members and no Labour Party in Western Australia. Therefore, although there was plenty of pressure, and the conditions were difficult - as I suppose they are in all Parliaments - at the same time we had not a concrete body of members banded together to support their own platform such as we have in the Parliaments of Australia at the present time.


Mr Thomas - The Opposition would have turned out the right honorable, member if he had not passed those Bills,


Sir JOHN FORREST - They could not have.. turned nie out The" Opposition w-ere. very . weak. The only ; way in which I could have been turned out was by the secession of some of my own supporters ; and any honorable member who has . had experience of party government is aware that very often a Minister experiences more difficulty from within, than from without. The point is that there was no Labour Party in Western Australia at that time.


Mr Mahon - Because the right honorable member would not give the people the franchise.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I have already said that I not only extended the suffrage to men, but I also gave it to women.


Mr Mahon - It was said that the right honorable gentleman extended the franchise to women, in order to dish the gold-fields.


Sir JOHN FORREST - When one gives anything, it is rather ungenerous, if it is not worse than ungenerous, to turn round and say that ons gave it for. a wrong purpose, or had an ulterior motive.


Mr Mahon - I am only imitating the right honorable member if I am ungenerous.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not desire to be ungenerous. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there was no Labour Party and no' payment of members at that time in Western Australia. Of course, the absence of payment of members restricted the. representation to some extent. There is no doubt, as every one will admit, that where there is no payment of members, many persons, who would otherwise be able to enter Parliament, cannot do so. My' honorable friend, the member for Coolgardie, seems to be alert just now. Perhaps, I have made some point at his expense. But he must expect that. When members sit on different sides of the House, they are apt to be not so generous to one another as, perhaps, they would be if they were sitting on the same side. Hard hitting is not. unfriendliness. In passing, as the honorable member has referred to matters of days now long ago, I may say that I am quite willing to be criticised in regard to every action in my political career. The honorable member referred, to that 'unfortunate incident when he said 30,000 people on the gold fields - there were not nearly so many - ' hooted and mobbed me at Kalgoorlie in 1898. Why did the honorable member refer to that ?


Mr Mahon - I always condemned their conduct.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But the honorable . member said something about it tonight. -I say that ' that incident is not to mytdiscredit, because I . was trying to'benefit those poor people. And I did it, too. I did help them. I was told by my opponents that I helped them because I was afraid, inasmuch as they had mobbed me, and treated me badly. I was then three hundred miles away - in Perth - and why should I have been afraid? I' could have stopped that disturbance or riot if I had been a little more conciliatory than I was. All that they wanted me to do was to address them. But I would not do it, because I was not going to be coerced. I told them that I would give them their answer in a certain time, but that I was not going to make a speech then. I knew that I could not give a satisfactory answer at that moment, and so I refused to address them. That is why I received such treatment. There was no ill will towards me. Their conduct was simply prompted by the fact that I refused to be coerced. I was offended and hurt at their action; that is why I did not do what perhaps on another occasion I should have done. I do not know why the honorable member should have referred to that incident. He has never been hooted by ' 10,000 people. And why? Because he has never had to exercise great power and authority. It is by the exercise of power - it is by going out of the ordinary channels, by insisting upon doing things which one thinks will result in good, that one makes enemies. I never blamed those poor hard-working fellows at Kalgoorlie, nor did I in any way resent what they did.


Mr Mahon - Hear hear ; that is quite true.


Sir JOHN FORREST - They did not know they were hurting the feelings of one who had always tried to befriend them. I was working hard at that very time to bring them happiness and comfort; and I would trust my life to-day to the same men who mobbed and hooted me then.


Mr Frazer - They did not hoot the right honorable member when he went up again to open the water scheme.


Sir JOHN FORREST - In regard to this White Ocean policy, I wish to consider the matter calmly and clearly. I think that we have made a great mistake. I was not here when the subject first came before the House. I was in Western Australia. But I believe if the records of the House are searched, it will be found that, although I was always opposed to the clause. I did not vote or speak against it. Still I think we made a great mistake." In . endeavouring to protect this country from an invasion of alien coloured people, we went further than there was any necessity to go; and, in fact, we acted very foolishly. What is the history of the matter? In the Senate the Government introduced the Post and Telegraph Bill, and it was sought by the Labour Party in that House to insert a clause providing that no mail contract should be let to a shipping company which employed coloured crews. The then Vice-President of the Executive Council, Mr. R. E. O'Connor,' resisted that clause with all his might, on behalf of the Government, and was able to prevent its adoption. When the Bill came to the House of Representatives, however, the clause, the consideration of which was postponed again and again, was eventually adopted under great pressure from the Labour Party. Mr. O'Connor was abandoned by the Government, of, it may be, he acquiesced in what was done. At any rate, when the Bill was returned to the Senate, Mr. O'Connor had to argue in favour of the clause, which then became a part of the measure.


Mr Thomas - How did the present Prime Minister vote on the clause?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I do not know, but I should say the right honorable gentleman voted against the clause.


Mr Thomas - I doubt it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I myself was always opposed to the provision, but I was not well at the time, and had great domestic trouble, and the extent of my action was to express to my colleagues my disapproval of its inclusion. There are members of the Labour Party, and also of the Free-trade and the Protectionist Parties, who have expressed to me the view that in this matter we went further than there was any occasion to go; and subsequent events have proved the correctness of that opinion. It may be said that if honorable members, including protectionists, free-traders, and labour representatives, overstepped the mark, we can easily retrace our steps ; but, though I sympathize with any desire there may be in that direction, it is not so very easy to adopt such a course, and especially is this so in the case of members of the Labour Party. Those who express disapproval of this section of the Post and Telegraph Act are exposed to much misrepresentation.' They are told that they are not in sympathy with a " White Australia " policy, and that they are undoing legislation of a farreaching, character, and so forth, and I have not the slightest doubt that I shall be so misrepresented. I have previously tried to convince honorable members that that is not my attitude, as is shown by the fact that I was responsible for the adoption of the Natal' Act by the Western Australian Parliament, and by the further fact that long previously the Government of the State, of which I was Premier, passed Chinese exclusion legislation nearly as stringent as that passed by the Commonwealth Parliament. In my opinion this section in the Post and Telegraph Act will cause us to be regarded as Quixotic, unpractical, and unbusinesslike. There is no doubt that this legislation will cost the Commonwealth a lot of money. I know that honorable members opposite say that the Orient Company have stated that this provision is not the main reason for the increase in the amount of their tender. A couple of years ago, both the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient Companies - I do not know whether this has been made public;, but it happened so long ago that I think I may state the fact to honorable members - through the Secretary of State for the Colonies, expressed their willingness to extend the present contract for two years, on the same terms. In the opinion of the Government, though not in my opinion, it was thought better to have a new contract under different conditions.


Mr Carpenter - That does not touch the question the right honorable member is discussing.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But the fact that the companies were willing to extend the contract on the same terms a couple of years ago, indicates that to a large extent the increased prices may be attributed to the new conditions, among which are the restrictions under section 16 of the Post and Telegraph Act.


Mr Carpenter - The company say not.


Sir JOHN FORREST - That is so in regard to the Orient Company ; but the Peninsular and Oriental Company has refused to tender at all. As I have said, this section will cost us a great deal of money, and that is a consideration we should not altogether disregard. In my opinion, " the provision will retard our progress, seeing that it will interfere to some extent with our means of communication, and, altogether, the measure, so far from being practical, seems to be very foolish. If we have passed legislation which is found to be adverse to our in terests, financially and generally, the onlycourse for us is to repeal' it. The words used in the Act are "no contract or arrangement shall be made." I appeal to honorable members who are accustomed to read plain English, to say what the meaning of those words is. The lawyers have been at work in order to find some way out of the difficulty, and their conclusion is that if we send our mails, and pay by poundage, we do not enter into an "arrangement " - that it is not an arrangement to send by the pound and pay by the pound. If that be so, it is very fortunate, because otherwise the section would prove much more injurious. To my mind, however, a " contract or arrangement " means any contract or arrangement under which we pay for the carrying of our mails; and that I believe would be the definition arrived at by any ordinary man. Such a construction, however, would never suit us, because it would debar our sending mails by the Peninsular and Oriental' steamers, and by the steamers running to Japan, China, Singapore, and elsewhere. There would be no communication by post with those places, and we should be in a very difficult position. However, as I say, the legal mind has come to our rescue, and we are told that " arrangement" does not include paying for the carriage of our mails by the pound. The Peninsular and Oriental Company, under arrangement with the British Government, will bring the English letters out in ships, probably to some extent manned by coloured crews, and will carry our letters back to Europe, the latter, however, under the poundage system. Under such a method there would be no arrangement as to time-table, as to where the vessel should call, or how quickly they should travel, or where! they would land the mails. We should simply put our mails on board, and allow the companies to carry them over the ocean when and how they liked. Money would be paid out of the Treasury for the carriage of the mails in ships manned by coloured crews. If we are to send letters, let us send them in the most expeditious way. To take the step to which it appears we may be forced, appears to be hypocritical, and not honest. If we were to say that we would not use any steamers with coloured crews for the carriage of mails, either under contract or by poundage, we might be acting foolishly, or Quixotically ; but we should, at any rate, be acting like honest people, who were determined to adhere to their principles. The other plan means to deny an arrangement when, in my opinion, we have made an arrangement. I wonder we use the tea the. coloured man grows ; there is no doubt we pay the coloured man, though we may not do so in the first instance, for all the services he renders. I wonder that, farmers use the sacks, or squatters use the wool bales, which the people of India make, and for which we have to pay with the produce of. the country. In desiring that the British, or,, at any rate, the white race shall, as far as is possible, inhabit Australia, we. are. on safe ground. But when> we say that we will not use the coloured man to make particular articles, or to assist in conveying our mails under an arrangement, we are on unsafe ground, and become hypocrites. I do not know why we should tilt at windmills in this way, and act differently from any other com.munity in the world. No other country can afford to say that its mails shall not be carried out under a " contract or arrangement," except by a certain class of people. We must remember that there is not much difference between, the Government paying for the service and a private person paying for it. The. Government, in the first place, get the money from the people, and then pay it, while in the other case, the people, pay for themselves. Why should we not also say that no ship carrying a coloured crew shall convey our produce and general merchandize? Why should we not prohibit every one from making a contract under which cargo may be carried in ships manned by coloured crews ? Whether the Government or private persons pay, the money has to come out of the soil - Australia has to pay. What we desire is to have our mails carried expeditiously and safely. If we were to say that we would clear the ocean, and the world, of all coloured people, that would be consistent, though impracticable.. We remember, however, that we are not so large in number as are the coloured races, and therefore such an idea is not entertained. We subsidize the Pacific Cable, but I feel sure that .the board hp- a good many coloured people in its employment at Fanning Island and other places in the tropics. Similarly we subsidize mail services for the encouragement of trade with places like the New Hebrides and New Guinea, which are inhabited, by people of coloured races. Why is this done? Because we have to do it. It is a matter, not of inclination, but of necessity. . I think that we have acted very foolishly, therefore, in saying that we will not make a " contract or arrangement " with the English mail lines which 'employ coloured crews on their steamers. But although we say that we will not enter into contracts or arrangements with such companies, we have had to twist the Act in order to allow the service of carrying our mails to be performed, and we have, had to decide that, to pay poundage is not an evasion of the law. If we have no contract with the companies, and simply pay so much per lb. for the carriage of our mails backwards and forwards, their vessels will not be compelled to call at Fremantle or at Adelaide; and will probably come on direct to Melbourne and Sydney. That would be a. great injury to Western- Australia, and to South Australia.


Mr Carpenter - The present English mail contract binds the vessels of the Peninsular and Oriental Company to call at Fremantle.


Sir JOHN FORREST - So much the better for us. But are they bound to call at Fremantle on their way home? My point is that we shall be better off if we have definite contracts with the mail companies, stipulating where and when their steamers shall call, than if we have no contract and pay a poundage, which, in my opinion, is an unbusinesslike and foolish arrangement.


Mr Carpenter - By paying a poundage we get the same, service as before, but at a lower rate.


Sir JOHN FORREST - We cannot obtain a regular service unless we have contracts with the companies concerned. Without contracts, their boats will not be bound to call regularly, according to a time-table, and might even be taken off for a week, or two. Of course, if we can get- as good a service for less money - by paying poundage than by paying a subsidy, the former arrangement is the better one ; but I do not think Ve can. I do not think that the companies will give us as good a service without a contract. If I were a director .of one of these companies, I would take good care that I did not give as much for lower rates as I gave when I was being paid a reasonable sum. It is essential to this country that we should have quick and regular ocean transit for our people, our produce, and our mails, and anything which interferes with that is prejudicial to' our 'interests. The whole thing requires exposure, because at present the public are being deluded into' the belief, that what ' is ' being done is ' necessary to prevent Australia from ' being ' overrun by coloured people.'


Mr Wilkinson - Is there not a patriotic as well as .a commercial aspect ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - We are not the centre of the Empire. We are a handful of people on the outskirts of the Empire, requiring, above all things, speedy and regular transit. Surely the forty or fifty millions of people in the old country can safely be trusted to look after the main interests of the Empire. At the present time we are doing ourselves injury, and gaining no compensating advantage. We are made to appear as out of sympathy with the mother country in her difficulties in dealing with the various problems of the Empire. I am sure that Ave are all glad to help her ; but at the present time we are made to look as though we are unmindful of her obligations and her difficulties. If what we are doing resulted- in great material advantage, we might say to the mother country, " We cannot afford to do otherwise " ; but at the present time we are gaining nothing, and are exhibiting ourselves before the people of the Empire as arrogant, unbusinesslike faddists.

Mi. Fisher. - Is it not a good thing to train up British seamen? "Sir JOHN FORREST- Yes; but that is a matter which can be well left to the mother country, and in which, at any rate, she might lead the way.


Mr Fisher - As we pay for the carriage of our mails, we are surely at liberty to take advantage of the opportunity to enforce a principle.


Sir JOHN FORREST - But although we do not enter into contracts with the mail companies which employ coloured labour, we support them by paying poundage for the carriage of out letters, and by employing them for the transport of our wool, wheat, and other produce. I should like to see the matter reconsidered. It seems popular now-a-days to suggest the submission of questions like these to Royal Commissions, and it would certainly be a reasonable thing to have this question so investigated. The present law has done us a lot of harm. It has cost us a great deal of money, without doing us any good, materially or otherwise. It is useless to think that we can prevent the employment of coloured persons upon the ocean. Would any one suggest that we should not export our wool, our meat, our wheat, or our apples to the mother country in vessels employing coloured crews?


Mr Fisher - No one has proposed it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Then, is it not foolish to make an exception in connexion with the carriage of our mails? Most of us are so afraid of being .-misrepresented in the matter, that we dare not express our real opinions ; but I, for my part, am willing to run the risk. I commenced by saying that I am for a " White Australia," and no one can urge that my remarks to-night have been directed against the policy of preserving Australia for a white race, so far as we reasonably and properly can. It is legislation like this which makes . people afraid of the Labour Party. I wish now to refer to another matter. It has' been said that we, on this side of the 'Chamber, have adopted a certain attitude in regard to honorable members opposite, because they axe members of the Labour Party, as though the Labour Party was something with a bad brand on it. At one time the members of. the Labour Parly were persons engaged in manual toil ; but its membership has gradually grown until now any one can become a member of it. No doubt I could join it to-morrow if I were willing to sign the pledge. No other party offers! such prospects of quick political advancement. On this side of the House a member must be in politics a long time, and make himself either very agreeable or very disagreeable, before he can obtain a portfolio. Then his position' will probably be at the tail-end of a Ministry and he will have to work up from one office to another until perhaps at last he may become Prime Minister. Seven members of the Labour Party, the other day, however, reached the Treasury bench with a hop, skip, and a jump, none of whom had practically held Ministerial office before. Therefore,, the temptation from a mere selfish point of view would seem to be to join the Labour Party rather than to oppose them. I am supporting the present Government, because I believe that they are capable of doing useful and necessary work.


Mr Webster - The late Government were also capable1 of doing good work, but the right honorable member would not' let them do it.


Sir JOHN FORREST - The programme and methods of this Government are more in accord with my view than were the programme and methods of the late Government. Some honorable members opposite, having tasted the sweets of office, disliked relinquishing them. By the phrase " sweets of office " let me explain that I do not mean the emoluments of office ; but rather the power, authority, and honour which attach to the management of public affairs. Some persons seem to think that there is only one sweet - the pay. That is not so. As one who has enjoyed a long term of office, I say that it is the desire to exercise control, to satisfy one's ambitions, and to do good for the community that is the chief incentive to office with good politicians.


Mr Fisher - I am sure that the right honorable member never profited by being in office.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I sometimes lost money by being in office. But I have certainly no ground for complaint, and I tried to do my best while there.


Mr Webster - Why did the right honorable member's party charge the late Government with wishing for another day's pav?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I did not make any such statement, and I regret it if it was made. The honorable member, when trying to prevent the defeat of the Watson Government, urged that they had done good work, and that there was no fault to be found with their Administration. Do not these arguments apply now?


Mr Webster - I asked for fair play.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I, too, ask for fair play on behalf of the Reid-McLean Administration. It is composed of experienced men, who are capable of doing good work. It is impossible for any Ministry to do very much in a short space of time. When Ministers take office, their first duty is to obtain a grasp of the questions which are awaiting their attention. The individual who, upon taking charge of a Department, immediately rushes matters, after the fashion of a bull at a gate, will not be likely to be successful. I do not blame the late Government for not having accomplished much, because they had not the opportunity to do so. They had to attend to their parliamentary duties, and consequentlv had very little chance to do anything of great importance. The same remark is applicable to the present Administration. Let us give them a trial, and let us put an end to this constant scrambling after office.


Mr Watkins - Why did not the right honorable member entertain that view a month ago?


Sir JOHN FORREST - We gave the late Government a trial extending over four months. Personally, I was very glad to see a coalition effected between the protectionist and free-trade members of this House.


Mr Webster - Does the right honorable member support the view which is entertained by the Prime Minister concerning the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I have not heard anything about that matter.


Mr Webster - What about the! six potters?


Sir JOHN FORREST - Personally, I would prevent persons being brought to this country under contract for the purpose of interfering with the labour market, but I would not prohibit men from coming here under contract for a special purpose. A good man will not leave a position in the old country unless he can come to a certainty. How are we to excel in this country unless we obtain the services of experts? We must secure the best talent available. So long as the Act is not abused by bringing in persons to prevent strikes, I think that there is little cause for complaint. In my view, the existing law is too drastic. It might with advantage be amended in such a way as to effect all that the Labour Party desire, and yet not interfere with the importation of a few men for special purposes. I believe that the . clause in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, upon which the Deakin Government were defeated, will receive a very short shrift indeed when it comes! before the High Court. All the trouble by which the secessionists have disorganized the Protectionist Party might have been averted had they listened to the voice of reason. But some of those who voted against the Deakin Administration attached much more importance to the insertion of that clause in the measure to which I have referred than they did to protection. ' That is the position of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable and learned member for Corio. They were content to vote for a provision which, in the opinion of the best legal authorities, was unconstitutional, and by their votes destroy the Protectionist Party, which they were elected to support. They were willing to sacrifice protection . and the Deakin Government, which they loved so well, in order to vote for the inclusion of State servants in the Arbitration Bill. They seem to forget that they were responsible for deposing the protectionist Ministry from power. In his speech last night, the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne entirely overlooked the fact that he assisted to defeat the protectionist Govern- ment, and subsequently took office with those he had assisted to depose his leader. He has affirmed that he obtained the permission of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat to join the labour Government. Where is the correspondence relating to the matter? I think he should produce it. I have the authority of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat for saying that, so far as he is concerned, he has no objection. I am informed that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne did not receive any such permission from the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports and others are doing their best to induce people to forget that they destroyed the Protectionist Party in this House by voting for a clause which they knew upon the authority of men possessed of great legal knowledge was unconstitutional. They appear not to have cared twopence for protection so long as they could do something which they .thought would enable them to gain the approval of a few of their electors.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Some of them had to keep their pledges.


Sir JOHN FORREST - There is a time when honorable members have to decide which pledge they will keep. The protectionist members were re turned to support a protective policy. They were elected under their leader, without whose assistance some of them would probably never have entered the portals of this House. Yet they were willing to forget that, and simply because they had given a pledge in regard to another matter not nearly so important, and which will prove to be unconstitutional, they deserted their leader and protection, and allied themselves with the enemies of the Government. I am opposed to the socialistic programme of the Labour Party, and to their caucus methods. In my opinion their policy is opposed to individual effort and individual ambition. I am aware that the individual views of many honorable members of the Labour Party do not differ very much from my own. But the organizations which are behind them do not share the opinions which they appear to entertain.


Mr Hughes - Who is behind the right honorable member?


Sir JOHN FORREST - My constituents.


Mr Hughes - Our constituents are behind us.


Sir JOHN FORREST - Does the honorable and learned member believe in all that the Tocsin or the Worker says, or in all. that Tom Mann preaches?


Mr Hughes - No more than the right honorable member believes in all that Mr. Walpole says.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I scarcely know Mr. Walpole), and I am in no way responsible for him. If the Labour Party were in power, I am satisfied that the crusade in which they are engaged would progress very slowly indeed, because they know that the Socialism which they preach is not in accord with the views of the electors. The idea of every person being equal in wealth, energy, and ability !


Mr Hughes - Who. says that ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The press of the Labour Party says it. I shall fulfil my pledges as well as I can, but I will not be coerced by unions outside1 of Parliament, who wish to tell me how I should act in every emergency. If the theories advanced by honorable members opposite were sound they would have borne fruit long ago. The truth is that they are impracticable, and they will end now as they have always ended - in disaster. If they do not end in disaster, they will terminate in revolution.


Mr Hughes - Will the Coolgardie water scheme end in disaster?


Sir JOHN FORREST - I sincerely pray that it will not. I do not consider that a socialistic enterprise at all.


Mr Hughes - What is Socialism ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - The Labour Party desire to deprive people of their property and to nationalize the land. The time has arrived for plain speaking upon both sides. I read in the Tocsin and the Worker what the Labour Party intends to accomplish, and I must say that its aims differ materially from the programme submitted by the Watson Government. They adopted the policy of the Deakin Government with the exception of the proposal to establish a Government tobacco monopoly and to take possession of £8,000,000 worth of- the bank reserves, and these two planks of their future platform, and especially the latter, were put forward in my opinion without sufficient knowledge or consideration, and unmistakably show the trend of the socialistic legislation they desire to pass. I am sure that the responsibility of office will cause honorable members opposite to moderate their views. There is no necessity, in the interests of the country, to depose the present Government. If they are defeated, what will happen?


Mr Webster - There will be a general election.


Sir JOHN FORREST - If there is not a dissolution, a coalition Government will be formed between members of the Labour Party and the seceding protectionists. Will such a Government be acceptable to or benefit Australia?


Mr Watkins - Surely the right honorable member does not consider himself a protectionist any longer.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I hold that the present Government is much better fitted to control the destinies of Australia than is any combination of honorable' members opposite. At any rate, the Ministry should receive a fair trial, and be treated with some measure of generosity. No one can say that the present Government is not composed of experienced men. There is not a member of it who has not had long experience.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Have they all had experience ?


Sir JOHN FORREST - With one exception, the members of the present Government have had many years experience of office. It is said that a man should serve his .time to every trade, and I should be inclined to say, except for that of a Minister of the Crown- Ministers are all ready-made. I have now only to express a hope that those honorable members who have been so unwise as to desert, or to leave - perhaps that would be a more moderate word to use - the Protectionist Party and their leader-


Mr Mauger - It is honorable members opposite who have done that.


Sir JOHN FORREST - I hope that those honorable members who have seen fit to leave the Protectionist, Party and their leader, and who' have thrown themselves into the arms of the Labour Party, will soon see the error of their ways. Personally, T feel convinced that if the Government is given a fair trial they will be able to do those things which will be found to be in the interests of Federation, and calculated to cement the various States more closely together. I believe, too, that they will bring forward measures which will be of permanent advantage to the people of .Australia.







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