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Thursday, 22 September 1904


Mr SPENCE (Darling) - I am sure that the members of the Labour Party have listened with a great deal of interest to the right honorable member for Swan. I have no doubt that they will take into their careful consideration the hints which he has given them, so that they may be able to make their organization so perfect that the right honorable gentleman will himself be prepared to join it. Judging by his address I can see that he is uncomfortable in his present company, and already feels that the Labour Party is the party he ought to join. He has told us of a number of democratic measures which he has passed in the great State of the west, and I always like to give the right honorable gentleman credit for what he has done. If the measures he has carried are not as perfect as they might be, he should not be censured or blamed f ot that. I am very hopeful that he will shortly see his way to join the Labour Part)'. He has been studying the pledge and rules of the party, and all we ask of honorable members generally is that they should study them a little.more. We have been glad to hear that some of them have commenced to read the Tocsin and the Worker. I suppose that until quite recently they knew nothing of those intelligentlyconducted literary organs. Their education, political and social, has in consequence been very much neglected. Now that they have started to read that literature, they have no doubt learnt a great many things they were not aware of previously, and a continuance of the study will dissipate some of the foolish notions and prejudices that are, at all times, associated! with a lack of knowledge. The speech of the right honorable member for Swan was the usual straightforward, manly, breezy utterance which we all admire. There was some evidence in it of the influence of his present environment, because there was a good deal of " yes-no J' about it. In criticising our methods, the right honorable gentleman found fault with them as being too stringent, and expressed the opinion that they would break down. He does not believe in the Labour Party, and he hopes that its organization will break down. We were not aware that the right honorable gentleman was a prophet, but he said tonight that he was going to prophesy, and he did prophesy that the organization of the Labour Party would break down inevitably. If that be so, the danger he fears from the return of the party to power is non-existent. Why, therefore, should the right honorable gentleman be alarmed about, the advance of the labour movement ? Why should there be a gathering together of organizations outside, and a great fight put up, if within the Labour Party itself there, is such a condition of, affairs existing that it must break down of its own weight, owing to lack of efficiency ? From the attention which he gave to the subject, I think that the right honorable gentleman realizes, on the contrary, that there is a very great probability of labour politics and the Labour Party very shortly dominating Federal and State politics together. The methods which they have adopted, and which they understand,, and. which, the right: honorable gentleman, and those who. speak in opposition to them do not yet understand, have hitherto proved successful. I do not quarrel' with the right honorable gentleman's criticism, or with the statement he makes with regard to the changed conditions which the control of parliamentary affairs brings with it. It is self-evident that some changes will be made in the methods of working in the Labour Party, and labour organizations. I have said that there seemed to be a good deal of " yes-no " about the right honorable gentleman's address. He found fault with the constitutional position. He said that a Government ought to be able to give the representatives of the Sovereign an assurance that they had a working majority. It was interjected that the Government of which the right honorable gentleman was a member had no such majority. He replied by saying, " But we were there, and remained there until we were shifted," as if that was a reply. If a Government is constitutionally bound to have a working majority, and otherwise should not continue to hold office, the right honorable gentleman stands selfcondemned, because he was a member of a Government that continued to hold office without a majority. He said, in reply to an interjection, that the Government of which he was a member were there, and remained there until they were shifted, but that might be said of any Government, and was no answer. Then the right honorable gentleman admitted that it was the support of the Labour Party which, because of its policy, gave the. Government of which he was a member, a working majority. That statement was quite correct, and exactly described the- 'position. I shall not dwell upon the change- of Government ; we ' have heard of it sufficiently often to be familiar, with the-f acts.. But. there was an assumption on. the part of the right honorable member for Swan that the Watson Government did not have a majority. Honorable members need only look at the division list on the question on which they took office, to see that they had every reasonable assurance from the division and from the speeches of honorable members who took part in it, that they had a very substantial majority - a much bigger majority than the present Government secured by a catch vote. The honorable member for Bland, therefore, had ample authority for assuring the representative of the Sovereign, that he had a working, majority.. It was only when the measure on which the division took place came to be submitted to the House, in Committee that the steady pressure of the conservative elements outside and inside this House whittled away the majority. It was then found that our party had been deceived. Those, who professed to be in. favour of the Arbitration Bill, failed to carry out their pledges and promises, when an opportunity was given them to place the measure, on the statutebook. They do- as all conservatives do when they do not desire that it should appear to the people that they are opposed to a measure - they give something which is ineffective and worse than useless. In this case certain honorable members adopted that policy exactly. Speaking of the constitutional aspect, the Watson Government was really the only constitutional Government that this Federal Parliament has vet had.. It has yet. to be decided whether the present Government have a majority. . The right honorable member for Swan asserted that the Watson Government had not a majority, but we all know quite well that if the present Prime Minister considered that there was a majority against the Watson Government he would at once have moved the motion of censure, which he contented himself with talking about every day, in order to keep interest in the matter alive, and to find an excuse for asking honorable members to come with him. As leader of the Opposition the present. Prime Minister gave the Governor-General his personal assurance that he had a working majority, but we know that the very moment this eager office-seeker got his opportunity he would take it. If he. had had a majority behind him he would have taken advantage of the opportunity before he did.


Mr Wilson - -Are there' no- eager office.seekers on the honorable member's side


Mr SPENCE - Not that I am aware of. I do not know of one office-seeker on this side of the House. Let me say here that a most unfair remark was made to-night insinuating that one member of the alliance on this side is there for self-seeking reasons. There is absolutely no foundation for that statement. There has been no indication of anything of the kind. The right honorable member for Swan has put this matter very fairly. He does not tell honorable members that it would be unreasonable for any of them to desire to acquire office. There can be no blame attaching to any one who secures office fairly. But when office is secured unfairly and by peculiar tactics, as it has been secured by the head of the present Government, the action taken is open to criticism. A good deal has been said about our methods and the labour pledges. I do not propose to deal extensively with those matters tonight. A short time ago I delivered a speech in which I made some very_ emphatic statements of my views regarding the Ministerial programme, and the reasons why, in my opinion, the present Government should be put out. I do not propose to repeat those statements. I ask the House to take them as read, and to assume that I still stand by them, only more so. Some reference, however, may be made to the way in which the Labour Party is pledged, as the matter is always being brought up. I remind honorable members that any man who desires to join the Conservative Party in England, must sign the platform of that party. A party pledge is, therefore, no new thing, and there is nothing uncommon and nothing wrong about it. The pledge of the Labour Party is complained of hecause our platform is so good and our aims so high and noble that the only objections which can be brought forward are in respect of little matters which will not bear consideration. I cannot refrain from saying a word or two in reply to the criticism of the alliance by the right honorable member for Swan. The alliance is a perfectly natural and fair one. When the Watson Government took office, certain honorable members who do not belong to the Labour Party, but hold liberal and democratic views, and have no other object to serve than that of securing the passing of good measures, openly announced, without any request from the Ministry, that they intended to support it. There was no scheming on the part of the Government to secure that support. During the course of this debate, not many honorable members have spoken, but the insinuation has been made more than once that there is a secret understanding among members of the alliance. These insinuations sugge'st that honorable members opposite are familiar with such practices, but the Opposition do not know of anything of the kind.


Mr Wilks - If the Opposition did they would not mention it.


Mr SPENCE - The basis of our alliance was put in black and white; but we cannot obtain any information as to the terms of the coalition. As soon as the Watson Government took office, they openly declared the relations between the Labour Party and those members of the Liberal Party who were supporting them, and, as the basis of the alliance, we have simply' placed in black and white the agreement which was then publicly announced. The suggestion that there is some secret understanding between us, comes only from men who are naturally suspicious. We have sufficient common-sense . to know that the alliance could not succeed by crooked methods. It must succeed on its merits, or it will fail. If the Labour Party had been so foolish as to adopt the tactics attributed to us by our opponents, we should not have made that progress which has characterized the labour movement. Everyday we are gaining ground. The right honorable member for Swan has twitted honorable members of the Liberal Party with having deserted their leader, and while I know that they are well able to take care of themselves, I feel disposed, as one of those associated with them, to reply to his taunts. The right honorable member spoke of the lack of loyalty shown by these honorable members to their former leader. I confess that I have an admiration for loyalty, but it is not so much a question of loyalty to a leader as it is loyalty to the principles which bind a party. Nothing can be said against the man who stands by his principles. The right honorable member for Swan has charged honorable members of the Opposition corner with deserting their leader. What is his position? Who is his leader? Has he not deserted his true leader, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, by placing himself under the leadership of the Prime Minister ? If he has not accepted the Prime Minister as his leader, what is his position? I' think that we are justified in asking for further information as to whether there is any arrangement between the two parties now supporting the Government.


Mr Kennedy - No arrangement.


Mr SPENCE - So far we have not learned Of any. The Government whip - the honorable member for Dalley - has said that the Prime Minister is the " star performer ' ' of the company Opposite, and I would add that the organizer is the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, who brought about the present situation. The company has . submitted such a poor programme that it will not have any attraction for the public. I feel satisfied that the people will demand something much better. The performers may be every good, and I am willing to admit that the company boasts of a star performer, but we wish to learn from the organizer himself what relation he, and those who speak of him constantly as their leader, bear to the rest of the company. We desire to know what he has secured for them by bringing about the peculiar combination which confronts us.


Mr Kennedy - He has not handcuffed us, and handed us over to another leader.


Mr SPENCE - He has ceased to lead his old followers, and has made them members of a scratch team. The honorable and learned member had a great deal to say a little while ago about a three-cornered political cricket match. I am. prepared to back the solid team on this side against the scratch team that has been raked up on the Government, side. The members of that team cannot play together, and never will.


Mr Wilson - Has the honorable member ever attended our weekly caucus?


Mr SPENCE - It is useless for the honorable member to talk about caucus meetings, in view of the fact that members of the old Deakin party have been charging each other with disloyalty to the decision of their caucus. When proposals were made some time ago for a coalition. of the followers of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, and those of the right honorable member for East Sydney, the proposed agreement was submitted to the caucus of the Liberal Party, but was rejected, the members of that party declining to support any coalition of which the honorable and learned member for Ballarat was not the leader. We wish to know what honorable members opposite have now to say in regard to that decision. A charge of disloyalty comes with a very ill-grace from an honorable member who has not respected the decision of the caucus, . ,


Mr Kennedy - To whom does the hon.orable member refer f


Mr SPENCE - To the right honorable member for Swan. It seems to me that those honorable members of the Liberal Party, who are now in alliance with us, are the only ones who have been loyal to the decision to which I have referred. There is an ominous silence on the part of the Ministry. We have heard from the star performer, and it is time that we had a speech from one of the stars of lesser magnitude. I am inclined to think that, as the result of the exposure of their manifold political sins, the Government feel their position so keenly that they are about to tender their resignation, and therefore do not think it worth while to put up a fight. Perhaps they propose to resign without going to a division on this motion.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No fear.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member is not in the secrets of the Cabinet. He finds fault with the combination ; he does not like the company in which he finds himself. It is, after all, a company of contradictions. The members of the coalition, with perhaps one or two exceptions, have only one aim in common. For the most part the coalition consists of men who have thrown their previous policy to the winds, and their one aim now is to " down " the Labour Party. The honorable member for Parramatta is, in that respect, solid with the coalition.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Have I ever said that I wish to " down " the Labour Party ?


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member yesterday declared himself against the party. There can be no mistake about his utterances.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I said nothing of the kind, but that does not matter.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member declared himself an anti-socialist, and therefore, he must be against the Labour Party.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But not against labour.


Mr SPENCE - That is an old Conservative cry. I never yet met a politician who was not, according to his statements, the best friend of labour. An employer may be the greatest sweater living - but he will declare that he is one of the best friends of labour. Although he may not even be paying his workmen a living wage, he will regard himself as a philanthropist, simply because he employs them, and suggest that, if he did not find the work, they would bs unable to live. I am astonished that the honorable member who lias, often denounced that cry, should now give utterance to it.


Mr Wilks - The Labour Party never had so good a man for labour in its ranks.


Mr Mauger - Let the honorable member for Parramatta speak for himself.


Mr Wilks - He is too modest; but the (honorable member cannot contradict my statement.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta modest !


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has a crowd behind him who never did anything for labour in their lives.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member says, that he is in sympathy with labour, but that is a claim which is made by every conservative politician. The masses are the best judges, and they have declared against the conservatives, who put forward that cry, by returning special representatives, so to speak, tq do that which men who professed to be their friends failed to do. Honorable members on this side of the House were returned tq Parliament, because those who professed tq, be the friends of labour had neglected its interests.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Those who talk so loudly have done the least.


Mr SPENCE - I am quite prepared to have my record compared with that of anyother honorable member.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not referring to the honorable member, but to some of those behind him.


Mr SPENCE - In view of the silence maintained by members of the Ministry, I arm inclined to- believe, that they are about to throw up the sponge-


Mr Mauger - Where are the members of the Ministry ?


Mr SPENCE - Perhaps they are holding a Cabinet meeting, to consider whether they should not recognise the. situation, and gracefully retire.


Mr Kennedy - Whom should we put in their places?


Mr SPENCE - There would be no' diffiCult\. in. filling their places by men 'who would do ' the work of the country much better than they are likely to da When the honorable member for Parramatta - who has a faculty for interjecting, and drawing, speakers away from the thread of their discourse - interrupted me,, I was about to point out that some of the secrets of the coalition would yet leak -out. Perhaps, after jill, I arn mistaken in supposing that the Cabinet are considering the wisdom of re-r tiring.- It raaf Ve 'that the leader of 'the

Government has imposed silence on his colleagues, lest they should, tell too much. One or two secrets have already been disclosed.. We have learned something about the way in which nominations are made by the Conservative Party ; we have learned that it indulges in practices for which the Labour Party has been denounced. We have heard something about the Sydney Morning Herald fixing up the freetrade bunch. We have also heard that in Western Australia the right honorable member for Swan, together with a newspaper editor, fixed up a bunch for election purposes. The lack of wisdom of those who fixed up those bundles was shown by the fact that the persons selected did not stand true to their parties. The right honorable I member for Swan is evidently not a good I hand at choosing candidates. I interjected I while he was speaking that those he se- \Iected did not stand true, and the right honorable member admitted that he ; could not keep them true. We have only to look at the present situation in this Parliament, in regard to the Freetrade Party, to see that their method of j selection does not keep honorable members ; opposite to their pledges. Many of them, it is true, tried to be loyal, but when they could not get enough of their own way they gave, up the fight. That is not the way to win. The way to win in politics is to keep on fighting. If we on- this side of the House are beaten in connexion with our social reform and trade union movements we come again. We adopt some other tactics,, and keep on fighting. The right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government has never tested the question of free-trade in this House. He does not even know the fiscal opinions of a number of the Queensland members.


Mr Wilks - He does not know the honorable member's opinions.


Mr SPENCE - If the right honorable gentleman had any faith in his own views he would certainly have taken an opportunity to test the question. The method of selection by newspaper proprietors, or by a great leader like the right honorable member for Swan, has been proved to be a failure. If honorable members opposite wish for the success of their principles, they had better copy the methods of the only successful part)' - the Labour Party. ' Instead of doing that, they twit us with not knowing how to manage our own business.. It seems to me that the evidence is all the other way. I say emphatically that we ought to hear from the Government something more about their policy. The discussion hitherto has centred around the policy of- the present Opposition. If my theory be correct, the Government intend to resign, or they know that if they go to the country, they will not return as a Government. I presume that, the tactics adopted by honorable members opposite are intended to save time, and that they think it expedient to discuss the policy of the party that will be in power after the appeal to the country. If that be the case, it is just as well that we should understand it; and we can regard the present debate as a discussion of the policy of the incoming Government, rather than as a criticism of the lack of policy of the present Government. We cannot, of course, discuss something which is non-existent. 'It would hardly be interesting enough to discuss nothing. As the Government have no policy except to get into recess, they cannot give us the slightest indication of what they propose to do. When they get into recess, they will evolve a policy which they will be able to present to Parliament when we meet again. That in itself is enough to condemn them. It is only a fair thing that the example set by the Watson Government to have upon its programme something more than is sufficient for one session, should be followed by the present Government. But they criticise that as a foolish course to pursue. They have such a peculiar combination behind them that they find it impossible to evolve a policy. The honorable member for Parramatta tells us that he is not satisfied "with the coalition.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why does riot the honorable member leave me alone?


Mr SPENCE - I have not said anything unkind of the honorable member. He has a fight to know what the policy of the Government is. For many years he was a colleague 0f the Prime Minister, and he did his work as a Minister exceedingly well. Yet he does not know anything, and naturally he is not satisfied.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I seem to be more satisfied than the honorable member foi Perth is.


Mr SPENCE -One question that has been mentioned this afternoon is that of the High Commissionership. I agree with the leader of the Opposition that a great deal more importance attaches to that question than 'seems to be supposed by the Government They tell us that they intend to consult the States. 'The Watson Government intended' to ask the States whether they were willing to hand over to the High Commissioner some of the work that is now done by the Agents-General.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Hear, hear.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta agrees with that.. But if the States refuse to agree we ought to know what the Government intend to "do. Do they intend, to decline to carry out that part of their programme which is necessary in the interests of the Commonwealth, simply because one or two _ of the States may not agree with what they propose to do? That is a question that ought to be replied to. If amy member df trie Government has the courage to speak, or if their master, the honorable and learned member for- Ballarat intends to speak, we. ought to have an explanation in regard to this matter. It is not fair to deny us information.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the honorable member read what the Premier of New South Wales said on the subject?


Mr SPENCE - He is only one. There are six States in this Federation, although the present Government appears to recognise only two. The others appear to be regarded merely as postscripts. The policy of the Government seems to be to listen to the representations of the two larger States, and not to mind the others. The right honorable member for' Swan has criticised a portion of the White Australia policy, as laid down by the first Parliament of the Commonwealth - upon which I need hardly say that I hold strong opinions - and has asked that it should be altered. But the Prime Minister appears to be afraid to deal with the contract section of the Post and Telegraph Act, because some of the supporters of the coalition would decline to assist him in that direction. That seems to indicate that there is a kind of understanding on that matter. If there is such an understanding, we ought to know it. Whilst I am a member of a party that has always been prepared to support any Government that gave us the measures. which we desired, at the same time we intend to maintain what we have secured. We are naturally suspicious of those who are declared opponents of those measures that we believe in, and who, at the same time, refuse to give iis the measures for which we ask - such, for instance, as the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, in an effective form.


Sir John Forrest - The section to which the honorable member has referred has nothing to do with the White Australia policy.


Mr SPENCE - The right honorable member at the head of the Government previously said that he would alter that section; but he, cannot alter it because of the coalition. The right honorable member for Swan is a part of that coalition.


Sir John Forrest - I will vote for doing away with that section if I have the chance.


Mr SPENCE - I believe1 that the right honorable member will. But we want to know whether his leader has pledged him, amongst others, to support the maintenance of that section. The supporters of the Government appear to lack any cohesion of any kind, and to be without any sort of policy. How can a Government be sure! of a majority when its supporters have no bond to hold them together? The subject of old-age pensions has been dealt with by other speakers. The Government have no definite policy on that question. I remember an occasion when the right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government, speaking in the Sydney Town Hall, said that any Treasurer would be foolish - I forget his exact words - if he raised all the money required by the Commonwealth from Customs. He said that the Treasurer could raise a portion of the revenue by the direct taxation of land values. When the Barton Government introduced its programme, which contained a proposal for old-age pensions, we heard the right honorable gentleman stating that that proposal was simply a sham, which could not be carried out. But it is now to be found in his own programme. Does he still hold the same view as he held when he said that it was impossible to carry it out?


Mr Wilks - He is going to try to carry it out bv an arrangement with the States.


Mr SPENCE - Yes, he is going to consult with the States. But suppose that the States will not do anything?


Mr Wilks - Then he can do nothing; he admits that.


Mr SPENCE - The Government whip, who I presume is the mouthpiece of the Ministry, and appears to be the only one who knows anything about their policy, tells us that if the States decline to agree as to the matter of old-age pensions, the Government will not do anything. If they decline to do anything in relation to the High Commissionership, the Government will do nothing. Those unfortunate pioneers of Australia, whose hardi hood and whose grand work the Prime Minister and his followers praise so highly who have .been enterprising enough to live in more .than one State, may continue to starve, simply because we have not a Government with the necessary courage, ability, and energy, to pass the necessary legislation. Why did we have Federation? Are Ave to be governed by the States - to have a reversal of the Constitution? The Government, as I have said, is weak in every quarter - weak in its following, and weak in its alleged policy.


Mr Wilks - During the four years of the Commonwealth, this is the first time the Labour Party have spoken of this question, and for three years, they supported a Government who did not intend to do anythink in the matter.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member, who is the Government whip, knows that Parliament has worked very hard since the inauguration of the Commonwealth. It was necessary to pass many machinery Acts, and, surely to goodness, the sessions were long enough. The programme of the Barton Government was too comprehensive for any one Parliament ; and it is unfair to twit us with supporting a Government, who were eleven months dealing with the Tariff alone. The present Prime Minister said that it was simply a sham, and a humbug, for the Barton Government to place old-age pensions on their programme, because legislation in that direction could not be carried into effect, until the expiration of the bookkeeping period. Now, however, the Prime Minister places old-age pensions in his own programme, and we learn for the first time that its introduction depends on the consent of the States. But the States are selfgoverned, and have the power to fellow the example of the two States in which oldage pensions are established. It is a fair argument that, if we do not find the States moving in this direction now, they are not likely to co-operate with the Commonwealth. The weak policy of the Ministry is not the kind of policy we ought to expect from gentlemen who talk so glibly about responsible government.


Mr Wilks - There is a Labour Government in Queensland, and there are no oldage pensions in that State.


Mr SPENCE - The Labour Government in Queensland are prepared to establish old-age pensions promptly, and they have the necesary knowledge and ability to carry out such legislation. The present Commonwealth Government knew that they could not establish old-age pensions when they put the proposal before us, and the Prime Minister is guilty of the same sham and humbug with which he charged the Barton Government. Although arbitration admittedly affects only a limited number of industries at present, no one can foresee how many may eventually come under the Federal Act ; and any legislation is desirable which will prevent strikes, with their disturbance of industrial life, and conditions. The fact that we cannot at present say how many industries may be affected, makes it all the more imperative that the measure should be an efficient and workable one. This Bill has wrecked Government after Government; and we now have a Government in power, who, 1 if they have a chance, will impose on the people of Australia, a measure which will be productive of much evil, suffering, and injustice - which will make the conditions of industry worse than they would be without a measure of the kind. I make that remark- advisedly, and am convinced of its truth. One particular clause will, in my opinion, not only do a great injustice to unions, but will prevent many registering under the Bill.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - When the honorable member says that, does he mean that unions will be prevented from registering, by reason of the difference between the two amendments ?


Mr SPENCE - Yes; I know that, because of the clause which has been adopted, ' unions which were waiting for the Bill will not register.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They may not register, but it will not be because of the difference between the two amendments.


Mr SPENCE - The Watson Government when in charge of this measure in Committee, were in many instances forced, by the influence of those now on the Treasury bench, to accept certain amendments which rendered the Bill less efficient, and were not in the interest of those concerned. The clause on which the late Government were defeated, was not the only one to which, we objected, and it was not fair to twit the members of that Government, because they had to accept some amendments in which they did not fully believe. It was the duty of the Government to pass as good a measure as possible; and it was only when an amendment was reached, which rendered the measure unworkable, that the Government took their final stand." One point is overlooked by those who have had no experience of the trade union movement, and who, like the

Minister of Defence and his colleagues, regard that movement from a theoretical point of view. Because certain things are possible under the measure, they suppose that those things are going to be done. We who are connected with trade unions, have practical experience of men as they are, and with us it is not a question of what men of a- different stamp might do, but what the men whom we know are likely to do. The great difference between the two amendments is particularly felt in the union of which I have been president for eighteen years, and about which I claim to know more than any other honorable member in the House. It would be impossible for that union to prove to a Judge that a majority of those affected were in favour of preference being given. The members of. the union are not working in the industry except at a certain period of the year, and no living soul could say where the members were, or who were affected by the award, and there is no machinery to secure the opinion of those affected. We could not give any evidence that would be accepted, and any lawyer, or even a layman, could break us down and prevent our getting an award which would give a preference. In some other industries, I admit that the whole position would.be different; but we are legislating for specific industries. The organization to which I refer is the largest in Australia, and is connected with the greatest industry and biggest export trade of the Commonwealth. The union has had a long existence, and the opinions of its representatives ought to have some weight. Let us suppose, for a moment, that a matter involving only legal questions was before the House, and let us further suppose a most unlikely thing, namely, that all the lawyers in the House were unanimous. What wouldthose lawyers say if a layman like myself were to deny the correctness of their assumptions and opinions? Such a denial would not have any weight. Those who have had experience of the trade union movement are, by reason of their practical knowledge, unanimously of opinion that the measure, as passed by this House, is unworkable, and I can only interpret our being ignored as showing a desire to make the Bill ineffective. I speak authoritatively on this matter, after consultation with those controlling the affairs of the union of which I am president, and I may say that I used no influence whatever in order to secure the opinion I express, namely, that the union will not register, and. thus will be shut out from any benefits under the measure. It may be asked why the union should not register and get an award. The answer is that an award, would be useless unless the Judge had power to protect, the interests of the organization. The measure will be absolutely inoperative unless it recognises and encourages the maintenance, of all such organizations. In the New Zealand Bill, when originally introduced, the preamble spoke of the encouragement of industrial unions, that measure being based on a desire to encourage the formation and registration of organizations, so that they might be used a's' machinery to bring about industrial peace. In this House the conservative element, with its influence operating on others who have practically no knowledge, has reversed the. position altogether. Each clause which recognised unions was attacked the moment it came before us,, and we had proposals for compulsory organizations, proposals which were intended to strike a blow at existing institutions, and render the measure nugatory. No one can say that I did not do my best each time to resist those attacks ; and though we were forced to accept some amendments, that is not a fact on which we ought to be taunted, because our acceptance does not mean approval. For myself I should not have accepted the amendments which the late Prime Minister consented to make in the Bill, but would have kept the debate going single-handed until all were tired out before I gave way. The remarks I have made apply to other organizations, but particularly to the organization with which I am connected. In industries where the men are constantly at work, it would be easy to ascertain the views of those directly concerned, but in. an industry where we do not have the same men working year by year, it would be impossible to prove to any Judge the consent of the majority of thoseaffected. In my opinion, the Arbitration Bill has been deliberately destroyed.. It was very plainly to be seen what influence was brought to bear on honorable members towards that end. That influence counts in the present movement, and. will, count in the coming election if we have the luck of a. dissolution1 - I mean that anti-labour influence, which is called anti-socialistic. Unless the Arbitration Bill is improved - as it must be, or I hope it will not become law - it will introduce tyranny, and take us back to a period from which we thought we had escaped. The measure as it stands would inflict a great deal of misery, and. take away from the industrial classes rights for which they have fought very hardly. Honorable members who prate a great deal about individual liberty, but who support a social system which does not give any liberty, claim that they are conserving the interests of the non-unionists. I have known it to be the rule within a district, with the. consent of the employers concerned, that no one should obtain work unless he was a member of a union. But under the Bill as it has been amended, it would be within the power of employers to weaken and to gradually destroy the unions, and the unions would be unable to compel their members to pay for the maintenance of the organization which obtained reasonable conditions for them. It would also be possible for employers to boycott the members of unions. Although the Bill contains the provision that no one is to be discharged from his employment because he is a unionist, we know that in practice that provision could not be enforced, because it could not be proved that the employe" was discharged for that reason. We cannot deny the employers the right to discharge workmen who do not suit them, and therefore they would be able to make excuses for the dismissal of unionists. In the electorate which I represent, it ' has been urged in the leading article of a. newspaper that the employers should refuse to engage any member of the Australian Workers' Union.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - To what newspaper does the honorable member refer?


Mr SPENCE - To the Bourke Banner of the 10th August, 1904. The writer of the article says -

We now advise a course which may seem drastic, but which alone can be effectual. No employer should give employment to a member of the Australian, Workers' Union. Let the hundreds of union men, to whom the union is their God, look to their union, and not to the capitalist, for work and wages, for food and clothes for themselves and their families.

Then follows a good deal more in the same tone. That was written just after the recent New South Wales elections, because the electors insisted on returning a labour member.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Surely no one takes any notice of such statements !


Mr SPENCE - They are taken notice of, and the honorable member knows it. I think that he must have forgotten a great deal of his trade union experience, because these practices are not confined to any one class of industry. While I do not rank all employers alike, I know that the organization to which this newspaper appeals - the : Pastoralists' Union - practices a systematic boycott. There have been produced in this Chamber the official papers of the Queensland branch of that Union, ' and we have in our possession other similar documents. I haw seen its official circulars, and the instructions to its agents and I know that a boycott is worked by means of a system of registration, which is made compulsory upon its members, with a view to weeding out union men.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does that member . believe that any member of this House is in' sympathy with that sort of thing ?


Mr SPENCE - What is the use of sympathy, if honorable 'members do not give effect to it in an Act of Parliament? What is the use of the honorable member talking of sympathy with labour, 'when he prevents the passing of labour laws ?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is talking humbug now.


Mr SPENCE - I am stating an absolute fact.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I did not dispute the honorable member's statement 'of fact, but I complained of his unfair criticism.


Mr SPENCE - I do not think that the honorable member understands the difference between a fact and an insinuation. The organization to which this newspaper appeals carries on a systematic boycott. Probably the majority of its members decline to put it into force ; but those who choose to do so use the machinery that is provided.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And the honorable member wished to insinuate that I am in sympathy with that sort of thing.


Mr SPENCE - If the honorable member is not in sympathy with it, he should show that he is hot. I charge the honorable member with not doing so, and with voting in such a way that the workers cannot obtain a law which is necessary for their protection.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What the honorable member says is pure nonsense. I am amazed at his unfairness.


Mr SPENCE - I am not generally charged with being unfair. The honorable member and others voted for an amendment -which will prevent the labour organizations from securing protection against unfair dealing and injustice. That is undeniable. Boycotting is no new method. It has been worked before by men of strong prejudices. All that we asked was that the Court should have power to grant preferences if it chose to do so. The phrase " preference to unionists " is really a misnomer. What is desired is protection to unionists, and protection to the Act, so that it may be' effectively administered.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member's leader said that it was not intended to give this preference, except to majorities;


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member is slow to admit that he is in a false posi-tion. It was not a question of there being a majority, but of proving the existence of a majority. I have already explained that:; it is not my f ault if the honorable member cannot understand plain English." In addition to the boycott, which the employers may use if they choose, and some of them do use it, there are other ways in which they can weaken the labour unions. It is a very common thing in America, and I can quote instances of it here, to make it a condition of obtaining employment that the applicants shall not join a trade union. A clause in the agreement of the South Australian Register office, for 1888, with compositors accepting a thirty-six months' engagement, was this -

The employee shall not during the 'service aforesaid be or become a member oB the' South Australian Typographical Society, or any of a similar nature, or having similar objects.

If employers choose to insist upon such conditions, how can we prevent it, unless power is given to the Court to give preference to unionists - that is, to-see that the unionists get fair play? I need not dwell on this matter, because I have spoken upon it before, and I know that it is hopeless to convert honorable members opposite by force of logic.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member's statements are too unfair to convert any one.


Mr SPENCE - The position I am taking is, that the attitude of the Government in regard to the Arbitration Bill is sufficient to condemn them, apart' from their want of a policy, and the other charges brought against them. Although honorable members opposite have pretended to desire the passing of a measure which will secure industrial peace, they voted for an amendment which defeats its object, merely to displace the then existing Government, and to obtain office themselves.


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable mem. ber is in favour of the Bill as it stands, with the exception of the provision in dispute,


Mr SPENCE - No; I am not. There are other provisions to which I object. The late Government had forced upon it provisions which make some of the clauses of the Bill imperfect, and which I should not have accepted. Honorable members know that when a Bill is. in Committee, those in charge of it are sometimes forced to accept amendments in which they do not believe. The Watson Administration are not responsible for such amendments. The honorable member for Macquarie is one of those who sought every occasion to turn that Government out of office. I should have no fault to find with the present Administration, if its leader had defeated the Watson Government by a straight-out fight, on a motion of censure... If he had done so, the present discussion would have been saved. He, however, took advantage of a difficulty in connexion with a most important measure, which affects the well-being and the living of thousands of men and women, who have little enough to live on, and who have been waiting for a long time for a Bill which will allow of the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes by a Justice of the High Court, in order to defeat the Watson Government. It is our duty to ascertain whether the vote by which he came into power was not a catch vote. If it was given deliberately, in order 'to displace the then Government, that fact will be seen when a division is taken on the motion now before the House. Upon a previous occasion I pointed out that the declared attitude of the present Government and their followers is antisocialistic. The extraordinary feature of the position is that whilst they profess to be strong opponents of Socialism, the only definitions which they offer of thai term refer to reforms, such as the establishment of a co-operative Commonwealth, which may possibly be accomplished in the far distant future.' The Government and their supporters do- not attack anything which the Labour Party has done, or proposes to . do now, but they condemn something which, according to their own wild imaginings, may occur a hundred years hence. Constitutional government, as I understand the term, means that at certain fixed periods the people are called upon to choose their Parliament. We have a democratic form of government- in other words, Demos rules. The people elect their members of Parliament upon certain definite issues, and send them here to give effect to their mandate. ' Consequently, .the business of Parliament is really controlled by the erectors. For the Government to attack conditions which they say somebody is anxious to establish in the misty future, but which may never be established, seems to me a most extraordinary position to take up. They say that they intend to combat Socialism, and yet the very organizations to which they are appealing to fight their battle throughout Australia are themselves of a socialistic character


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The .honorable member has raised a nice little bogey, and now he should knock it down.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta is chasing a mere shadow. The statement has been made that the Labour Party intend to rob everybody.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Who said that? I am amazed at the honorable member's unfairness. He is absolutely reckless.

Mi. SPENCE.- If the' honorable member would remain silent he would not get so hopelessly mixed. The Socialism of which we have heard in this Chamber is a pure myth. The honorable and learned member for Wannon has declared that the Labour Party wish to rob the farmer - to confiscate his stock, and land, and, indeed, all his worldly possessions. I have no desire to misrepresent the honorable member for Parramatta.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is misrepresenting me all the time.


Mr SPENCE - I repeat that Socialism, as defined by the honorable and learned member for Wannon, means the confiscation of all the farmer's property.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the honorable member permit me to ask him one question ?


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member cannot ask a question at this stage.


Mr SPENCE - I recognise that the honorable member must be uncomfortable.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I assure the honorable member that I am uncomfortable only when I hear him make such unfair statements.


Mr SPENCE - The so-called antisocialistic movement outside is merely an. attempt to defeat the Labour Party by branding its members as Socialists. The Federated Employers' Union, the Property Defence League and other bodies are being associated for that purpose, and the Prime Minister has declared himself in sympathy with their objects. That fact connects every supporter of the Government with the movement in question. But I would point out that one of the meetings, which was held at' Geelong, concluded by asking the

Government for a grant of £1,000 to enable the producers to buy compressed fodder and to find a market for their produce. These are the people who denounce Socialism. A similar gathering, which was held at Hay, wound up by adopting resolutions urging the Government to pass an- Irrigation Bill. At Adelaide, too, a meeting was recently held to form an organization to combat Socialism. Every other consideration is to be sunk in order to defeat the Labour Party. The extraordinary feature is that those who most violently denounce Socialism themselves practise it. In New South Wales, the followers of the Government, led bv Mr. Carruthers, have asked for nearly ,£8,000,000 from the Public Works Department and, strange to say, the gentleman who requested the biggest sum, namely, £1, 700, 000, was the honorablemember for New England who is a strong individualist. He desired that a railway should be constructed from Guyra to Grafton. As the brunt of the attack upon the Government has hitherto fallen upon the Prime Minister, I think it is about time that a little Victorian history was introduced into the debate. In this connexion, it is very singular that the Minister of Trade and Customs - who is "equal in all things" with the Prime Minister - was, when Premier of Victoria, a most astounding Socialist. In his address at Bairnsdale he submitted a very socialistic programme. He proposed to find money for housing the industrial classes, and advocated the granting of loans to the extent of 60 per cent, upon the value of the securities offered, at 6 per cent, intel est, with a fifteen years' currency. He also proposed to establish old-age pensions, and a system of State-aided insurance. He wished to go one better than the Labour Party. He further advocated technical education for all branches of industry. Does he still believe in those principles? He favored the establishment of dairy farms, at which instruction could be imparted in the best methods of making butter. He also promised to provide the people with inferior land at 5s. per acre, and proposed to compulsorily resume it. He assured his hearers that he had resumed 90 acres within a two-penny tram section, and established a settlement.


Mr McLean - And a very good settlement it is.


Mr SPENCE - This is the programme that we are advocating, and yet the honorable gentleman has now decided that his special mission in life is to keep the Labour

Party out of power, in order to prevent these good things being brought about. If not,, why did honorable members opposite put us out of power ?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why does the honorable member wish to put the honorable member for Gippsland out of power when he is so pronounced a Socialist?


Mr Bamford - Because the honorable gentleman does not propose to do those things now.


Mr SPENCE - I like something approaching decency and honesty in politics, and not sham, humbug, and hypocrisy. I object to men speaking in one way and acting in another. I object to their saying that these things are not socialistic, while some proposal which may never be introduced is Socialism. The co-operative Commonwealth and such things are not before us now, but the other measures to which I have referred are before us, and they are distinctly socialistic. The Minister of Trade and Customs now- has as his colleague the " star " of the company opposite, whose anti-socialistic proclivities lead him to support private enterprise pure and simple. But I have not yet exhausted the honorable gentleman's programme He was also prepared to support grain elevators for loading the farmers' grain, and water conservation for their benefit. All these excellent ideas are distinctly socialistic. I wish to know, and I think we are entitled to know, where honorable gentlemen opposite draw the line. The right honorable member for Swan has carried out an excellent socialistic scheme in Western Australia. It was a very big project indeed, and the right honorable gentleman deserves very great credit for having the courage .to enter upon it. But he says that that is not Socialism. It is time these honorable gentlemen had some teaching to enable them to know what Socialism is, and what it is not. We say that where the general community takes up an enterprise, or in a certain degree gives assistance to an enterprise, that is State Socialism. It may be limited according to circumstances, but it is all a form of State Socialism. The Minister of Trade and Customs was consistent with his advocacy of Socialism when he went in for protection, because the object of protection is to enable people to carry on industries here by giving them the assistance of protective duties. That is distinctly socialistic.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable member a protectionist or a free-trader? We are coming to it now.


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member for Parramatta need not bother himself about that. . I hope I am something better than either. I do not find any reference to the matter in the speech to which I have referred, but I have been told that the present Minister of Trade and Customs, although a federalist now, was in the past somewhat opposed to Federation, on the ground that it would probably do away with the Victorian Stock Tax. The honorable gentleman, it appears, would rather sacrifice Federation than d[o away with the Stock Tax. I hope that his association at the present time with the right honorable gentleman, who is going to bring about harmonious relations between the Federal and States Governments, has induced him to abandon his opposition to (Federation, and even to forget all about the Stock Tax. However, the honorable gentleman is, I think, in duty bound to tell the House exactly how far he is going, and how far the consent of his partner in this business, as the head of this peculiar Government, will be given to bring about complete Socialism.


Mr McLean - If the1 honorable member will support the Government, I shall be prepared to go as far as I said on the occasion to which he has referred.


Mr SPENCE - How can I support the honorable gentleman and the! Government of which he is a member, when he has declared that he will knock the Labour Party out of existence if he can, and when I know that that is the only party- which honestly and openly advocates these things? The members of the honorable gentleman's party say one thing and do another, and they are being backed up by a party outside that wants everything socialistic for itself, whilst it denies tike' advantages of Socialism to everybody else. The honorable gentleman speaks of the Labour Party as representing a section, of a class. I presume' that the honorable gentleman means that the wage-earning class, the artizans who work for an employer, are not to have their share of Socialism. They are not to have any share in socialistic enterprises, which are only to be proposed for the benefit of the men on the land. I shall presently have something to say about the attitude of the Government to the men on the land. I have just a word or two to say about another anti-Socialist who stood for the Victorian State! Parliament at the same time as the honorable member for Gippsland, and who was a supporter of that honorable member. I refer ' to the" honorable and learned member for Wannon. I am sorry the honorable and learned member is not here, but I shall say nothing concerning him that is not perfectly fair. I desire merely -to show how much deception there is about some of these honorable gentlemen. In a speech delivered at Hamilton, when the honorable and learned member for Wannon stood for the Victorian State Parliament, after Federation had been accomplished, he was able to tell the electors that the fiscal issue had been transferred to Federal politics. As he dealt with the matter at the beginning of his address, I suppose I may conclude that it represented his first plank, and I find that the honorable and learned member complained that the retiring member had altogether neglected local requirements. He had not hid enough Government money spent in the district. The honorable and learned member for Wannon was going to see that more was spent in future. The other man had done nothing, and he knew that he would be able to do a great deal more. The position which he then took up was that it was justifiable to grab Government money for the constituency; but the honorable and learned member is now an anti-socialist, and he believes only in private enterprise. I need not refer to some other statements which must have been jocular, because the honorable and learned member claimed that he was a liberal, and a follower of "the Liberal Party. He told the electors that he had the support of Major Reay, with whose politics residents of Victoria are well acquainted. T find that he favoured a number- of things which were advocated by the honorable member for Gippsland. For instance, the honorable and learned member for Wannon on that occasion favoured the establishment of State dairies in agricultural districts as educational institutions in which the people might be taught to make good butter - equal to the Dutch butter, and so on. That is, no doubt, a very good idea, but it is distinctly and entirely socialistic. There can be no denying that.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is the use of denying it? Would the honorable member accept a denial if he got it?


Mr SPENCE - But the honorable and learned member for Wannon is now denouncing Socialism. He said, further, that he would support closer settlement, and advocated the resumption of the large estates around Hamilton. That is a social- istic proposal, which has- been advocated by the Labour Parties in the- States. T he honorable and learned member then favoured tine taking away of people's land, and he is now denouncing, with all his powers of invective, the taking away of land from its owners. If further taxation was necessary, the honorable and learned member said, in reply to a question, that he would extend the land tax, so as to include cities, and towns. What about taxing the poor farmer t He also advocated old-age pensions, and that is decidedly socialistic. The honorable and learned member favoured the Factories Act, which is) a socialistic measure> interfering with private enterprise; He favoured an eight-hours' day for railway employes, and he. said he would compel every public servant to insure his life.. That, again, is a dis.tinctly socialistic proposal. It involves interference with individual liberty, and the denial of the right of a man to do as he likes with his own. It: proposes an interference with men, by compelling them to pay a portion of their income or wages for the purpose of insuring their fives, whether they like it or not. These proposals are entirely socialistic. This only shows how ridiculous is the position of honorable members who claim to be anti-socialist, and who mouth about Socialism, when thev have themselves, professed to be supporters of it to the fullest extent to which it has. so far. been advocated by the Labour Party in any State. I have said before that we are entitled to claim to be judged upon, the proposals we put forward, and not upon something which some one may have proposed, and which, is not, and may never be,, before us. It. is most unfair for honorable membets to make these attacks upon, a growing political party- If they desire to attack the party, they should do so- in an honest way on its policy. Honorable members, who have professed to attack the Labour Party, because of its socialistic principles, when they have themselves advocated those principles, are guilty of cant and hypocrisy, when they talk in the way they do. The honorable and learned member for. Wannon, who now so strongly denounces all State interference, desires individual liberty, and believes all interference with private enterprise to be positively wrong, has favoured the resumption of land held by private owners in the district which he represents. In that district, there exists at the present time', I Sup.pose, one of the most crying evils in existence in Australia, in the form of a monopoly of land. I propose to introduce here a little more detail than I had an opportunity of doing, when I spoke previously. If we take an area of 4,000 square miles, of the western portion of Victoria, we shall find that nine-tenths of it is owned by sixty families. The total number of. dwellings upon it, including tents, is 1,285 ; the total population of the area, men, women, and children, is 7,869. According to the logic of honorable members who do not believe in interference with private enterprise, we have no right to alter that state of affairs. The owners of the land secured it under the law, and according to the people who preach private enterprise, it is theirs to do as they like with. I want honorable members, to be aware of their inconsistency, when they at the same time claim, that that land should be resumed.. Three hundred and sixty -two miles of railway run through the area, and chiefly through properties in the .hands of forty owners. These railways cost £3,153>000-


Mr Bamford - Is this in the electorate of Wannon?


Mr SPENCE - Some of the area traversed by the railway is in that electorate. It is in the Western, district where the good rich, land, is to be found. The taxpayers of Victoria have contributed no less than .£3,753,600' to enhance the value of the property held by these, people. Is. not that Socialism? Are not railways a. socialistic institution in the hand's of the State. Thev are constructed to open up country, and yet this country is monopolized. And if the policy of those who advocate non-interference with private enterprise be carried out fully., we cannot resume one of those estates in order that the land may be put to its proper use. We cannot do what the honorable and learned member, for Wannon said should be done, when as a candidate for the State Parliament of Victoria he advocated that these lands should be resumed, in order that men should be put upon them instead of sheepAs another illustration I take the Hampden and Mortlake Shires, an area of 1,845 square, miles, or II80,000 acres. In. this district, twenty families own over 800,000 acres. The shire value of the territory, with all improvements, amounts to £5,000,000. The towns of Terang, Camperdown, and Mortlake are included in this valuation. The rates amount to ,£12,406, or to about £d. in. the £ These shires have had ^4,112 from the State.


Mr Bamford - What for?


Mr SPENCE - For the purpose of making roads to enable these rich land-owners to get their produce to market. There is, in this district, also an illustration of what every one in Victoria knows has been a crying evil in the State for many years. These land-owners have enclosed roads, covering "an area of 16,337 acres, for which they have paid nothing. Their fences include land which has been surveyed as roads, and they pay nothing for it. These persons all belong to the antisocialistic crowd. They are supporting the present Government.


Mr McLean - Does not the honorable member know that the Labour Party in Victoria has always opposed proposals to make these persons pay for the use of the roads. Such a proposition has been made on several occasions, but has always been opposed by members of the Labour Party.


Mr SPENCE - The Labour Party has never been strong enough in Victoria to accomplish any great reform.


Mr McLean - But they have always opposed such a proposal. I would vote to make these persons pay for the use of the roads.


Mr SPENCE - I know that the honorable member would, but I am anxious to learn whether he intends to stand by the policy which he formerly advocated. Leaving out towns, over three-fourths of this area has only one human habitation to every seven square miles, and only 6f per cent, of the land is used for dairying. These figures are, I think, of sufficient importance1 to be brought under public notice, and they may induce honorable members opposite to recognise the inconsistency of their position. In the counties of Dundas, Follet, Lowan, Normandy, Villiers, Heytesbury, Ripon, and Hampden, 2,960,000 acres are held by three companies, and 105 individuals or families.


Mr SPEAKER - Does the honorable member think that this has anything to do with the motion?


Mr SPENCE - I think I shall be able to connect these statistics with the motion, by showing that the'y constitute a reply to those who say that Socialism is the one thing against which they are fighting.


Mr SPEAKER - If the honorable member can connect these statistics with the motion there will be' no complaint.


Mr SPENCE - I shall do so, sir. Oneeighth of all privately-owned land in western Victoria is held by 525 persons, 1,240,000 acres are held by eighteen per sons, and over 1,000,000 acres by eleven individuals. We have heard some honorable members opposite declare that they are individualists, and are opposed to interference with private enterprise. These figures should afford them food for reflection. It may be said that the Commonwealth has nothing to do with the lands of the States, but it has been urged again and again that the Labour Party in the Federal Parliament, and those in the Parliaments of the States are controlled by the same organization, and constitute a menace to the wellbeing of the Commonwealth. That being so, I think we are' justified in showing the inconsistency of Government supporters in attacking us, when they themselves really support the policy of our party. When they say that the Labour Party is inimical to the1 interests of the Commonwealth, they are really attacking their own position. They declare that they are opposed to our methods of seeking to improve the conditions of the people; but they must definitely declare whether they are going to renounce for ever the principles which they advocated before they joined the coalition. They must say where they draw the line.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We say that 'we are going straight on.


Mr SPENCE - The leaders of the Government have stated that they are opposed to Socialism, but they do not say how far they will go. Every honorable member on the Government side who" has . yet spoken during this debate has intimated that he is opposed to the Labour Party because it consists of socialists. We do not .deny that we are socialists. We are proud to say that we! are, but we certainly deny that we have ever advocated the ridiculous proposals attributed to us and to socialistic writers about the equal division of property. No true socialist has ever suggested anything of the! kind. Statements of this character are purely mythical. They are sometimes made by the ignorant, and repeated as jokes, but they have never been seriously put before the people by the Labour Party. It is a very serious thing for honorable members to make such charge's against us, without adducing any specific fact in support of their assertion. I desire to draw from the Government some definite statement as to what socialistic enterprises they favour or disfavour.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member* deny that any socialistic writer has ever advocated the division of the product equally ?


Mr SPENCE - That is not the point. Honorable members have charged us with a desire to deprive men of their property, and to divide it amongst the people. The leader of the Government has intimated that his policy is an anti-socialistic one, and the Sydney Daily Telegraph, in its issue of 6th inst., puts the . position of the Governments very clearly, when it says -

The Government has not come to bring peace to Socialism, but a sword, and unless it makes itself felt in opposition to the aims of the Labour Party, its mission will totally fail. That is what the fiscal issue has been sunk for, and why a coalition between Mr. Reid and Mr. McLean has become tolerable.

That is a clear statement made by a leading newspaper, which champions the present Government. In these circumstances I hold- that we have not yet heard enoughin regard to the policy of the Ministry.


Mr Watson - They have no policy, and no remarks to offer.


Mr SPENCE - The members of an Opposition must naturally be opposed to a Government. We are opposed to the Government on certain . grounds, which we have had no hesitation in stating. The Government say that they are opposed to us on certain grounds. They say that we are . socialistic, but they do not give us any full. insight into their policy. We term ourselves the Labour Party, ' and put a definite programme before the people, and we say to the Government, "Tell us what are your objections to us."


Mr McLean - We are not endeavouring to turn the Opposition out. If we were, we should state our objections to it.


Mr SPENCE - The mission of the Government is wholly against the Labour Party. According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, thev wish to prevent any increase in the strength and power of the party. As a matter of fact, we have read of more Ministerial statements of policy made outside than we have been favoured with in the House. I have brought these statements before 'the Government, and I ask for a reply. When I was discussing, a few days ago, the limited and shadowy programme outlined by the Prime Minister, in his declaration of policy, I challenged the Government to show that there was any desire on the part of the LabourParty to crush any section of the community, and to drive men, as was alleged, into the gutter. The Government may, or may not, have a majority, but they should make a straight-out honest statement, and deal fairly with us. Statements should not bc bandied about, for which there is no foundation .


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - After this. I shall never say anything more.


Mr SPENCE - Before the honorable member leaves, I should like him to listen to one short quotation that I intend to read. He had something to say last night about Socialism, and I desire him to hear a short extract fr om a very excellent address delivered recently in Sydney by Dr. Mercer, Bishop of Tasmania, on the socialistic movement. I do not know whether the honorable member has1 read the report of that address.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have.


Mr SPENCE - Then he must see that the views of the Bishop - who certainly ought to be accepted as an authority oh questions of morals and ethics, and of the religious aspect of any social or political movement - are entirely at variance with those, which he has enunciated. Dr. Mercer, in dealing with the socialistic movement said that -

He believed that, while tbere might be bad motives in it, there were good ones at the bottom of the social movement, and there were a number of educated thinking men who were moved with compassion for the multitude, because of all the sweating and miseries, of slum life. He Lad had eight years' experience in the slums of London, and if any man realized the enormous amount of suffering and degradation there was among members of the human, race at the present time, if he had any sympathy at all with the Saviour of mankind when he looked on the multitude in the wilderness, he must have compassion on them, and he believed that there was at the heart of the socialistic movement of the present day genuine compassion for the multitude, and a determination to raise the standard of life for the submerged mass of. the race. Then there was the sense df brotherhood to be found in the movement, and he believed in that brotherhood of humanity, and that they were increasingly realizing wha't that brotherhood could be, because of some of the socialistic ideas. The people might be long in working them out, but he thought they were setting them ideals towards which they could work.

That is but a very short extract from a very excellent address, and I think that the sentiments expressed indicate that the Bishop has made a more coirect analysis of the socialistic movement than has the honorable member.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member call that which he has read ari analysis of the socialistic system?


Mr SPENCE - I have merely said that the address was an excellent one. I have not said that it was an analysis of the socialistic system.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member used the word " analysis."


Mr SPENCE - The honorable member must be opposed to Socialism, or he would not associate himself with the party which is now making an attack on something which it terms Socialism. The wild outcry against Socialism is simply a- bogy. lt has been 'raised for party purposes. Either it is a case of ignorance appealing to ignorance - because the declamations against Socialism, which we hear, will have no weight with the intelligent, or with those who have paid any attention to the study of the social questions - or it is simply a cry raised for party gains. Having nothing else to urge against the Labour Party, our opponents must raise this bogey. Other persons have raised the cry of " reform," knowing that it is a good word and that many people have no time to study socialistic questions. The statement has also been mode by our opponents that we are going to rob the farmers of their land. They expect to create such an antagonist "against the Labour Party that they will be bound to win when a dissolution takes place. That is the plain object of the coalition. We rejoice that they have adopted these tactics. It is the best thing that could happen for our movement. The stronger the reactionary, parties outside Parliament fight, the more successful will the Labour Party be. We are on solid ground, and put forward measures which we contend are practical. It is not denied by the Government that they are practical. They have offered some criticism on the only proposal which we have put forward that seems to be debatable in a socialistic sense - the tobacco monopoly proposal. With this exception, thev advocate every one of our measures and adopt them as their own. Therefore, their present tactics are merely an attempt to appeal to the prejudice and the ignorance of the people. We are not afraid of that. When we can get the people to understand our proposals we have no fear that we shall secure their support. If, as honorable members opposite contend, they wish to prevent Socialism and promote private enterprise, let them advocate the selling of the Government railways and the putting of all enterprise of that description in the hands of private persons. As we have now reached the usual hour for adjournment, will the Government consent to my continuing my speech to-morrow?


Mr McLean - We have no objection.

Debate adjourned.







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