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Wednesday, 28 September 1904

Mr SPEAKER - Will the Prime Minister withdraw that statement ?

Mr Reid - I will say, not that it is untrue, but that it is absolutely without foundation.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do-not know if the right honorable gentleman wishes it to be inferred that the statement that some honorable members said that they would vote against their consciences is without foundation, because Hansard will bear me out in it.

Mr Reid - They did not do so at my instigation.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If my conscience had been as elastic as that of some of the right honorable gentleman's followers^

Mr Reid - The honorable member never had a conscience.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - And if I had been a follower of his, and had such a convenient conscience, I would have done as they did, acting on the hint he had given ; but my conscience is not so elastic. Although the right honorable gentleman voted with the Deakin Government, he was hoping that his followers would vote against it, and was instigating them to do so.

Mr Reid - No.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That was the reason of the defeat of that "Administration.

Mr Reid - What the honorable member suggests was never done by me.

Sir John Forrest - What about those who left the Deakin Government, and voted against it?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If the right honorable member has a conscience, which I begin to doubt, and he had been returned pledged to vote in any specific way, would he not vote in that way? Take the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs,, who was as good a supporter of the Deakin Administration as they had, but who was pledged to his constituents to vote for the inclusion of railway servants in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill-

Mr Mauger - And who voted in the same way before the election as he did afterwards.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes. Does the right honorable member refer to that honorable and learned member?

Sir John Forrest - He was pledged to support the Deakin Government.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - He was also pledged to the inclusion of the railway servants in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. When we recollect that it was only with the assistance of the Labour Party that the Barton Government, and afterwards the Deakin Government, were able to remain in office for three years, it ill becomes any member of either of those Ministries to object to the action recently taken by the members of the Watson Government.

Sir John Forrest - Who turned us out of office?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - We were turned out as the result of a combination of forces, and the present Prime Minister had most to do with that. The right honorable gentleman was practically waiting on the steps of Government House in the expectation that he would be sent for to form a Government.

Mr Johnson - He voted with the Deakin Government.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - He often votes against his conscience.

Mr Page - I thought that the honorable member said that the Prime Minister had no conscience?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - He has a very elastic one.

Mr Conroy - I understood the honorable member to say that the Prime Minister voted against the honorable member's conscience.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am very glad that the honorable and learned member credits me with the possession of a conscience. The Prime Minister, after having waited about - after the Deakin Government had been defeated - in the expectation that he would be called upon to form a new Ministry, went to the press and complained like a great schoolboy that he, and not the honorable member for Bland, should have been sent for by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.

Mr Reid - Yes; I cried bitterly about it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - After the Deakin Ministry had resigned, the right honorable gentleman was running about the House-

Mr Reid - I certainly did not run.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - And telling all his friends " I shall be the Prime Minister to-morrow." Altogether his conduct was childish in the extreme. When he found that the honorable member for Bland had succeeded in forming a Ministry, he at once began to intrigue against them, because he felt quite sure that he would have the next show. How did he achieve success? By one of the worst actions - I would almost venture to call it a trick - of which a politician has ever been guilty?

Mr Reid - The vote was taken in a full House. There are no more bridges to be built here.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable gentleman will require a bridge presently. He must not cry out too soon. I shall "bridge" him before I have finished.

Mr Reid - The honorable member knows that he can get nothing from me.

Mr Page - No one in the House could build a bridge strong enough to carry the Prime Minister.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - What was the cause of the late Government going out of office ?

Mr Reid - Their sense of duty.

Mr Mahon - That consideration will never induce the right honorable gentleman to leave office.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have taken the trouble to make a smallprecis of the facts in order that the public may clearly understand the circumstances under which the Government went out of office.

Mr Reid - What Government?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The last Government, which the right honorable gentleman intrigued against, and tilted out of office by atrick. The right honorable gentleman made statements to His Excellency the Governor-General that will not be borne out, and thereby induced His Excellency to give him the Commission to form an Administration.

Mr Johnson - That showed His Excellency's good sense.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It showed the anxiety of the Prime Minister for office, and nothing else. The' Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, as introduced by the Deakin Government contained the fortyeighth clause with a provision for preference to unionists, without any qualification, and precisely the same words are contained in the clause at present, namely, " preference shall be given to such members (meaning unionists) other things being equal." Those words were in the Bill as introduced by the Deakin Government, and fathered by the right honorable member for Swan.

Sir John Forrest - That is most unfair.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The Bill was introduced by the Deakin Government, and the honorable member as a member of that Ministry had to father it.

Sir John Forrest - Did the honorable member father the inclusion of the railway servants ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Unfortunately I had to vote against them when in the Government, but I voted in their favour when I was free to do so.

Sir John Forrest - My position, in the matter of preference, is exactly the same as that of the honorable member in regard to railway servants.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The Bill, as introduced by. the Deakin Government, also contained a provision that its scope should extend to the agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, and dairying industries.

Sir John Forrest - I suppose I was always in favour of that provision, too?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not know. Thank goodness, I am not the right honorable gentleman's keeper. When the Bill left the hands of the Watson Government it did not contain the provision including agricultural labourers and others, but it embraced the provision for preference to unionists, modified by the proviso inserted at the instance of the Minister of Defence, which was as follows: -

Provided that no such preference shall be directed to be given unless the application for such preference is, in the opinion of the Court, approved by a majority of those affected by the award who have interests in common with the applicants.

The alternative amendment, proposed by the honorable member for Bland was -

The Court, before directing that preference shall be given to the members of an organization, shall be satisfied that the organization substantially represents the industry affected in point of the numbers and competence of its members.

It was on the question as to whether the Bill should be recommitted with a view to the consideration of the amendment proposed by the then Government, that the Ministry were defeated. They were denied that consideration which is always extended to the Government by an honorable Opposition. That is the point upon which I join issue with the Minister of Trade and Customs, who stated that the late Government had received fair play. I consider that thev were treated most unfairly.

Mr Reid - They were defeated by thirty-eight votes to thirty-six, and I consider that that is fair play.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - They were defeated with the assistance of the vote of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, who had introduced the Bill containing the preference provision, and also the proposal that the agricultural industry should be brought within the scope of the measure. The honorable and learned member voted against the provision of his own Bill. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat stated that he had been charged, on behalf of the Opposition, to assure the Watson Government that the utmost fair play would be extended to them. That statement was made imme- diately after the honorable member for Bland had announced the formation of the Ministry. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat also said -

I think we must all agree that if (the Government) can only be maintained, even temporarily, by that honorable granting of fair play to which I have already alluded, by that extension of consideration from one side of the House to the other, which enables us to discharge our common duties to the public.

In the face of that statement, I do not think that it redounded to the credit of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, or of those who were following him, when they turned round and failed to extend the fair play that was promised when the Watson Government took office. "

Sir John Forrest - It all depends on what the honorable member calls fair play.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not think that fair play was extended to the Watson Government at any time. I do not complain of the action of the right honorable gentleman, because at the very first opportunity that presented itself, he attacked the Government in the most vigorous and vicious way.

Sir John Forrest - Not in a vicious way.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes, in a vicious way. I know that the honorable member for Bland would not have takenoffice if he had not been assured that he would receive the support of some honorable members who were outside of his own party.

Sir John Forrest - Who gave him that assurance ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have just read the assurance given by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. That statement was made after the formation of the Ministry was announced in this House. I have stated the circumstances as concisely as possible, in order that the general public may understand the position that has been taken up by certain members of the Opposition, and' the mariner in which the late Government were ousted from office.

Mr Kennedy - They occupied the Treasury benches for six weeks after their def 6£lt

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I think that that is an unfair way of putting it. They stayed on the - Treasury benches for six weeks after the amendment proposed by the Minister of Defence was carried. The leader of the late Government was perfectly justified in stating that he could not accept the -amendment, and that he would ask the House to recommit the clause in order that the whole matter might be reconsidered.

Mr Kennedy - Did the Deakin Government do that?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - We had not a similar opportunity.

Sir John Forrest - We could have done it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I dare say we could. The vote upon the amendment proposed by the Minister of Defence was taken in a small House and without debate, and, in view of the fact that the decision was arrived at upon a catch vote, the late Prime Minister was perfectly justified in asking for its reconsideration, and for a fuller debate. The present Prime Minister, who voted with the Deakin Govern ment against the inclusion of the railway servants within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration 'Bill, has accepted the measure with that and other provisions which were highly objectionable in his eyes, and has sent it on to the Senate, presumably with a desire that it shall become law.. I should like to know what the public will think of a Prime Minister who can so absolutely reverse all that he has formerly done in order to secure office.

Mr Reid - This is verv funny.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable gentleman has spoken very strongly upon the subject of States rights, but I should like to know where the States rights party is now? They seem to have very easy consciences with regard to States (rights, the inclusion of railway servants within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and, in fact, everything else in connexion with that measure. I would ask honorable members : What is the present position? The Protectionist Party is severed in twain, and this will probably lead to its destruction.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member has left it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I shall deal with that particular question presently. I do not think that we are the seceders, but that the section of the party which is supporting the Government has deserted its principles. As a matter of fact, the right honorable member for Swan had no right whatever, at any time, to claim to belong to the Protectionist Party, because throughout his connexion with the Barton and Deakin Ministries he stood by himself, and never was a Protectionist. Turning for a moment to the speech delivered last night by the Minister of Trade and Customs, I venture to think that Wis remarks were instigated by some other mind, who desired that the split in the Protectionist Party should continue and widen. The Minister dealt with several subjects with each of which I shall' deal separately. .First of all, he was rather indignant because ont; honorable member stated that h? had not been in favour of granting the franchise to women. The Prime Minister was in favour of that reform, but, strange to say, he never passed any measure relating to it. Had he occupied his present position at the commencement of the Commonwealth that law would not now have been placed upon the statutebook of the Commonwealth, because my experience of the right honorable gentleman in the New South Wales Legislature leads me to say that had he remained in State politics until to-day he would never have extended the franchise to the women there. I venture to affirm that if he had had his way the suffrage would never have been extended to the women of Australia. It is a fortunate circumstance that when the first Commonwealth Parliament met, a Government was in power which insisted upon extending the franchise to the women of this continent, despite the opposition, of some honorable members. I have already pointed out the unfair treatment which was meted out to the last Government. Last evening the Minister of Trade and. Customs dealt with the question of old-age pensions, but I do not think that his heart is in his subject. Certainly the heart of his leader is not in it. When the present Prime Minister was in State politics, and had an opportunity of submitting a Bill relating to that matter to the New South Wales Parliament, he failed to take any action. The question of old-age pensions is one. however, which cannot be permitted to lie dormant. It must be dealt with by this Parliament in some way or other, in fairness to the continent of Australia. It is all very well to urge that it is a State matter, but it must be recollected that at the present time two of the largest States have old-age pensions schemes in operation, and I think that the Commonwealth should take some further action. My own opinion is that, if we cannot pass a law without first obtaining the consent of the States, then New South Wales and Victoria should allow the money now being disbursed by them for the payment of old-age pensions to be deducted by the Commonwealth from the Customs and

Excises revenue instead of being returned to them in accordance with the financial provisions of the Constitution. If they agreed to that arrangement, we could enact a uniform law for the whole of Australia. But unless an energetic move be made, such a consummation will not be reached. I know that it has been held up as a bogy that the money required for the payment of a national scheme of old-age pensions must be raised by direct taxation. Well, in New South Wales, and most of the other States, a land tax is already operative. What is the difference between a land tax which is imposed by the States and a land tax which is imposed by the Commonwealth Government ?

Mr McLean - Is there not a difference in duplicating it?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The States might repeal their own land taxation, if it was necessary for the Federal Government to raise the money to pay old-age pensions.

Mr McLean - The honorable member is advocating a duplication of the tax.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not. There should be no taxation for the sake of taxation, and there should be no land tax upon small land-owners. Last evening, the Minister of Trade and Customs tried very unfairly to put words into the mouths of several honorable members. I never before heard him treat his subject in such an unjust way. I am not in favour of duplicating land taxation. But the land taxes imposed by the States can be removed by them, if that is to be urged as an objection to a national system of old-age pensions. That is a matter for the States to consider.

Mr Conroy - Suppose that t'he States will not repeal their land taxes?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The. States should be asked to allow the necessary money for the payment of old-age pensions claims to be deducted from the Customs revenue, with a view to avoiding the duplication of land taxation, The Minister of Trade and Customs also referred to the alliance which has been entered into between the Labour Party and the Liberal Protectionists. He declared that there were only three planks in the platform of that alliance, and that the protectionist section of it had received no concessions whatever. I venture to think that if he will only be fair, and allow his mind to reason in the ordinary way, he will find that the protectionists have secured a great deal. It is not to be supposed. f or a moment that they could at once obtain everything which they desired, but I happen to know that the' very provisions to which he referred so graphically, in attacking the honorable and learned member for Indi, are not to be taken advantage of in the way that he suggested. For instance, in respect of the provision that .each member of the alliance is to be allowed to vote on the Tariff as to whether a high duty or a low duty shall be imposed-

Mr McLean - Or any duty at all.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No. Members are to be allowed to vote upon the question as to whether a high or a low duty shall be imposed upon specific proposals.

Mr Reid - What a lot of intriguing there must have been !

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is the Prime Minister who has done the intriguing in his little room. He must not talk of intriguing. He has attempted bribery, too.

Mr Reid - I have not enough money for that.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not refer to money. The statement of the Minister of Trade and Customs, in regard to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, was not correct. The arrangement is that all members of the alliance shall vote for the taking of that Bill into Committee, and that those who desire the industry to be controlled by the State shall have an opportunity of voting in that way. If, however, they are defeated, they are not to destroy the Bill, but are to assist in passing it in another form. Surely that constitutes a great advance?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the statement of the honorable member refer to the whole of the alliance?


Mr McLean - Who killed the proposal of the Barton Government?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It was not killed ; it was postponed, because there was not a majority in favour of the industry being controlled bv private enterprise.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Do I understand that the whole of the alliance will vote in that way?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is the arrangement, and effect Will be given to it. Consequently the Minister of Trade and Customs was wrong in his statement to the House. I have been asked who killed the measure submitted by the Barton Government? There were a good many who rendered assistance in that direction, and the strongest assistance came from the leader of the present Government. Upon many occasions the present Postmaster-General dared me to bring the Bill before the House-

Mr Webster - And now he is embracing Mr. Sandford.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes, and Mr. Sandford is embracing him.

Mr Reid - He is a very good man.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Every individual who will do as the Prime Minister tells him is good, and every man who will notdo so is bad. Those who have known the right honorable gentleman very long are used to his statements, and will pay no attention to his slimy remarks. I have already referred to the two principal questions which were touched upon by the Minister of Trade and Customs last evening. I have no doubt that the arrangement by the alliance in regard to preferential trade will be loyally adhered to.

Mr McLean - To " discuss " it ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes, but not to discuss it in an antagonistic manner. I hope that the Government will soon have an opportunity of seeing that the party, which is so much distrusted by them, are as honorable as are any members of this House. I am satisfied that the alliance will give effect to the arrangement which has been arrived at better than will the coalition opposite carry on any alliance.

Mr Reid - Which way is the honorable member going to vote - in favour of a or b ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Last night the Minister of Trade and Customs, in attacking the protectionists who occupy seats in this corner, called them by some nasty names. He said that they were "seceders." He need not have done so, seeing that it was the other party which seceded after they had enteredinto a definite compact in caucus to. refuse any coalition with the right honorable member for East Sydney. Then the honorable gentleman referred to the plank of Tariff revision, which appears in the alliance programme, and to the notice of motion for the appointment of a Royal Commission given by the honorable and learned member for Indi. I have noticed that, in speaking at Ballarat on Monday night, the Prime Minister declared that he is quite prepared to sanction the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire' into the working of the Tariff. But what sort of a Commission does he suggest? A Commission to unearth every item in the Tariff or any matter out of it ?

Mr Reid - Certainlynot. The Commission would only hear complaints.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable gentleman knows perfectly well that the work of such a Commission could not be concluded in less than several years.

Mr Reid - Nonsense.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is a fact, and that is why the right honorable gentleman is willing to sanction the appointment of a Commission.

Mr Isaacs - And "anxious" to do so.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes. Such a Commission would be of no value so long as He occupied the Treasury benches. He is not prepared to agree to the appointment of a Commission to deal with urgent matters in the Tariff.

Mr Reid - Mention the list which the honorable member has ready, with a view to excluding other industries from consideration ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - A list could easily be supplied to the Prime Minister, but he does not require anything of the kind. He merely wishes to play a game of bluff. During the course of his remarks the Minister of Trade and Customs stated that in my election campaign I declared in favour of fiscal peace.

Mr Reid - If the honorable member will deny that statement, he will deny anything.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - My statement was that I favoured fiscal peace; but when the practical working of the Act shows where anomalies exist, then action must be taken.

Mr McLean - The honorable member is reported as having said that he was favourable to fiscal peace during the operation of the Braddon section of the Constitution.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The Minister is quite wrong in taking that literally.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The newspapers published that statement.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Never mind what the newspapers said. They are sometimes inspired by the honorable member. But what was the Prime Minister doing during the election campaign? He was fighting me for all he was worth. He was travelling through my electorate raising the question of the re-opening of the Tariff from the lowest to the highest item it contains.

Mr SPEAKER - Will the honorable member kindly take his seat? There are on the business-paper two notices of motion which seem to me to cover nearly all the ground relating to the Tariff. One is the notice of motion by the honorable and learned member for Indi, and the other the notice of motion - which has been partly discussed - by the honorable member for Bourke. Whilst these appear upon the business-paper, I cannot possibly allow the detailed discussion of any matter which relates to either of them. Therefore, while incidental reference may be made to these points, and while I am very anxious to allow the utmost liberty that I can, I must ask honorable members to defer the detailed discussion of any matter which may be included in them, or in any other notice of motion.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I think that I may crave the indulgence of the House in this matter, because I wish to refer to a question upon which I have been attacked. Some references have been made to speeches of mine, and I was dealing with what have been alleged to be quotations from what I said, and with the action of the present Prime Minister during the campaign.

Mr SPEAKER - I have already allowed incidental references of considerable length, and any such as that to which the honorable member for Hume now refers I should certainly allow. I was afraid lest he was beginning to discuss the question in its broader issues, and to do what the Standing Orders absolutely prohibit, namely, anticipate debate on motions, notices of which appear on the business-paper. I admit that it is unfortunate that there should be three or four notices of motion on the paper, which considerably limit the scope of the debate ; but I am bound to administer the Standing Orders as they are. I shall not unduly restrict any honorable member, and the honorable member for Hume is perfectly entitled, as is every other honorable member, to reply to any allegations made by previous speakers.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The present Prime Minister, during the elections, was fighting me in my own electorate on the fiscal question, and trying to raise it in every possible way. Amongst the other statements which he made, the right honorable gentleman said that if he could get a majority, he would repeal the present Tariff absolute! v.

Mr Reid - That is not correct; it is near enough though.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It was in reply to such statements that I said I was not in favour of re-opening the Tariff. There had been a statement made about the desirability of fiscal peace.

Mr Reid - A statement ! It was the policy of the honorable gentleman's leader.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - But that was only to continue until anomalies -were found in the Tariff. I maintain that it is not ripping, up the whole Tariff to deal with anomalies of so serious a character as those which have been discovered, and which, at the present time, are destroying industries in some parts of Australia, and causing the dismissal of a large number of men.

Mr Kelly - Did they only begin to destroy those industries within the last few months ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member for Wentworth does not know anything about it, and he ought not to interrupt. I shall not, at this stage, deal further with the Tariff, but I shall probably have occasion to deal with it at another time. The Minister of Trade and Customs went on to question, and, I am sorry to say, to misinterpret remarks made by the honorable member for Darling, on the subject of land resumption. I should like to know whether the honorable gentleman is in favour of land resumption. Last night, at first, he said that he was, and then that he was not. I believe that the same difficulty exists in all the States, but I know New South Wales better than any of the other States, and I say that the only thing which will tend to relieve the congestion of population in the cities and distribute it over the country is land resumption. With that object, I believe that it is necessary to resume a portion of the alienated lands in New South Wales.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What can we do in that matter?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The matter has been referred to in connexion with Socialism. In my own electorate, there are some twelve large stations. I do not in any way blame those who have secured them, nor would I take their land from them without paying more -than its value ; but I say that, in the interests of the people of Australia, there must be considerable resumptions in all the -States. The Minister of Trade and Customs last night said that he was in favour of land resumption, and the division and sale of the lands resumed. I wish to know of what use it will be toresume land and then sell it with a title and conditions which will not prevent its beingagain included in large holdings.

Mr McLean - What would the honorable gentleman do with it ? Would he makethe State the landlord ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I should give a title to it, but I should impose such conditions that it could never go back into large holdings again.

Mr Reid - There could be no objection to that at all.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - There is no reason why we should sell the land outright again after resuming it, when we might get a rent from it sufficient to pay interest on borrowed money, and thus obviate any incubus upon the taxpayer resulting from the resumption. The question is one of very great importance, but I should not advocate the resumption of any land if it were to be sold again under conditions which would permit of its reverting to large holdings such as we have at the present time. We have the Legislatures of some of the States telling the people that there is any quantity of land open for selection ; but the land referred to is very often but arid plains, and it is a criminal thing to send men with wives and families on to such land, without giving then an area sufficient to live upon, because it means giving them over to ruin, starvation, and death. The land resumption question is of the first importance, and there can be no doubt that a great portion of alienated land, in districts blessed with a good rainfall and fit for cultivation, will have to be resumed, and converted from sheep-walks into agricultural farms of sufficient area to keep a family. According to the statements of the Minister of Trade and Customs last night, the land when resumed should be sold to farmers, and if that course is pursued we may rest assured that it will again go back into large estates.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable gentleman did not say that it should be sold without conditions of improvement.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Of what use are conditions of improvement as a means of preventing the land going back into large estates?

Mr McLean - I have helped to subdivide a great many estates, and in no solitary instance has any subdivided block since been included in a large estate.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not prepared to contradict the honorable gentleman with respect to a matter affecting his own district. But I know what has happened in New South Wales. I know that men, who first of all took up land along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers^ sold nearly the whole of their selections, and to-day are to be found at Coonamble, Walgett, and on the Namoi, with areas of from 10,000 to 20,000 acres, whilst the land which they took up first has gone back to the large owners.

Mr Watson - That has happened in tens of thousands of instances.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It has happened in thousands of instances.

Mr McLean - Not where the full value of the land has been paid for under closer settlement conditions.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am in favour of land resumption by the Government, because the Government is in a better position than are private individuals to offer good terms to intending settlers. To cut land up and charge a big price to a man desiring to obtain it, is but to put a millstone round his neck, which will keep him in poverty for ever. The Government could charge a small deposit and rent, and give a long lease, perhaps of ninety-nine years, or sell with certain restrictions, and settlers taking up land under those conditions could hope to live happily on it. This is why I am in favour of land resumption by the Government, instead of the cutting up of land by private syndicates, as has been done recently on the Richmond River. The honorable member for Richmond knows that it would be better for the people who have gone into dairy farming on the three large estates recently subdivided on the Richmond River, if the Government had resumed the land, and had then dealt with settlers. I am connecting this question with the question of Socialism. I am aware that honorable members sitting in this cor-_ ner are favorable to the resumption of land by the States. I have in my own electorate twelve or fourteen estates, containing something like 1,000,000 acres of as good land as may be found anywhere for agricultural purposes, and some of which might very well be resumed. When honorable members opposite accuse the Labour Party of Socialism, I ask them to say whether this proposal for land resumption is not Socialism in its purest and most simple form.

Mr McLean - There is not a trace of Socialism in it ; it is a purely. business matter.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Is there any Socialism in the Government holding the railways of the country?

Mr McLean - No.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Or in the Government owning and controlling the tramways of the country ?

Mr McLean - No.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I shall show the honorable gentleman that there is. The tramways in the city of Melbourne and suburbs are owned and controlled by a private company. The tramway system in Sydney, I am glad to say, is owned and controlled bv the Government, and in that city the public can travel for twothirds of the fare charged on the tramways in the city and suburbs of Melbourne. Honorable members opposite will say that there is no Socialism in this matter, though the whole of the people secure the benefit of a fare decreased by one-third, the difference, in the case of the Melbourne tramway system, going to the shareholders' profit. That shows the difference between the two systems. Honorable members can find no loop-hole by which to escape from that comparison.

Mr Conroy - The honorable gentleman is making a mistake.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am making no mistake. The honorable and learned member knows that by buying tickets he can go from here to Spencer-street for 1½d., whilst he can go from Circular Quay to the Redfern Railway Station for id. on the Sydney system.

Mr Watson - Twice as far.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is nearly twice as far. The same difference extends throughout the tram system.

Sir John Forrest - The city of Melbourne will get the tramways back free. Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- Yes, when they are worn out. I say, further, that the Melbourne tram system is not to be compared with the electric system of Sydney. I am sorry that the Minister of Trade and Customs is leaving the Chamber. It is evident that he does not like what I am saying on the subject of Socialism. All these proposals to which I have referred are forms of Socialism, and I am in favour of the application of the principle in every case where it can be reasonably and justly applied. I think that it is very much better, in the interests of the people of Australia, that the railways and tramways should be in the hands of the State.

Mr Fuller - Was not the honorable gentleman in favour of. selling the Sydney tramways?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I was, before I cut my political eye-teeth. The honorable and learned member has perhaps not cut his yet.

Mr Fuller - It does not suit the honorable gentleman to cut certain of 'his teeth at the present time.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I honestly confess that when I first entered Parliament, I was in favour of selling the tramways. I had had no experience then of the administration of Government.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Was not the honorable gentleman Minister of Works at the time?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No, I was not. I have had considerable experience during many years since. I have tried to consider the matter reasonably, and my conclusion is that in certain matters, though not in everything, it is better in the interests of the people for the Government to have control.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Do we not all say that?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not think so. I do not think that the right honorable member for Swan, the honorable member for Gippsland, or the Conservative honorable member for Kooyong say that. If they do say that, I should like to understand why they speak against such State Socialism as I have described. Applications by farmers for assistance for roads and bridges, and subsidies for their various industries, are but forms of Socialism.

Mr Skene - There is no analogy whatever.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - What would the honorable member call such assistance?

Mr Kelly - What benefits the farmers benefits the whole community, because the farmers are producers.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Matters of the kind I have referred to benefit the whole community also. Honorable members need not be afraid that I am in favour of the Socialism as applied to the unit, or in favour of anything in the direction of the redistribution of wealth. I may say that I was yesterday told by a lady that the Labour Party is in favour of the redistribution of wealth once or twice a year ; and honorable members will probably recollect that a statement to the same effect was recently made by a speaker at one of the Womens' League meetings.

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