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Wednesday, 28 September 1904

Mr KENNEDY - The honorable gentleman and I would get'a little then.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No, we should not. I remember that at one time, years ago, there was some talk of Socialism in Sydney, and a member of the State Parliament, named Eckford, at the time was very much in favour of the redistribution of wealth. He had£1,000, and when some one told him that a careful calculation showed that his share would be about£69, he said, " No more redistribution for me." That would be the feeling in my case. With Socialism, as affecting the individual, I am not in accord ; but I am in favour of the application of the principle to matters affecting the community generally. I wish to know what honorable members object to in the seven items which appear in this Federal labour programme, about which so much has been said. Does any one object to the maintenance of a White Australia?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Yes; the honorable and learned member for Parkes.

Mr Tudor - And the honorable member for Robertson.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Does any one object to compulsory arbitration?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Yes ; all the wreckers of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Does any one object to old-age pensions?

Mr Tudor - Yes ; all on the other side of the Chamber.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Does any one object to a volunteer defence force, or to the restriction of public borrowing? I know that the right honorable member for Swan objects to any stringent alteration of the navigation laws; but the majority of honorable members, and the country, are in favour of navigation legislation. Let me add another word about Socialism. Suppose that the immense American Morgan trust, which bought up so many steam-ship lines, had purchased all the steamers trading to Australia, and had raised freights to the injury of the producers and others in this Continent, would honorable members have said that the Government was not justified in stepping in and running a line of steamers with a view to destroying the trust, or of bringing down freights ?

Mr Kelly - That trust destroyed itself.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Would the Government also be justified in establishing a tobacco factory?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am glad to believe that there is one honorable member on the Government side of the House who appreciates something like reason. I was going to refer to the tobacco monopoly. Personally, I do not know enough about the workings of that monopoly to give an opinion on the subject; but I know that behind it is one of the largest financial "rings" in the world, and that it has spread its octopus-like grasp all over this Continent, so that now it controls the whole of the tobacco trade of Australia. I am informed that there are only three tobacconists' shops in Melbourne where one can buy certain brands of tobacco and cigars, and that the public have to pay nearly twice as much for tobacco now as had to be paid before the trust was formed.

Mr Kelly - Nonsense.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - A letter of denial is published this morning- which is really no denial at all.

Mr Kelly - A meeting of retailers was held in Sydney which unanimously protested against statements such as that which the Honorable member is now repeating.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The writer of the letetr to which I refer admits that the tobacconists have raised their prices, and he says that they did so because formerly they were selling too cheaply. That is not a satisfactory reason to give, and, no doubt, if a Royal Commission is appointed, it will be proved that there is a great deal of truth in the statements which I am making. If the tobacco monopoly is injurious to the people of Australia, action should be taken by the Government, either by the introduction of an anti-trust Bill or by the Government taking control. I am not prepared to say what step should be taken, but it would certainly be a proper, right, and just thing for the Government to consider the matter.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member also advocate the establishment of Government breweries?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have given one or two instances in which I think the nationalization of monopolies should not be objected to. If it were proposed to proceed to extremes, and to introduce individualistic Socialism or anarchism, I am not there.

Sir John Forrest - What is the honorable member trying to prove ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am proving that those who have railed so much against the Labour Party, because of what they call their socialistic principles, forget what the word means in its true sense, and do not know what they are talking about.

Sir John Forrest - No one objects to the honorable member joining the Labour Party, if he wishes to do so.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable member knows I have not done that. I wish, in this connexion, to read a word or two from a lecture delivered in Sydney the other day by the Anglican Bishop of Hobart, who, referring to the socialistic movement which is now taking place all over the world, said -

He wanted to warn the Anglican Church in Australia as to what . . . might happen in the future if they gave another instance of absolute indifference to a huge social movement, and not merely indifference, but positively putting their weight wholly on the other scale. There was something here before them which demanded their most careful scrutiny, and their most Christ-like sympathy. He did not dispute that there was much in the movement that was exaggerated and wild, and that many of its proposals were dreadful, but, nevertheless, the movement was in evidence in every civilized nation of the world, which surely should convince them that there were forces deep down in it, that it was not superficial, or a mere stir on the surface of the water, but that there was a great mass of sentiment and hopefulness behind the movement.

He went on to say that the subject had so far entered the hearts of a large number of people, that in an English town the Socialistic Party had founded what they called Labour churches, as a substitute for the Church of Jesus Christ, because they thought the latter had no place for them, and gave them the cold shoulder. He continued -

All who bore the name of Christian should study social problems sympathetically in the light and in the spirit of the incarnation, and help to realize the ideal city in the world, as it was.

Then he added that -

He had 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.

I wish to emphasize, before passing away from the subject, the statement that where monopolies are injurious to the public, and State interference would do great good. I shall be on the side of humanity.

Mr Wilson - Why does not the honorable member sign 'the platform of the Labour Party?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member should sign something which will give him a little common-sense.

Mr Conroy - No doubt he is waiting for the honorable member for Hume to draw it up.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I hope that we shall not hear too much about the socialistic principles of the Labou'r Party, because honorable members opposite are trying to gull the public by clouding the real issue which, as it is put in one of the three manifestoes published by the Prime Minister, is an' attack on labour. Now that honorable members opposite lind that that cry is not very popular, they are trying to represent it as an attack upon Socialism j but any one who reads between the lines of the right honorable gentleman's manifestoes, will see that it is an attack upon labour that is intended.

Mr Kelly - What are the exact words to which the honorable member refers?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The manifesto is rather long, and I have not marked the exact passage which. I have in my mind ; but the honorable member can read it for himself. The present fight is one between conservatism and liberalism, and I think that the alliance between the Liberal Protectionists and the Labour Party, on the honest and straightforward lines which have been published, which do not embrace any objectionable form of Socialism, will be a great step in the direction of liberalism. I venture to say that the alliance will form the nucleus of a Liberal Party, which will oppose the conservative element I see on my left supporting the Government.

Mr Wilson - What about the exemptions under a and b ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - At any rate, we have no conservative A's and B's. The Prime Minister said in one of his manifestoes -

We thoroughly believe in progress, a fearless forward policy ; but not on roads leading to Socialism and insane extremes.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is exactly what the honorable member says his views are.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes; but I should like to know what item of progressive legislation the right honorable gentleman has placed on the statute-book. If he goes back through his history he will not be able to point to one. Although for five years he promised the people of New South Wales liberal legislation, all he did of importance was to impose a land tax and to take off Customs duties.

Sir John Forrest - He also passed an Alien Immigration Restriction Act.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - He adopted the Natal Act.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is speaking wide of the mark, and he knows it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not. The honorable member for Parramatta cannot point to any real, progressive legislation which has been placed on the statute-book by the Prime Minister. Whenever progressive and humane legislation was proposed in the Parliament of New South Wales the right honorable 'gentleman fought to prevent it from becoming law. That is his public history. Let me now read what he. put at the tail of his manifesto. He deals with Western Australia and Tasmania in a postscript. After writing his address, he remembered that he had not referred to them, and therefore he adds the following postscript : -

I wish to add a postscript, addressed to the people of Tasmania and Western Australia. I much regret that no representative of either State is included in the new Ministry. I hope you will, as long as this state of things continues, accept me as the representative of both States in the Government, and I offer my services in that capacity to all the representatives of the two States, irrespective of party differences.

He had the impudence to write a postscript casting a slur upon the two States mentioned in it, and to say that he will represent those States. So far as Western Australia is concerned, the only representative of that State who supports the Government is the right honorable member for Swan.

Mr Austin Chapman - Tasmania, at any rate, is pretty well represented just now by the honorable member for Wilmot.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I think that that is very doubtful. Some of the representatives \of Tasmania support the Government, and surely they do not require the assistance of the right honorable gentleman. I regret very much that the proceedings at the protectionist caucus were divulged last night. Secondly, I regret that the honorable member for Bendigo misunderstood what I said last night. What was in my mind was that at the caucus meeting of the Protectionist Party he was the only member who moved any motion in connexion with the extension of the fiscal truce.

Sir John Quick - I did not move a motion.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Then the honorable and learned member suggested it. I admit freely that he and. the honorable member for Barker were two of the strongest opponents of coalitions of any kind.

Sir John Quick - And yet the honorable gentleman has joined another coalition.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - And the honorable and learned member has joined a coalition on the Government side.

Sir John Quick - No, I have not.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Now that this matter has been broached, I think that perhaps it will be as well to give some further particulars. Two or three meetings of the party were held, and it was unanimously decided, with the information before the party, that on no consideration should they follow the lead of the present Prime Minister. There was a unanimous vote on that point.

Sir John Forrest - I do not remember it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I cannot be held responsible for lapses of memory on the part of the right honorable gentleman. Other members of the party will remember it, and the fact that the right honorable gentleman does not do so proves nothing. When the last meeting was held, an understanding was arrived at that before action of any kind was taken another meeting of the party should be called. There has not been any further meeting of the party to this day, and those honorable members who are sitting with me in the Opposition corner have acted absolutely in accord with the decisions arrived at at the last meeting.

Sir John Forrest - By. entering into an alliance with the Labour Party?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The resolution arrived at by the party was against an alliance with- the present Prime Minister.

Sir John Forrest - Or with the Labour Party ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I should not have referred to this matter but for the remarks which fell from the Minister of Trade and Customs last night. When half the truth is told it is as well to state the whole of the facts. I regard the coalition which has been entered into with the right honorable member for East Sydney as a particularly unholy one, and I am afraid that it has been brought about to a very large extent by anxiety for office.

Mr McLean - How many portfolios have been promised' to the protectionists with whom the honorable member is associated ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The Minister had better wait until I break away from my protectionist principles, as he has done. He will then have the right to attack me.

Mr McLean - The honorable member was the first to break up the Protectionist Party.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not likely to enter into any alliance or arrangement, or to take any portfolio, unless I can feel assured that due regard will be paid to the principles for which I have fought for so many years, and to which I am steadily adhering to-day. The alliance is in the interests of protection. The members of the Protectionist Party who have joined the present Government have done a great deal towards destroying the Protectionist Party of Australia. Whilst the wedge is being driven more deeply into our ranks, with the idea of widening the breach, what is being done elsewhere? The Freetrade Association in Sydney has been organizing ever since the split in our party took place, and the same may be said of the Melbourne Association.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have heard nothing about the Svdney Association.

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