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Wednesday, 28 September 1904


Mr EWING (Richmond) - It has been stated that in a debate of this description every honorable member is entitled to speak his mind. I take it that every honorable member is entitled to speak his mind on all occasions in Parliament, and to speak it in that euphonious, gentle, and courteous English which we have heard from the honorable member for Hume. I understand that in this debate I am permitted to go this far, and no further : I am permitted to charge those opposed to me with corruption and with bribing their friends to vote in a certain way. I hope that the honorable member for Hume will not' leave* the chamber for a moment, as I have a word, or two to say to him.


Sir William Lyne - I do not pay the slightest attention to what the honorable member says.


Mr EWING - I believe that the honorable gentleman will find it advisable to pay some attention to what I shall' say. before I have done with him. It is well understood that what we say in public life, or within the walls of this Chamber, has no bearing upon any man's private character, and that anything we say here is said purely in a political sense. Though we might know something which would not redound to the private character of our political antagonists, we should not be entitled to make use of incidents connected with their private life for any political purposes. The appeal which the honorable member for Hume makes to the House, and to the country, is primarily an appeal in defence of protection. The honorable member is the great protectionist - the man who stands before the people of New South Wales as the incarnation and great exemplar of protection. Let me tell the honorable gentleman, or let his friends tell him for me, as he did not see fit to remain, that the man who has ruined protection in New South Wales is the honorable member for Hume. I am sorry to have to say this kind of thing in the absence of the honorable gentleman ; but it is not my fault that he is not present. Protection in New "South Wales had a case which it did not possess in any of the other States. The potentialities of all the States were great, and undoubtedly the capacity of the people to make good use of them was considerable ; but the position in New South Wales differed materially from that in the other States, inasmuch as she possessed the motive power for industry - she had the coal. On that account there was in no other State anything like the opportunity for establishing a protectionist policy that there was in the mother State. We had got together a very considerable, a fairly representative, and a tolerably intelligent Protectionist Party, when the honorable member for Hume joined us. It was like making ensilage. The Protectionist Party in New South Wales had got together a splendid heap of men, capable of stating their case intelligently and reasonably, and with a good case to state, when the honorable member for Hume crawled on to the top of the heap. As honorable members are aware, in making ensilage, as soon as you have a sufficiently large heap, you parbuckle, by means of bullocks, a heavy log on to the top of the stack. There was no need to parbuckle the honorable member for Hume on to the protectionist stack in New South Wales; he climbed there. He got on top of the heap, and, to the destruction of protection in that State, he has sat there ever since until the party has sunk so low that at the present time there are only four representatives of protection in the mother State in the Federal Parliament. The others have been destroyed by the honorable member for Hume. The honorable members for Eden-Monaro, Riverina, and myself, are amongst the four, and every one of us knows that every time the honorable member for Hume touches the question of protection he does so to its destruction.


Mr Chanter - I do not subscribe to that.


Mr EWING - I ask the honorable member where is the Protectionist Party of New South Wales? When Kuropatkin falls back upon Mukden with half an army, what is it that they want to know ? It is useless for him to say that his guns were not good enough, or that his soldiers were not fit to fight - the general must accept the responsibility of failure.


Mr McDonald - He should not go over to join the opposing forces.


Mr EWING - Where is the Protectionist Party of New South Wales to-day? Where are the men who have been identified with the honorable member for Hume for the last few years, and who have really carried the honorable gentleman, put up with him, and tolerated him until now, when he has made a blind bolt for Socialism, and when they have to tell him that they must leave him? Where are those men now - Where are the men like Beale, Sandford, and others - the bulwarks of the Protectionist Party in New South Wales, who did all they possibly could for protection? Their position has been destroyed by the honorable member for Hume. I have no desire to be unfair or unjust to the honorable gentleman, and I therefore speak of him temperately and reasonably, _ when ^ I might make an indictment against him which would be very serious.


Mr Mahon - One which the honorable member 'would regret.


Mr EWING - I understand that certain things may be said, and that certain other things should not be said. I shall say no more about the honorable member for Hume at this stage, because I understand the honorable gentleman is shortly leaving the country. It will probably be news for honorable members to hear that they may not see the honorable gentleman in t'his House for very much longer. I have heard that the Japanese are experiencing a very great deal of trouble in taking Port Arthur. Their guns have made but very little impression upon it, and it is hoped that if the honorable member for Hume can be induced to sit on the top of Port Arthur, he. will smash it as effectually as 'he has smashed everything he has so far had to deal with. In his absence, I must be fair to the honorable gentleman's political failings.


Mr Mahon - That is something new for the honorable gentleman.


Mr EWING - It is something new for me? Honorable gentlemen opposite do not understand me, because I have a capacity for forgiving them. I do not propose to deal with the alleged corruption by the present Prime Minister, the statement about his having given a bribe to secure a vote. I thought that I should get from the speech of the honorable member for Hume some thing to which I might reply, but I find that there was absolutely nothing. I took notes of the honorable gentleman's speech, but he said only three things to which a reply may be made. It appears that the honorable gentleman is much in favour of electric tramways, but the most violent opponent of electric tramways in New South Wales was the honorable member for Hume. That is point number one; but it does not matter very much. Then the honorable gentleman tells us that he believes in Socialism, but he was himself the most persistent advocate of the sale of the tramways in New South Wales. Again, the honorable gentleman believes in the State purchasing estates for the purpose of closer settlement. I have been to some extent identified with the purchase of estates for closer settlement on the Richmond River, which has resulted in great good to the district. Before dealing with this matter, I thought that it was the right thing to do to ask the State - and the honorable member for Hume was leader of the State Government at the time - to take up the question. The honorable gentleman's Government said that they would not purchase the estates. This can be borne out by reference to the late Under Secretary for Lands in New South Wales. So on the three minor points to which the honorable gentleman made reference it is clear that he made no remark that is worthy of consideration. *


Mr Webster - The honorable member knows that the State Government had not the legal power to resume those estates at the time he asked them to do so.


Mr EWING - We have not the legal power to do anything if we do not desire to do it. I desire to address a few words to honorable members with regard to the position of protectionists. The charge against many honorable members on this side to-day is that, being protectionists, we have no right to be here. It is not for me to make clear the attitude of the free-trader. It is not necessary for me to make any special reference to the attitude of the Socialistic Party opposite. It is necessary for me at this stage only to point out why, being a protectionist, I find myself here to-day. First of all, the protectionists did not sink the fiscal issue - it was the people who sank it. When this Parliament was elected, as I stated once before, Federal politicians were, like Gaul, " divided into three parts," equal in numbers, although not equal in intelligence. The

Protectionist Party was, of course, the most intelligent party. I am sure that protectionist members opposite will still permit me to make that statement. The protectionists numbered twenty-five, and who but a madman would, with such a following, have made a fight in a House of seventy-five. The Prime Minister, with a similar following, recognised that it was impossible to continue the free-trade fight, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat saw that the protectionist fight could not be successful.


Mr Webster - It was not impossible to continue the fight.


Mr EWING - It was impossible to win. What is the use of fighting when nothing but blows are gained? What we desire is to secure a fiscal policy which will be of advantage to the interests of Australia; but' under the circumstances it was useless to go on fighting. Still, we remain in possession of that policy, and, that being so, what possible abandonment of protection has there been? It was not office that we were seeking ; it was the establishment of protection, and we have maintained that policy. Only one-eighth of the representation of New South Wales in this Parliament is protectionist. The six senators from that State are free-traders, and only four out of the twenty-six representatives which itsends to this House are protectionists. But we still retain our protectionist policy, and, under the circumstances, what more could any one who had as much sense as an opossum ask for? Going a step further, I ask, who is in charge of the Customs Department at the present moment? Honorable members heard him speak last night - an adroit, young, romantic, able, and intelligent protectionist. And who is in charge of the Treasury ? A protectionist, the right honorable member for Balaclava; whose figures the present Prime Minister, even when opposed to him, never questioned ; a man who when he says that a thing is true is believed all over Australia. The protectionists were elected to support those men, under the leadership of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, a gentleman of whom I do not like to say in his presence what I think. He has endeared himself to us all by his private character, while his oratory is something to be emulated by the growing generation, and his self-denial absolutely paralyzes politicians of the type of the honorable member for Hume. We are now asked to abandon these men, who are the only hope of protectionists throughout Australia, and to follow men who caused the Labour or the Socialistic Party to hold their political nostrils while dealing with them in negotiation. The reason that the honorable member for Hume gives for being in the camp of the Opposition is that it is a protectionist camp. Let us examine that statement. There is no excuse for the small selvage of the Protectionist Party being in Opposition unless they are with protectionists. But has any one of its members ever said that the Labour or Socialistic Party, as its members glory to call themselves, is a Protectionist Party? No. What, then, is the excuse of the honorable member for Hume, and the honorable and learned members for Indi and Darling Downs? What are the facts with regard to the fiscal views of the Socialistic or Labour Party ? They have an ideal which they place above free-trade or protection. They believe that Socialism is identified with the good of the human family, and' they scorn the idea of being swayed by the doctrines of free-trade or protection. They say that the socialistic policy is as high above the fiscal policy as thesky is above the earth. Therefore, the honorable member for Hume and others are endeavouring to lead the protectionists, not into a protectionist alliance, but into a socialistic alliance. The honorable members for Perth and Canobolas, and the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, who are members of the Socialistic Party, are. free-traders who have made some of the ablest speeches in defence of free-trade which have been heard in this Chamber. The adroitness and more than wisdom of their party is shown in this, that its policy allows "its members to talk free-trade on the wharves of Sydney, and protection in the streets of Melbourne.It eliminates fiscalism, and welds together those of different fiscal faiths. At the last elections the members of the Labour Party promised their free-trade constituents that they would not have anything to do with protection. They said that they were not a protectionist party.


Mr Webster - That is not correct.


Mr EWING - The honorable member knows that hundreds of free-traders voted for him, while the honorable and learned member for West Sydney delivered to his constituents on the wharves at Sydney speeches which were even more free-trade, if possible, than those of the Prime Minister. The Labour Party promised their free-trade supporters that they would not become a protectionist party, and if they do so now they will break their promises. Honorable members know that those are the facts. I find no fault with the man who is a Socialist, if he believes in the doctrine of Socialism ; but the honorable member for Hume and the honorable and learned members for Indi and Darling Downs should make it clearthat they are endeavouring to lead the protectionists into a socialistic, and not into a protectionist, alliance. It is unnecessary to dwell on the point that the Labour Party area socialistic party.. Every member of that party in the Senate has proclaimed himself to be a Socialist, and I believe that every member of the party here claims to be one. The honorable member for Hume has characteristically proclaimed himself to-day as at the same time a Socialist and an antiSocialist. The platform of the Labour or Socialistic Party has been described as 25 per cent. practical politics and 75 per cent. bird lime, and plank No. 4 provides for" the nationalization of monopolies. Let the protectionists who have allied themselves with the Labour Party listen while I endeavour to show what will be the effect of a caucus on a party which has no fiscal principles. As honorable members know, the greatest of all monopolies is the land monopoly. No political economist who writes on the subject fails to point out that the origin of wealth and of existence is in the land, and that land is essential to production. Therefore, land nationalization or confiscation is one of the first objects of the Socialist. The Prime Minister when Premier of New South Wales knew what the views of the Labour Party were on this subject, and as he was anxious to obtain revenue from the taxation of land, he agreed with them for their support to a land tax in consideration of the removal of Customs duties. That proposal was made to and accepted by the members of a party concerning whom it is now claimed by some that they have protection bubbling out of them as oatmeal bubbles out of a Scotchman when his skin is cut. This party was approached by the Premier of New South Wales, who asked, "Will you vote to destroy the protected industries if I give you a land tax of one penny in the pound?"


Mr Groom - Although the Prime Minister was then so eager to destroy protection, the honorable member is now following him.


Mr EWING -The right honorable gentleman never claimed to be a protectionist. If my antagonist comes out into the open I am prepared to fight him. I am ready to break in an untrained colt, but I object to be kicked by the family mule. The right honorable gentleman went to the Labour Party - this great Protectionist Party - and, in response to his offer, they said that they were prepared to destroy every industry in New South Wales for the sake of a land tax of one penny in the pound. Land nationalization hung in one scale, whilst the industries of the country were on the other side of the balance. Members of the Labour Party wanted to secure a land tax, which they regarded as the thin end of the wedge of land nationalization. The honorable member for Darling and the honorable member for Yarra shout at the top of their mellifluous voices the moment that a land tax is mentioned. Land nationalization is one of their principles, but protection is not. I ask the honorable member for Bourke and the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs to look at the platform of the Labour Party. I want to know the reason why those honorable members left the Protectionist Party. The Labour Party declare themselves not to be protectionists, and there is not one word of protection in their platform. Yet the honorable members to whom I have referred have joined them.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) -Has not the honorable gentleman joined another party?


Mr EWING - The honorable member knows full well that if he had stayed with me he would have felt more comfortable now. If I had to leave political life tomorrow, I would sooner go out in the company of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat than stay for ever with the honorable member for Bourke.

And how can man die better,

Than facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his fathers

And the temples of his gods ?

If the Labour Party were a protectionist party the position might be serious, but they are. a socialistic party pure and simple. I find that on all matters affecting the farmers in the Parliament of New South Wales the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, the honorable member for Bland, the honorable member for Barrier, the honorable member for Canobolas, and the honorable member for Newcastle voted solidly against protection. Did they not abandon protection in order to gain a land tax of one penny in the pound as a first step in the direction of land nationalization ? I would ask any representative of Queensland what was the action of the Labour Party in New South Wales with regard to the sugar duties. Dominated as they were by miserable little coteries from the great cities, what did they care for the sugar-workers? They abandoned them in. order that they might place a land tax of one penny in the pound upon the farmers. They voted against the sugar duty, and against the duties on timber. The party is entirely without fiscal principle. It is like a ship without a rudder. The Labour Party voted solidly against the duty on timber, ' being utterly indifferent to the interests of the timber-getters or the workers in the saw-mills. They voted against the farmers every time.


Mr Groom - What did the Prime Minister care about them?


Mr EWING - He was an open antagonist all the time. But the Labour Party went upon a free-trade debauch. The great protectionists in the Labour Party entirely ignored the interests of those who were working upon the land. When the labour unions send their delegates among the workmen in my district, and tell them that they are in favour of giving preference to unionists, and at the same time intimate that they voted to give preference to foreign timber and sugar, they will have a very lively time. The electors in my constituency, who are as intelligent as any in the world, may be relied upon to show their resentment against those who are doing their best to deprive them of the means of earning their livelihood. Who defeated the timber duties when they were submitted in this House? The honorable member for Barrier.


Mr Spence - In the interests of the miners.


Mr EWING - The honorable member for Darling claims the farmers as a sacrifice in the interests of the miners.


Mr Spence - The farmers are not timber getters.


Mr EWING - Even so, the timber getter was sacrificed in the interests of the miner.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What about the honorable member for Kooyong, who is sitting alongside the honorable member?


Mr EWING - He has received absolution for anything he may have done. Eight members of the Labour Party voted against the proposed timber duties. The timber getters work as hard as any men in the world, and yet the representatives of labour, who profess to have such a keen regard for the interests of working men voted against giving them a reasonable amount of protection. I recognise to the full that politics makes us acquainted with very strange bed-fellows; but when honorable members vote to destroy industries in which my constituents are engaged, and ask me to believe that they are thus studying the best interests of labour, they put my credulity to too great a test, and I cannot ally myself with them.


Mr Groom - Where is the honorable member now?


Mr EWING - We have entered into a compact which has made our policy secure.


Mr Chanter - What is the compact?


Mr EWING - That the fiscal policy which was good enough for the honorable member and the whole Protectionist Party when the Deakin Government were in power, shall remain intact.


Mr Chanter - It is a case of " the lion and the lamb lying down together."


Mr EWING - We have all heard that-

There was a young lady of Riga,

Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.

They returned from the ride with the lady inside,

And a smile on the face of the tiger.

The honorable member is now the inside passenger. I would ask honorable members who destroyed the Protectionist Party? With all their defects and shortcomings and failures, the Protectionist Party formerly stood firm underthe leadership of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, the Minister of Trade and - Customs, . and the Treasurer. We stood as a solid party until we were destroyed by honorable members opposite. Upon the one side was the question of protection to native industries, which we all held so dear, and upon the other hand, there was the question whether the States should control their own railway servants. The Labour Party threw their weight in the scale against the maintenance of States rights, and destroyed our party. It did not matter to them that it was unconstitutional for us to interfere with the rights of the States. They butchered the Protectionist Party, and this was not the first time that they had shown themselves utterly regardless of the consequences to others, so long as they could achieve their own ends.


Mr Chanter - The honorable member is now sitting behind the Government which has taken up a Bill containing the provision to which he has expressed his objection.


Mr EWING - That is another story.


Mr Chanter - I always try to do right.


Mr EWING - Such a number of stupid people do that. When a rogue, or a scoundrel, is working with you, he will not kick, but the stupid man kicks all the time, and finally upsets the apple-cart. With regard to the question of sinking the fiscal issue, we heard a pathetic statement by the leader of the corner Protectionist Party. The honorable member for Hume made an impassioned appeal to honorable members upon the subject of sinking the fiscal issue. Any one who has any knowledge of electrobiology is aware that in one aspect spiritualism is sometimes said to rest upon the power of one person to project his intelligence into the crannies of another person's brain and find out what is there. I propose to give honorable members the result of an examination of ' the brown tissues of the brain of the honorable member for Hume. The honorable member has stated thatthose who have sunk the fiscal issue are criminals and traitors. Now this is what I gather from a scrutiny of the brown tissues of the honorable member's brain. He says, in effect - " I am out of office, and it now occurs to me with special force that the products of prison labour in other parts of the world are swelling our imports to the detriment of our local producers." It is cheering to be able to say something pleasant with regard to the honorable member for Hume. I have said many things which are absolutely true of the honorable member, and I wish now to say something, pleasant of him. He has always been consistent in sinking the fiscal issue. That should be counted to him for righteousness. He has always sunk the fiscal question when in office, but has never sunk it when out of office.


Mr Chanter - That is not fair ; he was a member of the only Government which submitted a protective Tariff in New South Wales.


Mr EWING - In order to meet the sensitive feelings of the honorable member, I will say that, with one exception, he has always sunk the fiscal question when in office, but never when out of office. In 1899 Federation was so close to an accomplished fact that a considerable number of protectionists thought it unwise to raise the fiscal issue at all. At that time the leader of the Opposition was the member for Hastings-Macleay, Sir Edmund, then Mr., Barton. He had pledged himself to sink the fiscal issue in order to secure the consummation of Federation. The honorable member for Hume, who was then in Opposition, was indignant. He declared that we were traitors to sink the fiscal issue, and that we ought to be lynched as renegades to the protectionist cause. I have no desire to discuss caucus secrets, but I may mention that the honorable member for Hume was then elected leader of the Opposition, and was able to displace the Government. Upon the 25th November, speaking in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Mr. Henry Clarke, the member for Bega, made a statement concerning the honorable member, who now charges us with a special crime in haying sunk the fiscal policy. Mr. Clarke said -

I consider the honorable member for Hume and his colleagues did not act fairly in the course which they took to get into power. Upon the meeting of Parliament, after the last prorogation, two meetings of the late Opposition were held. At the first of these, the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay, who was then leader of the Opposition, and had' convened the meeting, explained that he was afraid that he could not continue to hold that position, as he had made a promise not to interfere with the fiscal question during the existence of the present Parliament. A great many of the members of the Opposition, including myself, and the honorable member for Queanbeyan, were not satisfied that that promise should have been made. It was stated that the probabilities were that we should not have a Federal Tariff for two or three years to come, in which time, unless there were an interference with the fiscal question here, this Colony would be flooded with goods which would come in duty free, and which we should be prevented from exporting to the other Colonies,because of their prohibitory Tariffs. The honorable member for Hume, and other members, stated, however, that they were not bound by any such promise, and that the only promise they had made was not to raise the fiscal question until the Federation Bill had been dealt with.

Mr. See.It is not a very usual thing to, disclose what takes place at these meetings.

Mr. H.CLARKE. I do not care whether it is or is not a usual thing. I shall do it, because of the treachery and intrigue that has been displayed.

Those are the very words which the honorable member himself now uses. The extract continues -

At the next meeting of the Opposition, upon the following day, the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay resigned his leadership.

An Honorable Member. - Why did he do that ?

Mr. H.CLARKE. Simply because he could not break the promise which he had made. He acted a manly part, and no one can find fault with him for what he did. I was in the chair during the second meeting, and the honorable member for Hume was, I believe, unanimously elected leader in succession to the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay, honorable members being under the impression, because of what he had stated on the previous day, that he was not similarly bound. But, on the same evening, when a question was put to him by a member of the Government, he stated that he was prepared to sink the fiscal question, and he thus put himself in the position in which the honorable and learned member for Hastings-Macleay stood when he thought it necessary to resign. I have been a strong supporter of the Protectionist Party since I entered the House, nearly thirty years ago, and I was never a free-trader, though', only a few years ago, many of those who are now strong protectionists were free-traders. I submit that the Premier and other members of the Government have sold the Protectionist Party.

A reply to that statement has never been forthcoming. The honorable member for Hume accepted the leadership of the Protectionist Party, under a promise to raise protection, but the moment he obtained office he sank the fiscal issue. It would require the Rontgen rays to discover his protectionist principles when the honorable member holds Ministerial office. I would remind him that when Premier of New South Wales he took Mr. B. R. Wise and Mr. Lionel Fegan - two free-traders - into the Government with him. Now, however, he is astounded that a free-trader and protectionist should sit together. He selected the two free-traders whom I have mentioned as a guarantee that the fiscal issue would be sunk.


Sir John Forrest - Where is the honorable member?


Mr EWING - He is saving a good deal of injury to his feelings by being absent from the Chamber. There are two planks in my policy. First, I believe that the main elements in our national life should be close loyalty to the mother country and the encouragement of Australian industry. My next consideration is to get as far away from the pernicious influence of men like the honorable member for Hume as I possibly can. Of course, I am referring to his political career. In looking through the Vice-Regal speech, dealing with the business which was to be submitted to the New South Wales Parliament by the Government of which the honorable member was the head, shortlyafter he had been elected leader of the Protectionist . Party, one would require a microscope to discover any reference to protection. I find that it contains allusions to the soldiers of the Queen, and to what Lord Roberts said of our colonial troops.

There are three paragraphs devoted to the bubonic plague, and others to the Rocks resumptions, but not a word to protection. The honorable member at the time was sitting, cheek by jowl, with free-traders, and yet he now professes astonishment that a protectionist could be associated with a freetrader under any circumstances whatever. The honorable member is truly consistent. I hold in my hand the speech delivered by the Governor-General at the opening of this Parliament on the 2nd March of the present year. The honorable member was in office then. Is there in that Vice-Regal utterance any reference to the fiscal policy? Not a word. Every member of the Deakin Government had agreed to sink that issue. Nobody would have dreamt of dealing with it with only twenty-five supporters behind them. Every honorable member upon our side of the House was pledged to sink the fiscal policy and to sanction preferential trade. Again, the Tariff was good enough for the honorable member whilst in office.- But the moment he is not a member of the Government he repeats his old statement, " I am out of office, and cheap labour in other parts of the world is destroying the industries of this country." I will not say anything of the caucus or corroboree which the protectionists held in endeavouring- to arrive at an arrangement for a coalition.


Sir John Forrest - It was a meeting of the party.


Mr EWING - The difference between our caucuses and those of honorable members opposite is that whereas they are bound by the decisions arrived at we merely meet for discussion. At that meeting it was obvious what would happen. It was perfectly apparent . that about six honorable members would join the Socialists, whilst the others would stand together as the Protectionist Party. I knew that the honorable member for Hume would never cross to this side of the House. When men, by a long chapter of accidents and errors, have endeared themselves to the public, and become high politicians, they usually develop fat. One result of a long public career is that a man grows very stout. It was obvious when the present Prime Minister laid down in the political trough that there would be no room for the honorable member for Hume. I realized that the honorable member for Hume and the honorable and learned member for Indi would not support the Government. There were so many able lawyers round the Prime

Minister, and he objected to crowding. Some honorable members were so startled by the appearance of the socialistic banner over the political horizon that they were bound, to join the Labour Party. There is no need, therefore, to make any special reference to what happened in the caucus. In my judgment, there were two occasions upon which the honorable member for Hume would have done well to sink the fiscal question. He has never sunk that issue when it would have been good for protection, but he has always sunk it when it was good for himself.


Mr Watkins - Did the Prime Minister sink it when he voted for the duty upon sugar ?


Mr EWING - The honorable member himself voted in the same way.


Mr Watkins - I was not a professed free-trader.


Mr EWING - No; the honorable membet was a pledged labour representative. He voted, it is true,, in the Parliament of New South Wales, to destroy industries.


Mr Watson - That statement is as inaccurate as the honorable member usually is.


Mr EWING - I have the records, which cannot be incorrect. I wish to cite one or two occasions upon which it would have been wise to sink the fiscal issue, but upon which the honorable member for Hume refused to do so. When we secured the Dibbs Tariff in New South Wales - a Tariff which was not a very satisfactory one, but which was the best we could get, because the protectionists of that State were always hopelessly defeated when associated with the honorable member for Hume-


Mr Watson - Did not the honorable member sink the Dibbs Party for a railway upon one occasion ?


Mr EWING - Not at all.


Mr Watson - The honorable member was one of the four northern members.


Mr EWING - With regard to that railway


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


Mr EWING - I do not think it has, Mr. Speaker, but you will agree .with me, that I was not the first to import it into the debate. It was incontinently dragged in by the leader of the Opposition, and I need only say, with respect to it, that I am very proud of it, and New South Wales is, too.


Mr Watson - New South Wales has had to bear the brunt of it.


Mr EWING - I knew a great deal more of the subject than did the people who opposed the railway. To-day every one is in favour of it, but for a long time I and my colleagues advocated it in politics almost alone.


Mr Watson - New South Wales is losing £30,000 a year on it, I understand.


Mr EWING - What is that to New South Wales? Why does the honorable member not say £1,000,000? In other words, I do not intend to further discuss the question. Having done a great deal of work in connexion with other phases of political life, Sir Henry Parkes, as honorable members are aware, was anxious to finish his public career by bringing into existence an Australian Union. He came to us as protectionists, when we had the Dibbs' Tariff in New South Wales, and offered to maintain that Tariff if we would help him with Federation. When that offer was made I knew perfectly well what would happen at the next election, and said so, as did other protectionists, and we urged the honorable member for Hume in every way we could to accept the offer, but he said, as usual, " I am out of office. Foreign labour is flooding us with cheap goods," and all the rest of it. If the honorable gentleman then had sunk the fiscal issue New South Wales would have come into the union without such a bigoted feeling in favour of free-trade. She would have been to some extent accustomed to protection, and would not have had to make such a change as has been necessary, and New South Wales would also have had the advantage of the Dibbs' duties till union was accomplished. Again we could see what Federation would do. We were Australian protectionists, and we reached out our hands to men like the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. We could see that they were our allies. The honorable member for Hume had destroyed us in New South Wales, but we knew that we had friends over the border in Victoria1, and we opened our arms wide to them, and reached out to them with both hands. Honorable members are aware that we could not get more than four men to represent protection in New South Wales in the Federal Parliament, and if we had had to depend upon feeling in New South Wales alone, protection was hopeless. What did we do? We turned to our brother protectionists in the other States, and held out our hands to them. But what did the honorable member for Hume do ? The honorable gentleman opposed the movement in every way. He opposed it bitterly, and he spoke of the people of Victoria in a way which I do not care to repeat. If according to the honorable gentleman, protection was the only thing necessary, and the only thing which made his blood tingle and his hair to stand on end, why did he not help us to union? The honorable gentleman broke up the Protectionist Party in New South Wales, and he has smothered the Protectionist Alliance in his blind bolt for Socialism. When he could have sunk the fiscal issue, and maintained the Dibbs' Tariff in New South Wales, he refused to do it. If we had followed the honorable gentleman's example, every industry in New South Wales would to-day be in the full blaze of the ruin caused by free-trade, and the sugar industry and the timber industry would have crumbled into dust. This is the honorable gentleman's record, and I therefore refuse to follow him. It is not pleasant to have to say these things, even in the kindly and euphonious language in which I have expressed them. I have referred to the honorable gentleman absolutely in a political sense, and if he had been present I should have been tempted to be a little more severe. It is no pleasure to me to have to say these things, but when, as a protectionist of New South Wales, I am called upon to decide between the honorable member for Hume and a tried leader like the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, what sort of a man should I be if I were to abandon the leader I was elected to support, in order to follow the honorable member for Hume. The honorable gentleman has said that he does not trust the present Prime Minister. As a protectionist I do trust the right honorable member's word. I have known him for many years. No man has ever opposed him more bitterly than I have done on the fiscal question, and the time may come when it will be necessary to fight the right honorable gentleman again on that question. But I must say that I have never known the! present Prime Minister to break his plighted political troth. Other honorable members could say these things perhaps better than I can, but it is just as well that I should say them. On the question, for instance, in connexion with which the right honorable' gentleman has been referred to as a " Yes-No " politician, the course h pursued was as magnanimous, as honorable, as straightforward, and as discreet as any statesman ever pursued.


Mr Wilks - The honorable and learned member for Indi knows that, too.


Mr EWING - The honorable and learned member for Indi knows also that in political life a man generally states but his own side of a case. When men have studied questions, and have come to the conclusion that free-trade or protection, or prohibition, or anything else, is right, they use arguments calculated to sustain the position they take up. But what did the present Prime Minister do? He told the people frankly that there were two sides to this case, as to every case. The present Prime Minister took the people of New South Wales into his confidence, and he said - " This is for it, and that is against it." He stated both sides honestly, and the right honorable gentleman 1 never stood higher in my estimation than when he had the courage to state the case of an antagonist in a fight in which he was himself engaged. If every man in political life plainly stated both sides of a question, the result might be disastrous in some respects, but it would lead to a better condition of affairs in the political life of the country. Although honorable members may talk derisively of "yes-no," protectionists and free-traders alike believe in their hearts that the right honorable gentleman did what was right in that matter. I desire to say a word or two to the leader of the Opposition on the subject of Socialism. The honorable gentleman claims to be a Socialist.


Mr Watson - The honorable gentleman has always believed in Socialism for the North Coast.


Mr EWING - I shall tell the honorable member what I believe in before I sit down. He will permit me to say that we have not the slightest evidence of Socialism, in Australia. When I hear some of these half-articulate noises I wonder how far evolution has got. Disraeli at one time said that he did not know whether we were fallen angels or advanced apes. I am not quite clear on the point myself. The leader of the Opposition is a Socialist. For a downright, double-barrelled, copperbottomed, bevelled-edged egotist, give me a Socialist.


Mr Conroy - Hear, hear. They can always put the world right.


Mr EWING - Yes, and put themselves wrong. The honorable member for Bland is an extremely good man for the purpose of lulling people to rest, and if the members of his party have any sense they will keep the honorable member as leader. They do not want a figure-head like one of the Maffia society, with a charge of dynamite and a stiletto, and I repeat that ' the honorable members of his party will do well to keep him where he is. According to the honorable gentleman, factory laws, ' development of the country, and old-age pensions, are all forms of Socialism. I may remind the honorable gentleman that every one of these things has been won in countries which have never heard of a Labour Party.


Mr Watson - That is no argument to prove that they are not socialistic.


Mr EWING - Honorable members opposite confuse democracy with labour. We stand for democracy, and honorable members opposite stand for Socialism and slavery. Who were the men who centuries ago made a stand at Runnymede? There was no Labour Party there.


Mr Watson - What does " Peritonitis " say about it ?


Mr EWING - This party of mushroom growth, which has come into existence only during the last few years, claims to have done everything. What is democracy but the control and rule of the people by the people - making as broad as we can the basis of the social pyramid? What is it but that every man should to the utmost of his ability and power improve the conditions of life. This has been the work of men who have never identified themselves with the Labour Party, and who have never signed a pledge. But no man can get the support of honorable members opposite unless he signs their pledge. They are prepared to destroy even their allies. Alliance with them is like an alliance with an American Indian. He may fight with you, but pretty soon after the battle he will scalp you if he gets the chance. Socialism means taking from those who have and giving to those who have not. If it means anything at all it means that. It means, for example, taking the land from the farmer. The honorable members for Barrier and Yarra admit that it means taking the land from the farmer by means of a land tax - not by paying for it, as other honorable members have suggested, but by bursting up private estates by heavy taxation - by taxing the farmer's land until it becomes of no value to him, and the State takes it.


Mr Frazer - The proposal is to take the land from the squatter in order to give it to the farmer.


Mr Watson - The honorable member for New England and the honorable mem ber for Lang propose to do what the honorable member suggests.


Mr EWING - I do not care who else proposes to do it - it is what is proposed by the Socialists.


Mr Watson - It is proposed by the Single Tax League.


Mr EWING - That is the whole basis of the socialistic creed.


Mr Spence - What are the Government to do with the land when they get it?


Mr EWING - The honorable member for Darling who spoke for five - it seemed fifteen - hours might allow me to say a word or two. The Socialist has discovered that it is cheaper to steal cattle and sheep than to breed them. They believe in dividing up everything, and under their system we might have a man sent up to the country from Sydney to divide a team 'of bullocks, and to take the pin bullocks, the polers, and the, leaders and leave the rest to the owner. Do honorable members opposite mean to tell me that Social/ism means the burdening of the State with hundreds and thousands of millions of debt in order to buy what the State can take? Of course it does not. It reminds one of Janus. The Temple of Janus, the gates of which were closed in time of peace, but remained open in time of war, contained an idol possessing a head facing two ways. The Labour Party has such a' head. One of its faces bears the features of the astute and extremely friendly member for Bland. His views are merely democratic and humane. But the other face has the features of the anarchist and Socialist, who would divide up and share the possessions of other people.


Mr Watson - :The honorable member knows that that is not correct. He knows more about economics and Socialism than his present speech discloses.


Mr EWING - If the honorable member does not believe in these views, why does he contribute towards (the preaching of them ?


Mr Watson - Mr. Tom Mann was never guilty of the idiocy of preaching such views as the honorable member speaks of.


Mr EWING - I will give proofs of my statement by quoting from Mr. Mann's speeches next time I rise. If I had a lecturer in my employ, he would speak as I told him to do, whether I sent him to Klondyke or anywhere else. Mr. Mann, indeed, has said that he would not work for the party unless it was a socialistic party, that he would not take a penny from any other party. But what is a Socialist? He has been well described in the following lines : -

What is a Socialist? One who is yearning

For the equal division of unequal earning ;

Idler or bungler, or worse, he is willing

To fork out his penny and pocket your shilling.


Mr Watson - Those lines are pretty old; but the honorable member knows that they do not truly represent the views of the members of our party.


Mr EWING - The lines are nearly as old as Socialism, and so, too, is human nature. If you take from the industrious and give to the careless, inconsiderate, and lazy ; if you give to the man who will not work the results of the labour of the man who does work; if we tell our boys who are growing up that there are no rewards for intelligence in this country, that if they wish to sell the work of their brains they must take it to another country, because here intelligence will mean nothing, but all must be on the dead level of mediocrity, the best of our population will leave Australia. I understand that the honorable member for Melbourne is to follow me, and no doubt he will have a great deal to say about the sin, the sorrow, the misery, and the disease to which the human family is subject. But do not honorable members know that the lash of circumstances is more cruel than the lash of any master, that every man contains within himself the germ of death, and is gradually though surely decaying? We all know that poverty, misery, and wretchedness walk our streets, and that the end of all is marked by the white tombstones of our cemeteries. But shall we remedy that state of things by refusing to the industrious the rewards of their labour, or to those who possess brains the prizes of intelligence? Honorable members have asked upon what issue will the people be appealed to. The issue will be Socialism versus freedom. Honorable members opposite say that no man in Australia who does not contribute to the socialistic funds should get work.


Mr Watson - That is as nearly correct as it is usual for the honorable member to be.


Mr EWING - The honorable and learned member for Indi will see my meaning, without any explanation. We, on this side, hold that every man should participate in the wealth of the country in proportion to his merits, his industry, and his character. Those are the two platforms between which the people of Australia will have to decide.

Honorable members of the Labour Party have declared themselves to be Socialists. They claim that no man who is not a member of a union is entitled to get work. Is that correct ?


Mr Frazer - No.


Mr EWING - Then, I will say that they claim that no man who is not a unionist is entitled to get work unless there is more work than the unionists can do. They would give to the free labourer the scraps and crumbs from the table. Now, no man can belong to a union unless he contributes towards its funds ; and, lastly, the funds of the unionists go to provide the sinews of war to help the Socialistic Party to win seats in Parliament. Those facts prove the conclusion I have just stated. We, on this side, do not wish to force working men to contribute out of their wages to socialistic movements, unless they wish to do so. We are on the side of freedom. I heard with surprise the honorable member for Bland speak about the Socialism which at present exists in Australia, and I say that there is not the slightest evidence of any desire for Socialism here.


Mr Watson - There are none so blind as those who will not see.


Mr EWING - The management of the railways by the States has been referred to as an instance of Socialism. But that is not Socialism at all. The railways have been constructed for the development of the lands of the States, and for the use of their people ; but they have been constructed on a financial basis which pays regard to the amount likely to be derived from freights and fares, and to the possibility of profitable working. That is State commercialism, not State Socialism. Those who use the railways pay for the services which they employ, whereas if the railways were socialistically managed, those who did not use them would have to pay for them. Then honorable members say, " Look at the Post Office; is not that a socialistic concern?" I say again, " No ; it is another example of State commercialism." Your socialistic writers would laugh to scorn the statement that the Post Office is an example of Socialism. The Post Office is a paying concern, and those who use it pay for the carriage of their letters. If those who did not use it paid for the carriage of the letters of those who did, it would be Socialism. Then honorable members have referred to the Socialism of the' right honorable member for Swan, in giving a water supply to the people of Coolgardie, who, before his great intellect and noble courage appeared on the scene, had to be1 content with a dry blow, and a scrub down with a corn-cob or a currycomb. Now they are able to bathe themselves, and they show their gratitude by voting against the man whose bravery, courage, and intelligence, have given them the great boon which they enjoy. But those waterworks are not a socialistic concern ; they are only another example of State commercialism. They- would be socialistic if the water was paid for, not by those who use it, but by persons in Tasmania or elsewhere who do not use it. Similarly the acquirement by the Government of pastoral property, with a view to settling agriculturists upon it, is another instance of State commercialism, because those who use the land pay for it. The man who sends cream to a co-operative factory, and is paid in money for the butter manufactured from that cream, is taking part, not in a socialistic, but in a commercial concern.


Mr Frazer - Who gets the bonuses?


Mr EWING - I shall not refer to that matter; but the evidence which we have read in regard to i£ shows what a. mess the Government makes of these things. If the man who spends his time expectorating on the footpaths in- Sydney or Melbourne came in for a share of the money won by the dairyman elsewhere, it would be Socialism; but, as it is, the arrangement is purely a commercial one. Now let me say a word or two with regard to the marvellous dreams of the Socialists. They tell their audiences that they will all live in palaces, and that there will be no more trouble with regard to money. There will be an abundance of money, with horses and carriages,, and everything else you like. But do not honorable members opposite know that the total income of Australia is about £212,000,000, an amount which gives an average of about £46 per head to every man, woman, and child in the community? Honorable members opposite, who are drawing £400 a year, and who are not keeping a wife and seven children each, are robbing some one else, according to their own principles. The money is not available. What is the use of nationalizing land, and the means of production, unless you also nationalize tha brains of the community ? Australia had fine resources, great, opportunities^ magnificent potentialities, in the time of the blacks. But what developed the country ? Not only the labour, but; the brains of the white man. You must nationalize the brains of the community ' if you nationalize everything else1.

Once you refuse to the brains and the industry of a country their full reward, that' country becomes as poor as Lazarus. Take the flower of a country's intelligence out of it, and there will be nothing to divide. One word in regard to .the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, and the other protectionists who are sitting with him. I wish to reiterate that there is no protectionist flag flying oh the Opposition benches. The honorable and learned member for Indi, the honorable member for Hume, and others claimed the right to cross the drawbridge with their flag flying, and their band playing. But the Labour Party said, "Oh, no." Then the honorable members tried to build bridges in order to get over. But the Labour Party still said "No." Then they, with their small following, tried to get through the scullery. But still the Labour Party said "No." Was there a rat hole left through which they could get ? Not one. The honorable members I have alluded to prayed on their knees, looking up fervently into the eyes of the Labour Party, to be allowed to fly a little flag of their own. They said, " You are here under the black banner and the skull and cross-bones of Socialism, and that does not suit us ; let us put up a little flag of protection just as an excuse." But the Labour Party persistently said " No. To do that we should have to turn out some of our best men, and to abandon our principles." To-day the honorable members to whom I have referred stand there only under the flag of Socialism ; no flag of protection is flying. They cannot excuse themselves to their constituents on that score. There are only two parties in our politics to-day - the individualists and the Socialists, the freemen and bondsmen. When I have to sign a caucus pledge, when, after being elected by my constituents, I have to come to Melbourne and find a number of men meeting together in a room, who will tell me, whatever my views or the wishes of my constituents are, that I must abandon them, and vote as the caucus directs - when that time comes, my political career will be closed.


Mr Poynton - The honorable member knows that that is not correct.


Mr EWING - The' honorable member tells me that that is not correct. But what is the platform of the Labour Party?

I hereby pledge myself not to oppose the candidate -

How frightened they are of being opposed.! As if. a man's defeat or success meant anything at all. Individually it may be an important thing to him, but what is it as compared with the importance of the affairs of the country ? They are frightened at the idea of being opposed, and are crawling along with the condition that there shall be no opposition. " Let them all come," so far as I am concerned.


Mr Watson - The honorable member knows all about crawling.


Mr EWING - I do not allude to the honorable member for Bland, of course. When we fight a political issue out in the full breath of heaven, and before the face of our constituents, why should we pledge ourselves in this fashion -

I hereby 'pledge myself not to oppose the candidate selected by the recognised political organizations, and, if elected, to do my utmost to carry out the principles embodied in the Federal labour platform, and on all questions affecting the platform to vote as a majority of the parliamentary party may decide.

I came to Parliament as a representative - a free man. My constituents empowered me to come, and they trusted me. I accept the responsibility for every vote which I give, and when I go back to them, even if I have made a mistake, they always forgive me, and vote for me again, because they knowthat I am always first for them and their interests. I have, already said that ' there is a good deal of trouble in the world, but totally dissent from those who say that there is no chance in this country for the poor man. Let honorable members look around this House, and say whether there is not room in Australia for the poor man. We are poor men's sons, every one of us. The Prime Minister came from ' the manse. Honorable members opposite came from laudable occupations. Where they are going to goodness knows ! Honorable members were all brought up in poor men's houses, and it is through their own habits of thrift, their ability, their self-reliance, their belief in themselves, and their knowledge that they had to work if they were to improve their' lot, that they have reached their present position. This is absolutely a poor man's Parliament. I do not think there is a man in this House who is not a poor man's son.


Mr Poynton - Except the honorable member.


Mr EWING - Except me? My home in the early days, though a pure and a good home, was as poor as that_ of any man in this House, and my position here, and all that I have got, are due to the intelligence of my constituents, and to my own industry. I do not like to say that honorable members opposite are here because of the imbecility of their constituents, because that would not be fair, and. I do not think it. But is there any country in the world - is it possible elsewhere to find such a state of things - where a poor man with merit has a better chance than in Australia? Our leading men in trade, in commerce, in law, in a>rts, in the church, are almost without exception poor men's sons. The honorable member for Kooyong is a poor man's son. They tell us that there is no chance for a poor man in Australia, but Sir Henry Parkes, one of the greatest of Australian statesmen, a man who would have been considered .great 'in any Parliament in the world, came from an English agricultural labourer's cottage, and rose to power from a small toy shop in Hunter-street, Sydney. My opinion of Australians is that they respect merit. If a man has raised himself by his own natural ability, by his prestige, and by his wisdom, to a high position, Australia is proud of him, and the humbler his origin the more gratified we are. A rich man, in the political life of this country, has, indeed, a heavy load to carry. The feeling in Australia is in favour of ability and industry every time. Under Socialism our great artists, great reformers, great inventors, great sculptors, politicians, and industrious men in every sphere of life are to be placed in shackles, and made content with £46 a year and a Justice of the Peaceship. What would every honorable member opposite do if he had a son with ability under the conditions of Socialism which they themselves desire to establish? He would send him out of a country which handcuffed intelligence and legironed ability. Socialism means nothing less than that; and the fight in the coming election will be between men who believe that we should not handcuff ability and destroy talent, and those who believe that the industrious man has no chance in this country, that we should divide up the land of the farmer, distribute the cattle and the sheep, and that every one should be equal - and fit for a lunatic asylum ! We are asked' why the free-traders and the protectionists have come together to-day. Why? .Because they are free men; because they believe that to put shackles upon intelligence would be disastrous to the country and inimical to our civilization, and would reduce our Commonwealth to a great Sahara of imbecility and sand- We intend to stand together to resist a policy which would bring calamity to our homes and ruin to our civilization.







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