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Wednesday, 28 September 1904

Sir GEORGE TURNER - I know this, that had it not been for the unbounded faith that I had in the honorable member, I probably would never have landed this Colony in the loss of £62,000, and I would not have allowed the unfortunate shareholders in the company to lose £31,000 of their money. We all know what gratitude is.

My statement with regard to the Maffra Sugar Works will stand, and I hope that an inquiry will be held, so that we may ascertain beyond any doubt who brought hundreds of workers to grief. The Minister of Trade and Customs twitted the honorable member for Darling upon the references he made to the care of children by the State, and suggested that he was an advocate for taking away children from parental control. I do not think that the Minister quite understood what he was talking about. He could never have read the splendid record of South Australia in regard to the care of child life, or he would not have been so flippant in his comments. The honorable member for Darling is a wide reader and a careful collater of facts, and is, perhaps, as well posted upon most .subjects as is any honorable member in this Chamber. Whenever he makes a statement with regard to the care of child life, or the welfare of men or women, I pay the very greatest respect to it. Perhaps I may be permitted to read from a return, showing what has been done in South Australia, with a view to showing that we can have very Tittle hope of improving the conditions in connexion with the care of children whilst the present Ministry occupies the Treasury benches. The death rate amongst infants in South Australia, under the best system of child management in the world, is 101 per cent., whereas in West Garton, near Manchester, of every . 1,000 children born, 757 die before they reach the age of twelve months. I was delighted when I had an opportunity to inspect the admirable institution which they have in South Australia, in which the children are artificially fed and most carefully looked after, and I only wish that we had similar establishments in all the States.

Mr Webster - And that work is carried on by the State.

Mr MALONEY - Yes, it is a form of Socialism. I am sure that under a proper system of State care for children, the death rate would be reduced to an enormous extent. It is not to be supposed for one moment that we shall be able to secure improved social conditions whilst the present Government remain in office. I should prefer to see a purely free-trade Government upon the Treasury benches. I have had sent to me the report of the State Children's Department in South Australia for the halfyear ended June 30th, 1904. It contains the following statements : -

How to deal with the multitude of men who are responsible for the existence of hundreds of children of unmarried women in each year is another question which must also be faced.

When I endeavoured to move in this direction in the State Parliament of Victoria, where were those honorable members opposite who profess that the good of humanity is their chief concern ? They were certainly not fighting for me, but the majority of them were voting against me most of the time. The report continues -

Is it that men and women cannot, because of poverty, marry, or is it because they will not undertake the responsibilities of wedded life, and think to evade them? Is it possible to so alter the law as to compel a man proved to be the father of a child, such as is now called illegitimate, to own the child exactly as if born in wedlock, and to be responsible in a precisely similar way ?

Is there one man in this House who would not give to these children opportunities equal to those enjoyed by children born in wedlock? A child is in no way responsible for the circumstances of its birth, and no penalty should be inflicted where the individual has been guilty of no wrong. The report goes on to say -

The class " neglected " child, however, includes those who, while children of married persons are bereft of one, sometimes both, parents by desertion. Usually, however, it is the father. To deal with this matter appears to need Federal legislation, enabling an order made in one part of the Commonwealth to be collected by a Government officer in another part, and the proceeds remitted.

How could we hope to apply such a remedy whilst the present twin-headed Government remains in power? The Minister of Trade and Customs has been condemned by one of his colleagues for his lack of regard for the interests of the community generally, and, therefore, we could not expect him to show any special sympathy with a movement such as that which has been attended with successful results in South Australia. Yet he comes from a country - Scotland - which, in its regard for women and children, stands head and shoulders above the other parts of the Kingdom. The Weekly Scotsman of February 20th, 1904, referring to the question of large families-

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honorable member think that that has anything to do with the subject before us?

Mr MALONEY - Yes, because it will be impossible to deal with these important social matters, whilst the present Ministry remain in office. Upon the question whether children are a blessing, a coachman in Edinburgh states his case as follows : -

I wonder how many have found children to be a curse instead of a blessing. I don't mean those children who have grown up and turned out badly. I am a coachman, but, unfortunately, I am blessed with a family of four. In the many places I have applied for, my family has been the only drawback. Ministers very often reject any applicant because he has a family. If a minister wants a man he must be one without a family, so that his wife may help in the manse, on the many occasions when thev are without a servant ; at the same time his family is increasing to such an extent that we have to help find the funds to build additional bedrooms at the manse. How can any reader see in what way we are to go through the training of the stables with the ultimate hope of having our children a blessing? Can our Parliament do nothing in such a case? Any man who has a family ought to be given all the privileges of a free-born British subject.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does he say that " unfortunately " he is " blessed " ?

Mr MALONEY - Yes. ' The honorable member knows that when the worker's family increases it frequently happens that more than one child is compelled to sleep in a single room. That is one of the infamies of our present social system, and it is an evil which is well worthy of removal. As bearing upon this point, I should like to quote from the following letter which I have received : -

Bishops Perry, Moorhouse, and Goe were all childless, and it is stated that Bishop's Court was found large enough for them. Bishop Clarke has a family, and additional bedrooms had to be built for his family, by money subscribed. If the working man's family increases no public subscription is made to enlarge his home. It seems utterly unreasonable to wish that working men should have large families. It is very well for the Bishop to quote from the ancient Jewish Psalms that "children are a heritage of the Lord." The working man, earning from 36s. to 60s. a week, is not fool enough to wish for more children than he can feed and clothe, or subject his wife in this sub-tropical climate to excessive child-bearing or nursing.

Never in my life has my brain originated a thought, my mouth uttered a sentence, or my hand written a single word for the purpose of holding any religion up to scorn. Frequently, however, I have had occasion to strongly criticise the members of various churches, and I say that the statements made by Bishop Clarke must have been made without thought. Speaking of a White Australia, he is reported in the Age of 27th September to Have said -

All men of colour are brothers of ours. Can no place be found for them in the work of this vast Commonwealth? The British flag protects and welcomes many races, giving them rights and exacting duties. Are we alone to exclude them from districts and employments where they are more fitted by constitution and nature to live than are ourselves? History shows that a Nemesis overtakes nations which do unrighteously- There are hundreds of square miles in Australia where the climate is best fitted for the coloured man, and where he can develop his usefulness under the control of the intelligence of our own race.

What is the position in India to-day ? The missionaries there will not employ Christians, because they allege that they are thieves. One schoolmate of mine from the Scotch College has publicly preached against the infamy of these missionaries of Christ refusing to employ Christians. Bishop Clarke would be better employed in looking after the child-life to be found in the slums of this city than in writing about a policy upon which this House by a large majority has definitely decided. I notice that the Prime Minister is absent to-night. I desire to thank him for many kindly hints and words. No one questions his honesty of purpose and definiteness of decision upon the question of free-trade. I know that he would rather vote for a straight-out protectionist than for a weathercock free-trader, who would become a protectionist to-morrow if he could win a seat in Parliament by so doing. I embrace this opportunity to offer him my meed of thanks. At the same time I wish that the gentleman who desires to pose as the leader of the Protectionist Party - I refer to the honorable member for Gippsland - had as good a record 'as has his leader. I wish that he had a record equal to that of the honorable member for Hume. So that the honorable gentleman may not entertain the impression that I am speaking without data, I intend to quote some of the measures which his leader placed upon the statutebook in New South Wales. These include the land tax of 1895, which falls upon unimproved values at the rate of a penny in the pound, with an exemption of ,£240. I wish that the honorable member for Richmond would take a few lessons in land taxation' from the honorable member for Lang. But what can be said of the land tax which was proposed in Victoria by the honorable member for Gippsland? It is not to 'be mentioned in the same breath. Then the Prime Minister was successful in passing the Income Tas Act of 1896, which imposed a tax of sixpence in the pound, with an exemption of ^200. He is also responsible for the Act which conferred the suffrage upon the police, whereas in Victoria the Ministry which succeeded that of which the honorable member for Gippsland was the head, have robbed the public servants of the franchise, and have placed them in a position of less honour than that which is occupied by a naturalized Chinaman or a convicted criminal. When the criminal is released from gaol he is at liberty to vote for the return 'of members to the Commonwealth and the States Parliaments, but under the Act which was passed at the instance of the Irvine Government the civil servant in this State is denied the privilege of voting upon the same terms as other citizens. The Prime Minister also placedupon the statute-book the Workshops and Factories Act. I admit that the honorable member for Gippsland by one stroke of statesmanship for which I have always commended him was responsible for the passage of an amending Factories Act, and I acknowledge that he brought twenty-two trades under, its operation within three months. For that action, I thank him. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that he had the loyal support of the Labour Party. No Minister ever required to be told how the labour representatives in the Victorian Parliament would vote. The planks of their platform were as plain as are the ten commandments, and I know that the right honorable member for Balaclava will indorse my statement. The Prime Minister also enacted the Coal Mines Regulation Act, the Selectors' Relief Act, the Re-appraisement of Special Areas Act, the Perpetual Leasing Act, the Navigation Act, and the Elections Act Amendment Act, which allowed any elector, who changed his residence, to retain his vote in his old division, until he became eligible to exercise it in the division to which he had removed by reason of a residence of one month. Further, under the leadership of the right honorable gentleman, it was agreed that the exclusion of inferior races from New South Wales should be effected by means of the educational test. That is a big record, compared with that of the Minister of Trade and Customs; but it would not have been so large had the Prime Min- ister not commanded the loyal support of the Labour Party. The late Sir Joseph Abbott, who occupied the distinguished office of Speaker in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, in alluding to the party of which I am proud to be a unit, said -

The members of the Labour Party have been the most attentive to their duties, the most amenable to the rules of debate, and, as a body, the best behaved in New South Wales.

That is a record which is well worth quoting. No growing party can be attacked unjustly without adding to its strength, and the more virulent the attack, the more vituperative the sentiments which are expressed, the more slanderous the statements which are made, the better will it be for that party. The Labour Party to-day is strong in every State and is fighting well. In Queensland and also in South Australia it is joined in a splendid alliance. Let us look at the record of events since the 30th March last. During my election campaign, the three planks of my platform speeches were the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, Protection, and a White Australia. The candidates were a gentleman who was converted to protection a few years ago, and myself. That election was keenly contested, and the result was to give two votes to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. ' In the memorable division which took place in this chamber upon the White Australia policy, only four honorable members had the temerity to vote against it, and the electors have since wiped out one-half of them. In the present House, the only opponents of that policy are the member for Oxley and the honorable member for Kooyong. I give my meed of praise to them for their courage in dividing the House upon the question. Since the 30th March, in Western Australia, five labour members have been returned unopposed. In the last State election which I fought I was the only member of the Opposition who was returned unopposed.

Then my constituency was wiped out, and under the Government which succeeded the McLean Ministry the strength of the Labour Party increased from n per cent, to 29 per cent, of the House. To-day, the Labour Party constitutes the straight-out Opposition there. Similarly, in Western Australia, the members of that party have increased to twenty-three out of a total of fifty, and they have swept into oblivion the party which professes to follow the right honorable member for.. Swan. In New South Wales, instead of constituting only 11 per cent, in a House composed of 125 members, the strength of the Labour Party has increased to over 27 per cent, in a House containing ninety members. That is the result in spite of the great reform movement approved by the honorable member for Gippsland and his lieutenant. The wonderful Kyabram movement returned thirty-eight representatives in Victoria, but the number has since been reduced to eight. In New South Wales, notwithstanding the fact that all the organs of the press fought against the Labour Party and their allies, the late Government, the present Government were able to gain a majority of only two. It is wonderful that there should always be these majorities of two - quite utterly too too that a Ministry, which cannot keep a quorum in this House, should have a majority of two, and that another Ministry in New South Wales, which is also opposed to the Labour Party and its allies, should have the same majority. In Queensland the people gave their verdict on the 27 th of August last. Formerly the Labour Party in the Queensland House of seventy-two members numbered thirty-one, but now they number more than forty-eight, which is more than both their allies and their opponents combined can muster. The Queensland alliance too, has been strictly and honorably observed, and affords an answer to those who say that the Labour Party here will not keep their pledges. If the members of this House have to face the country, the honorable alliance between the real protectionists - not the revenue tariff - isa - and the Labour Party will, I believe, sweep this State. Sir Arthur Rutledge, who was the cause of the Queensland Parliament being sent to the country - and he a reformer - was swept1 out of political existence, there being a majority against him in every division of his electorate. That is how Queensland spoke in favour of labour, although that State has .the vilest franchise under the British flag. The Victorian system of plural voting, which is bad enough, was never so bad as that of Queensland, because, in Victoria, the electors must vote in the electorate for which their votes are recorded, whereas in Queensland a man holding property in each of the State electorates can record a vote for all without leaving Brisbane. What did the honorable member for Gippsland, who poses as a liberal and as a splendid protectionist, do in Victoria for the principle of one man one vote1? He knows that he did nothing. At the present time a property owner in Victoria can record his vote for any one of the sixty-five State constituencies. This hero of the Maffra sugar busine'ss knows that to-day Victoria does not enjoy the advantages of the one man one vote system. In New South Wales, under the regime of the right honorable! member for East Sydney, twelve democratic Acts were passed, but under the honorable member for Hume much, more and much further reaching legislation was passed. The honorable member can also claim to have given the women of the State the right to vote. The honorable member for Gippsland, however, and his lieutenant, although they had the biggest majority ever known in the Victorian Parliament, did not give the women of Victoria the right to vote, because their party never really wished to do so. With a majority of thirty-eight in a House of ninety-five, they could have forced a Bill through the Legislative Council. They might have profited by the example of that splendid man, whose name rings throughout the length and breadth of Australia - the right honorable member for Adelaide. When the Upper House in South Australia claimed to represent the1 views of the people more fully than did the lower and more democratic House, the right honorable member asked the people themselves to decide the question. The honorable member for Gippsland had there a splendid example to follow. He could have obtained a dissolution from the Governor in Council, and the people would have supported him to a man. I had the pleasure of being a fellow student, though there were many years between us, of the father of the present GovernorGeneral. Professor Stokes was his teacher and mine, "and I am perfectly certain that the Governor-General must have gathered a large stock of political wisdom from the experience of his father. He must have had good reason for permitting the right honorable member for East Sydney to form a Cabinet with a possible majority of two only.

Mr Mahon - The right honorable gentleman at the time had a letter in his pocket from one of his followers, saying that he would not in future support him.

Mr MALONEY - I know nothing about that. I am inclined to think, though I hope it is not so, that the personality of the Prime Minister had something to do with the Governor-General's decision. I do not think that it was wise of the right honorable gentleman to visit the GovernorGeneral before being sent for to form an Administration. However that may be, if this party obtain a majority of two - I believe that we shall win by six - the same right should be extended to us. If we do not win, but are sent to the country, I know that Victoria will return three or four more labour members than now represent it in this House. The record of every coalition Government is the same. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was connected with the first coalition Government of which I have had experience - the Gillies-Deakin Government - and we have not yet got rid of the curses left behind by them. They stopped the progress of the State for years. Political life was a curse during their term of office, and honesty of policy was known chiefly by its absence. I am sorry that the honorable member for Echuca is not here. He had the temerity to interject, when I was speaking on the 48th clause of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and I asked what Act for the benefit of humanity or for the uplifting of the race had been successfully placed on the statute-book by the honorable and learned -member for Ballarat, "What about the first Factories Act?" Poor man! He has been in political life for twenty-five years, and yet thinks that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat introduced the first Factories Act. It is only right that we should not forget the names of old members, now dust and ashes, who in the past tried to uplift humanity and to benefit the race. I hold in my hand a Factories Act which was introduced by Messrs. Orr and Garratt on the 9th July, 1873. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat did not enter politics until a much' later date. To the honour of those two men, let me say that they would not allow a child under the age of fifteen to be employed in a Victorian factory. Mr. Deakin, in 1885, introduced an Act which allowed children over the age of thirteen to work in factories ; but no one under the age of twenty was to be employed unless he had acquired the degree of education required by the Act of 1873. Eight hours was made a day's work, with a limit of forty-six hours a week. Twelve years afterwards an Act was passed by the honorable and learned member and the late Sir Graham Berry, which allowed children over thirteen to work in factories if they had acquired the necessary education; otherwise they must be fifteen. Forty-eight hours was made the limit of the week's work for women and youths, but the hours for men were in some cases unlimited. No boy under fourteen, and' no girl under sixteen, was to be employed between 6 o'clock at night and 6 o'clock in the morning. A majority of two for the present Government will have very different results from those which would be obtained if we had a majority of two, because we should have no difficulty in keeping a House. I do not complain of the non-attendance of honorable members, but I find1 that during the present session three members of the Reid party and eleven members of the Opposition have attended every sitting. One member from each side has attended less than thirty sittings, while of the Government representatives one has attended less than forty and, more than thirty, five less than fifty and more than forty, and seven less than sixty and more than fifty. Only four on this side of the House have attended less than s'ixty and more than thirty sittings. Of all who have attended less than sixty meetings this session, fourteen belong to the Government side and five to the Opposition side. I have taken no notice of the attendances of the honorable member for Riverina, the honorable member for Wilmot, and myself, because it has been impossible for us to attend the f ul 1 number of sittings. Those figures speak volumes for the attendance of honorable members on this side of the Chamber, and show that if we were in power your attention, Mr. Speaker, would never be called to the state of the House. Going back to last session, I find that nine members attended the seventy-eight sittings. They were, Mr. Speaker, the honorable and learned member for Corio, and the honorable members for Wide Bay, Melbourne Ports, Kennedy, Darwin, Yarra, Balaclava, and Moreton.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - With the exception of Mr. Speaker, all those members live in Victoria.

Mr MALONEY - I will come to that. I do not wish to be unjust. Eight of those members belong to this side or the House, and only one - the right honorable member for Balaclava - to the Government side. Three members belonging to this side of the House attended every sitting but one. The first session of the first Parliament extended from May, 1901, to October, 1902, and only three honorable members, all of whom belong to this side of the House, attended the whole 220 sittings.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If there are many more debates like this, it will take a team of bullocks to bring me here.

Mr MALONEY -I dare say the honorable member's 'constituents will be able to find another representative who will please them just as well. Three members of the Opposition attended all but one sitting. I am sorry that these facts should disturb honorable members opposite.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - -Not at all; my temper is very good.

Mr MALONEY - The members were Mr. L. E. Groom, Mr. Mauger, and Mr. O'Malley.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What time did they spend in the chamber when they were here ?

Mr MALONEY - I have quoted these facts from an official paper recording .the attendances of honorable members.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable member aware that many of those honorable members who figure oh the list from which he is quoting simply come into the chamber and go out again, and nothing more is seen of them for the remainder of the day ?

Mr MALONEY - What the honorable member says may or may not be true, but if he complains of the present system, I would recommend him to propose that we should adopt in this Parliament the system which is carried out in Switzerland, and which is well worthy of being copied. In Switzerland a member is fined for nonattendance, and there must be a majority of the House as a quorum. They begin early in the morning, and sit till 1 o'clock ; then they adjourn until 2 o'clock, and sit till 6, meeting again at 8 o'clock the next day. Any member who is absent from a division is fined. If the honorable member for Parramatta would propose the adoption of that system in this Parliament he would have my hearty assistance.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If that system were adopted here more Victorians, would be fined than others.

Mr MALONEY - A remarkable speech was lately made by Mr. Swinburne, the Victorian Minister of Water Supply, in regard to State-aided irrigation, which we believe in, socialistic as it may foe. He showed that in Victoria £5,634,000 had been expended upon an irrigation policy that was initiated by the Gillies-Deakin Coalition Ministry. How much of that money has been repaid by the people who have benefited from the policy ? Only £1,116,000, leaving £4,518,000 owing. That sum has been paid principally by the workers in the cities, because one-half the population of Victoria reside in the cities of Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo. Even the English Times would never speak of Socialism in the way I have heard it referred to to-night by the honorable member for Richmond. I have already said, and I repeat, that he must have been quoting from the novel which he is understood to be writing. If his novel is as good as the splendid little lyric he has written about the woodcutters in his own district, I shall certainly buy the work, and expect to enjoy it. The honorable member must have been acting the part of the hero in his story in fighting against Socialism and the Labour Party. I do not believe he means half of what he said. He is too good a fellow to do so. It is a strange thing that, whereas every political economist in Europe previous to 1850 condemned all factories legislation, and said that it would mean ruin to the manufacturers, there has not been a single political economist since 1865 who has ventured to deny the advisability of passing Factories Acts. I have been twitted with having spoken about the sufferings of children. Why should I not speak on that subject, if the children are suffering? Is it not my duty as a member sent here to try and better the condition of every man, woman, and child in our midst, to do my best to relieve those sufferings? Is it not better to endeavour to succeed in that direction than to involve the country in a loss of .£65,000 upon an enterprise like the Maffra sugar business?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is this Maffra sugar business?

Mr MALONEY - Let the honorable member move for an inquiry, and I will vote for it. I have said that the political economists before 1850 condemned factories legislation as likely to . lead to the ruin of manufactures. A Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the House of Lords to examine into the condition of the factory workers in England. That Commission found that in one room 18 feet by 23 feet, where there was only one little opening 12 inches square for purposes of ventilation, fortytwo men and fourteen boys - fifty-six human beings in all - had to sleep. Commissioner Mitchell said that, though no one had slept in that room for 72 hours, on the night when he went into it, the stench was unbearable. Yet it was said that the removal of conditions like these would mean ruin to the manufacturers of England. Within the memory of living men there were manufacturers in England who could get twenty children from the parish to work in the mills, provided that they took one idiot and supported him. God only knows what became of the idiot ! We know what became of the children. They were made to sleep in beds that were never allowed to grow cool!, since directly one child was whipped out of bed to go to the mills another child was put in. Some children employed in the mines in those days never saw the daylight from Monday morning until the following Sunday.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have been in that position myself.

Mr MALONEY - Then I am sure that the honorable member must feel for these little ones. I know that his voice would be one of the first to be raised if any child was sent into the Newcastle mines and made to work like a beast. It was said that children had to be taken young for this work, because when they grew older the spines of their backs would not allow them to get into the proper position to make the good miners that were re- quired in the mines. In those days no matter if a mine was unsafe, or whether the timbers were unsound, miners had to go to work or to prison. When 40.000 miners in the Durham neighbourhood went on strike, Lord Londonderry threatened the tradesmen who were helping "these poor people that if they gave credit , to his rebel workers, as they were called, their places of business would be taken from them.

Mr SPEAKER - Can the honorable member connect these remarks with the question under debate?

Mr MALONEY - Yds, I am giving these instances as a reason for the passing of an Arbitration Act which would make impossible that curse of our civilization - a strike.

A great American writer, in a phrase which has become classic, has spoken of New Zealand as " a country without strikes." We want to make Australia a continent without strikes. I was sent to this Parliament to use every effort to attain that end. I hold in my hand a photograph of as fine a man as my finger has ever touched, or my stethoscope ever examined. This fine young fellow went to work in a factory where no adequate provision was made for guarding the work-people against the effects of poisonous fumes. Within six weeks his body was one mass of festering sores. 'And there is no law here to prevent it. I know that if that great and splendid man who rules the Health Department of Victoria had the power he would not allow such things to continue for one day. Even in Germany, strong as the power of the autocratic Emperor may be, a Commission appointed by him recommended that two and a half hours work was enough for any person engaged in a factory where' there were poisonous fumes. Yet in chemical works at Rutherglen - no woman who enters which will ever bear a child again - people work for ten hours a day. In Germany the Commission fixed as the duration of a day's work for different trades, two and a half, three, five, six, eight, ten, and twelve hours. The figures are at the disposal of any honorable member who may wish to see them. We want an Arbitration Act. If we had an Act the workers could combine and insist upon bringing their complaints before Parliament, and the Government would then introduce a measure which would cause proper scientific precautions to be taken in order to save the health of these persons. The honorable member for Gippsland said that we wish to confiscate the land. It seems to me that he has somewhat neglected to read the history of Europe, otherwise he would know that in the second half of the nineteenth century, almost one-third of the best lands of Europe were confiscated. Take the race which is considered the most degraded in Europe, and about which its enemies have lied so much. I sometimes pity them, and ask myself why they do not read the splendid books which true Englishmen and brave writers have produced. In his great book, Mulhall shows how the freeing of over 4,000,000 slaves by the AngloSaxon race in America, at a cost of over £1, 200,000,000, was the means of killing and wounding close upon 500,000 men, and how, at nearly about the same time, Russia freed 40,000,000 serfs, changed 11,000,000 of them into landholders, and divided 68,000,000 acres of the finest land it holds amongst those people without the loss of one single life, so that in future any head of a- family, father or mother, could claim 10 acres of good land for nothing. By that means no less than 6,000,000 acres were taken from the nobles, and not one penny-piece was paid to them. The balance of the land which was taken was divided into holdings of 35 acres, and let at a rental of 6d. per acre per year. The land was bought on the condition that the freed serfs should pay 12s. per male head of a family during a period of forty years. I do not advocate a policy of confiscation, and no member of the Labour Party ever did ; but we do contend that the State or the Federal Government should have the right of resuming any land or property based on a fair valuation - that is, the valuation on which the owner is willing to pay rates and taxes. What is the position at the present moment ? A man sells to the Government, and the State is fleeced, not only in this country, but elsewhere. In England the landholders fleeced the railway companies to the extent of £50,000,000. I do not know how much money has been fleeced from Victoria, but I know that it runs into four figures.

Mr Conroy - Under the Constitution we have no power to deal with these matters, I think.

Mr MALONEY - The honorable and learned member may see with his legal eyes what I cannot see.

Mr Conroy - I am not asking about the justice of the policy, but the law on the subject.

Mr MALONEY - I want justice, and not law. In Russia, £60,000,000 worth of land was taken away from the nobles and divided amongst the people. When I compare Great Britain, which has only 180,000 land-owners in a population of 40,000,000, with Russia, which has 11,000,000 landowners, I wish that we had a law so that any head of a family could ask for 10 acres of good land and get it. The honorable member for Gippsland knows how unfortunate village settlers were sent to hills where the land was so poor that it would hardly keep a goat. If they had had the right of getting 10 acres of good land at that time, there would have been thousands of more homes in Victoria today owned by those brave fellows than there are. Even in. Great Britain it is not an unknown thing to take land without the permission of the owners, and to reduce rents. Take Ireland,' which was confiscated first by Elizabeth, next by Cromwell, and then by William III. In 1850 the Encumbered Estates Court sold 4,930,000 acres at an average of ,£ii per acre, and the average size of a holding was 400 acres. There was a lively chance for the head of a family to get 400 acres at £11 per acre. Under Mr. John Bright's Act, from 1870 to 1880, the tenants bought 49,000 acres, at an average of £17 per acre. I do not think that very much land can be got at that price. Under the Church Act, from 1870 to 1885, 6,000 tenants were settled at a cost of ,£1,676,000, of which the Government advanced 75 per cent, or £1,200,000, and to the honor of those persons who bought from the Government, in 1888 only £6,000 of the purchase-money remained unpaid. Compare that debt of £6,000 with the debt of ,£4,000,000 odd owing to Victoria, in connexion with irrigation. Under Mr. Gladstone's Act of 1 88 1, in seven years the rents of 243,490 farmers were reduced by 20 per cent. ; that is, a fifth of the rent for 243,490 farms was reduced, and there were then 61,300 cases pending. We need a true system of land taxation throughout Australia. If the States will not act, it is the duty of this Parliament to intervene. Under Ashbourne's Act of 1885, in four years the tenants were enable'd to purchase nearly 3 per cent, of Ireland, as measured by the rental. In 132 years the Act would settle the agrarian question, says Mulhall, whose statement I am willing to accept. How small is that result compared with what barbarous Russia did between 1861 and 1870, when she settled 11,000,000 persons on the land, and how few we are settling in our splendid Australia. Referring to the tirade against Socialism from the honorable member for Gippsland, let me point out that in 1819 the position of the serfs in Austria was the same as in Russia. They had to give two days out of every week, and also 11 per cent, of their products, to the owners of the land. But by 1849 the ownership of one-half the Empire had changed. Our newspapers never publish these facts, and we have to garner the information from expensive books' which the public cannot consult. It is to such authorities that we have to refer in order to show how the land system is changing. If Napoleon, who as a leader of men in warfare was unequalled, said that the soldiers fight on their bellies, I say that the people must live on the land, and we must work in that direction in order to secure a better time for the people than they have had.

Mr Conroy - Are people better off in those countries than here?

Mr MALONEY - I am perfectly cer. tain that the honorable member who interjects so much would feel much better off if he were there, and, if he would not, I should.

Mr Conroy - I wish to know whether, in the Constitution, we have power to make this change, supposing that it is ah advisable one to make.

Mr MALONEY - If the honorable and learned member could address that question to the Right Honorable W. E. Gladstone, I dare say he would get an answer. I understand that under the Constitution we have power to impose a land tax. In 1801, 614 nobles owned the whole of Denmark, and they could buy and sell human beings, whom they called tenants, just as farmers can buy and sell cattle to-day. But in 1840 the tenants had acquired one-half of the kingdom. So that half of the kingdom changed hands, and the tenant slaves became free men. In Holland there are 100,000 farms averaging eighty acres, which are cultivated by the owners. In the province of Groeninger there are tenant farmers, called meejers, and the landlord of a farm can never raise the rent or disturb the tenant. There is no need for a Distress for Rent Bill ' in that country. Between 1818 and 1840, the peasants of Sweden bought 16,000,000 acres, at an average price of is. 5d. per acre. Even we have not so infamous a land system as exists in Great Britain. I am informed that the London properties of a Royal Duke, several other Dukes, and the Marquis of Salisbury, are taxed on the valuation of over 200 years ago, when the lands were open fields on which cattle grazed.

Mr Conroy - The laws for the tenant are very much better in Great Britain than they are here.

Mr MALONEY - Let that be a stimulus to the « honorable and learned member to help us to make our laws better than they are.

Mr Conroy - I have blamed the Labour Party for some time for not moving in that direction.

Mr MALONEY - Beware of the gifts of the Greeks, for they mean trouble. In the United Kingdom there are only 180,000 land-owners, and of that number one family owns more land in fee-simple than even the great Tyson, when he held a large portion of territory in several States.

Mr McDonald - In Queensland his holdings exceeded Great Britain in area.

Mr MALONEY - In fee-simple?

Mr McDonald - Pretty well.

Mr MALONEY - I shall be very glad to correct my statement when the honorable member shows me that the land was held in fee-simple. But I am quoting from a record which I obtained from the Queensland Lands Department, and upon which I rely. France has 3,226,000 land-owners; Germany has 2,436,000 land-owners; Russia has 11,336,000 land-owners, with an average holding of 31 acres; Austria has 6,150,000 land-owners, with an average holding of 20 acres; while in the United States there are 4,005,000 landholders, with an average of 134 acres. Great Britain, with its average of 390 acres, leads every country in the world. In Australia the average is only 380 acres. We are told by economists that where the land is most divided, there it is most valuable, and there production is greatest and poverty least. Only yesterday I was speaking to a friend of mine, -who at one time was connected with the consular service, and has lived in every country in Europe, and also in every Australian State. I asked him whether, from his experience, he could say where the ordinary artisan, such as the bootmaker or cabinetmaker, had the happiest life, and he replied, " In a country of which I am not very fond - France." As one who can live in Paris on 25s. a week, and have a good time, I can say that I know of no happier country^ ; and yet we find in France what is called Socialism. Every fisherman who catches sardines or bigger fish in the Bay of Biscay can, on completing twenty-five years work, claim a pension from the Government. We have not yet reached that stage in Australia; indeed we are growling about old-age pensions. Let me say a word to those who speak of French tobacco, manufactured under a State monopoly, as the worst on earth. The tobacco of France is manufactured to suit the educated palate of the French people. I repeatedly met Australians in London, who complained1 that they could not get good tobacco there ; but the fact is that their palates were not educated to the English taste. In order to pay as little duty as possible, tobacco is imported into England in a dry st.ate, and then artificially moistened, whereas American tobacco is brought straight on to the

Australian market. As a proof of the correctness of the position which I take up on this question, I can give an illustration which will appeal to every intelligent member of the House. In Holborn, one of the principal streets of London, there is at the present moment a tobacconist's shop where nothing but French tobacco is sold, not only to the French residents, but to English art students, who have studied painting and sculpture in France, and who have become accustomed to the tobacco of that country. Those students finish their education in Paris; indeed, the Academy compels the winner of the medal to continue his studies in the French capital.

Mr SPEAKER - I hope the honorable member will connect his observations with the subject under discussion.

Mr MALONEY - I want to show that the French system of tobacco manufacture has good results; and that there is a shop in London to provide the tobacco for English art students. French tobacco is sold at two francs or two francs and a half per kilogramme, equal to two pounds and a tenth, in the mercantile marine and on the war-ships. In places in France, adjoining Switzerland and Belgium, the tobacco is sold at a lower rate in order to keep down smuggling. The State production of tobacco not only gives a revenue amounting in one year to £16,000,000, or an average of over £12.000,000 per annum, but enables the Government to provide pensions for the widows of men who have fallen in battle, or lost their lives in .trying to save others. Those widows are given charge of the small tobacconists' shops, and the pensions are provided from the Government stamps which enclose every packet of tobacco, cigars,. cigarettes, and matches. The Labour Party have never had a fair chance under the State franchise of Victoria. No one with fairly liberal ideas could possibly win the Melbourne seat in the State House, because every Tom, Dick, and Harry with an office in the city has a vote. Under the Federal Electoral Act, however, an elector can vote only for the place at which he lives, and, further, the franchise has been extended to women, though, in the State, the latter are still regarded, from an electoral point of view, as in- the same category as lunatics and criminals. Under the State franchise, the Melbourne Club exercises over 200 votes, but under the Federal franchise the same institution has only fifteen votes, including six waiters, four housemaids, two labourers, one clerk, one coroner, and one bank manager. I suppose they keep the coroner in order to hold -post-mortems on the departed glories of Ihe franchise. A gentleman who is privileged to be a member of the Tramway Company has, under the State franchise, a vote in every one of the nine divisions which make up the Federal constituency of Melbourne. This gentleman is a surveyor, a civil engineer, and heaven knows what else. Then it is said that the Labour Party are Socialists, and that, in consequence, our credit is very bad in the old. country. But let us see what great English newspapers have to say on the question. The Morning Post, which is a conservative newspaper, not likely to be favorable to the Labour Party, contains the following: -

The one great error and offence with both the Federal and State Governments unhappily is the freedom and ease with which the mercantile and landed classes are allowed to plunder the Treasury.

Let the engineer of the Maffra sugar business remember that.

Fraud and trickery of the meanest and most despicable kind permeates the commercial life of the country. And this re-acts in turn upon those representatives in national and municipal institutions who are elected by the votes of these disreputable citizens. Consequently, the changes that are taking place are as beneficial as the most scrupulous tactician could desire to its moral force and political power. The Labour Party is a party of law and national progress. . . . All these things show in a manner, which it may be hoped is unmistakable, that national honour, no less than the necessity of avoiding the collapse of commercial credit, make it absolutely necessary for the Labour Party to persevere.

Is that not a complete answer to critics inside and outside, who, supported by the press, are abusing the Labour Party 'day by day? The extract I have quoted may not be sufficient to convert the honorable member for Richmond as to the errors of his statements, and, therefore, I propose to quote from the Pall Mall Gazette, which is liberal in politics. The newspaper says -

Now, the question we are bound to ask ourselves is, " How will Australia pay her heavy indebtedness to English bondholders? " It is not only that her finances are rotten, but the tone of public and commercial life is deplorable. These are facts. The evidence, and the arguments in the Times article, are perfectly conclusive upon the point. One time in England we were accustomed to look for commercial brigandage and acts of dishonesty that would disgrace the scum of Whitechapel among those Armenian merchants who carried on the Levant trade with England. To-day we are sorry to state the Armenian is outstripped by the Melbourne British Customs thief. It is humiliating to think that Australia is peopled by the British race. Fortunately for society, the working classes and the farmers are taking a deeper interest in the political life of the country. Although no party has lived through more abuse than the Labour Party, still it contains, and has for supporters in the country, the only stable elements in society. Their ideals are purity of public and municipal life.

I may say th-at a gentleman, who has filled a very high position in the Ministry of the State of Victoria, stated that if he had charge of the Butter Commission, he would lock up every one implicated on the charge of conspiracy- I should now like, to quote from the " Thunderer," of Printing Housesquare - the Times of 5th April, 1904. The quotation, which is headed " An Australian Loan Policy," bears on the question of Socialism, and, therefore, I hope the honorable member for Richmond will give me his attention -

The so-called " anti-Socialistic " crusade of last December was not a great matter, because nearly every one in Australia is a Socialist, so far as is implied by asking for Government help at every turn, while in the Continental sense hardly any Australians are Socialists. There was, therefore, nothing in the measures advocated by either party to send voters rushing to the poll. As for the men, Australian distances considerably limit the choice of candidates. Barring a few rich people, who spend most of their time in England or on tour, this is a population of working men, business men, and artisans. A Federal member of Parliament gets £400 a year, which does not tempt the good business man to leave his work, and offers little temptation even to the better class of artisans. Consequently, the. candidates come, as a rule, from less desirable classes, especially the non-artisan candidates j and in two States already I have been told by leading " antilabour" politicians that, man for man, the labour candidates in December last were distinctly the best of the bunch.

I do not wish to labour this question too much, but I desire to point out that some of our critics are not altogether free from reproach. I find it recorded in a little red book called A Relic of the Boom Times, that one Mr. F. T. Derham, who 'failed for £548,000, had assets of about £97,000, and paid to his creditors a dividend of one penny in the pound.

Mr Tudor - Did he stand for the Senate?

Mr MALONEY - I should not wonder if he had cheek enough to go anywhere. If he went up to Heaven he would probably ask for a special pass from Saint Peter, on the ground that he had paid his creditors one penny iri the pound. The Labour Party have been charged with desiring to seek special advantages for a particular class, but not one member of the party would vote in that direction.- We desire to establish- a system of old-age pensions, under which pensions will be paid to the millionaire and to the poorest man in the community alike, so that no indignity shall rest upon the latter. Some time ago, in Victoria, before the introduction of the old-age pensions system, a man was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment for vagrancy, although he was able to show by' means of an old bank-book that he had dispensed ,£10,000 in charities. When the land boom was at its height the Victorian Legislature increased the pensions to civil servants to the extent of £100,000 a year, but when we suggested that old-age pensions should be provided for we were asked where the money was to come from. We might have answered at a later stage that the money was to be derived from the same source as the Maffra beet sugar bonuses. It is absolutely necessary that we should have a Conciliation and Arbitration Act, because until such a measure has been passed we shall not be able to fight with any chance of success against combines and trusts. At present the prices of the tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, and kerosene consumed by us are regulated from America. The great Rockefeller combine controls the whole of the oil product of the world. It has laid its grasp upon the Russian oil mines, but I trust that the Russian Government will check its operations. At one time there were engaged in the oil industry in America 4,000 different companies, with 4,000 separate managements, but to-day a small group of eight men con. trol the oil production of the United States. With our splendid franchise - the highest and the greatest in the world - we shall be able, under an Arbitration Act, to fight the trusts for the benefit of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. When it was first proposed to grant the butter bonuses, I suggested that facilities should be offered to the citizens of Melbourne to purchase butter at the cool stores at the London market price, but I was laughed and jeered at by the companions of the Minister of Trade and Customs. If the inquiry into the alleged abuses in connexion with the butter bonus is not carried out in the most complete manner it will be the duty of the Australian Parliament to interfere and see that justice is done to the community at large. I hold in my hand photographs of some of the largest cheques that have been paid over in connexion with the operations of trusts and combines. The amounts range from the £11,000,000 paid by China to Japan, to £3,000,000 paid by Ernest T. Hooley, the great financial swindler and company promoter. I am perfectly sure that if we nationalized the tobacco industry we could reduce the prices of tobacco by fully one-half, and, therefore, we should do good work if we swept aside the present monopoly. When I was in Sydney, recently, I was informed that a combine was being formed with a view to securing the control of the tramways in some of the larger cities. I trust, however, that the movement will not be successful, because I think we should take pattern from the municipal Socialists of Great Britain. The company to which I have referred is to be floated in London at a profit of £[30,000. What will become of the unfortunates in. London, who may speculate in the company, if it does not pay? If the Labour Party had their way, they would require that all tramways should be built and controlled by the municipal authorities, so that the public might derive the benefit of any profits. Capital is so fluid, and is controlled by such a few person's, that its power for evil is almost illimitable, and evil consequences generally result from its use bv large combinations and trusts. Little by little the real objects of the present Government are being divulged. I am forcibly reminded of an adage which is current in India, which runs somewhat as follows: - " Never believe in anything until it is officially contradicted. If a statement be untrue, it is not worth while to contradict it, but if it be true and inconvenient contradiction is always resorted to." I do not think that honorable members, who sit behind the Ministry - know where they are. I have come to the conclusion that, sooner or later, they will find themselves left as was the party to which I have alluded, when the Premier of Victoria was unfairly ousted from office by the Ministry of which the Minister of Trade and Customs was the leader, a Ministry which brought upon Victoria the greatest curse which it has ever had to bear. In connexion with the White Australia question, no man is entitled 'to more homage than the right honorable member for Adelaide. I hold in my hand the record of his efforts, as far back as 1893, to induce the other Australian Governments to assist him to maintain a White Australia. At that time it was shown that, in connexion with the trade from the north coast of Australia to the south, there was a discrepancy in one year of 616 between the number of Chinese on board the boats when they called at Port Darwin, and the number who left that port on the return voyage from Adelaide. Many of .these Chinese were placed upon the ships' articles with the cognizance of the owners, who were parties to the swindling necessary to secure their admission to Australia, although they were passengers.

Mr Spence - The same swindling is being carried on still.

Mr MALONEY - To the right honorable member for Adelaide belongs the credit of having taken the' first practical steps towards securing a White Australia. In a circular issued by the Victorian Steam-ship Owners Association, it was claimed that the Chinese were not employed as seamen on account of their cheapness. It was pointed out further that coloured alien immigration might be diminished if the authorities declined to issue hawkers' licences. The question, however, is how the1 coloured aliens already here could live if such a step were taken. My feeling is that those who have settled down here should be welcomed as brothers, but that we should stand firm as sentinels between Australia and the yellow races beyond the seas. The yellow peril may overshadow and may eventually engulf us, but we must do our best to keep it from our shores. How the people of the United States would have thanked their forefathers who fought for their liberties in the old days if they had stood as sentinels between them and the black races of Africa. What misery and suffering would have been avoided ! Not a week passes but two or three negroes are burnt at the stake in America. That is one of the penalties that the people of that country are paying for the coloured invasion of their States. If we stand firm as sentinels between Australia and the yellow races, our names will be handed down in history with .all honour. Two honorable members of the last Parliament who voted in favour of retaining kanakas upon the Queensland sugar plantations were rejected at the last election, and I am sure that the feeling of the majority of honorable members is perfectly sound upon the necessity' of closely safeguarding our shores against an invasion of .coloured races. No member of the Labour Party has spoken so strongly against the Peninsular and Oriental Com- pany as have same members of the British House of Commons. I propose to quote from a report of a debate in the House of Commons upon the question of voting £772,000 for the Post Office packet service, published in the London Times of the 12th May, 1900. Mr. Williams, in his work Made in Germany, showed that German goods were brought from that country, transhipped' at British ports, and conveyed to Australia at rates of freight 50 per cent, lower than those charged for the carriage of goods direct from English ports to these States. He stated that that company was receiving over £1,000 a day - a very good subsidy. Yet, forsooth, it provides the vilest accommodation for its seamen !

Mr KING O'MALLEY (DARWIN, TASMANIA) - But the English steamers will carry Germans to America at a cheaper rate than they will Englishmen.

Mr MALONEY - That is very wrong of them. Lord Tollemache asked Mr. Gladstone whether the shipping companies would allow their ships to land hostile troops in Great Britain. His reply was, "I think if they could carry enemies to Heaven itself for the sake of lucre, they would do it." Mr. Havelock Wilson declared that there are 40,000 lascars in the British mercantile marine, and that the number is increasing, while that of the British is_ diminishing. The wages and maintenance of two lascars, he affirms, do not equal the cost of one British seaman. I understand that 120 cubic feet of air space is insisted upon in the case of the British sailor, but the Peninsular and Oriental Company provide only 36 cubic feet. That is equivalent to 6 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet - a space not much larger than a decent-sized coffin. The company was repeatedly fined for this.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Board of Trade prescribes an air space of 70 cubic feet.

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