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Wednesday, 28 September 1904

Mr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I have always understood that the Board of Trade regulations provide for 120- cubic feet. I have never heard that statement questioned before. Let us hear what a conservative says- Admiral Feild. He declares -

In these days of keen competition, ship-owners manned their vessels in the cheapest manner ; but, as a naval man, he condemned the Government in the strongest way, because they did not insist, as foreign Governments insisted, as a condition of companies enjoying State subsidies, that they Should employ a certain proportion of national seamen. (Hear, hear.) It was a grievous mis take for the Government to shut their eyes to the fact that our mercantile marine was fast decaying - (hear hear) - that apprentices were few - (hear, hear) - and that 40,000 or 50,000 foreigners had displaced Britain's own sailors. (Hear, hear.) Foreigners and lascars would not fight England's naval battles, and landsmen could not man her fleet, for they were not trained seamen. He would not do anything to weaken his own Government, would not vote against his Government, but he would not vote for them, as he held they had neglected their duty in neglecting to make the employment of British seamen a condition of mail contracts.

We wish to see Britishers on British ships, and as a unit of the Labour Party, I shall always fight to gain that object." Those who desire to see coloured men employed upon these vessels are all upon the other side of the Chamber. Then we hear a lot of talk about Tom Mann, but I would rather have his chance when he faces his Maker than that of some of those who sign cheques, and rob the widow and the orphan. Tom Mann stands for the purity of home life. But what does the paid agitator of the Employers' Federation advocate? He considers that marriage is a luxury, and that the common working man should not have a wife. The statement has been made that Mr. Walpole has denied having made that assertion, but I am credibly informed that if he dares to sign a sworn declaration to that effect, he will be prosecuted for perjury.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What do some Socialists say on the same subject?

Mr MALONEY - We stand for the purity of home life. Then there is another gentleman of whom I' wish to speak, not because I desire to hold his miseries up to scorn, but merely because his case points the greatest argument that I can use. The honorable' member for Richmond says there is no " poor man," that we are all poor men's sons, and that everybody has a chance to make a good living. I allude to the paid organizer of trie farmers and producers - Mr. Sievwright-

On the platform he denied the existence of devitalizing conditions to which his own family were victims; he declared there was work for all, when his own relatives could not obtain enough to earn their bread, and he himself held only a temporary engagement after touring the Continent in the fruitless search for employment. There is no sweating, yet his brother slaves as a law clerk on 30s. a week, and his daughter, a young woman of 17, draws a weekly salary of 2s. 6d. His sisters, educated ladies, have done their best to earn a livelihood, but failed ; while his father, wellknown in the " legal profession and in business circles " - no doubt a man of probity, capacity, and thrift - is compelled to accept the State dole.

Yet that man could not spare from his £5 per week to help his old father. Personally, I object to any son being compelled to support his father. This country is great enough to support its aged people without compelling them to be dependent upon their children.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - In justice to him I think it should be said that he contributes £1 a week to his mother.

Mr MALONEY - That is so. He contributes £1 a week to his mother and sister, and I am sure that the Almighty will bless him "for it.

Mr King O'malley - But it was a contemptible thing to show him up in that way.

Mr MALONEY - Exactly. The Commonwealth has no hope from a Government whose conservative tendencies must inevitably (bring it to harm. Before concluding, I wish,. as an avowed protectionist, and one who upon every opportunity has voted in favour of that fiscal creed) to indorse the splendid article which appears in to-day's Age, and which deals with the question of the appointment of a Tariff Commission. It says -

Mr. Reidprofesses an entire willingness to appoint a Royal Commission for Tariff inquiry. At first sight that looks like an agreement with the demands of the Opposition. But the Prime Minister insists on a Commission which would enter into the whole question of fiscal, policy. That protectionists will not accept. The general fiscal battle was fought and won in the establishment of the fiscal peace. The protectionists do not want to rip up the whole Tariff. That is what Mr. Reid fought for and lost.

I have sat upon various Commissions, and from that experience I have come to realize the truth of the words used By a German economist, who said, " If the Almighty had put the making of the earth into the' hands of a Commission it would never have been built." To me a Commission is synonymous with delay. I say that honorable members, fresh from their constituents, should know what the majority desire, and be prepared to act accordingly. To say that there shall be fiscal peace for one year, or two, or even three years, is, an absolute absurdity. I regret that the right honorable member for Swan is not present. I informed him that I intended to speak, because I wished him to be present in order that he might contradict any statement which he disputed. I know that the reign of the "six families" in Western Australia was very hard on the average t'othersider. But the t'othersiders have gone to Western Australia, and with the ferment of right and 'justice have swept the noble six families into oblivion. The right honorable member for Swan is responsible for any conservative provisions which may be contained in the Constitution. He took to the Federal Convention ten valiant representatives of Western Australia. Those delegates were selected by the State Parliament, and were, in reality nominated by the gentleman who* bore the title of " King of the West." Where are those delegates now? Is there a single supporter of the right honorable member for Swan in this House ? Not one. ' Indeed, I am credibly informed that in neither branch of the Commonwealth Legislature is there a member who acknowledges the right honorable member as his chief.

Mr KING O'MALLEY (DARWIN, TASMANIA) - He is a lone bird.

Mr MALONEY - But he is not singular iri that respect, because the honorable member for Oxley occupies a similar position. Let us see how they returned the members there. East and West Kimberley used to have an average of 107 electors on the roll, and thirty votes would generally return a candidate. That is the type of supporter which the right honorable member had in Western Australia. In the Kalgoorlie electorate, on the other hand, over 5,000 miners, who made Western Australia known to the world by the amount of gold which they tore from the earth, had but one representative. % That " infamy was permitted for many years, by the great and glorious Government of which the right honorable member was the leader. In the Ashburton electorate, there were seventy-nine electors on the roll. That electorate returned the AttorneyGeneral, Mr. Burt, the right honorable member's lieutenant, while the goldfields with an adult male population of over 50,000, returned only three members. The right honorable member, when Premier of the State, tolerated and perpetuated that abuse until 1897, and yet he has the splendid audacity to pose here as a Liberal. If it were not for a certain burly, goodtempered way which he has, he would not be taken so seriously. Then what was his treatment of the unfortunate natives of Western Australia ? To his Government is attributable the criminality of reinstituting flogging in the State. Flogging had been abolished, but the Government of the right honorable member permitted the flogging of unfortunate natives, who were treated worse than the beasts of the field probably, because the latter had a greater money value.

The British Government were always disinclined to hand over the care of the natives to the Government of Western Australia. Now that the Labour Party are in power, Hogging will not be allowed. The members of that party will not allow the iniquities which were practised by the squattocracy, with very few exceptions, to continue. The Queen, in 1861, told Sir John Young, then Governor of New South Wales, that his duty was to prevent and restrain all acts of violence and injustice towards the natives. That was always the desire of that great and good woman- When I visited that State a short time before the elections, and went into a church there, I heard a priest at the altar say that a collection would be taken up for the aborigines. During my forty years' experience I have not known that to be done in Victoria. Then, again, the law that no justice of the peace interested in a complaint against a native should sit on the bench was rescinded by the Government of the right honorable member for Swan. Hansard bears me out in that statement. The law to which I refer is section 4 of the Act 47 Victoria, No. 8. In 1892, two years after the inauguration of responsible government in Western Australia, the Government rescinded the provision that justices of the peace might not try cases in which they were interested, and for the first time flogging was permitted. Up to as many as twenty-five strokes could be given to a male,- while a single magistrate could impose a term of two years' imprisonment. Previously, it was necessary for a resident magistrate, and a justice of the peace, that is, a paid stipendiary magistrate, to be present. "But, Lord love us ! those concerned, were only niggers, and what cared the right honorable member for Swan about them in those days? If they appeared to be under sixteen years of age, the flogging was limited to twelve lashes. Then, under the Act of the 18th March, 1892, this was done. Honorable members may not be aware that the natives of Western Australia, like those of other places, I believe, have periods of unrest, which are known as walk-'about " periods, and Jones, J. P., would run in his mob of human beings to Smith, J. P., who would sentence them, and perhaps order them lashings; and whet the mob of Smith, J. P., became unruly a little - later on, and wanted to walk about, they were sent to Jones, J. P., and so honours were easy.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member must connect his remarks with the question before the Chair.

Mr MALONEY - It is felt that the aborigines of Western Australia have, not been properly protected.

Mr SPEAKER - The question before the Chair is whether this Government possesses the confidence of the House. The honorable member must address himself to that question, and not discuss the question whether some one or other has properly protected the aborigines of Western Australia.

Mr MALONEY - I wish to show that there is no chance of the aborigines of Western Australia having their conditions of life ameliorated by a Government of which the right honorable member for Swan is a supporter. Moreover, my remarks bear on the question of a White Australia, which I was returned, not later than last March, to support. We, in Victoria, protect girls who are under the age of sixteen years ; but the right honorable member for Swan does not think that girl's over the age of twelve years are worth protecting, and he gave his vote to carry that view into effect. He has appeared on public platforms in Prahran, South Melbourne, St. Kilda, and other places before audiences of ladies whom he is professing to educate in politics. But if they knew what he had done in the way of introducing into Western Australia the flogging of unfortunate natives after flogging had been abolished there, and lowering the age of consent to twelve years, they would hiss him as heartily as the miners of Coolgardie did. We are being asked to continue* in power a Government which is supported by a man who believes that girls of the age of twelve years and one month should not be protected. Every honest man and woman outside will scout the idea. I do not ask honorable members to take my word alone for these facts. I have them here in black and white. How can the present Government call itself a liberal Administration ? The honorable member for Gippsland would have spoken until he could stand no longer against those infamies had he been in the Western Australian Parliament. Attorney-General Burt said, however, " Whin them."

Mr SPEAKER - I call 'the attention of the honorable member to the Standing Orders. which require some relevancy of debate. I have already informed him again and again that he is not speaking to the question before the Chair, and .while I am loth to take the steps required by the Standing Orders, I must insist upon his conforming with the" rules of debate. He must discuss the question before the Chair, and not the matters upon which he is now speaking.

Mr MALONEY - I accept your ruling, sir, and thank you for the courteous way in which you have drawn my attention to the matter. I was returned to support a White Australia, but I found, during my electoral campaign, that' the forces most actively ranged against me were the so-called liberal and conservative interests. I must own that there are some good Democrats behind the present Government; but it is not a liberal Government, because it depends for its support upon conservatives. Every conservative in Victoria to-day is behind it, and it is a conservative Government in every sense of the word. Life and property in our community are not safe while a Government is in power with the support of a man holding the opinions of the right honorable member for Swan. I hope I am in order in saying that the welfare of the women and children of Australia should be the concern of every man and woman in Australia. If I called a meeting at the Town Hall for to-morrow, and told the people what I have told this House, the vast gathering would say that girls above twelve years of age should be protected. The right honorable member for Swan, who is continually attacking the Labour Party, and who says that we wish to destroy the sanctity of the home, is opposed to that. It must be remembered that it is the daughters of the workers who need protection, because the children of well-to-do people have governesses and companions to go about with them. I am not here to speak against any class. I try to represent all classes. I wish the world to become brighter and happier. I do not desire that men who are willing to work should be unable to find occupation. My duty is to better the conditions of humanity. But will Australia benefit by the continuance of this Ministry in power ? Let any member of the Ministry call a public meeting in Melbourne, and see what public opinion is here. Let the so-called head of the protectionist movement, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, do so. What was the compact into which he entered with my opponent? He knew that I- was a steadfast protectionist, having being a fellow Member of Parliament for years. In the nobility of soul, which seems to sway him when .he gets going, he did himself the injustice not to explain that my opponent was going to stay in Parliament only one year, thus permitting the construction to be made that the Prime Minister of Australia entered, into a compact with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne to delude the electors by withholding the fact that the latter would remain in politics for one year only. These men Liberals ! These men protectionists ! He, the leader of the Protectionist Party, knowing that I was a protectionist, supported my opponent. There is no man in this House with such a gift of eloquence as the honorable and learned member possesses. He can speak 1 thoughts that breathe and words that burn " to greater effect than any man in this country. For twenty-three years he has had behind him the power of the mighty Age dominated by that grand old man and gray who owns it. In season and out of season that organ has supported him ; and if he had only worked as well for protection as he has spoken, this country would have had a decent Tariff at the present time. I am speaking from no enmity to the honorable and learned member. He could have had me as a- soldier, fighting behind him, and I would have given my life to carry out any direction that he asked me to undertake. But when he was asked to do something to remove sweating, he merely said, " You cannot do it." When the abominable Gillies-Deakin Government was swept into oblivion, and a new Ministry which was put in its place was also removed, and when also the Patterson Government was turned out! of office by the present Treasurer of the Commonwealth, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, Achilles-like, sulked in his tent, and would not take office. He will not take office now, but he says that he will give the present Government his support. He supports them, knowing in his heart of hearts that the kernel and the brains of the Protectionist movement are to be found in the Opposition corner. The whole of the fighting capacity of the Protectionist Party is on this side of the House. I do not blame the present Prime Minister for taking office when he had the opportunity. He has had a hard political life before attaining to his present office. - But It is to be remarked that he has only attained to the Prime Ministership of Australia after twenty-four years of political life, and .after previously having experience as Premier of his own State. Compare his position with that of the leader of the Opposition. The present Prime Minister is the only one of the four Prime1 Ministers of Australia who had previously been Premier in his own State. Sir Edmund Barton was never a Premier in New South Wales. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat was never a Premier in Victoria. The honorable member for Bland was never a Premier; yet, whereas the Prime Minister, after twenty-four years of political experience, and after having been Premier of his own State, attains at last to the' Prime! Ministership of Australia, we find that the honorable member for Bland, as leader of the Labour Party, after only nine years of political life, was able to occupy that high office. It took the honorable' and learned member for Ballarat twenty-three years of political life, with all the splendid power of the Age behind him, to attain the Prime Ministership. He has had a career which is splendid on account of its wonderful eloquence, but there is no splendour in his record of Acts passed. There is no man in this country who has a greater power of swaying the masses at a public meeting. Yet the Acts which he has put upon the statute-book for the benefit of the people are exceedingly few. There is more to praise in the Acts of the present Prime Minister, small as they are, however, in comparison with those of the honorable member for Hume, though greater than those of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.

Mr King O'Malley - His heart is better than his head.

Mr MALONEY - His heart is good. He is a splendid fellow. He has high ideals. If he started a church, I think I would take a pew. But somehow he fails when it becomes a matter of putting Acts upon the statute-book. I have now dealt with' protection, with conciliation and arbitration, and with the White Australia policy. Those were the three cardinal points in my platform at the last election. I will now conclude!. I might apply to the present situation almost the words that were used by Cato concerning Carthage, Delenda est Carthago - Carthage must be destroyed. I say that this Ministry must be removed and destroyed ; and when we face the electors of Australia, and come back again to this Parliament, we shall' no longer have in power the present sham liberal and sham protectionist two-headed Government, which will find itself consigned to the abyss of oblivion.

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