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Friday, 30 September 1904

Mr SPEAKER - I would askthe honorable member to withdraw it.

Mr Mauger - I shall withdraw it if the remark is out of order, but I was not aware that it was so. I did not say that the honorable member was telling an untruth, but that the statement made was absolutely untrue.

Mr McCAY - I know what the honorable member means. He wishes to convey that what I have stated was not the cause of the change.

Mr Mauger - There was no change.

Mr McCAY - No change? All I can say is that some press friends of the honorable member and his associates have done them very poor service, because the alliance programme as published before the honorable member for Barker came to Melbourne, said " The Arbitration Bill as introduced, substituting Mr. Watson's amendment for Mr. McCay's amendment," ' and after the honorable member came to Melbourne, and had met the other members of the alliance, the programme said " The Arbitration Bill, as introduced, but members are to be at liberty to vote as they voted before."

Mr Mauger - That is the part that is wrong.

Mr McCAY - These are the facts as they appear from the only sources of information that we have as to honorable members' proceedings, because they do not tell us what takes place in the meetings at which they arrange all these things.

Mr Frazer - The Minister's information is unreliable.

Mr Fisher - It may be more soothing to the Minister to tell him that the facts are not as he states them.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - We have proved more than once that paragraphs in the newspapers cannot be relied on.

Mr McCAY - I would ask honorable members opposite whether ?t is not true that the alliance programme was published - I do not say the final programme, because I do not believe that we have yet seen the final programme? If they could change their number from thirty-six into thirty-seven they would again alter' their programme; and if they could change thirty-seven into thirty-eight - why, " hang the programme." The programme was published adopting "the Arbitration Bill as introduced, substituting Mr. Watson's amendment for Mr. McCay's amendment." Will honorable members opposite contradict that ? That was the position before the honorable member for Barker came to Melbourne, and I say that after he arrived here the programme provided "Arbitration Bill to be introduced, but members to be at liberty to vote as they voted before."

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Hear, hear; those a're the exact words.

Mr Mauger - The Minister is wrong in his data.

Mr McCAY - I shall be very glad if it can be shown that I am wrong. I would, however, ask honorable members why the alteration was made?

Mr Mauger - That is our business.

Mr McCAY - I shall tell the 'honorable member why it. 'was made - in order to convert thirty-five into thirty-six.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - That is absolutely incorrect.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Bourke is the last man who should interject on a question of honorable members voting as they voted before. The honorable member voted' for my amendment to limit preferences to majorities. Has he changed his vote ?


Mr McCAY - I would ask him further would he have changed his vote if he had had a chance?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I would ask the Minister to place his question upon the noticepaper.

Mr McCAY - Did the honorable member vote for an opportunity to change his vote ?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I did not get a chance. The Minister took good care of that.

Mr McCAY - Did the honorable member vote for the recommittal of the clause in order that he might have an opportunity to change his vote if he wished to ? We all know that he has changed his vote upon another matter.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Yes, upon one matter, and' I acted then in accordance with a pledge which I had given to my constituents.

Mr McCAY - Now, in regard to the majority proviso in the clause relating to preference to unionists the honorable member has sheltered himself by saying that the motion to recommit clause 48 was not in form a motion for the alteration of the provision as to a majority being required. Was it anything else in effect-

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Yes, it was a motion to eject the Government from office..

Mr Mauger - It was a plot.

Mr McCAY - Honorable members will not permit me to complete my sentence. Was it anything else in effect but a raising of the question as to whether or not clause 48 was to be altered? And would it have been anything else but that except for the extraordinary course which the Labour Administration took of making: a vital matter of a difference not much greater - according to the honorable member for Bland himself - than the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee.

Mr Fisher - The Treasurer can inform the Minister as to that fact.

Mr McCAY - I shall ask him when I sit down. Unfortunately I cannot interrupt my speech for the purpose of seeking the information.

Mr Hutchison - The Labour Government did not make the honorable member's amendment vital.

Mr McCAY - I shall come to that presently. We are not told it in so many words, but it is suggested by the Opposition that this Government need not expect any specially generous treatment from the Opposition. They have not said that thev will not give us fair play, and I am not going to suppose that they will not, but it has been suggested - to put it mildly - that we do not deserve it, because we did not treat the last Government fairly. Honorable members opposite cheer that statement. Well, I shall proceed to show what kind of treatment was meted out to the late Government. There was an amendment made in clause 48 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill which provided that preference to unionists should not be granted if there were not a majority of those concerned in favour of the preference.

Sir John Forrest - In the opinion of the Court.

Mr McCAY - Exactly. That amendment was adopted" by a majority of five votes. It has been suggested that that amendment was not discussed. Now, I have taken the trouble to look up Hansard, and I find that the amendment was announced and circulated on the evening of Thursday, the 23rd of June, and the vote was taken at 4 o'clock on the following day, Friday. I find, further, that after I had announced my amendment eight or ten honorable members spoke upon the preference clause, and no less than four of them discussed my amendment.

Mr Mauger - The fact that four honorable members out of seventy-five discussed the amendment could not be taken as prov-ing that it was generally discussed.

Mr McCAY - But there was nothing to prevent other honorable members from dis-' cussing it if they had chosen.

Mr Hutchison - Yes, there was. It was thought that it would come on for discussion again.

Mr McCAY - Well, it did come on for discussion again, and honorable members then complained, and they have been complaining ever since.

Mr Mauger - The Minister and those associated with him would not allow the clause to be discussed.

Mr McCAY - How could we prevent it from being discussed ?

Mr Mauger - By refusing to allow it to be recommitted.

Mr McCAY - We had' been talking for a week upon clause 48. I should like to direct attention to the position that was occupied by myself and other honorable members upon this side of the House in connexion with that amendment upon clause 48. According to Hansard of the 23rd of

June (page 2631), after having proposed this very amendment, I said -

I have been and still am a supporter of the Bill, and whether this provision (my proposal as to majorities) be passed or not, I shall support the measure, as it stands at present, upon the third reading. ,

That was not very hostile to the Bill. I did not make the matter a vital one. I said that I felt strongly about it, and I still feel strongly, and we shall be doing only the barest justice to the people of this country if we maintain that clause as it stands.

Mr Hutchison - The honorable and learned gentleman wished to obtain credit for being in favour of a useless Bill.

Mr McCAY - I can deal with only one matter at a time. The division was taken on the 24th June, and the amendment was carried by a majority of five, which included the honorable and learned member whom I have followed ever since I entered this Parliament - the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. I have never deserted him, anyhow.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The honorable and learned member left this side of the House.

Mr McCAY - I left that side of the Chamber when the Labour Administration walked away from this side and filled the Opposition benches. There was nowhere else for me to go. Whilst the honorable and learned member for Bendigo was addressing the House yesterday afternoon, and urging that there was no reason why the Protectionist Party should be hopelessly split into two camps, the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs interjected, " Why, there are four protectionists upon the Treasury benches." That is the trouble.

Mr Groom - No. I said that there were four protectionists following the free-trade leader.

Mr McCAY - I suppose the whole trouble originates in the fact that it is the wrong four. I am sure the honorable member thinks that there are members of the Protectionist Party who would grace the Treasury benches, but the particular four who now occupy them are most improper persons to be sitting there. He interjects that we are following the free-trade leader. Might I ask " What leader is he following?" Is he following the honorable and learned member for Indi, or the honorable member for Bland, or both? Whom is he following? I pause for a reply.

Mr Kelly - He is following the silent leader.

Mr McCAY - If he is following the exponent of golden silence, and not the honorable member for Bland, then I am following the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, and the honorable member for Gippsland, and not the right honorable member for East Sydney.

Mr Mauger - Which one?

Mr McCAY - Also I am following the Treasurer. I should be satisfied to follow any one of the three ; but when the three are associated, I am upon very good ground in following the whole of them.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is only the ragged regiment which protests.

Mr McCAY - I am not going to say anything unkind about the gentlemen with whom I have been associated for years. I trust that throughout my remarks I shall say only what is perfectly fair in political warfare. We are temporarily separated, but I believe that those honorable members who occupy the Opposition corner benches will cross to the Ministerial side of the House before long.

Mr Mauger - Hear, hear. After the elections.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member may think that they will occupy the Ministerial benches; but he has other fish to fry before that result is achieved. To return to clause 48, I have already stated the position of affairs upon the 24th June. The amendment to which I have referred was then carried by a majority of five, which included the honorable member for Riverina, who afterwards actually declared that he had been trapped into voting for it.

Mr Chanter - I say so now.

Mr McCAY - The fact is that he saw his leader, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, crossing the Chamber, and, like a good follower, he went where his leader went. He knew what the amendment meant, I presume ?

Mr Chanter - No.

Mr McCAY - Then, I would advise the honorable member to find out what he is going to vote for next time. Does he know what the alliance programme means?

Mr Chanter - Yes; there is no doubt about that.

Mr McCAY - Is he an A man or a B man? Is he on the A list of contributories, or the B list?

Mr Chanter - As far as the alliance programme is concerned, I am A to Z. There is no "ves-no" about me.

Mr McCAY - The Scriptural interpretation of from A to Z is from Genesis to Revelations. We have seen the genesis and we are waiting for the revelations, but we have been waiting a long time.

Mr Chanter - The honorable and learned member will get the revelations later on.

Mr McCAY - The more that is revealed in connexion with the alliance programme and intentions the better pleased we shall be, and the better will it be for the country.

Mr Chanter - There will be more revelations than those relating to the alliance programme.

Mr McCAY - As long as anything that is said constitutes fair political fighting, no complaint can be made upon either side. I do not propose to make any startling revelations myself, because I do not know anything startling to reveal .

Mr Mauger - Was it not agreed, in the caucus meeting held by the Liberal Party, that there should be no party lines drawn in regard to the Arbitration Bill ?

Mr McCAY - I shall come to the question of the meeting at a later stage.

Mr Mauger - Will the honorable and learned member answer my question now?

Mr McCAY - I think the honorable member will admit that I should be allowed to progress in my own way.

Mr Mauger - My reason for asking the question at this stage is that the honorable and learned member has inferred that we ought to have followed our leader.

Mr McCAY - I will say at once that there was no obligation to follow the honorable and learned member for Ballarat upon that matter, and if anything which I have said conveys that inference, I wish to correct it. There was no treachery on the part of honorable members sitting in the Opposition corner in voting as they did on the Arbitration Bill. But I ask them to extend to us the same grace, and to admit that there was no treachery on our part in acting as we did. If there was no obligation upon them - and I freely admit that to be the fact - there was no obligation upon us either. It was not a Protectionist Party question. We were free to vote as we chose upon the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and to divide as we liked upon it, because the issue as between protection and freetrade was dead for three years by the deliberate act of the honorable member himself, amongst others. Does he know the

Preferential Trade Gazette,which did such good work during the elections?

Mr Mauger - I am going to stand to it, too.

Mr McCAY - It persuaded the people of Australia to say that for three years the Tariff should not be re-opened. Yet the honorable member now wishes to re-open it in the face of the declarations contained in that publication. I regret that I am being led to say earlier in my speech than I had intended some of the things which I desired to say. But to return again to clause 48.

Mr Mauger - The honorable and learned member is getting on well.

Mr McCAY - I am doing my best in a fair way for my own side. If I do not speak for my side I shall not get honorable members opposite to do so.

Sir John Quick - The complaint is that the Minister is attacking instead of defending.

Mr McCAY - But there has been no attack upon us. If the enemy will not come into our country we have to go into the enemy's country, and sometimes it is not bad strategy to do so.

Mr Mauger - If the Minister wishes it he will get enough attacks before the debate is finished.

Mr McCAY - On the 24th June the division to which I have already referred was taken upon my amendment. The trapped honorable member for Riverina, the untrapped honorable member for Bourke, and certainly the untrapped honorable member for Barker voted for that amendment, either personally or by pair. The then Prime Minister, the honorable member for Bland, took time to consider the Government position, and on the following Tuesday announced that he would ask the Committee to reconsider its decision. That was all he said.

Sir John Forrest - He did not ask the Committee to reconsider the matter then.

Mr McCAY - No; he said that he would ask the Committee to reconsider its decision at a later stage. Then came clause 62, upon which an amendment was suggested by the honorable and learned member for Angas, and one was proposed by me, forbidding political unions to become plaintiffs under the Act. Upon that amendment an amendment was submitted at the instance of the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, and the honorable and learned member for Indi, for bidding a political character to those unions which wished to obtain a preference.

Mr Reid - Tweedledum.

Mr McCAY - No, I think there was some difference between the two proposals.

Mr Reid - It was very slight.

Mr McCAY - That amendment was carried against my views by a majority of one. Honorable members will, perhaps, recollect that that majority was in doubt until very late in the debate. They will remember the then Prime Minister, the honorable member for Bland, standing up and announcing that he would accept the spirit of the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, but that it might require some verbal alterations.

Mr Groom - He made that statement the day before the amendment was moved.

Mr McCAY - And he made it, in answer to a question by the honorable and learned member for Corio, within an hour of the time of the division being taken- I also recollect that the honorable member for Barker - -andi as all these acts took place under the public eye, I am perfectly justified in referring to them - walked over to the table and spoke to the Prime. Minister. Then the vote was taken upon the exact verbiage of the amendment, and there was no further reference to accepting merely the spirit of it. I cannot forget either the brutal frankness with which the honorable and learned member for Corio had put his question to the Prime Minister, " Is this amendment vital to the Government, because if it is I shall vote with you, but if it is not I shall vote against you ' ' ? The honorable member for Bland said very candidly - I do not see what else he could have said under the circumstances - " Oh, the amendment is vital to the Government." For that reason, presumably, the honorable and learned member for Corio, and the honorable member for Barker, after walking over to the table and speaking to the Prime Minis- .ter, voted with the Government, with the result that t\he amendment was carried by a majority of one. Subsequentlythe then Prime Minister informed a press interviewer- in Sydney that the Government also proposed to make clause 48 vital. The honorable and learned member for Corio had announced, " Make it vital, and I will support you," and apparently the honorable member for Bland thought - I do not say there was anything improper about it - that to make things vital was sometimes of use. Accordingly, he made clause 48 vital by an announcement outside the House after he had won another amendment by making it vital.

Mr Mauger - He made that clause vital to the existence of the Government prior to that, and he informed the honorable and learned member for Ballarat of the fact.

Mr McCAY - All I can say is that if that be so, the honorable member for Bland and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat kept the information to themselves. Further, I claim that any private statement of that character is not one which we are justified in seriously regarding. It is only public statements which are made in the House, or in that modern substitute for the House - the press interview - that we are entitled to regard. I did not know that the Watson Administration intended to make clause 48 vital to its existence before I saw the announcement in the public press.

Mr Tudor - Does the honorable and learned member say that that was before or after we dealt with clause 62 ?

Mr McCAY - It was after.

Mr Tudor - I say it was before.

Mr McCAY - Of course in these matters our memory may betray us, but I feel sure that I am correct. If the honorable member can show me I am wrong, I shall cheerfully withdraw the statement.

Mr Tudor - It it quite possible I shall have a word or two to say on the honorable member's conduct.

Mr McCAY - My conduct?

Mr Tudor - Yes.

Mr McCAY - I have said nothing personal since I started to speak.

Mr Tudor - I shall not be personal.

Mr McCAY - Will the honorable member favour me by telling me whether he intends to refer to my conduct in Parliament, or whether it is some of my unhappy past to which he proposes to refer?

Mr Tudor - If the honorable and learned member is present he will hear.

Mr McCAY - The misfortune is that I shall not have an opportunity to reply to any allegations which the honorable member may make about me personally.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Make a " personal explanation."

Mr McCAY - At present I am in the disadvantageous position of not knowing with what the honorable member is going to charge me, and, therefore, I can say nothing now which would entitle me' to make a personal explanation later on.

Mr Mauger - Give a press interview.

Mr McCAY - The state of affairs was as I have described, and I have shown very clearly by the extract I read that, though the Government made the question vital, I did not do so - I was not using the clause as a lever for ousting the Government. It was my intention to vote for the Bill in any case, so anxious was I to see the measure law, much as I dreaded, as I said in the same speech, the possibilities of an unrestricted preference to unionists. The then Prime Minister gave notice of recommittal, and having been told by him that he insisted on the amendment to clause 48 being rescinded, and heard the amendment he proposed to insert instead, I challenged his view at the very first opportunity. At that time, I think the word " sandbagging " was used once or twice. I must confess that I am not familiar with the ethics , or practice of "sandbagging"; I do not know what it means.

Mr Hughes - It is an ancient institution.

Mr McCAY - I ask the honorable and learned member whether "sandbagging " has anything to do with potters. At all events, I believe it has something to do with "potting." I have an impression of reading somewhere that " sandbagging " is a method used by members of the criminal classes, as a sure and silent way of knocking a man down when he is not looking.

Mr McWilliams - Without hurting him?

Mr McCAY - If it only means hitting your opponent without hurting him, there can be no complaint.

Mr Salmon - Without disfiguring him.

Mr McCAY - Then I am afraid that the Opposition do regard themselves as having been somewhat disfigured; but the light does not fall nearly so well on the other side of the Chamber as it does on the Government side. Whatever the word may mean, it is used in the sense that something unfair was done,' and that I was a party to the unfairness - not only a party, but one of the main movers. I have told honorable members what took place, and that I seized the first opportunity to challenge the Government's view. If the Bill had gone into Committee, what more would honorable members have been able to discuss than they were able to discuss in the House?

Mr Chanter - We had no opportunity to discuss the clause.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Riverina says that he had no opportunity to discuss thequestion. In the speech in which he said he had been trapped he could have discussed it. There was nothing to prevent the honorable member discussing clause 48 from A to Z - from Genesis to Revelations - although he complained that he was not able to discuss it in all its " ramifications." Every honorable member was able to discuss clause 48 in all its " ramifications," and from every conceivable point of view - to discuss the whole question of preference to unionists, the modifications of preference to unionists, the adoption of preference, and the opposition to preference. Honorable members were open to discuss the matter in whatever way they chose, and could have done no more in Committee. If we had gone into Committee honorable members opposite would not have been able, upon clause 48, to discuss the demerits of the right honorable member for East Sydney - that was the trouble. They wanted to be able to talk about the past political history of other honorable members. They wanted to be able to talk about the danger to White Australia - a danger which does not exist. They wanted to be able to talk about every subject under the sun except preference to unionists; and if we had gone into Committee they would not have been able to range over that very wide field.

Mr Chanter - Does the honorable and learned member not admit that the amendment was discussed, and a division taken when honorable members were rushing for their trains after 4 o'clock in the afternoon ?

Mr McCAY - Is there any special lack of virtue attaching to a division taken after 4 o'clock? If there is, I would suggest that the division on this motion be taken after 4 o'clock some afternoon, so that we may disregard the decision.

Mr Chanter - Never again !

Mr McCAY - Never again? No more divisions after 4 o'clock? That accounts for the fact that on the 13th August the debate was continued until after 7 o'clock, in order, I suppose, that the division' might - bevalid. However, honorable' members would have had no more chance of discussing preference to unionists in Com- . mittee than they had in the House.

They would have had a chance of supporting the then Prime Minister's amendment, proposed in lieu of that already in the Bill; but it must be remembered that the amendment in the Bill was no longer that of the honorable member for Corinella, but was the amendment of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Mr Hutchison - We could have proved in Committee that the honorable and learned member's amendment would kill the Bill.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member could have tried to prove that in the House had he chosen to do so. Everything he could have said in Committee on clause 48 he could have said in the House. Why did he not say what he had to say ?

Mr Hutchison - Because we were waiting for the Bill to be taken into Committee.

Mr McCAY - But it will be remembered that when the then Prime Minister formally moved the recommittal of the Bill I immediately moved the omission of clause 48 from the clauses it was proposed" to reconsider. Yet the honorable member says that he was waiting until the Bill was taken into Committee before he endeavoured to do what I and thirty -seven other honorable members were trying to prevent.

Mr Hutchison - We could not move an amendment until the Bill got into Committee.

Mr McCAY - We desired to have the clause as it stood, and we took a definite and undoubted position in order to show what our desire was. We took all the risks of honorable members who nearly, but not quite, agreed with the" clause asit stood. It has been said that by the means adopted we on this side got the vote of the Chairman of Committees.

Mr Reid - And why not?

Mr McCAY - Yes; why not? Does the honorable member for Yarra object to the vote of the honorable member for Laanecoorie being recorded ?

Mr Tudor - No ; I like to see the honorable member for Laanecoorie in the place where he ought to be - amongst the conservatives.

Mr McCAY - I should say that the place of the honorable member for Laanecoorie will be at the top of the poll after what he has done.

Mr Tudor - We shall see about that.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Yarra has been very busy since the change of Government, in pointing out what wickednesses there are on this side of the Chamber.

Mr Tudor - I have not said a word yet.

Mr McCAY - But the honorable member has made about three thousand interjections. The milk .of human kindness which filled his breast is all curdled. The honorable member was always regarded as one of those kind-hearted people who never think ill of anybody, but now he never seems to think any good, at any rate of us on this side; he finds there is nothing to commend in us.

Mr Tudor - We are beginning to find out the other side.

Mr McCAY - With his acute perception, the honorable member is beginning to find us out. But at present he finds us in, and we propose to continue in as long as we possibly can, not for our own sakes, but for the sake of the country we represent.

Mr Tudor - Ha! ha!

Mr McCAY - The honorable member may laugh, but he ought to know that I and others here do not depend on politics for our living - politics are hot a matter of life and death to us.

Mr Tudor - Does the honorable and learned member say that honorable members on this side depend an politics for their living?

Mr McCAY - No.

Mr Tudor - But the honorable and learned member implied it.

Mr McCAY - I do not desire to make any imputation, even by inuendo ; but when I said that we were here, not for .our benefit, but for the benefit of the country, the honorable member for Yarra laughed. That laugh is an imputation that we have personal objects to serve. That imputation I desire to refute, and in doing so I have not the slightest desire to make any imputation upon honorable members opposite. I say frankly that it is an honorable ambition for a man to become a Minister of the Crown; but I should be the last to suppose that the mere question of money consideration would animate honorable members opposite any more than it would animate honorable members, on this side. I ask the same admission from the other side that I make to them in this, as in other matters. I wish to impute nothing - I also wish to have nothing imputed ; but . what " is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." I do not know or care which side is the " goose " in the present case ; but I suppose we shall know when an appeal is made to the country, because one or the other will be "cooked."

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - It is a pity the Prime Minister does not take the same attitude.

Mr McCAY - I do not know to what the honorable member for Bourke refers, but if any of us have said anything we ought not to say, the sooner it is forgotten the better. As I was saying, honorable members could have discussed the amendment as fully as they chose in the House.

Mr Reid - And other amendments could have been suggested.

Mr McCAY - Although honorable members remind us that we secured the vote of the Chairman of Committees, they know well that the vote of the honorable member for Barker was lost to us. The honorable member stated in the House, as he stated privately over and over again, that he intended to adhere to his support of clause 48 as it stood. Honorable members opposite must have heard the honorable member for Barker make that statement.

Mr Wilson - He made it in the House.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member made the statement both publicly and privately. If the Bill had gone into Committee the voting for the Government would, instead of being thirty-eight to thirty-six, have been thirty-eight to thirty-five, and if the honorable member for Bourke had stuck to his opinion, which, he said, he never altered, the voting would have been thirty-nine to thirty-four. Absolutely no injustice whatever was done to the Watson Government.

Mr Mauger - There was the injustice that no opportunity was given to amend the clause.

Mr McCAY - I have related the facts, and I leave it to the country to say whether there was any injustice. Certain honorable members who supported the late Government charged' the then Opposition with unfairness in the course of the three or four days' debate. I have, plainly and simply narrated the facts, and I say without fear of fair contradiction, that there was absolutely no unfairness. It was the then Government who made the question vital, as, of course, they had a right to do. But were we to alter our votes on that account ?

I know that the honorable member for Corio announced that he would alter his vote if the Government regarded the proposal as vital. But I was under no obligation, moral or legal, to do so. I was sitting in direct Opposition, having followed the previous Government when it left office on a similar question. I was opposed to the Watson Government, but I was supporting the Arbitration Bill whereever I believed it ought to be supported - I was supporting practically all its provisions. I was under no obligation to change my honestly-formed opinion. I may be wrong; it may be true, as honorable members say, that the Bill as it stands, will do harm, but I did not, and I do not, think that to be the case. No honorable member was under any obligation to change his vote simply because the Watson Government made the question a vital one. The Government could only have chosen to make it vital, in order to force a decision in their favour, against the convictions of the majority of honorable members ; and I was not going to be cowed by that threat, any more than by any other threats that might be made against us in the matter. I desire now to come to the allegation that has been made, that clause 48 as it stands has wrecked the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

Mr Tudor - The Prime Minister said that it has made the Bill unworkable

Mr McCAY - That is the honorable member's 3,001st interjection. Do honorable members opposite still say that the amendment in clause 48 wrecks the Bill?

Mr Hutchison - The unions, or some of them, say that they will not register under it now.

Mr McCAY - That shows that the unions wanted to get something that the friends of the Bill never understood that the unions were wanting. It shows nothing less than that. Do honorable members opposite still stand to the statement that the amendment in clause 48 has wrecked the Bill? They will not say "Yes" to that now.

Mr Hutchison - Yes ; certainly it does.

Mr McCAY - Then I will accept their statement that the Arbitration Bill has been wrecked by the amendment in clause 48.

Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - And the honorable and learned member is the wrecker.

Mr McCAY - I am the wrecker ! Look at the signs of conscious guilt imprinted on my countenance. The honorable member for Capricornia asserts that the Bill is wrecked, and that I am the wrecker. I say in the first place that it is absolutely incorrect to say that the Bill is wrecked. My amendment means, and shows clearly that it means, that in the opinion of the Court there must be a majority asking for preference, before a preference is given. The honorable member for Bland to":d us, while Prime Minister, practically this - that ninety-nine times out of 100 his amendment and' mine meant the same thing, but not the one-hundredth time. Yesterday when the honorable and learned member for Bendigo was speaking, and quoted that remark, the honorable member for Bland, by an interjection, said, " I meant my amendment to go further than majority rule."He wanted his amendment to go further than majority rule ! Honorable members opposite profess to believe in majority rule, but in regard to preference to unionists they ask for the possibility - I do not say the certainty - of minority rule. That is what I am opposed to. I have been in a majority, and I have been ina minority. I have been sorry when I have been in a minority, but I have accepted the decision of those in the majority. I ask honorable members opposite to abide by the principle of majority rule in that way. There seem to be some honorable members - some people - who only believe in majority rule when they are in the majority. It is a fine kind of rule when you are in the majority, but when you are in the minority you have to submit to the will of the majority. I object to minority rule in industrial matters just as much as in political matters. My amendment means nothing more than that there must be a majority before there is a preference. It is bad enough for the minority then.

Mr Hutchison - It would be impossible to apply the clause in the case of the shearers.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Darling told us the other day thatfivesixths of the shearers of Australia belong to the union already. I do not know who the Judge of the Arbitration Court is tobe, but whoever he is, he will doubtless be a good man ; and if the clause says that in the opinion of the Judge, there has to be a majority before preference can be granted;. that means that he can inform his mind in any manner he chooses, as the clause specifically says; and a union that can state that it has five-sixths of the number of people engaged in an industry within its ranks will have no difficulty whatever in obtaining the opinion of the Court in its favour. This talk about polling the workers of Australia is bunkum - pure bunkum - and those who make the statement ought to know that it is so.

Mr Tudor - How is it possible to find the opinion of the majority of an industry if they are not polled?

Mr McCAY - I notice that this talk about a poll of the whole of the people in an industry of Australia comes from the direct Opposition benches. It does not come from the corner. We do not find the Liberal-Protectionist branch of this precious alliance making these allegations. We do not hear the statement from the honorable and learned member for Indi, or from the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs. Indeed, we have not heard them at all yet. Perhaps as the revolving seasons change, we may hear something from them in connexion with this matter. But suppose that the amendment means what honorable members opposite say - that there can be no preference to unionists without a poll of the workers throughout Australia in a particular industry. Does that wreck the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill?

Mr Hutchison - It makes it impracticable.

Mr McCAY - What is the central principle of conciliation and arbitration? It is the substitution of a decision of a Court of peace, for the results of a strike, which means war. It may be said that the unions have to make sacrifices in order to get it ; that may be true ; but so long as the central principle is not sacrificed, conciliation and arbitration is not wrecked. That principle remaining intact, the Bill cannot be said to be wrecked in the case to which I refer. But I say further that when we were talking about the Bill at the last election and previously we never heard a whisper about the vital importance of clause 48 as introduced. If the position contended for by honorable members opposite be true, in what position does the alliance stand? If it be true that clause 48, as it stands, wrecks the Bill, what is the situation of the members of the alliance?

Sir John Quick - Go-as-you-please !

Mr McCAY - It is worse than goasyouplease. This is the article of their programme, referring to the measure -

Conciliation and arbitration, as nearly as possible in accordance with the original Bill as introduced by the Deakin Ministry, but any member is at liberty to adhere to his voles already given.

I like to interpret general statements in the light of existing facts. The existing facts of this case are these. Leaving out of consideration the honorable member for Bourke - assuming that he changes his vote - and I am not putting that in an unpleasant way - the votes already given in Committee, with' the honorable member foi Barker voting for the clause as it stands, were thirty-eight for the clause as it stands, and thirty-five for an alteration. The alliance declare, in the article of their programme which I have quoted, that they will leave in the Bill the amendment which they say wrecks the Bill.

Mr Mauger - No.

Mr McCAY - I will quote the article again -

Conciliation and arbitration, as nearly as possible in accordance with the original Bill as introduced by the Deakin Ministry, but any member is at liberty to adhere to his votes already given.

Do honorable members expect any one of the thirty-eight members on this side of the House to alter his vote on that clause? Do they expect the honorable member for Barker to alter his vote already given on that clause? Do they expect any member who voted for the clause as it stands to alter his vote ? They dare not say they do, because they know that they cannot possibly expect it.

Mr Mauger - We expect to do what we should have done if we had gone into Committee upon the Bill - to alter the clause in a satisfactory manner.

Mr McCAY - That is not what the article of the alliance provides for - any member is at liberty to adhere to his votes already given.

I say unhesitatingly that under this article in the programme of the alliance not one honorable member who voted for the amendment will alter his vote. Surely after the two months that have elapsed since the division, and after all the conflict that there has been, every honorable member has made up his mind on this matter. We are not to delay making up our minds for ever. ] charge this alliance, under the specious guise of this kindly article of their programme, with saying in one breath, that the Bill as it stands is wrecked by the amendment made in it, and in the next breath saying, "We will leave the Bill as it stands, if we can only change thirty-five into thirtyeight." Honorable members may laugh; but that is as true as anything that ever happened in. public life. That article means nothing more nor less, when interpreted in the light of existing facts, and in accordance with the views of existing Members of this Parliament, than that they are prepared at a pinch totake the Bill as it stands, under the terms of their alliance.

Mr Mauger - Absolutely without warrant.

Mr McCAY - I only take the facts.

Mr Mauger - Pure assumption.

Mr McCAY - To expect that any honorable member who voted for the Bill as it stands will change his vote, is not pure assumption, but pure presumption. I wish now to refer to a matter about which I was challenged. On the 5th September, 1904, the Age newspaper said -

On Saturday an important stage in the negotiations between' the Liberal-Protectionist and the Labour wings of the Federal Opposition was passed. The Liberal-Protectionists met at Parliament House in the morning, and discussed the recommendations of the committees - outlined in the Age of Saturday- - and unanimously adopted them as a basis for alliance.

The recommendations are headed "The Official Proposals."

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Who were present at that meeting?


Six were present - Mr. Isaacs, who was in the chair, Sir William Lyne, Senator Styles, Mr. Groom, Mr. Mauger, and Mr. Hume Cook. Apologies for non-attendance were received from Senator Trenwith, Mr. Starrer, Mr. Wilkinson, Mr. Crouch, and Mr. Chanter. A message of sympathy was received from Sir Langdon Bonython.

By the way, that message of sympathy has never been published.

Mr Mauger - The honorable and learned member can have it.

Mr McCAY - Let us have it, then.

Mr Mauger - Certainly. It is as straightforward as the honorable member for Barker usually is.

Mr Reid - A beautiful message.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - - The honorable member for Barker says he is opposed to the present Government, any way.


The meeting lasted about two hours, and was marked by unanimity, as far as the broad lines of the proposed agreement are concerned. One or two matters were reserved for fuller discussion with the labour members to-morrow evening. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Isaacs made the following brief statement to the representatives of the press : - " I submitted the draft proposals, and the meeting approved of them as a fair basis for an alliance between the Liberal-Protectionists and the Labour Parties for the consolidation of all the liberal progressive forces of Australia. We are to meet the Labour Party next Tuesday night."

The first item in " the official proposals " for a " joint platform " reads -

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, as at present, with the substitution of Watson's amendment in preference clause for McCay's.

That was the draft as it passed the Opposition branch of the Protectionist Party. On Thursday, 8th September, the Age published this statement : -

Soon after 11.30 the Liberals entered the Labour Party room, where they were received with loud cheers. The Liberals conferring were Mr. Isaacs, Sir William Lyne - who does not grace us much with his presence

Mr Mauger - He says that he cannot stand it.

Mr McCAY - I quite believe that. It is not the style of debate for which apparently the honorable member for Hume has a preference.

Senator Trenwith,Messrs. Chanter, Groom, Hume Cook, Mauger, and Starrer. Senator Styles and Messrs. Higgins and Crouch were unable to be present. Soon after the joint conference began Sir Langdon Bonython arrived, having come straight from the Adelaide express.

Mr Mauger - That is altogether wrong.

Mr McCAY - I am quoting from the Age of Thursday, 8th September, a report of what took place on the 7 th September.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I may inform the honorable and learned gentleman that no reporters were present.

Mr McCAY - No reporters were present, and they have not told us much of what took place. Will honorable members in the corner deny that the honorable member for Barker, having been out of Melbourne for a week or so, came to a meeting when it was in progress, and that before he came the " official proposals " for a "joint platform" contained the item I. have just read, or that the article, as finally agreed upon, was in these terms : -

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill as nearly as possible in accordance with the original Bill, as introduced by the Deakin Government, but any member is at liberty to adhere to his votes already given.

Will honorable members deny that the honorable member for Barker had nothing to do with that alteration of the items ?

Mr King O'Malley - Not a thing.

Mr McCAY - Was it the Labour Party, then, that asked for the alteration? Is it the fact that the Liberal-Protectionists passed " Watson's amendment instead of McCay's," but that the Labour Party asked for liberty for members to adhere to their votes? If that is what took place I can understand the silence of the Labour Party. They are the people who are going to adopt the wrecked Bill, and not these noble patriots in the corner. So much for the wrecking of the Bill, and so much for the sincerity of those who allege that it is wrecked. Then, with a few exceptions, the Labour Party, ostentatiously, through their leader, abandoned all connected with the Bill. On the 13th September there was a division on clause 62 - the provision to which the honorable member for Bourke referred as having been cheerfully accepted by the Labour Party, and which prevented preference to political unions. I think I am correct in saying that it was the one to which he referred, and about which I asked him last night, when he said he did not remember its number.


Mr McCAY - The honorable member said that the Labour Party cheerfully accepted that amendment. The honorable member for Bland, by an interjection the other night, said that he was forced to accept that amendment, that he. only accepted it because otherwise he would have had to accept a worse one, namely, that which I proposed. That is the cheerful acceptance. They cheerfully accepted it further, when on the 13th September, the honorable member for Kennedy moved the omission of that provision from clause 62, and sixteen members of the Opposition voted with him. Only two of the cheerful acceptors on the front Opposition bench - the honorable member for Wide Bay, and the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne - stayed there, and the other cheerful acceptors in the Opposition corner cheerfully marched out of the chamber. It was the most cheerful thing I have seen for a long time. Talk of Britons taking their pleasures sadly, I never saw a more notable instance of it than that one. Some marched out at one end of the chamber, and others marched out at the other end. Sixteen of the cheerful acceptors voted against the provision which they were cheerfully accepting, and the other twenty cheerful acceptors ran away from that which they had cheerfully accepted. They were afraid of getting too cheerful; they were afraid of the cheerfulness that pervaded their ranks, taking such an ebullient form as to carry them beyond themselves, and make them say, in the height of their exultation, something more perhaps than they should. I only hope that they will accept the result of the impending division, whatever it may be, as cheerfully as they accepted that. I wish to draw attention to this fact, that there was one honorable member, at any rate with whom that was a gross breach of faith. The honorable and learned member for Corio denounced in loud voice and unmeasured terms - in more unmeasured terms than any other speaker - the preference to unionists clause; but he made a second speech later on, and this was his justification for voting with the Government at a pinch - that is, in the division in which they were defeated. Later on, the Watson Government accepted an amendment - that is the one which they cheerfully accepted - forbidding unions which were political to ask for a preference, and because of that the honorable and learned member said his chief objection was removed. Yet when the Watson Government and its friends went into Opposition, some of them proposed to strike out this guarantee, which was the only justification to the honorable and learned member for altering his vote. I have not heard him speak on that point yet.

Mr Wilks - We have not seen him for a few days.

Mr McCAY - No; there are several questions which I should have liked to ask him, had he been here to-day. For example, he is hand in hand with the Labour Party. In the alliance he is the only member who last year, in connexion with the proposed establishment of a clothing factory, said, "I abhor Socialism; this is the first step in that path, which will lead to all sorts of things." I forget his exact words, but that is the substance of what he said. Last night the honorable member for Barrier avowed openly and frankly that he is a Socialist.

Mr Mauger - Is not the honorable and learned gentleman one?

Mr McCAY - In the sense of the State ownership of the means of production, distribution, andexchange, no; and I never shall be. The honorable member for Barrier said that the further we go along that road the better. The honorable member for Bland, and the honorable and learned member for West Sydney have both said that the only reason why they cannot go the whole hog is that they cannot get the people to go with them. I do not pretend to be quoting their exact words, but that is what their statements amount to. So much for the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I now come to a question which is agitating the public mind more than any other. On the night before last the honorable member for Melbourne Ports pointed out that people must not think that clause 48 in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was the great issue before the country. He said that the whole House is practically agreed that there must be a majority asking for a preference before it is got, and the only question is as to the method by which the majority must be ascertained. He says that the majority must be asking for it. What wicked people we are to put in an amendment which says what the honorable member states !

Mr Mauger - I said that the House had agreed to such.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member is reported to have said that the whole House is practically agreed upon this. Now we come to the fiscal question.

Mr Mauger - Ah ! that is the question.

Mr McCAY - Now we come to the question of the revival of the Tariff, and the question of preferential trade. In the first place, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the time when the Tariff question was revived.

Mr McWilliams - Is the raising of the Tariff one of the terms of the alliance?

Mr Mauger - All that is to come.

Mr McCAY - I shall come to that point. When the Deakin Government - a purely protectionist one - went out of office, and a Government which was half protectionist and half free-trade came in, we heard nothing from honorable members who now sit in that corner about re-opening the Tariff, or the danger to protection in having any free-traders on the Treasury bench.

Mr Mauger - It was not evolved then.

Mr McCAY - No ; and that is just what I am coming to. The most remarkable thing is the date on which it evolved. The Watson Government was formed half of protectionists and half of free-traders. The honorable member for Bland says that that was a pure accident. So little did he think about the fiscal issue when he formed his Government, that he never stopped to considerwhether its members were protectionists or free-traders. We thought a little more about it than that.

Mr Mauger - This Government is halfandhalf.

Mr McCAY - This Government is halfandhalf designedly, as the last Government was half-and-half accidentally.

Mr Salmon - And it has a protectionist at the Custom House.

Mr McCAY - We have a protectionist at the Custom House, and that is more than the last Government had.

Mr Mauger - Which the Government would not have had, only that it was made a condition by the caucus.

Mr Mahon - Does the honorable and learned gentleman say that the labour members ever made protection versus freetrade a vital issue?

Mr McCAY - No; they never did. I ask honorable members to listen to the words of the leader of the protectionist revival on Sunday night.

Mr Mauger - Who is this?

Mr McCAY - 'The honorable member for Bland, of course. Does he not lead that side of the House? We have heard talk about others aspiring to the leadership, but we have not yet heard that it has devolved upon anybody but the honorable member for Bland.

Mr King O'Malley - He does not lead that corner; he leads these benches.

Mr McCAY - Then there is to be another coalition - another Government with two heads? On Sunday night, the honorable member for Bland said -

I am free to confess that in my view, unless there are grave anomalies, it is better that the Tariff should not be opened too frequently; but as one who has always been inclined to a protectionist Tariff -

The cause of protection is in the hands of one who is " inclined to a protectionist Tariff." We recollect the debates on the items in the Tariff. The honorable member for Bland was not always found voting with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and myself.

Mr Mauger - And the right honorable member for East Sydney was never found voting with the honorable and learned member.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member will admit that I, in the face of difficulties more than he had to contend with, voted with him all the time.

Mr Mauger - I never charged the honorable and learned gentleman with doing otherwise.

Mr McCAY - So far as agricultural implements were concerned, in spite of my having more farmers in my electorate than the honorable member had-

Mr King O'Malley - Would the Barton Government have had any Tariff but for the followers of the honorable member for Bland?

Mr McCAY - If he had been a freetrader, we might not have had a Tariff ; but he is the gentleman who is leading the' fiscal revival, and who is to re-open the Tariff for the purpose of raising duties.

Mr King O'Malley - I repeat that there would have been no Tariff had it not been for the honorable member for Bland.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Darwin, at any rate, was pretty uncertain.

Mr Mauger - He was not so uncertain as were those now on the Treasury benches.

Mr McCAY - The free-traders were never uncertain. They were consistently opposed to the imposition of protective duties. They admit now that they were beaten, and they accept their beating for the present. I do not think that the Prime Minister and the ex-Postmaster-General ever voted on opposite sides in the divisions on the Tariff.

Mr Mahon - I promise the honorable and learned member that we shall never be united again.

Mr McCAY - Has the honorable member become a protectionist ? That is indeed good news. I welcome converts to the cause, even though they be converted by propagandists in whom I have not the utmost faith. I am glad to hear that the honorable member is now a protectionist, and that his eyes have been opened to what I believe to be the true light. There are some who do not agree with me, but we have agreed to differ amicably on this question.

Mr Lonsdale - The honorable member for Coolgardie is willing to place duties on the people merely to gratify his spite against a particular individual.

Mr McCAY - To continue my quotation from the report of the speech of the honorable member for Bland -

But as one who has always been inclined to a protectionist Tariff, when matters more important to the Labour. Party's platform were not involved-

In other words, the honorable member who leads the Labour Party, and who is to lead in the protectionist revival, says, " I am inclined to the protectionist view when matters more important to the Labour Party's platform are not involved." The protectionists who have joined the alliance are in the ranks of the Opposition only because of the Tariff.

Mr Mauger - Nonsense ! Certainly not.

Mr McCAY - Then, matters which are more important to them are involved in the issue.

Mr Mauger - Most decidedly.

Mr McCAY - These are the champions of the re-opening of the Tariff ! They are using the Tariff as a stalking horse, and nothing else. There are matters involved which are more important to them than it. I ask them, then, by what right do they demand the re-opening of the Tariff, without going to the electors ? This precious alliance speaks clearly of Tariff revision without an election, or with an election, if that unfortunate result must follow - because there are honorable members opposite who are afraid that the gun which they have loaded is, after all, carrying ball cartridge instead of blank cartridge.

Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - Honorable members on this side are not afraid.

Mr McCAY - None of us is afraid to meet his own constituents, because, by the dispensation of a beneficent Providence, each thinks that he will win, though he may be doubtful about the other fellow. We all face an election with more or less cheerfulness.


Mr McCAY - I understand the tone in which the honorable member says "mostly less," and under the circumstances I do not blame him.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I have never had a walk-over, as the honorable and learned member has had.

Mr McCAY - I have had one, but I am told that I shall never have another. I have also, like the honorable member, had my defeats.


Mr McCAY - The honorable member has had only one opportunity to be beaten. I ask every member of the Opposition branch of the Protectionist Party whether he did not expressly or impliedly bind himself to fiscal peace, and no Tariff reopening for the remainder of the book-keeping period ?

Mr Chanter - I never mentioned the book-keeping period.

Mr McCAY - What did the honorable member mention ? Did he say, " During the life-time of the coming Parliament " ? The honorable member had the honorable and learned member for Ballarat in his district to support him. Was he not, therefore, subscribing to the programme of the honorable and learned member, ,who had declared, in no unmistakable terms, that the Tariff was not to be re-opened during the Parliament of 1903-6? The bookkeeping period expires in October, 1906, five years after the imposition of a uniform Tariff, which is the time when the reopening of the Tariff might fairly be suggested. It was the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs who, when speaking on the Address-in-Reply, noted the coincidence, and it was he who stated that the people had said definitely, and that the State of Queensland, for one, had declared absolutely, that there should be no reopening of the Tariff during the bookkeeping period. There was not an honorable member on that side but said or agreed without reservation that the Tariff should remain untouched during the life-time of the approaching Parliament.

Mr Mauger - Surely we said that because we believed it to be best in the interests of the industries concerned?

Mr McCAY - Because we believed it to be best in the interests of protection. The honorable member was reported in the Argus the other day to have said that, although he did not like the Tariff, it was to be at rest for five or six years, and he was glad of it.

Mr Mauger - I did not say that.

Mr McCAY - If the honorable member did not say it, we have another to add to the numerous instances of mis-reporting of which we have heard so much. We protectionists pledged ourselves, bad as we thought the Tariff to be in many respects, to leave it alone, and to fight those who wished to re-open it for the purpose of reducing duties. This has been spoken of as though it were a battle between the two parties in which the victors named their terms ; but it was nothing of the kind. The two contending parties went to the Arbitration Court - the people of Australia - and obtained an award, and now those in whose favour the award was given - not those against whom the matter was decided - wish to re-open, it without going back to the Court. They have no right to do so. If we protectionists believed that the

Tariff should be re-opened in order to do justice, the first thing we should demand is a dissolution and a general election, in order to obtain a fresh mandate from the people on the subject. The re-opening of the Tariff was suggested iri this House for the first time on the 20th July by the giving of the following, notice of motion by the honorable member for Bourke : -

That, in the opinion of this House, the existing Customs Tariff is unscientific in its operation and mischievous in its effects; and that, with a special view to the promotion of the agricultural and manufacturing industries and the more settled employment of all classes of workers, a readjustment of its incidence on some of its leading lines is highly desirable.

That motion first appeared on the noticepaper on the 26th July, when the Watson Administration had been beaten on clause 48, and had just succeeded in carrying, by a single vote, the amendment in clause 62 which was taken in preference to mine. They had also been beaten on their proposal to include the navigation clauses in the Arbitration Bill. It was then recognised that the Bill would probably go through this House in the form in which it stood at the time, and the line of cleavage between honorable members in reference to it had become apparent. The Watson Government had also declared that they would make the re-amendment of clause 48 vital to their existence. That was when we first heard of the re-opening of the Tariff.-

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - It was a pure accident that the notice of motion first appeared then.

Mr McCAY - Whatever view we may take of the question, as free-traders or protectionists. I, as a protectionist, say that a great cause has been prostituted for party purposes by honorable members who wish to go behind the decision of their own Arbitration Court - the people of Australia. The day upon which the honorable member for Bland gave notice of his motion of want of confidence, the honorable and learned member for Indi immediately beforehand gave notice of a motion for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the operation of the Tariff on specific lines. He gave notice of that motion on a Thursday, and had it set down on the business-paper for the following day, namely, Friday. Now, private members' business is taken on Thursday*. A private member can, under ordinary circumstances, if he gives notice of a motion for a Thursday a good way ahead, have it discussed, so that the result of putting the motion of which I am speaking down for a Friday, is that it appears manfully on the notice-paper week after week, in a position where it cannot be reached, except with the good will of every member of the House. That shows the genuineness of the honorable and learned member's action. That notice of motion was accompanied by a notice of motion given by the honorable member for Boothby, for a Royal Commission to inquire into the tobacco monopoly. Was that a bond fide way to raise the question? The Government have said what they propose to do. They are prepared to abide by the decision of the Arbitration Court - the people of Australia - that the Tariff is not to be re-opened during the present Parliament. But as the Prime Minister has declared, protectionists and free-traders alike are prepared to make the fullest inquiry into the operation of the Tariff. We do not desire a Commission which will sit indefinitely, and postpone the consideration of the question for ever. That is not the object of the Government. We recognise that, some1 time or other, the Tariff question will re-arise in an active form, and that honorable members must sooner or later range themselves as protectionists or free-traders.

Mr Chanter - What will the Yes-No Government do then?

Mr McCAY - The Government will do whatever honest conduct requires under the circumstances. We have, up to the present, shown our desire to act honestly. We are prepared to appoint a Royal Commission for the consideration of every complaint that may be submitted on behalf of any industry. We shall not confine the investigation of the Commission to the position of a few favoured industries which a majority of honorable members may select; we are prepared to consider the complaints of every industry affected by the Tariff. It must be remembered that the inquiry will have to extend over the whole of Australia.

Mr Mauger - Spread it about.

Mr McCAY - We cannot inquire into the position of Victorian industries alone, though some honorable members would like the investigation to be so confined.

Mr Mauger - We desire to have the remedy as quickly as possible.

Mr McCAY - Victorian and protectionist as I am, I shall not show myself as provincial as that.

Mr Groom - No one has suggested it.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Melbourne Ports impliedly suggested it. No doubt each side believes that the inquiry will prove its case, but neither side will have ground to complain of the investigation.

Mr Groom - Will action be taken on the inquiry ?

Mr McCAY - When the inquiry has been made, there will be another party entitled to consider its results - the people of Australia. We must have a dissolution and an election upon the question of Tariff revision before we meddle with the Tariff. That should be the main question at the elections, which will come sooner or later.

Mr Chanter - The sooner the better.

Mr McCAY - The noble courage of words is always easily displayed. The honorable member yearns for a dissolution. I venture to say that most honorable members being merely human, however willingly they may face a dissolution, do not yearn for it. The yearning is confined to a few altruistic breasts. The honorable member, I am afraid, has acquired a vitiated taste for a series of elections. Can anything be fairer than the position I have stated ? I quarrel with the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Indi in its details. He proposes : -

That a Royal Commission, consisting of Members of Parliament, selected by the respective Houses, should be at once appointed to inquire and report as to the injurious effect produced by the present Tariff upon certain Australian industries, which are to be specifically referred to such Commission after determination by this House.

Personally, I should prefer to see the Commission composed of gentlemen who are not Members of Parliament. Take myself as an illustration-

Mr SPEAKER - The Minister appears to me to be proceeding to discuss a matter regarding which a notice of motion appears upon the paper. I would ask him not to do that. I have permitted him to refer incidentally to the subject for a certain time, and he may continue to follow that course, but if he proceeds to discuss the proposal contained in the motion, he will be out of order.

Mr McCAY - I must apologize if I have transgressed. It is difficult to know where to draw the line in these matters. I shall not pursue the subject any further than to say that any Commission might as well be composed of those who are not committed by their public utterances .to a partisan view.

Mr Mauger - Where can they be found ?

Mr McCAY - How could a strongly protectionist member, for instance, come to the conclusion that an industry was being injured by protection; or how could a strong free-trader come to the conclusion that it was not being injured by protection? Both these men would have pledged themselves to their constituents to pursue a certain policy. In fact, we are all presumed to have investigated the matter already, and to have arrived at a conclusion.

Mr Mauger - How are we to select the members of the Commission ? Where are we to find unprejudiced men?

Mr McCAY - I admit that the Commission must be composed of an equal number of representatives of both sides ; but I think it is obvious that Members of Parliament are - if I may so express it - less open than are others to change their opinions. However, the matter is not a vital one, and I am merely stating my own personal view. I say, further, that it shoud be open to those engaged in any industry who may feel that they are being injured, to make their representations to the Commission. The investigation should not. be restricted to those industries which are included in a selected list. The honorable and learned member for Hume is like the man in the comic opera. He has " a little list " of twelve or thirteen industries which are to be made the subject of inquiry, but I ask why the Commission should restrict its investigations in the manner proposed ? The Government offered what was indicated long before the alliance suggested it, because I-

Mr Mauger - It was indicated before the Minister said anything about it.

Mr McCAY - Yes ; I believe it was first mentioned privately by the honorable member for Echuca.

Mr Mauger - No. It was first indicated at a meeting held in Melbourne.

Mr McCAY - The point is that one who happens to be a member of the present Administration indicated it before the alliance mentioned it. I suggested in a report, published in the Age of 16th August, that there should be a Tariff Commission, and I am still of that opinion, and my colleagues hold the same view. That is all that honorable members opposite ask, except that the report must be in by next session, and action must be taken at once. If a general election intervenes, and the public see what is in the report, and approve of it, I have no objection to immediate action being taken.

Mr Page - Why did not the Prime Minister say that in his speech in this House ?

Mr McCAY - He said it at Ballarat last Monday night. I do not wish to refer to myself, but I directed .attention to this matter on the 16th August.

Mr Mauger - Not as part of the Ministerial programme.

Mr McCAY - But surely the honorable member, knowing that I had expressed that opinion before I joined the Cabinet, might take it for granted that I would press it upon the Government. Are the Government to be confined to the items contained in their policy speech? Are they not to be allowed to frame any further policy, or to add anything to their original programme? The Government must be judged by their action under circumstances as they arise. I have indicated the Government proposal, which I regard as a perfectly fair one.

Mr Mauger - It is ineffective.

Mr McCAY - I would direct attention to the fact that it offers more than does the alliance programme. The alliance programme - I do not know whether this free to-do-as-you-like provision applies to the Royal Commission - provides -

A Royal Commission to be at once appointed to inquire into the necessity for Tariff legislation ; personnel to be approved by Parliament; Commission to report in sufficient time to enable any desired legislation to be introduced next session.

If there is a general election in between, and the people approve of the report of the Commission there will be no cause for complaint; but until the protectionists and free-traders of Australia have had an opportunity to say whether or not they believe in altering the Tariff we have no right to touch it. ,

Mr Mauger - And in the meantime men and women may be allowed to starve.

Mr McCAY - That is an unfair interjection.

Mr Mauger - That is the fact. Men are starving, and the Minister ought to know it.

Mr McLean - And the electors are to accept the decision of a few people in Melbourne.

Mr McCAY - The electors have spoken, and the Government propose to abide by their decision, but I am perfectly willing to give them a chance of altering their opinion as soon as possible.

Mr Mauger - And a number of engineers may go begging for work in the meantime.

Mr McCAY - I think that the honorable member is interjecting most unfairly, because he is implying a callousness to suffering on my part, which he knows does not exist.

Mr Mauger - I do not impute that personally, and if the .Minister takes that view, I shall withdraw my remark.

Mr McCAY - Now, in regard to preferential trade, a proposal is on the noticepaper in the name of the honorable member for Hume -

That in the opinion of this House, negotiations should be opened without delay with the Imperial Government, with a view to, if possible, establishing preference in trade between Great Britain and Australia.

The honorable and learned member for Indi, in the course of an interview, has gone one better than that. He says - " We must pass an Act at once, describing exactly what preferences are to be given." He says that what is proposed by the honorable member for Hume is not enough, and the old rivalry between those two hon;orable members goes on apace. It is quite interesting to watch their eagerness to outdo each other in promoting the welfare of the community. My view of this matter has been, and is still - and I venture to hope that it has some authority - that a fair opportunity should be afforded to ascertain the view of this House on the question of preferential trade. I feel quite satisfied that if any honorable member prominently identified with the question were to ask for an opportunity for a discussion in the House upon the subject, in order that our views may be communicated to the people of Great Britain, the Cabinet would do their best to grant the request-

Mr Mauger - We want more than an opportunity.

Mr McCAY - I do not know what some honorable members want. I am suggesting that an opportunity should be afforded for discussing the matter in this House; but honorable members opposite do not want that. They wish the matter to be discussel by the joint party at an early date. What are they going to decide? I can imagine the honorable member for Maranoa cheering the views of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports on the subject of raising the Customs duties against the foreigner, in order to enable us to give a preference to Great Britain. Surely the proper place to discuss this subject is not at a secret meeting of the joint party on the Opposition side, but in this House, where all members will have an opportunity to con sider the matter. If honorable members opposite came into office to-morrow, would preferential trade be a plank of their platform, or an open question?

Mr Frazer - We do not say that it is a plank of our platform.

Mr McCAY - No, and if I am not mistaken, the honorable member in his speech upon the Address-in-Reply made some remarks that were not at all friendly to preferential trade. Did he not say, " What is the good of talking about preferential trade until our own people have been provided for," or something of that sort. I suppose that he is not going to change 'his opinion.

Mr Frazer - My opinion is the same now as then.

Mr McCAY - The joint party will leave preferential trade an open question.

Mr Wilks - Do not call them the joint party, call them the dishcloth party.

Mr McCAY - I call them the alliance party - the great Victorian alliance. I think that in view of the statements being made at home, it is only fair that this House should have an opportunity to express its views upon preferenial trade, and I have no objection to that opportunity being afforded in a reasonable way.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What responsibility will the Government take?

Mr McCAY - Honorable members must know that members of the Government take different views as to what should be done in this matter, just as honorable members opposite do. Honorable members are divided upon certain clauses in the Arbitration Bill, and any Cabinet composed of free-traders and protectionists must hold differing views upon such a subject as preferential trade. Any Cabinet that might be formed of honorable members from the Opposition benches would also hold differing views, and upon that question would be, to all intents and purposes, a coalition Cabinet. There is one other matter connected with. the fiscal issue to which I desire to refer, and that is the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. ' As has already been announced, that is left an open question by this Government. The protectionist members upon this side are free to vote as they think best, and the freetraders are at liberty to exercise their own discretion. This question is also practically an open one with honorable members opposite. I shall read the article in the alliance programme : -

Iron Bonus Bill - every member to have freedom of action as to method of control.

Mr Mauger - Yes, as to the method.

Mr McCAY - I desire to interpret the general statement in the light of existing facts. Do honorable members know why the Bill is not law at the present time? Do they know who is. responsible for the fact that we have not a Manufactures Encouragement Act ?

Mr Crouch - I say the free-traders.

Mr McCAY - Who moved that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, in order to prevent its becoming law ? - the honorable member for Bland.

Mr Crouch - That was not the object.

Mr McCAY - Will the honorable and learned member be good enough to restrict his energies to the production of letters which he says will prove certain statements hehas made regarding the Prime Minister having been guilty of "cooking" the public accounts of New South Wales. The honorable and learned member had better keep quiet until he has done that. The honorable and learned member said that he had letters which would prove his charge that the Prime Minister had " cooked " the public accounts, and undertook to produce them, but he has not redeemed his promise. This is the honorable member who says that he abhors Socialism, and everything connected with it. He even opposed the establishment of a Government clothing factory, because he held that it constituted the introduction of Socialism, and yet he is now allied with the Socialist Party. When the Prime Minister read letters from the members of the Committee - from Mr. T. A. Dibbs and others - he interjected that he had a letter over Mr. Dibbs' signature, in which it was stated that the accounts of the Prime Minister were " cooked." He was challenged to produce it, but he has not done so. I do not believe that he has it. Instead, he produced a letter in which there was the following postscript: -

The finding of the Committee was adverse to Mr. Reid.

Is that the statement that the accounts were "cooked?" The honorable and learned member had better look after the mote which is in his own eye before he searches for the beam that is in his brother's eye.

Mr Crouch - The Minister does not want to hear the truth, anyhow.

Mr McCAY - I do ; but I am not always sure that I shall hear it from the source from which it is offered. I challenge the honorable and learned member to produce the letter bearing Mr. Dibbs' signature, in which the Prime Minister is charged with having "cooked " the public accounts. That is all I ask him to do.

Mr Crouch - Why this heat when I tell the Minister that the free-trade leader of the present Government voted against the Manufactures Encouragement Bill?

Mr McCAY - I ask whose fault it was that that Bill did not become law? If the protectionists in the Labour Party had voted with the protectionists outside of it, that measure would have been law to-day. It is because the protectionists of the Labour Party joined with the Free-trade Party in this House to shelve that Bill that it is not already upon the statute-book. The freetraders voted against it. The honorable member for Bourke has told us that it is no longer an open question with honorable members upon the Opposition side of the House. Does the honorable member for Maranoa recollect talking about " barefaced robbery."

Mr Page - I say so to-day.

Mr McCAY - I thought it was no longer an open question. The only reason why the Manufactures Encouragement Bill is not law to-day is that the protectionist members of the Labour Party joined with the free-traders to shelve it. Had they remained true to the protectionist view that that measure was a good one, it would have been placed upon the statute-book. The Bill is an open question with this Government; but Ministers have offered to provide time for its discussion. Then if there is a majority in its favour, it will become law.

Mr Crouch - I think that the Minister

Mr McCAY - If the honorable and learned member will allow me to proceed upon my own wandering course, instead of confining me to the paths which he thinks that I should follow-

Mr Crouch - Do not! make misstatements.

Mr McCAY - I will not, if I can avoid it. According to the alliance programme, every member of it is to have "freedom of action as to method of control " in respect of the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. What does that mean ? That once more we shall have the question raised as to whether a bounty shall be paid upon the production of iron, or whether State iron works shall be established, and once more the socialistic party will vote in favour of nationalizing the industry. Consequently we may again have the free-traders voting with them to destroy the Bill, because there is no State that is likely to establish such WOrks. That is the joint action suggested by the alliance. I say that the proposal of the Government to allow the matter to be discussed, and to ascertain whether honorable members are willing to stand by their views1 - to support the Bill or oppose it - is infinitely better than the half-and-half proposals in the alliance programme. I wish now to say a few words regarding one or two articles in that programme. Article 3 states that each' member of the alliance is to use his influence individually and collectively with its organizations and supporters, to secure support for and immunity from opposition to members of either party during the currency of the_alliance, which is for this Parliament and the next. Upon Sunday evening last the honorable member for Bland, in addressing a meeting at the Queen's Hall, said -

We are, it is true, bound to use our influence t-j prevent opposition by our party to those who are allied with us. But is not that right? Would I not be false to my principles if I believed a nian to bc helping us and did not use my influence with my party to secure him from opposition? But that does" not prevent us using our influence i 1 favour of any man whom the organizations may decide to bring forward.

In last week's Tocsin, too, I read a signed article by Mr. Anstey, M.L.A., in which he expressed a very decided view as to what the labour organizations would do. I also read a speech delivered by Mr. Scott Bennett some ten days ago at Ballarat, in which he expressed very pronounced opinions as to what the Victorian Labour Party would do. The honorable member for Bland was unable to promise that his organizations would give the support that ought to be extended to every member of any decent alliance. He had not the authority to make that promise. Of course it may- happen that a leader who has authority to make a promise may make it and afterwards find that those for whom he has spoken, will not back him up. But in this case, the leader of the Labour Party had no authority to make a promise, and he owns it. Mr. Scott Bennett, M.L.A., says -

He would leave the party and sink once more into private life, and sacrifice the position he held at the present time rather than lose his principles by mixing with such a gang-

He does not call it an alliance.

Mr Page - He is only one man. I have heard the honorable and learned member called a " robber," but I do not think that he is one.

Mr Tudor - His colleagues have called him that.

Mr McCAY - I remember the honorable member for Coolgardie saying something to that effect.

Mr Mahon - I defy the Minister to produce the statement.

Mr McCAY - I remember one occasion upon which thirty-nine honorable members voted for the imposition of a duty, and twenty-five against it, and the honorable member said, " It only requires one more to make up forty thieves."

Mr Tudor - No. That statement was made after a division upon a no-confidence motion.

Mr Mahon - I can produce a statement by the Minister's own leader, in which he designated the protectionists "plunderers."

Mr McCAY - That is quite possible. But there are honorable members upon the other side of the Chamber who have said exactly the same. What I have said was in reply to the honorable member for Yarra. I have not uttered a single word in regard to that sort of thing during the whole morning, unless I have first been challenegd by honorable members opposite. I am aware that free-traders have spoken of protectionists in unmeasured terms. They believe that a protective policy is so wrong that certain results will follow its operation. But in making those statements they do not reflect upon the personal integrity of protectionists.

Mr Mauger - They go very close to it.

Mr Tudor - Here is the Hansard report bearing upon the remark of the honorable member for Coolgardie, to which reference has been made.

Mr McCAY - I see that the honorable member's statement in regard to it was quite correct. The remark in question was made upon a no-confidence motion.

Mr Crouch - The Minister was wrong again. "

Mr McCAY - If that remark satisfies the honorable and learned member I am content. I wish now to say a word or two in reference to the question of old-age pensions. In .the Labour Party's platform this plank is summed up in three words, namely, "old-age pensions." I do not see it mentioned in the alliance programme which was published in the Age on the 5th September. Honorable members who occupy seats in the Opposition corner did' not think the matter of sufficient importance to include it in the draft programme of thealliance.

Mr Mauger - That was a printer's error.

Mr McCAY - We have been attacked because the Prime Minister omitted to mention old-age pensions in his declaration of policy, and yet the Liberal- Protectionists in Opposition did not include it in their draft programme. In the programme of the alliance, however, as finally agreed to, I find the following: -

Old-age pensions upon a basis fair and equitable to the several States and to individuals.

As 1 have previously stated, the platform of the Labour Party merely contains the words " old-age pensions." The honorable member for Bland says that, irrespective of whether or not the States agree to it, the alliance will adopt a scheme of old-age pensions. I should like to ask whether the words " fair and equitable to the several States and to individuals " were inserted before or after the honorable member for Barker came to Melbourne?

Mr Mauger - He had absolutely nothing whatever to do with it.

Mr McCAY - He had something to do with the other matter.

Mr Mauger - The Minister is wrong again.

Mr McCAY - I do not think so. What do the words " upon a basis fair and equitable to the several States and to individuals " mean. They can only mean that the States must agree to some arrangement by which pensions shall be granted. Otherwise the scheme will not come into operation. The only alternative is for the Commonwealth Government to impose direct taxation. For my own part I say frankly that I cannot agree to Federal direct taxation. At the present time the taxpayer finds the Federal authority putting its hand into his right breeches pocket, and the State authority putting its hand into his left breeches pocket. This proposal, therefore, means that the Federal authority shall assist the State authorities in further raiding the taxpayer's left breeches pocket. It means that there must be a Federal, as well as a State, land tax.

Mr Mauger - That is the Minister's way of putting it.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member cannot suggestany way of raising the money required for the payment of old-age pensions, except by arrangement with the States. We certainly cannot take it out of our one-fourth of the Customs and Excise revenue.

Mr King O'Malley - We shall take a portion of it out of the profits derived from the establishment of a State tobacco monopoly.

Mr McCAY - I would remind the honorable member that the establishment of such a monopoly means that we shall lose the whole of the revenue at present collected by the excise upon tobacco. There will not be a large profit left after that revenue has been deducted. I can imagine the outcry which would be raised by the public if the State proposed to make a profit upon a pound of tobacco as large as is the excise duty at the present time. The question would immediately be asked, " Where is our cheap tobacco? Why do you not give us the benefit accruing from your assumption of ownership by reducing the price?" If honorable members think that there will be bigger profit from this source than the excise, I venture to say they take a view different from that of the ordinary elector. I want to refer to one other condition of the alliance as follows: -

Any member of the Parliament who agrees to this alliance may, subject to the approval of both parties, be admitted to it. " Subject to the approval of both parties" ! Before an honorable member can join the Opposition (branch of. the Protectionist Party, he has to get the consent of the Labour Party.

Mr Mahon - That is not correct.

Mr McCAY - I have just read the terms of the alliance.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - And if a labour representative wishes to join, he has to get the consent of the Protectionist Party.

Mr McCAY - That is equally ridiculous. Each party is to retain its separate identity ; but there are to be pariahs or outcasts, who will not, under any circumstances, be admitted to either party, the other party objecting.

Mr Mauger - That provision was made in case the honorable member for Wilmot should apply.

Mr McCAY - I should have thought that any honorable member who was prepared to accept the programme of the alliance, and whose personal character justified his being associated with other people, would have been welcome. But the Opposition are getting too particular; and I suppose that the four wicked protectionists who have ventured to take their seats on the Ministerial benches would not be admitted to the alliance. What does it mean ?

Mr Groom - Let the honorable and learned member make application himself.

Mr McCAY - I do not propose to make application. I have taken my side, and there I am prepared to stand. I have never changed my vote from one side to the other because I was afraid something might happen, and I do not propose to be guilty of such conduct now. In reference to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, I see that thirty voted for the appointment of a select committee, or, in other words, for State ownership, and fifteen against; and amongst those who voted with the majority were the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Bourke. But what about honorable members who did not vote in that direction? What about the honorable and learned member for Indi, who voted for the Bill? What about the stand which that honorable and learned member took in regard to the inclusion of railway servants under the Arbitration Bill ? We on this side have been taunted because we accepted that Bill containing a public service clause; but I opposed that clause because I believed it to be unconstitutional. The honorable and learned member for Indi, however, would not, say whether the clause was or was not constitutional, but he characterized the provision as in the highest degree inexpedient.

Mr Mauger - The honorable and learned member for Indi did not say that the clause was unconstitutional.

Mr McCAY - The honorable and learned member for Indi would not say whether it was or was not constitutional ; but he did say that it was in the highest degree Inexpedient and most improper to have such a clause in the Bill. That honor - able and learned member has more 'difficulty in swallowing a clause of that kind than have some honorable members who believe the clause to be unconstitutional, and who are satisfied that the High Court will so decide.

Mr Mauger - Expediency is variable,

Mr McCAY - Obviously, and it varies with great rapidity .sometimes. Expediency varied in the alliance programme between the 5th and the 8th September, and it will probably vary between the 29th September and the 1st October if circumstances justify the variation. I find I have far exceeded the time limit I gave myself, but I wish to say, in conclusion, that, with other honorable members on. this side, I have been subject during the last six weeks to a great deal of abuse. For example, I have been taunted with having personal motives - taunted not by one member but by a score. I have drawn attention to the fact that before a division was taken on Te 23rd June, I announced that, win or lose, I should support the Arbitration Bill. I am afraid that some honorable members must have forgotten that announcement; but I may say that when I made it, I meant to abide by it. I should have supported the Bill whatever the result, but, naturally, I preferred a Bill in the form which I believed to be the best. Honorable members on this side have also had to submit to the taunt of " sand-bagging," and of having been guilty of unfair play. I have endeavoured to fairly state the facts which led up to the division when the Watson Government went out of office ; and I venture to say that the electors, when they consider those facts impartially, will fully absolve every honorable member on this side, and, I admit, every honorable member on the other side, from having done anything unfair or politically improper. We differed extremely on a point of considerable importance - that is, at first ; but subsequently, owing to the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Bland being in his view nearly the same as my own, we differed very little. I did not know, and I do not know now, why the Watson Government made the matter vital. I can think of only one reason, namely, that they feared the ' amendment they had agreed to had gone too far, and they felt, from their point of view, that they must take a stand, because the preference to unionists amendment, relating to political objects, was one the unions did not approve. But whatever their reason - and I do not ascribe wrong motives of any kind - it is only fair that those charges of " sandbagging and unfair or improper conduct should cease. If I have said a single word in the course of ray speech which ascribes any improper motives or conduct to any honorable member, I have to express 'my regret. I spoke more warmly when referring to the honorable and learned member for Corio than perhaps I should have done on another occasion. L can only say that the honorable and learned member promised to produce a letter in this House, and for that letter I wait. Before I sit down, I should like to refer to the split in the Protectionist Party. It has been suggested that the protectionists who now sit on the Government side are responsible for the split. In the Melbourne Age of Thursday, nth August - which was a day or two before the vote was given which put out the Watson Government, there appeared the following: -

We are requested -

I did not make any request, nor I think did any honorable member on this side. to announce that as the result of much consideration of the political situation it has been decided by the Liberal-Protectionist members of the House of Representatives now sitting in the Opposition corner to form, at the earliest moment, consistent with efficiency, a new Liberal progressive organization. Progressive legislation of a cautious but thoroughly democratic character of protection is, it is stated, to be the main objective of the new body. The decision arrived at has no relation to the immediate crisis. Whether Mr. Reid form a Government, or the Watson Ministry obtain a dissolution, the new organization is to be set going.

I should like to ask if the honorable and learned member for Ballarat communicated that information?

Mr Mauger - The honorable and learned member for Ballarat knew all about it.

Mr McCAY - The paragraph proceeds -

It will fight for its principles in the House of Representatives and on the platform and in the country, no matter what stop-gap Government occupies the Treasury benches.

The words " stop-gap Government " indicate the nature of the communication. It was known what the division list would be - it was known that the Watson Government would be beaten by two votes. The next day there is a further reference in the Melbourne Age, headed " Meeting of Liberal Protectionists," as follows: -

The solidarity of the Liberal-Protectionist Party in the House of Representatives, and its determination to maintain its identity and usefulness, despite the extraordinary attitude of Mr. Deakin, was eagerly discussed by members and their acquaintance in the lobbies last evening. that was the gentleman who knew all about it.

Mr Salmon - Did he give that information ?

Mr McCAY - I suppose he did.

Mr Mauger - He knew all about it.

Mr McCAY - The paragraph goes on -

Labour members frankly say that the continued existence of this party will do more to denude labour politics of unelastic caucus rule - it is looking like it ! and fiscal atheism - it looks like it ! than a dozen speeches of the character of that delivered by Mr. Deakin at Ballarat nearly a fortnight ago.

I suppose the honorable and learned member gave that information to the press -

As soon as the present crisis is over the party will meet -

What party ? whether the outcome of events be a Reid Government or a dissolution - and formulate a policy for submission to the country, together with a plan of campaign. The members who are expected to attend the meeting include the following : - Sir William Lyne, Mr. Isaacs, Sir Langdon Bonython, Mr. Chanter, Mr. Crouch, Mr. L. E. Groom, Mr. Higgins, Mr. Mauger, Mr. Storrer, and Mr. Wilkinson.

Who gave that information? Was it the honorable and learned member for Ballarat ? That happened on the Thursday, and was reported on the Friday, and in the Age of the following Saturday this appeared -

The Liberal-Protectionist Party, as an effective, engine of fiscal truth and progressive legislation, stands in danger of being temporarily, if not permanently, split by yesterday's division in the House of Representatives. It was announced in the Age yesterday that the LiberalProtectionists who were supporting the Government - the Watson Government - were determined to maintain their solidarity and independence of both the Reid and the official Labour Party. they are maintaining it now -

It was announced that a meeting would be held soon after the immediate crisis was over, at which the attitude of the radical wing - " the radical wing " ! of the protectionist members' would be defined, and the policy and plan of campaign considered.

The names mentioned are, I believe, the same as those in the list I previously read, though there may be one or two less -

Amongst the members named as being expected to attend this meeting were Sir William Lyne, Mr. Isaacs, Mr. Chanter, Sir Langdon Bonython, Mr. Higgins, Mr. Mauger, Mr. L. E. Groom, Mr. Starrer, Mr. Wilkinson, and Mr. Crouch. ... A counter move, however, has been taken by those Liberal-Protectionists who favour a Coalition Ministry headed by Mr. Reid, and yet declare that they preserve their fiscal faith unimpaired. Mr. Chapman, ex-Minister of Defence, was its author. The. counter move took the form of a kind of round robin, which was signed by Sir George Turner, Sir John Quick, and Messrs. Ewing, Chapman, Harper, Kennedy, McCay, McColl, McLean, Phillips, and Salmon, and presented to Mr. Deakin yesterday afternoon.

Mr Harper - I never heard of this before.

Mr McCAY - As a matter of fact, there was not any signed document. Honorable members on this side were asked if they still had faith in the honorable and learned member for Ballarat as leader, and they said that they had ; and the fact was communicated to the honorable and learned member in writing.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What is the difference?

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Bourke is charging me with having said something which is incorrect, and apparently will not allow me to say what did happen. I do not say that there is any difference; I am only answering an anticipatory charge of making an incorrect statement.

Mr McLean - Who took action first ?

Mr Mauger - The honorable member for Gippsland in joining the Government.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - We had taken no action at that time.

Mr McCAY - Those events happened on the Wednesday and Thursday, and were reported on the Friday, and the statements could not have appeared in the Age unless there was some fire.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I say that no meeting was held until the 17th August.

Mr McCAY - I know that. A meeting of the Protectionist Party sitting in the corner was held long before any members of the Protectionist Party on this side of the House held any meeting.

Mr Mauger - The protectionists on that side have not yet had a meeting.

Mr McCAY - No, we have not ; but we have not formed an exclusive section of the party, and arrogated to ourselves the whole of the righteousness of the party.

Mr Mauger - The honorable and learned member ran away from the party.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The honorable and learned member had an intimation from the honorable and learned member for Ballarat as to where he stood long before we did anything officially.

Mr McCAY - Honorable members who were going to vote for the Watson Government did something - I do not know what.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - They did not do anything officially.

Mr McCAY - It is the poorest of shields to say that nothing was done officially.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - They held no meeting.

Mr McCAY - What was done was done officially, or no newspaper would have contained such statements as those I have read.

Mr Harper - The statements in the newspapers are correct.

Mr Kennedy - They were never contradicted.

Mr McCAY - What was done was to ask the protectionists on this side whether they had faith in the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, and they replied in the affirmative. In whom had we faith except in the honorable and learned member? Had we faith in the honorable and learned member for Indi ? I say that sitting on this side we have the honorable member for Balaclava, the honorable member for Gippsland

Mr Mauger - And the honorable member for Kooyong, and the honorable member for Grampians !

Mr McCAY - The honorable members I mention, so far as we protectionists and liberals are concerned, were leaders of politics in this part of Australia before honorable members opposite, or some of them, were heard of. As to the division in our party, if I had any doubts as to which way I should go, and I arrived at a decision, that decision would be fortified and strengthened if I found myself with men who for a score of years have been high in the public regard as advocates of progress and advancement.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - They never joined free-traders before.

Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Bourke joined free-traders when he voted for the McLean Government against the Turner Government in Victoria in 1899. On that occasion all the Free-trade Party were against the Turner Government.

Mr Mauger - The honorable and learned member left his leader then.

Mr McCAY - Yes, I was charged with leaving my leader. I thought I had reason for doing so, but my constituents were not of that opinion ; and if I sinned I suffered. I always thought that if a man sinned, and suffered his sentence, and was re-elected - which is a sort of free pardon - the incident wasclosed. Whatever I did I paid for.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I took the lesson to heart, but apparently the honorable and learned member did not.

Mr McCAY - I am astounded ! The honorable member says he took the lesson to heart. He left his leader, and I left the same leader; but I am with my leader still. Where is the honorable member?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The honorable member is behind a free-trader, and I am not.

Mr McCAY - I say without hesitation that when the great mass of the electors are asked to say on which side they will range themselves - whether it shall be with men like the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, the honorable and learned member for Balaclava, and the honorable member for Gippsland, or with that solitary figure, the honorable* and learned member for Indi, and his interjector-general, the honorable and learned member for Corio - I have no doubt that Victoria will declare that we on this side have done what we were justified in doing - that we have been amply warranted in following leaders whose names have been long honoured in Victorian politics. Having done that duty to the country, we need fear no result.

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