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Wednesday, 5 October 1904

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member must not make a charge of that description against honorable members. I must ask him to withdraw it.

Mr MAUGER - If there is anything irregular in what I have said, I most certainly withdraw it. I say that it was openly and publicly stated by honorable members that they would vote for the amendment which displaced the Deakin Government, not because they believed in it - as a matter of fact, they were absolutely opposed to it-

Mr Bamford - They -said so openly.

Mr McDonald - Yes, the statement was made in this House.

Mr MAUGER - They declared that they had two objects in view, the first being to wreck the Bill, and the second to wreck the Deakin Government. The present Prime Minister did not raise his little finger in order to prevent conduct which seems to me both inexplicable and politically immoral. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo, in trying to explain his present position, wished to know what the contention was all about, and urged that the Victorian Factories Act and its system of Wages Boards was quite as efficacious as any Arbitration Act which we could put upon the statute-book. He said that there was no preference to unionists under the .Victorian Factories Act.

Mr Frazer - -That shows his ignorance of the whole question.

Mr MAUGER - It undoubtedly does. I say, with all respect to the honorable and learned member, that his remarks showed that he knew nothing whatever about the working of factories legislation in Victoria. It is a notorious fact that employes' representatives upon three or four at least of the first Wages Boards were turned adrift, and that some of them are begging for work in the streets of Melbourne to-day. I could give their names. I have a list containing the names of no less than thirty -eight really good men and women, who were prominent as representatives of the employes on the Wages Boards, and who have been dismissed for some reason. Of course, they were not dismissed for being members of Wages Boards ; that cause was not assigned. But they have been dismissed. I contend that some such clause as the preference clause is necessary in order to protect such people, and to give them security that when they are doing the work of their fellow employes and of the country, the employersshall not make scapegoats of them and turn them adrift. It is notorious that four members of the Butchers' Board - some of the best men in the trade - were dismissed by their employers. One or two have started in business for themselves after going through a period of difficulty and privation. Others are still out of employment, because they could not get work with other employers. Yet the honorable and learned member for Bendigo says that the Victorian Factories Act is effective. The facts show conclusively that the preference for unionists provision is needed. I am opposed to the Government also on account of their constitution. The Prime Minister has acknowledged that he was beaten, and has said that he is quite prepared to accept a truce and to carry it out honorably. But what did the right honorable gentleman say just before the last election? He said in a speech at Warrnambool, in regard to the Tariff -

There must be no ambiguity as to his position. The Government was unpopular, and thousands of protectionists would support him, only they were afraid of what he would do. They would put him into power if they could do it without danger to their cause, but he was not to be bought or bribed by their support from his allegiance to the cause to which he was pledged.

Has he been either bought or bribed?

Mr Reid - Certainly not.

Mr MAUGER - If not, how does the right honorable gentleman occupy his present position? He stated distinctly when before the electors that on no account would he lower the flag of free-trade, and that he would not occupy the Treasury bench except for the purpose of reducing taxation and removing anomalies in the Tariff.

Mr Johnson - Is all that contained in his speech?

Mr MAUGER - Yes ; I will go on reading it.

Mr Reid - I must be doing well for my side when the honorable member is so angry with me.

Mr MAUGER - The right honorable gentleman always did well for his side until he lowered his flag. '

Mr Reid - My people are not complaining.

Mr MAUGER - I will show the right honorable gentleman presently that his people are complaining. He said -

He looked upon an honest revenue Tariff cut down to the honest necessities of the Government, as the only proper form of Customs taxation.

This other taxation was on the downward path, leading to monopoly and corruption, and, as long as he was in politics, he was square against it.

If the Tariff was so dishonest and corrupt twelve months ago, what has made it honest and uncorrupt at the present time? What change has taken place ? What difference should there be between the policy of the right honorable gentleman before the elections and his policy to-day, in regard to the same Tariff ? It is interesting also to notice the attitude of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat towards the leader of the Free-trade Party. This is what he said in his great Ballarat speech -

Their affection for the mother country has disappeared. They are foreign-traders pure and simple. (Applause.) We offer to Great Britain a preference in our ports, but this is refused by our opponents, simply and avowedly in the interests of foreign imports. They are, therefore, more his friends than those of the Empire. They are foreign-traders, naked and unashamed. They are also creatures of inconsistency.

Let me remark in connexion with that quotation that, while the honorable and learned member for Ballarat had strong things to say in that speech against the leader of the Freetrade Party, he had not a single word of condemnation to utter concerning the Labour Party. His whole condemnation was levelled against the leader of the Freetrade Party. Yet here are these two gentlemen to-day, one the head of a Government, and the other supporting him ! No wonder protectionists in this House are opposed to the Government. The Prime Minister says that he is prepared to abide by this truce faithfully. But what do his friends outside say ? Do they approve of it ?

Mr Mcwilliams - What are the Labour Party doing?

Mr MAUGER - I will . come to the Labour Party directly.

Mr Robinson - The honorable member will - soon enough.

Mr MAUGER - I wish to point out that not only do I regard the present coalition as unwarrantable and immoral, but that it is so regarded by free-trade leaders outside Parliament. Take the Rev. Dr. Bevan - who, by-the-by, has been lecturing this House in the Argus to-day on account of the long speeches of honorable members, though the same venerable gentleman did not lecture prominent free-traders when they spoke for hours, and when they were doing their best to destroy Victorian industries. It is a remarkable thing that he should only now discover that long speeches are made in this Parliament.

Mr Page - What Victorian industries were destroyed ?

Mr MAUGER - That, however, is by the way. Dr. Bevan says, regarding the present coalition -

I have no faith in coalitions. The working out of great principles is best done by means of the opposition of great parties. This is so, not only in politics, but also in the church. I can understand a man believing in protection, and there are logical arguments in favour of free-trade, but 1 cannot see any advantage in sinking a principle simply to secure a majority in the Federal Par. liament with the view of re-adjusting the relationship of parties. I will not say such a course is immoral, but it tends to political immorality on the part of the followers of both parties. Perhaps a party is never so well off as when it is weak in Parliament but strong outside, and it behoves all free-traders outside Parliament to work hard in the interests of the cause.

Dr. Bevandoes not lower his flag, He has been one of the free-trade leaders of Victoria, but he does not say, like the leader of his party in Parliament. "I am beaten, and I am. going to give up the fight - I intend to abandon the principles- which I have been advocating - for the sake of office."

Mr Reid - No, no; there is a truce. The honorable member will not face us on that issue.

Mr MAUGER - Who was agreeable to a truce? Not the right honorable gentleman. His party outside are now showing that they do not agree to a truce. The president of the' Free-trade League of Victoria, Mr. Hickford, has said -

We are asked to sink the fiscal issue merely to allow a certain party in the Federal Parliament to disappear from the Treasury benches. If a coalition of parties can bring that about, it will be simply lamentable, not only in free-trade interests, but in protectionist interests also. We ought, as Cobden insisted, to have no sliding scale, but advocate fully and sincerely what we believe in.

That is what is said by the President of the Free-trade League in Victoria, in criticising the action of his own leader in proposing a coalition. That is what is being said, not only in Melbourne, but also in Sydney, whilst the right honorable leader of the Free-trade Party has proclaimed a truce.

Mr Reid - It is the electors who proclaimed the truce.

Mr MAUGER - But the right honorable gentleman did not agree, to that truce ?

Mr Mahon - Why does not the right honorable gentleman send us to the electors?

Mr MAUGER - The right honorable gentleman fought the truce to the very death. Whilst he is -professing to be agreeable to the sinking of the free-trade policy, ; the . president of the Free-trade League in Victoria, and also leaders in the city which the right honorable gentleman represents, are organizing their forces, and are doing their best to fight the battle of free-trade at the present moment. Already a free-trade candidate has been announced against the honorable member for Wimmera.

Mr Wilson - Not by the party.

Mr Reid - It is an open field. There are a number of men anxious to get into Parliament.

Mr MAUGER - This shows conclusively that the free-trade party outside has not lowered its flag, that it is not agreeable to a truce, and that it is most anxious to continue the fight. There can be no doubt that on the first opportunity the present Prime Minister will aid and assist the freetrade party outside to destroy our industries and bring about a regime of free-trade.

Mr Johnson - What about tha Melbourne Ports seat?

Mr MAUGER - The member for Melbourne Ports can take care of himself.

Mr Reid - That is what the honorable member is doing all the time.

Mr MAUGER - I object to the present Government on account of its constitution, and -because it sinks its fiscal principles. It is objected to on that ground by free-traders and protectionists alike outside this Parliament. Representative, bodies of protectionists have at two meetings passed resolutions condemning the coalition opposite.

Mr Wilson - What does Mr. Lorimer say ?

Mr MAUGER - The right honorable member for East Sydney, when visiting his electorate recently, told a newspaper interviewer that the coalition, was most popular in Victoria. Where are the indications of it? Can honorable members opposite point to a single resolution which has been passed in its favour ?

Mr Reid - What about the alliance?

Mr MAUGER - Protectionists condemn it, free-traders condemn it, and the public of Victoria and of Australia will condemn it at the very first opportunity.

Mr Mcwilliams - Is it not a fact that the labour leagues have condemned the coalition on the other side?

Mr Reid - The honorable member himself ran as an advocate of fiscal peace.

Mr MAUGER - I shall come to that presently. I object to the present Government, and I support the motion because of its avowed policy, and because of its want of policy. There cannot be the faintest doubt that the policy of the Government is to get into recess as quickly as possible.

Mr Mahon - Hear, hear ; to crawl there.

Mr MAUGER - Yes, to crawl there - to patch up the Arbitration Bill and other measures on the notice-paper, and to get into recess at the earliest possible moment.

Mr Reid - Have not other Governments gone into recess ?

Mr Mcwilliams - We do not wish to stop here always. If some honorable members opposite lived in Western Australia, Queensland, or Tasmania, they would soon get tired of stopping here.

Mr MAUGER - I admit that at the last election I supported the policy of fiscal peace. I admit that without any hesitation whatever.

Mr Reid - But with mental reservations.

Mr MAUGER - Without any reservations whatever at that time. I firmly believed when I addressed my constituents that, although the present Tariff was far from being a protectionist one from my point of view, and although it had already begun to injure a number of industries, fiscal peace was the best policy for the Protectionist Party, which was led at the time by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, to pursue. Why did we propose that policy? Because we believed it was the best in the interests of the industries. We did not announce that policy because we believed entirely in the existing Tariff, or because we believed it was a final settlement of the question, but because we thought that by adopting a policy of. fiscal peace we should be best serving the interests of the Commonwealth, best protecting its industries, and accepting the lesser of two evils.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The protectionist party was fiscally winded just then.

Mr Reid -If 'honorable members thought they could have won on a high Tariff policy, they would have gone for it.

Mr MAUGER - Unquestionably we should have done so.

Mr Reid - They thought they could win on a truce, and now they wish to go back on that.

Mr MAUGER - I admit that it was purely a matter of policy, and the adoption of what appeared to be the best expedient. If I had thought that a policy of higher duties, which I consider right and necessary, would have been the safest in the interests of the Commonwealth, I should have fought for that policy, and I think that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat would in those circumstances have fought with me. The party adopted the policy which appeared at the time to be best. But what do we find? Not three months elapsed before an agitation was got up in connexion with our industries. I have been charged with introducing this matter into the House in order to help the Labour Party, and to injure the present Prime Minister. I am charged with doing this for purely party reasons.

Mr Reid - But can a party break a truce; is that honorable?

Mr MAUGER - What are the facts? Did this agitation begin in this House,or did it begin outside this House?

Mr Wilson - It began in the lobbies.

Mr MAUGER - Was it commenced her ; for party objects and from selfish motives, or was it voiced here as the reflection of a vast and increasing public opinion, fast developing into conviction, outside? I shall show plainly that that was the case. The first people to move were the Trades Hall Council, and they moved some eight months ago, when they called for inquiries into the condition of certain trades. They collected evidence which showed unmistakably that men who had been engaged in the engineering and agri-

Cultural implement trades especially were walking the streets, and that never in the history of Victoria had industrial enterprise been in such a dreadful state of stagnation. The Trades Hall Council were followed by the Chamber of Manufactures. They are distinctly separate from one another, and will not even meet in conference. They have positively refused to do so upon a question pertaining to their common good and future welfare. There can, therefore, be no suggestion of any coalition or mutual understanding on the part of those two todies in connexion with this matter. The fact that industries were being injured was forced upon the Chamber of Manufactures. They appointed a special committee, and the results of their inquiries, as set out in the daily organ of the Protectionist Party, have demonstrated that a number of industries were being injured, especially those in connexion with the iron trade, that there was stagnation, and that skilled workmen were leaving our shores. We are told that this is only a bogy, and that there is nothing in it. The honorable member for Grampians yesterday said that it was brought into the House for party pur poses, and that there was nothing in it. He said that he knew very well that I voiced my own sentiments with respect to the effect of the Tariff upon our industries, that Iwas doing so for party purposes, and was solely responsible.

Mr Skene - I said nothing of the sort.

Mr MAUGER - Then I do not understand words.

Mr Skene - I said that the honorable member did not say one word about it in the debate upon the Address-in-Reply which took place less than eight months ago.

Mr MAUGER - I have answered that objection by saying that it was not evident at that time, that nobody knew the injury to be so far-reaching in its effects as events have proved that it was.

Mr Skene - The honorable member said just now that the Trades Hall Council moved in the matter.

Mr MAUGER -I have shown that tha Trades Hall Council and the Chamber of Manufactures moved in the matter.

An HonorableMember. - How long ago?

Mr MAUGER - Four or five months ago.

Mr Skene - Just now the honorable member said it was eight months ago.

Mr MAUGER - I said that the initial steps for an inquiry were taken by the Trades Hall Council seven or eight months ago, proving that I was not the originator of it and that it was not suggested for party purposes.

Mr Skene - That was before the AddressinReply was moved.-

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That does not prove what the honorable member suggests.

Mr MAUGER - Does it not? Surely my honorable friend does not imply that I set the Trades Hall Council angling-

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that the honorable member is a regular Machiavelli.

Mr MAUGER - If the honorable member does he is very much mistaken, and does not understand the true position of affairs. What has happened since? We are told that this is only a Victorian cry.

Mr Hutchison - It exists in South Australia.

Mr MAUGER - It exists not only in Victoria and South Australia, but also in Queensland. For the information of honorable members, I shall read a resolution which was carried at a meeting of the united Chambers of Manufactures held in Queensland last month. The meeting was presided over by Mr. O. C. Beale, who is said to be against the Labour Party and against the re-opening of the Tariff, because he thinks that it is being sought in the interests of Socialism and the Socialistic Party. The resolution reads as follows : -

On the motion of Mr. C. Atkins, seconded by Mr. R. A. Pryor, it was resolved : - " That the Federal Council regrets the injurious incidence of the Tariff in certain established industries, and recommends that the Chambers of Manufactures immediately make investigations in their several States, taking evidence relating to anomalies and the injury done to local industries, with the view of presenting their united deductions to the Commonwealth Parliament at the earliest opportunity."

Surely my honorable friend will admit now that the movement is more widespread than Victoria, that it is not confined to the Trades Hall ; that it has been taken up by the local Chamber of Manufacures, and that it has been affirmed by a conference representing all the Chambers of Manufactures in Australia?

Mr Skene - I said that the movement had begun before the Address-in-Reply was moved.

Mr MAUGER - My honorable friend is wrong. It began very soon after that event.

Mr Skene - How did I come to mention it in my speech on the AddressinReply ?

Mr MAUGER - It was only talked of at that time. I, for instance, talked of it to my constituents. I pointed out that a number of industries were being injured, but I was not aware that they were being injured to the extent that they are. I had no idea that the disease was as bad as it has proved to be. I propose to show the position taken up by the president of the Chamber of Manufactures by reading the following letter, which he addressed to the Age: -

The manufacturers fully realized, when they entered the Commonwealth partnership, that they would have to make sacrifices, but annihilation was never entertained nor anticipated. Under the Victorian Tariff men were given every encouragement to establish manufacturing industries. The result of their enterprise and labour was reinvested in plant; their business and machinery were their children's sustenance and inheritance. Suddenly, by inconsistent Acts of Parliament, these honourable industries are, perhaps slowly (because of the dogged character of the men conducting them), but nevertheless surely condemned to death. Manufacturers are not wreckers ; they disclaim any intention to rip up the Tariff or dislocate trade. We want more trade, and it is felt that the many anomalies which have disclosed themselves in the operation of the Tariff might be at once investigated and adjusted. The country should go straight for preferential trade. It means preference for their produce by upwards of 50,000,000 of people in the northern hemisphere, who are existing under reverse seasons, which enables us to fill their demand in their close season.

That shows conclusively that he was voicing the opinion which I had expressedhere, not for the purpose of displacing or strengthening the Ministry, but for the purpose of trying to save those industries which in Victoria are languishing. What do honorable members opposite propose? They, too, propose that there shall be an inquiry. Of what character is it to be? They propose that the inquiry should not take place during this Parliament, for their leader, in an interview as late as Monday last, named a number qf honorable members on his side who are pledged to fiscal peace for the life of this Parliament, and said that no contrary step is to be taken. This is a matter of urgency. I contend that, did this House realize its duty, it would immediately afford relief to the engineering trade, if to no other. A committee appointed on the lines suggested in the programme of the allied parties could deal at once with the trades one by one, report to the House, and afford it- an opportunity of taking measures of relief at the earliest possible moment. If honorable members like to charge me with having broken my election pledges I am quite prepared to plead guilty, but I know that hundreds of men are out of work in this particular branch of trade. I know facts with which I was not acquainted when I addressed my constituents and advocated fiscal peace extending over a term of years. That is the present position.

Sir JOHN FORREST (SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - In Victoria, the honorable member means ?

Mr MAUGER - Not only in Victoria, but in Queensland and South Australia, and even in Tasmania. Only this week I received from engineers in Tasmania letters saying that some relief should be afforded, not only there, but elsewhere.

Mr Cameron - Why did they not ask their own representatives, instead of writing to the honorable member?

Mr MAUGER - Because they are out of touch with their representatives, I suppose.

Mr Cameron - The honorable member will be out of touch with his constituents directly.

Mr MAUGER - I do not know why the engineers did not communicate with their representatives. I am not responsible for that. I am merely stating facts.

Mr Mcwilliams - They are not facts.

Mr MAUGER - The contradiction of the honorable member will not alter them.

Mr Cameron - There are no engineering establishments in my electorate.

Mr MAUGER - I do not believe there are. I was saying when I was interrupted that we went before the electors with our policy clearly understood, and believed it to be the best one. When I was head of the volunteer fire brigades we came to a mutual understanding that the plugs in a certain municipality should be entirely under the control of the brigade therein, and that the plugs in an adjoining municipality .should be under the control of the brigade there. A fire occurred in one of the municipalities, and the first brigade to arrive was the one which was prohibited by the mutual understanding from using the plugs in that municipality. What did they do? In order to faithfully observe that understanding, which was written, and not oral, they positively looked on at the plugs until a crowd of persons standing by took the hydrant, sank it, and got water playing on to the burning buildings. The position here is analogous. Our party came to an agreement which we believed was an honorable and fair one, but while we are trying to make out that it is more important to observe its letter than to help the industries, hundreds of men are walking the streets and the industries are being destroyed: That is the position at the present moment. And yet some men who call themselves protectionists are sheltering themselves against taking the first opportunity to relieve struggling and strangled industries by saying, " Did we not agree to a truce, and was it not an understanding that we should not re-open the fiscal question during the present Parliament?" It was an understanding that the plugs should be opened only under certain conditions, but a house was being destroyed, and had not the bystanders taken the matter into their own hands the complete destruction of the house would have been inevitable. And seeing that circumstances have changed, this House would be equally justified in taking in hand the fiscal question, notwithstanding the agreement, and affording immediate help and assistance.

Mr McLean - Why not appeal to the honorable member's constituents ?

Mr MAUGER - Will my honorable friend not agree with me that if it is true that the question of fiscal peace was before the electors not a word about a coalition with the free-trade leader was breathed to the electors? . Did the honorable and learned member for Ballarat indicate that in the faintest degree ? Would the . Minister of Trade and Customs have dared to go to his constituency and advocate such a thing? Yet, he tells me that, because we are advocating fiscal peace, we must go to the country, and must face our constituents before we attempt to give relief.

Mr McCay - At the last elections I heard nothing of an alliance with the Labour Party. I should not have dared to advocate that.

Mr MAUGER - The distinct understanding was that the Protectionist Party would fight for the Tariff, because it was believed to be best in the interests of our industries, and such .an idea as a coalition between the free-trade and protectionist' leaders was never hinted at, breathed, or thought of: I challenge my honorable friends to contradict that state-' ment. They know that they would not have dared to face the electors of Victoria in advocacy of a coalition with the Freetrade Part)'.

Mr McLean - There is nothing to prevent the honorable member from going before his constituents, putting before them the altered conditions, and getting their approval of his action.

Mr MAUGER - My constituents have put the altered conditions plainly before me.

Mr Reid - What about the electors of Australia ?

Mr MAUGER - The electors of Australia are voicing exactly the same policy. Victoria, Queensland, South Australia - as the honorable member for Hindmarsh will bear me out - and even Tasmania, are voicing this policy.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - " No. 66 Bourkestreet," is flooded.

Mr MAUGER - The honorable member has never done anything in his place of business to cause its number to be known throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. I am not ashamed' of anything that has been done at No. 66 Bourke-street. If fiscal peace was the issue before the electors, and we, on this side, have violated our pledges, what isthe position of my honorable friends opposite? Was the verdict of the constituencies asked in regard to a coalition between free-traders and protectionists? Wassuch a coalition ever dreamt of? Was it not condemned by protectionists and freetraders alike, through the length and breadth of Victoria? Has one resolution been passed in favour of it, or has one constituency given it a cheer? When the Minister of Defence went to his constituency, did not his best friends express the opinion that it was a matter of regret that, with his abilities, he was not filling a position in a Liberal instead of in a mongrel Government?

Mr McCay - One man said that.

Mr MAUGER - One man said it publicly, but he voiced the opinion of a great many who held it privately.

Mr McCay - A great many of my longtime enemies would disapprove of anything that I might do.

Mr MAUGER - No doubt, that is the case with all of us. It comes with exceeding bad grace from honorable members opposite, however, to taunt me with having broken my election pledges, because I am going for an extension of the policy with which I have been associated during my whole life- The honorable member for Gippsland says that I should consult my constituents; but they consult me every morning before I leave home, and at the place of business of which the honorable member for Parramatta has quoted the number. They are out of work, and are pleading that I should do something to remedy the present state of affairs. I shall be prepared to consult my constituents when I feel that I am in the slightest degree out of accord with their wishes and aspirations. But I am voicing the opinions of nine out of ten of them, and of nineteen out of twenty of the people of Victoria, when I say that it is the duty of this Parliament to take immediate steps to protect our industries.

Mr Mcwilliams - Are all the members of the Opposition going to the country in advocacy of increased duties?

Mr MAUGER - I come now to the attitude of the Government in regard to the Labour Party. I have been taunted with having said something at the last elections which should irrevocably and eternally keep me from working with- that party, though that taunt is a remarkable one to come from honorable gentlemen who have pointed the finger of scorn at the Labour Party for having opposed me while I was so much in accord with them and their programme. They have tried to make it appear that in entering into an alliance with the Labour Party, I am deserting my leader, and breaking away from my election pledges. My attitude towards the party was deliberately and clearly set out in an article which appeared in the Review of Reviews a month after the elections.

Mr Crouch - The honorable member is there described as a labour member.

Mr MAUGER - Not only was I described as a labour member, but I was asked as one in touch with the wishes and aspirations of the party to pen an article upon its future possibilitiesand programme.

Mr Mcwilliams - Did the Labour Party recognise the honorable member as a labour man during the elections?

Mr MAUGER - We were at issue in regard to one matter only, and that was the retiring pledge. Anything that I said with regard to the organization of the party was local and circumstantial, and had not to do with its policy, its programme, or its aspirations. Every honorable member who knows my life is aware that I have been fighting, speaking, and working side by side with the members of the Labour Partv all my life.

Mr Mcwilliams - Yet they opposed the honorable member at the elections?

Mr MAUGER - All the worse for them - not for me. That was not my fault. They fought me because I would not agree to sign a retiring pledge.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member will never be half appreciated in this world.

Mr MAUGER - That is unfortunately the position of a good many besides myself. My attitude in regard to the Labour Party was set out in the article which I have mentioned, in the following words : After speaking of the programme of the Victorian Labour Party, I went on to say -

There seems to be very little in it after all to raise the fears and doubts and misrepresentations that have been expressed in regard to it, both in the press and on the platform. For myself, I di not fear the programme, or even the results of its realization.

Those sentences show that I was in ' touch with the platform and aspirations of the party. It was because I objected and refused to sign their retiring pledge that I was opposed at the elections, not because I was out of touch with their programme, or their politics generally. Then it has been asked, what have those on this side of the House done for the policy of protection, with which I am more closely associated? The honorable member for Echuca said that during the great Tariff struggle) the Trades Hall Council did nothing whatever; but had it not been for their influence with labour members, and their Conference with the Protectionist Association, the only effective duties in the Tariff - the boot and hat duties - would not have become law. The Trades Hall party secured the votes of a number of men who were avowed freetraders, by representing to them that these industries would be destroyed if lower duties were imposed, and it was protectionist votes that prevented even higher duties from being placed on those particular articles. Whatever the Labour Parties in the other States may have done, in Victoria that party is pledged to the hilt to protection, and the Trades Hall Council here has invariably supported men and measures connected with the protectionist policy. The same thing may be said of it at the present juncture. The honorable member for Flinders went so far as to say that every protectionist who at the next election declared himself to be in favour of higher duties would be branded as a Socialist.

Mr Gibb - Nothing of the kind.

Mr MAUGER - The honorable member is reported to have said that every member who advocated the re-opening of the Tariffwould have to be branded as a Socialist.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is very different from the first statement made by the honorable member.

Mr MAUGER - It is practically the same as the statement I made in the first instance. Then, the honorable member for Grampians concluded his speech yesterday by saying that it was the intention of his party to fight Socialists and Socialism. What did the honorable member mean ? Did he mean the Continental Socialism that abstracts all ideas of character, morality, and religion? Because, if so, I may tell the honorable member that every man in this House is determined to fight against it. I am quite sure that there is not the faintest fear of that kind of Socialism ever taking root in Victoria, because the working classes have too much "sense to think of encouraging i't. There is. not a man on this side of the House who would not fight with all his strength against it. I am confident, however, that the fight that is now being waged is not against Socialism as it is known on the Continent, but against social reforms, factory legislation, and the emancipation of the workers on the lines of social evolution. It is not a fight against Socialism, but against the bogy which the Conservatives are parading before the people of Victoria. They are appealing to all the most selfish feelings of the classes, and asking them to rally round the present Government. The employers' unions, the national leagues., the farmers' leagues, and the freetrade associations are all uniting, to fight under the one flag. Against what? Against Socialism? Nothing of the kind. They are uniting to fight against that movement which is supported in Great Britain by such men as Professor Shuttleworth, the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, Canon Scott Holland, Bishop Gore, the Rev. Mr. Sprague, and others - a movement which finds advocates in Australia in such men as Bishop Mercer, of Tasmania, the Rev. Charles Strong, and other eminent men. These are the men against whom the Government and the forces behind them are fighting, and it is social reform that they are combating. Seated upon the ' Government benches are men who have opposed every proposal for the emancipation of the workers, men who voted to establish Chinese communities in the very heart of South Africa, and who would destroy the Empire, rather than allow men and women to be considered before material considerations. They represent those whose opinions are voiced in Great Britain by such men as Mr. Arthur Chamberlain, who, when addressing a meeting of shareholders in connexion with a large manufacturing concern at Birmingham recently, is reported to have said-

Mr Mcwilliams - He is a protectionist now.

Mr MAUGER - No, he is not. He is a staunch- free-trader, and has been opposed to his brother throughout his preferential trade campaign. He is also opposed to factory legislation. He compared the cost of manufacturing forty years ago with that which was entailed at the present time. He said -

What economies could be effected if the manufacturer could carry on his business free from local boards and by-laws, free from sanitary inspectors, free from smoke inspectors, free from chemical inspectors, free from school board inspectors, free from Home Office inspectors and factory inspectors, free from the whole brood of officials who, not being producers themselves, lived on the produce of manufacturing industry and strangled it

He desired that manufacturers should be allowed to conduct their business in their own way. Is not tha: the sentiment that is being voiced by the men represented by honorable members opposite? Do they not belong to that school of thought in Victoria, and in Australia, that has always been opposed to progressive legislation? I repeat that' this is not a . fight against Socialism, but an attempt to annihilate the Labour Party, to crush out all those forces that make for social reform and the amelioration of the condition of the masses. For those reasons I am opposed to the Government I am confident that the country will also prove hostile to it. The electors never sanctioned the present coalition. No suggestion of such a combination was breathed during the last election, and I am sure that when the next election takes place the decision of the people will be emphatically against the apparent policy of the present Government.

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