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Thursday, 6 October 1904

Mr SPEAKER - The Standing Orders expressly prohibit the imputation of unworthy motives such as the honorable member has imputed to the honorable member for Brisbane.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I apologize, and withdraw what I have said. At any rate, he signed the labour pledge, and bound himself to follow his leader blindly if he were elected. The greatest objection that we on this side of the House have to the Labour Party is that its members are bound hand and foot. We do not care about giving up our political liberties, and therefore will not sign any pledge.

Mr Page - Some honorable members will have to give up their political liberties in a few weeks.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - There is an old saying to the effect that every man has a soft spot somewhere.

Mr Bamford - Generally in the head.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I do not desire the honorable member to assist me in delivering my speech. I think that in the case of the honorable member for Brisbane, the soft spot will be found in the upper regions. The weakness from which he suffers is an impression that he is an authority on financial and banking matters. He has dealt with immense figures, and in his maiden speech in this House he discussed the financial affairs, of not only Queensland, but the Commonwealth.

Mr Culpin - I desire to know if the honorable member is in order in referring to me as he has done ?

Mr SPEAKER - What the honorable member was saying at the moment was not out of order. I do wish, however, that honorable members' would make a stronger effort, if that were possible, to uphold the dignitv of debate in this House.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I do not wish to transgress in any way, and I shall curtail my remarks as much as possible. As I say, the honorable member for Brisbane labours under the impression that he is. an authority on financial and banking matters. Queensland is fortunate in having even one representative in this House who can claim to be an authority on such subjects.

Mr McDonald - The honorable member's supporters bolstered up the most rotten institution in Australia and it took us a long time to expose it.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I would point out that in this Parliament we have no epidemic of financial troubles for which the honorable member for Brisbane need prescribe. If the honorable member is not more reliable in matters of physic than he is in banking and financial matters, may the Lord have pity on his patients. The honorable member made a very free use of the names of other honorable members. He appeared -to have a very serious grievance, and he made reference to a visit which was recently paid bv a member of the Legislative Council of Queensland to Victoria. He said -

The honorable and learned member for Ballarat has been making " copy " for the newspapers. One of the remnants of that continuous Government who has been pensioned off in the nominee Chamber in Queensland, was in Victoria, and interviewed the honorable and learned member, as thus reported : -

Speaking with Mr. Deakin, the Queensland visitor was able to show very plainly what the effect has been in Queensland of the Act abolishing Polynesian labour. . . . Mr. Deakin's reply was - " See the kind of men Queensland has sent to represent it."

I desire to point out that if Mr. Deakin made use of those words they could not apply to any honorable members of the present Parliament, but could only refer to the members who were returned to the first Parliament, and who sat here at the time that the Pacific Island Labourers' Bill was before the House. Mr. Deakin sent the following telegram to the Brisbane Courier : -

My remarks to Mr. Annear, reported in your paper of 17th, followed, and related to his statement that Queensland now regretted exclusion of kanaka, labour, and had no relevance unless that is understood.

This shows that the honorable member for Brisbane had nothing to complain of with regard to the statements supposed to be made by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat.

Mr Johnson - Another manufactured grievance.

Mr Page - It is nothing of the sort; it is absolutely true.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The statement made by Mr. Deakin had reference to the fact that Queensland returned to this House a majority of representatives pledged to abolish kanaka labour as speedily as possible.

Mr Page - He did not use the words in that sense.

Mr Fisher - Mr. Deakin denies absolutely that he made any such statement.

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