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Thursday, 6 October 1904

Mr CHANTER (Riverina) - After the intensely dramatic speech which the honorable member for Wilmot has delivered, I approach with something like fear and trepidation the task set before me. I allow the fullest amount of consideration to the grave statement of the1 honorable member who has just given another exemplification' of the policy of " Yes-No." I was always under the impression, and am still, that no member has the right to abrogate to himself the privileges of this House. Every member of the House is sworn to do his duty to his constituents and to his King, and I do not think it very creditable for any member to pose as the custodian of the interests of the Commonwealth of Australia, and to declare it in the manner in which it has been declared to-night. I ask the indulgence of the House for a short space of time, while I deal with what might be termed a few personal matters before I address myself to the subject under discussion. I offer no apology for doing this. I do it from a stern sense of duty, not only to myself, but to every member of the House; because I hold that the honour of this House - the honour of any one member - is the honour of every member. Whatever our differences may be on political matters, whenever a dissolution takes place, and we appeal to the electors of Australia, it is our duty to speak the truth, and only the truth, concerning the actions and votes of the members of this House. I have to charge the Prime Minister of this country, the right honorable member for East Sydney, with having knowingly misrepresented me, misrepresented my actions, and misrepresented my votes as given in the first Federal Parliament. I am glad that there are one or two members of the legal profession present tonight, because I wish to tell the House what was said in my electorate, with a view to preventing my return, about my action in regard to the proposed remission of the fodder duties. Honorable members will recollect that on the 8th October, 1901, the right honorable member for Adelaide introduced the Tariff, and, following a precedent which I believe has not been successfully challenged, the Government of the day commenced to levy the proposed duties from that date. In November following, it was decided in Committee of the Whole to agree to the duties upon agricultural produce proposed by the Government. The Prime Minister, however, in addressing a public meeting at Hay, one of the chief towns in my electorate, prior to the late elections, said that he was not sure, but he thought that a vote had been taken on that. Question, and that he was satisfied that, although I, because of my position as Chairman of Committees, could not vote, I would have voted, if I had had' an opportunity, for the duties, and, subsequently, against their remission. 1 challenge the right honorable member to show that ti vote was taken on the question. As a matter of fact no vote was taken. The Prime Minister lent himself to the tactics of my political opponent by deliberately misrepresenting my action, knowing, as he did, that the pastoralists in my constituency had probably suffered more by the terrible and devastating drought which occurred than did any one else. He made a further charge against me, and against the Government which I then supported, to which I direct the attention of? members of the House. As leader of the Free-trade Party in the Commonwealth, he stated that the fodder duties could have been remitted bv an Executive act, and I was unable to publish the true facts of the case to the people there, except by word of mouth, because the press was against me, and refused to publish the statements which I had made on the subject in this Chamber. The remission of the fodder duties was first proposed on grievance day by the honorable and learned member for Illawarra, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, who at the time was Acting Prime Minister, will, I. think, bear me out in the statement that, before the matter was so referred to, I went to him personally, and asked him if under the Constitution the Government could give relief. He communicated with the then AttorneyGeneral of New South Wales, Mr. B. R. Wise, and with the Premiers of the six States, four of whom replied that they were not agreeable to the remission of the duties. Consequently, the hands of the Commonwealth Government were tied in the matter. Furthermore, if honorable members will refer to Hansard., they will see by my speeches that I was deliberately misrepresented by the Prime Minister, and that every word which I spoke breathed the fullest sympathy for those who were suffering. But I knew, on the authority of the legal members of the House, and of the Acting Prime Minister of the day, that no relief could be given by the Commonwealth without a breach of the Constitution. I pointed that out, and I suggested that the State Government should either itself remit to the pastoralists taxation equal to the amount received by it from the fodder duties, or purchase fodder, and give it to them directly, without the intervention of middlemen ot agents, allowing them a term of years in which to repay the expenditure, as has been done to other producers under similar circumstances. Was it honorable of the Prime Minister to misrepresent my action in order to gain a few votes for the candidate who was opposed to me, and who espoused his cause? I wish also to refer to the conduct of another member whom I am obliged, in conformity with the rules of the House, to refer to as honorable - the honorable and learned member for Werriwa - who, in assisting the Prime Minister in trying to defeat me, went still further in misrepresenting my actions and votes as a member of this House. Honorable members will be surprised to hear that the rumour circulated against me was that in Committee the voting was equal, and I, in the exercise of my casting vote, was so he'artless and regardless of the wants of my constituents as to determine the matter against them.

Mr Tudor - Who said that?

Mr CHANTER - That was said by my political opponents. I charge the Prime Minister with partly corroborating the statement, and he has not been honorable enough to deny it. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa, however, speaking to a large audience in Deniliquin, repeated the statement of the Prime Minister that, under section 69 of the Constitution, the fodder duties could have been remitted by an Executive act. If honorable members will look at the Constitution, they will see that section 69 has no more bearing on the question than' section 169, which does not exist. If the honorable and learned gentleman had referred to subsection 2 of section li., and had read it to the electors, they would have known that it would have been a clear breach of the Constitution to discriminate between one State and another, and that what is done for one must be done for all. Moreover, section 99 refutes the statement of the honorable and learned gentleman. The honorable and 'learned member also said of me what he is reported to have said of many honest and honorable members of the first Parliament. During the discussion of the Tariff base motives were imputed even to Ministers of the Crown. It was said that they were acting from motives of personal gain, and similar statements were repeated, until the Committee became tired and resentful of them, and, as Chairman of Committees, I had on more than one occasion to rebuke the honorable and learned member for his disorderly language. Therefore, the statements which he made against my honour and integrity savoured very much of personal malice, envy, and jealousy. He told his audience at Deniliquin that I had a motive for voting and speaking against the remission of the fodder duties, because I was connected with the firm of Chanter, Martin, and Company, produce merchants. As I have pointed out, however, the Tariff was introduced on the 8th October, and the fodder duties were agreed to in November, 1901, whereas the firm of Chanter, Martin, and Company did not come into existence as produce merchants until the 1st January, 1903. I am sorry that the honorable and learned gentleman is not here to-night, because I have here extracts from newspapers, sympathetic with the honorable and learned member, and the cause which he then espoused, which prove absolutely all the charges I am making against him. In view of the fact that the honorable and learned member is not present, I do not intend to quote all of them now, but I desire to give one example of his want of truthfulness. I shall quote from a leading article, entitled, " Truthful or Untruthful," in the Riverina Herald, published in Echuca. After having made the statement to which I have referred, the honorable member, on the following day, addressed a- meeting at Moama, where I live, and have my place of business. In the course of his address, he was told that he had acted very improperly the night before, by representing that I had a direct personal interest in the votes I gave, because I had a share in a produce business. Although only twenty-four hours had elapsed since he had spoken at Deniliquin, the honorable and learned member deliberately denied the statement he had made there. His denial called forth from my partner, who happened to be present at the meeting, a very strong retort, and the Riverina Herald published the following article: -

On Thursday evening, much of Mr. A. H. Conroy's address at Moama was a repetition of the injunction to the electors " to send in as their representative in Parliament a truthful man." Certainly a very excellent suggestion, and one which the great majority of people will commend the speaker for, that is, if it can be proved that he was sincere in the matter. But, at the same time as Mr. Conroy was uttering these words, there was most noticeable that there was an implied "something" about it, and it must have been, indeed, a dull, or " hollow head," as Mr. Conroy termed one interjector - who happened to be of his own ilk, by-the-way - who could not see that the real meaning he wished to be taken was that the present representative was not truthful. It is not our intention to go into such an unnecessary piece of work as to give reasons for vouching for the truthfulness of Mr. Chanter. He is too wellknown, not only in Moama and Echuca and throughout his own electorate, to require us to state more than that he is an upright, honest man. What it is our intention to do, though, is to prove, by his own words, that the man who stood there and "implied" all sorts of things against Mr. Chanter, is not the "George Washington" any one listening to his oily-mouthed utterances would believe him to be. We shall not weary our readers with a long statement. One instance will probably be sufficient. Early in his address Mr. Conroy commenced quoting from the Herald report of Mr. Chanter's speech at Deniliquin, and remarked, inter aiia, "that that journal was strongly supporting Mr. Chanter." In that he was quite correct. Later, an interjector remarked that a quotation from the same speech was wrong. Mr. Conroy told him it must be correct, as it appeared in the journal supporting Mr. Chanter, which would not -put anything in he did not say ? Note the italics. Referring to the fodder duties question, in his Moama speech, Mr. Conroy said, among other things, that " he did not think Mr.

Chanter's firm was in the produce business at the time" - viz., the time the request was made for the remission of the duties. An elector remarked, " You said last night at Deniliquin that it was." Mr. Conroy, with emphasis, replied, " I - did - nothing - of - the - sort," drawling it out. Now, remember those italics above.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honorable member think that that matter has anything to do with the motion before the Chair ?

Mr CHANTER - Yes. I shall endeavour to connect it with the subject under discussion. Whenever an honorable member is misrepresented outside of the House with regard to his votes, and statements in this Chamber, this is the only place in which he can challenge his accuser, and repudiate the charges made against him.

Mr SPEAKER -I would point out that with the permission of the House, the honorable member could make a statement embracing all the facts which he now desires to present. As the honorable member has stated, this is the proper place in which to make such a statement, but the present is not the proper time. I raised no objection while the honorable member was dealing with a member of the Ministry, but as the honorable and learned member to whom he is now referring is not a member of the Cabinet - and, personally, I am not aware of the relation in which he stands to the Ministry - it seems to me that, the matter could be very much more appropriately discussed under circumstances such as I have suggested.

Mr CHANTER - I connect my remarks with the motion in this way : We are invited to declare whether or not we have confidence in the Ministry, and one of my reasons for voting against the Government is that I take great exception to the action of certain Ministers and other members who support them. The article continues -

The Deniliquin Independent of yesterday, a newspaper which is a strong supporter of Mr. Blackwood, who is being bolstered up by Mr. Conroy, reports the latter's speech at some length, and we take the following sentence from the report : - " Mr. Chanter was not in favour of a remission of the fodder duties, because he knew his own firm of Chanter, Martin, and Co. would benefit by their, retention." These are the two statements of Mr. Conroy. If they are not the strongest samples of " Yes-No-ism," what could be. If the electors take Mr. Conroy's advice and elect truthful men to Parliament," how will he fare. We ' rather fancy Mr. Chanter will benefit by the "stumping" of the electorate by Mr. Conroy, instead of the end being gained which was aimed at.

That is what one newspaper had to say about the matter, and I have half-a-dozen extracts from other journals which are sufficient to prove that certain misstatements were made. Another action of the honorable and learned member called forth a stinging rebuke from one of the weekly newspapers published in Sydney, which circulates from end to end of Australia. In connexion with the Pacific Island Labourers Bill, I told my constituents that it was proposed that the kanakas on the plantations in Queensland should not be retained after a certain period, that no more licences would be issued after a certain date, and that within two or three years the kanakas would have to be deported to the islands from which they came. The Government of New South Wales, actuated by humane motives, have established two mission stations for aboriginals in my electorate, and I charged the honorable member for Werriwa with having made the statement that I deliberately voted--

Mr SPEAKER - Really I cannot allow the honorable member to discuss these matters upon the motion now before us, because they have no relation that I can discover to the question whether the Government possess the confidence of the House.

Mr Chanter - I would ask permission to complete my statement, because I am jealous of the honour of the House as well as my own. If some misleading statement were made regarding yourself, Mr. Speaker, I should regard it my duty to bring it under the notice of honorable members.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member will be one of the first to perceive that whilst such matters can properly be discussed in the House, and whilst the honour of every member is a matter affecting the honour of the House, the debate which is now taking place is upon the specific question whether or not the House has confidence in the1 Government. Therefore, the subject introduced by the honorable member has no relation to the matter before the Chair. However, as T understand the honorable member is just about to conclude his statement, I should be very sorry to interrupt him.

Mr CHANTER - I am grateful for your indulgence, sir. All the -votes I gave in connexion with the Pacific Island Labourers Bill dealt, as every honorable member "knows, only with the kanakas, and had no reference whatever to the aborigines of Australia. The statement of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa, that I had voted in favour of driving the aborigines out of Australia within three years called forth a rebuke from the newspaper to which I have referred, to the effect that any one making such a statement was not fit to mix with honest men, and ought himself to be driven out of Australia. I desire now to take a retrospective view of the circumstances which have led up to the present position. I had the honour and privilege of following Sir Edmund Barton when he formed* his first Ministry. I also had the pleasure of assisting him to bring about this grand Federation. Further, I was gratified to be able to approve of the measures which he submitted to this House. When the leadership of the Government was undertaken by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat I was pleased to follow him, and to assist him in carrying out his proposals, because I believed that they were conceived in the best interests of the Commonwealth. Certain changes, in which I had no hand or part, afterwards took place. As honorable members know, I was unfortunate enough to be made the victim of faulty administration of the Electoral Act. When we passed that measure we knew what was intended, but I had to resort to the High Court, at considerable expense, in order to obtain a proper interpretation of the law. Therefore, for a certain period I was denied the privilege of sitting in this House. During my absence the honorable and learned member for Ballarat was ejected from office, and the leader of the Opposition took his place. As the honorable and learned member for Ballarat had stated that the honorable member for Bland had attained office by legitimate means, and had promised to give him fair play, I pledged myself to mt constituents to see that every reasonable consideration was shown to the new Administration. Shortly after my return certain meetings of the party to which I belong were held, and at one of those gatherings it was resolved unanimously that the Protectionist Party, of which I was a member, should not ally itself with the party at present led by the Prime Minister. I have never departed from that position. As far as I am aware, no subsequent meeting of that party was ever convened. I would further point out that it is not correct to say that the Watson Administration resigned office because they were defeated upon clause 48. which contains a provision relating to the extension of preference to unionists. I may be pardoned, perhaps, for recalling the exact circumstances surrounding the division which took place upon the amendment submitted by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. It was launched upon a Friday afternoon, shortly after 4 o'clock, when - as is usual - Inter-State representatives were anxious to catch their respective trains home. As a matter of fact, several amendments were proposed - one by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, another by the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, and two others, I think, by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. I have a very vivid recollection of the then Prime Minister, sitting at the table, agreeing to some of these amendments, and disagreeing with others. In the hurry of the moment honorable members could scarcely be expected to grasp the proposals to which he had agreed and those with which he had disagreed. The amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella was not even in print, and one had to catch its purport as it was read from the Chair, and to vote upon it almost immediately. One cannot always do right, and if an honorable member acts in great haste he is very apt to do wrong. I candidly confess that when I saw that amendment in print I . realized that I had done wrong. When I voted for it I was under the impression that it provided that any union, either of employers or employes, interested in an industrial dispute, could apply for a preference to the Arbitration Court if they comprised a majority of its members. But when I came to analyze it subsequently I saw that its objects are of a threefold nature. In the first place, it provides that those affected by any award must have interests in common with the applicant. Who would be affected by an award? Would not every man, woman, and child in Australia? It is absolutely impossible for any tribunal to ascertain what the majority of those engaged in a particular industry favour, and what they do not favour. I recollect the then Prime Minister stating that he was dissatisfied with the amendment in the form in which it was proposed by the honorable and learned member for Corinella, that he himself believed that a substantial number of those who desired a preference should be represented, and that upon the first opportunity he would make the necessary alterations to comply with the real wishes of Parliament. That opportunity presented itself when the Bill had passed through all its stages in

Committee. He could not ask for the recommittal of the measure until it had been reported to the House. What followed ? When he moved that the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering a number of clauses, including clause 48, he was met by a hostile amendment, which prevented him ' from remedying the mistake which had been made, and making clear the real intentions of Parliament. I ask was that fair play? The honorable and learned member for Ballarat promised to give the Watson Government fair play. I made a similar pledge when addressing my constituents, and consequently I felt bound to stand by them upon that occasion. So far as I am aware, no precedent can be found, either in Australian history or in that of the great mother of Parliaments - the British House of- Commons - for the action taken by honorable members opposite. The then Prime Minister occupied a ' to tally different position from that of a private member of this House. He was in charge of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and was responsible to the country for it, and I unhesitatingly affirm that it is not creditable to any honorable member to attempt' to justify his action in preventing that measure from being taken into Committee. It was the foulest play that I have witnessed during twenty years of political . experience in Australia, and to my mind any attempt to justify it only aggravates the offence. If - as has been urged - there was no difference between the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella and that of the then Prime Minister, why was the latter not allowed to recommit the Bill?

Mr Mcwilliams - If there was no difference between the two amendments, what did it matter?

Mr CHANTER - If there was no difference between them, was it fair play to take the unusual course of preventing the measure from being recommitted? Had there been some great difference between the proposals there might have been some justification for the action of honorable members opposite. I hold that the procedure which they adopted will be regarded by the future historian and political student as the first foul act perpetrated by the Commonwealth Parliament. As honorable members are aware, for many years the Prime Minister and myself occupied seats in the New South Wales Legislature. We always sat upon different sides of the House. I do not intend to dig up past events concerning him. I prefer that they should be forgotten. In my opinion it is high time that they were relegated to oblivion.

Mr Mcwilliams - The people of New South Wales have sent him here with a great number of supporters, anyhow.

Mr CHANTER - In the eyes of the Prime Minister 'the people of New South Wales are the residents of Sydney.


Mr CHANTER - He receives his support from the city of Sydney and the county of Cumberland. I. have no desire to discuss the reason why he continues to obtain that support, because to do so would only lead to recrimination.

Mr Mcwilliams - That is a poor compliment to New South Wales.

Mr CHANTER - By his actions the right honorable gentleman has always shown to the country districts of New South Wales that their interests are not worthy of consideration when compared with those of Sydney and the county of Cumberland. Upon one occasion my own constituents were denied fair treatment, owing to his intense hostility to persons' resident in what he regarded as a Victorian zone. What did he tell a Victorian contractor, in my presence, at Gundagai? This gentleman was invited to tender for a contract upon the Murrumbid gee, but despite the fact that his tender was the lowest, and that he had spent several hundreds of pounds in getting machinery upon the ground, the right honorable gentleman declared that he could not accept his tender because he was a Victorian.

Sir John Quick - Did not the honorable member for Hume do the same thing ?

Mr CHANTER - I do not think so.

Sir John Quick - He did.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How much lower was the tender of the gentleman to whom the honorable member is referring?

Mr CHANTER - It was lower by some hundreds of pounds.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The difference was only about£11 or£14, and I understand that the lowest tenderer had no plant, whilst the other tenderer had a good plant.

Mr CHANTER - I do not know who was the other man. These tenders were invited from the world at large.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The difference between the tenders was only about£11 or £14.

Mr CHANTER - The honorable member is entirely wrong. I am not just now in possession of the actual figures-

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The figures were given in this House some time during the last Parliament.

Mr CHANTER - I was not aware of it, and I think that the Minister is making a mistake. I know that the matter was alluded to in the Senate, but I do not think that it was mentioned here, and I am very sorry that I have been led into making any reference to it. If the Prime Minister has been consistent, or nearly consistent, in one thing more than another, it has been in his advocacyof free-trade. I recognise and pay full tribute to the ability of the right honorable gentleman who has succeeded in bursting up the Protectionist Party in Australia. The right honorable gentleman could not do that in New South w ales, although he often tried ; but he has done it in this House, by what means the future may show. The fact I very much deplore. I am a protectionist first, because I believe that to be the truest policy for the country. I associated myself with the protectionists of Victoria and the other States, but particularly with the protectionists of Victoria, because the latter is the one State that has done noble work for the great principle during the past thirty years. Victoria has held up the flag of protection year after year, but now we see that flag dragged in the mire, as the result of the greatest piece of political engineering within my knowledge. Of course, the Prime Minister is quite right in claiming credit for having burst up the Protectionist Party, and having absorbed a portion in the party which he leads.

Mr Mcwilliams - And the rest of the Protectionist Party are absorbed in the Labour Party.

Mr CHANTER - I am not a member of the Labour Party, but I am in strong sympathy with their aims and aspirations. My natural affinity is with them, because they are seeking in other ways to do what I seek to achieve by means of -protection, namely, to benefit the masses, raise them to a higher level, and give every possible encouragement to the development of the industrial life of the country. I seek by my advocacy of the protectionist principle to provide labour at which men may earn an honest wage in their own country. I have been connected withthe Protectionist Party for many years, and it is a great grief to me that it should now be broken up by political machinations, especially in view of the fact that, united., it could have done good work in this House. When is the fiscal battle to be resumed? My doubts as to that question form one of the reasons why I have no confidence in the present Administration. This young nation must have a settled policy - sooner or later we must embrace one principle or the other. Who is going to carry the banner? Whether the dissolution takes place now, or in the future, how shall I regard this present Ministry, half of whom are my political enemies ?

Mr Mcwilliams - What is to become of the alliance on the other side?

Mr CHANTER - The alliance agreed to stand shoulder to shoulder on a certain definite line of policy.

Mr Mcwilliams - The protectionist policy ?

Mr CHANTER - The protectionists in the alliance say to the Labour Party, " We, the protectionists, want no commission of inquiry into the ruin and disaster which have followed the imposition of the present Tariff, especially in the State of Victoria; we are prepared to act at once." To this the Labour Party reply, " We are prepared, if you can show by means of a Royal Commission, or in any other way, that injury is being done, to remedy the evil in the interests of the workers we represent." There we have a clear, agreement. But . what can the Ministry reply? What are they going to do in regard to the fiscal question ? They cry " Fiscal peace.." and there is no peace.

Mr Mcwilliams - Labour representatives have stated distinctly that they will not support any increase in the Tariff.

Mr CHANTER - I have nothing to do with what individual members of the Labour Party or any other party may have said ; I have onlv to deal with myself, and my responsibilities1 to the alliance. I am determined to do my duty, whatever other individual members may do. If the Ministry, or their supporters, could show me that I have more to hope from them for what is nearest and dearest to my heart - the welfare of the people of Australia - I should be only too glad to consider the advisability of a combination with them. But where is there any such hope? There is peace now ; but will members of the present Government say there is not going to be war very shortly amongst them? Which half of the Ministry will carry the flag to the country ? Is the Prime Minister, at the head of the Free-trade Party, to carry the free-trade flag, or is the honorable member for Gippsland to carry the protectionist flag? What would become of the Government under such circumstances? Where would there be any hope of useful measures ? I would twenty times sooner see a straight-out free-trade Ministry than the Ministry which now occupy the Treasury bench. The people would then have an opportunity to test the question fairly and honestly, with some solid effect. Everybody quotes the cry of " fiscal peace," and as I stated on the platform, I do not want to hide myself behind any misrepresentation or wriggling, so far as my responsibility or pledges are concerned. The leader I then followed, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, stated in his manifesto that there was to be fiscal peace. Why? Because the Prime Minister was at that time going from one part of the Commonwealth to the other, declaring that there should be no fiscal peace - that he would fight to the death to have the Tariff revised at the first opportunity, and would remove the duties one by one, until they were all placed on a revenue basis. It was that action on the part of the Prime Minister that caused the cry for fiscal peace. But when I pledged myself to follow the honorable and learned member for Ballarat in this regard, I made great reservations. I said that so far as preferential trade with Great Britain was concerned, I was ready to concede it at a moment's notice; so that that was exempted from ray pledge. I do not know that I or any honorable member desires to escape responsibility for his declarations ; but at that time we had gone through all the turn-oil and trouble of fixing the Tariff, and we did not know - or at least I did nol - what serious effects the reduction of some of the duties wouldhave on the industrial life of the Commonwealth. I would bo criminal, when now that experience has shown what those effects are - when some industries are ceasing to be carried on, and thousands of workers are being driven out of employment day by day - if I were stayed in my action by this paltry cry of fiscal peace. The honorable member for Laanecoorie made charges against honorable members on this side ; but supposing a favorable diagnosis of his, on which he had arranged not to see a patient until the following morning, should, in the middle of the night, turn out to be wrong, would he refuse to attend the patient until the time he had fixed, and to give him the medicine which might save his life?

Mr Mcwilliams - The patient might have a betetr chance without the medicine.

Mr CHANTER - That is possible, but if the honorable member makes that charge against the medical fraternity I do not. If some people say that doctors bury their mistakes underground, I am not going to follow the example. Having made a mistake in agreeing to a fiscal peace for the life of the Parliament, I am absolved when I realize that injury has been, and is still being done by the Tariff. I am ready at a moment's notice to do all I can to find a remedy. Let us now regard the other phase of the subject - preferential trade. I do not propose to discuss that subject- in all its details, but only to deal with broad outlines.I have to ask myself whether I have confidence in the present Government to deal with this question. My reply is that I have no confidence at all, so far as half thu Government are concerned.

Mr Mcwilliams - A number on this side are with the honorable member in that.

Mr CHANTER - I am not speaking of honorable members who are supporting the Government, but. of the members of the Government. So long as I have known some of the supporters of the Government, and that has been for many years, they have always been consistent in their advocacy of free-trade. But free-trade and preferential trade will not, and cannot, blend. The right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government has stated here, as well as outside, many times, that he is in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain, but his idea of preferential trade is to sweep off all the duties, and make no difference between the foreigner' and the Britisher. Can we afford, in the interests of Australia, to deal with this question five or six years hence? Is it not our bounden duty to declare that Australia is ready to enter into the proposed reciprocal relations? For months past Mr. Chamberlain has been holding out his hand, asking Australia to speak as Canada and New Zealand have spoken - to say that we do not want to wait, but are ready to concede the broad principle and deal with details afterwards by way of conference or by way of legislation in this House.

Mr Mcwilliams - I do not think that the leader of the Opposition would do anything.

Mr Ronald - He would have to do something.

Mr CHANTER - I am not really aware, except from a newspaper report of an interview, what the opinions of the leader of the Opposition arc on the question.

Mr Mcwilliams - The leader of the Opposition has stated fully and freely what his views are.

Mr CHANTER - I know the leader of the Opposition is a protectionist, and every protectionist who understands economic principles, knows that preferential trade is only another form of protection for the Empire. Is it not our duty to help Mr. Chamberlain in his great and noble campaign ? The other day we had a cable message to the effect that Lord Rosebery declares there is nothing in the proposal, and is trying to lead the people of Great Britain to believe that statements from Australia to the contrary must be weighed very carefully. Is there any honorable member who does not honestly believe that if the people of Australia were polled tomorrow they would re'turn a verdict in favour of preferential trade? If that be the fact, why not say so? Why should we refuse this great assistance to Mr. Chamberlain in his campaign? Why should this Legislature not say at once that Australia is agreeable, whenever England is ready, to enter into these reciprocal relations? Tn the face of the statements of the Prime Minister in the past, and within the last few days, I have not the slightest hope of the matter being brought to a happy consummation by him. The right honorable gentleman has been at great pains, when attending agricultural shows in Melbourne, and meetings at Kyneton and other places, to tell the farmers that he wants to encourage and foster the interests of the primary producers. What greater encouragement could the right honorable gentleman give the primary producers than to lend himself heart and soul to forward these proposals' of Mr. Chamberlain? No greater offer has ever been made to the producers of Australia. What is proposed is but protection in another form, and the right honorable gentleman should have said, " In the interests of the producers of Australia, I am not going to dally with this Question of preferential trade, and, as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, I shall submit a motion in which I shall invite the Federal Parliament to at once say 'yes' or 'no' to what Mr. Chamberlain has proposed."

Mr Mcwilliams - Why did not the honorable member ask other Prime Ministers to do that? Mr. Chamberlain has been making these proposals for a considerable time.

Mr CHANTER - There was no necessity to do so. Sir Edmund Barton, and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat have time after time announced to the world that they are in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain. That announcement was made from Ministerial platforms at the last general election. It is because the right honorable gentleman now at the head of affairs has' announced exactly the opposite view that I say I haw. no hope that in the interests of the primary producers of the Commonwealth the right honorable gentleman will take this matter in hand.

Mr Kennedy - Can the producers of Australia secure any benefit unless Greac Britain gives them a preference?

Mr CHANTER - Mr. Chamberlainnas offered a preference with respect to wheat and other Australian produce.

Mr Kennedy - That is Mr. Chamberlain's proposal, and not a proposal of the British Parliament.

Mr CHANTER - There could not, so far, have been such a proposal made by the British Parliament. Mr. Chamberlain is now conducting a campaign in England, with the object of educating the people on the subject.

Mr Mcwilliams - Unfortunately, nearly every election which has taken place in England recently has gone against him.

Mr CHANTER - Those are byeelections, and I dc not think we need take any notice of them. All that we need take notice of at the present time is the information with which we are supplied by thu cablegrams in the press, and through the Department of External Affairs. We know that Mr. Chamberlain is inviting the British people to agree to certain proposals which he has outlined. He proposes that wheat, meat, and, to some extent, wine, and other produce should be admitted into the markets of England free, while he counsels the Government of the day, whoever they may be, to impose a duty upon similar products sent to Great Britain from any foreign country. I repeat that that is the finest offer that has yet been made to the primary producers oi Australia, and we should assist Mr. Chamberlain to give effect to his views in order that the Imperial Parliament may . enter into negotiations for preferential trade with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and owe British Possessions, and so make the British Empire not only self-reliant, but selfdefiant, because, having its food supplier under its own control, the Empire can defy the world. The present Prime Minister says that if the British Government should ask him to do this he will be content to consider the request. Possibly the right honorable gentleman would be content to attend the Conference which has recently been spoken of as a representative of Australia. But until on the floor of this House the right honorable gentleman has recanted the views to which he has given expression in connexion with the preferential trade movement, how can he be considered a fitting representative of Australia to assist in bringing about reciprocal trade relations with the British Empire? It is because of the right honorable gentleman's statements in regard to this question that I have no faith in a Ministry of which he is the head, cr in some of the members of his Cabinet. Preferential trade is entirely at variance with their past policy and present professions. All through this debate 1 have waited' quietly to learn what the policy of the present Government is.

Sir John Forrest - Did the honorable member find out what the policy of the last Government was ?

Mr CHANTER - Yes, I did. The policy of the last Government was the policy of the first Federal Government, and I believed in every one of the measures proposed by that Government. I . cannot claim any justification for approving the policy of the present Government until I' know what it is to be.

Sir John Forrest - Taking money from the banks ! I suppose the honorable member approves of that. That was the policy of the last Government.

Mr CHANTER - 1 am not one of those who go beyond the present Labour Party and look into the d'im and distant future to consider something which may hereafter be proposed. It will be time enough for me to deal with those questions when they are brought before the House. All I have to deal with at present is what the party' propose to do during this and the next Parliament.

Sir John Forrest - The Labour Government said they would deal with that matter next session.

Mr CHANTER - I ask the right hon.orable gentleman to say why I supported . the Barton Administration. It was because I believed in the men, and in their measures. I believed in the right honorable member fo;r Swan; I believed that he would be true and loyal as a member of that Administration to the policy that was announced.

Mr Hutchison - The fight honorable gentleman appears to have been always in a minority in that Administration.

Sir John Forrest - Not always.

Mr CHANTER - With respect to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, we know that it was introduced by the Barton Government ; it was taken up by the Deakin Government ; and it is now fathered by the present Government. We know also that it was the same Bill that was dealt with by the Watson Government. However, a change has been made in the Bill since it emanated from the first Federal Administration. It now includes the railway employes of the States, and on that provision it is 'well known the honorable and learned member for Ballarat resigned office. The honorable and learned gentleman considered that it was beyond our powers under the Constitution to interfere with the affairs of the States in any way, and he would not be responsible for the provision suggested. I ask who backed up the honorable and learned gentleman in that view? Was it not the present Prime Minister? The right honorable gentleman did so, not only here, but in other places, and the Sydney press supporting him, declaimed against the action of honorable members who desired to interfere with the rights of the States Governments. Yet, when the right honorable gentleman gets into power he retains the very provision which he had previously condemned from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. He invited the House to consent to a recommittal of the measure, and why did not the right honorable gentleman then have the courage of his convictions, and invite honorable members to remove the provision to which he had so strongly objected, and on account of which the honorable and learned member for Ballarat resigned office? How are we to describe the action of the right honorable gentleman in this, connexion ? Imputations and charges have been levelled against one party and another, that they have raised opposition merely in order to secure office. It is a noble ambition to wish to reach office, but is there one honoi able member in this House who would feel himself elevated in his own eyes or in the eyes of the world, if he reached office by the forfeiture of his principles ? That is what the present Prime Minister has done. The right honorable gentleman had the power which he denied to the Watson Government of recommitting any clause in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, which he wished to have reconsidered, and why did he not take out of the Bill a provision which he considered unconstitutional, instead of shirking the responsibility and imposing upon the people of Australia a provision which he still holds to be radically wrong? I should not have referred to the alliance agreement, were it not that some of the hireling press in the country have endeavoured to misrepresent matters, and T desire that the people should know the truth. To what have the parties to the alliance agreed? They have agreed on certain matters. The first is thus stated -

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 voles already given.

Is there anything wrong in that? The proposal is for an adherence to. the principles of the Bill, as introduced by the Barton Government, and also by the Deakin, Government, and as carried by the Watson Government.

Mr Watson - And as agreed to by the right honorable member for Swan.

Mr CHANTER - Exactly ; the right honorable gentleman as a member of the Government who introduced the measure, is responsible for it.

Sir John Forrest - State servants and railway employe's have since been included in the Bill.

Mr CHANTER - That is so; but under the alliance agreement every member is to be at liberty to adhere to the votes he has already given. Nothing could be fairer than such a provision. I feel certain from my knowledge of the members of the party to which I belong, and of the members of the Labour Party that: no attempt will be made to depart from' the alliance agreement and what it implies. The next plank in the platform is -

White Australia legislation. Maintain Acts in their integrity, and effectively support their intention by faithful administration.

Is that not needed? I have always pronounced myself on the platform, through the press, and in my place in Parliament as being in favour of a White Australia. I have had occasion to-night to indicate that in one particular instance I have been misrepresented in connexion with that matter, but I need not refer to it again. What objection can there be to this proposal of the alliance? Are honorable members on the other side, and particularly members of the present Ministry, prepared to oppose it ? If so, why do they not join issue with us on that subject at once. We are in the somewhat unfortunate position that almost every honorable member who has spoken from the Government side has addressed the House, not with the object of defending the present Government against the motion of want of confidence, but with the object of attacking the alliance programme. From the part which those honorable members have taken in the debate, it would appear that the motion being discussed was one of want of confidence in the Opposition, and the alliance programme. The next matter referred to in the platform of the alliance is -

Navigation Bill. Report of Royal Commission to be expedited, and, subject to this, Bill to provide for -

(a)   The prolection of Australian shipping from unfair competition.

(b)   Registration of all coastal vessels engaged in the coastal trade.

(c)   Efficient manning of vessels.

(d)   Proper accommodation for passengers and seamen.

(e)   Proper loading gear and inspection of same.

If honorable members opposite challenge that we shall know where we are. As a member of the "Protectionist Partv I say that I am in complete accord with the members of the Labour Party in this matter. What is asked for is the application of humane conditions to those who have to earn their living at sea. and who are as much entitled to consideration as are those engaged in the various factories in Melbourne, Svdney. and elsewhere. These are proposals for legislation which demand the serious consideration of honorable members, no matter on which side they sit. The Trade Marks' Bill is another measure upon which the members of the alliance are agreed. I know how necessary it is that that Bill should be passed as rapidly as possible.

SirJohn Forrest. - Includine the trade union label provision I suppose?

Mr CHANTER - I do not think that the trade unions will obiectto that. Do not honorable members know that in conseauence of the extraordinary prejudice in (he minds of many people against Australian products, the manufactures of this country are unfairly handicapped in competition with goods that come from other parts of the world ? It is necessary to protect Australian goods by Australian trade marks,, and to endeavour to overcome that prejudice. Then there is the Fraudulent Marks Bill., concerning which we are agreed. Surely it is natural that we should join together in support of measures which are intended to put down fraud.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Government are in favour of that Bill.

Mr CHANTER - The Government will not tell us what they intend to do.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They have done so, but the honorable member was not here.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member must have been away.

Mr CHANTER - I have been a close and careful listener to the debate. The next matter is the High Commissioner Bill with the proviso that the selection of the Commissioner is subject to the approval of Parliament. The appointment of a High Commissioner will enable the Federal staff to be used for the benefit of all the States. That is absolutely, necessary. I dissent from the idea that there should be delay as contemplated by the Prime Minister.

Mr Watson - The Government are not helping the producers in that respect.

Mr CHANTER - No, the effect, is exactly the opposite. We do not need to wait for the opinion of the States. We have no right to delay the settlement of such a matter until the States choose to express their approval. It is our duty to appoint the High Commissioner as soon as we possibly can, and we can safely leave it to the electors to remove their superfluous Agents-General.

Mr Kennedy - Hang the expense!

Mr CHANTER - If I interpret the honorable member's meaning rightly, I reply that instead of increasing the expense the appointment of a High Commissioner will decrease it. The taxpayers of Australia will have less to pay, because, instead of having an Agent-General for every one of the States, there will be a High Commissioner, representing; the whole of Australia, whose services will be available for all the States Governments. If the States desire to be represented in London they can have their General-Agents instead of their Agents-General, and the result will be a considerable saving to the people. As to consulting Parliament with regard to the appointment, the position to be filled is so responsible in its nature that it is only right that Parliament should know who the High Commissioner is to be before the selection is finally made. That "is all that is asked for. The Government should not be allowed to get into recess, and then make any appointment they think proper, asking Parliament to ratify it, when Parliament can only express its disapproval with the consequence of dislocating the machinery of government by putting the Ministry out of office. Prevention is better than cure. That is one of the principles of the alliance with which I am thoroughly in accord. I need say no more with regard to preferential trade, as I have already dealt wilh the subject at considerable length. In the interests of my constituents, apart from the interests of the whole of Australia, nothing has ever been suggested which will result in more lasting benefit than the establishment of reciprocal relations in regard to the interchange of commodities between Great Britain and the Commonwealth. I shall support any legislation that may be necessary to that end. While I told my constituents that I was prepared to support fiscal peace, at the same time I am not prepared to see the interests of this country neglected and ruined. I arn quite sure that no protectionist onthis side of the House has any desire to see the Tariff reopened from end to end, but what they do desire is that there shall be brought before Parliament the cases of industries that are being injured by the operation of the present Tariff, so that the anomalies may be removed. That is required in the interests not only of capital, but of the bone and flesh and sinew of the people, of this country. People are being driven out of Australia' to seek for work elsewhere. We should be traitors to our country if we did not attempt so to readjust the Tariff that this ruinous devastation may be stopped.

Mr Kennedy - When did the Labour Party announce! its fiscal policy as a partv ?

Mr CHANTER - As a party they have-

Mr Kennedy - None !

Mr CHANTER - I do not say that.

Mr Kennedy - What does the leader of the Opposition say?

Mr CHANTER - I know him to be a protectionist. I also know that many members of the Labour Party are protectionists. I am quite sure that my honorable friend the member for Aloira, and the right honorable member for Swan, will agree with me that had it not been for the assistance of members of the Labour Party, we should not have had a protectionist Tariff in Australia to-day. They recognise that duties on certain articles were in the interests of labour, and they came to our assistance and helped us to pass the Tariff as it stands. It ill becomes honorable members opposite at this time to denounce the Labour Party for not having a fiscal policy either from the Jfree-tradt: or the protectionist point of view.

Sir John Forrest - The Labour Party had no fiscal principle.

Mr CHANTER - One of the reasons why I cannot help to maintain in office the present Prime Minister is that, although to-day he denounces the Labour Party, I know that for five years in New South Wales thev absolutely kept him in power. He could not have lived for five months without them.

Sir John Forrest - He is always paying them compliments.

Mr CHANTER - I said that I would not dig into the political grave yard; but I must give one or two instances-

Mr Ronald - Just a bone or two !

Mr CHANTER - The Protectionist Government in New South Wales imposed a duty on wheat in the interests of the farmers, and with the object of saving them from the rapacity of the importers. The right honorable member for East Sydney, on coming into power, declared that he stood for the policy of a free breakfast table. He immediately swept off this duty on corn. But when the Government of New South Wales got into financial difficulties, and more revenue was wanted, who gave it to the right honorable gentleman?

Mr Kennedy - The unfortunate taxpayer.

Mr CHANTER - The despised Labour Party came to his assistance. The Prime Minister came to the Labour Party as he came to other members of Parliament at that time wilh a proposal to impose a duty of 3d. per pound on tea. The Labour Party said - " No, we -will not consent to that, but by way of compromise we will agree to a duty of1d. per pound. The Prime Minister said - "Yes. Mr. McGowen, I will take the penny." What other Premier would have done that? Neither Sir George Dibbs nor Sir Henry Parkes, nor Sir Patrick Jennings would have continued to occupy the Treasury bench for a moment if. on a financial proposal, they had had to give way to the behests of a section of the

House in that manner. When the Reid Government was in danger again on another occasion, and more revenue had to be obtained, it was necessary to impose a duty upon sugar. To the shame and' the discredit of men who belonged to the Protectionist Party, because they saw their way to get a little bit of protection for the sugar-growers for the northern part of the country, they left us, and kept a free-trade Government in power. Men are known by their political acts as well as by their personal acts. If a person is known to be immoral and untrustworthy we would not associate with him in personal matters. Similarly, if we know a man to be politically untrustworthy and unreliable, we cannot have any confidence in him. An honorable member has no right to give a vote expressive of his confidence in a Ministry when he has no confidence in ils head.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A duty of 3d. per lb. on tea was proposed in this House, but the Government could not get even1d. Yet nothing happened.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member voted forthe reduction at that time, I think.

Mr CHANTER - How easily my honorable friends opposite are caught in a trap ! It is said that I voted to abolish the duty on tea, but I was Chairman of Committees atthe time, and exercised no vote whatever.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member supported it all the same.

Mr CHANTER - How did' I support it?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We knew that he was in favour of it.

Mr CHANTER - This shows another instance of the manner in which actions are imputed to me which I was not in a position to perform. The Barton Ministry, at all events, did not go to the Labour Party, and sell themselves for a dutv of1d. or 3d. per lb. upon tea. ' They would rather have gone out of office. There was no agreement between them and the despised Labour Party, as there was in New South Wales.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member knows that the Dibbs Government would not be kicked out when a vote of censure had been carried against them. They prorogued Parliament, and would not go out.

Mr CHANTER - Sir GeorgeDibbs is dead; but no more honorable politician ever held office in New South Wales. He would have sacrificed himself a dozen times for the sake of principle.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the honorable member deny what I have said ?

Mr CHANTER - I do deny it. As an old friend and colleague of the lat.p Sir George Dibbs, I say that during the whole of his political life he did nothing to justify such a remark, and his memory is revered by the people - of New South Wales as that of an honorable and upright man.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I did not refer to Sir George Dibbs personally. I merely said that when his Government was defeated they declined to go out, and prorogued Parliament.

Mr CHANTER - I am sorry that that rash statement has been made, because it requries me to go back--

Mr SPEAKER -The matter has nothing whatever to do with this debate.

Mr CHANTER - Then I ask the honorable member for Parramatta to withdraw what he said, because otherwise a statement detrimental to Sir George Dibbs will appear in the pages of Hansard, while I, his old friend and colleague, will not have an opportunity---

Mr SPEAKER -The honorable member has already dealt with the matter, and denied the statement.


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member mav make a personal explanation, if he feels it necessary to do so, when the honorable member for Riverina nas finished.

Mr CHANTER - As an old friend and colleague of Sir George Dibbs. I deny the truth of the allegation of the honorable member, and leave it to the people of New South Wales to judge between us. Thev will remember Sir George Dibbs a hundred years hence, while perhaps the honorable member for Parramatta will be forgotten not long after he has gone.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is talking "tommy rot.''

Mr CHANTER - No doubt the honorable gentleman is a good -judge of that. At all events, 1 do not indulge in interjections, offensive or otherwise, and as I do not interfere with other honorable members when they are speaking, I ask for similar treatment for myself. Another reason why I have no confidence in the present Administration is that I believe that some of its members are misrepresenting the feelings and aspirations of the Labour Party, with whom I am in alliance, by terming them Socialists, and by telling the farmers that, they are in favour of the confiscation and re-subdivision of the land. I do not believe that that is so. If I thought that the Labour Party would attempt any such thing they would receive no support, from me. On the contrary, I would oppose them. But I cannot forget that when I, as a land reformer, endeavoured to have land thrown open to the people of New South Wales. I met with the opposition of the Prime Minister and those associated with him, while I was assisted by the members of the Labour Party, whose aim was to give people an opportunity to settle on the land, not to take it away from them. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro then stood shoulder to shoulder with me. We strove to burst up the large estates, but we met with the opposition of the Free-trade Party all through. Not one Minister, except when protectionist Governments, such as that of Sir George Dibbs, were in power, did anything for land reform in New South Wales.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then who opened up the land for the people?

Mr CHANTER - The protectionists, with the assistance of the Labour Party-

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Under what land Minister ?

Mr CHANTER - I shall be out of order if I go into details; but I could give the names of Ministers, if I were not anxious not to occupy more time.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why does not the honorable member say that most land was thrown open to the people when Mr. Carruthers was Secretary for Lands in New South Wales?

Mr CHANTER - Because that would be untrue.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There has been more land settlement under the provisions of the measures which he introduced than under any other.

Mr CHANTER - There was more settlement under the Dibbs Government when thev imposed low protective duties, than ever before or since. I am sorry that the honorable member for Parramatta mentioned the name of Sir George Dibbs, because I am forbidden from replying to him ; but will he deny that some Ministers, instead of assisting the protectionists and the Labour Party to get land for the people, allied themselves with the proprietors of big estates? I could give instances pf that kind of thing which would shock honorable members who are not beyond being shocked.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then why not give those instances ? No one else but the honorable member knows of these things.

Mr CHANTER - From my knowledge of the "Prime Minister I am convinced that the farmers of Australia have nothing to expect from him. What did he do? He removed the protective duties upon wheat and other produce, which had conferred great benefit upon them, and substituted a land tax.

Mr Kennedy - He had the Labour Party behind him.

Mr CHANTER - I "beg the honorable member's pardon. He was the first Minister in New South Wales to impose a land tax.

Mr Kennedy - With the Labour Party behind him.

Mr CHANTER - Even so. The Labour Party make no secret of their intention-

Mr Kennedy - fs the honorable member going to control the Labour Party in the interests of protection, and as an opponent of the land tax?

Mr CHANTER - I am not in charge of the Labour Party. If I were I should possibly be able to point out certain mat'ters to them upon which I believe we should be perfectly in accord.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member has suddenly developed a warm sympathy for the Labour Party.

Mr Ronald - And the honorable member for Parramatta lias lost it.

Mr CHANTER - That remark is not worthy of the honorable member for Parramatta. There are several honorable members opposite who know that every vote I gave in the State Parliament was in the interests of the workers.


Mr CHANTER - If I criticised the actions of the honorable member, he would probably feel called upon to make a personal explanation, because I should say something very nasty.


Mr CHANTER - I have no intention to do so. I have to consider, not only my own feelings, but the pledges which I gave to my constituents. I told them before they voted for me that I would not follow any Government led bv the Prime Minister. That was after the Deakin Ministry had been ejected from office, and the Watson Government had come into power. I had no hesitation in telling my constituents that I was glad that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat had promised to give the new Government fair play, and that I would do the same.

Sir John Forrest - Why did the lion- orable member enter into the alliance?

Mr CHANTER - The reason was perfectly clear. The party to which I belonged agreed deliberately not to' enter into any alliance or coalition with the Freetrade Party. When I afterwards found that certain members of the party had joined forces with the Prime Minister, and that some were included in the new Administration, it behoved me to look round and ascertain whether there was not some party with which I could enter into an alliance. I am sorry that caucus secrets have been disclosed, because I think that the proceedings at such meetings should not be divulged. However, as certain statements have been made with regard to what has taken place at the meetings of the Protectionist Party, I desire to explain my position. At the meeting at which resolutions were passed against entering into any alliance with the Freetrade Party, I gave my reasons for agreeing with the view generally taken by the members present. What would be said of me if, after having agreed to such a resolution, I had deliberately allied myself with any party, without consulting my leader? I did not hear anything further from my leader, and when I found that the new Government embraced two or three members of the party, what could I do? I had to declare myself a supporter of the Government, or go into opposition. There was no room for any third party. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat sacrificed 'himself, his Ministry, and the protectionist cause, in order to reduce the number of parties in this House to two. I have no desire to say one harsh word against the honorable and learned member. I have a very great admiration for him, and it was a pleasure to me to be one of his followers. I cannot, however, understand' the motive which induced him to refrain from calling a meeting of his followers to discuss matters before he joined the Prime Minister.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member quitted him before he had a chance to do so.

Mr CHANTER - I did nothing of the kind. I had no knowledge of any meeting. No intimation was sent to me.

Mr Kennedy - Then why did the honorable member send an apology ? .

Mr CHANTER - Because circumstances over which I had no control compelled me to be absent. I was ignorant of what had taken place, and I forwarded a letter to the secretary of the party, asking that I should be excused from attendance at any meeting which might be held.

Mr Chapman - The protectionists of Australia will follow the honorable and learned member for Ballarat to the end.

Mr CHANTER - I have not one word to say' against the honorable and learned member. But I am seeking to defend myself against the charge of being a deserter from my party.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - So the honorable member is a deserter.

Mr CHANTER - The honorable member is a good judge of desertion, because whilst he was leader of the Labour Party in New South Wales he deserted it in order to join the Prime Minister in office.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is absolutely incorrect.

Mr CHANTER - "History record's the fact.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is about as correct as most of the other statements made by the honorable member.

Mr CHANTER - The honorable member for Parramatta was a very advanced protectionist before he entered Parliament. He wrote numbers of letters to the newspapers, and declared himself a believer in that form of fiscal faith. He was believed to be a protectionist all the time.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is an absolutely incorrect statement.

Mr CHANTER - The honorable member deserted the Labour Party in order to join the Reid Government, and it ill becomes him to taunt me with being a deserter from my party. I absolutely deny the allegation.


Mr CHANTER - I have not deserted my party. I was a protectionist when I entered public life, and I am a protectionist to-day, more strongly convinced than ever I was of the soundness of my political principles. I look upon the honorable and learned member for Ballarat as one of the truest protectionists that Australia has produced, and I am at a loss to understand how the present combination was brought about. However, what has taken place has not lessened my respect for the honorable and learned member. I do not pro pose to give up my principles. If I had fifty leaders who went wrong I should still stand to my principles.

Mr Kennedy - Does the honorable member say that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat has gone back on his principles ?

Mr CHANTER - I do not say anything of the kind, and no such inference can bo drawn from my statement. I do not understand what the honorable and learned member has done, and I am waiting for him to throw some light upon the subject. I want to hear what he has to say, because at present I do not know whether or not he is in the alliance. But I do know that he had hot sufficient confidence in the Government to become a member of it.

Mr Kennedy - Does the honorable member know the reason?

Mr CHANTER - I do not, and I am waiting to hear it.

Mr Kennedy - It was stated plainly last night.

Mr CHANTER - If the honorable and learned member for Ballarat had been a member of the Ministry, it would have made a great difference in my attitude, and that of other honorable members, towards the Government. His refusal to join a coalition Ministry was one of the causes of the disruption.

Mr Austin Chapman - Cannot we trust the right honorable member for Balaclava and the honorable member for Gippsland ?

Mr CHANTER - I can only say of the honorable member for Gippsland, as I have said of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, that I have always looked upon him with admiration as a protectionist, and still do so.' So far as protection is concerned, I can trust him, and also the right honorable member for Balaclava; but I cannot trust the Prime Minister, the Minister of Home Affairs, or the Postmaster-General, who are honest, conscientious men in their fiscal principles, and will do their level best both inside and outside the Cabinet to carry those principles into effect. At present we have what may be called a nullification Cabinet - a " YesNo " Cabinet.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is there on the other side ?

Mr CHANTER - We have a number of men banded together, not on fiscalism, but on something closely allied with fiscalism, namely, the uplifting of humanity. People inside Parliament echo the opinions expressed outside Parliament by people who have a dislike to the Labour Party - who talk about Tom Mann, Fleming, or some other advocate of extreme ideas.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member believe in Tom Mann's teaching?

Mr CHANTER - I am not discussing Tom Mann's teaching.

Mr Kennedy - The honorable member has allied himself with Tom Mann's disciples.

Mr CHANTER - The honorable member for Moira is usually very . fair, and I may tell him that I have never asked a member of the . Labour Party whether he believes in Tom Mann, or not. I can only repeat that if the Labour Party, with whom I am at present allied on a clearly defined programme, attempt to carry put confiscation doctrines, or any anarchial proposals, they will not receive my support

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Was the honorable member not sent here to support the honorable and learned member for Ballarat?

Mr CHANTER - I was not, and I am glad the honorable and learned member has given me the opportunity to deny the statement. I was asked to attend only two meetings of the party, at which a decision was arrived at.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What I meant was that you were returned at the election to support the honorable and learned member.

Mr CHANTER - I was returned at the first election to support the policy of protection. The programme was laid before the people by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, when he, did me the honour to attend meetings at Deniliquin and Moama, and explained matters, apart from myself. I said that I was very glad to be in agreement with him, and to follow him. On the question of fiscal peace, not only myself, but the honorable and learned member for Ballarat made it absolutely clear to the people of Riverina that if it meant any stoppage of preferential trade, ! we would haveno peace.

Mr Kennedy - The honorable and learned member did not say that. What he said was that there would be no reopening of the Tariff, except in connexion with preferential trade.

Mr CHANTER - The honorable member may now see a report of the speech tomorrow. I had already dealt with that question, and expressed the opinion that, now I know the effects of the Tariff, I would be criminal if were not prepared to afford relief at once. The question is one of the gravest moment to Australia. I suppose there is no one in the House who has any particular desire for a dissolution ; but I would scorn to give a vote to prevent such a result. The honorable member for Wilmot posed here very dramatically tonight but I can say that the intriguing for votes in connexion with this motion is greater than I have observed on any other occasion in my twenty years of political life.

Mr Cameron - Nobody has ever asked me for a vote, I declare on my honour.

Mr CHANTER - As I cannot conclude my speech to-night, I ask that the debate be adjourned.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I desire to make a' personal explanation. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat imputed to me, very improperly, I think, a desire to impugn the memory of a dead man. I absolutely repudiate any such intention. I simply related a fact of which the honorable member,. with his knowledge of New South Wales politics, ought to be aware - a fact well known to any one associated with the New South Wales Parliament. I refer to the time when a motion of censure was lodged against the Dibbs Government on account pf Sir Edmund Barton and Mr. R. E. O'Connor accepting retainers against the Government of which they were members. When the Government were defeated, instead of resigning as any self-respecting Government would have done, they came down to the House next day, and dramatically flourished in the faces of honorable members a pro-' rogation notice. The honorable member for Riverina knows all this, and yet he denies it in point-blank fashion. If my statement can be construed into a reflection on a dead man's memory, I have yet to understand the meaning of language.

Mr Chanter - Political memory ; I did not say personal memory.

Debate adjourned.

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