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Friday, 7 October 1904

Mr McWILLIAMS (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - I expected this challenge to be thrown out, and, therefore, i am prepared with a reply.

Mr Watkins - I am referring to the present following of the Prime Minister.

Mr McWILLIAMS - I am referring to the verdict of the people, which is of infinitely more value than that of the honorable member or myself.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - They went for freetrade, and now thev have got it sunk.

Mr McWILLIAMS - What did the honorable member go for? He pledged himself to fiscal peace, and glories in breaking his pledge for no other purpose than to save his political skin.

Mr Austin Chapman - I was returned for the policy which the Government have before the public now.

Mr McWILLIAMS - Let us take the verdict of New South Wales at the Senate elections, in which there were no divisional lines. The honorable member for Riverina said that the Prime Minister got his support from Sydney, the Sydney Domain, and tenant farmers who had to crawl for permission to get on the land. At the Senate electfons, the right honorable gentleman got a verdict in the electorate of Riverina.

Mr Chanter - I did not refer to the tenant farmers in Riverina.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The honorable member said that the Prime Minister got his support in this House from Sydney and the Sydney Domain.

Mr Chanter - That is right, but I did not refer to the tenant farmers in Riverina.

Mr McWILLIAMS - Let me apply the test of the polling at the Senate elections for New South Wales. There were three candidates who stood as supporters of the Prime Minister.

Mr Watkins - And the Daily Telegraph.

Mr McWILLIAMS - If there 'is not a loophole for honorable members on the other side, they will make a rat hole. They talk a great deal about the verdict of the people, and when it is given in plain black and white, they will not submit to it. Three candidates for the Senate stood as supporters of the policy of the Prime Minister, and I will show the House how they polled in the rural districts of that State, and how the three men next on the list polled. If the right honorable member for East Sydney has been an enemy to the farmers of New South Wales, the figures which I am about to read will show what splendid Christians they are, because they evidently love their enemy.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What is the circulation of the Sydney Daily Telegraph ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - If honorable members think that the Sydney Daily Telegraph rules the Commonwealth, why do they not hand our affairs over to it, and thus save waste of time in the making of speeches such as we have heard during the last three weeks? Let me take first the rural district of Bland, which is represented here by the leader of the Opposition. There the three Reidites polled 11,000 votes, and the next three 7,500. Were those the votes of Sydney Domain men ?

Mr Chanter - No; of Dill Macky men.

Mr McWILLIAMS - That is an exceedingly poor compliment for the honorable member to pay to his leader. It is what I would not say of him. In the rural district of Canobolas, which is represented here by a labour man who, three nights ago, said that he would be no partv to increasing the duties on the Tariff, the three Reidites polled 10,000 votes, and the next three men only 2,000 votes.

Mr Webster - What does the honorable member mean bv the "next three men "?

Mr McWILLIAMS - The candidates whose names stood fourth, fifth, and sixth on the list at the conclusion of the polling.

Mr Webster - Why does he not take the labour vote, pure and simple?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I am giving the labour vote combined with the other votes which were cast against the Reid candidates.

Mr Webster - The comparison is not a fair one.

Mr.Mcwilliams.-I think that it is absolutely fair. If I had taken the candidates lowest on the list, the honorable member might well say that. In the rural district of Cowper the Reidites polled 20,000 votes, and the next three 9,000. In the district of Eden-Monaro the polling was 9,000 for the Reidites and 8,000 for the next three, while in the Gwydir district it was 10,000 for the Reidites, and 9,000 for the next three men.

Mr Webster - Who was at the top of the poll in the Gwydir district?

Mr McWILLIAMS - The labour candidate, Mr. Griffiths, polled 4,041 votes, and the next man, a Reidite, 3,347 votes. The first four on the list in that district each polled over 3,000 votes.

Mr Webster - The labour man there was on top without any newspaper support.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The Hume district was the only rural district in which the Reidites failed to get a (majority. There the voting was 14,000 for the Reidites, and 15,000 for the next three men. In the Hunter district, the Reidites polled 22,000 votes, and the next three 9,000 votes; in the Macquarie district, the voting was 19,000 against 13,000 ; in the New England district, 20,000 against 12,000 ; in the Parkes district, 49,000 against 6,000; in the Richmond district, 11,000 against 9,000; and in the Riverina district, which is so ably represented in this House by the honorable member who last spoke, 11,000 against 9,000 votes.

Mr Tudor - Then, how Avas it that the free-traders could not win that seat in the House of Representatives ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - The honorable member for Riverina had a much closer run than I should like to have. He has told us that the right honorable member for East Sydney gets no support except from the loafers in the Sydney Domain, and from the tenant farmers who have to crawl to their landlords. The figures which I have read disprove those statements. In the Werriwa district the Reidites polled 119,000, while the next three polled only 6,000 votes. Taking the voting for the whole State, the three Reidites who were elected senators polled respectively 189,000, 188,000, and 185,000 votes, while the candidate next on the list polled only 1 07,000 votes. Still honorable members opposite have the audacity to say that the Prime Minister is not trusted by the people of New South Wales. Then, if we take the representation of the next great State in the Commonwealth, Victoria, we find that, including the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne amongst the labour members, the alliance has four Victorian labour representatives and four

Victorian protectionists, while the Government are supported by fifteen representatives of that State.

Mr Tudor - There are only three Victorian labour representatives in this House.

Mr McWILLIAMS - Then the alliance contains three Victorian labour representatives and five Victorian protectionists, or eight altogether, as against fifteen supporters of the Government.

Mr Wilks - A "substantial majority."

Mr.Mcwilliams.-i think that the supporters of the Government may be taken to "substantially represent " the opinions of the people of Victoria.

Mr Storrer - The Government have not a verv substantial majority.

Mr McWILLIAMS - They have a more substantial majority than the last Government accepted on a test question. If my memory serves me rightly, there was a great cracking of the whip, and then the honorable member for Bland announced that the numbers were up. But his majority was only a solitary one, which is the number of the following now possessed by the honorable member for Hume. Honorable members opposite are playing a hollow farce. They talk about the coalition on this side, but there has never been such bare-faced audacity displayed before in any Parliament as that of honorable members sitting in the Opposition corner.

Mr Page - The honorable member should go to Queensland if he wants to find instances of bare-faced audacity.

Mr McWILLIAMS - If there is more bare-faced audacity in Queensland than here, I do not wonder that my honorable friend preferred to come into this' Parliament.

Mr Page - I did not choose to come; the electors chose to send me.

Mr McWILLIAMS - And they made an exceedingly good choice, with which I do not in any way quarrel. The speech delivered by the late Prime Minister was one of negatives. He submitted a grab-all motion, but made absolutely no charge against the Government. I did not hear his speech, but I have gone carefully through the report in Hansard, and, so far as I can see, his indictment against the Government was summed up in the complaint that they had not announced any policy for next session. The honorable member for Hume, who was then sub-leader of the Opposition- but who, I am afraid, has been jockeyed out of his position - then rose and made an affirmative speech. He put forward a very distinct programme, and a fair one, too. He said, " We are going tq challenge the Government because they will not give us more protection," and almost before the sound of his voice had faded away, honorable members sitting in association with him said that they would be no parties to increasing the duties under the Tariff. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat expressed his dissatisfaction with the Government solely on the ground that they held out no hope to the protectionists, I asked him whether protection was the policy of the alliance, and I understood him to say that it was. I have asked several members of the Labour Party if they are prepared to support a protectionist policy, and they have replied in the negative. There is only one labour representative in the House at the present moment who is a free-trader; I refer to the honorable member for Maranoa. I asked him if he subscribed to protection, and he gave me his authority to say that he did not. What has the honorable member for Riverina to say to that? It is perfectly farcical for honorable members belonging to the alliance to say that they intend to go to the country upon a protective policy in order to save our industries from being strangled, whilst some of the men with whom they are allied are far stronger free-traders than I am. As honorable members are doubtless aware, I do not hold suqh pronounced free-trade views as do some other honorable members.

Mr Page - Did the honorable member for one moment suppose that I was going to the countrv as a protectionist?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I did not. There is no honorable member in this House in whose honesty I have greater faith than in that of the honorable member. When he tells the House that he regards all bonuses as bare-faced robberies, I believe him.

Mr Watkins - He did not oppose the sugar bonus.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - And the honorable member did not object to the" subsidy for the mail service between Melbourne and Launceston.

Mr McWILLIAMS - No, I was not in this House, but I should have done so, because I object to all subsidies and bonuses. I hope that I shall not be a protectionist for my own State and a free-trader in regard to other States. Although some of my personal friends are interested in the proposed iron bonus, I have announced my intention to vote against it. I shall not countenance any proposal which will result \in the people being robbed, whether it be by the State or by private individuals. We have no more right to give bonuses for the encouragement of the iron industry than to offer them for the assistance of those engaged in wheat growing, in the timber industry, or in any other enterprise. When some honorable members tell us that they are going to the country upon a distinct policy, whilst honorable members with whom . they are allied, and with whom they profess to . be fighting shoulder to shoulder, tell us that that policy involves robbery of the people, the hollowness of their pretensions is exposed. I regard the honorable members who are sitting in the Liberal Alliance corner as having left their, party. Their position reminds me of that of the Scotchman who always had the misfortune to sit on a jury with eleven obstinate men. Here we have four, five, or six members blaming some fifteen or sixteen others for having deserted them.If majority rule is to be accepted as a sound principle, one would think that those who were in the majority should decide the fate of the party.

Mr Webster - But the majority ignored the terms of their own resolution.

Mr McWILLIAMS - I should like to know under what flag the members of the alliance will fight if the motion now before us is carried. Will the honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports appeal to the electors as advocates of the Manufactures Encouragement Bill and a protective policy, whilsi other members sitting in alliance with' them are telling the electors that protection amounts to bare-faced robbery ?

Mr Watkins - I suppose that the Prime Minister will defend the present Tariff?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I hope sincerely that the Prime Minister will abide bv the agreement into which he has entered.

Mr Tudor - What agreement?

Mr McWILLIAMS - The agreement that the Tariff shall be allowed to remain intact during the life of the present Parliament. Although' I hold that there are many anomalies in the present Tariff, I told my constituents - I did not enter into a specific pledge - that I thought the Tariff should be left alone for the life of the present Parliament. Whilst the late Government were in office not one word was said as to the necessity for an immediate revision of the Tariff. When four protectionists and three free-traders sat on the

Treasury bench as members of the Watson Ministry, not a voice was raised by members in the Liberal corner in favour of ejecting the Ministry from office because they would not revive the fiscal issue. They had no excuse for saying that they did not understand the position of the Ministry, because in his speech on the AddressinReply the honorable member for Bland stated with perfect clearness that in his view there could be no revival of the Tariff question during the life of the present Parliament. Further, when he addressed his constituents at Wagga only a few days before he retired from office, he made a similar statement. Why was not a protest entered at that time? How is it that it has dawned upon honorable members only within the last few days that a revision of the Tariff is necessary ?

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - It certainly is necessary.

Mr McWILLIAMS - We know too well the object of the proposal. It is only a sham and a farce - a bare-faced scramble for office. That is what it means. Have not a great majority of those who have spoken made the Prime Minister a sort of King Charles' head ? If any individual, other than the right honorable gentleman, were leader of the Government they would follow him, I suppose?

Mr Webster - What would be the financial position of Tasmania under freetrade ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - What Tasmania is suffering from at the present time is a serious loss of revenue, caused by importations from the other States. We are very largely importing from Victoria articles upon which we formerly levied revenue-producing duties ranging from 12½ to 20 per cent. For example, the market for the rougher kind of boots - workmen's boots - has practically been captured by the Victorian manufacturers.


Mr McWILLIAMS - And in Tasmania we know it to our cost, because whilst the boots are no cheaper to the consumer, that State is losing the revenue which it formerly collected upon them. That is one of the ramifications of the Tariff which will require to be carefully considered whenever its revision may be undertaken.

Mr Mauger - How does the honorable member account for that condition of affairs? Is it due to the fact that Victoria possesses better machinery ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I think that it is due to the larger turnover in Victoria. This States possesses very much larger 'manufactories than does Tasmania. As a result, their output is larger, and, with their higher class of machinery, they could put better value into the cheaper class of boots, than can the small factories of Tasmania, other things being equal.

Mr Mauger - There is no duty upon the importation of Tasmanian boots into Victoria.

Mr McWILLIAMS - I repeat that because of the larger Victorian factories and their greater turnover, the latter manufacturers can produce boots cheaper than can those of Tasmania. Prior to Federation, Tasmanian factories were doing only a limited trade for a limited number of people. Consequently the establishments themselves were limited. In Victoria, however, the Melbourne manufacturers had a larger population to work upon, and with the assistance of a prohibitive duty upon boots, were able to monopolize practically the whole of the local trade. When the markets of the smaller States were thrown open to them, they were naturally in a better position than were the local manufacturers. I do not grudge them their success for a moment. I am merely stating the facts, so far as the falling off of the Tasmanian revenue is concerned. Whereas formerly we were accustomed to receive 20 per cent, upbn all the heavier class of boots imported into that State, we now collect no duty whatever. That is one of the conditions which we foresaw-

Sir Philip Fysh - The same remark applies to hats.

Mr McWILLIAMS - Exactly. It applies to all those! goods in which the Victorian manufacturers have a larger turnover. The Tasmanian revenue is suffering to-day not so much on account of the operation of a high Tariff or a low Tariff, but by reason of the fact that we are excluding goods from other parts of' the world, and importing them from the manufacturing centres of Victoria absolutely free of duty. We are thus losing the revenue which we formerly obtained from that source. I was one of those who opposed Federation, because I believed that Australia was not ripe for the large scheme of union into which we have entered. I was defeated upon the question, and of course accepted the result with good grace, but I make bold to say that the proceedings of this Parliament during the present session have gone far to prove that the judgment of those who held my views was correct. There has never been a Parliament in Australia which has put up such a bad record as has the Commonwealth Parliament during the current session.

Mr Mahon - The honorable member ought not to foul his own nest.

Mr McWILLIAMS - It is not a question of fouling one's own nest, but of facing, as it were, a cancer, in the hope of cutting it out. Are the people of Australia at the present time in a position to decide an issue between the two Houses ?

Mr Tudor - I wish that they had a chance.

Mr McWILLIAMS - That is the old whistle. Let us examine the present position. It was pointed out the other evening that, in a little more than twelve months there have been elections for the State Legislatures in Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, in addition to a general election for this Parliament.

Mr Tudor - There has also been a byelection in South Australia.

Mr Page - And there was a general election in Queensland last month.

Mr McWILLIAMS - That is so. Yet we are asked to go to the country upon what ?

Mr Page - We are not going now.

Mr McWILLIAMS - But we are asked to go, because I presume that this motion was tabled seriously. We are asked to deliberately vote to bring about a dissolution - to go to the country upon a scramble vote, because it is well known that the rolls of Australia are in a state of perfect chaos.

Mr Tudor - Whose fault is that?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I presume that it is the fault of . those who have had control of them. Surely the blame cannot be laid upon the shoulders of the present occupants of the Ministerial benches. I do sincerely hope that before there is a general election for this Parliament some very drastic alterations will be made in the Electoral Department. I hope that neither candidates nor electors will have to face the possible injury they had to face last election. My complaint does not apply so much to my own State, in which, owing to its being small, and having an exceedingly good man at the head of affairs, the rolls were in a much better condition than many of us had anticipated. But we hear from New South Wales and Western Australia that tens of thousands of electors were left off the rolls, many of them through no fault of their own.

Mr Webster - Do not exaggerate.

Mr Tudor - The rolls were in a better condition in Victoria than at any previous general election.

Mr Robinson - Not at all; at any rate, not in my electorate.

Mr Storrer - I did not hear of tens of thousands of electors being left off the rolls.

Mr McWILLIAMS - We heard from New South Wales that the number of names left off the rolls amounted to over tens of thousands.

Mr Webster - The honorable member is wrong.

Mr.Mcwilliams.-I do not thinkI am wrong. The evidence given before the Electoral Committee-

Mr Mauger - Will show that the honorable member is wrong.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The evidence will show that I am not wrong. I have it from representatives of Western Australia that the rolls there were in a very incomplete state.

Sir John Forrest - And polling places were deficient.

Mr Page - Why, the right honorable member was the Minister who had the " bossing of the show"! This is rich !

Mr Tudor - Who was the Minister of Home Affairs at the time of the last election?

Mr PAGE (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The right honorable member for Swan.

Mr Tudor - That gentleman is now sitting on the same side as the honorable member for Franklin.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The honorable member for Wide Bay, in giving credit to the late Government for what they had done, pointed especially to the enormous improvement made in the Defence Forces. In Tasmania the cost of the Defence Forces "is 50 per cent, to 100 per cent, larger than when under the State, but they are in a state of chaos. South of Oatlands there is practically no defence force, and in the north the force is in a very unsatisfactory condition - a condition that should not be permitted to continue a day longer than can be helped. I have to thank the Minister of Defence for an, assurance that, if the Government get into recess, he will visit Tasmania and make inquiries. A personal visit of that kind will, I am . sure, convince the Minister of the absolute necessity for, at least, putting the Defence Forces in that State on a sounder footing. There is one important question as to which I find myself very much in accord with some honorable members on the other side - that is the question of preferential trade, if, of course, their idea of preferential trade is the same as my own. I am an out-and-out supporter of preferential trade within the British Empire. Nothing could tend to bind the Empire closer, and nothing could be better for the producers, and all classes of the community in Australia, than n preferential trade arrangement with the rest of the Empire. But the preference must be an honest one. To place duties on English goods and practically shut them out of the market, and then to impose duties 20 or 25 per cent, higher on foreign goods, is a shaim. I am prepared to support a preferential trade, under which the duties on British goods shall be reduced 5 or 10 per cent., as the Tariff will allow, and a corresponding increase of 5 or 10 per cent, duty imposed on goods from other countries.

Mr Mauger - What would the honorable member take off the duty of 12½ per cent, on machinery?

Mr McWILLIAMS - As regards manyclasses of machinery, I should take the whole 12½ per cent. off.

Mr Storrer - Tasmania would then lose almost all her revenue.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The people of Tasmania would, I believe, be willing to bear the loss of the 12½ per cent, duty at present levied on . agricultural . machinery. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked me a fair question ; and, in reply, I have to say that I am not prepared to place a heavy duty on many articles used in the primary industries. If the States want revenue, I aim prepared to support a revenue Tariff of 10 or 12½ per cent.; but I cannot support a Tariff which would completely destroy the revenue of States which do not produce the dutiable articles - and all for the sake of improving the industries of some other State.

Mr Mauger - I am afraid that the honorable member is not very Federal in spirit.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The honorable member for Bass asked what the effect on the Tasmanian revenue would be, if the dutv of 12½ per cent. on machinery were removed. But where would the revenue be if the duty were so high as to shut out all British and American goods, and force the people to obtain the whole of their machinery from Victoria ? There would be no revenue then.

Mr Storrer - That is another question.

Mr McWILLIAMS - It is a question we have to face.


Mr McWILLIAMS - It is a great misfortune that in dealing with Customs matters in Tasmania We are compelled to have regard to considerations of revenue. The honorable member for Denison, with his long . experience in the Tasmanian Parliament, will bear me out when I say that in all our dealings with the Tariff in Tasmania, the revenue has had to be kept in view. Nearly all the revisions of the Tasmanian Tariff were in the direction of securing more revenue.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The duties in Tasmania averaged about 20 per cent., I think.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The average was, I believe, less than 20 per cent.

Mr Storrer - About 15 per cent.

Mr Watkins - That is a fairly high revenue Tariff.

Mr McWILLIAMS - It was; and it gave Tasmania nearly£100,000 a year more than that State now receives.

Mr Watkins - Such a Tariff would be called high protection in New South Wales.

Mr Wilks - And free-trade in Victoria.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The honorable member for Bland is a protectionist in New South Wales, but in Victoria he is a freetrader, or worse - he is regarded as a " strangler ' ' of irdustries. That honorable member's idea of protection contemplates, I think, duties of 15 or 20 per cent. While we in Tasmania have to consider the question of revenue, I think the people of that State are prepared to make some little further sacrifice to assist in a small way - and, necessarily, it must be in a small way - to secure preferential trade within the Empire. Such reforms cannot be obtained without some little sacrifice. Before I conclude I should like to make some reference to the conduct of business within this Parliament. The honorable member for Coolgardie has said that we ought not to foul our own nest by speaking disparagingly of the work we have done 'here. I cannot help saying, however, that the present session is not one of which any honorable member can possibly be proud ; and it is my intention, before the session closes, to test the feeling of the House on the question of restricting the length of speeches. If honorable members, who occupy four or five hours in their deliverances, were to sub-edit their speeches - or, what would be much better, get some friend to do so- they would better secure the attention of the House, would speak with greater effect, and would save inordinate expense. If we are to have a general election every twelve months, and sit in Melbourne for the balance of the year, it means that the legislative work will drift into the hands of two classes - the absolutely wealthy, who have nothing to do, and adopt politics as a hobby, and the unemployed who are glad to Jive on the parliamentary allowance. This is a very serious matter to men who are not prepared to become absolutely professional politicians. It is serious to men who are not prepared to spend - or, indeed, waste - so great a time in the Federal Parliament House. Honorable members who live in Melbourne are not so much concerned. They may devote their attention to private business during a great portion of the day, and saunter up to Parliament House when their own offices are closed. But to members from the other States, who have to give the whole of their time to Parliament during the session, the inordinate, useless length of the session - if the present session is to be a standard for future sessions - is of serious importance.

Mr Watkins - What does the honorable member propose as a remedy ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - The same remedy as has been adopted in some of the States of America - that there should be an absolute time limit of the speeches of honorable members.

Mr Robinson - Can the honorable member explain why it is that the long speeches all come from New South Wales members ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - No, I cannot. After the views which I have expressed, I suppose it is needless for me to say that it is my intention to vote against the motion of the leader of the Opposition. But I will add that the condition of parties in this House is notsatisfactory. I say deliberately that Iam not satisfied with the position that was revealed last night. I am not satisfied that the Government should carry on with a majority of one. I should like to see the electoral rolls put thoroughly in order during the recess. The Government, in recess, should prepare a well thought out and clearly defined programme. Let them plate it before Parliament, and let us have a vote upon it. If we are to have a dissolution, let us go to the country either for the Govern ment policy or against it. Let us know exactly what we are doing. That is the only way in which a straight-out issue can be placed before the Commonwealth. In view of the unsatisfactory condition of parties, I think that it is the duty of the Prime Minister to follow that course, and not to introduce new measures at present. The right honorable gentleman should endeavour to get through the session as quickly as possible, get into recess, and then pre'pare - I repeat it - a definite and proper . programme to place before the country.

Mr Tudor - Did he not have a policy when he appealed to the electors at the last election?

Mr McWILLIAMS - A great many honorable members had policies, and they are now endeavouring to get away from them. The . policy chiefly advocated in Victoria was one of fiscal peace during the life of the present Parliament.

Mr Tudor - I did not advocate that.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The honorable member is not Victoria, though he is a very able representative of that State. I do not desire to see a scramble at the next election ; I do not wish to see the honorable and learned member for Indi standing on the policy of absolute protection, while Mr. Tom Mann - who is allied with his party - advocates a land nationalization, scheme. I have had opportunities of hearing Mr. Tom Mann on several occasions, and I admire him for his ability. So far as I can see, he is going to be a prominent figure, if he enters the Parliamentary Labour Party. But take the position of the honorable and learned member for Indi. It is generally understood that Mr. Tom Mann is to oppose the honorable and learned member for Ballarat at the next election. We all know that when persons are fighting side by side, they are, iri elections, apt to exchange programmes. Let us imagine the honorable and learned member for Indi taking Mr. Tom Mann up into an agricultural electorate to advocate land nationalization.

Mr Wilks - He would not take Mr. Tom Mann up - he would take him down !

Mr McWILLIAMS - It would require a much smarter man than the honorable and learned' member for Indi to take down Mr. Tom Mann. We have heard a good deal about the press in the course of this debate. As an old pressman, I must say that I have never known the press to be so intensely honored as it has been in this Parliament. I feel quite proud of the fact that I am an old quilldriver, when I see the deference that is paid to it. I am now going to give honorable members a little extract from a newspaper which was issued to-day. The Tocsin is, I believe, the recognised organ of the Labour Party in Victoria.

Sir John Forrest - Is it?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I know that honorable members opposite are exceedingly non-committal, but I think that they will not venture to deny that the Tocsin is the recognised organ of the Labour Party in this State. The issue of the journal this morning contains an interesting little . cut with the letterpress : -

Senator McGregor'sfamous satirical lecture, entitled "Good as a labour man," has been hastily withdrawn, pending further instructions from the managers of the alliance.

It is rather a good cut of the senator who, presumably because of the suppression of that exceedingly able lecture of his, does not look happy. The Tocsin also contains a leading article on the subject of the alliance.

Mr Tudor - Does the honorable member wish to get the extracts into Hansard?

Mr McWILLIAMS - The worst feature of associating with a certain class of individuals is that they will persist in judging every one by their own standards. The honorable member for Yarra yesterday wished to get some exceedingly long extracts into Hansard, and he thinks that other people are actuated by the same desire. I am not so proud of my speeches in Hansard as the honorable member is of his. I do not take so much interest in them.

Mr Tudor - The honorable member has made ten speeches for every one that I have made this session.

Mr McWILLIAMS - The article is headed " The Alliance Reviewed." This organ of the Labour Party reviews the alliance that has just been formed between the Labour Party and the protectionist wing of the Opposition. After some introductory remarks, the article proceeds : -

The controlling authority, which alone can bc regarded as voicing the opinion of Victorian labour, did not denounce the alliance; it did not censure its own representatives for having entered into unforeseen obligations without first consulting their constituents. It simply declared that its action would be in no way affected by an agreement to which it was no party, and that its several branches would act as if such irregular compact had never existed.

The article proceeds a little further down -

The defeat of the Barton Administration led to a party advance, as did also the overthrow of Mr. Deakin ; so, too, would the ejectment of Mr. Isaacs, if he held office.

Mr Watkins - Will the honorable member tell us what some of the papers have said about the coalition on the other side?

Mr McWILLIAMS - Perhaps the honorable member will allow me to play myown innings. I am giving honorable members now what the masters of the Labour Party outside are going to say at the next election. We see the honorable member for Bourke looking pleadingly to the front Opposition bench, and asking his friends there not to oppose him at the next election, but we know that not . one of them dare get on to the honorable member's platform and say a word for him if a labour man is run against him. Why? Because I believe they will keep their pledge. I think it will be admitted that they pledge themselves not to oppose the selected candidate. If a selected candidate is run against the honorable member for Bourke, there is not a member of the Federal Labour Party who can mount the platform and say a word for him without violating his written pledge. And yet honorable members opposite talk of an alliance. The masters of the Federal Labour Party are those who intend to select the candidates for the next election. No honorable member sitting on the opposite side knows at the present moment whether he will be a candidate for the Labour Party or not.

Mr Spence - We are selected already.

Mr Watkins - Does the honorable member know that he will be a candidate ?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I know that I am in a position to defy any little clique, and to appeal straight to the electors. The honorable member cannot do that. He has first of all to put in his nomination and to have it decided whether he shall be the selected candidate of his league before he can go to the electors for support. I am not in that position.

Mr Tudor - Does the honorable member know of any man who has been true to the platform and pledge who has not been selected ?

An Honorable Member. - Ex-Senator Barrett.

Mr Tudor - He was not true to the pledge.


Mr Tudor - Senator Trenwith never signed the pledge.

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