Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 7 October 1904

Mr McWILLIAMS (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - And the same with many others. I did vote against the proposal, as I shall do whenever it comes up, because I believe that the States should control their railway servants.

Mr Tudor - Why did not the honorable member oppose the third reading of the Bill?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I recognised that the party was beaten in a fair and square division. It may suit some honorable members to pose before their electors and say, "Look at what i did." But when a wise man has made his fight in a House of Parliament, and is beaten, he ceases to become an obstacle in the path. He savs, " No, I am beaten, let the decision stand." That was my position.

Mr Watkins - The honorable and learned member for Ballarat did not do that.

Mr McWILLIAMS - I am not responsible for the honorable and learned member, who is quite competent and able to answer for himself.

Mr Austin Chapman - Honorable members on the Opposition side are very ready to try to stab the honorable and learned member now.

Mr McWILLIAMS - I think that these constant little stabs come with bad grace from men who were once very glad to get the assistance of the honorable and learned member. Honorable members on the other side have poured out their venom upon the Prime Minister, but they did not condemn him at the last election, when they were glad to get his assistance to win votes on their behalf. The regrettable features of this debate have been the slanders and the low tone which have been introduced, chiefly by the honorable member for Hume, in his reckless attempts to degrade the Prime Minister in the eyes of this Parliament and of Australia. I hope that the motion of no-confidence will be lost, and that the Government will take an early opportunity to get. a clear and well defined issue between the two sides. And when we do go to the country let us go on that well defined issue, so that the men who are fighting under each leader can fight for one' policy. We do not want an advocacy of Socialism in one electorate, antiSocialism in anotiher electorate, the Manufactures Encouragement Bill in another electorate, or protection in another electorate. We do not want to see men on either side supporting a leader while denouncing his policy. If it would clearly define, once and for all, the position of parties in the House I should be glad to see this motion carried.

Mr Page - What does the honorable member think they should bo - Reidites and Labourites?

Mr Mcwilliams -I think that the

Labour Party should occupy either the Ministerial or the Opposition benches.

Mr Page - So we are.

Mr McWILLIAMS - No ; the honorable member knows that he is allied with men who talk of going to the country on a policy which he would honestly oppose on every possible occasion.

Mr Page - We cannot help that.

Mr.Mcwilliams.- No; but the Labour Party can help being allied with men who are voting to put out the Government, because they want to go to the country on a policy of protection. Very nearly one-half the members of the Labour Party are honest and able advocates of an entirely opposite policy. If we went to the country tomorrow, and the Reid Party came back in a minority of one or two. what policy would we see put before the House? Should we get an iron bonus policy, or a high Tariff policy? The honorable member for Maranoa, who intends to follow me, knows that he would not be prepared to support a policy which he regards as bare-faced robbery. Because I think that this motion of no-confidence is merely a bid for office ; because I believe that if the House were dissolved, there would be a personal scramble, a kind of save-your-skin election, and that parties would come back as hopelessly confused as they are now, because I believe that the majority of the people of Australia do not want a dissolution-

Mr Page - We do not.

Mr McWILLIAMS - Because I am quite confident that the honorable member and myself, and I think an overwhelming majority of this House do not want a dissolution, I shall vote against the motion.

Suggest corrections