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Wednesday, 26 October 1904

Mr CARPENTER (Fremantle) - I deprecate the attempt of the honorable- and learned member for Illawarra to give . s». party aspect to this very important , question.

Mr Wilks - What about trie speech of the honorable member for Riverina?

Mr CARPENTER - I am sure that the honorable and learned member for Indi had no desire that the matter should be treated as a party question. The honorable and learned member for Illawarra has not been in public life very long.

Mr Reid - He was in Parliament eighteen years ago.

Mr CARPENTER - Then he has apparently never been subjected to the vitriolic attacks which are sometimes made on public men, or he would have more sympathy with the honorable and learned member for Indi in the vicious attack which has been made upon him.

Mr Fuller - I said that I had sympathy with him.

Mr CARPENTER - The honorable and learned member took ari extraordinary way to show it. What has happened to the honorable and learned member for Indi today may happen to any other member of the House some other day.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A great deal worse has happened to me within the last fortnight.

Mr CARPENTER - If any one deserves to be harshly treated, it is 'he honorable member. He is such a persistent interjector and objector that he lays himself open to criticism. I regret that honorable members opposite, directly this question was raised, began to look at it from the party point of view. I have sympathized with the Prime Minister when he has been attacked by another journal.

Mi. Wilks.- The honorable member did not get up and howl about it.

Mr CARPENTER - It is the place of the Prime Minister to do any howling that may require to be done in such cases, though he has such an enthusiastic whip that he perhaps feels that unnecessary. This matter is one which affects, not 'any party in the House, but every individual member, because any one of us may be subjected to similar treatment in the future. We do not wish to prevent the press from fairly criticising us, but there are bounds beyond which that criticism should not go; and the Argus has, by common consent, broken those bounds. In my opinion, the article is part of a plot to undermine the great White Australia policy which we are here to defend.


Mr CARPENTER - I expected that the honorable member for Parramatta would laugh, because, although he is a professed friend of the White Australia policy-

Mr SPEAKER - I prevented the honorable member for Bland from dealing with this question, and therefore I cannot allow the honorable member for Fremantle to discuss it.

Mr CARPENTER - I should like to point out that other honorable members have referred to the matter. I did not propose to discuss it, but I wished to say that the attack upon the honorable and learned member for Indi was, tomy mind, but part of a plot that exists throughout Australia' to-day to undermine the White Australia policy. Any man who reads conservative journals carefully cannot but be convinced that that is true. I wish to enter my protest against this being done in such an underhand way. I share with other honorable members the sympathy which has been extended towards the honorable and learned member who has complained this afternoon. I hold that the honorable and learned member was perfectly justified in the course which he has taken.

Mr. ISAACS(Indi). - I wish to say only one or two words. I wish to express ray warmest personal recognition of the very evident sympathy which has been expressed for me to-day by my honorable friends, on both sides of the House. Notwithstanding that some of us have fought very strongly, there has been a universal recognition that I have been unfairly attacked, and it is a remarkable thing that a journal of the standing of the Argus is unable to find in this Chamber a single individual to rise to say one word for it.

Mr SPEAKER - Before I put the question, I desire . to say that while, under the Standing Orders under which we work I could not rule the honorable and learned member for Indi out. of order, and did not so rule, it would be convenient for the House if we were to establish the practice that questions relating to attacks upon any honorable member personally, or upon the House, should, when dealt with at all, be dealt with as questions of privilege, or in the form of personal explanations, and not under cover of motions for the adjournment of the House. I make that suggestion to honorable members.

Question resolved in the negative.

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