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Friday, 2 July 1915

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) , - I regret that the honorable member for Flinders has left the Chamber, because I want to state publicly what I said to him privately just now, and that is, that had I known the full tenor of his remarks I would not have interjected as I did when he was speaking. The principal point of his advocacy, I think, was compulsory registration. I have never read of a country in which compulsory registration did not lead to conscription. But that would not alarm me if it was on an equal basis. We have compulsory registration throughout Australia in that every adult man and woman has to be registered for electoral purposes. Therefore the only extension, if the desire of the honorable member were adopted, would be a further registration of boys under the age of twenty-one years. I do not object to that. The , name of conscription will not frighten me, though I will vote against its introduction every time. But it recalls what a widow once said to me. Blessed as the mother df the Gracchi with two sons, one of whom had gone to the war, she said, " Dr. Maloney, if I give half or all of my sons to fight the enemy, what are the rich going to do?" I answered in the same spirit. "Let the rich give half of their wealth to make silver bullets." I have not heard from any honorable member who has spoken from the other side a reference to that matter.

Mr Fowler - Are not the rich giving their sons as freely as other classes of society?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The honorable member may state so. I differ from him.

Mr Fowler - I think so.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I think that the honorable member is wrong. The rich are not giving so freely. One has only to ask the ladies collecting shillings in the streets of Melbourne who give willingly, and they will tell you that it is the workers with the hard rough hands. They will tell you that their requests for contributions are not refused by the workers as they are refused by some of the swells in the offices'.

Sir Robert Best - Does my honorable friend forget what has been done by all the great public schools and universities in the Mother Country, and here too, of course?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Surely the honorable member would not think that I wish to refuse them credit. What I say is that the rich here, as a class, are not giving their fair share. Why is not the imposition of a war tax suggested ? I do not wish to bring in any party issue. I simply say that when the question of conscription comes before the House we must see that it is applied to the wealthy as well as the poor, and that those gifted with the comforts of the world shall give in proportion to what they have.

Mr Joseph Cook - You appear not to be aware that you have proposed taxes since the war broke out.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - What small taxes have been collected? One tax has been collected from the dead, who cannot object, who have not advocates for them.

Mr Joseph Cook - I do not quite follow you.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Then there is an increase in the land tax, but is it proportionate to the wealth of the landowner? I wish to indorse a few remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition. We need a greater supervision in the examination of men who volunteer. I maintain that with the greater knowledge of teeth that we have at this period of the world's history, complete teeth are not necessary, that artificial teeth made better than at any previous period are quite sufficient to chew food with, that even men who may not have teeth have only to leave the hard portion of a biscuit in their mouth until it is almost dissolved by the saliva and their health will be improved by the better mastication.

Mr Fowler - If men can scrape along in the bush without teeth, surely they can go to the front?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Any man who can carry a humpy through the back-blocks of Australia, whether it is in the far west or in the far north, is. fit to go to the front and fight, and seeing that we are losing men by hundreds, and the chance of life is so little, what does it matter if a man has lost a few teeth? As to men who are half-an-inch short in their chest measurement, if they were sent to the schools of some of the splendid teachers of physical culture that we have in our midst, they would, within a week or a- fortnight, make good the deficiency. I do not think that the honorable member for Kooyong should say that there is any lack of volunteers. If he were to add the number of those who have been refused because of technical and trifling imperfections to the number accepted, he would find that, in proportion to the population, our people have volunteered very fairly. The Australian, as a rule, really loves a fight, but, as the Attorney-General eloquently put it, we are fighting now a nation that is organized and prepared for fighting - a nation that is like a boxer who goes into the ring trained to perfection. What chance have we against such an enemy unless we organize similarly? Victor Hugo gave to the German nation the greatest praise that, perhaps, it ever received when he said, " When the genius of Germany says that poverty shall be no more, it will then begin to cease to exist." Unfortunately, the cursed power of the Kaiser has turned the genius of the nation to the destruction of human life, for the .aggrandisement of his power. Would that the old Book of Samuel were preached far more often by our religious teachers and ministers. Then the people would see that the more strictly kingly and aristocratic power was limited, the better it would be for the nations. Why is it that our King is to-day so revered? Simply because his power is limited. One of the greatest legal authorities that Australia ever possessed once expressed the opinion that if the King wished to sell Australia for sixpence, the sale would be a legal one. I do not suppose that such a thing could occur. It would be bad for the King if it did. Out of this broth of hell - the war - will cone, I hope, a strengthening of Democracy, so that in future it will be for the neople, and not for kings and their circles of aristocrats and financiers, to say whether there shall be war. Every vote that I can give, and everything that I can say, to assist our organization at the resent time, will be given and said ; but let us have no party talk. The example of the honorable member for Flinders in speaking to the motion was not follow, d by the honorable member for Darling Downs. Neither the honorable member for Flinders nor the Prime Minister mentioned the newspaper ; but the honorable member for Darling Downs brought it here, and flourished it. After all, a newspaper statement is only the opinion'of one man. Will honorable members opposite vote to compel the signing of all newspaper articles, so that no one under the disguise of anonymity may publish a letter to which he would be ashamed to sign his name? The honorable member for Henty would, I believe, vote for that.

Mr SHARPE (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - What about the honorable member for Balaclava?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The least said of him the better. His record in Essendon and Flemington answers the question. I think that compulsory registration will lead to conscription, and to that I do not object, if it be applied to the wealthy.

Mr Sampson - It must be.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Consider the wealth of a man who pays taxes on land in London up to 5s. an acre, which is now covered with houses of five and six storeys each, the tenants paying rates amounting to 12s. 6d. in the £1. Why was not Lloyd George given the power to do what was necessary ?

Mr Sampson - Conscription would apply to the wealthy, in sending them to the front.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Would the honorable member compare the wealth of the richest man in Australia as a sacrifice with that of the widow who gives her only son, and will have nothing but a small pension to live on should he die? Would it be more to take from a wealthy man the Avhole of his money with the exception of, say, £5,000 for his family, than to take from a widow her only child ? The honorable member talks to his companion on the bench, but will not answer that question. He knows that the sacrifice of the wealthy man would not be half that of the widow. I ask him again, does not a widow who gives her only son make a greater sacrifice than the millionaire who gives £900,000?

Mr Joseph Cook - Why raise that matter now?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The honorable member for Wimmera catechized me, and I am trying to answer him. He would not dare to say on the platform that only the pauper's or the poor widow's son should go to the front. I do not desire injustice, but I am against hypocrisy. I contend that the Government can properly conduct our affairs at this juncture, and that the people have confidence in the Administration. I hope that before this session is over the people will have dominance over the honorable members of this House on both sides, and over the Ministry. When the time comes we shall see how many members of the Opposition, including the honorable member for Wimmera, will vote to give the people supreme power.

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