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Friday, 21 September 1928

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must withdraw that remark.

Mr McGrath - It should not be necessary to withdraw the truth.

The honorable member for Cook having resumed his seat, Mr. Deputy Speaker proceeded to put the question.

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have not concluded my speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member resumed his seat, and as no other honorable member rose, I proceeded to put the question.

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I desire to continue my speech. I only resumed my seat because it was my duty to do so when the Chair addressed me.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must withdraw his objectionable remark before he may continue his speech.

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I withdraw it.

Mr Brennan - The Chair is not awake.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must withdraw that remark.

Mr Brennan - I withdraw the remark that the Chair is not awake. The Chair is awake.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must withdraw that reflection upon the Chair.

Mr Brennan - I withdraw the remark that the Chair is awake.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must also withdraw that remark.

Mr Brennan - I withdraw both the statement that the Chair is awake, and that the Chair is not awake.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must apologize for his insolent remark.

Mr Brennan - I shall certainly not do anything of the kind.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I name the honorable member for Batman.

The Prime Minister having entered the Chamber -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I have to inform you, Mr. Prime Minister, that, during your absence, I found it necessary to call upon the honorable member for Batman to apologise for his attitude towards the Chair. He refused to do so, whereupon I named him.

Mr Bruce - I have no doubt that the honorable member for Batman has been asked to reconsider his action. Unless he is prepared to do so, there is only one course that I can take.

Mr Brennan - Probably the Prime Minister does not appreciate the true position. Some objection was taken to a remark that I made, and I withdrew it in terms that were considered unsatisfactory. I then withdrew a second time, and again the terms in which I did so were considered unsatisfactory. Upon my further withdrawal I was called upon to apologise. I do not know what I have done that requires an apology. It appears to me that I have taken the usual course in endeavouring to comply with the wishes of the Chair. If there is anything else that I can do to meet the exacting wishes of the Chair perhaps I may be informed of it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - It may make the matter clear if we obtain from Hansard a transcription of the notes.

Mr. Deputy Speaker having obtained and read a transcript of the notes of the reporter -

Mr Bruce - It is an obligation of every member of this assembly to maintain its order and decorum, and unless the honorable member for Batman is prepared to reconsider his position I shall at once proceed to discharge the duty that rests upon me, as Leader of the House.

Mr Brennan - Before hearing you read the transcript of the notes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I had no idea that the case was as bad as it appears to be.I must, accordingly, express my regret.

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In his speech the Prime Minister spoke of the holding up of the primary products of this country, and several speakers, elaborating on that subject, have referred to the losses said to have been sustained by those who ship early tomatoes from Geraldton to the Melbourne market. We very seldom hear from these honorable gentlemen of primary products being held up by the schemings and manipulations of market riggers. I was surprised to hear the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. J. Francis) refer to the Geraldton tomatoes. I should have expected him rather to make some reference to Bowen " Early Crop " tomatoes, which are sent to the Sydney market each year in large parcels. I thought he would have spoken of the way in which the Bowen growers have their earnings considerably reduced by the trickery and .fraudulent practices of agents in Sydney. But he has raised no objection to that. When there is opportunity to fix the blame for industrial trouble on any body of workers, honorable members opposite never miss it. We have heard a great deal about eggs rotting by the thousand on the wharfs of Queensland. Has Queensland no cold storage or refrigerating chambers? I am inclined to think that the reports from these various centres are not only inspired, but also unfounded on facts. Many honorable members opposite have spoken of the possibility of an enormous loss through the postponement of the wool sales and the difficulty of getting the wool away from Australia, but I have heard none of them refer to a secret agreement which has recently been come to among the overseas ship-owners, British and foreign, which is calculated to do more harm to the Australian, wool-growers than any temporary hold-up on the waterfront is likely to cause. That secret agreement apportions the wool shipments for the present season, and if any company takes more than its allotted share it is penalized. The result is that there is not that free flow of trade that there should be, and shipments are delayed to the detriment of the Australian wool-grower. This agreement has been made to enable the various overseas shipping companies to extort exorbitant profits which they will derive from the high freight rates they will charge on our wool. Yet no protest is heard from honorable members opposite. It would be very much better for their constituents if honorable members of the Country party would examine the methods of city agents and overseas shipping companies, instead of raising a storm about a small temporary hold-up.

The object of this bill is political. The hopes expressed by honorable members opposite that Australia may enjoy industrial peace are all so much camouflage. They are not so much concerned about securing peace on the waterfront, as they are that there should be constant industrial strife in Australia, particularly on the eve of an election. A great deal could be said about the attempts which are now being made and which have been made for some time past to bring about industrial disputes. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Parkhill) could tell us, if he cared to do so, of the various moves made in recent years, the conversations that have taken place, the suggestions made and the arrangements entered into, by agents of the Nationalist party, and of the publicity bureaux and other organizations that are concentrating to defeat labour and trade unionism at the next elections. If the honorable member would only disclose the secret history of what has happened behind the scenes, it would be the party with which he is associated that would be relegated to political oblivion at those elections.

I oppose the bill because it proposes to give the Governor-General powers that should not be entrusted to him or his Ministry. The assurance given by the Prime Minister that regulations made under this measure will be subject to review in this Parliament is absolutely worthless, because in the course of a few hours this Parliament will be prorogued. It will be at least three or four months before a new Parliament will have an opportunity of reviewing any regulations made. It will then be too late to do that. But by that time the purpose of the bill will have been served ; action will have been taken on the waterfront to build up a costly organization to do work which ordinarily should be done by State organizations, with the power to prohibit the employment of unregistered workers, and strikers will be starved into submission. The Government will be perfectly satisfied. This bill will give it the power to do electioneering work and to spend public money in doing so, while the measure itself, along with others which pretend to deal with the industrial situation is allowed to remain in abeyance. I regret that there occurred interruption during my speech, more so because it shows that this Government is protected and helped, not only by the capitalistic press throughout the country, but also by organizations and individuals not so very far from us.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Cook must withdraw that reflection upon the Chair.

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I made no reflection upon the Chair. I was referring to certain individuals I had in mind, and my statement was, I think, quite in order.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The Chair took the statement of the honorable member to refer to it.

Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I can assure you, sir, that no reflection was intended, and that my remark was not addressed to you.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I accept the assurance of the honorable member.

Mr Brennan - Of course, if the cap fits it may be worn.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Batman is out of order.

Mr Brennan - I realize that.

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