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Thursday, 21 June 1906

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia) . - I am glad that the leader of the Senate has undertaken to institute an inquiry, which, I hope, will be searching.

Senator Gray - How is it going to be made?

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - If the honorable senator will allow me to proceed, I shall tell him. These charges were made by a man named Stone at a meeting of a Royal Commission, appointed nominally by the Crown, but really by this Parliament. The language that the charges were clothed in was respectful enough, and to it no exception was taken ; the objection was to the statements themselves. From the evidence before us, I think that those statements were made bond fide,- and the proof of that is in the fact that two men employed in this factory have voluntarily signed statutory declarations that they are true.

Senator Millen - Why did these men not attend at the Royal Commission and give evidence ?

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I cannot say, but by making the statutory declarations they have brought themselves within the law if their statements are false. Stone, in his evidence, said that he had been informed as to the alleged facts, and 1 believe he said that bona fide. Of course, I know of no Court which would take evidence on hear-say ; and I do not think this evidence was admissible, or of any value; in fact, in my opinion, the subject was not one for the Royal Commission. The fact remains, however, that this employe* gave evidence, which, in my opinion, he thought was absolutely correct. The evidence was not clothed in offensive language; but, for giving it, this man was discharged after twenty years' service.

Senator Fraser - Should the man not have seen that the evidence was correct before he gave it?

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - The man simply told the Royal Commission that he had been so informed; and since then the persons who gave him the informationhave made statutory declarations that his statements are true.

Senator Millen - Those statutory declarations were made beforehand.

Senator STANIFORTHSMITH.That only strengthens my position.

Senator Trenwith - Why discuss the question at the present time?

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