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Wednesday, 31 July 1912

Senator DE LARGIE - I have quoted sufficiently to prove the statement made at the beginning of my remarks, that I could submit testimony which would prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that, from a private and professional stand-point, Mr. Chinn possesses all the qualifications which might reasonably be expected of any man. In the face of these testimonials, it cannot be doubted for a moment that he is an engineer, and, in his private character, a gentleman. We have a gentleman of the standing of Mr. Moriarty testifying to Mr. Chinn's abilities as a civil engineer and surveyor from an experience of six years of his work. That testimonial was written in 1885, and if Mr. Chinn was then a competent and able engineer, as Mr. Moriarty says he was, with the experience he has since gained he should be quite competent to fill a position of second in command in connexion with the construction of a railway in 1912. One of the charges made against Mr. Chinn was that no one who had employed him had a good word to say on his behalf, yet we find Messrs. Garnsworthy and Smith speaking of the exceptional ability he displayed as an engineer in their service for eleven years in connexion with all kinds of contracts, including railway contracts. Very few men possess a testimonial from employers equal to that. Then we have Mr. Bowden, the superintendent of the Metropolitan Water Supply of Melbourne, speaking of Mr. Chinn as a gentleman with whom he has been intimately acquainted for over twenty years, and testifying to his exceptional skill as an engineer. Then we have Mr. Pitt, Chairman of the Melbourne Harbor Trust, and a large contractor in Victoria, finding himself justified in stating that Mr. Chinn is a thoroughly qualified engineer. We, further, have Mr. Falkingham declaring that he employed Mr. Chinn for a number of years as an engineer in connexion with big contracts, and found his work and capacity satisfactory on every occasion. Last of all, we have the late Sir William Zeal's testimony, which places it beyond any doubt whatever that Mr. Chinn is a man of some standing in the engineering world. As regards his private character, I should like, first of all, to say that it is about the meanest possible thing that a public man can do to attack the private character of another man so situated that he can make no direct reply to the charge.

Senator Lynch - His general character.

Senator DE LARGIE - Yes, his general character includes his private character. It is these dirty insinuations and innuendoes, instead of straight-out charges, which make such attacks most contemptible. If he could have met on terms of equality, the persons who have made these charges, Mr. Chinn would probably have taken his two traducers and knocked their heads together. Let these men meet Mr. Chinn on terms of equality, and we shall see what the result will be. It is a lucky thing that these testimonials to which I have referred are at hand.

Senator Millen - At last.

Senator DE LARGIE - When Mr. Chinn made his application, I am in a position to say that, as a matter of fact, these testimonials were presented to the Minister of Home Affairs, but the Minister said, "Written testimonials in my country

Senator St Ledger - What country was that - America ?

Senator DE LARGIE - That is another dirty insinuation which it is unworthy of a public man to make.

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