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Thursday, 14 December 1905

Mr KING O'MALLEY (Darwin) - I admit that this is a great and important measure. There are thousands of men in this country whose living dependsupon the machinery which it would bring into operation. The honorable member for Bland has spoken of the great Beef Trust. Two years ago, the authorities were fighting that trust in America, and the other day many of the members of that trust re- turned to Chicago and surrendered, and were fined ,£5,000. Two days afterwards the price of beef was raised 3d. per lb., and they thus secured enough profit to pay the fine.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What moral does the honorable member draw from that ?

Mr KING O'MALLEY - The moral which I draw is that while some people sing that America is " the land of the free, and the home of the brave," it is not so. It used to be. Now it is the land of the boodler and the home of the slave. I say that this is the day of salvation. We ought to pass the Bill at once and give it six months' trial. If it endangers the wellbeing of Australia we shall be in a position to repeal it. The same Parliament that enacts it can unmake it. I will not deny that honorable members are tired and worn out. I am more fit to be in the hospital than to be here. At the same time, whilst the livelihood of hundreds of native-born Australians are in jeopardy as the result of Wie operations of outside trusts and combinations, this Parliament should not prorogue without doing something for them. I believe that it is our duty, notwithstanding the feelings of my honorable friends in Opposition, to take action. We have a duty to perform, and as a labour protectionist I shall stand by any Bill of this character. In the United States, the trusts are stronger than the Government, and one of the greatest Presidents since George Washington has been fighting them for the past three years. But what has he accomplished? Absolutely nothing. The same thing will happen in this country if we do not legislate against it. I am satisfied that this Bill is the forerunner of Socialism. We have only one hope left. Mr. Bryan, who will be in Australia in the course of a few months, wrote to President Roosevelt some time ago as follows: -

You have the contest of your life before you, and I desire to render you all the assistance in my power. The railway companies will try to persuade you; if they fail in this they will try to scare you. If they fail in this also, they will try to defeat your recommendations. It will embarrass you to have strong party leaders against you. You may even be embarrassed by having so, many party leaders against you that even the democrats may co-operate with you. But be firm.

I trust that the Government will insist upon pushing this Bill through. Let us place it upon the statute-book. This country is just as full of rings, trusts, and combina tions as the United States is' full of boodlers and "boodleiers," and in proportion to (heir size the former are the more venomous. These trusts are a government to themselves. Why should we be afraid to face them? If we cannot finish the work of the session before Christmas, let us reassemble early next year for the purpose of enacting legislation to prevent the destruction of our industries.

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