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Thursday, 26 July 1906

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) .- The honorable member for Fremantle is apparently amazed at the want of practicability of the proposal of the honorable member for Dalley, and yet he suggests that it should be made still more impracticable by the addition of the words proposed by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. It seems extraordinary that a member of the Labour Party, and a pillar of the protectionist party, should accuse an honorable member of jocularity because he brings forward a proposal under which work would be provided for* thousands of Australian workmen.

Mr Hutchison - Does -not the honorable member think that, under the honorable member forDalley's proposal, private dock-owners would be able to fleece the taxpayer ?

Mr KELLY - Honorable members of the Labour Party appear to be unwilling to permit any one to make a profit out of their enterprise.

Mr Hutchison - We want to secure the profit to the taxpayer.

Mr KELLY - I am not supporting the amendment, but am merely- expressing my astonishment at the attitude of certain honorable members, who pose as protectionists, who claim to be supporters of Australian industry, who are always waving the Australian flag, and who advocate the construction of an Australian Navy. They are now characterizing as frivolous and jocular a proposal that would undoubtedly develop Australian docking facilities, and give employment to thousands of our workers, although that result would certainly be brought about at the expense of the general taxpayer. The honorable member for Fremantle seems to think that it should be our main anxiety to secure a locally constructed navy, and therefore I cannot understand why he should oppose a proposal such as that brought forward by the honorable member for Dalley. If I were a protectionist, I should be delighted to support the amendment,which is more worthy of attention than are many of the proposals brought, before us from time to time. I am not a protectionist, however, and I desire that every enterprise should stand by itself. I do not wish to see any section of the Australian people benefited at the expense of the whole community. Moreover, I desire that the contract should be ratified. Although I am frankly astonished at the attitude of some of my honorable friends in the Labour corner, I feel that, for the moment, they have become staunch free-traders and advocates of private enterprise.

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