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Wednesday, 25 September 1912

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I had not the good fortune to hear the opening remarks of Senator Gould, but I gather from what he said in his concluding observations that he is opposed to the tremendous weight of taxation which he says the people of the Commonwealth are bearing, and which I suppose has been imposed by the party in power. He also criticised the extravagance of the Government, but failed to indicate any particular expenditure which he would stop. I think he might have told us whether he desires the abolition of old-age pensions, for example. I suppose we shall soon discover whether he and his party are in favour of, or opposed to, the maternity allowance. Would he or his party diminish our expenditure on defence? I think we should have some indication of the policy of the Opposition.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - I recognise that those are two large commitments which we must meet.

Senator STEWART - Would the honorable senator stop the expenditure on the Federal Capital?

Senator Millen - There is no expenditure being incurred there.

Senator STEWART - Would he stop the expenditure upon the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway?

Senator Millen - That is not covered by these Estimates at all. It is covered by loan money.

Senator STEWART - Then, what expenditure would the honorable senator stop? I desire to know, because I am not altogether satisfied with the conduct of the Government, and I have just been wondering whether there is anything in common between the Opposition and myself. Out of the mouths of its spokesmen, Senator Gould and Senator St. Ledger, the Opposition vehemently declaim against the heavy taxation which the people of the Commonwealth are called upon to bear. I admit, myself, that it is too heavy. Senator St. Ledger pointed out that, through the Customs alone, we are paying -£4 odd per capita. I say it is scandalous that such an amount should be collected from that source. But are honorable senators, on the Opposition side of the chamber, prepared to relieve the people of any portion of that taxation ?

Senator Chataway - Give us the chance.

Senator STEWART - Would the honorable senator cut out the revenueproducing duties of the Tariff? Why, half the Opposition* is composed of Free Traders.

Senator Pearce - No fear.

Senator STEWART - Well, it is composed of Revenue Tariffists. There is not a single member of the Opposition in either branch of the Legislature who would lay even his little finger on the Tariff.

Senator Millen - What isthe fiscal composition of the party to which the honorable senator belongs?

Senator STEWART - It is not at all satisfactory. I am quite prepared to say that. If I thought the country had anything to hope for from the Opposition I should welcome their accession to power. But, instead of being any better than the Labour party, they would probably be infinitely worse. It may be possible to bring the present Government to a sense of their duty in regard to taxation and other matters, but in the case of the Opposition the task would be absolutely hopeless. They are beyond redemption. There is nothing on the earth, or under the earth, or above the earth, or within the whole universe, which would bring about a change in their ideas concerning taxation. They want to take all our taxation from the pockets of the poor. For what reason? In order that the skins of the rich may be saved. That portion of our taxation which comes from the rich in this country is infinitesimal.

Senator St Ledger - Then why does not the honorable senator's party repeal it?

Senator STEWART - That is what I wish to know.

Senator Chataway - Give a baby bonus to the rich.

Senator STEWART - I do not suppose that many of the rich will take the bonus. On the most extreme estimate, I do not suppose that it will cost more than £500,000 or , £600,000 a year, and we are giving a bigger bonus to the rich of this country than that. We are giving them £30,000,000 every year, which ought to pass into the public Treasury. That is what, the Labour Government knows, and will do nothing to remedy.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould -How does that happen?

Senator STEWART - Through the community-created values of land. We never hear from honorable senators about this huge army of pensioners who are receiving from the Commonwealth this £30,000,000 per annum. My complaint against the party in' power is that it is doing nothing to change the situation. I fully expected that, during the present session, some attempt would be made to deal with land monopoly. Two or three years ago, we began a policy which, if continued, would have resulted in breaking the back of the greatest evil which afflicts Australia to-day. But, for some inscrutable reason, the Labour party has called a halt. A Convention was held in Hobart early in this year. The reformers at that Convention, who, apparently, desired to bring about a social revolution in Australia, nevertheless, when the question of reducing the land value exemption was mooted, turned it down. Not a single soul amongst that noble band of reformers would second the motion. The atmosphere, which, previous to the bringing forward of the motion, was almost at boiling point, suddenly fell to zero. The proposal was received almost in silence. That was one of the most ominous happenings in the history of Australia since the Labour party has taken a part in the public life of the country. How the land monopolists must have laughed when they read of this ! Sir George Reid used to describe the Labour party as a huge ferocious tiger which was going to eat up everything and everybody. Sir George Reid must now revise his view of the party. If he examines them closely, he will find that, instead of being a tiger, they bear a resemblance to a much more familiar animal.

Senator Blakey - A lamb.

Senator STEWART - Yes; they are like a lamb. I am saying these things because I believe that the Labour party is neglecting its duty. We are getting an enormous sum per head from Customs and Excise taxation.. But a Tariff has never been looked upon by the Labour party as a revenue-raising instrument. According to Labour ideas, a Tariff is an instrument for creating industries. If it does not create them, it ought to be amended and made to do so.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

Senator STEWART - The Labour party is in the unique position of having a majority in both Houses of the Legislature and of being certain of a majority for a second period in one House. No reforming party of which I have ever heard has ever been placed in such a position of advantage. This position deserves the closest attention from every Labour man. We have been given a mandate by the people to carry out our own ideas with regard to taxation, land monopoly, and certain other questions. But, for some inscrutable reason, the army of reform has teased to march forward. I refer to this matter with deep regret. Our position as a party, from my point of view, is wholly indefensible. As I have already sai'd, we are deriving an immense revenue by means of the Tariff. The principle of our party is not to use the Tariff as a revenueraising machine, but to create industries. We should do anything rather than drag the great proportion of our revenue out of the very vitals of the poorest people of the Commonwealth. The revenue derived from Customs has risen step by step until now it amounts to the extraordinary sum of over £4 per head per annum. There is no country in the world known to me where the indirect taxation amounts to such a startling sum. In Great Britain, only 50 per cent, of the revenue is derived from indirect taxation. The remainder is taken from the pockets of the rich. In Australia, about 95 per cent, of the Commonwealth revenue is derived from indirect taxation.

Senator O'Keefe - Surely that is not a fair comparison to make? The honorable senator is taking the whole of the revenue raised from the people of Great Britain, but is paying no regard to the revenue raised by the States in Australia.

Senator STEWART - If I took the States into consideration, the case would look very much worse. Were it not for the fact that we are raising this huge sum from Customs, and giving a portion of the money to the States, they would be compelled to resort to further direct taxation. I do not advocate direct taxation simply for the sake of taxing. I mean by direct taxation land-values taxation, which really is not taxation at all. When we get into the Treasury the community-created values, we are not taxing the people ; we are taking something from land-owners which has not been created by them, but which hitherto has been, unfortunately, allowed to get into the wrong pockets.

Senator Lt Colonel Cameron - I suppose the honorable senator calls it robbery?

Senator STEWART - I call the present system robbery, and my honorable friend is one of the robbers. He is a robber with the consent of the law. I wish to change the law.

Senator Millen - Would the honorable senator make his system start from the basis of present values?

Senator STEWART - I do not wish to enter into details at this stage. I do not believe in getting land values merely for the sake of obtaining revenue, although that is a very important aspect of the question. I believe in getting them because such a thing as land monopoly would then be unknown in Australia, and the best lands of the continent would be made available to the people, instead of being locked up in the hands of private individuals, who wait until the people are compelled to buy them out at monopoly prices.

Senator Millen - Would the honorable senator have any exemption under, his scheme ?

Senator STEWART - When the question comes up for consideration I will let the Senate know exactly what I think about exemptions. At present, I am drawing attention to the position. There is this difference between the Opposition and the Government : The Government are not beyond redemption; the Opposition are. Nothing that I could say would stimulate the Opposition to do the right thing. The present policy is exactly the policy of which they approve. They approve of taxing the poor first, and only appealing to the rich in the last extremity. The Labour party's principle, however, is, or ought to be, to go to the rich first, and only in the last extremity to tax the poor. The present position is that we collect in Customs and Excise £4 per head from the people, or £14,000,000 per annum. An extremely large proportion of the Commonwealth revenue is coming from this source That is an improper state of affairs, and I sincerely hope that the Labour party will alter it while it has the opportunity.

Senator Needham - Have you no word for the new Protection at all?

Senator STEWART - I shall come to that in good time, if the honorable senator will have a little patience. I am dealing now with the question of taxation, and I am trying to impress upon him and others that we are raising money in a way which is wholly inequitable. If I had been told twenty years ago that a Labour Government would do this, I should not have believed it to be possible. One of the ideals we had when I entered the movement was, if we got into power, to alter the incidence of taxation ; to remove the burden from the backs of the poor, who were ill able to carry it, and place it in much larger proportion on the shoulders of the strong, the rich, and the powerful.

Senator McGregor - Would it not be just as well to make the poor rich?

Senator STEWART - It is a very fine dream to make the poor rich, but one way of making them poor is by dragging the very vitals out of them in paying taxation. Let us look at the present position. Take an ordinary family of six persons. On an average, £4 is paid by every man, woman, and child to the Commonwealth in Customs and Excise. Of course, some people pay less, and probably I am one of them; some persons pay more, but on an average £4 per head per annum is contributed by every man, woman, and child. Take an ordinary man and wife- with four children, and if Senator Needham has not four children now, he is being encouraged in another place, and I hope that he will take full advantage of the opportunity which is now presented

Senator Needham - Which is denied to you.

Senator STEWART - Yes, I am very sorry to say. The contribution of an average family of six persons to the Customs and Excise revenue is £24 per annum; that is nearly 10s. per week. Of course, I do not for an instant claim that every family pays that amount, but that is the payment on an average. Even if it is a little over the mark, I think that every honorable senator must see that, with this system of taxation, which begins first with the poor, the poorer the family is the more hardly it presses upon them. It is extorting from the families of the Commonwealth between 7s. and ros. every week of every year. That is an impost from which the people ought to be relieved by a Government which was ostensibly sent in here to look after their interests. I do not believe that the electors would grumble at this impost if they were called upon to pay it so as to create industries. But that is not the effect, because millions and millions of pounds' worth of goods are imported which ought to be manufactured by Australian hands. The working men :md women of the Commonwealth would not object to this heavy tax upon their industry if the effect of it were to create other industries at which employment might be obtained, and which would have the result of developing the resources of this continent. But when the people understand, as I believe a large majority of them are beginning to do, that this grievous taxation has not only not the effect of creating new industries, but has the direct effect of putting a block in the way of their creation, I think they will say that there is something seriously wrong. Not only has it that effect, but it has another effect. It saves the skins of the rich. So long as this huge sum is being paid into the Commonwealth coffers by the working people, so long will it be unnecessary to tax the wealth in the community. There is the position, placed, I think, as fairly and squarely before honorable senators as I can put it. Looking at it from a Labour standpoint, it is an exceedingly unsatisfactory position. Here we have the families of the workers contributing from 7 s. 6d. to 10s. per week. Compare the taxation which a working family pays with that paid by the comparatively rich; Take a working man earning £3 a week. If we deduct the time lost by illness and one cause and another, the probability is that his wages, on an average, during the year do not amount to more than £2 10s. per week, or to about £130 per annum. Out of that sum the Commonwealth demands and gets £24, that is, over 20 per cent.

Senator McGregor - The Commonwealth cannot get that sum from a man unless he drinks champagne and smokes good cigars, and all that sort of thing.

Senator STEWART - Yes, it can. The revenue derived from champagne and cigars is comparatively small.

Senator Millen - If the honorable senator is taking the average amount paid per head per family, he ought to have taken the average income also.

Senator STEWART - Why ?

Senator Millen - Because that is the only logical way in which one can institute a comparison.

Senator STEWART - Not at all. I said at the beginning that I did not believe that every family paid this sum per annum, but that was the average payment. With regard to the rich contributing to the Customs revenue, no doubt they do, and, probably, taking family against family, they contribute considerably more than do the poor, because they use a comparatively larger quantity of articles which are taxable, and in that way, of course, there is more money paid per head of the rich than per head of the poor. But when we compare the contribution of the poor with their income, we find that they are taxed very much more heavily than are the rich. About one-fifth of the income of a man who gets £130 a year, and has a family of four, goes in Customs taxation. Suppose that a man had an income of £1,000 a year, and that the Commonwealth proposed to take 20 per cent, of it, would there not be a howl from Dan to Beersheba? Yet it would not be nearly such a severe tax as the present one, because a man with an income of £1,000 a year could much more easily afford to pay £200 than a man getting £130 a year could afford to pay £24, because, with the £800 which would be left, the former could struggle along very comfortably. He would not require to deny himself of any of the necessities, or even of any of the luxuries, of life.

Senator O'Keefe - The average man who gets £130 a year does not pay £24 to Customs revenue.

Senator STEWART - I did not say the average man, but the head of an average family of six persons. If the amount he contributes is £15, or even £10, it is far too much. I grant at once that my figures may not be absolutely correct, but I think it could be deduced from them that the payment made to the Customs and Excise revenue by an average family throughout the Commonwealth is very much greater than it ought to be. As I have said, a tax of even £10 a year on a man with an income of £130 is a very severe one.

Senator Rae - He ought to pay nothing, really.

Senator STEWART - He ought to pay nothing. c-

Senator Vardon - None of us ought to Pay-

Senator STEWART - That is exactly what I hope. There ought to be no taxation, indeed, if the community-created values passed into the Treasury, instead of going into the coffers of private landowners, we should not have to pay any taxation. There would be sufficient to carry on the Government, without imposing a halfpenny of taxation. That would not be the principal advantage, although it would be an extremely great advantage. The resources of the Commonwealth would be open to the people. Of course, I know that members of the Opposition do not like the ideas to which I am trying to give utterance.

Senator Lt Colonel Cameron - We like to hear you enunciate them.

Senator STEWART - Yes, but the honorable senator would not like to see them carried out.

Senator Millen - Your own party is not prepared to carry them out.

Senator STEWART - I believe that the people of Australia will never have a fair run for their money until that policy is carried out. The policy which I am attempting to outline is a business one. The present one is a lopsided policy, whereby the people borrow huge sums and expend them in improving the lands of the wealthy, while a very large proportion of the advantage passes into the pockets of private individuals. In no business could such a principle be carried out. If it were attempted to be carried out, the only end of it would be bankruptcy for the individual who made the attempt. If this system is prolonged indefinitely, as I hope it will not be, Australia will get into a very critical position - a much more critical position than she is in at the present moment, although a large number of persons affect to believe that she is on the highway to ruin. I wish the Labour party to take this matter into its serious consideration. Having the power to do something, I think that it ought to be altered; I expect and hope that it will be altered. Of course, some honorable senators may say that we have not time during the present session, but that next session something will be done to .put the matter right. Heaven knows who will be in power next year. Senator Millen may be sitting where Senators McGregor, Findley, and Pearce are sitting to-night. If that is the case, nothing will be done to alter this state of affairs. The Opposition rail at the Government because of their expenditure, and the huge sums that are being extracted from the people, but I make, bold to say that if Senator Millen and his party were in power to-morrow, they would not make the slightest alteration in the present state of affairs. The Tariff would be continued just as it is now, and so would the existing system of taxation. Even the land value tax would not be interfered with, because being in the Government, Senator Millen would speedily discover that he wanted all the money he could lay his hands on. I do not know of a single item in the policy of the Labour party which the present Opposition would dare to alter if they got into power.

Senator Ready - Does the honorable senator not think that they would reduce the land tax?

Senator STEWART - I have just said that I do not believe they would make the slightest alteration in the land tax, because they would need the money derived from it. They would blame the Labour party for it, of course. They would say, " The Labour party started this expenditure, and we cannot stop it. It is they, and not we, who are to blame if anything is wrong." We have now an opportunity to make an alteration in the existing system of taxation. I do not know whether honorable senators have ever read a famous piece of verse written by a gentleman named Fingall, on the subject of opportunity.

Senator McGregor - He was a friend of Ossian, was he not?

Senator STEWART - Whether he was or not his verse is excellent, and I commend the advice contained in it to every member of the Labour party. I am sorry that I do not remember the exact words, but the teaching of them is that opportunity calls at a man's door only once in his life. No matter what he is doing then, whether eating or drinking, asleep or awake, if he does not rise at once and answer the call, opportunity is gone, and never returns. I say we have had opportunity. We have it now, although we are getting very near the eleventh hour. We can do a very great deal between now and when the elections will take place. We can alter the whole existing scheme of taxation- if we only put our hands to the plough. There is time to do it, and once it is done no Government will have the hardihood to attempt to alter it again. No member of the Senate can defend the existing system, yet it is continued by the Labour party. I will not say that it has. their approval, but if it had not, one would look for some alteration of it at their hands. -I wish to say a few words to give my ideas of taxation. I have said that we ought to get the land values first. If they are found not to be sufficient for the needs of the country we should carry out the principle with regard to taxation that is adopted in connexion with the raising of an army for the defence of the country. When we want soldiers, as Senator Cameron knows very well, we do not call upon the old, infirm, and decrepit, who, like myself, are not able either to fight or to run. We call upon the strong and the vigorous, upon men at the most virile period of their lives. Similarly, when we want money for the purpose of Government, we should call upon the strong. Who are the strong in this case ? Are they not the people who have plenty? They should be called upon in the first place to contribute to the cost of the government of the country, if taxation be found necessary for the purpose. If honorable senators will ask themselves the question, Why do we need a Government? they will soon discover that the reason is that life and property may be made as secure as it is possible for any earthly institution to bring about that re sult. If I am correct in that, our system of Government is neither more nor less than a huge scheme of insurance. Insurance companies compel those who do business with them to pay premiums according to their risks. A man who wishes to insure a house for £100, pays a very much smaller premium than a man who insures a house for £1,000. That is in accordance with common sense. The insurance companies do not say to the owner of a house worth £100 that he must pay £[5, and to the owner of a house worth £-1,000 that he must pay ,£1 for its insurance. They do not do anything so ridiculous. They make the owner of a house worth £1,000 pay in proportion to the risk, just as they do in the case of an owner of a house worth £100.

Senator McGregor - Not quite so much as a rule.

Senator STEWART - The proportion may not be exactly the same, but in any case the premium asked for the insurance of a house for £[1,000 is very much greater than the premium required for a risk of £[100. We should apply that principle to taxation. If a man has £10,000 a year, he should be taxed on that amount ; if he has £[1,000 a year, he should be taxed on that sum, and it is only in the last extremity that the very poor should be called on to pay taxation at all. Really, when our social system is analyzed, we find that the rich rest upon tha backs of the poor. If the poor do not pay in money they pay in sweat, and very often in blood, hunger, and hardship. Under the existing system of taxation we call upon them to pay not only in that way, but in hard cash as well. I wish now to deal with another aspect of the question, which is the scarcity of land in Australia at the present time. A number of Labour supporters have very naturally claimed that the Commonwealth Land Tax has been the means of inducing a number of landed proprietors to cut up their estates.

Senator de Largie - Only to the value of £18,000,000.

Senator STEWART - That might represent but a comparatively small area. What I wish to say in this connexion is, that long before the imposition of the Commonwealth Land Tax the cutting up of big estates had been begun throughout the Commonwealth. Strong inducements to this end were the good seasons, and the high prices obtainable for agricultural products. Farming during the last eight years has been a very profitable occupation.

I believe that the farmers of the Commonwealth are probably financially sounder than any other section of our people. That is largely due to the excellent seasons we have had, and the high prices prevailing. The cutting up of our big estates has been going on under the stimulus created by the good seasons and the high prices, altogether irrespective of our land value tax.

Senator Ready - It has increased at a very much greater rate since the imposition of the tax.

Senator STEWART - I have no doubt that the imposition of the tax did administer a gentle stimulus to the movement.

Senator Ready - No; a, hard kick. It was more than a gentle stimulus.

Senator STEWART - There is no kick about it. I wish there were. If I mistake not, Senator Ready secured his seat in the Senate as the result of the active interest he took in the question of land monopoly in Tasmania.

Senator Ready - That is so, and the land tax is smashing up the biggest monopoly we have in Tasmania.

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator made a number of inquiries into the question, and published an excellent pamphlet on the subject, which I read with much interest and instruction. I have not the slightest doubt that the sensible people of Tasmania, and there are a few there, came to the conclusion that he would be the right man to send to the Federal Parliament. But when he comes here he is as ready to halt as any one I see around me. The honorable senator is afraid of his own policy.

Senator Ready - No, I should help to increase the tax to-morrow.

Senator STEWART - The evil is so acute, and the injury it is doing the Commonwealth is so great that there should be no rest or no halt until the back of land monopoly in the Commonwealth is broken.

Senator Ready - Let the honorable senator move in that direction, and I shall support him.

Senator STEWART - How can I move? The movement must be, I will not say by the Government, but by the Labour party. The party are as responsible for whatever is done as are the Government. The Government must do what the party determine to do. If the party do not want this done the Government need not do it. It does not rest with any single man to carry out this work, but if any move be made in that direction I can assure honorable senators that I shall do everything that I possibly can to assist. I believe it is the one reform which is absolutely necessary to place the affairs of Australia on a sound financial basis. There will never be any prosperity, in the true sense of the word, in this country until it is done. We know how the cost of living has gone up during the past few years. No sooner does a working man secure a shilling a day more wages than up goes everything he eats, drinks, and wears. How is that?

Senator St Ledger - It has baffled great intellects to account for it. If the honorable senator can throw any light on the subject it will be welcome.

Senator STEWART - I shall throw this much light upon it : If there were no land monopoly in Australia, 1 am as sure as that I am now speaking to the Senate that the cost of living in the Commonwealth would be very materially reduced within a couple of years. Why? Because the best lands of the Commonwealth would be made available for cultivation. What is the state of affairs in Victoria to-day? It is one of the richest States of the Commonwealth, and what is its condition? Land monopoly is rampant throughout it, and its best areas are held by monopolists. Its population is only thirteen to the square mile, and six or seven persons out of those thirteen live in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, and in the country townships. So that the rural population of Victoria, which is probably the richest portion of it, is not more than five or six to the square mile. If any honorable senator will look up the statistics of this State, he will find that the number of persons who are making a living on comparatively small areas is greater than the number of persons who are making a living upon big areas. If land monopoly were broken up, if, instead of having to pay anything from £20 to £100 an acre for land, it could be bought at from £5 to£15 per acre, we should witness a wonderful revolution. The number of settlers would largely increase and the cost of living would be reduced probably by 50 per cent. We should not then have to pay extortionate prices for meat, potatoes, cabbage, and even bread, because wheat and meat might then be grown upon huge areas which are now lying idle. If this land were made available for settlement at a reasonable figure, is it not apparent that a revolution would be effected in the cost of living, and that the nominal wages of the working man would he largely increased ?

Senator Rae - It is of nc use producing more if we export the best of ever\ thing that we produce to the other side of the world.

Senator STEWART - The more we produce, the more we shall have to sell here. The honorable senator has touched upon a question which I do not propose to discuss at this stage.

Senator de Largie - Would it not be more accurate to say that the more we produce the more we will send abroad? That is the history of production in this country.

Senator STEWART - Probably. But I would remind honorable senators that every ton of wheat and meat which we export is paid for. This aspect of the question has cropped up incidentally, and I wish to say what I think about it. I know that a number of persons are so annoyed at out large exports and at the high prices which we are compelled to pay for wheat and meat, that they are inclined to favour the imposition of an export duty upon those commodities. I would do nothing of the kind. There is a better remedy than that. Let the community grow its own wheat and meat, and produce its own butter. There is nothing to prevent the people of Australia growing all the wheat they require for their own use.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator means the State?

Senator STEWART - Exactly . Let us grow it for ourselves and not for export. I would not interfere with the private growers of wheat, who would be at liberty to sell their produce wherever it would command the best price. There are millions of acres lying idle which are waiting for the plough.

Senator Chataway - Why does not the honorable senator put a bob or two into these empty acres?

Senator STEWART - I have put a great many more bobs into empty acres than has the honorable senator, and I have not taken many bobs out of them. But I do not wish to discuss the private affairs ot any individual. I merely desire to outline a policy which would prove helpful to the people of Australia. There is nothing to prevent us growing all the food we require and distributing it amongst ourselves at cost price, whilst permitting the present producers to sell their produce where they can get the best price for it.

Senator St Ledger - They stored up grain in Rome, and it led to a revolution.

Senator STEWART - I do not wish this debate to cover the whole globe. But the honorable senator has chosen to mention Rome, although he must know that this very land question was the principal cause of the downfall of Rome. If it i§ not tackled seriously and soon, it will be the downfall of a greater empire than Rome could pretend to be, namely, the British Empire. Land monopoly is eating the heart out of Great Britain. It is checking the progress of Australia. It has damned Ireland, and has compelled 5,000,000 of Irish people to exile themselves to every quarter of the globe.

Senator McGregor - And it has driven Stewart and McGregor out of Scotland.

Senator STEWART - Yes. That was a very bad thing for Scotland, but a most excellent thing for Australia. If it is not dealt with promptly, it will injure Australia very materially. -Of course, I know that the Commonwealth is young and strong, and hearthy, and that, no matter what mistakes its politicians may make, it will get over them just as a young child will survive the mistakes of its nurses and parents. But there is no reason why, in the light of all the knowledge we have gained from experience, we should make fatal mistakes in this country with our eyes open. We ought to deal with this land question, and we have the power to do so. We have a majority in both Houses of this Parliament.

Senator Ready - Would the honorable senator make the land tax is. in the £1 ?

Senator STEWART - I told the Leader of the Opposition that I did not intend to enter into a discussion ot details on the present occasion. I wish to destroy land monopoly. If Senator Ready is with me in that, we can discuss details later.

Senator St Ledger - How would the honorable senator achieve his purpose?

Senator STEWART - By getting the community-created values for the community.

Senator Millen - Senator Ready says that he is willing to impose a land tax up to is. in the £1. Will the honorable senator support him ?

Senator STEWART - If Senator Ready was so ready to say what he is willing to do, I am not quite so ready. I am well aware that a number of Labour men throughout the Commonwealth claim that the land tax has' done a great deal to break up land monopoly, which admittedly existed before the Land Tax Assessment Act was passed. I say that that is not the case. A gentle stimulus has, no doubt, been given to the movement by the operation of the tax, but since the Labour Convention sat in Hobart the land monopolist has taken heart again. He has begun to buck up. He sees that the tiger is not nearly so dangerous as he imagined him to be. Indeed, if he would take my advice he would not worry about placing Senator Millen, and his party, on the Ministerial benches. All he has to do, if he wishes to remain secure, is to keep the present Government in power. If he desires land monopoly to be attacked he will foolishly place Senator Millen, and his supporters, on the Government benches. The moment he does so, it will be found that the cry for more land value taxation, and against land monopoly, will proceed from the Opposition which is now the Government. The Government and the Labour party have the power to drive the wedge a little further home, and to give another gentle push to the land monopolist. Unfortunately, we cannot cut down the limit of the exemption, because the Hobart Convention decided that the exemption should not be interfered with. I am sure that every honorable member is a patriot, and would like to see the people of this country, happy, prosperous, and contented. We would like to see our population largely increased. I know that I would. I have said before that, until we have a very much larger population, we shall be continually subject to nightmare dreams of invasion. Until we have 20,000,000 inhabitants, until we can place 1,000,000 armed men in the field, and until we have a fleet of our own, and are dependent, not upon Great Britain, or any other Power, but upon our own strong right arm, we shall not enjoy security. That day will come all the sooner if we deal with land monopoly. It may come within twenty years, . if we go the right way about our business, because all the other portions of the earth are being rapidly filled up. America and South America are being quickly populated. Within a comparatively brief period I believe there will be a rush of people to this continent for the simple reason that other parts of the earth are being rapidly settled. The sooner we deal with this land question, the sooner we break up land monopoly, and place good land within the reach, not only of our own people, but of such immigrants as choose to come here, the sooner shall we get that population. Land hunger is as acute to-day as it was two years ago. A short time since two pieces of land were thrown open for settlement in Queensland, in a district called Goondiwindi, and there were 400 applicationsfor them, notwithstanding that the district is not a particularly good one. Another piece of land was thrown open at a place called Barcaldine, which is very good sheep country, and there were 300 applicants for it. In various parts of the State there have been from twenty to seventy applicants for some blocks of land. There has been a regular rush for land throughout Queensland.

Senator Ready - This year?

Senator STEWART - This last year. The same fact holds good throughout the Commonwealth. There is probably as much land available in Queensland as there is in any other State, with the expection of Western Australia. Land monopoly has not the same grip in Queensland, although it is a most serious evil there, that it has in New SouthWales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Consequently the conditions which exist in Queensland must exist in the other States in an aggravated form. I say, deliberately, that there is a land hunger in Australia. If this is the case in our State it must be the same in other portions of Australia.

Senator McGregor - Twice as much land is alienated in Queensland as in South Australia.

Senator STEWART - Probably, and yet I find that a large proportion of the people of South Australia live either in Adelaide or within a few miles of it.

Senator Vardon - One large estate in South Australia has been cut up in consequence of the land tax.

Senator STEWART - Every large estate ought to be cut up, and that is the reason why I wish to impress upon the Government and our party the absolute necessity of making a move in this direction. I have already pointed out. what the effect would be if land monopoly were destroyed. It must be remembered that it is the best land, not the worst, which is monopolized. The land monopolist invariably picks out the eyes of the country. He gets the best soil, the best rainfall, the best water, the best of everything. Being a person of importance, he can usually get railways to come along where he has pitched his tent. So that he gets a number of advantages which his poorer competitor can never dream of obtaining. Honorable senators can see what happens when large estates are cut up, even under present conditions. I know one place where very recently not more than a dozen people were living. The estate has been cut up, and now hundreds of people are settled there. Within a few years there will be from four to five thousand inhabitants where, only two or three years ago, there were only about a dozen.

Senator Vardon - More congestion.

Senator STEWART - No; these people are living better than the dozen were formerly. The continent of Australia is rich enough to maintain a population of 100 millions at the very least. Victoria could carry a population of from 10,000,000 to 20,000,000 with the greatest ease. I am certain that Queensland could maintain 50,000,000. We have the natural wealth to do that. The Darling Downs alone could carry a population of from 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 without any difficulty. When you get population you can deal effectively with the natural disadvantages of Australia. You can impound water, you can go in for huge irrigation schemes, you can make the desert blossom as the rose. In fact, Australia would undergo an economic revolution such as has never been witnessed by any country in the world before. That is what is possible under a spirited policy.

Senator McGregor - The honorable senator is better to-night than when he was talking about deserts of whirling sand !

Senator STEWART - The desert of whirling sand is there still, and we are going to pour a lot of money into it. But I think this question of land monopoly is of greater consequence to the people of Australia than the building of any railway, or, indeed, than any other question with which we could grapple. We find in Australia at present a position which is most unhealthy from an economic and social point of view. We find half the people of the continent crowded into the cities. In the United States of America, when they had about the same population as Australia has to-day, only about 5 per cent. of the people were living in cities. I admit that conditions have largely altered since then. The organization of industries, the rapid development of industrialism, the invention of machinery, and so forth, have caused a greater proportion of people to live in cities than was the case at the time to which I have just referred. But the proportion in Australia is too great. To have 50 per cent. of the population living in cities is too much altogether. I do not know what the exact proportion is in South Australia, but I know that it is larger than in any other State of the Commonwealth. In Victoria, the proportion is about 50 per cent.

Senator Millen - What does the honorable senator call cities ?

Senator STEWART - I am referring to such places as Melbourne, Adelaide, Ballarat, and so forth.

Senator Keating - The honorable senator does not confine himself to the capitals ?

Senator STEWART - Certainly not. We find towns dotted here, there, and everywhere about the country. If there were no people settled in the country the towns could not exist

Senator Vardon - For every man in the country we want two in the towns to manufacture for them.

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator reminds me of what Lloyd-George said about a nobleman, that he wanted two men to carry his breakfast egg to him every morning. We certainly do not want two men in the towns to administer to the wants of one man in the country. I should rather put it the other way, and say that we should have one man in a town to administer to two men in the country.

Senator Vardon - We want men to manufacture reaping machines and so on.

Senator STEWART - One factory can turn out a large number of reaping machines in a year.

Senator Vardon - By employing a large number of men.

Senator STEWART - I think I have said enough on the land question, and will now deal shortly with another matter of very great importance to the people of Australia at present - that is, the question of Protection. Our present Tariff is not a Protectionist Tariff. It is a revenue Tariff. It is the very worst form of Tariff, from the point of view of any person who desires to put the business of the country on a fair and equitable footing. I have already pointed out that this kind of Tariff presses most hardly of all upon the very poor. The poorer a man is the more he has to pay in proportion to his earnings. Under this system we tax the poor first, and the rich last. I want to reverse the process, taxing the rich first, and the poor last.

Senator Pearce - The. honorable senator voted for revenue duties when he had the opportunity..

Senator STEWART - I may have voted for revenue duties in ignorance. I may have voted for duties which have been found to be more revenue producing than industry creating. But I have the light of past experience to guide me, and if the Government will put the Tariff into the melting pot again, I will do my level best to cut out every revenue producing duty in it, and to make it a Protective Tariff. I prefer a Free Trade Tariff to a revenue Tariff, most undoubtedly, because a Free Trade Tariff would involve direct taxation.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator would not vote for Free Trade when he had an opportunity.

Senator STEWART - If I had to choose between Free Trade and Protection, undoubtedly I would vote for Protection, but if I had to choose between a revenue Tariff and Free Trade, I would vote for Free Trade. A revenue Tariff means a minimum of direct taxation. Indirect taxation through the Customs is a system of raising revenue which was invented by the representatives of the upper classes, so as to save the rich from contributing more than a minimum towards the cost of government. It is a beautiful device for compelling the poor of the country to pay the lion's share of the taxation. The Government should take advantage of the first opportunity to remove the burden of taxation from the shoulders of the poor, and place it where it ought to be, on the broad, strong backs of the* rich. I believe in Protection for reasons of which I am not ashamed. I believe that every country - and more especially such a country as Australia is, where we have the raw material for every possible industry - ought to produce as nearly as she can everything which she requires.

Senator St Ledger - Would the honorable senator tax cotton goods?

Senator STEWART - I would establish a cotton industry in Australia. This country is now the great wool-producing country of the world. Under proper conditions, and with Government assistance, she might be made a great cotton-producing country. We can grow cotton in Queensland as easily as weeds are grown in Victoria. All we want is a little Government encouragement, and the thing will be done.

Senator St Ledger - The honorable senator would not dare to vote for duties on the people's cotton goods.

Senator STEWART - I would not impose duties on cotton goods, but I would pay a bounty on the production of cotton until the industry was firmly established in the country. Then would be the time to impose import duties. In any case it ought to be the ambition of every Australian for his country that it should produce as nearly as possible everything we require within our own borders. I do not say that from a selfish point of view. I think it is good for any country to have a diversity of industrial interests. If your people are employed in only a few industries you have a lop-sided country. I want to give the young people of Australia an opportunity of exercising the brains that God or some other power has given them. We have some of the best inventive genius in this country. Our people are strong and rich in imagination.

Senator Lt Colonel Cameron - No doubt about that.

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator is an excellent example of what I say. If he had not been a soldier he might have been a splendid writer of fiction. It is well known that there is a richness about the soil and the minds of the people in a new country that is not to be found in older lands.

Senator Rae - Older lands become mossgrown.

Senator STEWART - They become old, withered, and lifeless. Young countries possess a mental and physical virility of which older countries are destitute. If our young people are to have opportunities of exercising their intellects, we must open up industries for them. Otherwise, their minds will stagnate, and become atrophied. We must: give them an opportunity to use whatever powers have been bestowed upon them, and we cannot do that if we import the things we require from abroad. From whatever point of view the question is looked at, if the national benefit is to be the chief object - and that is what, I think, ought to weigh most heavily with every legislator - every one of us ought to be a Protectionist, and more especially should those who sit on the Government side be Protectionists, because the keystone of the Labour movement is Protection. We say to the manufacturer here, " You must work your hands only eight hours a day; pay them wages to be fixed by an Arbitration Court or a Wages Board ; and conform to certain conditions of employment.*' If we insist upon these conditions being carried out, we must make it possible for the manufacturer to do so, and how can we make it possible if we have no Tariff, or have such a Tariff that the foreign manufacturer can pour his goods into this country over the top of it? We might just as well say to a manufacturer on one side of Bourkestreet, " You must pay £2 10s. or £3 a week to your work people ; work them only eight hours a day; and conform to certain other conditions " ; while, at the same time, allowing a manufacturer on the opposite side of the street to work his hands twelve hours a day, pay them £1 a week, and house them in any kind of building he likes. Distance is now a comparatively small matter. The invention of steam and the organization of our shipping companies have made transport in these days comparatively easy. So that cheap foreign labour, unless the Tariff wall be made sufficiently high, is bound to beat down the standard of living of the local worker unless something is done to prevent it. Either we should have a Protectionist Tariff, or, if that is not the policy of Australia - I believe it is - we ought to have a Free Trade Tariff. We should not allow a revenue Tariff to continue for a single moment longer than is absolutely necessary.

Senator de Largie - Do you not -think that we ought to have a referendum before we alter the Tariff ?

Senator STEWART - No. We got a mandate from the people to establish Protection. Our mandate on the question of Protection was just as unequivocal as was our mandate on the question of land-value taxation.

Senator McGregor - Yes, but it was new Protection.

Senator STEWART - I am not dealing with new Protection yet.

Senator McGregor - Yes, but the demand was for new Protection.

Senator STEWART - You cannot have the new without the old Protection. The old is the foundation. Your Protection begins at the Customs House.

Senator de Largie - Unfortunately, we have the old Protection, and now we are seeking for the new Protection.

Senator STEWART - We have the old Protection, but the wall is not high enough, and the goods of countries where workers are paid probably one-half of the wages paid in Australia, and work 50 per cent, longer hours, are pouring in here in huge quantities and competing with our labour. What we want to do in the first place is to make that wall high enough. I admit that that is a matter of experiment. We thought, many of us, when the Tariff was last revised that it would be effective in protecting our industries, but we find now that it is of little or no value. The goods come over the top of it in a surging volume, millions and millions of pounds worth of them every year.

Senator Rae - Are they not coming in return for our exports?

Senator STEWART - Of course, they are.

Senator Rae - If we are self-contained, what are we going to do with our exports?

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator thinks that if we did not import goods from abroad, we could not sell our wool.

Senator Rae - No; I did not say that. You said that you would have us selfcontained - producing everything we want - and yet continue to export wool. What are we going to get in return ?

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator seems to be in a bit of a fix.

Senator Rae - No; I think you are.

Senator STEWART - I can assure him. that I am not in any fix. We have now an example of a country in which the exports are very much in excess of the imports, and" that is the United States of America. I forget the exact figures, but it is a fact that the exports are, at least, double the imports.

Senator St Ledger - No; but they are greater by about ,£110,000,000 worth.

Senator STEWART - Very well. Does any honorable senator imagine for a moment that the people of the United States of America, who produce these exports, are not paid for them? If we were sending £50,000,000 worth of butter, meat, and wheat to Europe to-morrow, and were noi getting a single import we would still be paid for our exports.

Senator Millen - " But how " the question was.

Senator STEWART - Have we not a debt to pay off, private and public?

Senator Millen - Having paid that, what then?

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator wants me to forecast what may happen a thousand years hence. I am not one whit afraid of what would happen if we were exporting largely and importing very little. Every pound of butter, every bale of wool, every leg of mutton, every shoulder of beef, every ounce of gold,. would be paid for. Even if our imports went down to a minimum to-morrow, our exports would be paid for in some fashion or other, so that honorable senators need not worry their heads over that matter. Every Labour man ought to be a Protectionist, that is the keynote of our policy in "Australia. We want to protect our people against the competition of the cheap or sweated labour of other countries. We have a Tariff. We fondly imagined that we had done the trick when we passed it, but we find now that the work has not been done. Goods are pouring in upon us. The sweated labour of Europe and Asia is competing with the labour of the Commonwealth, and we stand by idly trying to excuse ourselves for doing nothing, on the plea that while we have the power to fix Protection, we have not the power to see that a portion of it is passed on to the worker. 1 believe in the new Protection just as firmly as any member of the Labour party possibly can do. I am not a P ro.tectionist for the sake of the manufacturer. It is the working people of the Commonwealth whom I have in my mind's eye when 1 think of Protection. I think of the hundreds of industries dotted throughout the Commonwealth, and the tens of thousands of industrious and intelligent men and women employed in them. I do not think of the few manufacturers at all, or, if I do, I think of the time when all our industries will be nationalized, or, if you like, socialized, and when production, instead of being, as it is, in the hands of private individuals, will be carried on by the States or by the Commonwealth. I can see that looming up in the future, but between that day and this there is the desert, if you like to call it, to be passe.d over. We are like the children of Israel ; we are wandering now in the desert, but the promised land is before us. The heights of Pisgah are making their appearance in the distance. If the Government only had the faith which animated Moses, and led the people right on, we would soon be within measurable distance of the promised land. Reading the Bible I find that Moses had great difficulty in keeping the Israelites up to the- mark. They wanted to go back to the flesh pots of Egypt, but it seems to me that our Moseses are in exactly the opposite position. It is they who want to go back to the flesh pots, and the poor children, who are supposed to be their followers, who desire to press on to the promised land.

Senator Rae - You are striking the rock.

Senator STEWART - To make water flow, yes.

Senator Long - Do you want any water ?

Senator STEWART - No j but I wish that I had wind enough to persuade the honorable senator, and others, to accept what I believe to be the true faith, the result of which would be a great benefit to the working people of this Commonwealth. We want to establish industries here, and we hear a great deal about the cost of establishing them. I quite admit that there is not anything worth having which does not cost money, but I mentioned at the beginning that we are spending £30,000,000 a year in subsidizing men who do nothing for it. Would it not be very much better to spend that money, or a portion of it, in establishing industries in the Commonwealth than to allow it to drift away in the direction in which it is going? At the worst, would it not be better to use that money in establishing industries than in subsidizing people who have never done anything for the Commonwealth, but whose very existence is a menace to the welfare, the prosperity, and even the national existence of the Commonwealth? I put it on that low ground. I believe in the new Protection. The workman ought to get his fair share of that Protection, and the private capitalist, so long as you permit the system of private enterprise to continue, is entitled to his share.

Senator Rae - Does he not get a bit too much of it?

Senator STEWART - I do not know what he is getting, but so long as as we allow him to continue he is entitled to fair wages for his work, just as much as the worker is entitled to consideration. When we decide that private enterprise is no longer to continue, that will end, but until we come 'to that decision the man who puts his capital into a business is as much, entitled to his share out of it as is the worker who puts his labour into it.

Senator Rae - How would you determine what is a fair share?

Senator STEWART - I am not going to say how I would determine anything. I believe, with honorable senators, that it would be very much better if the Commonwealth had the 'power of fixing wages and conditions just as it has the power of fixing the protection to be given to a certainindustry ; but the people have refused us that power.

Senator Rae - They were misled by false prophets.

Senator STEWART - That does not matter; they refused it. I believe that we shall get the power, but we have not got it yet, and, so far as I can see, there is no reason why we should wait to establish a thoroughly Protectionist policy until we have got that power. Honorable senators should remember that the workmen of Australia are in a position to defend themselves, if they care to take the trouble to do so. They are not like an army without weapons. They have their unions, organizations, and political power. They can compel the Governments of the various States to establish Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts.

Senator Pearce - How are they going to compel the Legislative Councils?

Senator STEWART - I admit that the Legislative Councils are a difficulty. I have said that it would be very much better if the Commonwealth had this power, and I believe the Commonwealth will get it. Still, the fact that we have not got it yet is no reason why we should wait to do what I have said. If, before we do something, we are to wait until something else eventuates, we shall never do anything. Protection begins at the Customs House. Until we have it there we cannot have it anywhere else. We cannot ask the manufacturers of Australia to pay high wages when they are themselves placed in competition with manufacturers who pay low wages. When we have made our Tariff so that the foreign manufacturer cannot get his goods into the Commonwealth, we shall then be in a position to say to our own manufacturers, " You have effective Protection now, and we insist upon you giving your work-people and the public a fair share of the benefit you derive from that protection."

Senator Rae - That is the cartbeforethehorse policy.

Senator STEWART - I think, on the contrary, it is the horse-before-the-cart policy. The honorable senator might as well say that we should not have imposed the land tax for the purpose of breaking up large estates until we knew that the farmers and their labourers would be well paid for their labour on the land. We must do one thing at a time.

Senator Rae - We should do the right thing first.

Senator STEWART - The right thing is to establish the industries; to have such a Tariff as will keep the foreign competitor out. When we have done that, we can insist upon such conditions as we think desirable; but until we do that, it is impossible for us to do so. If we do not do that, the manufacturer will say, " I am competing with manufacturers who employ European labour that is paid only half what I am paying my labour," and where; then, will be our answer ? If we establish an effective Tariff, there will be no escape for the local manufacturer. In the meantime our Tariff is not effective, as may be seen from the huge volume of goods that is coming into the country.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator has said nothing about the growth of our manufactures.

Senator STEWART - They are growing very slowly indeed. I know that a year or two ago there was so much capital lying idle in the Commonwealth that there would not have been the slightest difficulty in getting hundreds of thousands of pounds to put into factories if their success had been assured by ample and effective Protection. But, as the Tariff stands, few people will put money into factories. All kinds of wild-cat companies have been floated recently, but we hardly ever hear of a new factory being established, because people will not put their money into such enterprises.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator is talking against the facts now.

Senator Vardon - Mr. Knibbs is against the honorable senator there.

Senator STEWART - I do not think so. Our factories are growing very slowly, and the plant and machinery of most of our woollen factories can hardly be called uptodate. If we had effective Protection, 1 believe that large companies would come here from Great Britain and Europe with their capital, up-to-date machinery, and trained workmen, and would establish themselves here.

Senator Rae - None of our woollen factories can now fulfil their orders.

Senator STEWART - Possibly, on that account, some of our manufacturers say, " We are fairly satisfied with things as they are." No doubt they do not wish to be brought into competition with uptodate people.

Senator Rae - The Parramatta mill has been more than doubled in size as the result of the Protection at present enjoyed.

Senator STEWART - More power toit. I do not know whether honorable senators are aware of it, but it is a fact that, at one stage of her history, Britain was in exactly the same position as Australia is in to-day. Britain was then a wool -exporting country, as we are now. Probably the Free Traders of that, period thought it was a mad idea to try and establish the manufacture of woollen goods in Britain. But there were Protectionists even then, and an export duty was put upon wool, and an import duty upon cloth.- The Government of the day introduced men and machinery from Holland, and established factories in England. These people taught the English to manufacture woollen goods, with the result that England has been for a very long period the great woollen manufacturer of the world. I do not see why Australia, in addition to being the greatest wool producer, should not also De the greatest woollen manufacturing country. In Tasmania we have water power which is unexcelled in any part of the_ Common.wealth, a comparatively moist climate, and all the conditions necessary for the successful establishment of large woollen factories. 1 believe that the home of .the factories of the Commonwealth will be found in Tasmania, where there is so much cheap power available. Why should we not export cloth instead of wool? Why should we not follow the example of Britain in the old days?

Senator Clemons - Export cloth, does the honorable senator say?

Senator STEWART - Yes, export cloth instead of wool. The honorable senator, no doubt, thinks that is .hopeless.

Senator Clemons - I do not think that under the honorable senator's scheme we could compete with other countries.

Senator STEWART - My scheme may not be complete or a good one, but I see no reason why we should not within a reasonable period meet all our own needs in the way of woollen cloth, and also be exporters.

Senator Rae - I agree with the honorable senator absolutely.

Senator STEWART - If I have Senator Rae in agreement with me everything is right. We have millions of cattle here, and hides without number. I hope that in the near future we shall have many more than we have at present. We make leather here. Why should we not also make boots, not only for home consumption, but for export ? We. can make as good boots in Australia as can be made anywhere.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - As cheaply as elsewhere?

Senator STEWART - No, not at present.

Senator Clemons - Then, how could we export?

Senator STEWART - Did I not say that if land monopoly in Australia were destroyed the cost of living would be reduced, and if it were reduced would not that affect the cost of production? Every man will admit that Australian workmen are as efficient, if not more efficient, than are the workmen of any other country.'' They- are better fed than are the workmen of Europe. I believe they can get through more work, man for man, than can the workpeople of any other country. With the. cost of living reduced, and a more vigorous community of workers, we should be able to turn out goods which could be sold in competition with those turned out even in the older countries of the world.

Senator Rae - Especially if we eliminate dividends.

Senator STEWART - If we abolish private enterprise we can eliminate dividends, otherwise we cannot hope to do so.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould.- - Will not the State require any return for its investments?

Senator STEWART - I am sure that Senator Gould does not run away with the idea that no provision would be made for depreciation and renewal, but dividends would, under State enterprise, be eliminated.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - The honorable senator proposes to create a new Utopia.

Senator STEWART - I do not know what Senator Gould means by a new Utopia. Any man who surveys the. social situation in Australia may be satisfied' that it is better than in any other country in the world, but every man will admit that there is room even here for considerable improvement. I am not a Utopian .by any means, but I desire to see poverty completely abolished in Australia. I wish to see every working man and woman, boy and girl, placed in the position in which human beings ought to be placed, with plenty to eat and wear, and all the comforts and joys of life. I do not wish to see reproduced here the conditions that exist in the Old Country, in Europe, and in America. In Britain one-third of the people are living constantly on the poverty line. No one desires to see that in' Australia.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould., - Hurry up with the millenium 1

Senator STEWART - I imagine that is what we are here for. Probably Senator Gould is living in a millenium now.

Senate. Lt.-Colonel Cameron.- How about a drought coming along?

Senator STEWART - What did they do in Egypt to meet the extremity of a drought ? Would we not be in a better position to den I with a drought under such conditions as I have indicated than we are now? There is little provision made for drought now. Under a proper system of government droughts would affect us very little. I can understand that the honorable senators who are interjecting are very well off, and that the present system suits them down to the ground

Senator Vardon - The honorable senator is not so badly off himself.

Senator STEWART - I am content. Has Senator Vardon ever heard me- complain? So long at 1 have a shilling a day I am well off. A shilling a day is sufficient to give me all that I. require. Anything above that would be superfluity, so far as I am concerned. But this is not a personal matter. We know that, however weil off some of us may be, there are many people in the Commonwealth' who are' not well off.

Senator Rae - There are plenty on the verge of poverty.

Senator STEWART - There are plenty further over the poverty line than they ought to be. Senator Cameron will agree with me when I say that we desire to have a vigorous, healthy, patriotic people :in Australia. The honorable senator, as a. cattle-breeder, ought to know that the basis of strength is fodder. He knows that if he starves his calves they will never come to anything. He must feed them and keep on feeding them. The important dime to feed them is when they are young. The same remark is applicable to our children. We must feed the children, and keep on feeding them, and we shall then make strong, hardy, virile, men and women of them.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - But is. per day will not enable us to do that.

Senator STEWART - I do not advocate the expenditure of only is. per day in the case of other persons, although I am satisfied with it. Before people can be weil fed, they must be well paid. They must be kept in constant employment. Of course, if honorable senators do not care what happens, if .they invite the degeneracy which has overtaken the people of Europe, that is- their lookout. I hope that thecommon sense of the electors will not allow them to pursue a course of that kind. I believe the Labour party is here as a protest against legislation, which, if allowed to continue, would inevitably land Australia in the same muddle as that in which Great Britain finds herself to-day.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator is protesting that the- Labour party is not carrying out its protest.

Senator STEWART - I am endeavouring to administer a gentle stimulus to the party.

Senator St Ledger - It is a stimulus without being gentle.

Senator STEWART - I do not think I have exceeded the bounds of fair criticism,, and, in any case, it is only a family row.

Senator St Ledger - That is said tobe the worst kind of a row.

Senator STEWART - I do not think that anything will happen, either to the Labour party or to myself. I have attempted to discuss matters of very great consequence to the people of the Commonwealth, and to the Labour party as well. That party is on its trial. If it fails to carry out reforms which are absolutely necessary in the interests of Australia, the people will have to employ some other weapon. We must recollect that, after all, political parties are merely a means to an end, and not the end itself. They are merely a tool in the hands of the people, and if the tool be not effective, the people will endeavour to secure another tool.

Senator Rae - The tool needs a little sharpening.

Senator STEWART - Yes ; and I am sure that the honorable senator will assist me if anything of that kind is required. In any case, I have said quite enough. I bave got a few home truths off my chest, and, whether they do good or ill-

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - The honorable senator' is relieved.

Senator STEWART - I am addressing myself to the members of the Labour party and not to the . Opposition. "Abandon, hope all ye who enter here " might well be written over the door of the Opposition. But there is still balm in Gilead. There is still good in the Labour party, and within a very short period I believe more pace will be put on with a view to carrying out the policy which ought to be adopted in the interests of the people of this continent.

Debate (on motion by Senator Vardon)1 adjourned.

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