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Thursday, 10 October 1912

Senator CHATAWAY - As Senator Rae took about an hour and a quarter to explain the position of the Government, Surely I am entitled to say something. By their management of the business of the Senate, the Government have so mixed up things that we hardly know where we stand. There are various matters to which one might refer on this Bill. I asked some questions the other day in connexion with a steamer which the Government bought for work in the Northern Territory at a cost of £1,250 or £1,500. I saw recently from a photograph in the Australasian that she is now hung up at a wharf in Mackay.- The Government paid something like £350 to have her taken up to the Northern Territory, but apparently she has not been able to get more than a few hundred miles up the coast.

Senator Rae - It may be because of the attractions of Mackay.

Senator CHATAWAY - The people of Australia cannot afford to pay too much even for the attractions of such a splendid place as Mackay. I am referring to the steamer on which the Minister of Trade and Customs-would not trust her own crew. He made a contract to have her taken up to Port Darwin, but she is not getting up there. I do not know to what extent we can trust the newspaper reports, but I notice 'that at Broken Hill they are still passing resolutions, and doing all they can to oppose the system of compulsory military training. I admit that I have some good things to say for the Defence Department, but when we rind lads and their parents penalized, I ask the Minister of Defence whether, after all that has happened, he is now prepared to deal with those adult societies which are doing their level best to induce the boys of Australia, to break the law, and defy himself as Minister of Defence. I hope that the Defence Department are not treating my son better than the sons of any other person. If I may be allowed to refer to a purely personal matter, I should like to say that my son sent in a medical certificate to excuse his absence from drill. Nothing was heard of it for a time, but eventually, when he. made inquiries he was told that in view of the medical certificate presented, he would be considered as having been present at the drills from which he was absent. That was playing, as I think, and as the boy thought, very fairly with him. But I wish to know whether all other boys are being treated in the same way. In one case after another we find that cadets are being prosecuted, and themselves, or their parents, fined, and yet we have certain organizations - I do not care whether they are Conservative, Liberal, Labour, or Socialistic organizations - holding meetings and doing all they possibly can to induce lads to break the law. In the circumstances I say that if the Government intend to do what is fair by everybody it is up to them to tell these people to " turn it up." or they will be prosecuted. I brought this' matter up some twelve months ago, and the Minister, in answer to certain questions I put, said he thought it advisable to let the matter alone for the present, and not to take too much notice of these people. The same thing is still going on, and though boys and parents are prosecuted, the people who have been preaching sedition and violation of the law from one end of the country to the other are left untouched. I do not wish to suggest motives in this matter, but I repeat that it is up to the Defence Department to deal with these people as they should be dealt with, rather than with the ignorant boys and their ignorant parents, who pay attention to those who say, " We should not train our sons to shoot down their fathers," and all that sort of rubbish. If trouble arises later on the blame will be placed on the right shoulders. It will be no use then for any honorable senator to ask why this matter was not brought up for consideration, because it cannot be denied that I have referred to it on several occasions in the strongest terms I could use. The question of the Vancouver mail service has been dealt with very fully by Senator St. Ledger. He referred to a certain meeting held in Brisbane. At the request of Mr. Thomas, who was then Postmaster-General, I went over to Sydney and attended a meeting there in connexion with this matter. You, Mr. President, attended that meeting and strongly objected, in common with others,to the expression of certain views which, if adopted, would have put the interests of New Zealand before those of

Queensland, New South Wales, and the rest of Australia. Mr. Thomas, at the time, asked* us to regard the views stated as confidential.. I ask why in Heaven's name we should regard them as confidential, when we are being jewed out of the business we established . and continued for many years in Queensland ? Later on a meeting was held in Brisbane, which Senator St. Ledger attended, at the request of the PostmasterGeneral, to meet representatives of ' the Chamber of Commerce. I received a similar request, but was unable to get away. In the language of the music hall I had done my "stunt" in Sydney, and I had had' quite enough of it. Again those who were present at the meeting in Brisbane, with the hushing of the melodramatic stage, were asked to keep what was said secret, notto give it away, and to regard it as confidential. What has been the result? Theinterests of Queensland have been turned down, and she has lost a big trade infrozen meat and frozen butter, which she had built up with Canada. Why should Queensland's interests be turned down in this way? We are told that something, may be done to secure a renewal of the Vancouver service when we have arrived at a reciprocal Tariff agreement withCanada. We have a right to complain inthe matter. We have a right to complain that, there is no business now being done on certain wharfs on the Brisbane River, becauseQueensland has lost the Canadian trade. We shall certainly make such' a complaint at the next election, unless the Government submit some reasonable arrangement for the renewal of the Vancouver mail, service.. The Queensland people can have no use for a Vancouver mail service by which their produce must be taken to Sydney, and thence to Auckland, before it can reachVancouver. Such a service will be of nouse to people who had built up a direct trade with Vancouver. We know how thefeelings of the people of the State were expressed in 1906 over the loss of theOrient trade, and we can anticipate what their feelings will be when they discoverhow they have been compelled to lose theVancouver trade. I shall not detain the Senate by going into the details of that trade. I have the figures by me, but this does not appear to me to be an opportune time to deal with the matter at length. I say that Queensland considers herself badlytreated by the manner in which she has had to lose a trade which she had built up. Her interests have been turned down* by a Minister who calmly said, at the meetings held in Sydney and in Brisbane, " You mustkeep it dark." That is not the way in which public business should be transacted.

Senator Rae - Was this a love letter which the honorable senator was asked to keep dark?

Senator CHATAWAY - No; it was a letter breaking off the engagement. That is our trouble. It is a breach of promise case. There is only one other matter to which I wish to refer. An attack hasbeen made on a man called G. L. A. Field, who, on the 8th October, appears to have written a letter to the Hobart Mercury in reference to the maternity allowance, in which he says -

They are going to pay a like bonus of £5 to the deserving mother and to the debased slut.

Senator Rae - He is a debased cur.

Senator CHATAWAY - I note that this matter has been referred to in the other branch of the Legislature, and I was occupied about three hours to-day in discovering the expression which was really used. For publishing that letter it was suggested that the newspaper in question be excluded from our Parliamentary Library. Let me now turn to another newspaper, which calls itself the organ of the Political Labour party of Victoria. This journal published an article on 2nd May of the present year, which is headed " Sapphira on Tramp." It will be recollected that Sapphira was the wife of Ananias. The article begins with an alleged extract from the Bible. The verse which it purports toquote is Ezekiel, chap. 23, v. 20 -

For she doted on her paramours (political), whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

Naturally, the newspaper inserted the word "political" to save itself from a libel action. But it did more than that - it misrepresented the Bible, because the quotation in Ezekiel reads -

For she doted on their paramours - not on " her " paramours. This cowardly cur, who signs himself " Mural," is, I am sorry to say, alleged by current gossip to be a member of this Parliament. He writes -

A flatulent female named Cameron -

He is referring to a daughter of the late Mr. Angus Cameron, of New South Wales.

Senator Givens - Why give the matter an extended publicity now?

Senator CHATAWAY - Has the honorable senator ever ceased to give an extended publicity to anything when it suited him to do so ?

Senator Givens - Then, does it suit the honorable senator to do so?

Senator CHATAWAY - It suits me to show that the decision of the High Court, that articles and reports dealing with elections shall bear the signature of their authors, is right.

Senator Needham - The honorable senator opposed the proposal to compel the writers of such articles to sign their names to them.

Senator CHATAWAY - But the publication of this article would convert me any day in the week. It has convinced me that what the High Court has decided is, after all, a good thing. The article reads -

A flatulent female named Cameron held forth in the 'Mechanics' Hall, Warrnambool, on political matters last week. She went there to assist the Western District squatters and the Collinsstreet rooks to defeat certain Labour candidates at the next Federal elections. In the course of her remarks she pointed the skinny finger of prophecy at Wannon, Indi, and Corangamite, and exhorted the fatty degenerates present to fight on and pour out their gold for the reconquest of those electorates. She claimed to represent the Women's National League, but like the rest of that whiskery brigade of pup-cuddlers and poodle-kissers, who rage about the marriage tie and the purity of the pram, she lied with the ferocity of a fiend about the Labour party and all its works.

Senator McGregor - That is a common thing.

Senator CHATAWAY - This is the kind of stuff that we generally get from the other side -

Sapphira, the frothy, was listened to by a few red-faced females, who spend their time in efforts to hide their pimples and blotches with toilet powder, and by a handful of bulbousnecked and bald-headed Fatmen of the type that generally get close up to the footlights when giddy girls are giving a wild and whirlsome exposition of the art of high-kicking. Sapphira belongs to the common - we might say very common - variety of Tory organizers. She has neither beauty or eloquence to back her. Economically, she is grossly ignorant. Were she to attempt to pass off on an audience of well-informed people the Tory taradiddles she regaled her hearers with at Warrnambool, they would rise up in a spasm of disgust and walk out on the pavement. Sapphira's statements about the Labour party were at once false and slanderous. She repeated the bulk of the parrot chat of Mrs. Morton who, when she was at Framlingham some 'time ago, told the people there, among other things, that "Although members of the Labour party did not say openly they would take the children away from the mothers, that was their secret intention." Instead of two impudent liars like Sapphira and Morton being reported in detail by the allegedly respectable press,they ought to have their tongues slit publicly as a warning to other vicious females of the parasite class not to enter on a campaign of falsehood and vilification in the interests of the sweater and landlord class.

That appears to be fairly strong language. If we are going to enforce decency on the press through our Library Committee-

Senator Needham - Read the whole of the article.

Senator CHATAWAY - I have no objection to doing so. It continues -

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