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10 STUDY, NQ-LICENSE, r - [VIEWS ON DEFENCE. A prominent member of the Queensland Labour party, 'Mr. V. B. <J. Lesina, who has been in the State Parliament for the last'ten years, and is at present visiting New Zealand,.. was interviewed by a "Star" .representative this afternoon. "My object in coming over here during the recess," said Mr. Lesina, "was to inquire into the industrial and social legislation of the Dominion, particularly in regard to its effects on the economic condition of labour, and also to note the results of your licensing laws. I am," he added, "making a special report on the No-license question, and have visited several districts "for that purpose." Mr. 'Lesina's inquiries on the matter last" mentioned are of an independent character, the Queensland Government laving only recently sent over a special representative to report on the subject. Mr. Lesina is studying the question from the joint of view of a party that believes in the nationalisation of the liquor trade—and, for that matter, of all industries. He has visited the Ashburton, Oamaru, Invercargill, and Christchurch districts, which, are the strongholds of the Temperance party in the south. "What was the impreseion you gainea of those districts!" asked the interviewer. "The one thing that surprised mc was the facility with which drink could be obtained in these places," was the significant reply. Mr. Lesina. mentioned that his inquiries into the industrial legislation of New Zealand had been facilitated by the courtesy of fiir Joseph Ward, to whom he brought a letter of introduction from Queensland's Premier, •Mγ. Kidston. Sir Joseph gave authority to the various Government! offices to supply the informatioa required on these puMo questions. "How does the condition of the New Zealand worker compare with that of the Australian?" was asked. "Well," was the reply, "in spite of the fact that you have about five times as much labour legislation on the statute book as we have in Australia, it seems to mc that the condition of the worker here is no better than in Queensland or New South Wales." Mr. Lesina added that this was partly due to the higher cost of living in the Dominion. Bents in Wellington, he thought, were thrice as high as in Brisbane! On the questio nof the present naval crisis, and the Dominion's offer of a Dreadnought, Mr. Lesina said he thought the majority of Queensland electors would agree with Premier Kidston that> the present fuss was "simply a theatrical exhibition of music-hall patriotism." As regarded Home defence, however, the Labour party in Queensland were in favour of a citizen army. Mr. Lesina fully agreed with Sir Joseph. Ward that Australia would want a navy as big as the combined navies of Europe to defend her enormous coast line. The official Labour view in Queensland was that Australia does not want a navy. "I believe," said Mr. Lesina, "that Mr. I Fisher's policy will cause dissension in Labour ranks." The Labour party in Queensland, he added, was more advanced that in other parts of Australia in that it was entirely Socialistic They maintained that the first step towards the effective defence lof any country was to make the country "worth defending. Consequently, unless the Government passed labour legislation which has for its object the nationalisation of all the sources of production, their country would not be worth taking up arms for. The party, however, was strongly in favour of a citizen army. Australia protected by an armed and trained population, would have a million fighting men, who would be able to protect her against any combination of Powers. Every able-bodied man should be able to shoot and ride a horse. The Labour party believed in this, because with a citizen army, when they had captured political power and passed legislation to nationalise the sources of production, distribution, and exchange, they would be able to enforce it if necessary. Mr. Lesina will probably leave for Sydney next week.

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Bibliographic details

QUEENSLAND LABOUR BER'S VISIT., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909

Word Count

QUEENSLAND LABOUR BER'S VISIT. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909

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