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P.A. WELLINGTON, this day. Well organised Labour supporters had a monopoly of the "march on Parliament" this morning. It was ; a fine day for open-air demonstrators, and the response to the Federation of Labour invitation was overwhelming. It was estimated that the organisers' objective of 10,000 was reached. Separation of the business men's deputation from the trade union deputation, which was heard by members standing on the central steps of Parliament building, removed any risk of disorder and, except for cheering and occasional booing, according to what the official speakers had to sav, there was nothing exciting. The trade union effort had obviously involved long preparation. Over a hundred large banners were counted, .with a variety if inscriptions so extensive that the views of the deputation could be read on them. They dealt with "money power," and declared complete support for the Government and the Bank of New Zealand purchase. "Keep the banners up. We want to read them," was the instruction shouted through loud speakers. One distinctly humorous effort was , a masquerade of alleged Bank of New Zealand shareholders in fancy dress. They displayed placards demanding pensions of £10,000 for all shareholders, and containing other announcements. The Parliamentary grounds, newly sown in grass, suffered badly. There was insufficient room for the demonstrators, who were urged to pack close and at least keep off the flower beds. Seddon's statue, over a hundred yards from the front steps, could be seen as an island surrounded by a sea of faces. Crowd Addressed

After the crowd had assembled before the steps of Parliament Buildings they were addressed briefly by Mr. F. P. Walsh and the Speaker. Mr. Schramm. Then their principal speaker, the Hon. A. McLagan. addressed members of Parliament. He said the Labour organisations yielded to nobody in their opposition to Fascism, and those present believed they represented a considerable section of public opinion on the subjpect of the Bank of New Zealand. They had always opposed dictatorships, and dictatorships had on the other hand opposed organised labour and democratic movements. Mussolini had achieved power in Italy with the help of bankers, big business men and wealthy landowners; in other words, with the assistance of coordinated Italian business interests. When Hitler came to power, said Mr. McLagan, he was also actively assisted in the same way. Both dictators had smashed the workers' organisations, but big business had been fulsome in praise of their organisations. Mr. McLagan said that an attempt had also been made in Britain to link Labour with National Socialism, but-the British electors had refused to be side-tracked by a red herring of that sort and had returned a Labour Government with a huge majority. The friends of Fascists Would meet with no better success in New Zealand, because the people of New Zealand knew that those who were trying to raise the bogey of Fascism were themselves in the past friends of the Fascists. Referring to the Bank of New Zealand, Mr. McLagan said that banks had not saved the people during the slump. Had they set out to intensify the slump their efforts could not have been more successful. * Ex-friends of Mussolini and Hitler had intended, he said, to come forward in numbers to try to intimidate the Government, but Labour was there in greater numbers to urge the Government to go on with its democratic legislation. They believed in social and political progress and the taking over by the Government of institutions such the Bank of New Zealand. They said to the Government: "Go on with your programme for the betterment of the people. We, the people, will see that you have a fair field."

Workers' Resolution Mr. J. Roberts, president of the New Zealand Labour party, spoke in similar terms, and Mr. Walsh, as president of the Wellington Trades Council moved a resolution: "That this meeting affirms its utter detestation of Nazi-ism and Fascism and expresses its determination to oppose them in whatever form they may take, ■ including any attempt to over-awe democratically elected government by mass demonstration, organised by vested interests; further, that, realising that control of currency and credit should be one of the primary functions of every truly democratic Government, and that in the interests of the people this function must be carried ori for the public good and not for private gain, this meeting wholeheartedly endorses the Government's proposal to take over the Bank of New Zealand and affirms its .support of the Government's policy for rehabilitation of our servicemen and women and for providing full employment, a minimum family income, a rising standard of living and adequate finance for primary and secondary industry, and believes that the taking over of the Bank of New Zealand will assist to accomplish these objectives." , , , The resolution was seconded by Mr J. 0. Johnston, president of the Wellington Labour Representation Committee, and carried by acclamation. Orderly Dispersal Before the meeting dispersed Mr. Schramm assured the gathering, that the views expressed would be fully considered. He thanked the people for the orderly manner in which they had conducted themMr. 'Walsh announced that all the workers were requested to resume work at one o'clock. There were insistent calls for the Prime Minister, who was present in spite of a heavy cold, and Mr. Fraser spoke briefly, amidst applause. "I "assure you the Government will take into very serious consideration your representations," he said. "It is very inspiring to see how seriously the trade union movement in Wellington has taken any effort to overawe the Government by force of numbers. I advised those organising the deputation to desist from the beginning', because, even if the demonstration was ten times what they organised, the Government ■ would do what it thought was right." The demonstrators marched off in orderly fashion, and Ministers and members entered the building to go to a room where a deputation from the business associations was received.

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Bibliographic details

WORKERS' VIEWS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 181, 2 August 1945

Word Count

WORKERS' VIEWS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 181, 2 August 1945

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