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COLLECTIVE VOTING, Issue 15632, 24 October 1914
DISPOSITION OP THE SEAMEN'S VOTE. HON. J. T, PAUL EXPLAINS. [From Oun Pap-liajikntauy Reporter.] WELLINGTON, October 24, Ait important statement relating to the attitude of the Seamen's Union on the Legislature Amendment Bill, one of the provisions of which is designed to prevent seamen from collectively casting their votes in one electorate, was made in the Legislative Council by the lion. d. T. Paul just before deliberations were adjourned last night. " There has been some speculation in the Council," said .Mr Paul, “as to whether the Seamen’s Union have taken any part in the disposition of the seamen's vote. 'I he first point i< whether the Seamen's Union approached the Minister in connection with the dispensing power given under the Shipping and Seamen’s Act. In justice to the organisation, I am in a position to say that tho union, not only did not approach tie/ Minister in connection with the matter as a union, but the union did not dvr,cuss the matter at their meetings. They did not make the matter the question of a resolution of any sort, and they did not make any declaration as a union, neither have the union taken any action as a union regarding the seamen’s vote. The organisation would not move in any way to have the seamen placed on any special roll. In saying this, I do not say that members of the organisation have not taken steps to get on certain rolls.” Hon. H. D. Bell ; “ And get others on.” Hon. •). T. Paul: ’ Possibly so, but the point I wish to clear up in fairness to the organisation is that the union us a union took no action to persuade the Minister to use tho dispensing power given in the Shipping and Seamen's Act; that they did not discuss the matter or come to any decision in the matter as a union; thirdly, they have not taken any action in connection with the disposition of tho seamen’s vote. This does not apply only to Wellington, but, In each of the centres in New Zealand where there is a Seamen’s Union. ’lhe matter has been made perfectly clear by the Dunedin centre in the* South, and by the Auckland centre in the North, and 1 have it on reliable authority that the facts, as far as the local organisation is concerned, are. as I have stated.” In reply, the Ilmi. Mr Bell said ho hoped tiic hum gentleman would also do him the justice of admitting that he did not mention the Seamen's Union in ' Connection with the matter. Ho had no knowledge of what course the union had taken or proposed to take, nor would it have been reasonable for him to attempt to inquire into the concerns or feelings of the union. He had no doubt that the Hon. Air Paul spoke with quite sufficient authority from those competent to advise him on the subject; but still what one did not do oneself, but allowed another to do for one without repudiation, was to the fullest extent binding upon oneself. ” I may not act in any way openly,” said Mr Bell, or I may not even 'confirm actively an act, but' if a person closely associated with mo. or in my confidence and over whom I exercise a controlling influence, takes a course, and I placidly confirm it, then I must accept, the responsibility.” The speaker concluded by saying that if there was any misuse of a statutory right he, in his private capacity and in his public capacity as a Minister of the Crown, claimed that, he had the right to criticise, and he did not withdraw a single word.
COLLECTIVE VOTING, Issue 15632, 24 October 1914
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