Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

REFORM AND LABOR

MR G. M. THOMSON*?! CANDIDATUKF. SOME ORGANISED OPPOSITION. Mr G. M. Thomson who lias lepresented ,ouncdin North iu Pailimncnt during the oast six years, nddKswed about 200 ehx-tot-rs in th« Howe Street Hall. Titers was an unusual amount of interrupt ion which, although, exercised in a go;sd-natured maniier by a solid section of well-known local Labor enthusiasts and camp-followers, was Jiot entertaining, there being no cleverness iu the comment Mr J. B. Shaekloek. Mayor of Dur.ediu. was in the chair, and only twice made a mild protest against the interruption. The candidate was not perturbed by the interjection*, and apparently found pleasure in analysing the LiberalLabor combination, which lie described as an unholy alliance. An adverse vot- was earried by the Labor section, but was not declared—Personal Record. Mr Thomson said that the- last occasion on which he had the- honor of addressing the electors of Doneriin North was before the last session of Parliament began. He had had the Ikhoi- of representing the electorate in two Perl laments, ami ho might just recall briefly to there who had taken an interest in the matter during tiie last, six years that when he tirst stood he was politically unknown. llr had taken a. great d-ea! of interest in many departments L of work in tin's City, hut politically he had taken us* part whatever, and consequently his friends thought he had no chance of achieving, any g.wl result, but be got in with a. very small majority. L'jfet flection, after a. very strenuous tight, he was elected by a very large majority. and he trusted he had during the six years done what lay in him to merit tho confidence of the electors of Dunedin North. —Government and Their Opponents.— He proposed first of all to discuss the parties who were seeking election. Tie did not think there was any call for members of the Reform party to defend their administration. (Applause.) He had followed Mr Massey and the Government that was now in" power for the last six years, and he was a consistent supporter of the party long before he entered active ! politics. In regard to Mr Mast-ey and the gentlemen associated with him. in his opinion he had never met a straighter lot at men. (Applause.) They were men who were trying to do their duty by the country, ami he could not recall a single instance of anything being done to affront his sense of propriety and right. Mr Ma.s«ey was an absolutely straight man ; sometimes too good-natured with his opponents. (Laughter.) The speaker would not follow a man if he was not straight. (Applause.) There were now four parties seeking th-o suffrages of the electors of the country, and he proposed to deal briefly with two of these. He did not intend to trouble much with the St_.ua 1 Democrats. That party was not very strongly in evidence in Dunedin a* far"as he knew; hat regarding the extreme section of the Social Democratic party his views were perfectly clear. Ho believed they were a danger to the community. (Hear, hear.) He believed the duty of the community -was to crush, them out, and he would always ■ Voice: With the baton. Mr Thomson : " No, not with the baton. I shall do it the right way- V legitimate way and the way the Government did it last year." Same Voice: "With the baton. Mr Thomson: "They must be made to keep the law." He added that they would bo made to do so in :i proper way in the interests of the community.' Mr Thonwon, continuing, said that ha intended to deal with the programme •which Sir Joseph Ward had propounded the other day, and also the prcgrauimo of the Labor party. The only point on which these parties were united was in opposition to the present Government. (Applause.) -Mr Thomson i T am very glad that vou agree with me. Voice : Sometimes. | Mr Thomson: It i.- the only point on | •which they aro agreed. They differ among | themselves, and their policies in several I instances are quite divergent. The one thing upon which they seem to be agreed is- to put out the present Government. (Laughter and interruption.) I do not think they will do so. and [ tell yon that quite candidly. Voice: Yes they will. Mr Thomson : Their views aie quite divergent, and the real reason why they [ axe so strongly opposed to the Mas«ey i Government is this : that the Government have succeeded in carrying out | reforms which some of them at any rate. think they should have the right to camout, and the Maasey Government have succeeded in the face of 'great difficulty. (Applause.) There was also some interruption from the Labor side, and Mr Thomson had to appeal good-naturedly to them not to interrupt. —A iVar Tax Advisable.As. regards the question of a war tax, he desired t» express hi., own views. Neither the Government nor Sir Joseph Ward believed in the application of a war tax at the present lime. "I am inclined to think," said Mr Thomson, "that a war las should be fixed. My reason is this : Our City, perhaps, has i.bcnod more magnifl- , cently than any other community to pro- , vide'funds, clothing, and all sorU* of nec.es- ■

suries both for 11>■;• troops and for those who are auffcrini: it Europe from the effects of this war. I recognise that no part of the Dominion, and possibly no other pari of tho Empire, has relatively done more that Dunedin. but when that has lie-en said it must be admitted that :'. jjreat- .number of people were enabled to shirk their responsibility in this matter. Now, a. w,ttax touches them all. and I think, for the wake of the peoplo who do not contribute { towards the extra expense of the war, it would bs advisable- now to fix a war tax." | An Elector. Did you advocate a war tax i:i the House? Mr Thomson : It is extremely difficult j to get vour oar in in the House unless you arc ono of those windbags who are always t<i Iking. —Land Settlement.— As regards land settlement, Sir .lo*eph Ward said that special cure would be taken to provide access by means of roads and railways to the, backblucks. It there was one thinß tho late Government neglected to do it was the loading ot the. hackblocks, especially in the Xorth Wand. One of the vicious parte of their programme was to settle isolated laud miles away from roads and raihvav*, and have, the unfortunate settlers to" find their way in and out. Many of them had been without- reasonable transport facilities for many years. The Liberal Government should have liist opened up the country by road* and thou settled it. It was going to ec-ft an enormous amount of monoy to road the backblocks. An Elector. What did Ma.-sey do? Mr Thomson: He id roadini,' the back- \ blocks. —Visionary Schemes.— Sir Joseph Ward ais > stated in his programme that he was prepared at the right time to submit a complete, rate srhome to provide cheap money for developmental purposes. "I wonder," remarked Mr Thomson. " wh*n tho time is to bo if it is not now. He has not got a schem<:, but simply puts forward a visionary proposal, like so many of his proposals-" And that i» tho man the Labor party and others are going to support at the present time. H« is also prepared to submit practical schemes for cheap fish and a. supply of milk in the cities without adversely interfering with those engaged in the 'business. If he has a scheme, why does hs not propound it? A similar echem*, if h- j has it, could be applied both to bread and meat. (Hear, hear.) He has not got a; scheme, but merely makes a visionary statement in the hope of catching support." Another choice statement bv tho Leader ci the Liberal party was in reference to humanitarian legislation, which was to be taken in hand where left off by the Liberal ■partv. As a matter of fact, humanitarian legislation had never been left off. It was going on stronger than ever. It was absolutely absurd to suppose that the. so-called Liberal party had a monopoly of humanitarian legislation in this country or in haroanitarian work. (Apjslaiise.) Taey had^

not traitor! in Dunedin for the Liberal party or anyone else to show us how to'do humanitarian work. It was all nonsense to suppose that tbe Liberal party were respon. tdblo for humanitarian work. Sir Joseph Ward was very ammsing about his proposals as to railway and other works, and had suggested a programme which would require £7.250.000 to tarry out. This was only half a million less "than the cost of the schemes proposed by the Government. Sir Jct-eph Ward knew'they could not go on without borrowing. As regards tho criticism of the proposed importation of railway engines, which were recommended by Mr Hiley in his excellent report as twin:,' urgently required, the Government, owing to Sir Joseph Ward's management of railways, bad not been able to overtake the shortage of rolling stock. The Government, however, were bavjng engines built in the Dominion, and were extending railway workshops for the purpose of manufacturing stock. (Applause.) —The Liberal*' Extravagance.— Mr Thomson deait at length with Sir Joseph Ward's statement that the expenditure on buiidings by the State should be reduced by one-half annually, and re feritd in detail to the amount spent by tho Ward Government in connection with the alterations at tlm Parliamentary Buildings, the erection of a now residence for the Governor, the acquisition of lands, and the foundations ot the new Parliament House. The total cost was £162,500. The money might as well have been chucked into a. ditch, and yet Sir Joseph Ward was the gentleman who talked about economy in public building?. There was not the necessity for a new residence for the Governor, aiid certainly £120.000 of the total amount spent could have lieeu saved. What was the good of talking about economy after such extravagance? { —Merit Before "Political Pull."— It was Sir Joseph Ward's intention to amend the Public Service Act to bring the service tinder the direct control of Parliament, but not under political control. "' It there is anything I personally pupport and have always supported it was the removal of the Public Service from political control. It is absolutely pure now. The .service had been stuffed, as was well known by everybody, and incompetent persons were put in because they were supporters of the late Government." An Elector: The Commissioner's report did not prove that. Mr Thomson: "The people know it all the same." (Applause.) The Temoval of the service from political control was a. very good thing, and now merit- only was considered. There cotdd be no political favor, and every boy and girl witii the necessary merit had an equal opportunity. 'Applause.! Tbe Liheral party always stood for political patronage —"A Straight Tip."— He would like to know what were Sir Joseph Ward's ideas as to perfecting and extending the primary system of education. The Leader of "the" Opposition also proposed to pay considerable attention to agicultural education, especially agricut- ! tiiral colleges. lie had had 20 "odd year.s j to do it, and Voice: Labor is making him shit:, and will make you shift to. During brief mention of afforestation, in which the speaker claimed to have taken 1 a great interest, be declared that he got precious little support when Sir Joseph Ward was in power, and it would he left to the present Government to put the matter on a proper footing. Voice: Xo chance. They're going out. Mr Thomson': I will give you the straight tip Another- Voice: You have lost your chance. Mr Thomson: I am not a betting man, but I will give you the straight tip that we will get "back with a majority of 10 on what wo havo got now. (Laughter from the Labor section and applause elsewhere.) A Voice: If you get more "turncoats." After having touched briefly upon Sir Joseph Ward's proposals regarding babivs, which he described as comical. Mr Thomson went on to say that be recognised that tbe programme of the —Political Labor Committee — was a verv different thing from the pmposals which the party put out a- few years ;ig<>. It was a- very mu-h milder one, and there was a groat deal in tbe programme that ho would assent to absolutely. They stood for no further alienation of Crown lands. He had always been, and remained s-till. an ardent Frvholdcr. People who were now supporting the Liberal p.il'ty were, supporting Freeholders in the great majoiity of tasos. On the question of electoral reform Mr Thorns >n drew attention to the fact that the proposals of T.ihe.ral.i end Labor wero somewhat different, vet. the/ Labor paitv had bound itsrlf toVoice : Xo. only to out Massey. (Applause.) Mr Thomson : You can sav what vou like-, hut—Voice : Xo chance.

Mv Thomson i Then if yon nro not suppi Ttin<» tho Liberal party you have an unholy aUiame. (Laughter ami applause.) Ho continued that ho was in favor of tho. principle of -Proportional Representation, hut painted out that hcth parties wcro divided in their opinions on tin; questions. and stated that he did not think that they could get any 80 m«*ti elected liy tho peoplo to apve to the .system. If anybody could show him a workable sehemo of j'rop-utional T!opie«;ntation In- would consider it and possibly support it. Ko was ptoparod to be railed a. Socialist in legard to fisheries, aw ho v.-a.s stroiudy in favor of the nationalishur of the fishing industry. Still. commenting: on tho L,ilx-.r platform, the speaker said that tho Graduated Land Tax was being increased, and would be increased, ami he. agreed a-bso-lutely with tho Labor programme in regard to I lie irradnated absentee t-ns. The present Government had extended tho pensions very liberally, and provision had already been made for free medical advice. He would grart the ripht t-o work, as proposed in tho Labor platform, it they would compel men t:> work. (.Applause.) Tie explained the improvements olfectod by the Government in the l:nv with workers' dwollincs. "Hieve was no question as to tho desirability of oxtendin'-r tho system of workers' dwellings, and tin- Gove-rn-ment had extended it. As regards old atro pensions, the pension a-jje of women had been reduced from 65 ycn.rs t > 60. «i ml tho property limitation had he-on raised to £o-10. and reciprocity with Au=-t-ralia. had been established. (Anpiauso.) Widows' pensions had received consideration, a.- well a.-s Tensions for military veteran.-. —Temperance and Gambling.— A> .regards tho temperance question, he advocated tlie 55-45 and saw ro reason to depar*. front it. (Applause.) He was oi't'.r-.dy opposed to gambling in r.nv form, and especially to" the totalisator. It wroeg !.■•.■ t li-o State to i kp;ali?c gambling. Applause.) —Tho Bible, in .School*.--"I have been for many years a Mible cb=fr teacher, and I am a gioat believer it. tho Bible. I admit that tho pl.ic-e for it is the home and thi.' churcii. I have always said m>. (Applause.) But to show my bona lidos in the matter I havo been associated with, the Dunedin City Miss'on. and one of the first thiiuss w-a did was t<> uot tb-e of entry to the school- outside of school houre/and "Mr Wright h.is carried on tho work for 19 years.' - He was quite prepared to grant a. referendum on tho subject, but ho was not rrpparad to accept the two distinct issues in one question. (Applause.) .—Cheap Phosphates.— He mentioned th-it he had suggested to the Prime- Minister the, advisability of y\ea;otiating witT. the Imperial Government for a lease of one of the phosphate islands recently ocoiipi?d in the Pacific, and thus securing a cheap supply of phosphate manure. (Applause.) —An Avalanche of Questions. — The large band of Labor supporters practically "monopolised half an hour with questions on varied subjects, but none of them were of groat public interest or service. The candidate was very patient, buJ a number of electors left, obviously tired of the interrogations. Finally Mr H. P. Harvey moved—"That the meeting thank Mr Thomson [for bis illuminating addre/w, and egress

renewed confidence in him a* the re pre sentative of the district.'" Mr R. Clark seconded the motion.

Mr Silverstone moved as an ariumd merit—" 'L'hat the meeting tender only ;i vott> of thanks to the speaker (Mr Thomson, not tho mover), but have no confidence in the present Government or in Mr Thomson as representing the (loverument." He sneerin«ly remarked that Mr Thomson had got into Parliament twice by a duke, but that would not happim again. Tho amendment was seconded, and the party of Laborites demanded a show of hands. A vote was taken, and the amendment had by far the greater number of "hands." The Laborites then took charge of the meeting, cheered Mr Walker, and " booed" the. Prime Milliliter, and prepared to go home triumphantly. The .Mayor said that when lie presided at meetings he was in the habit of declaring the vote. furiously enough lie did not exercise his habit. Xo declaration was made.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141118.2.49

Bibliographic details

REFORM AND LABOR, Evening Star, Issue 15653, 18 November 1914

Word Count
2,878

REFORM AND LABOR Evening Star, Issue 15653, 18 November 1914

Working