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Evening Star, Issue 15698, 12 January 1915
The IYime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia (the Hon. The Prime Minister Andrew Fisher) has Of the received n wcllCommonweatth. deserved .cordial reception at' Wellington. The public welcome accorded him in the spacious Town Hall was marked by an enthusiasm which betokened the high respect in which our distinguished visitor is held. The Labor organisations of tho capital presented him with an address conveying a high-toned eulogy of the achievements of Mr Fisher as a champion of the Ltibor cause. That all sections of Labor should unite to do honor to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, and unite in Wellington, which was the seat of tho violent waterside workers' strike, should occasion favorable comments throughout the Dominion. Of all Labor representatives in the Australasian colonies, Mr Fisher is pre-eminently the man whose public speech is famed for temperance in thought and whose political policy is renowned for moderation. More than any other ho has redeemed Labor in his own country from wild and extravagant courses. He has demonstrated that Labor in power is not the terrifying forco it is apt to appear when in Opposition. It has not proceeded with reckless abandon to piny tho iconoclast, but has moved along tho path of progress at a steady pace, not neglecting the teaching of history that reform can only come by instalments. Under the leadership of Mr Fisher the Labor party have moved faster towards the goal of social renovation than other parties, but they have made no attempt to do so by leaps and bounds. Capital has not been driven out of the land, nor the profits of tho captains of industry subjected to seizure by violent hands. Many of the measures passed—■ such as that providing for the issue of paper money by the State alone—have nothad all the beneficial effects anticipated by their authors, but they certainly have I not been followed by the disastrous effects predicted by their opponents. In short, the exaltation of the Labor party to office in Australia has been attended by no political catastrophe or industrial or commercial upheaval. The fact is power has a chastening effect, and whether from design or from the pressure of circumstances the spirit of moderation has always guided the counsels when tho Labor party controlled the administration in the Commonwealth. Human character, however, counts for something in every movement, ond wc are satisfied that the personality of Mr Fisher has had a good deal to do with the freedom of his party from excesses. His modesty and seriousness impress all with whom he comes into contact. This leads us to refer to a remarkable characteristic of the laboring classes. In their non-political contests with employers they lend too ready an ear to the declamations of fire-breathing demagogues. They get strangely befooled by men with a tongue, glib and poisonous, and a vocabulary rich in denunciatory epithets. But when they come to select their parliamentary leaders they manifest quite a different disposition. For the most part they choose men whose sense . of responsibility outweighs their sense of importance. The Labor representatives iu the Parliaments of tho British Empire are, on the whole, men of high character, serious purpose. and moderate behaviour. One could not get a much better class of man than is represented in the House of Commons by Messrs Philip Snnwden, Ramsay Macdonald, Arthur Henderson, and Will Crooks. No nation need be afraid of a party which throws such men on top. Of such a type is the Hon. Andrew Fisher. Ho is not remarkable for mental brilliance. His versatile lieutenant 'the Hon. William Hughes), tho Attornoy-General. is more distinguished in the sphere of intellect. But Mr Fisher is solid, honest, abounding in common sense, uplifted with a genuine zeal for tho true interest of his class, and altogether trustworthy. Such a man we delight to welcome to our shores. From such a. man we would hear as much as possible in the way of advice to our laboring classes. His speech in Wellington was shot through and through by sound political wisdom. Take, for instance, these words : Tho time has passed, in my opinion, when we need —any ot us-—to* resort to force. Jt (tho struggle for social betterment) is an intellectual struggle between thoso who have votes as to what policy shall prevail, and when any of us who are Democrats deride Parliaments, denounce them, or say that wo would sweep them all away, we. are, in my opinion, unfit to competo with our lellow-laborers intellect (tally. Or, again i It* we have- a good case to present to an intelligent democracy, then we ought to win; but. if wo are divided in our counsels and divided in our actions, little wonder that our opponents may succeed. I am not deriding you, and I am not complaining, though* I must, from my point of view, regret that you are not mere united from one end of New Zealand to the other. My suggestion to you is to begin to put your house in order. Get together on a! set of principles which you can agree upon and act on, and set out on a pilgrimage —a campaign-—to explain to the people of this _ country what that platform and policy is, until they understand it, and then—but not till then—will you meet with that success, or partial success, which we have, met with in, Australia, and which 'I believe, without disrespect to other parties, is the best and'' safest course for a democratic community to pursue. We want a speech from that text in Dunedin. The Labor organisations in our own City will not, we trust, be behind Wellington in tho welcome accorded to Mr Fisher. They would do well to better it. No fear need be entertained of tho co-operation of the general public. We hope also that Mr Fisher will be urged to give a political address here on the subject of Labor unity and the relation of Labor organisations to political activ-itv. Wo desire -to hear tha..Hon. Mr
Fisher amplify what- ho. said to our "special" at Wellington—recorded in another part of this issue—concerning the independence of Labor parties from other political entities. Such an address, we believe, would complete the overthrow of Syndicalism in New Zealand, and would finish the work of dissolution that was ber,tjn with tho suppression of the methods of the, waterside strikers.
Evening Star, Issue 15698, 12 January 1915
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