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20. Chapter XX. Queensland.

THE development of Labor-in-politics in this State had special features not found so manifest in any of the other States of the Commonwealth. When Labor took the field as an active political factor, it had to face what has become known as the “Continuous Government.” One Premier after another retired to a good fat billet, his lieutenant took his place, and the Ministry filled vacancies from leading supporters; but it was the same crowd all the time. They were the most capitalistic, commercially governed party ever seen in any State, and none were more glaringly corrupt.

When examined closely, it will be found that they used the powers of Government, not in the interests of the people, but in order to further the welfare of their own friends and themselves. The strong language used by Mr. Buzzacott, M.L.C., in his paper will apply to other Governments than the particular one to which he directed his statement. He said: “There is irrefutable evidence that for more than a year past the Ministry has waded in political corruption. It may be safely said that the Nelson Government is the most corrupt administration that has ever ruled Queensland.”

With a five years Parliament, a weak Opposition, and a typical second chamber of nominee capitalists and a capitalist-governed press, Labor


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had to tackle the most powerful of social forces. The Government took care to prevent the radical section of the workers having a vote at all. At the same time they made provision for plural voters to exercise their grossly unfair privilege by fixing polling places in Brisbane for every electorate. Thus a property owner could vote in every electorate in which he held property. Some held votes under this system in as many as thirty electorates.

In a new country like Queensland thousands of the most intelligent and energetic working men have to travel in connection with their several occupations, and these were denied votes. The census of 1891 showed that adult males in Queensland numbered 108,116. In 1892 the rolls only registered 98,065. The Government revised the rolls, and reduced the numbers to 83,005, a decrease of 15,060. Ten per cent. of the votes belonged to persons with more than one vote, which reduced the number to 75,005, leaving no less than 30,411 disfranchised. The law had been specially devised so that these could be legally disfranchised. The class of persons constituting the Legislative Assembly of the colony in 1891 is indicated by their occupations as follows: —Squatters, 17; merchants, 11; auctioneers and agents, 8; lawyers, 7; sawmillers and manufacturers, 6; mine-owners, 5; retired, 4; newspaper owners, 3; contractors, 3.

Practically the whole membership of the House consisted of men who lived by exploitation of the worker, and who had no strong desire to see the latter placed in a position to demand a greater share of the wealth produced than he had been


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previously permitted to secure by his individual effort. They were all decidedly anti-union in their ideas, and strongly backed up the Government in the great effort to crush out the trade union movement and introduce “freedom of contract” in 1891. The Labor movement in Queensland differed from that of the other colonies, in that it was decidedly and definitely Socialistic from the jump. So soon as it spoke in a collective way it declared for Socialism, and thus we had the forces of the most advanced thought clashing against the most conservative of capitalistic rule. The fight was bitter— no quarter was given or taken; and hence the growth of the movement is highly interesting.

One thing stands out clear as a powerful factor in Queensland Labor politics, and that is the influence of “The Worker” newspaper, the official organ of the movement, and the pioneer of Australian Labor journalism. The originator of the idea was William Lane, at the time one of the founders and proprietors of the “Boomerang.” To William Lane, more than to any other man, we can attribute the policy of the movement, and it was his magnificent writings in the early “Workers” which touched the latent sentiment so strong in the Australian bushmen, and which made the Shearers' and Laborers' Unions in the country districts such staunch adherents of the paper as well as loyal supporters of Labor candidates in every subsequent fight.

Mr. Lane was a journalist of great ability. He did Parliamentary notes for one of the big dailies at first, but got into more immediate touch with Labor


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people as the writer of a column of “Labor Notes” which appeared in the “Observer” in 1886, signed “Sketcher.” Socialist phrases were frequent in these “Notes,” and those who came into contact with “Billy” Lane, as he was called, soon learned to love and trust him. He was the father of the very important idea of running a Labor paper on the lines of union ownership and control, with a regular subsidy contributed by the trade unions and collected by them from their members as part of the regular contributions. The paper is thus independent of advertisers, has a guaranteed circulation, and puts all profit into improvement and development of the paper.

Lane discussed the idea with several of the leaders in the unions in 1889, and on December 9 a meeting was held in the old Maritime Hall, Eagle Street, at which representatives of the Brisbane District Council, A.L.F., the Building Trades Council, Brisbane Shop Assistants' Association, Boilermakers' Union, Charters Towers A.M.A., and Gympie A.M.A., with Mr. Arthur Parnell (Secretary of the Carriers and the General Laborers' Union) representing the Bush Unions. The plan proposed was approved, and on February 14, 1890, the first formal meeting of the Board of Trustees was held. There were present G. S. Casey (Central District Council), Mat Reid (Building Trades Council), Albert Hinchcliffe (Brisbane District Council, A.L.F.), Chas. Seymour and W. Mabbott (Maritime Council). There was some difference of opinion as to choice of a name for the paper, but eventually it was christened “The Worker.” William Lane


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was appointed editor. The first issue was published on March 1, 1890—then Eight Hours Day. It started as a monthly, with a shilling per year subsidy from the unions. By November 1 of the same year it became an eight-page fortnightly; and in April, 1892, was made a weekly, with an increased subsidy.

The year 1889 also saw the launching of the Australian Labor Federation. It was instituted at a meeting held on June 11. A provisional committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. M. Fanning, A. Hinchcliffe, C. McDonald, J. C. Stewart, T. Foley, and R. Morrison, with Chas. Seymour general secretary, and G. S. Casey as organizer. In a year they had 15,000 members, as all the organizations readily joined. On August 1, 1890, it held its first annual meeting, at which Mr. Charles McDonald (now Chairman of Committees in the Australian House of Representatives) was elected president, and Mr. Albert Hinchcliffe (now M.L.C. in Queensland and manager of “The Worker”) general secretary, a position Mr. Hinchcliffe has worthily and ably filled ever since. This gathering lasted several days, and much consideration was given to the question of political action. It was felt that the opposition of old parties would be just as strong against a moderate programme as one declaring for a “whole-hog” policy, and eventually the platform was adopted which appears in the Appendix.

Prior to this meeting, the A.L.F. had come into prominence in connection with what is known as the Jondaryan case, in which the Federation asked the shipowners not to load wool from Jondaryan Station, in the Darling Downs district. On 2nd


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May, 1890, the A.L.F. decided to take action. On the 5th they held a mass meeting of the maritime men, who unanimously agreed to support the organization. On the same day the shipowners were asked not to load the wool which had been shorn by non-unionists. On the following day the B.I. and Q.A. shipping companies asked the A.L.F. to confer with the squatters, and the A.L.F. took steps to arrange for a conference, which eventuated successfully on May 17. Whilst the shipowners, the squatters, and the A.L.F. were thus doing their part to avoid a serious Labor trouble, it is worthy of note that the then Premier (Mr. Morehead), at a meeting at Rockhampton on May 8, roundly abused Labor from the anti-union squatters' point of view. The B.I. Shipping Co. had been put to some loss over the blocking of the wool on the s.s. Jumna, and on June 6 the A.L.F., unsolicited, paid £75 to the company to cover the loss. On August 16 following, the marine officers walked off their ships in Sydney harbor, and the great battle known as the Maritime Strike was precipitated. It was then that the shipowners declared that “The shipowners would not consult the public convenience if their cause was to be weakened and their interests injured in the matter.” It is not often the supporters of private enterprise set forth their attitude so honestly. The public are slow to realise that private enterprise works and schemes for gain and that only. It cares not at any time for the effect of its action, except from the point of view of profit-making.

The first attempt to secure direct representation of Labor in the Queensland Parliament was in


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1886, when W. M. Galloway stood for Fortitude Valley, and only secured 111 votes at a by-election. At the general election of 1888 four men ran as Labor candidates, but only got 1261 votes amongst them. At this election, Mr. T. Glassey ran as a supporter of the Griffith Ministry, and was elected for Bundamba. He afterwards left that party, and declared himself a straight-out Labor member. J. P. Hoolan joined him, and, in 1892, T. J. Ryan for the Barcoo and G. J. Hall for Bundaberg, were elected on the Labor platform, and these four formed the first distinct Labor Party in the House, Mr. Glassey acting as leader. The industrial troubles of 1890 were followed by the strike in the pastoral industry in 1891, and this fight, more than that of 1890, aroused the workers of Queensland into political activity. Ryan, a union secretary sent to jail and irons in 1891, was sent to Parliament in 1892.

Photograph facing p.272. D.BOWMAN, M.L.A., Leader of Queensland Labor Party



The real character of the Government became clearer in 1891, and to understand it it is necessary to note a few facts. A colored census taken in 1898 showed that there were 24,366 colored aliens in Queensland—one for every five adult white males. Chinese predominated. In order to secure cheap labor for the sugar growers, the Government allowed what amounted practically to a slave trade to be carried on, and kanakas from the South Sea Islands were brought over, ostensibly under contract. Most readers will have heard of the “blackbirding” carried on about that time. The census of 1901 showed that the proportion of colored aliens was 47.59 per 1000. Owing to the action of


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the Labor Party in the Commonwealth Parliament, not only has the increase been stopped, but the kanakas have been sent back to their island homes.

To come back to 1891. The sugar growers succeeded in getting a supply of black men, and the squatters introduced Chinese labor. Griffith led in denunciation of kanaka importation in 1889, but recanted in 1892, and became a party to the importation of cheap Italian labor by the Government. The stand made by the shearers and shed employees in 1891 was not only against a reduction of wages and an attempt to introduce “freedom of contract,” but was principally against the introduction of Chinese labor. To understand what forces were arrayed against them, we have only to look at the return as to how land was held. In 1894, of unalienated land, eighteen banks held 81,174,880 acres, and twenty-seven finance institutions held 49,623,797 acres. Thus a total of 130,798,677 acres—or nearly one-half the total unalienated land of Queensland—was in the hands of 45 heartless, soulless finance companies. The rental paid was slightly over a farthing per acre. Of the banks, the Bank of New South Wales held over 17,000,000 acres, the Bank of Australasia over 16,000,000 acres, the Q.N. Bank over 10,000,000 acres.

Members of the Government and their supporters were all more or less directly interested in banks and stations, hence they used all the powers vested in the Government to crush the workers in general and organized labor in particular. The police and military were placed at the disposal of the Pastoralists' Union, of which the Cabinet was


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simply a committee to carry out instructions. Every branch of the public service was coerced into acting against the unionists so far as the Government could force them. A circular was issued calling upon all railway men to leave their union. On the slightest pretext they were discharged if suspected of being friendly towards the shearers. One man was asked if he were a Republican, and, deeming it a joke, replied that he was a red-hot Republican. He was dismissed. Another committed the sin of laughing at a constable of police who fell off a train. He had to go. It was admitted that thirty-one were discharged for trivial “offences” of this kind.

In Queensland, and likewise in New South Wales, the railways were at the disposal of pastoralists for carrying out the scum of the big cities which had been raked up to work in place of unionists. Professional criminals, well known to the police, were taken to fill the places of honest workmen. Blacklegs were armed, whilst unionists, many of whom made a living by shooting kangaroos, had their rifles taken from them. To the outside world the Government made a pretence of simply maintaining law and order, but the evidence of their actions in 1891 and again in 1894 proved them to have been, as already asserted, an agent for the owners of the stations in attempting to carry out their big scheme for the subjugation of the unionists and the procuring of cheap labor of any kind, color, or character.

Men were arrested and jailed on the slightest pretext. Union Organizer Gilbert Casey was locked up for a fortnight and then released without trial


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This was done in order to break up a camp. In March, 1891, seventy-four men were travelling near Lorne when the grass caught fire; twenty-five were arrested and charged with rioting. There was no case, and they were discharged, but were at once re-arrested and charged with arson, and thirteen were committed for trial. Only one (J. Macnamara) was tried, and he was dragged about the country for 3000 miles before the trial. The jury found him not guilty of arson, but said he had aided and abetted, so the judge gave him three years. A man named C. F. Latrielle got a month, and some others two months, for calling another a “scab.” A man named Jermyn was tried eleven times, but the police had no evidence, and he got clear every time. To be a unionist was enough. This incident in the court at St. George is full of meaning.

His Worship to the constable: “Did you search the prisoner?”

“I did, your Worship.”

“What did you find on him?”

“I found a Union ticket, your Worship, which I produce in Court.”

Men were sent to prison for various terms running from a fortnight to fifteen years. In another place I deal fully with many of the incidents of the 1891 and 1894 industrial wars, and simply remind the reader to keep in view the great influence they had on the minds of the masses in exposing the real character and aims of the Government with which the colony was cursed. The strike of 1891 was called off on June 11, 1891. Later in the year it extended into New South Wales, but was ended there by a


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conference with the Pastoralists' Union, at which an agreement was arrived at and which practically settled matters for all the colonies, but which the Pastoralists broke away from in 1894, thus bringing on the terrible struggle of that year.

The fight for “freedom of contract” cost the country over £170,000, and it was admitted in a report of the principal organizer of the P.U., given at one of their meetings, that it cost their union £42,000. At the same meeting it was agreed that it would be necessary to import “free labor” for years in order to crush the unions of the workers. There was rejoicing in the ranks of employers of labor when Griffith, in November, 1890, carried a vote for bringing Italian labor to the colony, and some of the employers wrote pointing out that they would be able to get the Italians to work in batches, as the women and children of such people would work together. The storm raised by Labor leaders, and the exposure in “The Worker” checked the scheme somewhat, and the Employers' Federation turned its attention to preventing at all hazards workers getting a vote.

No sooner had Labor issued its Platform than the employers got to work. In the report of their executive they said: “The question of the revision of voters' rolls has also engaged the attention of your executive, and circulars have been issued calling upon affiliated bodies to take the matter in hand. While our organization, from the nature of its constitution, cannot take a side in political questions, the executive feel that it is within their province to prevent if possible our political institutions


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being used as a lever to further the objects of trade unionists by the election of Labor delegates. They therefore urge upon every representative present the need of watchfulness in this direction, otherwise we may find ourselves outvoted.”

In this the view of all the organized employers of Australia is set forth. However they may be divided in opinion on other matters, they were—and are—solidly united against Labor, and would never have allowed either manhood or adult suffrage to come if they could have prevented it. The law and the Government helped them. Forms of application to be placed on the rolls had to be signed before a Justice of the Peace. Beside being often miles away, they were almost all unfriendly to Labor. Some who had given special facilities were struck off the roll of justices. Later on, the President of the P.U. sent a circular to Registrars practically instructing them to purify the rolls by striking names off. The law left ample loopholes for doing this, and full advantage was taken thereof.

The term of Parliaments was reduced in 1890 to three years, but they still retained the plan of running the elections in batches. What this means to the Government of the day was expressed by an experienced and cunning member of a New South Wales Government to the writer. He said it was equal to a gain of fifteen seats to the Government. To Labor is due the fact that all elections are now held on the same day. After the industrial battle of 1891 Labor prepared for the political contest, and the forces against them laid plans for defeating


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their object. They had a whole year in which to get ready. The great success attending the Labor Party in the New South Wales elections in 1891 gave courage to the workers, and put energy into the capitalistic organizations. The Government could see that their day was not to be a long one, and so they were going to help on a grand coup.

Two men loom large in the past of Queensland politics—the late Sir Thomas McIlwraith, and Sir Samuel Griffith, now Chief Justice in the High Court of Australia. McIlwraith first appeared in the McAlister Government in 1874 as Minister for Works, Mr. S. Griffith being Attorney-General. McIlwraith at once introduced the idea of railway construction on a land grant system. Premier McAlister dallied with the matter for a time, but finally, in an interview to the press, declared himself opposed to it. McIlwraith resigned and went into opposition. Later he became Premier, with Griffith leader of the opposition. In 1887 he was publicly charged with letting a contract for steel rails to his own relatives in London on such terms as unduly favored them at the expense of the taxpayers of the colony. A party vote just saved him. He also gave a shipping contract on terms of advantage to the shipowners, but against the interests of the people who had to pay. In all these his strong opponent and denouncer was Mr. Griffith. McIlwraith went out and Griffith came in in 1883; the latter was defeated in 1888, and McIlwraith once more returned to power. He gave up to Morehead, but in 1890 he formed a coalition with Griffith. McIlwraith was one of the promoters, and for some time a director


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of the Queensland National Bank, and the balance sheets of that institution for the ten years he was Treasurer of the colony show how well he studied the bank's interests at the expense of the taxpayer. The following balances held by the Bank were due to the colony on June 30 of each year named:—

                   
1879 ..  £270,000 
1880 ..  £685,366 
1881 ..  £1,332,065 
1882 ..  £1,824,332 
1888 ..  £1,265,823 
1889..  £1,708,418 
1890 ..  £1,902,306 
1891 ..  £786,459 
1892 ..  £1,403,793 
1893 ..  £2,425,203 

Sir. T. McIlwraith went away travelling before the great exposure of the bank, of which more anon. Griffith, after first raising the salary by £1000 a year, resigned and took the Supreme Court Bench in March, 1893, so soon as Mr. Lilley resigned the Chief Justiceship. Sir Hugh Nelson became Premier in place of McIlwraith in October, 1893, and the Continuous Government still misruled.

During 1892 a great scheme was introduced by the Government. It was one of McIlwraith's best. On paper, as put by the capitalistic press, it seemed all right. When Labor's searchlight got on to it, however, it was proved to be a clever attempt to grab 200,000,000 acres of a colony whose total area is an enormous one, namely, 668,497 square miles—or 427,838,080 acres. When mountains and rough country are taken out, and alienated land allowed for, it will be seen that the boodlers originating the grab wanted to secure all the good country that was left. The Government, bad as it was, could make 2000 miles of railway for £14,000,000, but they were


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going to force the people to pay £56,000,000 for it. The syndicate of land grabbers would thus have made £42,000,000. It was a great scheme, and would have got through but for Labor coming into the field. I give details in later pages.

(For the Labor Platform of 1893 see Appendix.)

The elections took place in May, 1893, and the following Labor members were returned:—W. H. Browne, Croydon; A. Dawson and J. Dunsford, Charters Towers; J. M. Cross, Clermont; H. Daniels, Cambooya: A. Fisher, Gympie; J. Fogarty, Drayton and Toowoomba; J. P. Hoolan, Burke; W. Lovejoy, Aubigny; R. King, Maranoa; M. Reid, Toowong; H. Turley, Brisbane South; G. Jackson, Kennedy; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; C. McDonald, Flinders; and C. H. Rawlins, Woothakata. T. J. Ryan did not run again. He said: “The friends were too warm, the whisky too strong, and the cushions too soft for Tommy Ryan. His place is out amongst the shearers on the billabongs.” He sums up the temptations of Parliament nicely. Mr. Glassey having been defeated, Mr. Hoolan resigned his seat for Burke and Mr. Glassey took his place. At a by-election for Townsville on July 17, 1894, Mr. A. Ogden was added to the party, and on the same date Mr. J. Wilkinson won in a by-election for Ipswich.

The results of the May contest, 1893, showed that Ministerialists got 29,144 votes, and non-Ministerialists 48,128—or a majority against the Government of 19,084 votes. Out of 62 contested seats the Government got 34, the others 28. The 34 Ministerialists represented 854 votes each, the 16 Labor members 1713 votes each. The result proved


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that the country was against the Government. They stuck to office, however. In the 1893 elections, Bowman was third for South Brisbane, Kidston and Larcombe were defeated for Rockhampton, and Stewart for Rockhampton North. Glassey lost Bundamba. Hinchcliffe also ran for a seat and lost.

The year 1893 was the period of the failure of private enterprise banks. The Queensland National Bank went under amongst the number. It held nearly two and a-half millions of Government money, and the Government came to its aid and saved it from liquidation. When it closed its doors, 7702 depositors' claims totalled £4,180,293. Over one-half of this sum was from the old country. Of 160,000 shares, 40,000 were on the London Register. It had paid in dividends £1,195,959 17s. 10d., returning original shareholders £10 15s. 4d. per share of £8 paid up. So bound up with the interests of the people was the institution that only six had the courage to vote against the Current Accounts Guarantee Bill when it was introduced in June, 1895—namely, Messrs. Dawson, Turley, Dunsford, Kerr, McDonald, and Fitzgerald. The bill was rushed through in one night, and passed the Legislative Council in fifteen minutes. Eleven members of the Council and eight of the Assembly were shareholders.

Persistent demand was made by Labor members for an investigation of the affairs of the bank, and week after week the little “Worker” newspaper raked up and exposed the facts apparent in the balance-sheets. In 1896 Nelson forced a measure through the House empowering him to make the best terms possible, and giving a thirty-five years'


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agreement. The gag was applied to the Labor members. They took so strong a stand, however, that the Ministry, after having refused it for three years, had to agree to appoint a commission of inquiry. The Commission reported in November, 1896. The Treasurer (Mr. Nelson) and a colleague (Mr. Barlow) had stated to the House in 1893 that they had made a minute and searching investigation of the bank's affairs and position, and found it quite sound and solvent. The Commission in 1896 found that though £747,872 had been written off as bad since 1893—the loss on long outstanding accounts, and showing on the books when Nelson examined them—the deficits, including overdrafts not paying interest, amounted to £3,000,000.

It was quite clear, therefore, that the bank was insolvent when Nelson declared it sound. The manager and two of the directors owed large sums. The Commission declared that profits were fictitious, and said: “We are decidedly of opinion that no dividends should have been paid since the reconstruction of the bank, but we are not in a position to state when and to what extent dividends prior to that period ceased to be justifiable.” For the half-year ending June, 1894, the bank declared profits as £9797, out of which they made a dividend of £8400. In December, 1894, profits were alleged to be £11,374, and a dividend was declared of £9600. In June, 1895, a dividend of £10,800 was declared, and for December £12,000. This makes a total of £40,800 which the bank did not earn, but which the Government helped it wrongly to declare.




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An additional report from the Commission states:—“We have the honor to report that in our opinion no dividend should have been paid after 1889, or, at the latest, 1890.” Another paragraph says: “Early in 1892 the board appears to have experienced great difficulty in meeting the wholesale withdrawals of British deposits at that time. The correspondence shows that the position occasioned much anxiety to the directors.” This makes it clear that the directors knew that they had no funds out of which to declare the dividends of 1892 and 1893. It also makes one feel that there is likely to be truth in the report that some friends got the “tip,” and that £60,000 was got out at the back door ere the bank closed its doors.

Had the Commission gone further back they would have found out more crooked work. In 22 years Queensland had paid £14,150,000 more in interest than she had received in principal, and her dealings with the Queensland National Bank cast some light on the reasons why the borrowing craze had such a hold upon the Treasurer of the day. It will also probably explain why all our capitalistic Governments of the past have been so anxious to run the country into debt. On one occasion Sir T. McIlwraith borrowed nine months before the loan was needed, and the country had to pay £32,000 in interest before it began to spend the loan money. This was done to help along the disgracefully mismanaged Queensland National Bank.

The best example of how things are worked by private enterprise, aided by a Government of their own choosing, occurred in 1892. Though there was


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enough money in London to pay the interest due, nevertheless a draft was obtained from the Queensland National Bank for £300,000 and sent from Brisbane in December, but not entered in the bank's books until January 3, 1893. On December 23, £600,000 was borrowed by the Treasurer from the Bank of England. This enabled the bank to save on its balance and have £300,000 of public money. The bank declared a dividend of £40,000 in June, 1892, and another of £40,000 in June, 1893, and then closed its doors and reconstructed. Those two items were a clear £80,000 scooped out of depositors' funds, and clearly the balance-sheets were false. But few will believe that the Government were unaware of the real state of things, and hence their desire to hide the facts.

The “Investors' Review” of February, 1897, in an article headed “The Q.N. Bank Swindle,” concludes by asking: “How can a community hope to prosper which allows swindles of this kind to flourish in its midst unpunished and unatoned for?” It took three years to secure inquiry, and it took considerable agitation ere the directors and manager were put on trial. Of course they got off. They belonged to the sacred circle of capitalists. Had they been trade unionists struggling for better conditions they would have got imprisonment for life. The help and succor given to shareholders in the bank by the Continuous Government naturally bound the shareholders to them politically, and made them fight Labor all the stronger. In 1897 a return obtained by the Labor Leader showed that twenty-two lawyers had received amongst them £36,439 9s. 5d. for work done for


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departments between June, 1890, and June, 1897. Three departments were not included. Attorney-General Byrne had scooped £6491 in addition to his salary of £1000 a year. No one but Government supporters shared in the spoil.

The following was the result of the elections held in March, 1896:—J. M. Cross, Clermont; T. Glassey, Bundaberg; H. Turley, Brisbane South; F. McDonnell, Fortitude Valley; T. D. Keogh, Rosewood; T. Dibley, Woollongabba; G. Kerr, Barcoo; W. Kidston, Rockhampton; J. C. Stewart, Rockhampton North; G. C. Sim, Carpentaria; J. Hoolan, Burke; H. Daniels, Cambooya; A. Dawson and J. Dunsford, Charters Towers; W. H. Browne, Croydon; C. McDonald, Flinders; G. Jackson, Kennedy; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; C. B. Fitzgerald, Mitchell; R. King, Maranoa. This gave Labor 20 members, representing 30,392 votes, as against 34 Ministerialists, representing 40,113 votes, 10 Independents with 8745 votes, and eight Opposition members representing 7835 votes. Again it will be seen that the Ministry did not represent the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, as the majority of votes was against them. Labor had several unexpected losses, such as Messrs. Fisher, Ogden, Rawlings, Reid, and Wilkinson.

In June, 1898, the Labor Convention adopted a new platform and the following form of pledge:—At nomination the candidate for selection to sign the following: “I, the undersigned candidate for selection by the —— branch of the Labor Party's recognised Political Organization, hereby give my


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pledge that if not selected I will not in any way oppose the candidature of the duly selected nominee.” Before nomination the selected candidate to sign as follows: “I agree to advocate and support the principles contained in this platform.”

In August, 1898, an effort was made by the small party led by Mr. Drake to form an alliance with Labor, but the large majority of the party opposed it. Drake's party numbered five, but with one who had ratted from the Ministerialists and three who had been Labor men he thought it possible to end the career of the Continuous Government. Prior to the elections in 1899, an understanding was arrived at so that each would not fight the other, though each party maintained its independence. The work of the party had begun to tell on the minds of the people, and a splendid fight was put up.

The elections of March, 1899, returned 23 Labor members, as follows:—A. Fisher, Gympie; W. G. Higgs, Fortitude Valley; T. Glassey, Bundaberg; F. McDonnell, Fortitude Valley; T. Dibley, Woollongabba; G. Kerr, Barcoo; A. Dawson and J. Dunsford, Charters Towers; J. C. Stewart, Rockhampton North; C. B. Fitzgerald, Mitchell; W. Hamilton, Gregory; C. M. Jenkinson, Wide Bay; D. Bowman, Warrego; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; T. Givens, Cairns; V. J. B. Lesina, Clermont; G. Ryland, Gympie; D. T. Keogh, Rosewood; W. H. Browne, Croydon; G. Jackson, Kennedy; C. McDonald, Flinders; W. Kidston, Rockhampton; W. Maxwell, Burke. Bowman's seat was contested and declared void in October, 1899, but he won it at the election


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on December 16. In July Mr. Turley won South Brisbane in a by-election, and Mat Reid won Ennoggera in December of same year. This raised the strength of the party to twenty-five members in a House of 72.

In 1899 there were some important changes. Tom Glassey was deposed from the leadership of the Labor Party. For some time he had not given satisfaction. His egotism spoilt him, and he wanted to run things himself. Andy Dawson was elected in his place by eighteen to four. For some time there had been an undercurrent of intrigue going on with the view of putting the Government out and setting up a coalition, of which the Labor Party was to be a section. Some of Labor's bitterest opponents were willing to take office if Labor would join them. Quite a number of the Labor Party were willing to end the Continuous Government on these conditions, and it was a trying time for the Party.

Other sections of the House tried to force the situation, and it came to a climax on November 22, 1899. A bill for the appointment of a Railways Standing Committee was before the House, and had passed the second reading. Mr. O'Connell moved to make the bill extend to other public works, and his amendment was accepted by the Government. On division the motion was lost by 34 to 31. On the motion that the Chairman leave the chair, Mr. Dawson moved an amendment—“That the House proceed with the next order of the day,” and 32 voted for and 33 against the amendment. On the 23rd the Government simply adjourned the House until the following Tuesday, the 28th. On that date


  ― 289 ―
the Government announced that they refused to carry on with only one of a majority, and had therefore resigned office, and Mr. Dawson had been sent for.

Those who expected a coalition were disappointed. The firm stand made by a number of the members of the party in caucus soon put the genuineness of the professions of members outside the party to the test, as it was decided to form a purely Labor Ministry and chance the results. Mr. Dawson met the House on Friday, December 1, and announced that he had formed a Government as follows:—Premier and Chief Secretary, Mr. A. Dawson; Attorney-General, Mr. C. B. Fitzgerald; Home Secretary, Mr. H. Turley; Treasurer and P.M.G., Mr. W. Kidston; Secretary for Mines and Public Instruction, Mr. W. H. Browne; Secretary for Lands and Agriculture, Mr. H. F. Hardacre; Secretary for Railways and Public Works, Mr. A. Fisher.

Mr. Dawson asked for an adjournment until the following Tuesday, in accordance with the usual custom, but it was refused by 36 to 26. Messrs. Drake, Curtis, Thorne, and Plunkett were the only members outside the Labor Party who voted with the Government. Thus the first of Labor Ministries in the Parliaments of the world was forced promptly to resign. That the Party took a wise step in forming a straight-out Labor Cabinet was made clear, and the schemers who wanted to make a tool of the Party were shown up in their true colors. The Dickson Ministry was reconstructed, and Philp came in as Premier. Later, Andy Dawson was induced to withdraw from the leadership of the Party, and Mr. W. H. Browne was elected in his stead.




  ― 290 ―

In 1900 Tom Glassey went wrong. He had been taking up an unsatisfactory attitude for some time, and felt sore over the loss of the leadership. During the recess in June, 1900, he secretly made all arrangements for securing re-election, and suddenly resigned. The Party had no time to organize against him, and though they ran a good man against him the seat was lost to Labor, and Glassey was returned by the votes of the men he had fought for ten years, but who will take any traitor to their ranks so long as they can weaken the Labor cause.

The coming of Federation brought changes. Every State Parliament lost a number of its best men. After the election of the Commonwealth Parliament it was necessary to fill the places of those who had been sent there. The result of the 1901 elections was the return of the following Labor members:—P. Airey, Flinders; J. Dunsford and J. Burrows, Charters Towers; V. J. B. Lesina, Clermont; W. Maxwell, Burke; W. H. Browne, Croydon; T. Givens, Cairns; W. Hamilton, Gregory; G. Kerr, Barcoo; C. B. Fitzgerald, Mitchell; H. Turner, Rockhampton North; W. Kidston, Rockhampton; G. Ryland, Gympie; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; H. Turley, Brisbane South; D. Bowman, Warrego; G. P. Barber, Bundaberg; T. Dibley, Woollongabba; D. Mulcahy, Gympie; F. McDonnell, Fortitude Valley; M. Reid, Ennoggera.

A change came in 1903. The utter incapacity of Philp became so apparent that even the prejudice against Labor could not prevent the inevitable. Philp's deficits for the three years totalled £1,100,000. He had spent £3500 on fireworks and £1147 on medals


  ― 291 ―
at Commonwealth time. He had paid £6744 on four Royal Commissions, £75,000 on the purchase of a block of land from a financial institution in Brisbane, £180,000 for worthless dredges, and £78,264 on tank engines which were a failure. £53,000 had been spent on immigration, and over £11,000 had gone to his friend Rutledge and others in legal expenses of various kinds. The House met for the second session on July 21, 1903.

Next day Mr. Browne, the leader of the Labor Party, moved a vote of want of confidence. This was defeated by 38 to 30. On August 5 following, Mr. Blair moved an amendment in Ways and Means. This was lost on August 25 by 34 to 30. On September 8 a series of amended resolutions on Ways and Means were only carried by 33 to 31. The Government resigned next day, and Mr. Browne was sent for. After careful consideration the party agreed to join in a coalition, and Mr. Morgan (then occupying the Chair as Speaker) was approached, and he agreed to resign the Speakership and form a Government. He took office on September 17, 1903, with Browne as Minister of Mines and Kidston as Treasurer. Thus the life of the Continuous Government ended—it was hoped for ever.

The Party lost a good man by the death of the Hon. W. H. Browne on April 12, 1904. His life as a miner had undermined his constitution. Peter Airey, who had taken his place as leader, was then taken into the Ministry, and Geo. Kerr was chosen as leader of the party. Very good work was done by the coalition. The Labor Treasurer soon made a


  ― 292 ―
change in the finances, and for the first time Queensland came out with a surplus instead of a deficit. W. S. Murphy took Mr. Browne's seat for Croydon.

A vote of want of confidence was moved by Mr. Cribb on June 7, 1904. The voting took place on the 22nd, and resulted 35 for and 36 against. The Government won by one vote. Six members had ratted, so with a view to securing a dissolution of Parliament, Morgan resigned. At a caucus of the Philp party that gentleman gave up the leadership to Sir Arthur Rutledge, who tried to form a Ministry. The House adjourned from day to day, and at last, on July 7, Rutledge returned his commission. On the 12th the Governor granted a dissolution, and the coalition appealed to the country against the Philp-Rutledge party. The result was a sweeping condemnation of the Philpites, and Labor came very nearly winning a majority of the seats without trying to oust any of its political allies.

The election of the fifteenth Parliament, on August 27, 1904, found the following 35 Labor members amongst the winners:—G. Jackson, Kennedy; P. Airey, Flinders; D. Bowman and F. McDonnell, Fortitude Valley; J. H. Dunsford and J. Burrows, Charters Towers; H. Cowan, Fitzroy; T. Dibley, Woollongabba; K. M. Grant, Rockhampton; W. Hamilton, Gregory; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; A. J. Jones, Burnett; F. Kenna, Bowen; G. Kerr, Barcoo; W. Kidston, Rockhampton; E. M. Land, Balonne; V. B. J. Lesina, Clermont; J. Mann, Cairns; G. Martin, Burrum; W. J. R. Maughan, Ipswich; W. Maxwell, Burke; W. Mitchell, Maryborough;


  ― 293 ―
D. Mulcahy, Gympie; W. S. Murphy, Croydon; C. F. Neilson, Musgrove; J. Norman, Maryborough; J. O'Brien, Aubigny; C. H. W. Reinhold, Brisbane South; G. Ryland, Gympie; E. Smart, Drayton and Toowomba; H. Turner, Rockhampton North; M. J. R. Woods, Woothakata; T. M. Scott, Murilla; G. P. Barber, Bundaberg; A. J. W. Fudge, Mackay.

Mr. G. Martin died on May 14, 1905, and Mr. J. H. Dunsford on September 15, 1905. These two seats were lost to Labor.

Some very good work was done by the coalition. Important amendments were made in the Electoral Act by a special session held in January, 1905. On January 19, 1906, Premier Morgan resigned and took the position of President of the Legislative Council. Mr. Kidston became Premier. No man ever had such a chance as Kidston to do great work for the masses and the general good of his State. His handling of the finances had given him a name and a position. It was hoped that his old connection with and membership in trade unions would have kept him loyal; but, alas for human frailty, his lack of judgment soon appeared. He got swelled head, and thought he knew more than the combined intelligence of organized Labor. He chafed at the democratic methods of Labor, and desired to run things according to his own sweet will.

Kidston succeeded in splitting the Party. He made an excuse of the adoption of a new objective by the organizations to issue a statement which was signed by Kidston and about a dozen others. A convention was held in March, at which the whole


  ― 294 ―
position was discussed, and the independence of the Party asserted. Members had to choose between the straight Labor Party, nominated by duly recognised organizations and elected on the platform of the united bodies, and Mr. Kidston, who had deserted the party and was trying to run his party on the lines of the old politicians. Every chance was given to the “Statement” Party, as they were termed—all of whom were believers in coalition—to put their case, but the big majority was against them. The opinions of leagues and unions were obtained, and Bowman was chosen leader, and fourteen members of the Party stood by the Convention decision.

The elections were held in May, and the result to Labor was as follows:—J. Adamson, Maryborough; G. Barber, Warrego; G. P. Barber, Bundaberg; D. Bowman, Fortitude Valley; W. Hamilton, Gregory; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; J. M. Hunter, Maranoa; A. J. Jones, Burnett; E. M. Land, Balonne; W. Lennon, Herbert; V. B. J. Lesina, Clermont; W. J. R. Maughan, Ipswich; J. May, Flinders; W. Mitchell, Maryborough; D. Mulcahy, Gympie; T. Nevitt, Carpentaria; J. Payne, Mitchell; G. Ryland, Gympie. This made eighteen, but Mr. G. Barber being unseated for the Warrego on petition, the number of the solid Party totalled seventeen. Twelve were members of the old party, only two having been defeated. Of the “Statement” Party twelve disappeared. Five did not run, and seven were rejected, viz., Messrs. Airey, Norman, Scott, Neilson, Murphy, Mann, and Dibley. The parties stood: Opposition 29, Ministerialists 24, Labor 18, Independent 1.




  ― 295 ―

On July 3, 1907, Mr. P. Airey took a seat in the Council, at the same time holding a seat in the Ministry without portfolio. Mr. Geo. Kerr was taken into the Ministry. When the House met on July 23, 1907, there was trouble over the election of Speaker. Under the Electoral Act persons could vote by post, but this had been found so bad and dangerous a method that an attempt was made to amend the Act. The Upper House, true to its instincts, refused to pass such an amendment. Its attitude on this and other proposals caused Mr. Kidston to ask the Governor, Baron Chelmsford, to allow additions to be made to the Council by nominating sufficient members to carry out democratic legislation. His Excellency refused.

On November 12, 1907, Premier Kidston announced that he had resigned owing to the obstructive tactics of the Council. The Governor sent for Philp, who announced his list of Ministers on the 19th. Mr. Kidston moved—“That the Chairman leave the chair and report no progress,” and this was carried by 37 to 29, proving clearly that Mr. Philp had no majority and could not carry on, and had no grounds at first for assuring his Excellency that he could. Next day Philp informed the House that his Excellency had granted a dissolution. A motion for the adjournment of the House was rejected by 37 to 26, and supply was refused. On the 22nd, on the motion for supply, Mr. Kidston moved a lengthy amendment, setting out the position in a statement to the Governor. This assured him that Kidston could carry on the business of the


  ― 296 ―
country, and was carried by 37 to 27, showing a majority of 10.

In spite of this, the Governor refused to recognise the will of Parliament, and allowed Philp to remain in power, and sent the Parliament to the country. His Excellency not only stood by the conservative Council in its obstruction and ignored the majority in the Assembly, but actually aided Philp in spending the people's money without the authority of Parliament. Over half a million was paid away in this fashion by warrant of the King's representative. Other illegal and unconstitutional doings were condoned and winked at which were a disgrace to any Government.

In order to vote by post it was necessary to sign the ballot paper before a Justice of the Peace as witness. Philp appointed about 400 carefully selected men upon whom he could rely as justices just prior to the election. It was said that the position proved to be worth four guineas per day when the election came on. Labor had scarcely a friend among the justices, and hence was at tremendous disadvantage. The Philpite justice drove around, and hundreds of votes were influenced wrongly by pressure of various kinds. Mine-owners threatened to discharge men who voted against Philp, and thus miners' wives were terrorised into voting against their own political interests and desires. The threats were not idle, as was soon proved at Charters Towers and other places, where men were discharged because they voted for Labor or were active workers for a Labor candidate. This election was a severe trial of the unity of Labor.




  ― 297 ―

When the dissolution came the fight was on a Constitutional point, and hence Labor had no choice but to help Kidston in his stand against the Council and the action of the Governor. It became a Kidston-Labor fight against Philp and the old gang of the boodle party. In order to make it hard for working men to get to the poll, Philp fixed the election day for Wednesday, February 5, 1908. The result, however, proved a victory for constitutional methods, and a direct slap in the face for the Governor. Labor secured twenty-two seats as follows:—E. M. Land, Balonne; J. Huxham, Brisbane South; G. P. Barber, Bundaberg; A. J. Jones, Burnett; W. Hamilton, Gregory; G. Ryland and D. Mulcahy, Gympie; W. Lennon, Herbert; T. Nevitt, Carpentaria; V. Winstanley and J. Mullan, Charters Towers; V. B. J. Lesina, Clermont; H. F. Hardacre, Leichhardt; D. Hunter, Woollongabba; W. Mitchell and J. Adamson, Maryborough; J. Payne, Mitchell; J. H. Coyne, Warrego; J. May, Flinders; D. Bowman and P. A. McLachlan, Fortitude Valley; W. J. R. Maughan, Ipswich. Labor did not lose any of the old members, and gained five new seats. Five of the party were unopposed. Kidston lost two and Philp ten.

On February 18 Philp resigned and Kidston again took office. The House met on March 3, when trouble arose for a second time over the election of Speaker, each of the three parties acting independently. Measures previously rejected by the Council, such as Abolition of the Postal Vote and a Wages Board Bill, were sent up and passed in a short session, after which Mr. Kidston took a trip


  ― 298 ―
to England. Before he left he had paved the way for joining the party he had so strongly denounced a month or two previously. He had cunningly screened Philp by working through hidden in the Estimates the large sum wrongfully paid by Philp and the Governor. He had stated that part of his mission to England was to see the authorities and have Baron Chelmsford recalled. Nothing further was heard of it, and immediately upon his return in October, 1908, he formed an alliance with Philp, and his downward career as a self-seeking opportunist has at last landed him amongst the old party which disgraced political life in Queensland for years, and against which democracy has had to fight its way under every disadvantage.

With splendid opportunities for doing good work for the people, Kidston has turned traitor to all the principles he at one time so ably advocated. He has become one with the boodle gang of land grabbers and railway syndicators, and Labor has become justified in its refusal to be dragged down with him. It has a straight path before it, and no longer can the electors be fooled by supporting the “as-good-as-Labor” candidate. The outlook is good, as is indicated by the capture of Bulloo by Labor candidate B. S. F. Allen at the by-election of March 27, 1909. The next fight will not be three-cornered, but will be straight out between Labor and anti-Labor—between democracy and conservatism—between those who consider the well-being of the whole against those who act only in the interests of capitalism. Democracy will win.




  ― 299 ―

In the Queensland nominee Upper House, Labor has two representatives—Messrs. Albert Hinchcliffe and C. S. McGhie—who were called on May 5, 1904.

It is not easy to enumerate the work done by the Labor Party in Queensland. The good done has been rather in what they have prevented the capitalistic gang from doing. Prior to the 1907 elections “The Worker” published the following:—

“A Chapter of Boodlewraith.

“WHEN PHILP WAS KING.

“In 1900, when the Philp Government was in power, a number of syndicate railway proposals were brought before Parliament. The Labor Party at that time had reason to believe that certain agents of the syndicators were exercising corrupt influences on Parliament. It became known that more than one needy Parliamentarian suddenly became flush of funds, and the jest of the Assembly went round, ‘Oh, a rich aunt died and left them money.’

“Acting in the belief that there was some cronk work going on in connection with the private syndicate lines, the Labor Party put up a stonewall in the Assembly against the proposals. Philp and his gang, to force the proposals through Parliament, introduced the notorious gag and guillotine rules of procedure.




  ― 300 ―

“These, having been passed by a brutal majority, were at once acted upon, and a number of Labor members having been suspended from the sittings, the syndicators got every concession they required but one, the Normanton-Cloncurry Syndicate Railway.

“In connection with this latter, Harry Daniels supplied the Labor Party with startling evidence, and Kidston put forward a charge that a written offer of money and shares had been made to a certain person possessing influence, as a bribe to induce that person to use such influence in promoting the passing by the Assembly of a bill to authorise the construction and maintenance of the Normanton-Cloncurry Syndicate Railway. The matter was referred to the investigation of his Honor Judge Mansfield, and the following letter was tendered as evidence:—

“‘Beenleigh, Queensland,

“‘November 6, 1899.

“‘Dear Mr. Daniels,

“‘The syndicate I mentioned the other day has now been formed for taking up some copper lodes at Cloncurry in view of the passing of a bill for a railway to that place.

“‘I have arranged for a share for you. The payment is £125 each—that I pay, and should the bill become law, each share receives in cash £125, and 650 fully paid-up shares.

“‘I have no doubt that these shares will be worth over £2 each when the company is formed.




  ― 301 ―

“‘You can see some of the ore now at the Deposit Bank, in Adelaide-street. Any day you are in town I will show it to you.

“‘Yours very truly,

“‘HENRY WITHERS.’

“‘Queensland Club.’

“After fully going into the matter the concluding paragraph of the Judge's report reads:

“‘In my opinion this offer to Daniels was made as a bribe to induce him to abstain from stone-walling himself, and to use his influence to prevent others doing so—that is to say, to induce Daniels, from a hope of pecuniary gain, and not from conviction, to act in such a way as to make the passing of the Railway Bill more probable.

“E. MANSFIELD.

“‘Brisbane, December 11, 1890.’

“Both the Philp and Kidston parties are now in favor of syndicate railways. Electors who realise the corrupting influences of this unholy form of alliance between the State and Capitalism should vote straight for the endorsed Labor candidates on the 18th.”

Labor got into Parliament just in time to prevent one of the biggest land steals ever attempted in any country. Early in 1893 a syndicate put forward a proposal of a very “taking” kind in more senses


  ― 302 ―
than one. Eleven lines of railway were being surveyed as follows:—

                         
Miles. 
Charleville to Cunnamulla .. ..  125 
Charleville to Thargominda .. ..  205 
Charleville to Western Boundary ..  500 
Longreach to Western Boundary ..  420 
Longreach to Winton .. .. ..  110 
Winton to Hughenden .. .. ..  140 
Hughenden to Western Boundary ..  415 
Normanton to Cloncurry .. .. ..  250 
Granite Creek to Georgetown .. ..  185 
Georgetown to Croydon .. .. ..  84 
Gayndah to Degilbo .. .. .. ..  40 
Total .. .. .. .. .. ..  2474 

These were to be constructed under the Railway Construction (Land Subsidy) Act of 1892. The conditions briefly were: 1. The railways to remain the property of the syndicate for fifty years, then to become the property of the Government. 2. They may become the property of the Government immediately they are constructed without any purchase except that which has already been made by land grants. 3. They may remain the property of the syndicate for any period up to ten years, when in addition to grants of land, the colony must pay for them. If constructed under number one the amount of land may equal in value but not exceed twice the cost of construction; if under condition number two an amount equalling once the cost of


  ― 303 ―
construction; if under number three once the cost of construction, and at the end of ten years or later, but not previously, a further payment at their value in solid cash.

To show what this meant let us take condition number one which is the most likely to have been agreed upon. The railways in existence had cost on an average £6917 per mile. Averaging these lines at £5000 per mile for 2500 miles, and valuing the land at the rate Mr. McIlwraith had put on it, the grab would have totalled 312,000 square miles, or 200,000,000 acres. Practically this meant securing possession in freehold of about one-half the unalienated lands of the colony, and as the proposed lines were all in good country, with very little waste of ranges, etc., to be taken out, it really meant securing possession of the whole.

The railways already constructed had cost over £16,000,000, and the projected lines were so designed as to take away the trade and divert it to the syndicate lines. The exposure by a gridiron map in “The Worker” and the active propaganda of the Labor members killed the scheme, but had they not been in Parliament there is not the slightest doubt that the scheme would have passed. The country through which the lines were to pass was all held by the squatters and banking companies, and it was intended of course to take this underhand method to secure a freehold title.

Other instances might be quoted if needed to prove how much the State owes to the Labor Party. They had also undoubted influence upon legislation.


  ― 304 ―
But for their efforts the masses would still have been denied voting power. Adult suffrage, factory acts, early closing, a weekly half-holiday, workers' compensation, shearers' hut accommodation, abolition of black labor, and many other reforms are due to their advocacy. Though in a minority they became watch dogs of the administration, and put a stop to much of the favoritism constantly practised before. Queensland will some day realise how much she owes to these pioneers of the path of honest government.

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