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for the new leaders did not lack brains-what they lacked was experience, and the resulting foresight, and their superabundant emotionalism did not compensate for it. But it was a strange new spirit usurping and misusing the old machinery; and no criticism or appreciation of Australian Labour that dates from before 1916 can be applied to the body now using that name.
The moral is trite enough, and concerns the tyrannical possibilities of machines. Representative systems in modern times must have certain machinery; without it the average citizen would be hopelessly at sea in elections ; and the more inclined the citizens are to use their individual judgment, the more necessary is machinery that will supply materials on which it may be used. But, for that very reason, control of the machinery must be effective and continuous, and must at no momenthowever seemingly unimportant–be left to ill-informed or unbalanced engineers. In Australia, moreover, special conditions made dependence on mere mechanism exceptionally dangerous; for the national virtue of comradeship lays stress on men more than on measures, and bases the Australian's attitude towards a policy rather on his opinion of the politician than on his views about the proposal. While Mr Hughes was in constant personal contact with the Unions, he was all-powerful, and much was done at his bidding that might not have been done on the average Unionist's judgment of its merits. Even when work in the Federal Parliament, and subsequently the duties of a Minister and the heavy burden of a Premier's responsibility, almost completely severed the personal contact, belief in 'Billy' still worked wonders. But the thread was wearing very thin. It seems probable that Mr Hughes' prolonged absence on his first London visit, emphasised by stupid cable messages about his reception in aristocratic circles in England, snapped it at last. A 'Billy' they never saw, who took tea with Duchesses and received compliments from Lords, was no longer the mate they had followed; they turned for advice to the men closer at hand, the Union secretaries and organisers who were more or less part of their daily life; and the advocacy of any measure by the man they had half-forgotten, and who (so they were told) had more than half-forgotten them, became as convincing
an argument against the measure as, a year earlier, it would have been a recommendation. And if any superior person is moved to pity or despise men who could base their political opinions on considerations so insufficient (not to say irrelevant), let him bethink him how many millions accept their opinions from anonymous writers in journals directed by unknown forces and swayed by subterranean influences.
There is a further moral, hardly less trite. The machine in power demands submissive subordinates-i.e. men of identical or of negligible opinions. And the majority will be in the latter class. We may with reasonable security take the word of a Labour exSenator (one who was not expelled) as published in a Labour journal of some note—the Sydney Worker.'
• After describing the 'solidarity' pledge and the choice of a ticket' to fill all offices in the important Labour organisations, Mr Arthur Rae goes on :
They discussed the Conference business paper, and whatever they decided to support or oppose every delegate in the
section was pledged to vote solidly on in Conference, no matter what new facts or arguments might be adduced. The
section ", also had a rule that its members must vote in "threes”-that is, that each member must after voting show his ballot-paper to two others.'
The Liberal machine, tyrannical enough at times, never attained this degree of stringency; nor, for that matter, does every Labour body exact such absolute obedience as the Industrial Section for securing Labour solidarity with which Mr Rae was dealing. But in one form or another the demand for blind obedience has been put forward ; and as a result the quality of candidates on both sides has steadily declined from 1913 onwards. One Liberal member of great promise, who had been forced upon the unwilling machine by an independent constituency, deliberately refused re-election because of the company into which it would throw him. No others of a promising type have appeared. Labour (the new Labour, that is has recruited from the State Parliament of Queensland one man with a certain power of leadership-but, as his successor in the Queensland premiership has discovered, with a still greater power of Vol. 236.No. 468,
discerning when to get out from under' in a crisis. Barring Mr Ryan, the only parliamentary figures separately visible in 1920 are men of 1910-Mr Hughes, Mr Pearce, Mr Wise (sole survivor of the old Deakinites), occasionally Mr Millen, and Mr Anstey. The war years merely brought to light the inadequacy of the new blood, which had no background to its mind, and, on whichever side of the House it sat, contributed little but froth to the debates. One thing alone seems to stand between Australia and the rule (when the men of 1910 have gone) of sheer unintelligent parochialism-a contingent of good soldiers just returned to the Senate, who may be stimulated by the futility of their present surroundings to master the party machines as they mastered German designs, and may thus plant themselves later in the House of Representatives as a rallying-point for the friends of sober and sensible administration.
From at least one point of view it was fortunate that the expulsions came when they did. The pretensions of the annual Conferences grew, as we have seen, steadily from 1913 onwards, and by 1916 had reached a critical point. Each year Conference critics attacked the various Labour Ministries, as was to be expected; and some of the Ministries were weak enough to fear the attacks. In 1916 the Premier of New South Wales, Mr W. A. Holman, actually proffered his resignation, not to the Governor as a result of Conference attacks, but to the Conference itself-apparently acknowledging it the body to which he as Premier was responsible. The difficulties in this particular case were eventually smoothed over, and the resignation was withdrawn; but the Conference had tasted blood, and its successors (as Mr Storey can testify) were quite ready to assume the position thrown open to them. But for the split over Conscription, Australia might have found her representative system of government surreptitiously replaced by an adaptation of the Soviet system. As it is, power passed from the hands of those who were illegitimately grasping at it; the Ministers they hoped to dominate preferred expulsion and sought new, if somewhat uncomfortable, allies; in the general turmoil Australia discovered that class-consciousness,' and 'One Big
• Union,' and the whole rubbish-basket of such phrases
really concealed a definite and a very dangerous idea. Then the common sense that lies at the back of most Australian minds, and has saved many a situation in both war and politics, resumed control. The Australian Workers' Union, the most powerful in the Commonwealth, scathingly denounced the One Big Union; the electors, first in New South Wales and then in the Commonwealth at large, backed with big majorities the ex-Labour Ministries; and the definitive verdict was perhaps pronounced when, as a result of the two Federal elections of 1917 and 1920, the new Labour found itself represented in the Senate by one member out of 36. For Australia in its senses is above all things anti-extremist, and repudiates the Bolshevist (when it discovers him) as energetically as it ejects the reactionary.
This does not, of course, mean that peace and harmony between opposing political or industrial factions is within sight, or likely to appear in any reasonably near future. Occasionally, as was said earlier in these pages, the Australian evinces an almost French taste for logic. More often he harks back to his British ancestry, and, having established a principle in some big affair, proceeds to deal with smaller matters quite irrespective of that or any other principle. Sincere advocates of industrial arbitration may for all that favour a strike when it seems the shorter way home. • Direct Action,' anathema as a principle, may take the disguise of virtue as an expedient. Illegality is certainly an objection to be taken into account, but a minor objection. For in this the Australian is neither French nor British, but purely himself—that he has no worship for law as such. The Englishman, born into a long-settled country, whose government in all its branches is packed with precedents, is essentially law-abiding. If he chooses to disobey the law, he feels that he is in revolt, doing something exceptional and daring, even heroic. When he hears that other men of his own race are disregarding laws they themselves have made, he feels that they are revolting ; he classes them as unreliable, dangerous, 'un-British.' But the Australian was born into, and has been brought up in, a country of quite another sort. He is still dealing with the raw material, not the finished article. His country is not fenced in; if there is a tree across the
road, he drives round it, making a new track through the bush, without any anxiety about trespassing. Similarly he has little sense of tradition. He has not yet learnt to care much for past history, or to understand from what deep-reaching roots his latest flowers draw their sap. A law for him is not the temporary culmination of an age-long process, but rather an experimental summary of ephemerally existing conditions. He made it for practical use, and is in no way loth to scrap it if it does not fit exactly to that use, or to throw it aside for the time while he tries another instrument.
This attitude, of course, creates its own risks. It was not because representative government was in danger that sober Labour men repudiated the authority of the Conference, or the Workers' Union rejected the One Big Union.' Parliament is not so excellent an instrument of government that any Australian would uphold it for its own sweet sake. Any substitute that offered greater advantages would be tried without much hesitation. But neither the narrow cliques that controlled the Conference nor the ambitious and swollen-headed officials who hoped to control the One Big Union appealed to the average citizen as an improvement, and for that reason--a little reluctantly, because he would have welcomed a change-he decided against them, Similarly, when the legal mechanism of industrial arbitration failed to act promptly in a crisis-partly because technical difficulties connected with the Federal Constitution were urged against it by the High Court, under the influence of an able but very conservative Chief Justice-it was not only the aggrieved workmen who evaded the law and sought relief in striking; the Prime Minister himself, an ardent champion of arbitration, devised extra-legal means of getting work resumed, and invaded the sphere of the Arbitration Court by appointing Commissions to investigate miners' and seamen's grievances and to discover the true .basic wage' in these days of rising prices and lowered currency values.
While, therefore, the Labour discontents and Bolshevist* propaganda and the vague undirected surges
Bolshevist' is used as a convenient nickname for the desire of halfeducated or fanatical extremists to replace what they believe to be a capitalist' tyranny by an indisputable tyranny of the proletariat.