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protracted a discussion to be wondered at. The end came in April 1910, when the electors put into office, with a safe majority in both Houses, the Labour Ministry headed by Mr Fisher.
During the next three years--the second stage of Federal activities—the essential solutions were found. The Parliament of 1910–13 settled, under Labour guidance, schemes of naval and military defence and adjustments of Federal with State finance; it passed a long-delayed Navigation Act, established a Commonwealth Bank and an Australian Notes issue, began the building of the trans-continental railway and the Federal capital, took over the Northern Territory, created the Inter-State Commission, imposed a Land Tax designed to encourage closer settlement, and did its best to enlarge and strengthen Federal control over industrial affairs. By the end of its term it had practically exhausted its mandate, and a period of slack legislation was inevitable; the Parliament of 1913–14 spent itself in futile quarrels. And on this cat-fight (for it was little better) broke the thunder of the war.
The war is the third stage. The conflict itself it would not be pertinent to discuss here; but its concomitant events and its local results must be the main theme of this article. Ten years ago the debates and contentions of the first stage, the doctrines and the personal influences that dominated them, the solutions proposed and in part) those accepted were described with some particularity in the pages of this Review (Q.R., October 1911). Of the second stage all has just been said that need be said; it was a period of great achievements, but it is accounted for by the preceding ten years, and requires no further explanation. Any attempt, however, to explain the Australian situation to-day in terms of 1901-10 would be useless and extremely misleading. The Labour party of Mr T. J. Ryan and Mr Theodore resembles that led by Mr Fisher very much as Mr De Valera resembles Mr Isaac Butt. The National' Government in power to-day cannot be discussed in any terms that would have fitted a pre-war Government. No chain of events considered possible in, say, 1914, could have brought Sir Joseph Cook, Sir Granville Ryrie, and Mr Millen into the same Cabinet as Messrs Pearce, Poynton,
and Wise, or under the leadership of Mr W. M. Hughes. Two things only, in the welter of transformations and reconstructions, have remained unshaken and of undiminished importance-the supreme Australian virtue of comradeship, and the White Australia'creed.
We shall, then, be considering three phenomena in the main. Because it is the key to current Australian politics, we must explain the existence and nature of the new Labour party. Because on them may well depend the coherence of the Empire in a future war, we must take note of the resources and defensive power of the Commonwealth. And because that future war may easily arise from misconceptions about the Australian creed, and may be averted by a clear understanding of it, we must reach, without polite evasions or diplomatic periphrases, a clear definition of White Australia' as Australians in the mass idealise it. This triple discussion will necessitate some repetitions ; we must, for instance, review Commonwealth history from a fresh standpoint in order to explain the metamorphosis of Labour; but Commonwealth history, after all, is just as three-dimensional as any other solid fact of existence.
For the first ten years of its life the Commonwealth wrestled with a problem that all British communities must face sooner or later. For in all British communities lurks the innate desire to meet every question with a plain Yes' or 'No'; wherefore their whole legislative and administrative system is based on the assumption that for every important political measure public opinion will range itself under either the 'Yes' or the No' banner. The so-called two-party' system is almost essential to the efficiency of parliamentary institutions on the British model. Unfortunately public opinion rarely crystallises in this form. Certain definitely-marked problems may produce it; the fiscal problem, for instance, or that of self-government for Ireland, when presented in their old pre-war shapes. But in general there are at least three parties among the people of a British State. One section is terrified by the future; another has been embittered by the past; in these, which are the extremes, intelligence is definitely subordinated to emotion. Between them lies a great but not well-organised mass of moderates-people who favour progress so long as it is not too rapid, who feel safe with the brake on, if it is not on too hard; who distrust both the extreme sections, but can on occasion be attracted towards one or the other by a spasm of emotion according as their fears or their hopes happen at the moment to prevail. This tripartite division, while it certainly exists in Britain, is there to a great extent concealed by the counter-influence of old-established tradition; in Australia, where tradition is non-existent, it is unmistakable.
By 1910 the Commonwealth had, temporarily at any rate, mastered the problem of running two-party machinery with three-party power. Its central mass had at first split up into three subdivisions—the more timid joining (for political purposes) the reactionaries, the more optimistic mastering and using the runaway extremists, and a small nucleus under Mr Deakin attempting to carry on independently. The fate of this nucleus was narrated in the article mentioned above; it, too, split in half, and a two-party system was apparently established under the misleading titles of Liberal' and Labour.' But these two parties were both coalitions of the most insecure type, and nothing but their superimposed mechanism kept them together. Australian, normally guided by a thoroughly English empirical common sense, frequently modifies its results with a logical ingenuity that is almost French; he borrowed the political machine' from the United States, and used it to concentrate the efforts of his unstable coalitions on such immediate aims as their constituent discordancies could for the moment accept. So, in 1911, Labour in office, with all its machinery well under the control of its moderate section (headed by Messrs Fisher and Hughes), concentrated on passing certain progressive legislation which satisfied the mass of moderates of both parties, and at least appeased the advanced extremists; while the Liberal coalition, whose machine was not yet properly organised, wasted itself in futile opposition and internal quarrels.
The inevitable danger, however, of political machinery is that the man in control of the actual engine dominates the whole situation, though he is rarely the responsible
political leader. And Labour in each State was handicapped by a double set of machinery; the parliamentary caucus, practically unchanging during the life of a Parliament, and guided by a set of resolutions (known as the fighting platform') passed at a triennial conference of Labour delegates; and the annual Conference of Trade Unions, with its annually elected executive, which was always inclined to tamper with the fighting platform,' and eager to impose on Labour members of Parliament fresh instructions inconsistent with their election pledges. The responsible parliamentary leaders could control the caucus, but were every year less and less in touch with the Conference and its executive; and year by year, between elections, the moderate and therefore less active majority of the Labour mass tended to regard public affairs with indifference, while the alert, embittered extremist minority drew more and more power into its own hands. The situation had been foreseen; so far back as 1909 several of the moderate leaders had contemplated a crisis in which the extremists would seize their machine, and they would be forced (but not very unwillingly) to take refuge with the independent Deakinite nucleus. It may be, indeed, that this was the chief damage done by Mr Deakin's "fusion' with Mr Cook in 1999, that it left moderate Labour no friendly harbour of political refuge; the harbour sought when in 1916 the crisis actually came had, one might almost say, to be stormed first; and sojourn in it has been persistently embarrassing for Mr Hughes and his followers.
What happened was this. The Fisher Ministry of 1910-13 was unexpectedly dismissed from office by a single vote in the latter year, because the farming constituencies—which in 1910 had supported Labour to get the land-tax and the consequent opening of fertile lands for settlement—took alarm at a suggestion, made by irresponsibles, that rural industries should be governed by the arbitration system and the eight-hours' day. Though the Liberal (Cook) Ministry that followed managed, in its single year's administration, to alienate the electors completely, yet the defeat of 1913 weakened the position of moderate Labour with the Unions, and gave the intriguing extremists a chance to strengthen their position in the party outside Parliament. The
elections of September 1914 restored Labour to power; but by that time the war was on us, and all local disputes were promptly relegated to the background by Mr Fisher and his successor, Mr Hughes. The latter, as soon as he took office, abandoned for the time (as less important than unanimity of parties during the war) certain proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution which would have given more power to the Commonwealth and less to the comparatively undemocratic State legislatures. From that moment he was suspect of the Unions ; for their advisers, now including many extremists and inspired with that fanatic parochialism which minor office in a small community frequently engenders, looked on him as a renegade who had sacrificed Union interests to a 'foreign and Imperialistic' war. The best blood of the Unions, it must be remembered, was already being shed at Gallipoli; the small committees that controlled Union action were being replenished from young bachelors of the slacker' type and from the alien element, hitherto enforcedly quiet, that hated England even more than it loved internationalism. When the need of reinforcements brought conscription into the sphere of practical politics, these vindictive intriguers saw and used their opportunity. Mr Hughes unfortunately gave them six months' start by attacking them openly just before he left for England in 1916; he returned in August to find the Labour machine quite out of hand; and the subsequent failure of his conscription proposals (due to that among many other causes) ended in the permanent expulsion from the official Labour party of practically all its moderate elements.
This coup d'état, we must understand, was not merely an attempt to accentuate Labour's programme. The extremists, into whose hands the direction of Labour policy now fell, were not merely advanced socialists ; they were also anti-British and anti-war propagandists. Their affiliations were with the Industrial Workers of the World—an American society which all born Americans despise as dago'—the Direct Actionists, , the Bolsheviki (with whom they openly sympathised on several occasions); and under their auspices Labour received a considerable infusion of the pure Sinn Fein element. Official’Labour, while not forgetting to boast