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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. The 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 1909, 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.
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
of the party's very large contribution to the Australian army, became the home of all the pacificists and shoddy cosmopolitans in the Commonwealth, and still shelters them, despite certain slight modifications of attitude forced on it by the desire to reabsorb returned soldiers. Where it is in office, the war is officially tabu; war trophies are refused or neglected, war services disregarded or even held to be disqualifications; the fact that there was a war is something to be forgotten or at any rate left unmentioned. Not all the Labour leaders, of course, are aliens or Bolshevists. The great expulsion spared a few of the older and more thoughtful; and Labour's useful instinct for putting its most acceptable representatives into its most prominent positions still does it good service. Mr Tudor remains its leader in the Federal Parliament, Mr Storey heads the New South Wales Ministry. Against such men no reasonable critic has any grave charges to make. But, as in the case with Labour in Great Britain, the leaders are too often led.
In putting forward adverse criticism of a big political party, it is essential to check personal judgments by others that may be less liable to bias. Alongside the estimate just given of the personnel of Labour's new directorate may therefore be set that of the Sydney 'Bulletin,' a journal which no one will suspect of violent conservatism:
'With the new control a new sort arrived, naturally, to fill up the Labour ranks. All manner of wild-eyed, wild-haired revolutionaries came in. The useless, unproductive nonlabouring "pony" element arrived. So did the baser sort of drink-selling interest. So did a new sectarian force. And with that force a surprising number of men who have become rich without doing anything hard or useful men who no doubt argue that it is safer for a rich man to be inside than out, for then he can help to so arrange matters that laws for the destruction of capital shall pass by his kind of capital. . . . Naturally these men have low ethical standards; so that, whenever any dubious job is suggested, it is almost taken for granted that a New Labourite invented it; and that is about the last thing that would have been suspected of Old Labour, which was the most transparently
*I.e. the lower type of racecourse hanger-on, always prominent at pony race-meetings.
honest and sincere body that the world has seen since the days of the Apostles.'
There is, by the by, no need to assume the existence of any pro-German propaganda in this connexion. In actual fact Australia seems to have been exceptionally free from enemy intrigue. The transformation of the Labour party from one dominated by love for Australia to one obsessed by hatred for Britain is sufficiently accounted for without dragging in Germans; the alien strain was rather American-Irish, strengthened by an influx of fugitives from nearly every country to the one refuge where conscription could not touch them.
The Labour disruption of course necessitated a complete reorganisation of Federal parties. For three months (including the Christmas holidays) Mr Hughes held on with a Ministry chosen from the expelled section of Labour. But in February 1917, seeing that the chasm was impassable and that without a machine of any sort he must inevitably lose the coming elections, he effected a coalition with the old 'Liberal' party and formed a 'National War Government' in which he as Prime Minister had only four colleagues of his own way of thinking, while Mr Cook had five. The Prime Minister's section, however, was united, while Mr Cook's included three former Deakinites, a personal rival (Lord Forrest) and a detached philosopher (Mr Glynn); so that the Government suffered less from internal troubles than might have been expected. After the second Conscription Referendum this Ministry was enlarged by taking in another supporter of Mr Cook and the only prominent Deakinite who had not followed his leader into the fusion of 1909. By this time, however, Mr Hughes' marked superiority to all his colleagues had produced its effect, and both in Parliament and in the country he was the only man who counted. Probably he was (and is) as much detested by many of his supporters as by most of his opponents; and persistent efforts have been made ever since to replace him, sometimes with Mr Watt (who flatly refused to countenance them), sometimes with an 'unknown' who was never selected; but his own genius and the utter lack of anything like genius among other members of Parliament have so far made him indispensable.