The True Story of the
AND AN APPEAL TO THE ELECTORS OF BRIGHTON
THE HONORABLE THE PREMIER, IAN MACFARLAN,
The True Story
To understand the events that led up to the displacement of the Dunstan Government, it is necessary to go back to the time, two years ago, when it became evident that Labor intended to withdraw its support from Mr. Dunstan after having kept him in office for eight years.
As soon as Labor decided on the break, it was apparent that some fresh Party alignment would have to be made.
Mr. Hollway and myself agreed that the time was opportune for the Party to be represented in the Government of the day, so that it could prove to the people that it was capable of doing things and as a basis for the future building up of the Party.
It was obvious at that time to all who had given the matter any consideration that the Party was going down-hill at the gallop and that some move would have to be made if it were to survive.
After further discussions with Mr. Hollway, we approached Mr. Cain (Labor Leader), with a proposition in writing, which we both signed and which can be produced if necessary. Nothing came of that proposal, and I only mention it to show that at that stage Mr. Hollway was quite willing to negotiate with Labor, and his present assumption of horror at any such idea during the recent crisis is merely hypocritical.
It was then that the alliance was entered into with the Dunstan Government in the attempt to improve and Liberalise the Ministry by the entry into it of Mr. Hollway, myself and others. Efforts in that direction proved a complete failure and looking back over what has since happened, I now realise the futility of what we attempted. We were powerless inasmuch as we were in an easy minority of the total number in the Government.
I have been in four Governments since I was first elected as Member for Brighton, and I have no hesitation in saying that this composite Government was the least efficient of them all.
Mr. Hollway frequently discussed with me the intolerable position in which Liberal Members of the Government were placed. The Premier not only adopted an obstinate mark-time attitude in regard to most matters, but continually shuffled on the appointment of Public Service and Teachers' Tribunals and on Soldier Settlement, on which questions the members of our Party had given most definite pledges.
There was thus no alternative for us but to force the issue. It was obvious that an atmosphere critical of Mr. Hollway and me was being created in our own Party. It was thought that neither Mr. Hollway nor myself were exercising sufficient pressure on the Premier.
This became so acute that we arranged that a conference should take place in the absence of Mr. Hollway and myself between our Party members and Mr. Dunstan. This took place and proved to be a complete frost so far as they were concerned. Our Party members left Mr. Dunstan rebuffed and empty-handed.
FROM THAT TIME ON THE DUNSTAN GOVERNMENT WAS DOOMED.
Throughout the Parliamentary crisis I remained a Member of the Government and voted with the Government right up to and including the final vote, but as the Liberal Members knew that I had given the same pledges as they had they naturally turned to me in an endeavour to give effect to their Election promises.
Mr. Hollway, as in 1943, was fully aware of all that went on and acquiesced in it. Such talks as took place between the interested parties were held in his own room and in his presence, or in Mr. Cain's room with Mr. Cain, and his Deputy, Mr. Field, and with Mr. Hollway again in, attendance. He gladly fell in with the plan, knowing that he was to be the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General in the new Government. When I offered him these portfolios be accepted with both arms. He was the only one of our Party to whom any portfolio was offered at tbat stage.
It was not until the night of the vital vote when he was manoeuvred into Mr. Dunstan's room that there was a complete change of front on his part starting his present parade of virtue. By that time things had advanced too far to have been capable of averting the crisis.
What happened at the meeting between Mr. Hollway and Mr. Dunstan will probably remain a mystery. Both have been singularly reticent as to it. There were no Liberals present to tell the tale. Only two took part in that Conference, and Mr. Hollway emerged a changed man.
It reminds one of the old ditty of the lady who went for a ride on a tiger. There is no doubt that Mr. Hollway came back inside and no doubt, of course, about the smile on the face of the tiger!
Those who voted for the displacement of the Dunstan Government have no regret for what they have done. They have conferred a distinct benefit on the State of Victoria. They have relieved the people of a veritable "old man of the sea." He had been Premier for so long and got away in so many devious ways with so many political crises that he had become a sort of little Victorian Hitler who gave orders rather than took them from the Electors of this State. He had conceived the quaint idea that he was a sort of State institution and that he could not be evicted.
The way is now clear for the people to return a sound Liberal Administration, one which will give to this State the lead it has so long lacked; a Government with progressive ideas and the will and driving
force to put those ideas into effect.
I make no apologies and neither do my colleagues in the Government for making such things possible.
Appeal to the Electors of Brighton
I have represented you in Parliament for seventeen years. During that time I have held all the most important positions in Governments, having been Attorney-General and Solicitor-General on four occasions, Chief Secretary on two, and Minister of Health in the last Government.
Over the whole period I have done my best for Brighton. From all classes and creeds in the electorate and from most organisations and bodies I have received over the years letters and addresses in various forms of thanks for services rendered. From the two municipal Councils of the cities of Brighton and Sandringham, as well as from branches of the R.S.S.A.I.L.A., the "Dads," and various sporting organisations, such as football and cricket clubs, the yacht clubs,
life saving clubs, swimming clubs, etc., and from innumerable individual constituents, these have been received. It has never yet been suggested to me that I have failed in my duty to the electors.
It is now, however, suggested that because of a political squabble and despite my services over seventeen years, I am to be ousted as your representative and, moreover, I am to be ousted under a cloud of insult or worse.
Although nine of the ten members of my Government were members of either the First or Second A.I.F. (the tenth being ineligible on account of age) we have been described by one or two Press organs as "Quislings" and Apostates, and of course the virtuous Hollway has joined in the chorus. There are no more sinister terms in the English language than those referred to and we hotly resent them. My only two sons are still serving overseas and I know how they will feel when they hear that in their absence their father has been described in such a way and so described by persons for whom they have been fighting for years.
I ask that in all your reading of Press matter in the campaign you should retain an inward judgment, relying rather on my own record and reputation in Brighton for honest dealing than on prejudice and interested statements. I recognise that every public man is subject to criticism, but surely there is a limit. If it's above the belt, well and good; if it's below the belt, then it should not be tolerated - and no decent man can take it lying down. It has never been suggested over the years that my public career has been anything but a hard-working and honourable one. I ask you to accept my assurance that the part I played in the crisis was done as a sheer matter of duty and that if I had not accepted the commission from His Excellency the Governor that Government according to law would have been impossible, and it is hard to say what would have happened. This is proved up to the hilt by the fact that, after the Government was appointed, supply to the amountof £4,000,000 was granted to us and granted by the unanimous vote of both Houses of Parliament; there was not a single dissentient vote, although it has been represented that Supply was only granted on a vote of the Labor Party. A reference to Hansard will prove what I say.
Copies of my policy speech, which I hope you will read, will be distributed with this short appeal to you. I rely on the fairness and impartiality of the Electors of Brighton, which has always been proverbial. I hope that they will not be misled by any of the false and venomous propaganda which has been, and no doubt will be circulated.
Premier of Victoria
The Fiery Cross has gone out, borne by trusty
messengers: the clans are gathering in Brighton.
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