Cr. J. Charles is a candidate [election statement of Joseph Charles, 24 March 1901]

[Editor: An election advertisement regarding the candidature of Joseph Charles for the Senate in Western Australia. Published in The West Australian Sunday Times, 24 March 1901.]

Federal Senate Elections




In soliciting your votes as one of the six Senators to represent West Australia, I do so feeling that it is a position to be attained which ought to be noblest admiration of an Australian born. I do not come to you with the latest copy of Mulhall, with any crude ideas of John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith or George Reid, thinking that an Australian Commonwealth was formed merely to concentrate and make provable the fiscal issue, firstly, because I think the Senate will require to show that it is strong enough to demand a voice in those Bills having a financial basis, and when you glance through the names of the well-known strong men of Australia and find that nearly all of them are seeking election to the House of Representatives, you can easily understand that, notwithstanding the power of dissolution and appeal to the country, such a fight would be against terrible odds very much in favor of the 72 Representatives; consequently, the fiscal issue is not of the most vital importance to the Senate, and certainly has no right to be what many of the candidates have tried to make it—the only question of importance for your consideration. Then again there will be no absolute fixity, for if the first tariff is not satisfactory, necessity will soon demand a remodelling at a very early date. Therefore I prefer to leave the question of England v. America, New South Wales v. Victoria, Geo. Reid v. Barton, Sir John Forrest v. the “Morning Herald,” to the faddists, and ask you to accept my assurance that if Senators have any voice in the matter, of which l am very doubtful, it will be my endeavor to assist in framing that tariff which will protect the financial interests and good name of every State. It has been roughly estimated that from eight millions to eight millions and a half will be required, and as I can see no possibilities of the States consenting to an additional direct tax over and above the tax already levied by the individual States, that amount must be raised through the Customs, let the Protectionist, Freetrader, and Revenue Tariffist call it what they like to suit their own ends. I say it must be raised through and only through the Customs, at any rate for the first few years of our national life. I hope, however, by that time that the 100 square miles or more surrounding the capital, and which I am in favor of nationalising, will bring in so much revenue that there will be little or no necessity to raise more than half the money through the Customs. But I take it that a higher duty rests upon us than that of making matters of greater import to the well-being of Australia subservient to the fiscal issue. Did we make a nation for the mere purpose of settling for all time the question of Free trade and Protection? I say no decidedly. We desired a combination of the different States in order that the best not only of the laws of those individval States, but the best laws in the civilised world, might be used by us, and thus we should lay truly and well the foundation stone of a nation that I trust shall be alike the envy and admiration of the civilised world.

When I look at the possibilities of Clause 51 of the Constitution Act, with its 39 sub-sections, and when I add to that the all-important appointment of the Judicature, the Interstate Commission, the organising of the Departments, and the placing of the business of the Commonwealth upon a proper and sound footing, free from the many objectionable anomalies of the individual States, I feel that we are entering upon a big work that dwarfs the fiscal issue into utter insignificance.

The humanising possibilities of the first Senate are very great, the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill making strikes impossible. The recognition of a minimum rate of wage and hours of labor, Divorce Laws, Old Age Pensions, and State Insurance are in them- selves measures to which it is necessary to bring an experience of social legislation which has to be gathered from all corners of the world and carefully analysed before application.

Trade and Commerce, the Shipping, Quarantine and other measures necessary to protect the commercial and trading communities, making provision for the taking over the properties of the various States, arranging the basis of the loans necessary for the construction of necessary public works, and those safeguarding the interests of individual States, will require the best business ability and experience of Australia. The fixing of the trade relations with the mother land, the restriction of colored and alien labor, are matters that must be dealt with before the fiscal issue.

Then comes the great question of Defence, and a decision will be necessary on this question as to what class of army we are to keep. The settlement of Naval and Military bases, and the construction of the Transcontinental Railway for defence and trading purposes, are of such vital importance to the whole of Australia that a man will have ample opportunity to prove his fitness for the larger things in national life long before the pettiness of the fiscal fight comes to an issue

What qualifications have I to discharge my share of this great work? Just that I am first of all an Australian with his love for his native land and a desire to see the Australian Nation the brightest gem in the Imperial Crown.

I am not a great talker but a doer. Words, words, words are weighed down by acts and common sense in any Assembly of the world. Business sense always leaves its marks upon the measures passed, and I base
my fitness for your confidence upon the fact —

That I have made every business I have touched here a success;

That I am a Democrat to the backbone. I want not Australia for the Australians, but Australia for the white man who will come here prepared to discharge the obligations of citizenship.

I will support an Australia where Investment of Capital is safe, where Labor is protected and its hours clearly defined;

An Australia whose laws and social surroundings will make her a magnet for the skilled in every labor and the enterprising of every nation; an Australia that will give employment to the man of means and the man of muscle; an Australia that will be governed by the people for the good of the people.


Perth, March 19, 1901.

The West Australian Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 24 March 1901, page 8 (2nd last column of page 8)

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