Labour History & Unionism The Working Man’s Candidate
source: STUMP SPEECH
SITE SOURCE: Labour History
THE WORKING MAN’S CANDIDATE
I stands before yer, as a candidate, to represent yer in the big talking shop, at the top of George Street. I’m a working man myself, as I’ve served my time in a barber’s shop, and have had the nose of the working man between my finger and thumb many times in the way of business, and hopes yer will let me lead yer by the nose now.
I’m proud to tell yer that I never had no eddication, and don’t know nothink about legislation; but, as we’re all in the same boat, as afar as that goes, I’m certain to be a real representative. What’s the sue of electing a swell! He don’t know nothing about yer, and don’t wanter. All he wants is just to get his seat, and then he goes in for what he calls “the rights of property”. What have we to do with property (seeing as how we’ve got none!)? Blow property! I’ve got none myself, and (unless I can save something out of the Parliamentary screw), I don’t think I ever will have. Worse luck. But I can jaw as well as any cove I ever seed; and, though I have been called a ‘bush lawyer’ in my time, by coves as said I didn’t want ter work, you juts put me in, and see if I don’t make some of the swells squirm.
The first thing I’d go in for would be to tax all things the swells uses, and we don’t, such as pianners and tooth-brushes, and soap, and bath-rooms; and I’d let terbaccers and grog come in free. I’m not a blue ribboner myself, but if yer like, I’ll join the anti-shouting association, and that ought to suit all on yer – and me too.
I’m in favour of a six-hour movement, and no work on Saturdays or Sundays, for the gals as well as the chaps. Why should servant gals work longer than us! Let them start work at nine o’clock, the same as the boss does, and let the missus cook the grub and knock about till the gal gets up, or else give her the tucker in bed. That’s the say to way it.
I’m dead against niggers and chinkies. What’s that! “I once supplied kanakas with trade.” Weel, so I did: but I did it on what yer calls ‘high moral grounds’, for I used to stick it into them right and left, so that they should go away disgusted, and not come here any more. Why, I once charged a nigger sixty shillings for a gin case painted green, and yet, some coves amongst yer says that I stuck up for ’em. As far as the Chinkies are concerned, I’d make them shut up shop, divide their property amongst yer, cut off their pig-tails, and make ’em clear. If that don’t fetch yer, I don’t know what will.
I’m in favour of a lighthouse at the foot of Edward street. When I see those mighty steamships that ply from Kangaroo Point, without a beacon to guide their course, I feels struck like at what we calls the carelessness of the Naught-I-call Board; and I don’t believe they carries compasses either.
I’d also have a battery elected on the Toowoomba range, to fire on the enemy, in case they wanted to get in the back way.
As for railways, what’s that? “Am I in favour of the Via Recta.” Of course I am. I’d have a railway to Via Recta at once. Eh! “I don’t know what Via Recta is.” Well, I’ve never been there, but if you like to stump up, I’ll go and have a look at it: or, better still, you put me in, and I can go by rail as a dead-head – and you bet I will too.
I’d also invite yer to the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms every night the ‘ouse sits, and ‘ave wheelbarrers to carry yer ‘ome, in case yer gets tight.
The other cove was jawing to yer about what he called Finance. I don’t suppose you know more about it than I do, but if I get in and find we’re short of cash, why, we’ll start a twenty million loan, and if we find we can’t pay it, just put a wet sponge over the state. We’d go insolvent, like the swells do, for a big amount, start with a clean sheet, and then go in bigger than ever.
I’m dead against emigrants. Instead of paying to bring ’em here, I’d give all yer kids something to start ’em in life. What’s the use of importing mongrels from Europe when we can breed thorough-breds here. You’re all good in that line. Poor coves always are; but wouldn’t yer go in big licks if yer knew that every kid got a Government grant? That ‘ud stop emm’gration.
Bill Ryan, our Chairman, has just told us that as the pubs close at eleven o’clock, I had better ‘shut up’. So I’ll adjourn this meeting sine die, which means till day arter termorrer, at nine o’clock at night, in the same place.