'What is Liberalism?' The question which separates us is whether the development of Australia on the lines of private enterprise is the right method of development, of whether the industrial development of Australia along the lines of state control is the proper one.
There is a broad principle involved here and it is upon this that the battle must be fought. I was suspected of some sort of disposition to run counter to the fusion, but there is no man in Australia who ought to be more proud of the fusion that I should be, since I laid its foundation in the battle that I fought before the electorate three years ago. It was then that I called for an alliance between free traders and protectionists.
We look forward to social and unemployment insurances, to improved health services, to a wise control of our economy to avert, if possible, all booms and slumps which tend to convert Labor as the right method of development – or whether the industrial development of Australia along the lines of state control is the proper one.
The reconstructive element in liberalism must now come to the front. In political economy, having induced politicians to discard that old program, 'let the devil take the hindmost', liberalism must now inculcate a new teaching in regard to the poorest in the community, that all should have their due. By fixing a minimum rate of wages and wise factory legislation, wealth will be prevented from taking advantage of the needy, and the latter will be saved from leading wretched lives.
A colonial Liberal is one who favours state interference with liberty and industry at the pleasure and in the interest of the majority, while those who stand for the free play of individual choice and energy are classed as conservatives.