MINISTERS AND MORALS
“MAKING LIGHT OF EVIL”
Charges against public men of sneering at reform
and making light of
evil were made by Mr WH Judkins at a “pleasant Sunday afternoon” at the
Mr Judkins, who remarked that he spoke without venom, said that some of our public men were minimising the seriousness of public wrongs, having seemingly no conscience with regard to great public evils. He proposed to call certain witness to prove his statement. His first witness was the Prime Minister. A few days ago Mr Fisher speaking to a deputation on the land tax, went considerably out of his way to sneer at some of the things lately being done in the interests of reform. He said that if some of the leaders of public thoughts were to be believed no decent person should go within ten miles of a public park. There is no authority for that remark. Attention has been directed to the fact that gross immoralities had been and were still carried on in the parks. It was a serious thing for a man in an important position to sneer at men who were striving to make the community more moral. The second witness was the Premier of Victoria. Two or three weeks ago, in order to prove that the police department was helpless or unwilling to do certain things he (Mr Judkins) made personal investigations. Mr Murray, referring to Chinese gambling institutions, said that the gambling going on at those places was no more than that going on in a private house over a quiet game of cards. This was another case of making light of wrong-doing. The third witness was the Postmaster-General, who a little while ago said in effect that it was not worth while to try and prevent gambling institutions from flooding the land with literature. He disagreed with Mr Thomas in holding that legislation against this would lead to a wide spread opening of correspondence generally. Mr Thomas also said that it was just as wrong for a man to try to get into a particular gambling institution in order to try to prove that the police department was not doing its duty as it would be for a man to try to get into a private house. The two things were altogether different. A gambling institution was open to anyone who wanted to gamble, and as gambling was breaking the law the institution was outside the realm of law-abiding homes.
If it were possible to call him, Mr Judkins continued, his next witness would be the poor fellow who was killed at Ballarat in a prize fight. It was called a boxing contest, but it was a fight in which men fought for a prize. It was peculiar that everybody who gave evidence at the inquest tried to prove that the man was killed as the result of the fight. It was said that he fell on his head on the floor. According to that reason, if he (Mr Judkins) pushed a man over a cliff, and the man was broken up on the rocks below, he (Mr Judkins) would not be guilty of his death. Somebody had the impertinence to suggest that he (Mr Judkins) was slandering a dead man. That was a vicious lie. (Hear, hear) The last witness was Mr Farthing - A. Farthing - (Laughter) - president of the beer selling association. He had accused him (Mr Judkins) of telling obscene filthy yarns. Was that true?
Voices, - “No.”
Mr Judkins - When he wrote to Mr Farthing asking for an explanation, he replied that to find out what the filthy yarn was he would have to search the files of the newspapers for the last three years. (Laughter) Mr Farthing and the rest of his brothers in the bad business had been having such a bad time that they were wildly excited, fearing financial loss.
From THE ARGUS 12th September 1910 page 8