2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if the Government will this session introduce a Bill to prohibit the importation and sale of opium within the Commonwealth, for other than medicinal purposes.
– The question is now under the consideration of the Cabinet, and I hope to make a statement on the subject very shortly.
– I wish to know from the Postmaster-General if he has any objection to laying on the table the correspondence and tenders made in connexion with the carriage of mails between Australia and the United Kingdom, and if he can inform the House of the intention of the Government in regard to the Orient Company’s contract ?
– The contract referred to will be laid on the table within a few days, and a motion proposing its ratification moved.
– I desire to move the adjournment of the House, to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., “ The present position, of the Tariff Commission.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places,
– May I be permitted to say that I had intended to move this motion last week ?
– It is a disgraceful thing to move such a motion during the time set apart by sessional order for private members’ business.
– This motion will blockthe discussion of the Home Rule motion.
– It is intended to do so.
– I have no intention of blocking the discussion of the motion referred to, and if other honorable members arc asbrief as I shall be, there will be time for the discussion of that motion when the question which I wish to bring before the House has been dealt with. Other business can be dealt with, if my motion is not used to block it.
– I hope that no other honorable member will take part in the discussion on the motion of adjournment.
– I desire to say at the outset that I have no wish to embarrass the Tariff Commission or its Chairman ; but to my mind the character of the answers given yesterday to certain questions necessitates the taking of some action by the Government, with a view to expediting the work of the Commission. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo has stated that no decision has yet been arrived at in regard to any item on the Tariff, and. that there is little probability of any decision being arrived at unless a quorum can be secured to visit Tasmania and Western Australia. If the Commission as at present constituted cannot get a quorum, the importance of the questions at stake demands the appointment of more Commissioners.
– The appointment of a few more good protectionists, I suppose.
– The Chairman, too, should be given what he should have had from the first - the rightto exercise a casting vote.
– Why not give him halfadozen votes ?
– I have never heard of a chairman having half-a-dozen votes.
– Honorable members may as well break another contract; they are on the way now.
– The Chairman of the Tariff Commission has a casting vote.
– He has not a ‘casting vote on questions of principles; he may exercise a casting vote only in regard to questions of a minor character.
An Honorable Member. - The President of the Senate has not a casting vote.
– Every honorable member has the right to state his own opinions, whether other honorable members agree or disagree with him. It is disorderly to take a course which prevents such a statement of opinions, and I hope that I shall not have to again draw the attention of the House to the matter.
– The Tariff Commission is the .first Commission whose Chairman has been placed in the unenviable position of not having a casting vote on questions of principle, and it is the duty of the Government, in order to make the Commission workable, to give him the powers which he should possess, and, if a quorum cannot be- formed, to appoint one or two more members.
– What additional powers does the honorable member suggest should be given to the Chairman?
– The right to exercise a casting vote on questions of principle, which has been given to the chairmen of all other Commissions.
– There have been many Commissions whose chairmen have not had the right to exercise a casting vote.
– No other Commission has been appointed in Victoria whose chairman has been deprived of the undoubted right of exercising a casting vote. I defy the honorable member to produce one instance to the contrary.
– The casting vote of the Chairman cannot be exercised until the. taking of evidence has been completed.
– T recognise the hard work and the difficulties which have confronted the Commission, and it is for this reason that I urge that the Chairman be put in a proper position, and that sufficient com missioners be appointed to make the Commission workable.
– The chief work of the Commission is the taking of evidence. The casting vote of the Chairman could not be exercised until the evidence has been taken.
– The taking, of evidence is not being proceeded with as it should be.
– That is a reflection onthe Commission.
– The honorablemember for Melbourne Ports must be right, because the Age says sp.
– The ground to be traversed is so wide that the taking of evidenceis not being satisfactorily proceeded with, having regard to the length of time consumed. I do not cast any reflection upon either the Chairman or the Commission j but the questions to be dealt with are of such vital importance that the work of theCommission should be proceeded with morerapidly, and the Government have a duty to perform with a view to obtaining greaterexpedition.
– Has not the Commission worked very well?
– I think it was the ir>tention of this House that the Commissionshould deal first with items of a pressing character, and immediately report, in regard’ to them. That was the distinct understanding..
– The Age says so today.
– I said at the time of the appointment of the Commission thatthat was necessary. If the honorable member will refer to the report of my remarks, he will find that I said that if the Tariff Commission went about its work as ordinarycommissions have done, it would be two years before we could hope for a report, and’ I now feel that every day of two ..years will be consumed b1 the Commission before reporting, unless’ special items are reported on separately. I direct the attention of theHouse, and of the Government, to the fact: that the condition of several trades has; already been inquired into, and abundant evidence has been taken to show that they are in an exceedingly bad way. The engineering trade especially is suffering so intensely that disaster .and misery in the near future is in every way apparent.
– What evidence to that, effect was put before the Commission ?
– I will allude to the.evidence directly, but before doing so I’ wish to quote from the commercial columns of the Argus, the free-trade journal of Victoria, a paragraph which bears out my statement. A few weeks ago the Argus published the following paragraph -
The typical engineer combines intellect, trained knowledge, delicacy in the manipulation of his tools, and all that goes to make the ideal mechanical artist. In the province of labour he is the acknowledged aristocrat. But at the present time, through no fault of his own, Australia offers him few attractions. During the last twenty years large engineering concerns have sprung into existence, have flourished foi a few years, and have partially or wholly fallen. The probability that the Clyde Engineering Works in Sydney will close at the end of the year will cause disappointment to everybody who desires to witness Australian progress.
The writer proceeds to point out that this distress and want of employment is due to a lack of demand, and I find, from figures supplied to me by the right honorable member for Balaclava, that the value of the imports in the iron trade last year exceeded that of the imports of 1903 by ;£io7,’255. I contend that it is the duty of the Tariff Commission to deal as quickly as possible with one or two of these pressing items, and if they are unable, as at present constituted, to satisfactorily carry out this important work, it is ‘the duty of the Government to come to their .assistance.
– By appointing the honorable member?
– I could have had a seat on the Commission, so that the honorable and learned member’s interjection is pointless. Perhaps if he were appointed we should get information which would be useful to us.
– I would not accept the appointment.
– I hope that the Government will urge the Commission to place the evidence taken by it in the hands of honorable members as soon as it is printed. The Commission has now been sitting for six months, and’ has presented us with a pile of evidence which it will take us two months to digest and properly consider.
– They must have worked pretty hard, in order to collect that evidence.
– I have admitted that the Commission has worked hard : but it ought to bring up progress reports, and should place its evidence in the hands of honorable members directly it is printed. The Commission differs from every other commission that has been appointed in Vic toria in that its chairman has not a casting vote, and it refuses to honorable members the opportunity to peruse its evidence immediately it is issued from the Government Printing Office. I have never previously known a Commssion to take up such a position. It would facilitate matters if honorable members could know from day to day. or from week to week, or, at least, from month to month, what evidence had been given. T-he press are admitted to the meetings of the Commission, and publish partial reports. Surely we ought to be taken into the confidence of the Commission, and copies of the evidence ought to be distributed amongst honorable members.
– Are” not the Age reports correct ?
– No doubt the Age reports are correct as far as they go, but they . do not give us all that we require. I think that something ought to be done to facilitate the issue of special reports by the Commission. The industries which’ have so far been made the subject of inquiry are in need of immediate help, and the importance of the iron industry is such that the Government will be fully justified in urging the Commission to inquire into it without delay, and issue a progress report embodying their recommendations regarding it.
– The honorable member for the Melbourne Age - I beg the honorable member’s pardon, I should have said the honorable member for Melbourne Ports - has made a serious complaint agains) the Tariff Commission. It is singular that in connexion with this matte* the Age should have published in to-day’s issue a leading article which is one of a series of misrepresentations of our work that has been presented to the public almost ever since the Commission was instituted. ‘ The honorable member for Melbourne Ports thinks the Commission is noi working hard enough, and suggests that more members should be appointed. He has not indicated how the appointment of more members would accelerate the progress of the work.
– It would enable the Commission to form a quorum with greater readiness.
– Common sense suggests that if more members were appointed, more time would be taken up, and slower progress made. It has been urged that the evidence should have been made available to the public in some other form. The position taken up by the Commissior was decided upon on the advice of some of the legal members of it, who held the view, and I think correctly, that the official evidence was the property of His Excellency the Governor-General, and that until he chose to make it public, the Commission could not do so.
– Has the honorable member ever known that course to be adopted before ?
– Yes, in connexion with every Royal Commission in Victoria.
– I do not know anything as to the previous practice, but I hold that the view we have taken is a sensible and proper one. Speaking for myself, I regret the situation. I should have been only too glad - and I think other members of the Commission take the same view - if the Commission had been in a position to make the official evidence public, particularly in view of the fact that newspapers which profess to supply reasonable and correct reports of the evidence of the proceedings have presented absolute travesties to the public.
– Garbled reports.
– It has been suggested that we should have selected certain items and after investigating them, have presented a report regarding them to His Excellency.
– How could that be done unless the Commission visited all the States?
– No suggestion has yet been made as to the items with which we should first proceed to deal. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports told us that when the appointment of the Commission was under consideration he urged that certain items should be selected as the first subjects of inquiry. He was challenged by other honorable members at that time to nominate items, but neither he nor anvone else who shared his view, condescended to enlighten us.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon. I indicated the items affecting the iron trade.
– I wish to point out that the view taken by this House in appointing the Commission was, broadly, that we should proceed to investigate the effects of the Tariff upon Australian industries generally, and we naturally proceeded with our inquiry bv taking the items in their proper order under the Tariff. I now desire to direct attention to a phase of the question which was debated in another place yesterday. To my mind, a most unfortunate complexion was given to the issue raised by an honorable senator, who was charged by those who opposed him with acting in a partizan spirit. It was alleged that his action was part and parcel of a free-trade move intended to block the work of the Commission. Knowing as I did that that view was not correct, I took steps to place myself in a position to give the statement an absolute denial. I knew as a fact that so far from any effort of a party character having been made yesterday, endeavours were directed to preventing, the motion from being brought forward. The original intention was that Senator Clemons and the honorable and learned member for Illawarra should take action simultaneously in their respective Houses. The leader of the Opposition in this House, for reasons that seemed good to him, was anxious that these two gentlemen should not take action. He persuaded the honorable and learned member for Illawarra not to move in the matter, but he was unable to turn Senator Clemons from his purpose. That honorable senator, and I believe properly too, intimated to his leader that the issue was not a party one, but of a personal character, affecting the Commission, and a dutv he had to perform to the electors, and that he would proceed with his motion even against the wishes of his leader.
– What becomes of the charge now ?
– I think that makes it perfectly clear that the free-trade members of the Commission cannot properly be charged with having attempted for merely partisan reasons to block the progress of its work. I had intended, if this opportunity had not been offered, to bring the matter before the House in another form. We are being asked to give up practically the whole of the session ‘to the work of the Commission, and I wish to know whether the House ever intended that that should be done, or ever had any idea that members of the Commission would be placed in such an improper position. Our first duty is undoubtedly to the people whom we represent, and when I accepted a position on the Commission I never dreamt - and I am sure no other member did - that we should be expected1 to travel to the other States and take evidence whilst Parliament was sitting.
– Why did not the Commission go to the other States during the recess ?
– That is a very pertinent question, and if I were free to say what I know I would very soon enlighten the honorable member. The present position does not arise from any vote of the political members of the Commission, but from a vote given by two members of the Commission, who, although perfectlyfree to exercise their rights, have placed the political members of the Commission on the horns of a dilemma. The particulars of that vote, have already been given elsewhere, but I. can assure honorable members that the actual result of the division that brought about the present position affords no criterion of the opinion of the members of the Commission. I wish to know from this House whether the political members of this Commission are expected to leave their legislative duties to take care of themselves, and to go round the other States collecting evidence. It may be said that if we cannot do so we ought to resign, but that is begging the question. There is a principle involved. We were sent here primarily to represent the electors, and our first duty is to them. We cannot properly discharge that duty if we go to the other States and spend practically the whole of the session upon the work of the Commission. I do not wish to take up any further time. I merely desire to obtain an expression of opinion from honorable members. Speaking for myself, and for the other members of the Commission, I can say, without hesitation, that we are anxious to get on with our “work, which is very harassing and trying. It is not merely that we sit four days, and sometimes six days, a week, but we have to spend a good deal of time outside of the meeting hours, in order to fit ourselves for the work we are called upon to ‘do. The work has been excessively! trying, yet at the same time interesting, and I intend to see it through. I shall do my best to complete it as soon as possible, because I believe the results will be beneficial to the community as a whole, and very enlightening to those who take any interest in the Tariff question.
– I hesitated to rise immediately after the honorable member for Perth had resumed his seat, because I thought that the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, as Chairman of the Commission, would probably have something to say on behalf of himself and his fellow members. I certainly think that when a charge was made- -
– There was no charge against the Commission.
– No, I made no charge.
– A charge was made. The honorable member charged the Commission with not carrying on their work satisfactorily, and I think the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, as the official head of the Commission, ought to have been the first to defend it. It is all very well for the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to say that some weeks ago he contemplated taking action of this kind, but it is a significant fact that in the Age this morning-
– The Prime Minister can bear out my statement.
– Under present circumstances I am not disposed to accept the word of the Prime Minister in connexion with anything. Recent political events have caused me to place no more reliance in the word of the Prime Minister than I do in that of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. It is a remarkable fact that in a leading article of the Agc newspaper this morning the very first statement we see is one to the effect that something must be done to make the Tariff Commission do its work. At the earliest opportunity following the publication of that article, we find the honorable member for Melbourne Ports - who is very properly entitled to be dubbed, as be was by the honorable member for Perth, “the honorable member for the Melbourne Age “ - acting as the tool of that great organ, and coming here to do its bidding by moving the adjournment of the House, to call attention to the Commission and its work. When the late Prime Minister did me the honour of offering me a seat upon that tribunal I knew perfectly well that I should be called upon to make great sacrifices, not only in connexion with my private business and my domestic life, but also in other respects. Never for a moment, however, did I dream that; in addition to those sacrifice’s - which I was prepared to make, because I felt that I was being called to a high and honorable position, and one in which it was my duty to do my best in the interests of the people of Australia - I should also be required to sacrifice the interests of my constituents, and of this country, by ab- 1senting myself from my parliamentary duties during the present session. I am sure that not a single member of this House or of the Senate ever contemplated that the political members of the Commission would be called upon to leave Melbourne whilst Parliament was in session in order to visit the distant States of Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. There might be something in the proposal if no work remained to be done in this city. But I would point out that it was by reason of the agitation aroused by the representatives ofVictoria and by the newspapers of this State concerning its so-called languishing industries that the Commission was appointed. So far as Victorian industries are concerned, we still have at least three or four months’ work to do in this city.
– And yet the Commission is asked to visit Western Australia in the middle of its inquiry.
– Seeing that the members of the Commission can be employed in taking evidence each morning, whilst Parliament is in session, why should we be calledupon to leaveourparliamentary duties in order to visit Western Australia and South Australia ? I submit that that is an absolutely unjust and wrong position in which to place any political member of that body. I am practically asked to choose between two alternatives. Either I must be accused of neglecting my duties, as a member of this Parliament, or of neglecting them as a member of the Tariff Commission. What am I to do? To my mind the position admits of no argument. Responsible as are my duties as a member of the Tariff Commission - and from the past five months’ experience I have learned to thoroughly appreciate how onerous and responsible are those duties - I have no hesitation whatever in placing my parliamentary duties before those which pertain to my position as a member of that Commission. Seeing that the political members of that tribunal can discharge both their parliamentary duties and those pertaining to membership of the Tariff Commission by sitting in Melbourne and taking the evidence of Victorian manufacturers. I say there is no excuse whatever for the Chairman or any other member of that body attempting to force members of this House to occupy seats upon it, into a position in which they will have to neglect their parliamentary work. As far as I am personally concerned - and I intimated this fact to the Chairman some three or four monthsago, when I saw that there was a probability of this contingency arising - I refuse to leave my parliamentary duties in order to attend the sittings of the Tariff Commission, either in Tasmania or any of the other distant States. I am glad that the honorable member for Perth made reference to the endeavour which has been made to brand the action which was taken in the Senate yesterday afternoon as a move on the part of thefree-trade members of this Parliament. The honorable member for Perth is not a member of the Free-Trade Party. He is a member of the Labour Party, and I have not the slightest hesitation in indorsing every word which was uttered by him in connexion with that matter. Honorable members have seen the division-list, showing the voting by the members of the Tariff Commission upon the proposal that they should visit the other States during the current session, and reference to it will prove that that proposal was carried by the vote of Mr. Wamsley - one of the Victorian free-trade representatives upon the Commission. Where, then, is the ground for the accusation that the action which was taken in another place was a concerted movement on the part of freetrade members to hang up the inquiry ?
– Where was the division-list published ?
– It was given in the Senate yesterday afternoon during the speech delivered by Senator demons. Having been very busy this morning I have not yet had an opportunity of reading that speech.
– That division-list has not been published in the press.
– At any rate, I know that the proposal that the Tariff Commission should visit the other States whilst Parliament is sitting was carried by the vote of Mr. Wamsley. That fact conclusively proves that there was nothing in the nature of a concerted free-trade movement in connexion with what occurred yesterday. Concerning the remarks of the honorable member for Perth in regard to the attitude of the leader of the Opposition towards this matter, I can confirm his statement that it was owing to the intervention of the right honorable member for East Sydneythat I refrained from bringing the subject before the House yesterday. I should have acted exactly as Senator Clemons did but for that fact, and I know that the right honorable gentleman did his utmost to dissuade Senator Clemons from bringing the matter under the notice of the Senate. Something has been said to the effect that members should resign their positions upon the Tariff Commission. In view of the situation which has arisen, if that inquiry partook of the mature of that made by an ordinary Commission, and if its members had Accomplished only a little work, my resignation would have been in the hands of the Governor-General long ere this. But I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that we have been engaged in that investigation for the past . five months, that we have asked some 60,000 questions, that we have accumulated a pile of evidence - in’short, that we have undertaken a herculean task. Realizing the position in which any person/ who succeeded to that Commission by reason of the resignation of any of its present members would find himself, I would hesitate a long time before taking the extreme Step suggested. Another statement has been made - to the effect that members of the Commission are making a good thing out of the inquiry. In regard to the allegation made ‘in the Senate to the effect that the members of tlie Commission are in receipt of very good emoluments, I wish to say - and I think the fact ought to be made public - that we receive nothing. We are giving our services in connexion with this great matter out of patriotism. Whilst I am prepared’ to do everything I can to help forward that inquiry, and whilst I am actually out of pocket over the whole business, I feel indignant that I should be accused of making a good thing out of it. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has declared that the official report of the evidence taken should be placed before the public. Upon that matter I think that our chairman took a very proper view. We hold our positions upon that Commission, not by virtue of an appointment from this House, but under the Royal prerogative, and we are responsible primarily, not to this House, but to “the Governor-General. I entirely agree with the view expressed by the chairman when he pointed out that, - so far as the evidence! was concerned - no matter how useful a purpose might be served if it were placed before the public - it was our first duty to present it to His Excellency the Governor-General, from whom we received our commission. BuE now that the first progress report has been presented, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will have an opportunity of seeing a portion of that evidence, copies of which, I understand, will be laid upon the table of the House before very long. I have no desire to labour this matter unduly. I merely wish, in addition, to refer to the statement of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that we ought to have first inquired into the condition of those industries which are alleged to Be struggling. As the honorable member for Perth has very properly pointed out, at the time the matter of the appointment of the Commission was under consideration, and when it was being urged that those industries which were stated to be suffering acutely from the operation of the Tariff should be specified, nD honorable member opposite ever went so far as to mention even one of them? What is the position of the Commissioners? To a verv large extent we occupy a judicial position. We cannot determine which industries are struggling for an existence until the evidence relating to them has been laid before us. It will be only then that we shall be able to decide which industries are struggling, and which industries are being ruined in any of the States. Consequently we could have taken up no other position than that which we have done. I may sad that we were unanimous that we should inquire into the effects of the operation of the Tariff upon the industries of ^Australia in the order in which they appear in our Tariff Act. I wish to intimate - as I did long ago to our Chairman - that, as far as I am personally concerned, while recognising the great responsibility under which I labour as a member of the Tariff Commission, I regard my duty to my constitutents and the country generally - which means my presence in Parliament - as of paramount importance.
– I wish to point out that if we consent to the departure to other States of those honorable members who occupy seats on the Tariff Commission, we shall establish a precedent which cannot be a very good one. Seeing that the Constitution itself demands that honorable members should be present in their places in this House during the session, and that a record is taken of their attendances, I hold that it is not for us, under any plea whatever, to sanction the release of honorable members from their duties here.
– It is an unfair record of the attendances, is it not?
– At all events, I do not think that any member of the Commission who is also a member of Parliament, and who takes the trouble to peruse our Constitution will dream of absenting himself from the House during the session.
– How often has the honorable and learned member been absent ?
– I have only been absent when drivel was being indulged in by ‘ honorable members opposite.
– Then the Tariff Commission might be absent while the honorable and learned member is speaking.
– The honorable member for Bland cannot say in twelve months sufficient to cause me to think for five minutes, because he cannot utter anything worth hearing. When he is able to talk sense, I shall be prepared to pay some attention to what he says. I am surprised to hear.of the unconstitutional course proposed to be taken by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo - that he is one of those honorable members who are so forgetful of the provisions of the Constitution demanding our attendance in this House that he proposes, as a member of the Tariff Commission, to proceed to other States during the present session. When an application is made for leave of absence on his behalf. I may feel it my duty to oppose it. The position taken up by him should be brought under the notice of his constituents. No honor- 1 able member elected to represent the people in this House should be allowed to absent himself in the way he proposes while Parliament is in session.
– I think that the honorable and learned member for Bendigo has a better attendance record than has the honorable and learned member.
– If many more Commissions be appointed, it may become impossible for the Parliament to meet. If the members of the Tariff Commission consisted solely of eight honorable members on the Government benches, would it be said for one moment that the course now proposed to be taken should be adopted? I think not, and what would not be allowed in the one set of circumstances should not be permitted in the other.
– I have a suggestion to make to the Government.. We all know that there is an equal number of free-trade and protectionist members on the Tariff Commission, and that their report, therefore, must be a half and half one. In these circumstances, as we are aware that certain industries have been absolutely strangled, I think that the
Government should at once bring in a Bill dealing with those industries, and allow the’ whole matter to be fought out by the: Parliament without waiting for the report of the Tariff Commission. Heaven only knows when the labours of that Commission will be completed. Their deliberations may extend over the next ten years. The iron industry has been crippled; thelocal industry of manufacturing harvestershas practically gone, and the distillery factories have also been virtually closed. But, apart from these considerations, we ought to say at once whether we are prepared to allow our country to be run by those whopay no taxes. If our foreign trade friends believe in foreign countries, let them leave Australia. I came here because I believed’ it to be the best of all countries to which I could go. I repeat that, instead of waiting for the report of the Commission, the Government should at once bring in a Bill dealing with those industries that arenow languishing, and. allow the wholematter to be fought out. On this particular question, some of our free-trade friends are more autocratic, heartless, and tyrannical than was any despotic monarch who occupied the throne of ancient Egypt.
– I donot wish to speak at length on this question ; but I cannot forget that when this matter was debated in the House last session, I made, advisedly, one or two irregular interjections, because it appeared to me that there was one individual in the Commonwealth who had been lost sight of, and that was the consumer. It seems to bealmost a religion with the protectionists of Victoria, and with the protectionist press, that, as soon as they have proved that an industry is languishing, the wisdom of imposing more duties is at once conclusivelydemonstrated. In the case of the agricultural industry, for instance, our protectionist friends entirely forget that, while it is not being protected, proposals arebeing made day after day to heap further obligations, in the form of additional taxation, upon it. It was with these facts inmy mind that I interjected on the occasion referred to that the consumer should” receive some attention. I rejoice tothink that the Tariff Commission has so far realized its duty to the peopleof the Commonwealth as to take the position of the consumer and’ the taxpayer, in all cases, carefully intoconsideration. The members of the Com- mission have shown a disposition to inquire not merely whether an industry is waning or prospering, but what effect the duties which enable it to prosper are having upon the consumer who pays.
– Hear, hear ; no one will object to that.
– We often hear it said, in a vague and general way,- that it is to the interests of the people that everyindustry should prosper. That I admit; but it is not in the interests of the people that industries should prosper at an unlimited expense to the people who pay the duties imposed to protect them, even although those duties may help to pile up the banking credit of the manufacturers. I wish to draw attention to one paragraph in the progress report of the Commission which shows clearly that it has done its duty. The paragraph is as follows : -
If Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland were the only States interested in the Tariff grievances which we have already investigated in those States, we would be in a position to submit some recommendations respecting items in the first five divisions. The other States of the Commonwealth are, however, also interested. Our recommendations might lead either to the reduction of Customs and Excise duties, or the increase of Customs and Excise duties; they would, therefore, involve revenue, as well as industrial considerations in which the people of the whole Commonwealth are concerned, who have all a right to be heard by a Commonwealth Commission before the :stage of deliberation and recommendation is reached. We are of opinion that it would, be an unfederal procedure establishing a dangerous precedent if a Royal Commission appointed to deal with Commonwealth questions of importance and complexity, in which all parts of the Commonwealth are vitally interested, were to arrive at findings, and give advice to Parliament without having afforded - not the manufacturers, but - the taxpayers of each State an opportunity of “being heard either in support of or in opposition to proposed alterations of the law.
I am sure that every right-thinking man will say that the Commission are doing their’ duty in refusing to come to even one conclusion with regard to proposed increases or reductions of dutv, until they have heard every nian who chooses to come forward and say how proposals for piling up the duties affect him as ia taxpayer or consumer.
– Two honorable members of this House who are members of the Tariff Commission, have pointed out what they consider are its difficulties. They do not wish to go to W7estern Australia as members of that Commission while the House is sitting, and I am satisfied we shall find that if the Commission goes to
Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia during the present session, not one honorable member sitting on this side of the House will be able to take part in its deliberations there. Subsequently, when the evidence taken in those States is brought before them, they will not be in a position to properly deal with it. A Commission, in framing its report, must be guided not only by the. evidence submitted, but by the demeanor and the character of the witnesses who have given that evidence. The Attorney-General, as a lawyer, must recognise that this is so. I am sure ‘that when he is appearing as counsel in a case, he attaches just as much importance to the character and bearing of a witness in the box as he does to the evidence which’ that witness gives. The two honorable members to whom I have referred, absolutely refuse to proceed to Western Australia, for the reason that they believe that they would be false to their duties as representatives of the electors in this House, if they absented themselves in this way while the House was in session. If the course proposed by the Commission is to be followed, what is to prevent the appointment, in the future, of a series of Royal Commissions, comprising so many members of this House, as to render it impossible for a quorum to be formed ? At all events, the fighting strength of the House might be seriously depleted in this way. If this course is to be adopted, the result will be that parliamentarians will either have to refuse appointments on Royal Commissions, or else be false to their duties as representatives of the electors. Both the Federal and States Legislatures debar Select Committees from meeting while Parliament, is sitting, and I think the same principle should be adopted in regard to Royal Commissions. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports admits that only four members of the Commission will proceed to Western Australia. What reason have we to believe that they will be able to take evidence there? It takes four members to form a quorum, so that in the event of one of their number becoming incapacitated, the rest would have to remain there, perhaps, for days, doing nothing.
– And in that event, an expensive staff, in addition, would also be kept in waiting there.
– Quite so. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports seems to think that the only languishing industries which exist are to be found in Victoria.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon ; I quoted from the free-trade press to show that the engineering industry in New South Wales was languishing.
– That disease has attacked it only since the imposition of the present high duty.
– Has not the cessation of expenditure of loan moneys by the State had anything to do with it ?
– The leader of the Labour Party knows that I am competent to speak on this matter.
– I know that the honorable member is competent, but do not know whether his bias will permit, him to deal authoritatively with the subject.
– One industry in my electorate employed over 2,000 men prior to the imposition of the Federal Tariff, but under the beneficent policy now in operation that number has been reduced to 600.
– The honorable member should ask the manager of those works whether the Tariff is responsible for that state of affairs. If he does he will receive an answer in the negative.
Mir. WILKS. - He might say one thing to-day and quite another thing to-morrow.
– The leader of the Labour Party and the manager of the works appear to know something about the matter.’
– I happen to have spoken to him some months ago.
– The manager of the works would say he is of opinion that as long as the managers of similar industries in Victoria are “out for spoil” he should take up the same attitude. If there be some “ loot “ to be picked up. why should not New South Wales obtain her share? I agree with the .honorable and learned member for Parkes, however, that we halve to fight not for the “loot.” but to safeguard the interests of the consumer who has to provide it. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who is a prominent temperance advocate, is very much concerned about the life and prosperity of Joshua Brothers’ brandy works. The .honorable member for the Melbourne Age-
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon - it was a lapsus linburn. Prior to the appointment of the Tariff Commission there was one languishing “ industry “ in t’his House, but it is now a robust one - I refer to the Attorney-General. Although he’ was in a languishing state before the Commission was appointed, he has become, so to speak, a robust “ industry,” and I wish to know whether he is prepared to> allow only four members of the Commission to proceed to Western Australia to inquire into his pet scheme. The Chairman of the Royal Commission did not speak very kindly of the attitude adopted by the metropolitanpress of New South Wales in /regard to the sittings of the Commission in Sydney. The Sydney press is not noted, as part of the Melbourne press is, for its scurrilous attacks on public men, and I think that the Chairman of the Commission should have shown some slight respect to those whose duty it was to report its proceedings on behalf of the public. They had an opportunity to bring before the public gaze . the private peculiarities of the members of the Commission, and they refrained from doing so; but the Chairman did not pay to them the respect which was due to them.. If he had been a free-trader, instead of a protectionist, he would have received” very different treatment from the Melbourne *Age. It may be said that attention should not be drawn to these matters, but I do not agree with that opinion. The Commission i’s an expensive concern, and the public is anxiously waiting for its reports. If the Chairman and the Melbourne Agetreated the Free-trade Party as the Freetrade Party treat them, things would goon much better,, and personally whenever I find that they have taken a certain attitude, I shall assume a contrary one. If the House allows the Commission to continue its inquiries in the absence of twoof its members, it will be failing in its duty. I hope, however, that now that the Chairman of the Commission knows that there is work to be done in Melbournewhich will take months to accomplish, and can be done during the session of Parliament, thus giving members of Parliament who are also members of the Commissionan opportunity to attend to their parliamentary duties, he will abandon the idea of going out of Melbourne. If he doesnot, he will be acting against the wishes of Parliament, and we cannot be expected’ to pay much attention to the report of the Commission.
– The first duty that we all owe to the members of a Royal Commission is to indorse explanations such as those which fell from (he honorable and” learned member for Illawarra, which apply particularly to the members of the Tariff Commission. Members of Parliament who undertake the highly responsible, very arduous, and, as in this case, prolonged obligations attaching to service on Royal Commissions, do so without fee, reward, or other pecuniary recognition. They act in the public interest at the sacrifice of their leisure, and often at the loss of business opportunities. Special recognition is due to the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, who has already sacrificed almost a year’s professional income in the discharge of the duty devolved upon him as Chairman. Neither he, nor the other Commissioners who are members of Parliament, receive any pecuniary recognition of their services, while the travelling expenses paid to them are, in any case, quite inadequate.
– They do not receive travelling expenses when the Commission is sitting in the State in which they reside.
– No,, and when it moves to another State, the travelling allowance is not sufficient to recompense them for the loss of other remuneration. Consequently their service is a gift to the public, and as they devote their time, knowledge, and ability to the country without reward, the least we can do is to recognise their disinterestedness. There is no more ungrateful task than to sit on a Royal Commission inquiring into a contentious subject such as the revision of the Tariff is. But although differences must inevitably arise in regard to the conclusions of the Commission, they must not prevent us from fully recognising the services of the Commissioners. While the honorable member for Illawarra is technically correct in the contention that a Royal Commission is not subject to Parliament, every Commission, except as a matter of form and dignity, is more or less the creation of Parliament. It acts for purposes considered by Parliament, and its report can be dealt with effectively only by Parliament. Consequently, like every other agency within the Commonwealth, it comes properly under the review of Parliament, by whom its actions can be criticised or challenged without reflection upon the Commissioners,, and without any offence on their part. There are one or two precedents in English history - one as recent as 1869 - in which what was thought to be delay on the part of a Royal Commission has been challenged by the
Commons in a proposed address to the Throne. In 1869 the matter was notpressed to a division, the motion being withdrawn on the receipt of satisfactory assurances; but, so far as I remember, no one at the time questioned the right of Parliament to criticise the methods of the Commission, or the time occupied by it.
– The impropriety of parliamentary interference was strongly denounced on that occasion.
– I have had time only to familiarize myself with the conclusion, arrived at in the Commons, and have not. read the debate, which was short. Thetestimony of the text writers, however, is. that it is unusual for Parliament to interfere with Royal Commissions, not that it is improper, because that would depend on. the nature of the interference. We must recognise that, in the present instance, a. certain judicial character attaches rj the proceedings of the Commission, which we must therefore protect against reflectionswhich might less improperly be cast on nonjudicial bodies. Although I was fortunateenough to dissuade the honorable member for Melbourne Ports from asking the House to consider this question at an earlier date, and would rather that he had not felt it his duty to move the adjournment thisafternoon, I cannot challenge either the propriety of the course which he has deemed it necessary to follow, or the manner in which he has performed what he considers to be a duty. I heard no word of reflection cast by him on the’ Chairman or any member of the Commission. All he did was to express anxiety, which is shared by a great many others, in regard to thelength of time which will probably be occupied before the Commission makes its; report.
– Nevertheless, personal attacks have been made on me.
– The honorable membermust expect that. Personal attacks are in favour this session. The question raised by the honorable member relates to thetime at which the report of the Commission is likely to be presented, and it is to that subject that most honorable members have addressed themselves. That question may properly be considered by us, because itwas very gravely and fully discussed at the time of the appointment of the Commission. Those who pressed for the Commission wished to limit the scope of its inquiry, with a view to expedition, but when a majority decided against that, they pressed for the presentation of progress reports. These were agreed to by the then Prime Minister, who, in the course of subsequent remarks, indicated his natural expectation that reports would be presented during the present session. Honorable members certainly anticipated that probability, and expected that the Commission would terminate its duties early next year. The subject has come before the House to-day because of a difference of opinion among the members of the Commission. A majority of the Commission has decided to proceed to Tasmania on Saturday next, while the minority, who take exception to that course, have brought the matter before another place.
– Taking the political members of the Commission alone, there was a majority against proceeding to Tasmania during the session.
– The non-political are not to be distinguished from the political members of the Commission, except so far as the latter have obligations to their constituents and the country.
– One political member refrained from voting.
– He holds a parliamentary office, which puts him in a special position.
– But by not voting he put his fellow members in a false position.
– This is a matter to be decided by the Commissioner himself. It is rarely that we have in this House a full attendance of honorable members, because some are generally absent visiting their constituents, or on other reasonable grounds. To suggest that the absence of two or three more in connexion with the inquiry of the Tariff Commission would affect the conduct of business here is to say something which our experience does not justify. Honorable members are in this, as in other matters, answerable to their constituents alone for the time which they give to legislative work, and the public duties which they undertake or leave undone.
– Surely we have a right to refer to Parliament, which constituted the Commission, for instruction.
– I have not indicated a contrary opinion, although I do not know that the debate can result in what the honorable member desires. I Quite recognise, however, that he approached the question in an independent spirit, without bias, and swayed by nothing but his duty to the public. It seems to me, however, that in this, as in other matters, every honorable member must judge for himself; that those who decline to attend the sittings of the Commission in Tasmania, so that they may discharge their parliamentary duties here, are free to do so, and that those who think that their’ immediate duty’ at any given time is to the Commission should act accordingly. It must also be pointed out that, inasmuch as the Commission is composed of an equal number of representatives of the two fiscal parties, both of which have non-political as well as political representatives, it is not necessary for all its members to be present at every sitting before the deliberative stage is reached. It may reasonably be arranged that a small number of members representing both sides shall collect evidence which can be read and considered by those honorable members who think that their legislative duties require that they should be in constant attendance in this House. There need be no loss to the Commission, although some loss may be involved to members of the Commission, and some loss to this House, through the absence of those who are engaged taking evidence in other States. But those considerations are not of sufficient importance to weigh with us in arriving at a conclusion in regard to this matter. There is- no doubt that in the public mind there has been an expectation that the Commission would have arrived at a decision upon some questions of urgency by this date, or, at all events, soon after this date. Speaking as a private member, I stated, at the time the Commission was appointed - and other members expressed a similar view - that I looked forward with confidence to such a selection of subjects for inquiry by the Commission as would enable the most urgent cases to 1be dealt with in the order of their merit. I do not say that that is not being done. I have not followed the work of the Commission closely enough to justify me in expressing an opinion, on that point. I am quite prepared to suppose that the Commission have taken that course. What I do say, however, is that there was a strong expectation on the part of the public, and among honorable members of this House, that they would take such a course, and that some definite pronouncement would have been made in regard to some pressing matters during the present year.
– The Commissioners should regard the interests of the taxpayers as of greater urgency than any others.
– I agree that it is their duty to safeguard the interests of taxpayers. But with what object was the Commission appointed? To inquire generally into the working of the whole of the Tariff, and to direct particular attention to those cases in which the operation of the Tariff appeared to have been most disastrous.
– That does not appear in our commission, nor was it indicated in this House.
– Of course it does not appear in the commission in those exact words, but it is implied. The honorable member is wrong, when he says it was not indicated in thisHouse. I indicated it most clearly, and a number of other honorable members in my hearing, whilst not desiring to interfere with the Commission to the extent of dictating to them beforehand, said that their natural expectation was ‘that those industries which appeared - I use the term advisedly - to have suffered from the effects of the Tariff, those in which production had fallen off, in which employment had been reduced, and in which the wages had been brought down, should be first inquired into.
– Why were not those industries specifically mentioned?
– Some of us generally indicated what we supposed to be theindustries most urgently in need of attention. We were not competent to do more than speak in a general way. For instance, some of us stated that the iron industry in Victoria appeared to be staggering, under a severe blow. We spoke only of those industries where we knew them, and at the same time we realized that there might be others of whose necessities we were unaware.
– The Prime Minister will admit that the intentions of Parliament can only be ascertained by consulting the terms of the Commission.
– Yes, but we cannot shut our eyes to the events of the past, or to expressions which indicated the motives and anticipations of honorable members in deciding to appoint the Commission. There is no doubt whatever that the general expectation was that the more urgent cases would be dealt with as early as possible. Of course, it is possible for the members of the Commission to be governed by other considerations than these, and it is within their powers to consider which of the several courses open to them is best to follow in the public interest. That is a matter for them, and I do not desire to encroach upon their province or to challenge their decision or their actions. When, however, they come to consider the course which they are called upon to take, they must naturally look at the facts by which they are surrounded, and the industrial conditions into which they were asked to inquire, that is to say, the effects of the Tariff upon Australian industry, and Australian employment and wages. They must know that certain industries have been greatly injured by the operation of the Tariff, and it is only natural to suppose that they will feel called upon to expedite the inquiry into them as much as possible.
– The time which the honorable and learned member is entitled to occupy under the Standing Orders has expired. Does he wish to obtain leave to continue his remarks?
– Yes, for a few minutes longer.
– Is it the pleasure of honorablemembers that the Prime Minister should be permitted to continue his remarks ?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– It was necessary, first of all, to indicate that this was a proper subject for discussion, and then, after having done justice to the Commission, to explain what question was being submitted to this House at this stage. The matter is one of public notoriety. I understand that the members of the Commission are divided in opinion. The majority of the members appear to think that if they are to deal with, and definitely dispose of, questions of urgency, they must now proceed to the other States, because they have already taken evidence in Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales in some of the cases in which they suspect that urgency can be proved; and they must extend their inquiries into the same industries in other States in order to come to a conclusion with regard to them.
– The one industry to which the Prime Minister has specially referred, namely, the metal industry, is one upon which we have barely touched.
– The honorable member is more familiar with the circumstances than myself, but I understand that the proposal to proceed to the other States instead of taking further evidence in Melbourne was based mainly upon the fact that evidence had been accumulating in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide. The object was to proceed to other States, and ascertain whether the evidence to be obtained there would justify the Commission in submitting a progress report dealing with certain industries which were supposed to be in urgent need of assistance.
– The proposal is to run away from the inquiry into the very industry which, according to the Prime Minister, is regarded as being most in need of help.
– Judging from the statements which’ have been made, the object of the proposal is as I have stated, and the opposition to it has come from those honorable members who, like the honorable and learned member for Parkes, believe that before anything is done, the whole of the industries in the Commonwealth should be inquired into.
– All those industries in regard to which evidence is offered.
– Exactly. Here we have two absolutely conflicting views - one that the Tariff Commission should do nothing until it has done everything, and is in a position to present its final report, and the other that the Commission, having been specially empowered to make progress reports, should take advantage of that power, because of the pressure of circumstances upon those industries. In view of this conflict, one can understand how we have been brought into this discussion, and why the question has been transmitted from the Commission to the floor of this House. It would be undesirable for us to interfere with a Royal Commission without good reason. . At the same time, it must be fully understood that if any Royal Commission appears to fail in its duty, or to neglect to carry out the work which it is appointed to do. or to suffer from any disability, it is quite open for this House to take action. No occasion of that kind has yet arisen so far as I know. In the present instance there is a division of opinion amongst members of the Commission, but the position does not seem to be affected by the consideration that weighs most with the honorable member for Perth, namely, that his duty to his constituents requires his constant attendance in this House. I would point out to the honorable member that he would be doing his duty to his constituents and to the country if he were, as a member of the Commission, conducting an inquiry in other States. Unless he feels that his continuous presence in Parliament is required, in order that the interests of his constituents may be properly conserved, there is no reason why he should not absent himself for a short period. It would not be necessary for all the members of the Commission to absent themselves from Parliament during the whole term. E think’ that, by consultation among them-‘ selves, and by paying due regard to the necessities of each individual case, the members of the Commission might provide for an effective quorum to carry on the work of the Commission, without necessitating an unduly long absence on the part of any particular member. That was done by the Navigation Commission, which visited several States, travelled a great deal, and took a. large quantity of evidence upon a subject of great complexity, although not so complex as that with which the Tariff Commission, has to deal. In that case honorable members studied each other’s convenience and wishes, so that they were able to discharge their duties as Commissioners without being called upon to make any un-‘ due sacrifices of their duties as representatives, even though some of their meetings were held in the far-distant States.
– We are asked to go awa,y for months.
– No one need be absent for the whole of the time.
– How could honorable members who were absent in Western Australia tell what business was coming before this House ?
– Western Australia always presents a difficulty, but even in that case honorable members could ascertain two or three weeks before whether any business in which they were specially interested was likely to come before the House, and could meet the necessities of the case by mutual arrangement and adjustment. It is to be hoped that honorable members on the Commission will recognise the reasonableness and justice of the request that they should add some further sacrifices to those they have already ma3e, and that they should be prepared to sustain further losses such as those which result from travel and absence from their homes. It is true that they are being asked to make such sacrifices, but only in the public interest, and because the seriousness of the issues justify the demand upon them. They are the best judges in the matter. I do not pose as a judge myself, but submit that it ought to be possible for each honorable member to weigh his obligations, and to consult his fellow members with a view to the final closing of an otherwise interminable inquiry before an appeal is made to the country next year. I do not know that I need say anything more. I am obliged to honorable members for having granted me an extension of time, in order to continue my remarks upon a rather novel but very important practical question.
– I must say that I strongly deprecate the introduction of this subject into Parliament, because I think it is most unfortunate that the labours of a public Commission on such a question as this should1 be interfered with by parliamentary influence. The tone and character of the debate to-day have certainly justified me in the view I held. The Prime Minister says that he tried to discourage the honorable member for Melbourne Ports from bringing this matter up, but the Prime Minister has himself - if I may use the expression - abused the occasion more than any other honorable member. After having deprecated the bringing forward of the matter, he made a long speech, covering the whole of the debatable ground we wished to avoid.
– That, in my opinion, was my duty.
Air. REID. - Of course I know the honorable and learned member is a martyr to duty on all occasions. I enter upon this debate with the greatest possible reluctance, because I believe that it may impair the usefulness of the labours of the .Commission and the value of its report. I had hoped that this matter might be settled in some other way, without bringing it before the House. But since the Prime Minister has brought it forward in such a comprehensive way, it is necessary for me to make a few remarks. The Prime Minister has stated that four members of the Commission form a quorum, and that only that number need proceed with the inquiry. In this particular case the quorum would be made of three protectionists and one revenue-tariffist. That would be the result on a Commission in which the representation was intended’ to be absolutely equal, four representing one view. and. four representing the other. If the course nowsuggested is persevered in, instead of equality of representation being secured, three commissioners would represent one view, and one would be on the other side. The Prime Minister seems to think that it is a matter oi no importance at all that a commissioner should be present when the evidence is taken. As a member of the legal profession, he should not take any such view. He has suggested a very easy way out of the difficulty which seems tohave presented itself to some members of the Commission. He says, “ You can stay away all the time, because after the evidence has been taken you can carefully peruse it.” One of the chief servicescommissioners render is by personally attending the meetings of the Commission, and eliciting from the witnesses as much information as possible. That is of the greatest consequence in carrying out the work of the Commission. With reference to the scope of the Commission, a great attempt was made to limit it. But I absolutely resisted it, and the Commission will be guided bv the commission issued to them by the Governor-General. That is their code of instructions. They will not take instructions from any Prime Minister or from any member of this House. If they were to listen to honorable members of this Chamber, they would be violating their duty. They have the plan of their operations laid down by the authority which constituted them. That plan consists of an examination into the position of Australian industries, not into industries which may be pushed under their notice bv one individual in one part of Australia. They are to view all the industries of Australia comprehensively and nationally. Nobody expected that their labours would be finished in a few months. As honorable members will recollect, my first desire was that no members of Parliament should be appointed to that Commission, or, at all events, that very few should be appointed. But it was found to be so difficult to get persons who were fully qualified and who were not interested in some way in the movements of trade, that ultimately it proved that it would be better for the bulk of the members of the Commission to be members of Parliament. But the serious point with me is that there seems to be something political - some political influence beneath this attempt to drive the Commission in a certain direction for a definite political purpose. That is the serious thing which attracts my attention.
It has not been disputed that there is a mass of evidence yet to be taken in the very place from which nearly all the complaints against the effect of the Tariff have come. From where do the bulk of the complaints concerning the distress which is alleged to exist in connexion with Australian industries come - and I wish it to be understood that I do not . use the term “ industries “ as being applied to manufacturers only. I look upon it as involving the interests, not only of the manufacturer, but of the persons who use what he makes, of the other industries which have to deal with him. It would be impossible to conduct this inquiry in any other spirit. But the influence behind the scenes is perfectly apparent. There is a distinct attempt at intimidation being made by the leading protectionist organ of Australia. It began the very moment that this Commission was created. It is of the most unblushing character. There was never a more pernicious or perfidious attempt made to undermine a Commission, or to pervert patriotic efforts from their true course than is being systematically made by the Melbourne Age, of which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is the echo. That is the serious part of this matter. We are assured by the Commissioners that there is a vast quantity of evidence yet to be taken at the very place where Parliament is now sitting. The taking of that evidence will occupy several months. We are at the central spot, where the greatest distress is supposed to exist.
Mr.fowler.-And the very industry that is alleged to be suffering most is the one from which we are invited to run away.
– Exactly. The Prime Minister and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports have mentioned the iron industry of Victoria as suffering severely from the operation of the Tariff. I know of no such urgent complaints as have come from the iron industry of Victoria.
– What about Queensland?
– Let us add Queensland. Let us say that urgency exists in connexion with the iron industries of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Is that a reason for running away to Western Australia? Thatis the funny part of it. The Commissioners are being asked to run away as far as possible from the places where the main grievances are alleged to exist against the Tariff. The iron industries of Victoria are said to be in a bad way.I never knew a protectionist industrywhich was not in. a bad way when there was an increase of duty to be got, and if I were a protectionist manufacturer, no doubt I should do the same as they do - get as much as I could, and make as poor a mouth as I could whilst doing so. That seems to be business in business circles. Let us suppose that we were most rabid in our protectionist views, that we were consumed with a desire to bring out into bold relief the great distress which the present Tariff is working to the industries of Australia. Should not that induce the Commission to sit day by day to deal with the great iron industry of Victoria? Men do not do these sort of things from foolishness. There is sure to be an intelligent motive behind this extraordinary proceeding. What is the answer to that ? The proposed tour round Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia during the whole of this session of Parliament - running away from the industries which are clamouring most for consideration
– How many complaints have come from Tasmania ?
– I do not know that any have come from that State. At any rate, there cannot be many. But the metal industries of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland are surely of infinitely greater importance than those of Tasmania, Western Australia, or South Australia? That is one of the mysteries of the matter to me. I deprecated this discussion altogether ; I tried to avoid it as much as I could. Another mystery is this - the matter has been already mentioned. One of the members of this Commission is the Chairman of Committees in the Senate. I understand that he was present at the meeting of the Commission when it was decided to visit the other States, and that he abstained from voting. He sat at the table with the other Commissioners, and did not vote, and yet it is known that he cannot leave Parliament. By refusing to vote, he enabled a vote to be carried against those who wished to attend to their legislative duties, whilst he himself intended to remain in Melbourne. His duty as Chairman of Committees induced him to vote in effect with those members of the Commission whose duties are not so serious as are his own as an officer of Parliament. There is a mystery in that. I can understand a man voting the wrong way, because his judgment may not be sound ; but what can be said of a Commissioner who sits at the table, fully intending to act as the minority act, and who abstains from voting so as to bring about a decision which will leave him in Parliament and drive other members of the Legislature away from Melbourne? I understand that the voting was four to three. The majority consisted of the Chairman of the Commission, Senator McGregor, Mr, Clarke, the citizen protectionist member of that body, and Mr. Wamsley, the freetrade member. The fact that Mr. Wamsley voted with the majority, thus making the number of Commissioners four to go away, instead of four to stay in Melbourne, shows that there was no tinge of free-trade manipulation in connexion with that division. Since the Commission has been appointed, the less we have to do with its members the tetter. I look upon it as a judicial body, and it ought to be respected as such, and we should interfere with it as little as possible. But there is the extraordinary state of affairs to which I have already alluded - the fact that a member of the Commission who could not go away from this city, actually abstained from performing his duty, in order to force other members of Parliament to be absent from their duties. What was the motive for such conduct? It is highly suggestive of a political design. If there is any/ other motive, it should be mentioned. I believe that the opinion of that Commissioner is notorious. He thinks that the Commission ought not to visit the other States during the session. He made no secret of his opinion to his fellow Commissioners. He believes that its members should stay in Melbourne, and complete the Melbourne portion of their work. We learn now, for the first time, from the debate which took place in the other Chamber, that he actually proposed an amendment to the effect that the Commission should remain in Melbourne, and complete its labours here. Perhaps the Chairman of the Commission mav have heard of that amendment, but none of the other Commissioners did. Four of them absolutely say that thev never heard any such proposal made. It is an extraordinary state of things that this very senator who did not vote on the subject - the vital point as to the proceedings of the Commission - now says that he moved an amendment which would have prevented the Commission from leaving Melbourne if anybody but himself had heard him submit it. The whole incident is a pity, and it suggests a state of things which we view with concern. I wish now to refer to only one other matter. The Prime Minister is beginning to speak as if he contemplated another action which will revive painful memories. He knows well enough that before the Tariff Commission was appointed, the Treasurer of the day, and myself, as the head of the Government, pointed out unmistakably that whilst anomalies - hardships of a certain kind - might be dealt with by this Parliament, anything; which raised the fiscal question could not be dealt with, if there is any honour or truthfulness in public leaders. The honorable and learned gentleman was Prime Minister on a previous occasion, and he went before the people of Australia, and drew the very picture of industries being destroyed by ‘ the operation of the Tariff which he draws to-day. He spoke of industries which were languishing. He pointed out the evils of this compromise Tariff, but with his eyes fully opened, and being aware of all these ruinous consequences, hie invited the people of Australia to select their representatives on the honorable basis of honest men who would respect their honest public pledge, namely, that the Tariff should not be altered during the life of this] Parliament. There is no expression in that language which the most acute lawyer can juggle out of. Fortunately, we have in the records of this Parliament every word that I have just uttered. On the 12th October, 1904, and I think I am correct in saying that the fact that the Tariff Commission was to be appointed was well known at that time, because its appointment was spokenof shortly after the formation of the late Government-
-The right honorable member has now ‘ occupied the time to which he is entitled.
– I shall require to speak a few minutes longer.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the right honorable member continue ?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– On the 12th October of last year,) when the then leader of the Opposition, the honorable member for Bland,, moved a vote of censure upon the late Government, the present Prime Minister repeated at great length what he had assured the people of Australia upon this subject when he appealed to them. There is a page and a half in Hansard which is occupied by a quotation from the present
Prime Minister’s manifesto speech. The honorable and learned member, after giving that quotation, said - 1 have not a word to retract or qualify.
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports -then interjected -
Save that great changes have since taken place.
There is no doubt that great changes take place if men break their words. If men break their plighted faith it is one of the incidents of the transaction that great -changes take place. What was the honorable and learned member’s reply to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports ? This was when the two honorable members sat opposite one another. The report con.tinues -
– What changes have taken place that I did not mention in that speech -
He was referring to his manifesto -
Did I not say that industries were being destroyed under the Tariff; that others were being injured; that we were suffering; that it was not our Protectionist Tariff? I did, and knowing all this. we advocated fiscal peace.
And now this honorable and learned member tells us that it. is a matter of urgency that any progress report relating to the iron industry should be presented, in order that we may give it more protection - in. order to break the fiscal peace and to dishonour the honorable and learned member’s pledges to the people of Australia. This does not occasion any surprise at the present moment, although it would have done a little time ago.
– The right honorable member is playing a part.
– I hope not. I certainly do not wish to do the .honorable and lea,mec gentleman an injustice. It is really unnecessary for me to make any quotation from this speech, because his statement to the people of Australia was a very definite one. I do not think that even the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will say the Prime Minister did ‘ not go before the electors at the last election, advocating fiscal peace.
– And what did the right honorable member advocate at the same election ?
– I am not dealing with that point. When one asks the question, “ What did so and so say upon a certain occasion?” the answer “What did you say?” is certainly an extraordinary one.
– I shall tell the right honorable member what he said.
– If the .honorable member does he will (recover the use of his tongue, which is the least valuable of his many good parts.
– The right honorable member’s opinion on that point is of no value.
– Let me read a little further from the Hansard report, to which I have just referred. It continues -
– We did not then know the extent of the suffering -
The honorable member tried to qualify the Prime Minister’s statement -
– I did not pretend to know it; but I knew that under the Tariff many trades must be destroyed, and particularly those now so severely affected. Every one could foresee that a duty of 12^ per cent, must strike a heavy blow at the iron trade.
Do we not know that that duty of 12^ per cent, was the result of a compromise between the two Houses of the Parliament? Do we not know that this House decided upon a duty of 15 per cent., while the Senate fixed upon a duty at 10 per cent., and that the 12 J per cent, duty was the result, as I have said, of a parliamentary compromise? The honorable and learned member for Ballarat said on the occasion in question that -
Every one could foresee that a duty of 12^ per cent, must strike a heavy blow at the iron trade, and so with other manufactures…..
I spoke then, not only for myself, but for the Cabinet to which I, belonged -
So that the honorable and learned gentleman spoke for the present Minister of Customs, for the Postmaster-General, and for the Treasurer - he spoke in their name to the people of Australia. Surely these smaller acts of personal slipperiness are not going to degenerate into an act of national treachery. The honorable and learned member has, on several occasions lately, used expressions as to the urgency of getting the reports of the Commission before the House. I wish now to quote something infinitely clearer than anything I have yet read from this report -
– Surely the pledges were given to the country in its interests?
That was a suggestion that the honorable and learned member could break those pledges if he thought it would be to the interests of the country to do so. That is a very nice Jesuitical doctrine -
– I hope so.
– It will be in the interests of the country to break them.
There is no refinement about the methods of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. He reads his favorite newspaper too constantly to allow anything of the kind. We come now to the pure-minded honorable member for Ballarat -
– I cannot treat such a proposition as serious. The honorable member wishes to be judge and jury to decide how far his own agreements shall bind him -
That was a very pertinent remark -
He forgets that there is another party to the agreement - his constituents. His is a most delightful doctrine, so far as he is concerned, but such a mode of discharging an honorable obligation belongs to that far-off time when the State will manage everything for us -
That is Socialism - except ourselves.
We see that when the tempter, with his jesuitical suggestion as to the propriety of breaking pledged words-
– The impropriety.
– No, the propriety, as coming from the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. When this jesuitical suggestion was made, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat immediately, and in the plainest terms, scouted any such dishonorable proposal. My desire is that I shall not be misunderstood. If the Prime Minister simply wishes urgent reports, that will not violate the fiscal peace, to be submitted, in order to do some good,. I have not a single word to say. There might be, for instance, some matters reported on by the Commission which would absolutely avoid raising any fiscal question.
– Such, for instance, as a proposal to lower the duty.
– I am not suggesting anything. I do not care what it is.
– Of what other character could such a proposal be?
– The honorable member, as he has shown us, can conceive of any number of proposals that might not raise the fiscal issue. I wish to put the matter in the fairest possible way. If anything were brought under our notice that did not break the pledge of fiscal peace - and we know that “ peace ‘ ‘ means that a man can walk about with his old enemy without any fear of being stabbed, without notice, in the dark - I am sure that there is not one honorable member who would be unprepared to consider it. If anything could be suggested by the Commission, at any time, that would improve the Tariff, without overriding the compact of fiscal peace,
I am sure that no honorable member would be unprepared to consider it.
– How would the right honorable member define what would be a breach of the compact? There is a personal equation every time.
– But still we should always hare to remember our duty to our constituents to whom our pledges have been given. That is a matter which must be considered. I wish to say again that I absolutely deprecate any interference with the Commission. That is my attitude. The members of the Commission ought to settle their difficulties amongst themselves.
– Have they not settled them?
– I do not know.
– Have they not agreed to take evidence in other States during the present session?
– I understand that there was a division of opinion on the subject, and that that course was decided upon by a majority of four votes to three. If it be a fact that there is a vast quantity of evidence relative to Victorian industries which might be taken in Melbourne during the present session, and that honorable members on the Commission would thus be able to remain in attendance here while carrying on their investigations, surely that arrangement is one to which every man ought to agree.
– Then the right honorable member wishes to override the decision of the Commission ?
– No; I do not try to do things that I cannot do. I do not even tryto take a bath during a division.
– A political bath would do the right honorable member a lot of good, but a great quantity of water would be necessary in order to give him a political washing.
– I hope that the Commission will be able to settle the question in such a way as to remove the present difficulties, and to enable those members of the Commission who have spoken, to do their duty to it. It would be a thousand pities if any two honorable members - I do not care on what side they sat were unable to take part in the inquiries of the Commission in other States. The country is entitled to the benefit of their best efforts whilst this inquiry is being made. The mere reading of evidence is something that we could all do for ourselves. There was one point raised by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that has absolutely nothing to do with expediting the work of the Commission. The honorable member complained that the Chairman had not a casting vote on matters of policy. We know that the report of a Commission is not drawn up until the work of taking evidence has been concluded, so that the fact that the Chairman has not a casting vote does not involve any delay in the presentation of the report of the Commission. The giving of a casting vote to the Chairman of a Commission is simply an attempt to give one man the power to present a report as being the decision of possibly four men, when it is the decision of only three. It is a mere juggle. The question would probably not have been raised in connexion with the appointment of the Tariff Commission but for the absurd position which arose in connexion with the report of the Iron Bonus Commission. It will be remembered that that Commission consisted of twelve members, six of whom drew up one report, making certain recommendations, whilst the remaining six framed another. But because one of these parties included the Chairman, who had a casting vote, the report which he signed became the report of the whole Commission. “We, your Commissioners,” it ran, whereas there was an absolutely equal number in favour of a different report. Their report, however, was stowed away at the close of the other, as if it were a sort of rider to the verdict ofa jury. That arose from the mere juggle of a chairman having two votes instead of one. With that precedent before us, it would have been an absurdity to allow the same state of affairs to arise in connexion with another Commission. It was this that led to the Commission being so framed as to provide that the Chairman should not have a casting vote in the matter of the report. That, however, does not affect the present position of the Commission. It is a matter that can only come into play after the evidence has been taken.
Debate interrupted. General business called on under standing order No.119.
– I move -
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty as follows : -
May it please Your Majesty.
We, Your Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the members of the House of Representatives, in Parliament assembled, desire most earnestly inour name and on behalf of the people whom we represent, to express our unswerving loyalty and devotion to Your Majesty’s person and Government.
We have observed with feelings of profound satisfaction the evidence afforded by recent legislation and recent debates in the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom of a sincere desire now to deal justly with Ireland; and, in particular, we congratulate the people of the United Kingdom on the remarkable Act directed towards the settlement of the land question, and on the concession to the people of Ireland of a measure of Local Government for municipal purposes. But the sad history of Ireland since the Act of Union shows that no British Parliament can understand or effectively deal with the economic and social conditions of Ireland.
Enjoying and appreciating as we do the blessings of Home Rule here, we would humbly express the hope that a just measure of Home Rule may be granted to the people of Ireland. They ask for it through their representatives - never has request more clear, consistent, and continuous been made by any nation. As subjects of Your Majesty, we are interested in the peace and contentment of all parts of the Empire, and we desire to see this long-standing grievance at the very heart of the Empire removed. It is our desire for the solidarity and permanence of the Empire, as a Power making for peace and civilization, that must beour excuse for submitting to Your Majesty this respectful petition.
This is a motion which throughout last session appeared on the notice-paper in the name of the honorable member for Southern. Melbourne, and it is at his request that I now submit it to the House. It is a motion identical in form with that carried in Canada about two years ago - similar in words and the same in substance. In Canada they appear to have realized what I regard as the true Imperial idea, that each part of the Empire is interested in the prosperity of the whole, and, as we have interfered in reference to Africa for the purposes of war, I see no reason why we should not interfere in reference to other parts of the Empire forthe purposes of peace. It appears to me that there is at the heart of the Empire a festering sore. There is very near to the seat of the Imperial Government a nation which is poor and dwindling, and discontented with its relations with that Government. But, although it is a poor and dwindling race in Ireland, it has branches everywhere - in all the Colonies and Possessions of the British Empire, throughout the great United States, and in all parts of the world.
– A large part of the Irish do not wish for Home Rule.
– The honorable member interjects official ly as leader of the Orange organization in New South Wales.
– A very good order. What -has the honorable and learned member to :say against it?
– I shall not say an unkind word against it, or against the honorable member. If unkindness or bitterness is expressed in this debate, it will not come from me.
– There will be no bitterness in what I say, either.
– I would remind the honorable member that, although in 1800 there were petitions against the Union from most of the Orange lodges, not one Orange lodge petitioned in favour of it, and the first movement for its repeal came from the Orange organization. Ireland is simply seeking to be allowed to control her own affairs in her own way. I do not ask the House to interfere in matters of legislative detail, but, as we belong to the Empire, the relations of each part of it to the whole affect our interests, and are our concern. I say, too, speaking now to members who have had to face elections in all parts of Australia, that we have a direct interest in removing this cause of friction from our Australian issues. I ask honorable members, from their experience in facing audiences from the platform and in watching the course of votes, whether they have not, in all parts of Australia, known these Irish faction cries to be drawn across the true issues “before the electors. It is with a. view to the withdrawal of this disturbance of our issues that I ask honorable members to assist me in passing the motion. I intend to pass by ancient history in discussing it. I do not intend to base my arguments on historical grounds, although the historical grounds are those which would most appeal to men of Irish race and Irish descent. I do not intend to go into the long and painful history of the penal laws, or to refer to the repeated land confiscations, the deliberate destruction of industries, or to the corruption and the intimidation with which the Union was obtained. The question of union, as we know, was never put before the electors of Ireland before the Act pf Union was passed. It was never put before them at a general election. The argument which has been used is that a Parliament has no right to destroy itself any more than an agent to whom one intrusts money is entitled to hand it to a stranger, or a trustee to get rid of his trust. But, as I am speaking to men who have knowledge of practical matters, and have to deal with present day concerns, I wish to speak of present day conditions, to ascertain what are those conditions, and to find out what is best under all the circumstances. My arguments will be based chiefly upon stubborn facts - upon facts which are indubitable. I wish to show that the Union between Great Britain and Ireland is an admitted failure –conceived in blunder, consummated in fraud, and maintained to the discredit and the damage of the people of the Empire. What test have we of this? In the first place, we find that the population of Ireland was in 1800, when the Union was entered into, two-fifths of that of the United Kingdom, and now it is but one-tenth, having been reduced from four-tenths to onetenth.
– Is that reduction due to the Union ?
– I firmly believe that it ls. The population of Ireland to-day is actually less than it was in 1800, while the population of all the other parts of the United Kingdom has increased. I wish now to show the grounds upon” which the Union was advocated by that great Minister, William Pitt the younger, and to show that his expectations have been absolutely falsified. In 1800,, when commending this step to the Parliament of England, he said it was - a measure whose object is to communicate to the sister kingdom the skill, the capital, and the industry which have raised this country to such a pitch of opulence, to give her full participation of the commerce and of the Constitution of England ; to unite the affections and resources of two powerful nations, and to place under one public will’ .the direction of the whole force of the Empire.
The skill, capital, and industry of England have not been communicated to Ireland. Such industry and capital as Ireland possessed at the time of the Union has rather been transferred the other way. Ireland has not a full participation of the commerce and Constitution of England. She has not the Constitution of England nor the constitutional liberties. The affections and resources of the nations have not been united. Lord Hawkesbury, who was very prominent’ at the time, and urged the Union with very great force, said -
Let this union take places-all Irish party will be extinguished. There will be no parties but the parties of the British Empire.
What a false prophet !
Such a union will give strength, integrity, and harmony to our whole system, and will make
Ireland in any future contest a source of incalculable energy, strength, and support to this kingdom.
I do not know any greater irony than the application of past prophecies to the realities of the times in which we live. It was pointed out that Irish peers and Members of Parliament would, if the Union were consummated, have to be absent for part of the year in London, and Lord Darnley urged that for every absentee there would be ten English merchants and manufacturers in Ireland. We find, however, that the Irish manufacturers have gone to England”, and. that there are fewer manufacturers in Ireland now than there were at the time of the Union. A joint address of the two Houses of the English Parliament was presented to the King, in which the members said that they had the - full conviction that by incorporating the legislatures and consolidating the resources of the two kingdoms, we shall increase the power and stability of the British Empire, and shall, at the same time, contribute in the most effectual manner to the improvement of the commerce, the security of the religion, and the preservation of the liberties of Your Majesty’s subjects in Ireland.
The commerce has not been improved. The religion referred to has been disestablished, the liberties of His Majesty’s subjects have been taken away, and during the century Ireland has nearly always been under coercion Acts, and without the protection of Habeas corpus. The next thing to which I refer is the address of the Speaker of the English Parliament to the King, in which he speaks of the - great and important arrangement by which Your Majesty’s subjects in Great Britain ana Ireland will henceforth constitute one people, actuated by the same views, connected by the same interests, and governed by the same laws.
I shall show that, although there is one Legislature, there is one set of laws for one country and another set of laws for the other. Lord Clare, who was the chief instrument of Pitt in forming the Union, a man of great ability, who. according to his nephew, on his dying bed regretted his efforts to bring it about, promised that -
We are to be relieved from British and Irish faction -
I wish we were - which is the prime source of all our calamities. One army, without additional expense, a better garrison, English capital, manufacturers and industry would come across.
The Irish army costs more than it did before the Union, and English capital and manufactures have not come across, but the industries and manufactures of Ireland have, to a large extent, gone to England. Let me contrast what Mr. Lecky has said -
The Act of Union has not made Ireland either a loyal or a united country.
So much for these prophecies. I will now show that some prophecies have been verified. One of the chief opponents of theUnion in the British House of Commons was Mr. Charles Grey, afterwards thesecond Earl Grey, a man whose speech is well worth reading by any of us. In it he pointed out, among other’ things, that Irish, taxation must, in a united Parliament, depend on British interests. Now I wishto show that that is exactly what has occurred. Taxation has been levied on the whole of the United Kingdom, in accordance with the interests of England, and1 without regard to the interests of Ireland. That must always occur where there is n predominant partner. The brilliant Sheridan said -
If this measure is thus to be carried -
He meant carried without being referred” to the people for their decision -
I have no hesitation in saying that it is an act of tyranny and oppression, and must become * fatal source of new discontents and future rebellions.
Charles Fox, though he did not take an> active part in the debates of the union,, expressed himself in much the same way. Tierney expressed a similar view, and Grattan said -
This Union will lead to generations of disloyally and agitation and strife.
That is exactly what has occurred. Now, I should like to refer to the mode of government in Ireland at this present day, inorder to show that the constitutional liberties and the ordinary common-sense arrangements existing in Great Britain arenot to be found in Ireland. It is said that a union exists between Great Britain and Ireland ; but there is no union. Thereis an Act of Union, but it is a union merely in name. There is a separate Executive, a separate establishment, and fortyoneindependent Departments, only one or twoof which are under the control of the LordLieutenant, who is the Executive head of the Administration. The Lord-Lieutenant “ has no real control over the Departments. There is one Legislature, but there are different laws made for each country. Before the Union Irish members made laws for the Irish people, face to face with them. Now British members make Jaws for the Irish people, without any responsibility to them. The making of laws for Ireland has been taken from those who did know, and has been given to those who do not know, Ireland’s conditions. As the great Foster, last Speaker in the House of Commons in Ireland, said-
You are creating a separate State, a separate establishment, a separate exchequer, a separate debt, separate courts, and separate laws. The Lord-Lieutenant and the castles still remain, but Ireland has no Parliament.
– But the people of Ireland are represented in the British Parliament.
– I want to point out that the great measures which have been passed ki the British Parliament during the last century have been confined to Great Britain, and have not been extended, to Ireland. The great parliamentary reform measure of 1832 was passed for the benefit of Great Britain. Ireland was carefully excluded from its benefits. When the Catholic emancipation took place the fortyshilling freeholders were even deprived of their right to vote. During the period from 1829 to 1879 forty-eight Coercion Acts were passed for Ireland alone, and, by a strange coincidence, fifty Land Bills proved fruitless - that is to say, they failed to pass. These Bills were directed solely to the benefit, of Ireland, and they were brought in by Irish members. Lord Dunraven is a Unionist, and still adheres most emphatically to the Union. Notwithstanding that, he has expressed himself in the clearest terms with regard to the evils of the present system of government for Ireland. There was an old saying that England had gone for her policy to hell, and1 for her methods to Bedlam. I cannot conceive of any civilized country at this period of the world’s’ history possessing such a ridiculous and unbusiness-Iike system of government. Lord Dunraven, who is one of the most influential men in Ireland, points out -
Ireland is governed by a LordLieutenantGeneral and General-Governor. The LordLieutenant is assisted by a Privy Council .having functions similar to those of the Privy Council of Great Britain, and exercising the same amount of control. He is also provided with a Chief Secretary. It sometimes happens that neither the Lord-Lieutenant nor. the Chief Secretary is in the Cabinet, but, as a rule, if the Lord-Lieutenant is in the Cabinet, the Chief Secretary is not, and he may be said to be subordinate to his chief. If the Lord-Lieutenant is not in the Cabinet, the Chief Secretary is, and the chief may be said to be subordinate to his secretary.
The appointment of Lord-Lieutenant and of his Chief Secretary is purely political. The administration of Irish affairs is in the hands of forty -one departments; certain of them are, for obvious and perfectly justifiable reasons, removed altogether from the sphere of the Irish Government:. A very few of them, with one or two small exceptions - only those connected with crime - are under the control of the Lord-Lieutenant. Over some of them the Irish Government can exercise very limited and partial control. The proceedings of others merely come under the cognizance of the Irish Government, which cannot exercise any effective control, and over many, including some important departments, the Irish Government possesses no power of control whatever.
Imagine a Department without even the control of the Minister responsible to the British House of Parliament. He continues: -
This system, which I think it will be admitted is, to say the least of it, peculiar, has not even the merit of being cheap ; on the contrary, whether compared with the expenses incidental to government elsewhere, or looked at relatively to the amount of money voted for Irish services, the working expense of running the administrative and executive machine is costly in the extreme. In the expenditure of money devoted to Irish services, and passing through the hands of those forty-one departments, the people of Ireland have no voice.
Just fancy the huge sums of money which have been spent free from any control from the point of view of the public. If I . am not wearying honorable members I might say that this view of Lord Dunraven has been confirmed by the opinion of Sir West Ridgeway, who was UnderSecretary for Ireland during the most trying period of the land league, when Ireland was very disturbed, and who was abused right and left by the leaders and others. Let us listen to the words of this man of experience, who had to hold the reins during a troublous time. Writing to Lord Dunraven, he said : -
For this reason, but not for this reason alone, do 1 subscribe to the proposal of your association, for “ the devolution to Ireland of a larger measure of local government than she now possesses,” and, unhesitatingly, do I share your belief that the Union will be strengthened, not endangered, by that concession. We all remember the dire predictions which attended Mr. Balfour’s gift to Ireland of the limited rights of local government which she now enjoys, and we have lived to realize - -what I realized at the time - that happily Cassandra, for once, prophesied falsely. Therefore, we need not be alarmed or depressed if she gain denounces the devolution to Ireland of those extended rights of local government which must sooner or later be delegated in other directions if the Imperial Parliament is to be saved from paralysis and impotence.
Now I desire to refer to the Reform Association, which is a body composed principally of landlords and men who are interested on the unionist side. They say : -
We desire to express our strong opinion that if local knowledge were brought to bear upon expenditure, the money could be made to go further, and would be more usefully employed than it is under the present system. The effect we feel confident would be a great improvement in the mutual relations between Great Britain and Ireland, increased confidence in the Government of the latter country, and amelioration in her economic condition. . . ‘. The great and increasing difficulty which Parliament finds in dealing with the unwieldy mass of business that comes before it is, we believe, very generally admitted. Under existing circumstances, the special needs of Ireland do not and cannot receive adequate attention. Sufficient relief cannot, in our opinion, be afforded by mere amendment in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. Some delegation of authority is necessary. We believe that power to deal with much of the business relating to Irish affairs which Parliament is at present unable to cope with, might, with perfect safety and with advantage both to Ireland and Parliament, be delegated to an Irish body to be constituted for the purpose.
That comes from a body of men who opposed the Home Rule Bill introduced by Mr. Gladstone. The honorable member for Dalley will, perhaps, be shocked at what I am now going to read. Lord Rossmore, the Grand Master of an Orange Lodge”, in answer to a telegram, said: -
Said and repent my private opinion is some legislative body required to legislate on purely Irish business affairs, and must soon be granted by one or other English party.
– That shows that we are fighting for liberty.
– I feel quite sure that the honorable member, with his democratic and literal views, would support me, but that he is bound and fettered. Earl Dudley, who is the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the present time, having been appointed to that position by a Conservative and unionist Government, says: -
The only way to govern Ireland properly is to govern it according to Irish, and not according to English ideas.
At one time we had in Australia a Governor of Irish family, Sir Hercules Robinson, afterwards Lord Rosmead, who during the last years of his life became a convinced Home
Ruler in consequence of his Australian experiences. Mr. Charles James Fox uttered words of the same tenor. He said -
I would have the Irish Government regulated by Irish national ideas and Irish prejudices, and I am convinced that the more she is under Irish Government the more she will be bound to English interests.
Burke, in speaking of this matter, said - lft- reluctant tie can be a strong one.
Lecky says, in regard to this question -
The Imperial Parliament exercises over Ireland legislative functions, but it is almost powerless upon public opinion. It allays no discontent, and attracts no affection.
As I have already said, there is an Act of Union ; but there is no true union of the two Kingdoms. The very phrase used by Lord Rosebery the other day shows that. A British statesman, who happened to be Prime Minister for a time, actually says that a majority of the United Kingdom is not to have its way unless the majority of one part of the Kingdom - the “ predominant partner,” as he styles England - declare for that way. He says that we must find a majority in England before we can say that a measure of Home- Rule for Ireland should be carried, even if it be carried by a majority taken from all the different countries which form the Union. I say that that is not a union. A true union would be one in which the majority could have its way in whatever part of the united territories it was found. Those who know Ireland best, who have had1 to administer its affairs - those who have worked in it as Lord-Lieutenants, as Chief Secretaries, as Under-Secretaries, have, of late years, nearly all been in ‘favour of Home Rule. I need not refer to John Morley, Sir George Trevelyan, Sir Henry, CampbellBannerman - all Chief Secretaries - to Sir Robert Hamilton, ex-Governor of Tasmania, who was an Under-Secretary, to Sir Anthony Macdonnell, who is the Under-Secretary, all of whom are in favour of Home Rule. Among LordLieutenants, I refer to Lord Dudley, who said that the proper way in which to govern Ireland was according to Irish ideas. Lord Spencer and Lord Aberdeen were declared Home Rulers, and, from the interview with Mr. Parnell, I have no doubt that Lord Carnarvon was also a Home Ruler, although he would not afterwards admit it. Now I wish to give a few figures in reference to this matter, because I know that there are a number of honorable members who would like to reduce the proposal to a question of practical working. I do not know that I can appeal to any statistical authority higher than Sir Robert Giff en - a man whose motives cannot be impugned, and whose skill is proverbial - a man who ishimself a Unionist. He has pointed out that in Ireland there are 3,000,000 people living by agriculture, and that their average income is £13 or £14 annually. For a family of five, that would represent about £65 a year. He further points out that, when the Union with Great Britain was effected, Ireland had a debt of £24,000,000, but that between 1800 and 1815 it was raised to £128,000,000 - that is to say, in the proportion of more than five to one.
– To what purpose was that money applied?
– It was partly applied to the Napoleonic wars between 1800 and 181 5. But the remarkable feature is that, in the interval, the debt of England increased very considerably, but not nearly so much. At the time the Union was consummated, England had a debt of £420,000,000, but, in 1815. this amount had increased to £680,000,000. That is to say that, whereas Ireland had increased her debt in the proportion of five to one, England had increased hers in the proportion of three to two. Then, in1817, when the Irish debt had been so increased, the two debts were merged.
– In what proportion were the debts allocated after the Napoleonic wars?
– The two debts were merged - that is to say, England took Ireland’s debt, and Ireland took England’s.
– The total debt at that time. I think, was only £200,000,000.
– No; Ican assure the honorable member on that point. I have the figures here. I repeat that the debt of England was increased in the proportion of three to two, and the Irish debt in the proportion of five to one. In the meantime, the Irish taxation was increased from £3,500,000 to £7,000,000; but in spite of that the debt rose hugely. According to Sir Robert Giffen, Ireland possesses now one-twentieth of the total resources of the United Kingdom, but her taxation in relation to that of the United Kingdom is as one is to eleven. In other words, she pays about double the taxation she should pay. People often inquire from what hardship does Ireland suffer at the present time. Is not that a hardship? If the
English taxpayer suffers to the extent of 2s. 6d., the Irishman suffers to the extent of 5s.
– To what class of taxation does the honorable and learned member refer ?
– I am referring to the taxation on the necessariesof life, which falls most heavily upon the poorer classes.
– The land and income taxes are the same.
– But if I levy a tax of 2s. 6d. upon a man who receives only £1 per week, it falls much harder upon him than it does upon the individual who gets £100 per week. Sir Robert Giffen says that, whereas Ireland ought to pay £3,500,000 to the Imperial Exchequer, she is contributing nearly £7,000,000. In 1886 there were 24.000 troops - principally infantry - in Ireland. The British troops, it is estimated, cost £150 a man per annum to. maintain. In proportion to population, Ireland has troops whose maintenance annually costs £3,000,000 too much. Besides that, one-fourth of the whole of the expenditure of the United Kingdom upon the Civil Service is expended upon the Irish Civil Service.
– Ireland has also too many representatives in the Imperial Parliament.
– If the honorable member will allow me, I should like to keep to my figures in their order. I repeat that one-fourth of the total expenditure of the United Kingdomupon the Civil Service is expended upon the Irish Civil Service, notwithstanding that Ireland has only onetenth of the population, and one-fiftieth of the resources, of the United Kingdom. Then Sir Robert Giffen says that the amount over-spent on administration in Ireland is £2,928,000 per annum. Some honorable members will perhaps be disposed to say that that expenditure does good to Ireland. But Sir Robert Giffen says that it does not benefit Ireland, because it is largely waste; neither does Great Britain gain. The same author says that people may urge that certain profits are derived from the investment ofEnglish capital. These, however, are very small. He points out that, even with unjust taxation, the British Government gets Jess revenue from Ireland than is annually spent there, by £2,750,000. Great Britain loses that amount each year as the result of the existing system, although Ireland contributes more than her fair share of the taxation.
– So that the Irish people actually pay £2,000,000 less than it costs to govern them.
– No. What I said was that the Irish people are paying double as much taxation as they should in proportion to their means, and that notwithstanding that taxation England loses by the transaction. Although the Government get so much more from taxation, they lose £2,750,000 annually. As Giffen says, speaking of total separation first -
Both sides would gain, assuming no political danger to arise, because the present government of Ireland by England involves very serious waste. The advantage to Ireland of a partial (not total) separation involving a settlement of the direct accounts and leaving to it all the advantage of forming part of the United Kingdom would be enormous.
He also says -
Considerations like these, which are so material, have, however, made no impression on the Imperial Parliament hitherto; and that this has been the case is one reason, amongst many others, why on this side of St. George’s channel we should speak with some modesty of the Imperial Parliament being capable of dealing with Irish affairs.
Almost all the Irish exports, he adds, go to England. These represent a value of about £20,000,000 annually. Ireland contributes twice her proper share, if not more, to the Imperial Exchequer. The taxable income of Ireland in 1886 was £15,000,000, which it is considered represents about 5 per cent. of the taxable income of the whole of the United Kingdom.
– England is a great customer for Ireland, then?
– I have just said so. That is the reason why it is utter nonsense to say that Ireland desires separation from the mother country. It would notbe business. It would be absolute madness. The taxable income of Ireland, as I have said, represents 5 per cent of the taxable income of the whole of the United Kingdom. How does that income go? Of £15,000,000 of taxable income, £7,000,000 goes to Imperial taxes, £3,000,000 to local taxes, and the balance only is available for use.
-No less a sum than £112,000,000, taken from the Imperial exchequer, was expended’ in Ireland not long ago.
– I think that the honorable member had better seek more information on that subject.
– The honorable and learned member knows that my statement is correct.
– I am familiar with the matter to which the honorable member has referred, and shall deal with it later on. The less the honorable member dwells upon that phase of the question the better. As to the £12,000,000-
– The honorable member for Dalley spoke of £112,000,000.
– But of that sum £100,000,000 was devoted by way of loan only, to the purchasing tenants, while the remaining £12,000,000 was a solid gift to the landlords. In 1895 a Financial Relations Commission, consisting of men of all shades of political belief - conservatives, liberals, nationalists, and independent men of business - presented a report, in which eleven out of the thirteen Commissioners concurred. Mr, Childers, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer, left a posthumous writing, in which he also concurred with this report, which contained the statements, among others -
That the act of Union imposed upon Ireland a burden which, as events showed, she was unable to bear.
That the increase of taxation laid upon Ireland between 1853 and1860 was not justified by the then existing circumstances.
That identity of rates of taxation do not necessarily involve equality of burden.
That was a reference to the half-crown example to which I have already referred -
That while the actual tax revenue of Ireland is about one-eleventh of that of Great Britain, the relative taxable capacity of Ireland is very much smaller, and is not estimated by any of us as exceeding one-twentieth.
That implies that even the most extreme men on the Commission considered that the relative taxable capacity of Ireland was not more than one-twentieth of that of Great Britain. In 1895 the taxation of Ireland was £2,750,000 per annum in excess of what it ought to have been. The average taxation per head, according to the Commission, was £1 15s.9d.; but it has since been increased to £2 5s. 6d. per head. In 1849 it was only 14s. 9d. per head, so that while Ireland has been becoming poorer, and her population less numerous, her taxation has been increasing.
– Per capita.
– And absolutely. What do these figures mean ? At the time of the Union, according to the best estimates that have been formed, the population of Ireland was 4,500,000 ; but to-day it is only 4,250,000. Although at the time of the Union, the taxation of Ireland was only about £2,000,000 per annum, it is now over £13,000.000 per annum, notwithstanding that the population is smaller and the country poorer.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that under Home Rule, the taxation of Ireland would be less ?
– Sir Robert Giffen says that it would be; he has shown the enormous advantage that would accrue to Ireland if she had an opportunity to look after her own expenditure. I may point out that, according to Lord Castlereagh, at the time of the Union, the British interest bill was £20,000,000 per annum, and that of Ireland -£1,300,000 per annum. For fifteen years before the Union Ireland spent £41,000,000, but for the fifteen wars after the Union she expended £148,000.000. As the result of the Union her expenditure increased to that extent. Somewhere about the fifties Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Gladstone equalized the taxes. Up to that time there had been differences in the scale of taxation operating in the two countries. But equalizing the taxes in amount does not mean making them equal in incidence. If the people of India, for instance, were taxed at the same rate as all the people of Great Britain, an injustice would be done tb the former, because they are much poorer than are the people of England. In the same way it is unfair to tax the people of Ireland at the same rate as the wealthier people of England. In the fifties taxation in Ireland was increased by 52 per cent., while in England it was increased by only 17 per cent., this being the result, partly of the Crimean war. The fiscal system was built up so as to make the taxation fall upon Ireland with much greater severity than upon Great Britain.
– That, however, was not the object.
– I do not say that it was.
– But, incidentally, the fiscal system had that effect.
– That is sd. I do not impute motives in these matters. I feel that members of Parliament are very apt to look at their own constituencies and to the interests of those constituencies. But the preponderating interests in the House of Commons are those of the English. The members of that House legislate with a view to the interests of England, and do not sufficiently consider those of the weaker country. Ireland has been subjected to the burdens of English wars, but has not received the benefit of the war expenditure. Until lately she had no naval dockyards, while England had nine. In 1843 the naval expenditure of Great Britain amounted to £6,500.000; and of that sum only £10,000 went to Ireland.
– But she has very fine dockyards in Belfast.
– She has at the present time, but they are not naval dockyards.
– According to the honorable and learned member’s argument, ever constituency should have its own dockyard and a share in the naval expenditure.
– That is a weak reply to make. The boast at the time of the Union, that the same laws would be given to Ireland as to England, as the result of the two countries being under the one Legislature, was a false one. The laws and the liberties of the people in the two countries are not the same. In the address to King George III., to which I have already referred, it was stated that Ireland was to be governed by the same laws as Great Britain. As a matter of fact, however, right through the last century two differing lines of legislation have been applied to the two countries. We have had Coercion Acts and Land Bills for Ireland - the Land Bills generally failing to become law - and a series of Acts for England that have no relation to the other country. Nearly every year a Coercion Act was passed, until in 1887 the Coercion Act was made perpetual. The position of affairs an Ireland is that the people there have no right of public meeting; they do not enjoy the right of personal freedom from arrest; public meetings may be broken up. All that the Chief Secretary has to do is to proclaim a district, and he can then arrest a man upon mere suspicion, and cause him to be imprisoned without trial. Then, again, in Ireland we find an armed military police force numbering 18,000 men, notwithstanding that the population is a small and a peaceful one. The statistics show that ‘there is no country in the civilized world which has such a low crime record as Ireland has had for many years. And’ yet it is considered necessary to maintain there a. military police force consisting of 18,000 men, armed with rifles, and required to undergo drill instruction. Another point is thattrial by jury does not prevail in Ireland. The system in operation is that of trial by two magistrates, who are removable at the will of the Chief Secretary. In many cases a man is imprisoned without any trial taking place. One man may actually cause another to be imprisoned upon suspicion. Under an Act of Edward III., passed in 1361 - an Act which is obsolete in Great Britain - an information may be laid against a man on the ground that he is in danger of breaking the peace. Upon the swearing of this information, the man can be brought before a magistrate, who, without any trial, may require him to enter into a bond that he will not break the peace; failing which he must go to gaol as a rogue and a vagabond. This law, while operating- in Ireland, is not applied to England, is treated as obsolete. There is no constitutional government of Ireland, because its administration is really conducted in defiance of the wishes of fourfifths of its representatives. Can any one imagine what would be the position if Australia returned four-fifths of its representatives pledged ‘to some definite policy of administration, only to be confronted by a Ministry which defied that policy? The Imperial Executive is responsible, not to Irish, but to English opinion. That does not mean equal liberty. Mav I read what Mr. Chamberlain said twenty years ago upon this question -
I do not believe that the great majority of Englishmen have the slightest conception of the system under which this free nation attempts to rule the sister country. It is a system which is founded on the bayonets of 30,000 soldiers encamped permanently as in a hostile country. It is a system as completely centralized and bureaucratic as that with which Russia governs Poland, or that which prevailed in Venice under Austrian rule. An Irishman, at this moment, cannot move a step - he cannot lift a finger in any parochial, municipal, or educational work, without being confronted with, interfered with, controlled by an English official, appointed by a foreign Government.
Then what did Disraeli say ? He said this -
Neither liberty of the press nor liberty of the person exists in Ireland. . . .
I go as far as possible into the opposing camp for testimony -
It is a fact that at any time in Ireland the police may enter into your house, examine your papers to see .whether there is any resemblance between the writing and that of some anonymous letter that has been sent to a third person. In
Ireland, if a man writes an article in a newspaper and it offends the Government, he has a warning; and if he repeat the offence, his paper may be suppressed.
That statement was made by Disraeli in 1874. At that time, according to him, Ireland ha3 neither liberty of the press nor liberty of the person; yet upon the consummation of the Union she was to enjoy the same liberties as the rest of the United5 Kingdom. Another point to be remembered is that Judges take part in politics in Ireland. Many of them are members of the Irish Privy Council, which administers the affairs of the country. When on circuit, they sometimes charge a jury with opinions upon politics. There have been repeated cases in which coroners’ juries have brought in verdicts of “ guilty of wilful murder “ against policemen for firing unnecessarily and killing people in the streets. For instance, after the Mitchelstown massacre there was a coroner’s verdict of wilful murder. Whatever the Chief Secretary of the day might have thought, one would say that he ought at least to have ordered a trial, after such a verdict; but there was no trial. The Crown did not prosecute. What can be thought of constitutional liberties or constitutional government under those conditions? Now take some other test. What has become of Ireland’s manufactures? At the time of the union she had a thriving cotton manufacture, which employed about 30,000 hands, and in which £600,000 or £700.000 were invested. That industry is now destroyed. Grattan prophesied that Irish manufactures and commerce would wither with Irish liberties, and so they have. On the other hand, it was said that commerce and industry would follow capital to Ireland ; but in place of that, such commerce and industry as Ireland had have gone to England. Look at the income tax test. Even to this day the people of Ireland1 are getting poorer as well as fewer. A tax of id. in the .£1 produced ten years ago ,£93,000 ; and to-day will produce only £85,000. Since the Union the populationof Ireland has sunk from two-fifths of that of the United Kingdom to one-tenth ; or from four-tenths to one-tenth, and its gross income has fallen from two-seventeenths of that of Great Britain to one-seventeenth ; its taxable resources in the same period declining from one-tenth to one-fiftieth of those of Great Britain. In 1800 the taxation of Ireland was about ,£2,000,000; in 1825 it was ,£6,000,000; in 1850, ,£9,000,000; in 1.875, £11,000,000 - the population getting smaller all the time - in 1895, £12,000,000; and in 1905 more than £13,000,000. This also is to be remarked, that no reform comes in that country except after a social convulsion. I regard it as a most dangerous state of things when in any country the force necessary to make the machinery move must be sufficient to explode the boiler.
– Autocracy tempered with dynamite
– Every reform in Ireland has been effected after untold suffering. Look at the leading features of the century. The first was Catholic emancipation, in 1829. That was carried because rebellion was the alternative. England had five-sixth’s of her infantry troops quartered in Ireland to keep the people down, and the Duke of Wellington - who was opposed’ to the emancipation of the Catholics - granted it to prevent worse evils. Then take the Tithes Acts. Poor people used to have their beasts seized to pay the tithes of the parson, and that system was abolished only after years of agitation, of convulsion, and disorder.
– The tax is still paid.
– In the old days the peasant used to pay the tithe direct, but, by virtue of the Tithes Commutation Act, the landlord is now made to pay it, although he takes good care to add it to the rent. In 1870 the Irish Church was disestablished, and the Land Tax Act was passed. Mr. Gladstone admitted that those measures would not have been carried but for the Fenian rising. In 1881 a great Land Act was passed, which was the precursor of the recent Land Act, and Mr. Gladstone again admitted that but for the land league and all its disorders the Land Act of 1 88 1 would not have been passed. Mr. Gladstone said1 -
As the man responsible more than any other for the Act of 18s1 ; as the man whose duty it was to consider the question day and night during the whole of that session, i must record my Arm opinion that it would not have become the law of the land if it had not been for the agitation “by which Irish society was convulsed.
Since the Union 1,000.000 people have died in Ireland from famine; yet, during the year of the famine, £45,000,000 worth of food was raised in Ireland, and the ships of the Society of Friends and others which were bringing relief to Ireland passed ships carrying grain from that country, to be sold elsewhere to pay Irish rents. I do not know any better evidence of bad government than a system having such effects as that.
– Why did not the Society of Friends buv their grain in Ireland ?
– I do not know; but the course of trade is not so easily changed, and the grain had to go to England to meet debts owing there. From 1849 to 1882, 98,723 families were evicted, which means, taking the average family as five, that 500,000 persons were turned out of their homes. Can we realize what it was to a people so attached to their homes and their soil as the Irish are, to be turned out into the cold from the shelter which their poor roofs afforded them?
– It is very shocking.
– The honorable member sneers.
– No; my sympathies are with the Irish people.
– Then I sincerely apologize to the honorable member. I did not think that he would do such a thing as sneer at them.
– I know that many of those who were evicted died on the wayside.
– At the time of the land league, a boy was put into gaol without trial for looking at a policeman with a “humbugging kind of smile” ; and it was that kind of smile which I thought I saw on the honorable member’s face.
– I think the honorable and learned member has strained some of his facts unnecessarily.
– Nothing is better evidence of a bad state of government than the fact that the best passport to the confidence of the people of Ireland is to have been in gaol. One of the members of this House, for whom we have most respect contracted the sickness from which he is suffering at the present day, while imprisoned for an alleged offence of which he is proud - I would not otherwise have mentioned his case - because he was helping tenants in their struggle for a reasonable existence. We. should reserve our gaols for criminals. We do not wish to see good men, who desire to do their duty to their neighbours, in gaols ; and the worst kind of government is that which finds good men in gaols. To the Irish people law appears under the guise of bayonets and uniforms, and authority is synonymous with disorder. Now, may il ‘refer to some facts that show how incompetent English statesmen are to deal with the business of Ireland. I have thought that one might as well put under the same yoke an ostrich and an ox as unite Ireland and England. The two countries are on different scales altogether. The one has attained a ‘degree of civilization, commerce, trade, and advancement that the other is far from. They are utterly unlike. To make them one country is a farce. We cannot do it. The fact that different measures have to be passed for the two countries shows that it is impossible. Twenty years ago Lord Salisbury said, “ Give mo twenty years of firm government in Ireland, and everything will be right.” Ireland has had twenty years of firm government, and still suffers under the same grievances.
– The same grievances !
– Things have much improved in Ireland of late years.
– Lord Salisbury also said, with an air of profound wisdom, that local government was more dangerous foi Ireland than even Home Rule; but before he died he, as a Minister, proposed it, and voted for it. Mr. Chamberlain in 1896 said that land purchase was more dangerous than Home Rule; but in 1903 he advocated it, and it was carried. Mr. Gladstone thought that the Acts of 1870, disestablishing the Irish church, and altering the land law. had settled the whole Irish question. While conceding to him the best of good intentions, I must say that he soon learned his mistake. What John Stuart Mill said is perfectly true; the English mind is not comeptent to deal with these questions. It cannot - see or understand what laws or institutions are necessary for a state of society and civilization like that of Ireland. First, there is no other nation which is so conceited of its own institutions and of all its modes of public action as England is; and, secondly, there is no other civilized nation which is so far apart from Ireland in the character of its history, or so unlike it in the whole constitution of its social economy ; and none, therefore, which, if it applies to Ireland the modes of thinking .and maxims of government which have grown up within itself, is so certain to go wrong.
I assume that honorable members have read the terms of the motion. All I am asking for is a just measure of Home Rule. The decision as to what is just must be left to those who have the power. I have followed,; although I do not altogether approve of it, the exact form of the petition adopted in Canada. The words are not quite the same, but the form of petition to His Majesty the King direct is the same, and also a great portion of the verbiage isthe same. I take it for granted that honorable members have made themselves familiar with the Home Rule Bill of 1886. I happened to be in London, and to see the grand old man, as he was called, going in his carriage from Downing-street to St. Stephens to move the second reading of that Bill. In that measure, no power was given to maintain an army in Ireland. That would1 probably overcome the objections of a number of persons who fear that the granting of Home Rule to Ireland will involve its separation from Great Britain.
– A Bill of that kind would not be accepted now.
– There was no power to endow religion. That would probably overcome the religious scruples of the honorable member for Dalley, and others. There was no power to restrict educational freedom, or to deal with Customs and excise. I hope, therefore, that it will be understood that Home Rule does not involve the separation of Ireland from Great Britain. It means that under certain restrictions the Irish people will administer their own affairs and pass their own laws.
– Those who are mixed up in the movement say that the granting of Home Rule will involve separation.
– I do not think that in speaking to the representatives of the people of Australia I need make any laboured appeal, because I am referring to a matter which affects the peace, welfare, and good government of the Empire. I contend that the interests of the Empire are the interests of Australia, and that whatever affects the relations of different parts of the Empire one to the other is of interest to us.
– Have we not enough to do to attend to our own business.
– I do not take the narrow view that we should close our eyes to everything,! except to that which is happening in Australia. I say that even in Australia we are deeply interested in the settling for ever of this eternal Irish question, lt is desirable that the issues presented to us should be fought out on their merits, and that we should not have people saying, “ I will not vote for you, because you are an Orangeman,” or an anti-Orangeman, as the case may be.
– Does the honorable and learned member suppose that the settlement of the Home Rule question will put an end to the sectarian fighting in Australia?
– Yes, largely. The effect of settling the Home Rule question will be to confine to Ireland those faction quarrels which unfortunately have distinguished it and this country in the past.
– If the honorable and learned member wants to inflame the public mind, he is going the right way about it.
– I know that I shall not convince the honorable member for Dal ley, because he is not here to be convinced. Much as I admire him, and much as he is admired by honorable members generally, and strong as are his democratic principles, I think that he will stop when it becomes a question of extending Home Rule to Ireland.
– I shall do my best to prevent adding fuel to the flame of sectarianism.
– Turning to Canada, I desire to direct attention to what has been said by Sir Wilfred Laurier. At a meet ing held at Ottawa, Mr. Lemieux, the SolicitorGeneral for Canada, said : -
He had an important message intrusted to him. Sir Wilfred Laurier the Premier had asked him to attend the meeting on his behalf, and to publicly express the sympathy of himself and his colleagues in the Cabinet with the cause of Home Rule for Ireland, and their earnest wishes for its early success. Sir Wilfred Laurier had asked him to add that the Irish Party and its programme has his hearty support.
– How long ago was that ?
– About twelve months ago. The Premier of Ontario, the Honorable John Ross, also delivered a powerful speech, in the course of which he declared that Canada would not submit for a single day to be governed as Ireland is governed. The evidences of sympathy with the Home Rule movement in the United States are still stronger, if they can be stronger. At a meeting called to hear Mr. John Redmond at Philadelphia, letters and telegrams were read from the Governors of twenty-five states of the union, consenting to act as Vice-Presidents of the Association, and expressing sympathy with the Irish party. All the civilized world, excepting the South of England, is in favour of Home Rule for Ireland. Scotland, Wales, and the North of England are for it ; and only portions of the South of England are against it. I am sure that honorable members are not likely to take the narrow view of the Empire, of our relations to it, and of our responsibilities, that some people would ask them to take. We know here the advantages of self government. Of course, we have differences amongst ourselves, and we have made mistakes; but they are our own mistakes. We have had friction, and it is inevitable; but, after all, it is of great advantage that all our bitterness should be poured out amongst ourselves, and not be directed against the centre of the Empire. If Home Rule were granted to Ireland, it may be that tremendous volleys of invective would be directed by the members of the Irish Parliament at one another. Now they are directed against the central point of the Empire. Here the ark of the Empire is safe during all our quarrels - we do not lay hands upon it. The people of Ireland are driven, in the course of their efforts to obtain reform, to attack that ark. I hope that honorable members will try to obtain for others the boon that we ourselves enjoy. There is a sore at the heart of the Empire, and we should do everything in our power to cure it. We cannot do much, because we have no direct voice in the matter. We can only express our opinion. At least we can give our moral supportto those brave men who are struggling, against tremendous odds, for what they regard as justice. We want relief for a country as to which an experiment has been made for 100 years, and has failed. We want the country to which one-fourth, or one-fifth, of our Australian people trace their origin, a country which has contributed its full share to the bone and brain of Australia, to be treated as a free country with power over her own conditions and her own destinies.
– I do not care to give a vote upon this motion without a word of protest. I regard this as a very serious proposal, and I very much regret that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has submitted it. I cannot see any justification for his action, because the honorable and learned member must know that the important question dealt with is one upon which many honorable members do not desire to express an opinion. The wording of the petition is loyal and respectful, but it contains some expressions which I think might well have been omitted. Even if we desired to present a petition to His Majesty there should be no necessity for us to say that the “ sad history of Ireland since the Act of Union shows that no British Parliament can understand or effectively deal with the economic and social conditions of Ireland.” I think that from the point of view of the honorable and learned member, and those who support him, all that was necessary would be to, express a hope that a just measure of Home Rule might be granted to our fellow-subjects in Ireland. That might be done, if desired, without entering upon any contentious matters or reflecting upon any one. I think the honorable and learned member has acted very unwisely in employing terms to which many persons in this country would object, and which could not but be regarded as offensive to those who are responsible for the government of Great Britain and Ireland. I consider that the motion deals with a great controversial question of old world politics with which we should not interfere. I do not think I have ever said that I am opposed to the desire and hope of the Irish Home Rulers. I have never expressed that opinion, because I think the Imperial Parliament is far better informed than we are upon this matter, and has the full responsibility, and is quite capable of dealing with it.
– They do not meddle in our affairs.
– I consider that we should not interfere in a matter of Imperiallocal politics. Moreover, it is a question upon which the people of the mother land are divided in opinion. It is a matter which has been in controversy for a long time. The Governments at Home, who have practically controlled the administration of British affairs during the past twenty years, have not been able to go so far as the Home Rulers desire, although many Acts, I am glad to say, have been introduced for improving and ameliorating the condition of the Irish people. I believe, too, that many good results have flowed from that legislation. I do not think that we are as competent to judge of the merits of this great question as is the Parliament of the old country, who have been dealing with it for so many years. I have no feeling at all in the matter ; if I have any general feeling at all, it is in the direction of allowing people to manage their own affairs in their own way, subject to the law and the Constitution. What I object to in the action of the honorable and learned member is that he desires to place me in a position in which I do not wish to be placed. All over Australia I have friends who are Irishmen - friends whom I respect - and I do not wish them to think that I am altogether out of sympathy with them in their national aspirations. In this, new and far-off portion of the Empire we should not be called upon to interfere in a matter in regard to which we have no full share of responsibility. We are not the electors of Great Britain. The electors of Great Britain and Ireland are surely well able to deal with this question. I therefore resent the action of the honorable and learned member in desiring that I should express an opinion upon it, in the same way that I should resent a similar resolution in regard to our internal affairs emanating: from the Imperial Parliament. I should like to know what the honorable and learned member would say if the Imperial Parliament passed resolutions having reference to our legislation in regard to a White Australia, the fiscal question, or on any occasion when difficulties arose.
– For instance, if it passed a resolution in regard to the contract clauses of the Immigration Restriction Act which shuts out Englishmen.
– I am not dealing with that matter just now.
– It has not yet shut out any Englishman, notwithstanding the right honorable member’s assertion.
– I have no feeling adverse to Home Rule to- Ireland, but I am strongly of opinion that it is undesirable for this Parliament to express any opinion on the matter. We should confine our attention to our own affairs, and ought not to interfere with the great responsibities resting upon the Parliament of the mother country. Not only are we asked to interfere in a controversy which has been in progress for a long time, but we are really invited to express an opinion adverse to theGovernment that has been in existence in the old country during nearly the whole of the past twenty years. We are asked to tell the electors of Great Britain that the Imperial Parliament does not understand.this matter, and is incapable of dealing with the economic and social conditions of Ireland. If the motion be adopted, I hope- the following objectionable words will be omitted : -
But the sad history of Ireland since the Act of Union shows that no British Parliament can understand, or effectually deal with the economic and social conditions of Ireland.
– That is a fact.
– It may be a fact from the honorable member’s point of view, but surely this Parliament is not going to place on record that it is of opinion that those who are controlling the destinies of the Empire at Home do not understand this question. It must be recollected too, that at the present time, this very matter is in the forefront of political controversy. Politicians at Home have enough to do in dealing with this question, without any interference from us either one way or the other. I should like to know what the Irishmen of this country would say if this Parliament passed a resolution affirming that it was opposed to the grantingof Home Rule to Ireland. What indignation there would be from one end of Australia to the other ! And it would be justly said that we had interfered in a matter in which we had no right to interfere. If that argument be right in the one case, it is equally sound in the other. I ask the honorable and learned member to withdraw the motion. If he does not, I hope that some other honorable member will move that it is undesirable to retain the words to which I have directed attention.
– Why does not the right honorable gentleman do it?
– I do not want to take a prominent part in the discussion.
– Why not?
– Because I do not wish to. If, however, the motion is not withdrawn, and it is pressed to a division, I shall be compelled to vote against it.
– Is that the Government attitude upon the question?
– No; it is not. I donot wish to take a prominent part in a discussion of this sort, and I merely rose because a division appeared to be about to take place.
– But the right honorable gentleman has alone answered the arguments advanced by the mover.
– The honorable member has no right to take upon himself the responsibility of advising me. I am quite capable of looking after myself.
– I did not expect that I should be called upon to speak to this motion to-day ; but I should not like to see the debate close without some attempt being made to reply to the statements of the Treasurer. I am very glad to find that his observations merely express his own personal views upon this matter.
– To what does the honorable and learned member object?
– I object to the fact that the Treasurer intends to vote against the motion in favour of granting Home Rule to Ireland. I am sorry that I cannot indorse the whole of the statements contained in the motion. I do not know anything about the remarkable Act directed towards the settlement of the land question, which is referred to by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, and included in his motion. But I have sufficient confidence in him to know that he would not have put upon the business-paper a resolution agreeing strongly with the attempts to settle the land question, unless he had thoroughly understood it, and if it is satisfactory to him, I think that it will, in most respects, be satisfactory to me. Since the Union between Great Britain and Ireland, 1,000,000 of the Irish people have died through famine, 500,000 have been evicted, and threequartets of the population of Ireland have disappeared. When these facts are placed in a nutshell before the Australian people who are happy in their own system of Home Rule, they must prove an eye-opener to them. The only statements to which I desire to reply are those which have been made by the Treasurer. I ask honorable members to recollect that during the period that the Commonwealth Constitution Bill was before the Imperial Parliament, when all sorts of attempts were being made to alter its provisions, and when Mr. Chamberlain changed his attitude towards certain of its clauses so frequently that those who were either supporting or opposing it scarcely knew where he was, we had during those important negotiations the strong and earnest support of the whole of the Irish party. I feel, therefore, working as we are under a Constitution which they largely preserved to us. that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Irish members in the Imperial Parliament. The vast majority of the representatives of the people of Ireland have repeatedly stated that all they want is a similar measure of justice to that which has been done to the outlying parts of the Empire. The Treasurer and the honorable and learned member for Parkes have declared that the question of Home Rule is not a part of our business. Is it not strange that we are only told to mind our own business now that a certain proposal does not meet with the acceptance of the Imperial Parliament? I would remind those honorable members that, not long since, we thought we were minding our own business when we supported the British Government in the Soudan, and a little later we imagined that we were attending to our own business, and were interested in the permanence and prosperity of the Empire when we despatched troops to South Africa. Quite recently the House unanimously - I do not think that even the Treasurer raised any objection to it - passed a motion having reference to the internal government of the Transvaal and the influx of Chinese to compete with European miners.
– There was an excuse for interference upon that occasion.
– I should like to know how it was different from this motion..
– Have we ever sent troops to Ireland? Have we ever assisted the Imperial Government in the settlement of Irish affairs, either with men or money?
– We were interested in the Transvaal labour question because many Australians living in South Africa found their livelihood and prosperity affected by the forced importation of Chinese labour. When we remember that one-fourth or onefifth of our population is of Irish descent, when we recognise that there will never be a permanent settlement of the problem of Empire until Home Rule has been granted to Ireland, and that until then the United States Government will notbe induced to enter into an Arbitration Treaty with Great Britain, we must feel that this is a matter of vital interest to Australia. It is so equally with that of the Chinese in the Transvaal.It is not a mere question of Imperial-local concern, as the Treasurer would have us believe. It is one that affects one-fourth of my constituents.
– I can imagine the honorable member for Wentworth - who probably came from the distressed country of which we are speaking - saying “ threefourths is more than one-fourth, and therefore I shall oppose this motion.” As a matter of fact, the question affects not merely one-fourth of my constituents, but, in a general sense, the whole of the people of Australia. The question of Home Rule for Ireland is one that lies close to the hearts of a very large proportion of our people, affecting them at every turn of their lives, and forming the subject of many letters which they write to their friends in the land from which they come. Surely it is one with which we ought to deal. It is clearly a question on which we may express our opinion, for it is one that indirectly affects at least one-fourth of our own people. It is certainly undesirable that a very large proportion of our fellowcountrymen should feel that those who live inthe land from which they come are being, unjustly treated. Instead of being a question of Imperial -local concern, it is one of vital importance to us if we are to have peace and good government.
-Let us go to a vote on the question.
– I shall in due time; but at present my object is to bring the honorable member round to that state of sweet reasonableness to which at present he appears to be a stranger. I am reminded that this House has passed resolutions in regard to different questions of international concern. When the great German Empire was affected by the death of the Dowager Empress, we adjourned as a mark of respect, and we also adjourned, after passing a resolution of sympathy with the people of the United States, on the occasion of the assassination of the President of that nation. Can we not be similarly affected when we recognise the slow death of a nation - losing one million in a century - from famine? In these circumstances, are we to thrust aside this question on theground that it does not affect us? Can it be said that it is simply re matter of Imperial -local importance? There is not a constituency in Australia in which there are not very many persons who take a close interest in the question, and will eagerly read the debate on the motion now before us.
– The honorable and learned member is quite right ; the people are watching our proceedings in this regard with thegreatest interest.
– I certainly think that the intensity of the debate on this motion, the desire evinced by the Treasurer that the House should avoid voting upon it, and the wish of many honorable members not to take sides, all indicate that there is a strongfeeling throughout the Commonwealth in regard to the question. That being so, I hold that the matter is one that should be settled, in the interests not only of the United Kingdom, but of the Commonwealth. I remarked a few moments ago that it was impossible, because of this Irish sore at the heart of the Empire, to secure the passing of a resolution by Congress, accepting any one of the arbitration treaties that have formed the subject of negotiations between the United States and Great Britain. On several occasions the President of the United States has said that the people of that country desire peace, and are favorable to an Arbitration Treaty being entered into with Great Britain, but it must be seen that as long as the aspirations of the people of Ireland are not met by the granting of Home Rule, such a treaty will notbe entered into. Every Irishman in the United States will oppose it. Such is the present condition of things that everywhere an Irishman is Great Britain’s greatest enemy. We shall never see a real union of the two great nations by means of an Arbitration Treaty, cemented by feelings of affection and regard on the part of the two peoples speaking the one language, as long as this question remains unsettled. Those who do not support the motion, which is designed as far as possible to throw the weight of the opinion of the Commonwealth on the side of those who are fighting for Home Rule in the Imperial Parliament, are really doing their best toprevent that happy consummation. Another reason why I support this motion is that I favour Imperial Federation. I understand that the leader of the Opposition is vice-president of the British Empire League, in Sydney, and I am a member of the executive of the Imperial Federation League, which is working along the same lines to bring about the permanent unity of the Empire. It is impossible, however, for us to have Imperial Federation, unless every integral part of the Empire has its own local Legislature. Imperial Federation will be achieved only by the recognition of the desires of the people, not only of Ireland, but of Scotland, Wales, and England, to have their own local Parliaments. In that event, we should have an Imperial Parliament representative of the whole of these local Legislatures, and dealing solely with Imperial matters. I do not think that any supporter of Imperial Federation - or organization of the Empire - can show how that object is to be achieved unless Home Rule be granted, not only to Ireland, but to England, Scotland, and Wales. At the present time seating accommodation cannot be found in the House of Commons for all the members, and, except onr are occasions, it is absolutely impossible for any matter of local concern affecting England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales to be dealt with. Owing to the congested state of its business, it is absolutely necessary for the Imperial Parliament, upon which our Empire depends, to confine its attention mainly to matters of Imperial concern, and it is in the highest sense desirable that it should be relieved of a large amount of local business which could well be transferred to local Legislatures. Those who support Home Rule are the true Empire maintainers. Its opponents are the real separatists. Even in our own Australian interests, it is quite necessary that, as members of the Empire, we should do our best to secure local government for its various parts, in order that there may be some form of Imperial organization, dealing solely with Imperial affairs. As the time allotted to private members’ business has almost expired, I ask leave, Mr. Speaker, to continue my remarks on a future occasion.
– Is it the pleasure of honorable members that the honorable and learned member for Corio have leave to continue his remarks on a future occasion.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 2nd August (vide page 509), on motion by Mr. Isaacs -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– With the permission of the House, I should like to add a few words to whatI said on this subject last night.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable and learned member have leave to make a supplementary statement?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– The difficulty and importance of the question should afford a sufficient justification for the course I wish to take. Honorable members will recollect that last night, in dealing with the principles of the measure, I stated that I had endeavoured to provide that trade unions should have the right to register union trade marks to be applied to the goods that they made, and that the employer of unionists should not be oppressed or unfairly dealt with by them, but, if he chose, should have the advantage of letting the public know that it was buying goods made under union conditions. At the same time, I had tried to prevent purchasers from being misled into buying goods to which the union trade mark was wrongly applied. I bestowed some time in explaining the application of proposed new clause 77, which I had had circulated with other proposed amendments. That clause is divided into two parts, the first of which gives absolute authority to the employer to apply the union trade mark to goods which are the manufacture exclusively of members of a union, and I apprehend that it is to such goods that, in the vast bulk of cases, the union trade mark would be applied. The second part provides that where goods are not wholly the manufacture of unions, authority to place the union trade mark on them may be given by a union. I said, and still say, that I think that that authority would not be misused. This morning I have endeavoured to effectuate more completeley the principles which I laid down, and I have framed another clause, copies of which will presently be distributed amongst honorable members, which I propose to substitute for clause 77 in the amendments already laid on the table. This new clause will entirely get rid of the need to obtain, under any circumstances whatever, authority from a union to use a union trade mark. It provides, as the former proposed new clause did, that the union trade mark may be applied toy an employer or by a member of a union by direction of the union. If the goods are exclusively the manufacture, workmanship, or product of the labour of members of a union, the employer may apply the union trade mark without more ado. He may also apply it to goods which are in part, but not exclusively, the manufacture, workmanship, or product of the labour of members of a union, but he must apply it in such a way as to clearly indicate that the mark does not refer to that part of the goods which is not of union manufacture. In this way, all parties will be protected.
– Does the Attorney-General think that the common law in respect to boycotting will apply in this case?
– That is altogether a different question. The provision to which
I refer sufficiently protects the manufacturer. He is not required, under any circumstances, to ask the union for permission to apply its trade mark. The union cannot prevent him from applying it if the goods are made wholly by union labour. But, in applying it, he must dealfairly with the public, and must not lead them to believe, when goods have not been manufactured wholly by union labour, that it applies to the whole of the goods, when it has application to only a part.
– Is that practicable? I doubt it.
– If it cannot be done, it ought not to be done.
– How would the Attorney-General apply; that provision to a pair of boots made here by union labour of imported leather?
– That raises the question whether such boots were not wholly made by union labour, since the leather is a different thing from the boots.
– Is it?
– I should be misled if I saw the union trade mark on such boots.
– How would the principle apply to a suit of clothes made hereof imported material ?
– I should say that a length of imported piece goods is quite a different article from the suit of clothes into which it is made up. However, these matters may be thoroughly thrashed out in Committee. What I wish to point out now ‘is that the unions will get no advantage which employers will not get. Whatever they can claim, the employers can claim. If a difficulty arises about boots manufactured in the way described affecting the employer, it will affect also the unions. It seems to me that the clause meets the objection that the unions may use the Bill to oppress employers. The difficulty pointed to by the right honorable member for Balaclava is inherent in the application of union trade marks, and has nothing whatever to do with the power of a union to unfairly attempt to prevent employers from using them. The clause applies as much where goods are exclusively the product of the labour of unionists as where they are not. It is almost impossible that all goods can be exclusively the product of union labour, if the manufacture of the raw material is taken into consideration, because one cannot sayhow far back such a consideration may take us. I think that a fair and reasonable meaning must be given to the words. If wood is imported, partly planed and sawn, and made available for working, surely a vehicle made from it here by union labour would be union-made, notwithstanding that non-union labour may have been employed on the wood before it was imported from abroad.
– It would not be unionmade unless the wood had been cut by union men with union axes and handles, in forests thinned by union labour.
– I think that I have now sufficiently indicated the difference between my proposed new clause 77 and that which I originally proposed. This clause, in short, does away absolutely with any necessity for any authority whatever from a union. It has the further advantage of giving protection, even in other cases where that authority is so given as to unintentionally mislead the public, who might think that part of an article so branded was made by union labour when it was not. This, therefore, has the advantage, it seems to me, on the best consideration I can give to the matter, of protecting the unions, the employers, and the public.
– I think the additional observations of the honorable and learned gentleman in charge of this Bill, instead of throwing more light on the subject, show that every attempt he makes to carry out what he desires involves him in but greater confusion. I wish to say at once, that so far as the general provisions of this Bill are concerned, they may well be dealt with in Committee, because the object of a Bill of this kind is one which I think commands universal assent. But one of the parts of this Bill is unprecedented in the history of legislation in any Trade Marks Act that has ever been passed in any part of the British Empire. I do not say that that fact disposes of the whole question, but I do say that it places a very grave onus upon those who propose to introduce into a measure of this kind, provisions such as I have alluded to. In the first place, we should be bound, I think, bv the terms of the Federal Constitution under which’ we legislate, and the power given to legislate with reference to trade marks is of a strictly limited character. I have here Quick and Garran:s excellent work on the Constitution, and at page 598 the effect of descriptions in cases in Eng land of the expression “trade mark” is given in a very succinct way -
A trade mark is some name, symbol, or device consisting in general of a picture, label, word or words, which is applied or attached to a trader’s goods, so as to distinguish them from the similar goods of other traders, and to identify them as his goods in the business in which they are produced or put forward for sale.
The object of a Trade Marks Bill is to enable the public, when buying a certain article, to know the manufacturer who produced that article and put it on the market. In the course of time, these marks acquire a distinct commercial value. The make of a certain manufacturer becomes popular, owing to its quality, cheapness, or other consideration, and it becomes then the interest of the trader to label his product so that the public will know when they are buying it, and any infringement of his mark is properly made a subject of legal redress. Any attempt on the part of a manufacturer to turn out his goods in such a manner as to resemble the goods, or label, or description of those of another, is properly looked upon as an unfair thing, causing loss and damage to the persons whose goods are imitated. This provision for a trades union label is absolutely foreign to the scope and nature of a Trade Marks Bill. It has never been 3n such a measure in any part of the world. It has. never been included in the legislation dealing with trade marks in any part of the world.
– Yes it has.
– -In America.
– America is a big word.
– In twenty-eight of the United States of America.
– My honorable friend is only coming down now to the very point I was going to make. There are special provisions to carry, out such a practice in some of the States.
– In their trade marks le- .gislation
– Whilst I knew that in some of the States of America something of this kind had been done, I certainly never knew that such .a> provision was contained in an ordinary Trade Marks Act.
– It is contained in measures which are quoted as “ Trade Marks Acts.”
– I have been reading the matter up to some extent; but I was not aware of it.
-i will get the statutes and make sure.
– I wish the honorable member would. However, that does not affect the argument I am about to state, because, so far as we are concerned, we have to act upon a power given to us by a written Federal Constitution, and it is a most serious question, to my mind, whether, in the power given by this Constitution to pass a law relating to trade marks, there is any power given to put into such a law a provision of this sort, which is intended for a purpose absolutely foreign to the object and policy of a trade marks statute, and has no natural connexion with it at all. It would be just as relevant in such a statute to insert a provision that all articles made in a teetotaller’s factory, run on temperance principles, should have some label to show that they were turned out of a temperance factory, or that articles should be labelled to show that they were turned out of a factory in which all the workers professed some particular form of religious belief. It would be just as germane to the object of a Trades Marks Act to include a provision that a temperance factory should have a temperance label, a Methodist factory a Methodist label, or a Presbyterian factory a Presbyterian label. Such objects would be just as legitimate in connexion with a general measure relating to trade marks as is the provision inserted in this Bill. I do not know whether the learned Attorney-General of the Watson Administration took any interest in the Trades Marks Bill submitted in the Senate by that Administration ; but I should think that, as Attorney-General of the Administration, he must have done so. This provision was not in that Bill. I am sure that the Watson Administration was one which had the interests of unionists at heart. It was practically made up of trades unionists ; it. represented them, and trades unionists, we know, are the very breath of the nostrils of the Labour Party.
– If I recollect aright, the Trades Marks Bill was drafted before I took office.
– It was introduced in the Senate before we came into office.
– I made inquiries yesterday. not personally, but a record was brought to me, which showed that the Bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator McGregor.
– It was on the businesspaper of the Senate before I took office as Prime Minister.
– I cannot understand that, because I saw a record that the Trades Marks Bill was introduced by Senator McGregor, who was then Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Watson Administration.
– It had been drafted some time before.
– My statement is quite correct; it may have been drafted before the Watson Administration took office, but it was presented to Parliament by the Watson Administration.
– Not in the first instance.
– I am going on the record I saw, and if I am wrong I can be corrected. I should like to clear up. the point as to whether the Bill was introduced by the Deakin Government or by the Watson Government ?
– Does it really affect the merits of this question?
– Not at all; but I do not wish to be inaccurate in a statement referring to it. I think that my honorable and learned friend, the Minister of Home Affairs, can probably tell me whether this Bill was introduced in. the Senate by Senator McGregor?
-Yes, it was.
– I thought so. Until I am corrected, I must repeat that remark - that this Trade Marks Bill was introduced by Senator McGregor, the representative of the Watson Administration in the Senate; and when the Bill was introduced there was no provision in it as to union labels in any shape or form. Well, now, I will take this fact - that this Bill, was drafted by the Deakin Government. The value I attach to that fact is this - that the Government previous to the Watson Government did not think it a proper thing to introduce such a provision in such a Bill - because it was not there. I then go on to say that this Bill, which did not contain that provision, came into the hands of the honorable and learned Attorney-General of the Watson Administration. He did not put the clauses in.
– Perhaps I have learnt wisdom since.
– I know that there has been a wonderful change since, and it has involved a number of revolutions. I was quite prepared to hear that my honorable and learned friend has entirely changed his views in consequence of re-arrangements in politics; though I am sure that the AttorneyGeneral of the Watson Government would have been asked by his colleagues - who are naturally zealous in the interests of the trade unionists of Australia - to put in these clauses if the Government were of opinion that they were proper to be inserted in such a Bill. Surely the Labour Government would not be so negligent of the interests of the chief body of their constituents as to omit to consider the propriety of putting such a provision in the Bill.’
– Perhaps we did not desire to give preference to unionists at that lime.
– We know that the Watson Government thought so much of preference that they went down on it ; and’ presently I am going to show that that preference which the Watson Government went down on, is infinitely more legitimate than this principle. I wish, first of all, to direct the attention of the public to these preliminary facts, which are important : That the Deakin Administration did not consider that such a provision should be in such a Bill; that the Watson Administration did not think it expedient that such a provision should be in the Bill ; that the Watson Administration introduced a Bill in the Senate without one word relating to such a provision; and that this provision was put in by the Senate, not by the Government - not at the suggestion of a member of the Watson Administration, but on the motion of a private member of the Senate. If it were a proper thing to be in such a Bill, that private member of the Senate was more diligent, and more able, and more successful than were the members of the Government. It was Senator Pearce, I think, who moved the insertion of the clauses, and he was more diligent and successful in the interests of the trade unionists of Australia than were all the members of the Labour Administration put together. I wish to point out that it was he who discovered the great benefit that would be conferred upon the trade unionists of Australia bv the trade-union label clauses, which the Watson Administration either did not think of, or thought ought not to be there.
– The right honorable member gave us so much trouble with the Arbitration Bill that we had not time to think of anything else.
– Then, may I take it that the Watson Government was so busy trying to keep in office that it did not attempt to consider this question - and a very important question it is - in connexion with the trade unionists of Australia?
– We did not put half the vigour into our efforts to keep in office that the right honorable member did.
– The honorable member cannot say that.
– The right honorable member saw that the game was up, and committed suicide.
– The only explanation that can be given by the chief conspirator is that mine was a suicidal Government. The present Prime Minister, who knows all about it, described it as a novel thing in politics - a Ministry disappearing under suicidal mania. I think that it is the most honorable tribute, ever offered to eight gentlemen on the Treasury benches. But I should like to get back to this simple fact - that there can be no stronger evidence of the fact that these clauses do not fall naturally under the heading of a Trade Marks Bill, than that two Federal Governments never thought of putting them in; neither the Deakin Government nor the Watson Government, although the latter was a Government largely supported by trade unionists. Now we go further. A private member of the Labour Party - a gentleman for whom we all have a great respect, Senator Pearce, a gentleman, we all know, of a very high order of intellect, one whom we admire in every way - that honorable senator submitted these provisions. And they were accepted, naturally enough, by the Government which he supported.
– They were worthy of him.
– Whether they were worthy of him or not. he did his duty by the trade unionists more effectually than did the whole of the members of the Labour Administration. He deserves that credit. Now I will take the next stage of the matter.
– The right honorable member thinks that the clauses are a good thing for the unions, then?
– They are intended to be, or they would not be here. I am sure that Senator Pearce would never have proposed clauses that he thought would be injurious to the unions. I take it for granted that he thought they would be beneficial.
– There is no doubt about their benefit.
– I should think he would never have proposed them, otherwise. Now we come to the present Government, and to the action of that Government in adopting these provisions, which they would not put in the Bill when they were not in the unfortunate position which they now occupy. We must remember that the Prime Minister said, the other day, “We come back to office as if nothing had happened; we take up our programme of 1903 and 1904.” But something has happened. That Government drafted, a Trade Marks Bill, which did not attempt this extraordinary legislation in favour of a certain part of a class - the industrial class of Australia. They never intended to do this thing, which I consider a wrong and a pernicious thing.
– I am going to explain why. They never did this thing before. They never considered it a right thing to do, never proposed to do it. Now we find that these very gentlemen - there are three or four members of that Government, including the Prime Minister, in the present Government - whilst they would not insert such a proposal in their former Trade Marks Bill, come forward here practically accepting the domination and dictation of the Labour Party, and propose to accept a piece of legislation which they refused to insert in the same Bill under previous circumstances.
– Not refused, surely - forgot.
– Another case of forgetting ! Surely the Attorney-General of the Deakin Administration did not forget such a thing. This is a matter which has been discussed a good deal. One of the marvels of the. present situation is, first of all, that the Deakin Government, when they were in other circumstances, would not insert the clauses.
– Did not put them.
– We will say that they did not put them in.
– The Treasurer was dead against these proposals then.
– Will the right honorable the Treasurer say that he isin favour of making the union label apply to articles of merchandise?
– It was never discussed.
– The right honorable member says that he never heard it discussed. Now he does hear it discussed, is he in favour of it?
– Well? I would ask the right honorable member, if he indulges in a speech on this measure, to answer my question to the House and to the country. Is he in favour of this union label being applied to ordinary articles of merchandise? And I should like the Vice-President of the Executive Council, whose views upon these matters are well known, whether he is prepared to say that he approves of this proposal ?
– Well done ! That is splendid ! The right honorable the Treasurer has not the assurance of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. Now that the honorable gentleman has gone over the precipice he will do anything, but the Treasurer is not quite prepared to turn an additional series of somersaults.
– The speeches of Senator Walker andSenator Millen in the Senate converted me.
– I think we know what converted the honorable gentleman, so that he need not ascribe his conversion to Senator Walker and Senator Millen. It is a highly honorable and distinguished position which he occupies, and a very excellent gentleman he is, if I could forget politics for a moment or two. This measure was drafted by the Deakin Government, and they would not, or did not, put in this provision.
– That is different
– Well, put it whatever way. honorable members like, the Deakin Government did not put in the provision. It was considered by the Attorney-General of the Watson Government, and it was not put in.
– I never thought of it.
– Neither of them thought of it.
– It is astonishing what a number of things men begin to think of when they get into a new position.
– The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne is not in a new position.
– I am not referring to the honorable and learned member, but I think he ought to be in a position. Certainly he has earned it far more than some of the others. One of the ironical sides of the political change is that the gentlemen who held the fort on the Opposition benches have all been effaced, and have retreated to the second line of defence.
– We are quite content.
– They have taken their proper position. They are in the steerage now - I mean the political steerage, which has this advantage over the ordinary steerage, that from that point they can steer more effectually than when they are in command of the ship.
– I suppose that my right honorable friend is dealing with the part of the Bill headed “miscellaneous.”
– Well, it is a miscellaneous transaction which brought the honorable and learned gentleman to the Treasury bench. In view of the events of the last few months, he certainly does come under that head. I am sure that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, having been a member of the Government which introduced the Bill in the Senate, will take full responsibility for its draftsmanship at any rate.
– I do not know.
– The honorable and learned member does not know that much.
– I have no responsibility now.
– I quite admit that. If the honorable and learned member did take any interest in the Bill his labours have been singularly inefficient, if I may judge from the pages of amendments which the new Attorney-General has made in the measure.
– Oh, no. If amendments are made in the other House, one often has to revise to bring the whole measure into harmony again. It is not fair to make that remark.
– If that is so, I am delighted to hear the explanation. May I accept the assurance of the AttorneyGeneral that all these amendments are consequential upon alterations made in the Bill in the Senate?
– No, I do not say that.
– Well, what was the use of saying what the honorable and learned gentleman did?
– Some of them are due to differences, it may be of principle, and others may be due to amendments made in the other Chamber.
– That I admit is perfectly fair.
– It may be that the House may think that the original draftsmanship was better than what I suggest.
– I think that is very likely. Unfortunately, we shall have to take the proposed amendments as they come. The Attorney-General is now our legal advisor in the House, and we shall have to defer to his opinions as much as we can. He made a long, eloquent speech in justification of this new and extraordinary proposal, which, I think, is probably entirely beyond our constitutional powers. I believe that by means of the proposal, the Constitution is being twisted in a way which is entirely unjustifiable. I believe that the power given to this Parliament to pass a law with respect to trade marks is being absolutely abused and twisted in order to serve a large number of the constituents of the Labour Party. That is my plain statement to the House and to the country. The proposition has nothing whatever to do with a Trade Marks Bill, and I think it is beyond our constitutional power to pass it. That, of course, is a matter which others will have to decide, if the Bill should get the force of law. But I think the Attorney-General, whose powers and clearness of intellect we all acknowledge, should not have made that miserable pretence of explaining the whole significance of this proposal to the House, which he made last night. It is absolutely unworthy of a Minister possessing the ability and logical mind which the AttorneyGeneral does. He must have thought that he was addressing a number of school children by the pretences which he made as to his reasons for justifying the proposal. I shall just mention one which was repeated halfadozen times. Taking the case of a lady who goes into a shop to buy an article for use in a household, he said that one of the reasons why a union label should be on the article is to convince her that she is buying one which has been manufactured under sanitary conditions.
– We have wanted it with the butter lately.
– That is a matter of morals rather than of sanitary science.
– Well, help us to make it better.
– I shall be very glad to do all Ican, but my first duty is to endeavour to prevent the passage of unfair and pernicious legislation.
– “ Stick up for your class” is apparently the right honorable gentleman’s first duty. To make this legislation for one class only is his intention.
– The honorable member lives on a class, politically.
– Oh, no.
– If the honorable member had not a political label upon him from a Labour league he would not be in the House.
– I might occasionally pull through.
– The honorable member would be a black-leg if he left the ring.
– That is another question. I have no intention of leaving.
– That is a thing which I know the honorable member- would never do. He spoke of my sticking up for my class. But I am not associated with manufacturers.
– But the right honorable member is inclined to give permission to a class to register a label and to refuse permission to the community generally, including trades unionists.
– May I point out that I am simply speaking of a piece of legislation called’ a Trade Marks Bill, and trying to point out that the expression “ trade mark “ does not include a union label? It is a mark which belongs to the man who offers the goods for sale, and not to the man who manufactures the goods. For instance, in the manufacture of one article of trade, there mav be six, or, at any rate, three or four, different unions involved. In the manufacture of a simple bar of iron, for instance, there is the miner, the smelter, and the ironmoulder; and there are other articles in the production of which a still larger number of unions are concerned. But a Trade Marks Act is not intended to advertise all the different unions, or the men belonging to the unions who make the article. If a union made the article, the union might deal with it as any other manufacturer could ; there is nothing to prevent unions entering into industries and manufacturing businesses, and having trade marks. But the unions wish to get behind a thing which belongs to another man with the object of advertising themselves. If the man who makes the article has a right to have a label to advertise that he is a member of a certain body, surely the man who is connected with’ the mine from which the raw material comes is entitled also to use a label in order to let that fact be known. The honorable member sees that it is not the union aiia the union by whom the article is made; the article is made by individual workers, who are employed in a business concern, and who happen to belong to an outside union. These men do not work as a union, but as individual workers, who happen to belong to a union, just as they might happen to belong to a church or a temperance society ; and in no other sense. There is. nothing to prevent a number of workersfrom banding together, and manufacturing an article on which they could place a trade mark the same as may any other seller. But the men who work in a factory,, although they may be unionists, do not work as unionists - they work side by side with other men who are not unionists. And the object of this beneficent piece of legislation* is to drive out of the factories the men who do not belong to the union. The object isnot to do justice to the unions, but to make the boycott an effectual weapon to destroy the means of subsistence of fellow-workers,
– The object is to let people know when goods have been manufactured! under liveable conditions.
– One would think, front such a remark, that there were different factories for unionists as compared with nonunionists, and that there was a different rateof wages for each class. We know that in factories where unionists and nonunionists work side by side, the latter are -not paid a smaller rate of wages because they are non-unionists. If a nonunionistis a good worker, he is paid the full rate of wages.
– The unionists keep the rate up.
– Whoever heard of a manufacturer giving two men of equal ability different rates of wages because one happened to belong to a union and the other happened to belong to a temperance society ?
– They may get equal wages, but I have heard of men being “ sacked “ because they belonged to a union.
– That, of course, is unfair on the other side, and nothing could” justify conduct of that sort. I wish tosay, as I have said over and over again, that I am as anxious as any member who represents ‘a labour constituency, to do what is absolutely fair by the trades unions of Australia. I have never, in the wholecourse of my public life, said one word disparaging to the trades-union system. I have said over and over again that if I were a worker in any trade, I probably would be, or would try to be, one of the foremost of a union. I have no objection to trades unions.; I think they are absolutely fair and honorable combinations. But I have to do justice to men who are outside those powerful combinations. I cannot act as a representative of the people and shut my eyes to the rights of men who are not trades unionists. My strong objection to the present proposal is that if the Bill be passed, manufacturers who have only one or two non-unionists in their factories, will have to choose between throwing those men on the world or being refused the union label.
– Who could refuse the label ? There is no power to refuse the label if this amendment be adopted.
– The amendment is an afterthought. The Attorney-General knew that the clause he submitted last night would not protect such manufacturers. The honorable and learned member knows that I had before me his proposal, on which I was going to make the observations I am making now.
– The amendment will protect manufacturers in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.
– The honorable and learned gentleman’s law is always pretty good, but his arithmetic may be wrong. I am now -referring to the clause as the honorable and learned gentleman explained it last night. I do not wish to be understood as saying that in difficult matters of this kind there is anything unusual in the fact that an honorable gentleman in charge of the Bill has received fresh light. I would not be so unjust.
– I take it that the leader of the Opposition does not mean that it is an afterthought that I wished to make the clause effectual ?
– I mean that the difficulty has occurred to the honorable and learned gentleman since he spoke last night. I have had a good deal to do with the conduct of Bills, and I do not care how capable or able a Minister may! be who is in charge of a measure, it is the most natural thing in the world that important points should occur, even after the most careful preparation.
– Especially on a novel subject.
– I quite admit the fact. But I would point out, as showing the difficulty and dangers of these proposals, that even after two Governments have had charge of the measure, a third Attorney-General, who has evidently devoted an immense amount of labour to the subject in the short time he has been in office, finds a most serious flaw.
– I do not think it was a very serious flaw, though it was a flaw.
– I put it that it was a most serious flaw.
– However, it is cured now.
– The flaw is not cured, because some other difficulty may arise as the outcome, and the House may prefer the original proposition, although the latter may not be so good. The Attorney-General has not quite got that power of convincing the House that the moment he announces he has changed his mind, all defects are admittedly cured. As showing the difficulty of the subject - which is quite opposite from showing any neglect - I say that my remark a minute ago would absolutely have applied, but for a statement made to-day. The Bill, as it was left by Senator Pearce, was in this respect infinitely more liberal to nonunionists than is the new proposal which the Attorney-General presented last night as fairer to the manufacturer.
– Can the leader of the’ Opposition show that?
– I am going to show it. According to the Bill, which contained “Senator Pearce’s clause, a trades union could give its label to a manufacturer, although non-union men were employed in his factory.
– That could be done under the present proposal.
– According to clause 73 of the Bill, as it reached us, a trades union mark means a distinctive mark or device, adopted bv a trades union for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members of that union. The new clause 76 provides that, upon the registration of a trades union, mark, the trades union by which it is registered shall be deemed to be the proprietor, and shall be entitled to the “exclusive “ use of the mark for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members.
– That is. only the members of the union.
– Exactly : but the clause in Senator Pearce’s Bill is quite consistent with a union giving its label to a manufacturer who has amongst his hands only two or three unionists incidentally working in the making up of material. There is nothing in that clause to prevent a union honestly giving the label to such a manufacturer.
– Does the right honorable member say that a union could honestly permit such a manufacturer to use a label describing goods as being exclusively the product of the members of the union?
– That is the suggestion.
– That is the difference between your amendment and the proposal of Senator Pearce.
– I cure that.
– Do not run away from the point; I am showing that Senator Pearce did not use the word “exclusive” - that the Bill, as it came from the Senate, contained no such word.
– Will the Attorney-General find the word in the clause?
– My right honorable friend overlooks-
– Find the word “exclusive.”
– That is obscuring the matter.
– I only ask the AttorneyGeneral to find the word “exclusive” in that part of the Bill.
– There is no part of my amendment in which the word “exclusive “ appears. How can I find it?
– I wish to point out again that in the form in which the Bill came down from the Senate it did not require the goods to be exclusively the manufacture of a trade union.
– Yes, it did. I would point out to the right honorable gentleman that a trade-union mark is defined in clause 73 as follows : - “ Trade union mark “ means a distinctive mark or device adopted by a trades union for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
That is necessarily exclusive.
– I have already read those words, and the fact of the AttorneyGeneral reading them again will not add anything to them. Under those words, if, in a large factory, there were a few nonunionists working side by side with a great many unionists, a trade union could hon estly give their label to a manufacturer. For instance, the mere fact of a. few boys carrying articles from one part of a factory to another ought not to bar a manufacturer from using a trade-union mark. According to the Attorney-General, these words would exclude the employment of a few boys who might be engaged in carrying a piece of manufacture from one room to another to the men engaged there in working it up. It was the honorable and learned gentleman himself, in his proposed amendment, which was supposed to be so humane, who blocked the possibility of such a case.
– Not at all.
– I will read clause 77. It says -
The application of the union trade mark to goods shall be deemed to be unauthorized unless -
it is applied to goods which are the manufacture or workmanship or the product of the labour of members of the union exclusively.
The word “exclusively “ has been inserted in the clause drafted by the AttorneyGeneral. There is no such word employed in the original provision to designate the product of the labour of the members of a union. The force of the word “ exclusive “ is that, if one non-unionist were working alongside a thousand unionists in a factory, a trade union label could not be put on the goods produced there until that nonunionist had been turned out. Ifthe union gave their label to a manufacturer when a few non-unionists were working alongside a big body of unionists, who would be affected by it? Would the purchaser of a bar of soap want to know if there was one scab in the factory ? Mendo not do these silly things. I wish to point out that this humane amendment of the Attorney-General is less humane than the provision which was contained in the Bill which was sent down from the Senate, because the word “exclusively” has now been inserted for the first time. But the Attorney-General has fortunately seen the unjust force of that word. To-night he has come down with a new clause, in which he says, in effect, that he has discovered the wicked force of that word in a measure of this character.
– Then what is the right honorable member growling, about?
– I am very glad to know that I am making the honorable member a little restless. I merely desire to point out that the Attorney-General wishes the Committee to believe that there is no difference between the provision contained in the original Bill and the new clause which he has circulated. Since he slept on the matter, the honorable and learned gentleman has thought it so important that he has introduced a new clause, which provides for the difference between “ exclusively “ and “not exclusively.” There is now in clause 77a a provision under which the application of the union trade mark to goods shall be deemed to be unauthorized unless it is applied to goods which are exclusively the product of the labour of members of the union, and under paragraph b it can be applied to goods which are in part, but not “exclusively,” the manufacture or workmanship or product of the labour of members of a union. So that the AttorneyGeneral has seen the force of the word “ exclusively,” and the hardship which it might work, and he now proposes to supply a loophole for cases such as those to which I have referred.
– My original proposal in 77b expressly stated that the union might authorize the application of the label to goods not exclusively made by unionists. Paragraph a dealt with goods which were “exclusively” the product of the labour of members of the union, and paragraph b dealt with those which were not exclusively the product of such persons.
– Nothing of the kind. In the Bill which was laid upon the table yesterday I find that under 77b -
The application of the union trade mark to goods shall be deemed to be unauthorized unless -
it is applied to goods which are the manufacture or workmanship or the product of the labour of members of the union exclusively, &c.
Under paragraph b it was to be - applied to goods by the employer for whom they are made or manufactured, or by a member of the union by the direction of the employer.
– It is not exclusive there.
– Paragraph b says -
The application of the union trade mark to goods shall be deemed to be unauthorized unless ….
It is, by or under the authority of the union, applied to goods by the employer for whom they are made or manufactured or by a member of the union by the direction of the employer.
– There is not a word about “ exclusiveness “ there.
– If that be so, whereis the necessity for this new amendment? The
Attorney-General has explained that the word “exclusively,” as it was used yesterday, required the introduction of a new clause, which contained that word in one part, but not in another. I have clause 77 before me.
– The right honorable member has tumbled in.
– Of course members of the Labour Party are always prepared to tumble in where trades unions are concerned. But I wish to do something which is fair to the general mass of the working community, because we have to legislate, not for our leagues, but for the whole community.
– Treat every man alike.
– Exactly; that is a fair principle. My strongest objection to this proposal is that it does not treat every man alike, and I will give my reason for saying so. Even the Attorney-General himself must admit that this new clause is designed to enable people to buy goods which have union labels.
– If they like to do so.
– If the effect of the provision would injure the union worker we should not have so much anxiety exhibited to pass it, so that we need not waste time in discussing that matter. If it were not believed that this provision will be an advantage to the union workers it would not be asked for, and we should not be troubled with this discussion. It is believed that if a union label is put upon articles of commerce a preference will be shown to a particular manufacture of a particular man.. It is the seller to whom I am alluding - the man who sells goods bearing the label. That enables trade unions to put compulsion upon every factory-owner who employs a non-union worker - to say to him, “If you do not discharge that man, you do not get our label.” That is the cruel part of this measure.
– That is wrong, because the amendment shows that no permission from the union is required.
Mr.REID. - What if the manufacturer does not employ union labour? The Attorney-General is ready to retreat from any position. Surely he admits that the object of this Bill is to help union workers to put on an article of commerce, sold across the shop counter, “ This is made by union labour.” Now, is that intended to benefit unionists or not?
– To benefit everybody.
– The Attorney-General is capable of arguing that the putting of that label on the goods would improve the position of the non-unionist worker in a manufactory. I do not see things in that way. I should like to put some of my honorable friends opposite in the position of men who have conscientious objections to joining unions. I suppose it is possible for a working man to have such honest objections, because, as a matter of fact, the unionists are a small minority of the workers of Australia.
– They are getting on very well.
– I suppose they are, or my honorable friends would not work so hard for them. They are getting on so well that it rests upon some one to look after the people who are weaker than the unionists, and who have less political influence than they have. I say that we, as legislators, must remember that there are thousands of honest, capable, workmen, who do not believe in unions, and will not join them. I do not know why. As I have said before, if I were a man working in one of these trades, it is ten to one that I should be in a union. I do not understand why some of these men object to join a union, but it is not for them to satisfy me whether the objections are right or wrong; it is not for them to go before any trade union and satisfy the union whether they are right or wrong. There is not a man in Australia who should not have the same opportunity to earn his livelihood as any other man in the same trade. I say “Work your unions and your leagues for all they are worth for political objects, but the moment von bring their mighty power into operation to prevent others from obtaining employment, I say that you are committing a gross abuse of your powers. The powers of Legislation and democracy should be directed to the protection of the weak - not to the oppression of them - and to the preservation of the right of a man to dispose of his labour and his membership of a union or a society according to his own judgment.” The effect of this provision would be to secure the adoption of a principle similar to that which was defeated on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. It will be remembered that a desperate effort, was made to embody in that measure a provision that an Arbitration Court should be made a labour registry for the great unions, with the legal necessity of denying men work if they applied at the same time as unionists belonging to the same trade. The Court was to tell them to go and starve, to say to them, “You do not belong to the union - join the union or starve.” That was the democratic legislation that the Labour Government wished to force upon us at the point of the bayonet, but in spite of their power and that of their allies, we defeated them. _ One would think that the allies of the Labour Party, working with them so closely as they do, would have the manliness to adopt the same course that the labour members take. They will not try to consolidate the support of two political bodies; they manfully join one and stand before the world in that position. But their allies hang on their skirts and say, “ We will not sit down with you in the caucus, we will not take the pledge you take, but we will be your very good servants. We shall do what you want as long as you give us the gentility of not going to your caucus, so long as you allow us to play the part of the superior person, without taking these pledges which we regard as degrading, undignified, and improper.” These men are now doing the work of the Labour Leagues, which we withstood when they made an assault on the legal rights of industrialists. Of all attempts to create monopoly, I think the most cruel is the attempt of working men to create a privilege and a monopoly against their fellow industrialists. We have seen the wealthier and privileged classes trampling down those below them in days gone past. Through the wrongs, which the mass of humanity suffered from those .above them, we have evolved democracy, and it is one of the saddest features of this democracy that the moment it achieves power and equality of conditions the men who should be the greatest champions of the equal rights of the workers use all their power, and it is now a terrible power in this House, to drive out of employment the men who are not unionists, because they will not take the pledge. If these honorable members, will drive a man out of his work, and deprive him of an opportunity of making a living- for himself and his wife and children because he is not a unionist, why do they associate with- men who will not become unionists with them in their caucus?
Mir. Watson. - Why did the right honorable gentleman associate with the Prime Minister a few weeks ago?
– He was not a unionist.
– No, but he did not agree with the right honorable gentleman in a thousand things.
– That is quite true, but we decided to define the position by putting it in black and white.
– So did we - we put it in black and white.
– I wish the honorable member would show it me.
– Our arrangement is printed in black and white in the public press.
– Is that what the honorable member means? That is the sort of black and white that is open to be corrected if it is found inconvenient. It is the reporter who is credited with mixing up things. I cannot help pointing out that whilst these unionists in politics will fraternize on terms of the closest affection and equality with men who will not join their political union, the caucus, and will not wear their union label they will, when a man is in the ordinary fields of industry working for his subsistence and for that of his wife and family, regard his refusal to wear the union label as sufficient to justify them in driving him out of his employment. By thirtyeight votes to thirty-six we resisted the attempt made to give preference to unionists under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– This is not preference.
– No, but it is one of the best ways of boycotting a man.
– Oh !
– Surely the honorable member must know that that is the main object of the provision ?
– I cannot understand the right honorable gentleman.
– The honorable member has only to read the literature of America where this system has been introduced. It must be remembered that first of all this is a comparatively modern piece of legislation.
– How long has the principle been applied in America?
– Only within the last few years.
– It has been in existence for thirty years - it was brought into operation first in 1874.
– Time flies so rapidly.
– The right honorable gentleman did not look the matter up.
– Yes, I was looking the matter up only last night. I had an opportunity to read two articles for and against the union label in the North American Review, and I commend them to any one who has not read them, for they put the two sides of the question very ably.
– No serious attempt was made to introduce the union label in the United States until recently.
– The system was in force in the United States fifteen years ago. I know that this is so. because 1 was there at the time.
– When we are speaking of matters of legislation, the fact that a certain system began thirty years ago is not proof of a venerable antiquity. This system had its beginning in the United States, in circumstances very different from those which prevail here. There was at the time a large number of Chinese in San Francisco, who were supposed to be infected with leprosy, and there was a strong desire on the part of the people not to buy, any article mode, in these circumstances, in Chinese settlements. It was advanced, as a reason why a step of this kind should be taken, that it would enable the people to avoid things made under such loathsome conditions. But that is not the case in Australia. Here it is a case not of fighting the Chinese, but of fighting our own fellow-countrymen who do not happen to be unionists. The system has been used in America, as honorable members will find, in a most tyrannical and violent way. I wish to deal with the matter, however, not upon these extreme grounds, but simply as if the label were used in a business-like way. Clearly the object of this clause is to enable unions to make it worth the while of manufacturers to employ only union labour. I think that is a fair way to state the case, because under this Bill, even as the Government propose to amend it, manufacturers will not be able to use the union label, unless they employ only union labour. Let us take the amendment’ which has just been put upon the table, and a case in which the employer may himself put the union label on his goods, because he is complying with these provisions. The Attorney-General said Last night that it had been his great anxiety to draft a provision that would prevent the unions from refusing their trade mark to a manufacturer who was complying with union conditions. As he properly said. “ If we do not protect the manufacturer from that possibility, the unions, having the power to withhold their label, may exact terms from the manufacturer, whether he employs union labour or not. as the price to be paid for the use of their label.’*’ The Attorney-General said, in effect, “ I wish to protect the manufacturer from that, and to provide that he shall have a right to place the union label on his goods, whether the union gives him the right or not, as long as he complies with the provisions of this measure.” But I wish to point out that the Government proposal will not meet the whole of the evil. Let us suppose that this is done. How easy it would be for a trade union to advertise in the very case where a manufacturer had put the union label on his goods,’ and had employed union labour in their manufacture, that he was using their label without their authority. That would be a perfectly correct statement to make. No one could impugn the action of the trade union in making such a statement. The manufacturer might, as a matter of fact, reply, “ It is true that the union would not allow me to use their label, but I used it because I was entitled to do so by law.” The advertisement published by the union, however, would do injury to the manufacturer. If a trade organ published a list of manufacturers who used their labels without their authority, nearly as much mischief would be done amongst the class upon whom the use of the union label is supposed to Iia ve an effect, as in any other case. It will thus be seen that the unions would be left in this position : that they could say to the very man who was obeying the union rules, “ If you use the union label without our consent, we shall advertise that fact.” But the serious point is this : The Attorney General will not pretend that in the new amendment, which he has circulated, he has cured the evil to which I refer.
– The honorable and learned member will admit that there is nothing that he has put in the proposed new clause which would enable a manufacturer, who had 100 men, ten or twenty of whom were non-unionists, engaged in the manufacture of an article, to put the union label on goods so produced.
– He certainly could use the label if the goods were made by union labour. But if non-unionists joined in their manufacture, it would not be true to put upon them a statement that thev had been made only by union labour.
– Exactly. That is all I ask.
– Why should any one have the right to use the union label in such circumstances? Would the right honorable member suggest that it should be used on goods so manufactured ?
– Do not become impatient.
– I wish to know what the right honorable member means.
– Do not become impatient until I have answered you. Play the judge.
– Order. The honor.orable and learned member must not address the honorable member directly.
– I ask you, sir, to curb your impatience in listening to this very wearisome debate. I simply wish the AttorneyGeneral to allow me to answer his question. I only wanted the admission he has made. He now fairly admits that if a manufacturer employed 100 men in a factory, ninety of whom were unionists, and ten non-unionists, the union label could not in such a case be honestly placed on the goods made by him.
– Pardon me. In that form I do not admit the right honorable member’s contention. If a manufacturer employed ninety non-unionists in making certain goods, and 150 unionists in making other goods, the union label could be placed on the articles made by the unionists.
– That is not the point. I am speaking of J 00 men engaged in the manufacture of the same article. Out of 10,000 bars of soap made in a factory, one would not separate the number of bars made by ten non-unionists as compared with the number made by ninety unionists. I am speaking of the ordinary out-turn of a big factory. Let us take the case of 100 men working for the one manufacturer, and engaged in the production of a given article. If ten of that number were nonunionists, on the Attorney-General’s Own admission, the manufacturer in those circumstances could not place a union label on the goods made by him.
– No more than if there were ten unionists and ninety non-unionists.
– Exactly. Let me put it another way. If there were 1,000 unionists engaged in a big factory, and 500 non-unionists, the employer would have to discharge the 500 non-unionists before he could use the union label.
– Not at all.
– Then I wish to know what the honorable and learned gentleman means. Surely the difference between ninety and ten in principle is the same as that between 1,000 and 500.
– The statement now made by the right honorable member is a different one.
– The honorable and learned member is a most extraordinary gentleman. I shall put the matter in another way. Take the case of a factory in which there are 100 persons working together, and only one non-unionist is working with them. Could the union label be used by the employer if his goods were produced by all these unionists together with the one nonunionist ?
– Would it be true if it were placed on goods so manufactured?
– Then why does the right honorable member desire that a manufacturer in such circumstances should put an untrue statement on his goods?
– I am glad that the honorable and learned gentleman admits what I say, because the venom of this proposal lies in the fact that the manufacturer in these circumstances would not be able to use the union label until he had dismissed one who was perhaps the best and oldest man in his employ - one who might have been in his factory for thirty years, while the others had entered his service only a year or two before.
– Not at all.
– I shall not waste time on the honorable and learned gentleman. He says that if, in such circumstances, an employer put on the union label, it would be untrue.
-The right honorable member changes his statement every time.
– It is the same statement. Surely to alter the figures is not to alter the principle of the law !
– It is another matter for the right honorable member to alter his statement. There is all the difference in the world between having goods made indiscriminately by unionists and nonunionists, and having unionists and non-unionists making different goods.
– With every desire to assist the right honorable member who has possession of the chair, I am bound to say that the Standing Orders must be observed. I cannot allow three, four, or five speeches to be made by an honorable member during the debate. If those who so frequently interject dissent from the view of the right honorable member who is now speaking, they will have an opportunity to express their dissent later on, while the AttorneyGeneral has a right to reply at the end of the debate. That is the time to make these explanations, and not when the right honorable member is speaking.
– I quite understand the distinction of the honorable and learned gentleman, and I am adopting it. He fairly says that, even under the Bill, if it becomes law, if there are 999 union men working at the manufacture of certain articles, and ten other men working at the manufacture of other articles, the employer may put the union label on the product of the work of the 999 men. But even his knowledge of business must be sufficient for him to know that in the production of, perhaps, even one bar of iron, there may be 1,000 men engaged in a factory. In such a factory they do not employ union men to work up one bar of iron and nonunion men to work up another. They do not pick out men for certain work, according as they may be unionists or nonunionists.
– They are generally all unionists or all non-unionists.
– They will be after the Bill is passed.
– There are very few nonunionists in factories now.
– If the object of the Bill is realized - and I do not for a moment say that it will, because we have remembrance that not very long ago the British Parliament passed an Act providing for the branding of German-made goods, so that they should not under-cut British manufactures, and that, instead of that Act putting down the German article, it advertised it so enormously that it is now more sold than ever before. So, similarly, this proposal may so revolt the sense of fairness and equity of the average purchaser that, instead of being of advantage to the trade unionists, it may be the opposite. But that is not the point with me. My objection to the proposal is that in a Bill to which it does not properly belong, an attempt is being made to place employers under a system of terrorism, if thev employ non-union labour in the manufacture of goods. However desirous they may be to keep non-union servants who are good and honest workmen, the cruel compulsion is put on them of either dismissing such men, or of not using the union label. The Bill will work iniquitous results upon the workers in our Australian industries. From my point of view, Parliament, in dealing with men in the vital respect of their daily bread, their daily opportunities of avoiding starvation, misery, and pauperism, has no right to mould its laws so as to make the avenues of employment easy for those who wear a certain badge and hard for those who will not. It cuts across the very grain of every principle of democracy, and of every feeling of humanity to do so. Fight your union battles as much as you - will. So long as the,y are within the legitimate sphere no one can object to them. .The unionists of Australia have as great a right to combine to endeavour to get better conditions for their labour and themselves as wealthy financiers have to combine to get better conditions for ‘their money. But I treat them as I treat the others, and I say that if it is endeavoured to pass a law which will interfere with the right of any honest worker in Australia to earn a living - although you may make the attempt in. the interest of the unions - it is wrong. Even if you were to do it in the interest of religion, it would be wrong, and an abuse of the rights of legislation in a democratic community. What is the use of your talk about democracy ? Do you mean equality as against the richer men in the country who have money, but not against your own fellow-workers in the same line of industry ? The men who are trying to tear down those above them might leave their own fellowworkers alone. They need not try to tear them down. They need not band themselves against them. What would be said if there were an application under this Bill by a man employing none but Home Rulers, to be allowed to’ put a green label on his tea, sugar, soap, or candles, or an application by a manufacturer employing none but antiHome Rulers, to be allowed to put a yellow label on his soap or candles? Would not that be an abuse of the trade marks law ? Is that a provision to put into a Bill to regulate the trade marks of commerce? Bad as that would be in stirring up strife in the community - it would be worse than the coupon system - there is infinitely less excuse for men who have not these burning questions to make them differ. It is infinitely worse to do that upon a mere dry question of elbowing a fellow-worker out of his job, not in the name of religion or patriotism, but in the name of unionism - infinitely more objectionable, infinitely less excusable. I admit at once that there is an alternative given to the non-unionists.
– To go off the face of the earth.
– There is another alternative. “ My dear sir “ - if this man appeals to his fellow-workers in the union - “my dear sir “–
– Whom is the right honorable member addressing? Will he kindly address the Chair?
– If I have to face you, sir, in making my remarks, I must turn my back on my audience.
– I hope that the right honorable member is too old a parliamentarian to suggest that I should require him to turn his face towards me unnecessarily. He is certainly too old a parliamentarian not to know that it is quite improper to address any honorable member as “my dear sir,” or to address any one in the chamber except through the Speaker.
– I was putting the case of a man outside addressing another man outside; I was not myself addressing any honorable member. I was putting the case of a unionist addressing a non-unionist as “ my dear sir.”
– I regret that I misunderstood the right honorable member. I took it that he was addressing some honorable member or honorable members in this chamber.
– No; I assure you.
– Will the right honorable member please allow me to address the House. If I misunderstood him on this occasion, it is not to be wondered at, seeing that, oh several occasions during the debate, he has addressed the Attorney-General most unmistakably in unparliamentary terms. A few moments ago, when I called attention to that fact, he said that he hoped I would restrain my impatience during this debate. He had no_right to address the Chair in that way, and no one knows it better than he does.
– I accept your apology, sir, for the misunderstanding you had that I was addressing members of the House just now. As I said, I was not addressing them at all. You corrected me under a misunderstanding which I am sure you regret.
– Will the right honorable gentleman proceed with his speech ?
– Certainly. As I was saying, there is an alternative. For instance, a unionist might say to a non-unionist who objected to this, “ My dear sir, you have your alternative. We do not really want to drive you out into the street. That is not what we are aiming at. We wish to drive you into our union, not todrive you into the street. We want you. You are part of our grand political campaign. We are using politics and Acts of Parliament to dragoon men into our political leagues at the risk of losing their livelihood and losing their right to work.” No other party in Australia yet has ever mixed up a man’s opportunity of earning his daily bread with his political convictions. There has never yet been that odious, sinister, degrading, inhumane line drawn between men in the great public controversies of Australia. This is the introduction of a sinister line of legislation. It is using the power of the democracy, in a Parliament which was intended to pass equal laws, to pass a law which makes the necessity of joining a political organization part of the conditions upon which a man can earn his daily bread. I say that is a degrading attempt, and it is contrary to all the rules on which legislation should proceed. It is part of a vast political - I will not say conspiracy, because it is open and above-board–
– It is an alliance.
Mr.RE ID. - No, it is an open and above-board movement, with which the honorable and learned gentleman is not connected. He thinks too much of himself, evidently, for that, in some way or other.
– But the honorable and learned gentleman cannot be got to say why he does not belong to it.
– Because it would be offensive if he. did. But I should like to point cut: that one of the other serious evils which such a law as this will introduce is that, while under the average trade marks law the question is one of cheapness and merit in an article, and under the ordinary trade marks system a man secures popularity because his article is good and cheap under this system of union labels the basis of value will be vitiated, and a man may make the quality what he pleases, so long as he has got the union tag on his goods. A large number of people, especially among the working classes, are expected to go into a shop and be perfectly satisfied with an article’ of commerce, so long as it has the orthodox tag on. It will be enough, it is expected, if it has the trade union brand, to show that the article is of the first quality. In the ordinary operations of commerce these marks are used for various purposes.
– All trades unionists to-day buy in the cheapest market, wherever they can find it.
– Unfortunately they are not as a rule able to indulge in the luxury of paying more than they need.
– That is the point.
– It is. I can afford to patronize things which are sold at a somewhat higher rate than others can afford to pay. But my feeling always has been that the working classes of the country have no margin enabling them to throw money away. They have to exercise the strictest economy in all their purchases to keep their families going at all. I say that it should never be a mark of reproach in a poor household that its members have to study cheapness. The reproach I often make is that there are people in Australia with large incomes who exercise in regard to Australian products a niggardly thriftiness. I believe in men of means encouraging our Australian workers and industries by not looking a shilling in the face, but by paying more and more and more for an article of colonial manufacture than they would pay for an imported article. But the great mass of the people, however patriotic they are, and however willing they would be to do that, cannot afford to do it, and it would be a cruel thing to expect them to do it. No man with any consideration would expect them to do it. But the only object of a trade mark has been to indicate the merit and quality of an article. As for our sanitary methods, to which the Attorney-General referred, there are Factories Acts, which apply to non-union factories in the same way as to union factories. There is no distinction in the Factories Acts which would make a union factors more sanitary than a non-union factory. In connexion with the wages boards in Victoria, there is no distinction made between non-union men and unionists that I am aware of.
– None whatever.
– In that sense I think the wages boards worthy of an enormous amount of recommendation as: compared with many of these methods for acting unequally with the worker. I believe that they should operate equally all round, and I understand that the wages boards in Victoria act in that way. Whether a man is a unionist or a non-unionist, he gets the benefit of the wages boards’ decisions. But one of the worst features of some of these Arbitration Acts, the New South Wales Act, for instance, is that the attempt is made to put one man on a superior footing to another in the same line of industry. If a man can earn that by his own energy, well and good, he is then as much entitled to it as is a merchant to the big profit he may earn on a bale of goods. But when an attempt is made to make use of a law intended for the protection of every one, and to be administered equally in the interests of all ; when an attempt is made to twist the laws of the land to serve not class purposes merely, but the selfish trade interests of a part of a class, then, I think, we have reached a point in Federal legislation that should awaken the concern of every man who desires to see this mighty democratic engine work fairlv and equitably to all members of the community. I make no excuse for the time I have taken in dealing with this matter. Whatever our views are, it will be admitted that there is here proposed a new departure in a matter of serious importance, and I must express my great concern that a question of this sort should be dealt with in a House constituted as this House is at present. Honorable members may perhaps allow me to express my opinion, that no House is on a healthy basis when those who are responsible for bringing in large Government measures do not possess the confidence of a majority of the representatives of the people. There is no sort of alliance that can make the present condition of things in dealing with these large affairs a healthy one. No one has more eloquently described that than the present Prime Minister of the country. We know as well as possible that if this proposal had been made in this House while the late Government was in office–
– It would have been thrown out.
– It would have been thrown out contemptuously ; that the very men who in this particular Government to-day are fastening these shackles of favoritism upon the democracy of Australia - one-half at least of the members of the present Government, who, to-night, are seeking to put this Bill through - would have been amongst its. staunchest opponents.
– I say it is an element of danger to the community, that the whole course of legislation should depend on a. shuffle of the political cards ; that the men who denounced abuses of government yesterday, should become the willing abettors of those very abuses to-morrow, because of a change in the political situation. I am glad to say that the moment I saw the very frail majority I had thoroughly imperilled, by the defection of the leader of a large number of honorable members on my side, the only censure I incurred was that of overhaste in getting out of such a dangerous and ignominious position. My honorable friends opposite may laugh. They are entitled to laugh. They are in the happy position of the man in the cart with the whip in his hand. They enjoy the luxury of driving, the animals all day and all night long. I am talking now of the unfortunate animals in the shafts. My honorable friends have reason to laugh. They are free from any responsibility. They can escape all the responsibility attaching to government and to legislation. They can twist the course of government as they like, behind the scenes ; and the Government take only responsibility, having reallv no power except the power they get by overdraft from their friends. But I say that that is a thoroughly unhealthy state of things.
– Where is the joke about the overdraft?
-There must be something of an overdraft if honorable members opposite recollect all that the Prime Minister said about them a few months ago.
– I do not see where the application comes in ; it must be extremely humorous. I am sure, but I cannot see it.
– I only wish to say that honorable members opposite have perhaps conveniently forgotten that their methods, their organization, their principles - not all, but to some extent-
– What has that to do with this Bill ; we want to know that?
– No doubt the honorable member does. But I am illustrating the danger of the present situation by pointing out that in an important matter, affecting some thousands of men in Australia, in their daily work, and concerning their daily bread, things can be done in this House now that would have been scouted a short time ago.
– We have had ito-night, from the right honorable member for East Sydney, a characteristic speech, containing his usual perfervid declarations as to his love of trade unions, and how he has sacrificed all his political life to help the true trade-union movement. I do not wonder at his theoretical defence of trade unions, because he has belonged to one of the closest trade unions that exists under the regis of the law in British communities, and one that visits all kinds of penalties upon any attempt at blacklegging.
– I did not make it so; I tried to liberalize it.
– What has the right honorable member done to remove from the path of the young; man setting out in life, about whose future he was so pathetic only a month or two ago before the constituencies - the young man whom Socialism is going to kill, in respect to his energies and his -ambitions - the obstacles put there by law, SO far as his own profession is concerned? What, during his public career, has ne done to remove those obstacles, and to make the path easier ? Nothing ! Not one step has he ever taken towards assisting in that direction. And I say, further, that after all his declarations of sympathy with trade unions, I do not remember any instance where the right honorable member has gone out of his way to help them, in a political sense. He has treated us in the House to-night, as he has done on previous occasions - for instance, in regard to the Arbitration measure - to most heartrending pictures of the misery that is going to overtake the nonunionists if these conditions are to be allowed to become law. I can only say this: That I think that members of ihe party to which I belong have shown some regard for the interests of non-unionists in the past. We have done so as a body. I do not know that any member of this party has ever done other than what the majority has done, and that is on all occasions to advocate that wherever a trade union exists, it is’ ignoring the object of its very being, unless its doors are’ freely thrown open to every worker in the community, that he may have the chance to participate in any benefits and privileges which the members of a union- may secure. That has been the basis upon which I have always advocated that trade unions should be managed ; and upon no other basis can they be justified in the eye of God or man.
– Cannot a man refuse to join a union if he does not see fit?
– Certainly ; but the right honorable member knows well that in the present condition of industrial organization - in the present condition of society - a man is not master of his own actions so far as competition for employment is concerned ; that unless he is prepared to take advantage of the strength which’ he can obtain by association with his fellow-workmen, the very term “liberty” is nothing but a misnomer.
– Cannot the non-unionists be allowed to be the best judge of that?
– We have to do the “ greatest good to the greatest number,” and that is why the community has assented to laws that allow even the honorable member tobe here. I wish to refer to the criticisms of the right honorable member, and perhaps I should first take that wherein he taunted the Government of which I was the head with not having introduced a proposal of this character in its Trade Marks Bill. I may say at once that personally - owing to the fact that in Western Australia some unions have already registered trade marks under the existing law, and that in England for many years past, trade union labels have been in use - I took it for granted that as our laws were founded upon those of Great Britain, or were practically the same in many respects, there was no necessity for us to include provisions to give trade unions the right to register their labels. Therefore, I admit that I did not go into the question fully. I look it for granted that what had been done with apparent legal sanction in England and in Western Australia, was also practicable in every State of the Commonwealth. But we were assured by our legal friends that that was not so - that is, that though it is a fact that trade union labels have existed in England for some twelve years at least, the case Ras never been tested whether the registration is a proper one or not, and further that in Western Australia there has been no test of thb legality of the registration - and when I learnt that, I saw that the point was open to argument as to what was the definition or construction of the existing law. Then we come to the question of whether trade’ unions should be allowed to register their marks or labels. I say, sir, that the speech of the right honorable member to-night was put forward with the object of convincing the public that the Labour Party and the present Ministry are associated and legislating for the benefit of a section.
– Hear, hear.
– I desire to fling that taunt back in the teeth of the right honorable member, and those associated withhim, and to say that those who are working for sectional and class legislation are the right honorable member and his friends. They desire to confine the use of the protection that the State is prepared to give to a man’s label or trade mark, to one section of the community, and one section only. Any employer - any person with capital who is trading is to be allowed, according to the ideas of the , right honorable member, to have all the protection that the State can afford in the single and the proper use of a particular trade mark. But the same degree of protection is not under any conditions to be extended to associations of workers. Any one, so long as he is not a workman, may come along and claim that the State should step in and punish a person who infringes his trade mark or label.
– A workman can take out a trade mark in the same way as any other person.
– The right honorable gentleman knows that workmen are not usually engaged- in the selling of goods; therefore he knows full well that the permission which he is gracious enough to extend to them cannot be taken advantage of. Am person can use a trade mark. To-day a trade union can use a trade mark. They can use as many labels as they like, and no one can slop them so long as they do not infringe the registered trade mark or label of any person. But the object of this trade marks legislation, as I understand it, is that where a man has invented an exclusive term or sign bv which he will mark or indicate the goods of his workmanship as a guarantee to the public, the State steps in and assures him of protection ami the uninterrupted enjoyment of that trade mark. But honorable members on the other side say that the workman is not to have any legal protection. They cannot deny him the right to put a label upon a cigar which he makes, or to arrange with his employer to put a union trade mark on a suit of clothes, or a hat, or a pair of boots ; but as soon as he asks the State for the same degree of protection that is extended to his employer he is committing a sin, and, according to the dictum of honorable members opposite, he is asking for something which is of a class character, and in regard to which he has no right to come before the State as a suppliant. I cannot admit the justice of the claim set up by honorable members opposite. It is said that trade unions may use this power if it is granted to them.
– What about the argument that thev may prevent the use of a label ?
– In reply to the interjection, it does seem to me, in the first place, that any attempt to limit the right of a trade union, once a label has been registered, is to treat that union differently from the way in which the Bill proposes to treat employers. As a matter of practice, I do not object to the clauses which the Attorney-General has brought down, and which, in my opinion, sufficiently protect the man who does employ union labour, but against whom a particular union mayhave a grudge. I do not object to the protection of a fair employer by means of these clauses. From the stand-point of equity, of treating all classes in the community alike, whether employers or employes, there should be no greater restriction put on a trade union than is put, for instance, on a tobacco combine, inregard to their use of a label. What is the case at the present time? We are tol rj by those who quote American experience that in that country the use of labels hasbeen abused. I am prepared to admit that trade unions, like every other associationof individuals, are only human, and therefore quite as liable to abuse powers whichare too great as are employers.
– Is this power toogreat ?
– I do not think so. There is always the possibility of abuse by any set of individuals ; but because there is that possibility we do not sit down and do nothing. We surround a proposal with as many safeguards as possible; but, beyond that, we do not fro. What is the position in America? There the. whole conception of trade unionism is different from that which obtains in Australia, or other part of the British Empire. There we read of abuses, among trade unionsand with trade union officials, just as we read -of corruption in Congress and the States Legislatures - features which happily are absent from the group of Austra-
Iian States, and from practically every part of the British Empire. Just as the legislative machine of the Americans differs from ours, so their trade unions differ from ours; and they use methods, which I am happy to say no trade union in Australia has ever been guilty of using, so far as any of us have been able to ascertain.
– But they only imitate their masters.
– They imitate those who run the legislative machine. In Australia we working men have shown that we do not rely exclusively upon the trade union weapon for bringing about fair conditions. We are prepared to enter the legislative arena, and attempt by argument to convince the people that there is a necessity for an alteration to be made, so far as it can be effected by an Act of Parliament. In America, on the contrary, the trade unions rely solely on the weapons of the strike, and the boycott. These weapons are used sometimes fairly, but often unfairly, as far as I have been able to read, and certainly in some cases without sufficient cause, so far as those who are responsible for the control of trade unions are concerned.
– Could not this be twisted into a boycott, too?
– I shall come to that point later. Let me keep to the question of how far we are entitled to differentiate in treatment between employers and employes. Take the case of a trade mark issued to an employer. Do not honorable members know that the use of trade marks is absolutely abused by. private individuals, so far as the public welfare is concerned? Are they ignorant of the fact that the tobacco combine, for instance, has said that they will not sell one brand of cigars bearing a registered trade mark to any person who is desirous of retailing it under a certain price? Is it not a fact that honorable members well know that in every part of the Commonwealth there are traders who sell certain brands of commodities to one individual only in a certain locality, and will supply them to no one else? That is an abuse, so far as the public interests are concerned. It is an abuse of the licence which the community has issued to those traders, and in a measure it is in restraint of trade ; but from those honorable members who are affectedly solicitous about fair play all round, there is no protest against issuing to such employers trade marks, and the exclusive use of certain signs and methods or indications of their particular manufacture. There is ho cry that we should put safeguards round the trade marks which are issued to such employers. All their indignation is centred round a proposal to enable trade unions to identify the work of their members, so that that section of the public who desire to buy goods produced under fair conditions may have some guarantee that they have been so produced. The honorable member for Dalley asked me whether it was not possible that a boycolt could be arranged by a trade union if this measure were passed.
– I asked whether unionists could not be compelled to buy union- labour articles only.
– No. In the first place, I have heard of no case where that has been attempted; and, in the second place, that kind of regulation always fails.
– It is the American experience.
– I have heard of that, but I know of no case where such an attempt has succeeded. I have heard of no case in England, and know only of one case referred to.
– Such a boycott could be exercised as well without the Bill.
– Of course; if there is a boycott, a trade union label would not be necessary to insure its success. After all, the best guarantee against an abuse of a power such as this clause proposes is public sentiment. If public sentiment approves of labels being placed’ on goods - if public sentiment demands a label of some sort which will enable purchasers to know that goods have been produced under fair conditions - goods which are so labelled will be bought. If, on the other hand, the public hear that a boycott is unfairly attempted - if the public press is filled with the protests of those who have been injured by an improper manipulation of the law - the public will refuse to buy goods bearing the trade union label. I am quite convinced that there need be. no fear if any danger in this connexion. There is verv great necessity, it seems to me, for some indication to the public as to the conditions under which goods are produced. We are told that we have factories legislation, arbitration laws, and wages boards; and I admit that to a certain degree the condition of the workers has been materially helped by those various phases ‘of recent, legislation. But, in the first place, those Acts are confined to only a few of the States. Neither Tasmania nor Queensland has even a Factories Act, though the other States have some form of remedial legislation, so far as the workers are concerned. Even in Victoria the wages boards do not extend to every form of production ; they do not even extend to every form of manufacture, and I am told they operate only in the metropolitan area. Therefore, those boards constitute no guarantee to the consumer as to the condition under which goods are produced.
– The wages boards provisions apply to such places as Ballarat, Warrnambool, and Geelong.
– But not to Braybrook.
– Nor to the shires.
– Nor to Camberwell. Further, the wages boards do not apply 10 ali trades.
– All trades may be placed under the wages boards by proclamation.
– Perhaps; but they have not been. I am informed by the honorable member for Yarra that it is not correct that all trades can be proclaimed - that only some are eligible, if the Government so decide.
– Some trades are expressly excluded.
– Just so; and the operation of the legislation which does exist is not sufficient, either within the Commonwealth or within the confines of any one particular State, to afford any guarantee to the consumer as to the conditions under which goods have been produced. In England we have seen recently a strong public agitation with the object of arousing the public conscience as to the conditions under which goods are manufactured.
– Could a Factories Act not deal better with this question?
– No; the Factories Acts in England, which are pretty fair now, are still insufficient to deal with the awful conditions of sweating -which prevail there. Any one who has read of the conditions which exist to-day, or did exist a month’ or two ago, in the East End of London, and in many of the other big centres of Great Britain, knows that the Factories Acts are inadequate to meet the terrible stress and suffering. The Christian Social Union, which is a society connected with the Church1 of England, has for years past been endeavouring to arouse the public conscience to such a pitch that purchasers will insist on knowing something about the conditions under which goods are produced. Canon Scott Holland, in a very powerful address on this subject a little time ago, pointed out that the least a good citizen can do is to encourage employers to give fair conditions, by making all inquiry possible as to the circumstances of those who produce goods offered for sale.
– Who is Canon Scott Holland?
– A leading man of the Church of England.
– If it be admitted that there is a duty cast on the public to ascertain something of the conditions under which goods are produced, what readier means of identification could there be than some trade mark or label such as is contemplated in this particular measure? What easier method could there be by which the public might at once see whether fair conditions had been observed? I know of none. I should now like to quote certain remarks made on the subject, not by trade unionists, but by men in New York who are banded together for the purpose of “educating the people in regard to social questions, and, as far as they can, improving social conditions. They are men of the character of those who compose the Toynbee Hall group in London, and they are known as the Social Reform Club of New York. According to John Graham Brooks’ bulletin to the Department of Labour in Washington, which was issued in 1898, after there had been a trade union label in America for many years, the members of this club were so impressed with the work that had been accomplished by means of the label that they set out to popularize it still further in the United States. They arranged to issue leaflets upon every conceivable aspect of the question, and circulated them amongst the public generally. According to Mr. Brooks, the first leaflet was over the name of James B. Reynolds, head of the well-known College Settlement in New York City. Mr. Brooks, in dealing with the leaflet, says : -
The appeal is made directly to the public, first, to understand what the label means.
It means or aims to mean that the work is done under wholesome conditions. 2. It insures or aims to insure the payment of reasonable wages. 3. It insures or aims to insure reasonable hours of work. 4. It stands for the effort of an organization (constantly striving to secure and maintain these results.
Secondly, the appeal is made to co-operate actively in furthering its use.
To promote the use of the union label means, then, to unite with the workers in their struggle to make the conditions under which work is done more sanitary, the conditions of the worker safer, and’ the products of better quality.
The union label, therefore, appears to be the only means of helping the workers in the factories to help themselves. For this reason, and because of the benefits to the public, as well as to the workers for which it is guaranteed, the support of the union label is strongly urged by the committee on organized labour of the Social Reform Club.
The committee regards the label as the only sign which indicates that the work has been done under suitable conditions, and with any consideration of the rights of the employes, and, therefore, urges the conscientious public in making purchases to ask for articles bearing the union’ label.
– What has that to do with dismissing a man who is not a unionist ?
– The honorable- member, I must admit, is beyond me. In this bulletin Mr. Brooks says -
If it is conceded that labour organization is a necessity of the time -
This is a point to which I should like to direct the attention of the leader of the Opposition, who upon every occasion that he rises to speak admits that unions are a necessity. He commends them for their good work, and declares that if he were a workman he would belong to them. Of course he would. Every smart workman belongs to them. Mr. Brooks says -
If it is. conceded that labour organization is a necessity of the time, that it is especially necessary at the points where competition is most intense, it will not be denied that the label is an effective weapon to fortify the union in its struggle for a higher standard of living.
– Of course there is no Arbitration Court there.
– Neither is there any Arbitration Court in Australia generally. The above is the decision, after inquiry, of a man who is not a member of a labour union, and who is one of the trusted1 writers in America upon social subjects. I think that I have said sufficient, so far as one view of the American experience is concerned. I do not propose to follow the leader of the Opposition through all his observations, but there are some further points upon which I would like to say a word or two. He declares that, in his opinion, this clause does not come within the powers granted, to us bv the Constitution. He further says that in no part of the world have trade union labels been incorporated with any ordinary trade marks law. I am not able to speak with authority as a lawyer, but I happen to be able to quote one or two instances in which laws do exist - at any rate, in the United States - and where they do include this kind of legislation in their ordinary trade marks law. In California, for instance, in 1901, a new section was added to its trade marks legislation.
– Is the honorable member referring to Federal or to State law?
– To State law. This is a matter which comes within the purview of the States. It is headed, “ Chapter 158, Trade Marks, &c, of Trade Unions.” In Ohio the legislation is again headed, “Trade Marks of Trade Unions,” and in Alabama the same heading is used. These are all late Acts, some of them being rs recent as 1900 and 1901. The use of the term “ Trade Marks of Trade Unions “ shows that the practice has been to include them in the ordinary trade marks legislation.
– Are they special Acts, or are they incorporated in the general trade marks law ?
– Some of them are special Acts, and some are not. In Wyoming the law relating to the trade marks of trade unions has been embodied in a special Act. Mr. Brooks, writing in 1898, states that no less than twenty-eight of the States of the Union had passed legislation legalizing the registration by trade unions of their trade marks. It must therefore be a very general disease, if it can be regarded as a disease. Consequently it seems to me that the proposals of the Government are quite within the four corners of the Constitution, which permits us Jo legislate in respect of trade marks. I do not profess to be able to construe legally the phraseology of the Constitution, but upon any reasonable interpretation of the term trade marks it appears to me that we are entitled to take the course which is now proposed. The leader of the Opposition went on to say that, under the proposal of the Attorney-General, if an employer had one non-unionist out of 100 men working upon a particular product, he could not use the union label. I am quite free to admit that he could not. if the nonunionist were engaged in the manufacture of any article upon which the employer sought to put that label. It would be altogether ridiculous to pass a law to authorize people - without going to the unions at all -to affix a label of which the unions were the proprietors to the product of somebody who was not a member of a union.
– Would the honorable member force that man into the union or dismiss him?
– That would be upon a par with the honorable member for Robertson saying to Mr. Stedman, of Sydney, who has registered what is known as tile “Lion” brand of confectionery, that he must allow the use of that sign to every person who chooses to apply for it. Would the honorable member say that, before Mr. Stedman should be permitted to register his “ Lion ‘ ‘ brand of confectionery he must agree to grant the use of it to any person who cared’ to apply for it?
– That is not an answer to the question.
– The honorable member will not seek to extend that kind of treatment to an employer who registers a trade mark, but as soon as a trade union comes along he wishes to mete out to it a special brand of treatment, which he reserves for that particular class of society.
– What about the poor non-unionist, who is working with unionists ?
– The honorable member betrays an awful anxiety when the poor individual who is working is a non-unionist, but the poor boycotted tradesman does not seen* to excite his sympathy.
– We want to protect the poor man?
– I shall deal with the poor man presently. I desire to point out the inconsistency of honorable members who, like the ‘honorable member for Robertson, pretend1 to feel anxiety for the individual who happens to be a non-unionist, but exhibit no anxiety for the tradesman who is deprived by the existing law of his right to deal in a certain commodity. I want honorable members to keep in mind the poor trader. Coming hack to the King Charles’ head form of question, my experience is that in most establishments die employes as a whole are either unionists or non-unionists. The union usually sees to that if it is strong enough.
– That is not so in all cases.
– Not in all cases, but ja the great majority of cases in the cities die employes as a whole are either unionists or non-unionists, or, at any rate, they are unionists so far as one branch or sub- branch of the trade is concerned, and perhaps non-unionists in other branches. For instance, out of six departments there may be one in which non-unionists only are employed, whilst in the other five unionists only are engaged ; or it may be the other way about. Generally speaking, all the men belonging to a .particular trade in an establishment are either unionists or nonunionists, but of course there are exceptions. Therefore, the objection which the leader of the Opposition put forward would not apply in most cases. Coming to the cases where it might apply, this would result: Ninety-nine men out of ]00 might be employed in the production of certain goods to which it was proposed to affix the union label, and if the remaining man were a non-unionist, he would have to be employed in the production of goods that were not to be labelled, otherwise the Act could not be complied with.
– In most instances the work of one man could not be separated from that performed by others.
– No, the men usually perform separate and distinct stages of work in connexion with the production of a given class of article. For instance, in the boot trade there are clickers, puttersup, lasters, and many other groups of workmen, each of them separate, and each of them, in some instances, having a separate union. One can quite conceive that a proportion of the men employed in a factory might be unionists, whilst others employed in other branches might be nonunionists. It could not be proposed by any set of sensible men to grant a ‘union the right to register a label, and then provide that it might be used by people outside their body, and having no connexion with them. In the first place, the unions should be compelled by law - and where arbitration courts exist, they are so compelled - to keep their doors, open to any one who may wish to join them. In the second place,, there is no compulsion on the employer to use a trade union label. What it is now proposed to make the subject of an enactment can already be done to this extent, that a union can place a label on the goods produced by its members. They can say, “ This’ cigar, this hat, this boot, or this suit, of clothes was made by union labour.” They can now do that by arranging with their employers. The only thing is that they are not protected from pirates who may unlawfully take possession of their label. They are subject to any kind of treatment that the pirate may choose to extend to them. It is now proposed to protect them. If honorable members opposite are not willing that trade unionists should be protected from the operations of persons who desire to make improper use of a particular trade mark they should’ vote against the Bill, but to my mind that would not be a fair method of treating one set of men as against the other. The leader of the Opposition stated that under the wages board system of Victoria, of which for a moment he seemed to approve, non-unionists were treated in the same way as unionists, and. received the same rate of wages. I am informed,; on what seems to be pretty good authority, that in quite a number of instances non-unionists do not receive the same wage as unionists da
– Has the honorable member any specific instances to give?
– I am informed by those who can speak with authority that the non-unionists do not receive the same wages as unionists. I shall explain the reason. The decisions of the wages boards affect unionists and non-unionists alike, but the non-unionists are, in a larger measure, at the mercy of the employers, and constant infractions of the law lake place, and are reported in the daily papers. In these cases, employers have,, in defiance of the wages board regulations, failed to pay proper wages to non-unionists. The reason is well understood by all those who have had to work in factories or workshops. It is well known that the slightest pretext is often seized upon by an employer unless a workman is protected by association with his fellow operatives.
– That does not apply to all employers.
– No. I have known of many employers who would scorn to take advantage of anything of that kind, but there are among employers, as among other classes, men who take advantage of the first opportunity to’ impose upon unprotected men. Therefore the non-unionist is always at a disadvantage as compared with the unionist. That is only natural, because he has not the same strength as the unionist.
– Would the honorable member make the unions thoroughly, accessible to non-unionists ?
– What about entrance fees and subscriptions?
– The honorable member should be aware that under the New South Wales Act, the Arbitration Court has power to limit the fees to any degree it considers necessary.’ It can, in fact, strike out all provision for payment of fees if it chooses. During the time that I was actively connected with trade unions, I found that, in most of them, no difficulty was experienced in arranging for the payment of entrance fees over an extended period.
– In any case, the unions do not differentiate between one man and another.
– No, all men are placed on the same basis. In New Zealand, 95 per cent, of the unions registered under the Arbitration Act charge 2s. 6d., or less as an entrance fee, and the subscription is either 6d. per week or less. No one can say that 2s. 6d. is an exorbitant charge for entrance to a union. In the union to which I belonged in ‘Sydney, arrangements could always be made, and were made, by which a man could pay his fees after he had obtained work.
– The honorable member knows that in many cases the fees were verv high’.
– At one time they were, and no one more strongly denounced than I did the high fees charged by one or two of the water-side labourers’ unions in Sydney at the time, of the 1890 strike.
– Do not some of the unions still charge high fees - the Wharf Labourers’ Union, for instance.
– No, the fees were reduced by the Court some few years ago. I think the entrance fee is now 10s. However, I am no defender of high fees.
– The honorable member would not object to the regulation of such matters in this Bill.
– I am afraid it would be very difficult to regulate such matters in this measure. That should be done in another way. I am not going to seek to render the Bill useless by attempting any impossible scheme, but shall be prepared to consider any practicable proposal that may be put forw’ard. The leader of the Opposition was, to my mind, quite beside the mark when he attempted to prove that unionists and non-unionists were on the same footing in Victoria.
– The wages boards make no distinction between them.
– That is so; but, as a matter of practice, the non-unionist is at a serious disadvantage under present conditions, not only in Victoria, but everywhere else. Whether there are factory or arbitration laws in operation or not, the non-unionist is always at a disadvantage. The leader of the Opposition affects a holy horror at the condition into which politics have drifted in this House. He asserts that this Bill is an indication of the terrible danger that confronts the public. Here we have the spectacle, he informs us, of a Ministry bringing in a measure, in which they do not believe, at the behest of a number of their supporters On the cross benches.
– Some members of the Ministry were verv strongly opposed to it.
– I have yet to learn that that is so. I do know, however, that I did not exchange a word with any member of the Ministry in reference to this proposal, until it was actually in print. The holy horror affected by the leader of the Opposition is a new-found one. His Ministry in the Parliament of New South Wales lived for five years under precisely similar conditions as those under which the Federal Government now holds office.
– He “ bossed the show.”
– That is a very great difference.
– I have my own opinion as to that, but I assert distinctly that the right honorable gentleman has no reason to point the finger of scorn at any one in this regard. For years he was quite content, without perceiving any particular clanger to the public, to lead a Government with a minority of the Parliament of New South Wales behind him - content always to rely upon the support of a number of honorable members who were only in partial sympathy with him. At the best, those honorable members regarded him only as one who was for the time being carrying out something in which they believed, but in whose general politics they had not the slightest confidence. That was the position of the right honorable member, in the Legislature of New South Wales, during the period I have mentioned.
– His Ministry lived for nine months in this House by the vote of the honorable member for Wilmot.
– As I am reminded by the honorable member for Kennedy, the right honorable gentleman was content as Prime Minister to live for nine months by the vote of one honorable member - and that member a gentleman who had expressed in this House the utmost contempt for the policy of his Government.
– The honorable member’s own Government lived for six weeks after an adverse motion was carried against it.
– There was no indication of an attempt to attack the Government, of which I was the leader, because our opponents knew that they had not the numbers. Had I cared to remain in office I might have done so much longer if I had been ready to sacrifice a few of my opinions. That I was not prepared to do, and I retired. The members of the Opposition were not game to attack our Government. They were always talking about doing so; but they had to wait until the gage was thrown down to them. It was only then that they screwed up their courage to the fighting-point.
– The Government, of which the honorable member was the leader, took some time to screw up their courage.
– I took the first opportunity that was open to me-
– No. The opportunity occurred the day after the adverse motion was carried.
– The honorable member has peculiar ideas as to the way in which public business ought to be conducted, but I shall not stop to argue that point.
– Did not the honorable members Government carry on for six weeks after an adverse motion had been carried against it?
– No ; but I have known a Government to swallow something that was a thousand times worse than that. The honorabe member’s present respected leader once submitted to a resolution carried on my own motion, throwing out a Bill brought in by his Government.
– Does the honorable member think that that has anything to do with the question before the Chair?
– Not the slightest, sir. The honorable member for Franklin should read the political history of New South Wales.
– I have heard too much of it in this House.
– I admit that I am a little tired of hearing of it in this Chamber. I conceive that the general provisions of the Bill will be debated in Committee, and I trust that honorable members will try for the time being to free their minds from bias in regard to its provision as to the trade union label. It is a very easy matter to excite the indignation of a number of honorable members of this House either by waving the red flag, of the Labour Party or by simply asserting that a certain Bill is another attempt on the part of the Labour Party to obtain something to which they are not entitled. I appeal to honorable members to view this question, for once, free from any prejudice of that character. I ask them to consider the terms on which trade marks of any kind are granted. Why is a monopoly of a particular sign given to any person? Simply because the public are entitled to know, if they wish, that certain goods are the production of a particular individual. That was the whole origin of the trade marks system. Brown, Jones, or Robinson succeeded in producing an article under a given name, which met with the favour of the public, and in the opinion of the Parliament of the day the people had a right to be informed as to what were the goods so produced, while no other person had a. right to attempt to impose on the public in connexion with them. And so with regard to trade unions. They can, to-day, place any mark, according to arrangement, on goods that are put on the market, as long as the manufacturer is agreeable. This Bill does not propose to interfere with that right, but it provides that no individual shall come in and unfairly and improperly use a label or trade mark that a trade union has registered as its own. That is simply a proposal to mete out justice to one section of the community - justice that we hope to see extended to all. I have the fullest confidence that, after all, public sentiment itself can be relied on to prevent any possible abuse that might otherwise follow upon the adoption of this proposition.
– I should like to ask the Attorney-General whether at this stage he will allow the ‘debate to be adjourned ?
– We propose to go on till 10.30 p.m.
– This is an important question, and I cannot promise to conclude my remarks by that time.
– Quite so. but we have a lot of business to transact. The question will be thoroughly discussed in Committee.
– The honorable and learned gentleman assures us that the measure will be thoroughly discussed in Committee, and it is one of such grave moment to the industrial life of Australia that I hope it will be carefully considered, not only by honorable members, but by all who take an interest in business life. To my mind the question before us is one of the gravest that has been considered by this or any other Parliament in Australia. It is a curious fact that in the case of this measure, as with others that have been brought before us, we have to turn to older countries for precedents and for information as to what its effect is likely to be. This is another example of experimental legislation.
– Terrible !
– There is nothing terrible about it, nor is there anything associated with the Bill that should cause the honorable member to seek to be amusing. Curiously enough, it is, as I have said, experimental legislation.
– Similar legislation has been in operation in other countries.
– In the United States, and also in England.
– And in Western Australia.
– Let us consider for a moment the origin of the trade union label system in the United States. The first occasion when this trade union label was used in America was in 1874, when, as the leader of the Opposition pointed out, it was used for quite another purpose than that for which it is being used there today. It was introduced to protect the users of tobacco and cigars, chiefly from infection with the awful disease of leprosy, and one can quite understand that it may have been thought desirable for the protection of society. But the conditions holding in respect to it to-day are entirely different. Its use has entirely: changed. The registration of the label in 1874 was, however, absolutely illegal under the Constitution of the United States, and it has recently been held to be so in two of the Courts of that country. It cannot be used there now under the conditions under which it was originally used. But before I proceed to relate some of the facts which I have collected, in regard to the use of this label, I wish to answer some of the objections raised by the honorable member for Bland. He questioned the methods by which men were admitted to the learned professions, and particularly to the legal profession. He instanced the legal and medical professions as close corporations, which put all sorts of obstacles in the way of young men who desire to enter them.
– I believe that they do.
– I ask if the examinations are regarded as obstacles? Would these honorable gentlemen like to see people enter the legal or medical professions without being required to pass examinations? I think not. The only other bar to entrance into the legal profession seems to me to be the obtaining of articles of indenture. That cannot be any great objection, because many men must be known to the AttorneyGeneral, and to other honorable members, who have risen from the humblest positions to the highest ranks of the legal profession. The1 have shown ability. and their articles have been given- to them, and when they have proceeded to their examinations, that ability has been still more in evidence. The same holds good of the medical profession. Many who were my fellow students in Lon-‘ don have now worked themselves up from the lowliest to the highest positions in the medical profession. We have no grander example of that than the late Sir Andrew Clark, who, from one of the lowest positions in life, rose to one of the highest positions in the profession, and was one of its greatest adornments. The public demand the placing of obstacles such as examinations in the way qf those who wish to enter the learned professions. No man could wish to employ a lawyer who had not received the necessary legal training, or a medical man who had not received the education required to make him a qualified medical practitioner. The protection given to these professions by law is given to them in the interests of the public. We would not like to have the medical profession filled with quacks, who could exploit the public, nor the legal profession filled with men not properly qualified, who could take advantage of the public in many ways. The honorable member for Bland went on to say that the unions were open to all, and do not follow the methods which have obtained in America. Only a short time ago, however, the Wharf Labourers’ Union of New South Wales was brought to book by the Arbitration Court of that State for attempting, by raising its fees, to make itself a close corporation by preventing nonunionists from joining it. The matter being brought under the notice of Mr. Justice Cohen, he ordered the rule to be altered, and the fee was reduced. Similarly’, when the dispute between the Australian Workers’ Union and the Machine Shearers’ Union was being tried in. the New South Wales Arbitration Court, it was found that fines of as much as ,£3 were levied on members who did not vote for labour candidates, as directed by the union ; and the attention of the Court having been drawn to the matter, the union was ordered to alter its rules, which it did. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney was intimately connected with the first-named of these unions, and the honorable member for Darling with the second. With regard to the union label, I wish to know if we shall be allowed by our honorable friends in the Ministerial corner, and by the AttorneyGeneral, to insert a clause providing that, manufacturers may jointly register a label notifying that the goods to which it is applied have been made bv non-union labour?
– I think that that can be done under the general provisions of the Bill. Any trader may register any label that he chooses to register.
– What I speak of is a combined trade mark used to indicate that the goods to which it is applied have been made byl non-union labour.
– Does the honorable member mean the registration of a union trade mark bv a union of non-unionists ?
– The honorable and learned gentleman cannot trap me so easily as that. I am not so easily groomed. My point is that manufacturers, as a body, should be allowed to register a trade mark which will indicate that their goods have been made by non-union labour.
– If the honorable member prepares and moves such a clause in Committee, we shall give it every consideration.
– I know the honorable and learned gentleman fairly well, and I require something more than fair consideration of the question. What I want is equality of treatment for the non-unionists.
– Then the honorable member should propose a clause in Committee.
– I do not know that it is peculiarly my place to do so. The AttorneyGeneral professes to have a great desire to act fairly between all classes of citizens, and I ask him to go a little further than he has already gone in this philanthropic effort, and draft a clause - which he can do very much better than I can - to protect the interests of the non-unionists. The honorable member for Bland told us that there is a very great difference in methods between trade unionism in Australia and in America. I should like to draw attention to a few matters which seem to me to show that trade unionism in Australia is on all-fours with trade unionism in America. Take, for instance, the application of the words “ scab “ and “ blackleg.” Take the terms “boycott,” “bosses,” and “walking delegates.” Have we not, in Australia, frequently known opprobrious epithets to be applied to non-unionists ? Is it not a common thing in union circles to call a man who does not belong to a union a “ blackleg “ ?
– Quite right, too.
– I thank the honorable member for his interjection, as it confirms my contention that the honorable member for Bland is not right when he says that trade unionism in America is not the same as trade unionism in Australia.
– That is the opinion of the honorable member for Darwin.
– We have heard other members of this House, besides the honorable member for Darwin, using the words “blackleg” and “scab,” and in a more contemptuous manner.
– I never heard them.
– Then the honorable member must be deaf.
– Would the honorable member say that a man who jumps another man’s job, when he is fighting for existence, is not a “ scab “ ? What would the honorable member think of a non-union doctor who lumped his job?
– The honorable member for Bland, speaking of a person who restricts the use of his trade mark, mentioned the tobacco trust, and said that it prevented certain shopkeepers selling certain cigars, except at a certain price. All I can say is that the action of any individual or trust that would do anything so foolish could only recoil upon themselves.
– They have sent round a circular to that effect.
– It does not matter if they have sent round a thousand circulars. The only effect would be to curtail the sale of that particular brand of cigars. It would simply be an act of folly on the part of a manufacturer to prevent a shopkeeper from selling his goods. With regard to another matter mentioned by the honorable member for Bland, that manufacturers are not to be compelled to use any trade union label, I shall deal with it more fully later on in giving some information which I have from America. It has frequently been proved in America that members of unions have been fined for purchasing goods which did not bear a trade union label. The trade unions in America have gone further than that, and have fined members whose wives or children have used articlesof clothing or other goods that had not upon them a trade union label. This shows that the honorable member for Bland cannot have looked very closely into the matter, and is not fully seized of its importance.
– Can the honorable member mention some cases in which unionists were fined in the way he has stated?
– I shall do so later on if the honorable member will remind me. The honorable member for Bland told us that the use of a trade union label would be a guarantee that the articles of manufacture to which it was attached had been made under proper conditions as to wages, sanitation, and so forth. The honorable gentleman urged this as a very strong recommendation for the trade union label, but I should like to point out that all that he asks for in this respect is provided for already by the industrial legislation of the several States.
– Some of them have none.
– There is noindustrial legislation in Tasmania. They would sweat the hair off your head there.
– That is just whatI wished the honorable member to say.
– They treated the honorable member for Darwin very well, and he ought not to run them down.
– I treated them very well, in doing them the honour to represent them.
– In Tasmania, all these questions covering proper sanitation for workers are carefully looked after under the provisions of the Health Act.
– Is the honorable member referring to sugar plantations?
– I am not dealing with Queensland at the present moment. Owing to the restrictions imposed by the Alien Immigration Restriction Act, they have so far been unable to start the cultivation of sugar beet in Tasmania. But they have there some of the finest land in the Commonwealth, and when honorable members come to their senses on some of these questions, the Tasmanian people will be able to obtain from the Victorian Government at a very low rate, the machinery of the finely equipped sugar-beet factory at Maffra, and will be able to start sugar plantations in opposition to those in the district represented by the honorable member for Herbert, but on different lines. The honorable member for Yarra reminds me that there is no industrial legislation in Queensland, and I point out that if that be so, it is a very serious reflection on the Labour Party.
– There are factories laws in Queensland, but there are no wages boards.
– Here is a difference of opinion between honorable members opposite, and the honorable member for Yarra has shown once more that the whole question of industrial legislation is a question of wages. I ask leave at this stage to move the adjournment of the debate, and to be allowed to continue my speech to-morrow.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable member have leave to continue his speech to-morrow ?
– I object.
– Then the honorable member for Corangamite must proceed.
– I do not know the exact nature of the Queensland Factories Act. but the Minister of Home Affairs assures me that there is such an Act ; and if it is not so satisfactory as honorable members opposite desire, it is a serious reflection on the party to which they belong.
– It does not affect hours and wages.
– I understand that the Labour Party holds the balance of power in the Queensland Parliament.
– Since very recently.
– Surely it is a reflection on that party, and on its great desire to improve industrial conditions, if it does not remedy the industrial legislation in any respects in which it isdeficient.
– I understand that some promise was made to the honorable member, and therefore I withdraw my objection to the adjournment.
-Then I ask leave to continue my remarks to-morrow.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Mr. AUSTIN CHAPMAN laid upon the table the following papers : -
Pursuant to the Post and Telegraph Act 1901 - Regulations and Amended Regulations (Statutory Rule, 1904, No.81); Telegrams beyond the Commonwealth (Statutory Rule, 1905, No. 36) ; Burglar Alarms (Statutory Rule, 1905, No. 37) ; Payment of Postage by the Receiver (Statutory Rule, 1905, No. 38); Post cards, printed papers, General Postal Regulations, Telegraphic Regulations (Statutory Rule, 1905, No. 40) ; Public Telegraph or Telephone Lines under guarantee (Statutory Rule, 1905, No. 44).
House adjourned at 10.33p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 August 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19050803_reps_2_25/>.