2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. R. EDWARDS presented a petition from certain residents of Brisbane, praying that stringent legislation be enacted to prevent the importation of opium for smoking purposes into the Commonwealth.
Mr. SPEAKER reported the receipt of a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, recommending that an appropriation be made from the Consolidated Revenue for the purposes of this Bill.
Referred to the Committee on the Bill.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if his attention has been called to a paragraph in this morning’s Age, in which, after a reference to the unfortunate accident which has befallen the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, are these words -
The Government will soon have to face one of two alternatives in connexion with the Tariff Commission - (1) reducing the quorum necessary for the receipt of evidence ; (2) increasing the Protectionist representation on the Commission.
Does the Government intend to increase the protectionist representation on the Commission ?
– The Government have no proposition to submit at present.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister whether the following statement correctly reports his utterance -
There were two electoral Bills now advanced in preparation ; they would be laid before the House at an early date. These Bills had to be entirely drafted by the present Government, whereas other Bills already introduced were drafted by the late Government, and only had to be revised.
Is he not aware that a complete Electoral Bill, drafted by the late Government, was left in the Department of Home Affairs?
– A codifying machinery Bill was all but completed when the honorable member left office. My allusion was to the Representation Bill, about which I had been particularly asked, which, as the honorable member knows, is being drafted as an entirely new measure. At some date a third Bill will be necessary.
– Is it the intention of the Government to bring forward, and, if possible, put through Parliament, this session, a Bill for the redistribution of the electorates ?
– That is one of the measures I alluded to.
– I wish to know from the Minister of Home Affairs if he is aware whether the electoral rolls for South Australia are yet issued, or ready to be issued?
– I understand that they are printed, but I cannot say whether they have been issued. I will make inquiries on the subject, and let the honorable member know the result.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, as representing the Minister of Defence, if his attention has been drawn to the report in to-day’s newspaper to the effect that the New South Wales Commandant has stated that he has a scheme for the defence of Australia ready for the Federal Government if they will only ask for it? Will the honorable gentleman obtain that scheme, and place it before Parliament for the information of honorable members ?
– Any information that any Commandant has to give will be gladly received; but matters of this kind require Cabinet consideration before any Ministerial statement about them can be made to the House.
– I wish to know from the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the great distress from which some persons are now suffering through want of employment, he will take steps to carry out, as early as possible, the promise he made to have certain painting work done in connexion with his Department?
– I will take steps to see that the work is carried out as promptly as possible.
– Last year the late Treasurer, acting on my suggestion, saw that the Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill was pushed forward independently of the ordinary Appropriation Bill, and it became law at a much earlier date than did that Bill. In view of the delay which always occurs in getting work started,, and of the need for finding employment for the people in connexion with the construction of necessary public works, I ask the Treasurer if he will consider the advisability of taking similar action this vear?
– It was my intention to do so.
– I wish to know from the Vice-President of the Executive Council, as representing the Minister of Defence, whether it is true that the specifications for certain ambulance waggons contain a clause to the effect that American axles must be provided. If that is so, I ask why the Department of Defence does not give an opportunity to Australian makers of axles?
– I am unable to say what the specifications require, but I will see that the matter is inquired into.
– I understand that Sir Edmund Barton, at the last Colonial Conference, agreed that a certain sum should be contributed by the Australian people towards the erection in London of a memorial to the late Queen Victoria. Will the Prime Minister say whether such a promise was made, and by whom, and whether the amount promised was ,£25,000? Will it be possible for honorable members to see al! the correspondence in connexion with the matter ? When does he intend to proceed with the motion dealing with the subject now standing on the notice-paper in his name ?
– The motion is likely to come on at an early day, but before then I shall lay on the table all papers relating to it, and I think that they will answer the honorable and learned member’s inquiries.
– Cannot the Prime Minister say on what day the motion will come on?
– No day has yet been fixed.
– Can the Prime Minister give the House any information as to the course of public business during the ensuing week? There are a number of Bills on the paper - four or five - and I think that it would be convenient to honorable members to have some information on the subject.
– The Government propose to commence with the ‘Manufactures Encouragement Bill, and then to proceed with the second reading debates on the Trade Marks Bill, the Commerce Bill, and the Secret Commissions Bill - probably in that order. The further consideration of the message on the Papua Bill may be resumed if opportunity offers, but we have been much pressed to afford an early opportunity for the consideration of the Public Service Classification. Until the classification has been adopted,, it will cost the Government about ;51,000 a month.
– To explain would be to enter into a debatable question which can be dealt with when the matter is brought forward. Probably Friday in this week would be a suitable day to set aside for the discussion of the classification, if we can spare time from the consideration of other business.
– What about the sugar bounty ?
– That matter will be referred to by the Treasurer in the course of his financial statement.
– I desire to direct the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs to the alleged disrepair of many public buildings used by the Commonwealth Departments, and to ask him whether, in view of the dearth of employment, he will cause the work of effecting repairs and renovation to be carried out as soon as possible ?
– I am not aware that the public buildings of the Commonwealth generally are in such a bad state of disrepair as the honorable member’s remarks would imply. I may say, however, that so far as I am concerned, every requisition relating to matters of the description named has been absolutely dealt with by the Department, and the necessary authority has been given with a view to having the work done without delay.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Whether the Government propose to introduce during this session a measure providing for the institution of a Commonwealth Meteorological Department and Weather Bureau?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
In May last an Inter-State Astronomical and Meteorological Conference was held at Adelaide, which was attended by the astronomers of four of the States, the Chief Surveyor of Queensland, and the Government Meteorologist of Tasmania. The Conference did not consider the establishment of one central Meteorological Bureau to supplant existing institutions and to singly carry out the Australian weather services as practicable, but made certain recommendations. The Government will again communicate with (he Premiers of the various States to see to what extent it is practicable to establish a Federal Meteorological Department. The draft of a Bill is in preparation with a view to its introduction if possible this session.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
In Victoria a very large proportion of the disallowed appeals were lodged for increased salaries under section 19 of the State Act 1721.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– I am informed that -
2.The position was this : There was an amount of£6,000 available for accoutrements on the 1903-4 special warlike stores vote.
This money would have lapsed on the 30th June, 1904, and it was quite impossible to get supplies locally before that date, even if the Department had the samples, which were not then finally sealed.
The sets of accoutrements indented for formed only a portion of what are required, and the very much larger balance required will be arranged for locally.
asked the Minister of
Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
The control and regulation of the internal trade in intoxicating liquors is a matter specially reserved by the Constitution as one which is altogether under the jurisdiction of the State. No such Bill is therefore contemplated.
The Commerce Bill now before the House will, if passed, enable the adulteration of exports to be dealt with.
asked the Minister re presenting the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Whether partially-paid forces are expected to do regular duty on Easter Sundays during Easter Encampments without pay ?
– I am informed that-
The instructions to commandants are that no unnecessary work is to be carried out on Sundays.
With regard to pay for Sunday during camps of training, it is found on inquiry that in New South Wales pay has not been granted, whereas in the other States payment has been made for the Sunday.
Further inquiry is being made as to why the payment was not made in New South Wales.
Motion (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That a return be laid upon the table of the House showing -
The amount of overtime worked by the Customs lockers in the three bonds at Port Melbourne, and the bond at Yarraville, and the amount of extra pay drawn by each of these lockers during the twelve months ended 30th June, 1905.
The amount of overtime worked by the other Customs lockers in Melbourne, and” the amount of extra pay drawn by each of these lockers during the twelve months ended 30th June, 1905.
Mr. GROOM laid upon the table the following paper : -
Correspondence between the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the Premier of New South Wales with regard to the Federal Capital Site, and various documents relating thereto.
The Clerk laid upon the table
Return to an Order of the House dated 8th August, 1904, relating to the overtime worked by Customs lockers.
– I move
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I moved the second reading of a Bill somewhat similar to the measure now before us on two previous occasions - on the 23 rd March, 1904, and 9 th December, 1904, and as the statements I then made are on record in Hansard, I hope that I shall not be called upon to repeat the whole of them. I am very glad to have an opportunity to again bring forward this measure, because, in my humble opinion, it deals with perhaps the most important question that can engage our attention - a question which, to my mind, almost overshadows every other affecting the interests of the Commonwealth. At present, we are completely dependent upon importations for all our war material, iron, steel, and other things. If, unfortunately, an outbreak of hostilities involving Great Britain should occur, our position would be most critical. I consider that it is a disgrace to us that we have not already taken active measures for the development of our known large deposits of iron ore. No attempt has yet been successfully made to utilize them. On looking over the division lists when a similar measure was last before us, I was very much surprised to find that one or two of the representatives of Tasmania, in which State our largest and most valuable iron deposits exist, voted against the Bill. If they regard the welfare of Tasmania as important, they should be the first to declare in favour of the introduction of a Bill of this character.
– Why does the Minister always introduce these personal matters?
– I shall please myself as to what I introduce. I did not refer to the representatives of Tasmania in any disagreeable spirit. My remark was prompted solely by the interests of that State, in which the Blythe River iron deposits exist. I say that the development of that vast deposit would materially influence the progress and the financial position alike of Tasmania and of Australia. That, however, is not the only deposit of iron ore in the Commonwealth. We know that there are others. For example, I am in receipt of further information concerning a place in South Australia, which is known as the Iron Knob. That deposit of ore is not quite so accessible as is the Blythe River deposit in Tasmania. It is more remote from a port of shipment, but nevertheless it ‘is of a very valuable character.
– The Iron Knob is connectedbyrailway with the coast.
– I was not aware of that. I was informed that it was 25 miles distant from therailway.
– No ; it is absolutely connectedby rail.
– The information which I have received is that that deposit is almost as rich as is the Blythe River deposit, and I am ‘given to understand that there is a vast extent of it. Further, nearly all over New South Wales large deposits of iron ore are known to exist. They are to be found in the north, south, east, and west of that State. I cannot speak so confidently of the resources of Queensland, because I am not familiar with them.
– Recent reports show that the iron deposits there are very extensive.
– I have no doubt that all over the continent there is an abundance of iron ore undeveloped at the present time.
– North of Rockhampton, the country is nearly all of an ironstone formation.
– Parties are making geological surveys there at the present time.
– The larger the number of deposits the better, and the larger number of industries which are established in this connexion the better.
– There are scores of iron ore deposits in South Australia.
– I merely mention these facts to show what great latent wealth we have in Australia - wealth which should be, but is not, developed. Every honorable member must acknowledge that deposits of coal and iron constitute the greatest wealth which a country can possess, and we have been endowed by Nature with an abundance of each of these minerals in every State. This Bill represents an earnest attempt to solve the difficulty attaching to the development of our iron resources in this way ; if the States do not embark upon the undertaking - and up to the present time the;)) have declined to do so - private enterprise might step in and establish the industry, subject to a provision that at a certain period the State, or States, can demand the transfer of the property for a fair consideration. That seems to me to be the wisest course we can adopt at present. I am in receipt of a communication from some of those persons who are prospectively interested in this work, and I am in a position to say that if the Bill be carried private capital will be invested in the industry. When I tabled the motion relating to the introduction, of this measure a few days ago, it was alleged that its provisions were of a character that would prevent private enterprise from establishing the industry. I am now in a position to say that if the Bill becomes law private capital will be invested in it.
– How much capital is necessary to start an industry of this kind?
– That depends upon the size of the company and the quantity of ore that is smelted. I know that in the largest concerns of the kind in the world, perhaps £.1,500.000 or more has been invested. I happen to know that one company was, and still is, prepared to spend something like £1, 000,000 in the development of this industry. But there is more than one company willing to engage in the undertaking. There are two or three others.
– We shall see whether that is so.
– I only hope that the Government will have the assistance of the honorable member for North Sydney in providing us with an opportunity of proving the accuracy or otherwise of my statement.
– Will the Government drop the Bill if the Labour Party insert in it a clause providing that the State shall control the industry?
– I hope that the honorable member will ask me something easy. I know that he will block the Bill if he can. Nevertheless, this measure is going to become law. It may be amended slightly, but it will become the law of the land. I fully recognise that all those who are in favour of the foreigner, and opposed to the interests of our own people, will use their utmost endeavours to block the Bill. Those who believe in providing our own people with work, and in supplying Australian needs with Australian articles, will support the measure.
– That is a most unfair statement.
– I should have voted for the Bill if the nationalization clauses had been omitted.
– I do not know what the honorable member means by the “nationalization” clauses. I hold that if, in the future, the Commonwealth, or a State, desires to take over the industry, it is proper that it should be in a position to do so, under certain conditions.
– Of course, the Minister holds that, because he has declared himself a Socialist.
– I have said I am a State Socialist more than once, and I think that the honorable member declared himself a Socialist the other night. Unless he is prepared to sell the railways of Australia, and to part with the tramways, waterworks, and other services of that character, I brand him as a Socialist. That is the sort of Socialist that I am. I have frequently stated that I am in favour of the State carrying on certain services, such as the railways, the tramways, and waterworks. Let the honorable member contrast the tramway system of Sydney with that of Melbourne, and say which serves the people the better. However, I have no desire to discuss the question of Socialism at the present moment, though I am prepared to say at once that in regard to the services to which I have alluded, I am a State Socialist.
– Is the Minister a State Socialist in the matter of the’ iron bounty ?
– If this Bill becomes law, and the iron industry is established by means of private enterprise, I hope that the people will be afforded an opportunity of saying whether the Government of any State or of the Commonwealth should nationalize it. If they answer in the affirmative, effect should be given to their will.
– Then let us appeal to the people.
– The honorable member wishes to appeal to the people so often that I fear he might not come back.
– I am very willing to chance it, anyhow
– Many people “chance” things which do not come off. I am not more anxious than is anybody else to appeal to the people, and to be called upon to spend a lot of money in so doing. I am not specially desirous of “ chancing. “ it, although I have always been returned by my constituents, and I hope that I always shall be. I am quite satisfied that this Bill would be approved by a majority of the people, despite all the ridiculous outcry which has been raised regarding the socialistic clauses which it is alleged to contain.
– How about remitting it to the people?
– I think that it would be stupid to attempt to remit a measure of this character to the electors. It would be ,an acknowledgment that honorable members themselves are not capable of judging what is best to be done.
– Would a fiscal referendum be stupid?
– A fiscal referendum would be a socialistic thing, and as the honorable member is not a Socialist he would not support a referendum upon anything, if he were consistent. Without entering into elaborate details respecting the quantity of iron ore available for treatment in Australia-
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that this Bill is out of order. It has not been preceded by a motion in Committee, which, I take it, is a condition precedent to the introduction of any Bill appropriating the public funds for any purpose whatever. Standing order 243 makes this very clear. It says -
If any motion be made in the House for any public aid or charge upon the people -
I do not think there can be any doubt that this measure involves a public charge upon the people - the consideration and debate thereof may not be presently entered upon, but should be adjourned till such further day as the House shall think fit to appoint, and then it shall be referred to a Committee of the whole House before any resolution or vote of the House do pass thereon.
A vote has already been wrongly taken upon this Bill, inasmuch as it was not put in Committee, where the Bill ought to have originated. I submit that, following precedents going back almost to the infancy of parliamentary institutions, the Bill, as now before us, is out of order. It should have originated in the Committee to which the Governor-General’s message was transmitted as soon as it was received. The Constitution is silent in the matter of procedure, but all our parliamentary precedents are in favour of my contention, that there should have been an appropriation in Committee before leave was given to bring in the Bill.
– The honorable member for Parramatta was good enough a few moments ago to call my attention to the point that he was about to raise in order that I should have an opportunity to con- *sider it. On a previous occasion a similar Bill was introduced in Committee, the Committee originating from the reception of a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. The Manufactures Encouragement Bill that was brought before the House last year was introduced, however, in the same way as that now before us has been. On examining this Bill I recognise that it is undoubtedly a measure for a public aid or charge upon the people, because clause. 3 provides that the Governor-General may authorize the payment out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of bounties according to rates set out in the schedule. Standing order No. 243, which the honorable member for Parramatta has read, expressly declares that the consideration of a motion for any public aid or charge upon the people shall not be entered upon in the House until it has been referred to a Committee of the whole. I, therefore, think that there can be no doubt that it is impossible for the House to deal with this Bill until the subject-matter has been recommended by resolution in Committee of the whole House.
– I have prepared a notice relating to the consideration of the Governor-General’s message, but understand that it is unnecessary for me to move a motion at this stage, as the matter will appear on the notice-paper in the ordinary way, and we shall be able to deal with it to-morrow.
– The message was received and announced by me nearly half an hour ago, and was ordered by the House to be considered to-morrow. It will, therefore, appear on the notice-paper for tomorrow without further action being taken.
Debate resumed from 3rd August (vide page 610), on motion by Mr. Isaacs -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I feel satisfied that the discussion upon this measure will centre not upon the general question of trade marks and their registration or application, but upon the trade union label provisions. The whole of the debatable portions of the Bill are concentrated in those clauses. In the Age of the 7th instant the following paragraph appeared : -
Mr. Reid has attempted to identify the Government’s proposals with respect to the “union labels” sections of the Trade Marks Bill with the American union label system. Members who have carefully followed Mr. Isaacs’ speech declare that the Government has quite removed the dangers that were inherent in the section as it left the Senate -
– The Age speaks very freely for honorable members.
– The whole point is in the next sentence -
No employer has to beg a union’s permission to use its registered label-
– That is another “ whopper.”
– The paragraph continues -
It is automatically at his disposal as long as he fulfils the union conditions.
That is the whole point. What, for instance, would be the conditions imposed by the unions with respect to the. production and distribution of the Age itself ?
– What are the conditions of the union in the medical profession?
– I feel that the principle of trade unionism has gone so far and is going so far towards depriving nonunionists of their rights-
– That is what the union of the medical profession does.
– That I have withdrawn myself from the British Medical Association of which I was a member, and am now, so far as that association is concerned, a non-unionist.
– The honorable member then is boycotted as a medical man?
– Whether boycotted or not, I am satisfied to fight the battle of the non-unionists. I have also withdrawn from the Pastoralists’ Association - theonly other association of which I was a member - so that I stand here to-day as a nonunionist fighting the battle of the nonunionists, and with a determination to prevent the Government and their supporters in the Ministerial corner from robbing the non-unionists of their rights. I fight for the liberty of the people - for the liberty of the poorest man in the State to earn his living where and when and how he may. Let us apply the trade union label principle to the production of the Age newspaper.
– The honorable member means to say that he is prepared to fight for liberty to rob the unions.
– No question of robbing the unionists is involved. We shall always give the unionists fair play. It must be admitted that in days gone by the workmen of this and other countries have suffered under many disabilities. But from time to time legislation has been passed by this and other Parliaments to prevent the continuance of those abuses.
– Does the honorable member buy sweated goods?
– It is impossible to say. I am prepared to pay a fair price for everything that I purchase - to allow every workman interested in the production of the goods that I use to earn a fair wage, and every person who sells them to secure a fair profit.
– But how does the honorable member know that the goods which he purchases have been made by men receiving fair wages ?
– I know that in Victoria most industries are subject to Factories and Shops Acts, which insist upon fair wages and conditions of employment for the workers.
– But there are many goods sold in Victoria other than those which are produced locally.
– What would be the position of the Age if the provisions in the Bill relating to the trade union label were brought into operation ? In the first place, it could not be read unless it had been produced under trade union conditions; the
– I think that is the present position.
– It is a matter of no moment whether it is or* not. All that I say is that the newspaper could not be used1 by certain people unless produced under these conditions. That to which I and those who are with me in this matter object is not voluntary, but compulsory unionism - a compulsory system of unionism that is forced upon the people contrary to their rights under the famous Magna Charta and Bill of Rights - a system by which one section of the community takes advantage of another section. In this very newspaper of Monday last we have another paragraph which shows what union conditions are, and may be in connexion with various industries. I refer to the following telegram, which was despatched from Sydney on Sunday -
Boorgama Station, near Brewarrina, called the shearing roll on ist inst. Everything was going well, and about 4,000 sheep had been passed through, when Mr. McManus, of the Australian Workers’ Union, arrived. The rouseabouts subsequently struck work, and the shearers were called out. Work is now at a standstill. McManus is to be proceeded against for trespassing. Messrs Young and Co. are prosecuting the shearers and rouseabouts for breach of contract. The rouseabouts want z/S. 6d. a week, but had agreed to work for 25s. a week.
That, I presume, is 25s. a week and found, and 27s. 66. a week and found, as the wage has been increased of late years from £,x a week and found up to the present rate.
– What lias that to do with the Bill ?
– It has a very great deal to do with the Bill. Everything I have to say in regard to the Bill and the union label is bound up in this paragraph from
– Will the honorable member give us a few examples?
– In this connexion I should like to call the attention of honorable members to a recent decision by the Minister of Trade and Customs with regard to the labour to be employed for producing sugar in Queensland. Recently he was waited upon, or written to, in regard to the labour of a half-bred kanaka on a sugar plantation in the northern part of that State, and, by his decision he has created a new industry. In the first instance, the mother of the halfbred kanaka had married a kanaka, and this son was the result of the union. After wards she married a white planter, who applied to be registered as a planter working under white labour conditions. The Minister ruled, and justly so, I think, that this /young half-bred kanaka should ‘be allowed to work on the plantation of his step-father, who should be permitted to have a bonus for the production of sugar under white labour conditions. But the Minister has gone still further, and has ruled that half-bred aborigines shall be allowed to work on sugar plantations, and that the planter shall be able to draw the bonus under the white labour conditions. Has the honorable gentleman anything to say in regard to that matter?
– The honorable member is telling me something I did not know -anything about.
– I read a decision to that effect in a newspaper the other day. Is it true or untrue that the Minister has ruled that half-caste aborigines may work on these plantations?
– So far as I can remember I do not think that I have ever dealt with the matter.
– Then the newspaper must have misquoted the honorable gentleman. If he gave that ruling which the newspaper has reported, or if it has been ruled by the Department, that this should take place, then he has entirely changed the condition of affairs in Northern Queensland, and has solved the labour question, so far as it is concerned.
– In what newspaper did this report appear?
– It appeared in the Argus two or three days ago. In this connexion the Minister is practical iv putting a premium on the production of these halfcastes, and solving this question, so far as Northern Queensland is concerned, so that in the future all sugar will have to be produced under union conditions. I should like to sketch what is likely to occur under those conditions in 1909, in, say, the Herbert River district. A half-caste of this description has to be brought up from his birth as a unionist. In the first place, it is necessary that a union doctor shall be employed.
– The honorable member would be right out of the affair.
– Yes; I should have no opportunity of attending at the interesting event. In order to further carry out the union label conditions, it is necessary that this interesting youth who is to play such a great part in the sugar industry should be received into the world by a nurse who is a member of the Affiliated Union of Monthly Nurses of Northern Queensland. If, unfortunately, the mother is unable to give the child the necessary nourishment, a wetnurse has to be called in to assist his development, and she must be a member of the Federated Union of Wetnurses of Northern Queensland. Then, as the growth of the child develops, it is necessary to find him with extra bottles, and the milk has to be drawn from animals b,y milkers who are members of the Milkers’ Union of the district. Of course the bottles have to be branded with the union label.
– The cows will have to belong to the union, I suppose.
– No doubt the cows will have to be registered in some way, or else my honorable friends will not allow them to be milked. According to the demands which our honorable friends have made in previous legislation, the cows will have to be union cows, and of such a peculiar description that they will give milk on six days a week, and none on Sunday - a new brand of cow.
– Do try to be serious for once.
– It may be annoying to the honorable member to listen in the form of a farce to my statement of what this label business means for the workers of Australia in the future; but I cannot help that. This is simply an accentuation of what has been carried out in the United States, and when the honorable member suggests that I am not serious in my remarks, it shows that his friends are fully seized of the fact that the whole business is a farce so far as the majority of the people in Australia are. concerned. I do not wish, however, to be drawn off by interjections from the history of this half-caste child. Going a step further, we find that his linen has to be washed by the members of the Baby Linen Washers’ Union of Northern Queensland, and that all food, including bread, has to be supplied by union men. This, of course, will interest the honorable member for Yarra, because he has recently been through the fire, so to speak, with regard to non-union bakers ; and he has proved abundantly the difficulty that will be created. Before we have had any of this compulsory legislation with regard to union labels, the honorable member has virtually been forced into the position of having to insure that everything that he uses is produced under absolutely unionist conditions. With regard to the further development of my imaginary youth, he has to be sent to a State school in which all the teachers have to be members of the Teachers Union. His clothes have to be branded with the union label. This is no exaggerated idea, because the branding of clothes with the union label has been insisted upon in Chicago and San Francisco; and there is evidence that the walking delegates have actually stopped members of the unions to see whether their clothes were branded with the label. If they were not, the unionists have been fined five, twenty, and fifty dollars, and for a fifth offence have been dismissed from membership.
– Will the honorable member prove all these statements?
– I will read proofs later on. My kanaka youth would riot wear boots, so that it would be impossible to examine them to see if they were properly branded.
– How much further is the honorable member going with these fabrications ?
– There is nothing fabricated about my statements. The whole history of recent trades unionism in America goes to show that they are absolute facts. If my kanaka youth happened to be fond of bananas, he would have to be careful that his bananas were all grown by the members of the Chinese Union of Banana Growers of Queensland. In clue course he “would go to work, and would be duly admitted to membership of the Union of Half-caste Sugar Growers. If, in later years, he developed a habit of smoking and drinking, he would have to be careful that he smoked union tobacco and drank union beer. We will suppose that at last he dies from the effects of smoking union cigars and tobacco and drinking union beer. And here is the point where the whole scheme fails absolutely. When he wakes up he will find that he is in a non-union heaven. The whole of his training in this world will have been absolutely lost when he reaches a place where there is no question of considering whether a man is a unionist or a non-unionist. But even that would not finish his experience of unionism. We know that instances have occurred in Chicago - and no doubt they will occur in Australia - where members of unions have had to be buried under union conditions, in a coffin made by union coffin-makers, be carried to the grave bv union undertakers and - here is a fact which will be of interest to the honorable member for Wide Bay - the Requiem may have to be sung over the grave of the deceased by the Half-bred Kanaka Hymn Singers’ Union.
– We shall have to have kanakas in Parliament.
– Well, perhaps it would not be altogether to the detriment of parliamentary institutions if we had some men elected who would be able to legislate for 115 in these matters, with as full a knowledge of the conditions that prevail: .in Northern Queensland, and with what is necessary in that respect, as the kanakas would have.
– When are we coming to the end of this rubbish?
– The honorable member may describe it as rubbish. He rejoices in the fact that he is a good and true unionist, though it pays him to forget that there are others who are not unionists. He should never forget that it is one of the primary instincts of men born and bred under British conditions that they shall have a perfect right to work freely for their own living, whether they are members of unions or not. With regard to the matter which I mentioned a few minutes ago, the honorable member for Oxley has just put into my hand the newspaper cut-‘ ting to which I referred. I should like to draw the attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs to a paragraph which appeared with regard to half-bred kanakas and aboriginals in the Argus of Thursday last : -
Towards the end of 1903 a Queensland cane planter applied for registration as a “white” grower. His wife, prior to marrying him, had a son by a former husband, a kanaka. This boy was adopted and brought up by the cane-planter, and he wished to employ the lad on the farm. But the regulations under the Sugar Bounty Act provide that the expression “white labour” shall be used to the exclusion of all forms of coloured labour, “whether aborigines of Australia or not.” The matter was submitted to Sir William Lyne, the then Minister of Customs, and he, after first refusing the application, wrote a minute, In which he said : - “ In this case the circumstances are exceptional - this being the only case of the kind, i.e., where a white man marries a white woman who has a half-caste kanaka child. The lad, presumably, has to live upon the farm, and will on occasions do some work. It would be a most extreme thing to make the stepfather forfeit his sugar bounty in consequence. I will not do so, and shall, if necessary, submit a short measure next session - if I have the opportunity - to deal with this question, and also to deal with the question of half-caste aborigines. I scarcely think it was intended to deprive these latter of the chance of obtaining work in their own country. It is quite different with the coloured people who come here from their homes elsewhere. We know, too, that the Australian native is not a menace to labour, and that in a few years he will be extinct.”
That proves that my statement was accurate, and that the Minister did, in 1903, write a minute and promise to bring in a Bill to amend the Act. But the Bill is not yet forthcoming. I should like to know when he intends to give effect to his undertaking. To resume my argument with regard to the union label, I should like to carry the matter still further. Whilst honorable members of the Labour Party do not admit it, yet it is a fact that the effect of insisting upon these union conditions in America has been simply to produce a reaction in another direction; and I firmly believe that a very great deal of the difficulty that has occurred there in regard to the formation of trusts and monopolies has been caused by the principle underlying union label conditions. The same thing was attempted in Melbourne a short time ago, but fortunately the effort was nipped in the bud. There was a certain brewery which pretended that it was about to introduce, for the consumption of the people, beer which was manufactured under strict union conditions. I have seen a copy of the union label which was to be placed upon every cask issued from this brewery. It was a beer barrel marked with some such device as “XXX,” to denote the quality of the beer. There was a little lid on the device which could be lifted up, and inside there was a picture of a “beerchewer “ about to consume a glass of the ale produced under union conditions. The brewery attempted to capture the trade in Melbourne by using the union label. This brewery intended, if possible, to have it enacted by the Trades Hall Council that all unionists should consume nothing but union beer ; and this threatened to be a serious menace to the trade. The other breweries had a consultation, and they approached this one brewery ; and the end was a decision that it would not be to the interests of the trade to carry the scheme into effect. Eventually the one brewery agreed not to produce beer under the conditions contemplated, and so the matter fell through. But if the proposal had been carried out - and it must be remembered that this was a voluntary matter - and the union label had been made compulsory, what would have been the position ? As I have previously said, the sugar in Queensland would have had to be produced, under union conditions, and so would the barrels and hoops. The beer would have had to be produced in union breweries, the drivers would have had to be union drivers, and the hotels would have been tied down to union beer, whether that beer was good, bad, or indifferent. And, further, unionists would have had to drink that beer, whether it was good, bad, or indifferent.
– Unionists have to drink any beer which the breweries supply now.
– The hotels and breweries would have had to follow suit, with the result that all non-unionists would have lost their employment in breweries.
– Good gracious !
– The honorable member may say “Good gracious”; but would it not be a serious matter if in a brewery 700 non-unionists out of 1,000 men employed should be faced with the alternative of los ing their employment or joining the union, although they might have solid objections to the latter course? Moreover, if those men joined the union, they might have to drink the beer which they had brewed themselves. Under such circumstances, the brewers would resolve to combine and form a monopoly. I have shown honorable members that this is one of the means whereby trusts and monopolies are brought about - combinations we all deprecate, and would like to see extinguished. Honorable members in the Ministerial corner,by their legislation, and by their actions outside Parliament, force people into trusts and monopolies, and the result is that we have combinations which exploit the public, and act detrimentally to the commercial interests, not only of Australia, but of other parts of the world, where they have assumed large dimensions. In this way, both unionists and non-unionists suffer. Such combinations under our present arrangement of competition seriously affect the interests of men who work for their daily bread. If the brewers, for instance, combined, they would find that, by using two or three establishments, and concentrating their efforts, theycouldbrewallthe beer required. What I want to point out is that all the beer required could be brewed in two or three establishments, instead of nine or ten as at present. What would be the result ?
– It is better than physic, very often.
– No doubt a good deal of the beer brewed under union conditions would very often be equally effective as physic. The combination I have indicated would mean that instead of, say, ten establishments, there would be three, with a corresponding reduction of staffs, and a consequent loss of employment. Those results would not be confined to the brewing industry, but would extend to every other industry in Australia. Instead of business enterprise being encouraged, it would be discouraged, and, by means of combinations, the unemployed difficulty would be accentuated. We all agree that trust’s and monopolies should be kept down ; but I think that the ideas of some honorable members go beyond that result. Their desire is to force trade into such conditions that finally the industries I have mentioned will have to be nationalized. This is one way of bringing about the nationalization of industries. I have in my hand a newspaper called American Industries, published in New York, on December 15th, 1904; and from that I should like to give the House an idea of the manner in which the principle of the union label has been carried out to the detriment of trade, and of the working men generally in the United States.
– In whose interests is that newspaper published - the emplovers?
– The price isfive cents, and, as I say, the newspaper is published in New York.
– Is the newspaper published in the interests of the employers?
– I believe it is published in the interests of a majority of the members of the community.
– Does it bear the union label ?
– As showing the effect of the union label on trade and commerce generally, I should like to quote the following extract : -
North of San Francisco, in the great city of Portland, one of the most conservative and solid cities on the Pacific coast, where they were facing the problem which St. Louis has so successfully carried through with many inconveniences, and the harrassing industrial conditions there existing, the Citizens’ Alliance solved the problem for the first time, perhaps, in the history of the United States, of building a great exposition under the open shop, and the Lewis, and Clarke exposition, from top to bottom, from the meanest to the grandest building that stands upon the exposition grounds, is the product of open-shop labour. Some two or three years ago a Mr. Wehner, of San Jose:, undertook to. build a panorama structure in San Francisco. He made a contract for the work. He did not specify therein the character of the labour, and the contractor began the exterior work with non-union labour. A delegate to the Building Trades Council protested against this, and Mr. Wehner, discovering that he was going to involve himself in difficulties, explained that he had no means of controlling the labour employed by his contractor, but that he would promise that all the interior work should be done by union labour. This was not satisfactory. A boycott was laid upon the structure, and upon the amusement that was to take place in it. Six carpenters who remained at work, despite the strike that followed, were expelled from the Carpenters’ Union of the Building Trades Council of San Francisco. Mr. Wehner was a man of limited capital. He was faced by the most terrible industrial conditions that have ever disheartened an employer, and threatened with the loss of his means. Through the manager, Mr. Harry Gilmour, he endeavoured to treat with Mr. P. H. McCarthy to learn the terms upon which the strike could be calledoff. Mr. McCarthy wrote in reply a short letter, which is a photograph of industrial conditions there as they then existed -
July 6, 1904.
To Mr. Harry Gilmour,
Inter-State Panorama Co.
In regard to the request, as presented by Mr. Wehner, relative to a settlement of the boycott on the panorama “ Battle of Manilla,” we have decided unanimously that we will, upon the consideration of having published in the daily press of San Francisco for a period of thirty days the following : - “ I, Mr. Wehner, do hereby acknowledge that I have committed a serious and grave error in antagonizing the unions affiliated with the Building Trades Council and organized labour in San Franciso ; admit my defeat in the premises, publicly apologize therefore for attempting to erect and run a place of public amusement in San Francisco. And, further, I, Mr. Wehner, do hereby agree to pay to charitable institutions to be named by the council the sum of one thousand dollars.”
The employer had to fine himself $1,000.
– The “land of freedom” !
– Yes, “ the land of freedom.”
Upon the fulfilment of the foregoing we will settle amicably the existing difficulties between Mr. Wehner and organized labour of this city and county.
Secretary Building Trades Council.
– Honorable members wanted proofs ; there they are.
– And yet there is no Labour Party in Parliament in America.
– It just shows that, so far as Australia is concerned, according to the statement of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, it would be better for unionists if there were no Labour Party in the Parliaments of Australia, and it might not be a bad thing for Australia.
– The honorable member should not be too severe.
– I think we shall all resign.
– When honorable members of the Labour Party, a few weeks ago, had a very good opportunity, not to resign exactly, but to take the opinion of the people with regard to their action, they did not appear to be so eager to do so as they profess to be to-day, or have been on some former occasions.
Mr. Wehner, though not a man of much capital, is a man of considerable principle ; he preferred to lose the one rather than to suffer the irretrievable loss of the other. The conditions were never fulfilled.
I commend that to honorable members. Rather than lose his principles, this gentleman was prepared to fight and die, so to speak, financially.
– That is too high a tone for us.
– Where is the high tone? There is no specially high tone about it. To show how much further the matter was carried in San Francisco, I quote the following: -
The Building Trades Council of San Francisco is composed of over fifty, governed by an executive council, with a” delegate from each union. The I-abour Council of San Francisco numbers nearly 135 unions, and numbers among its members such unions as the Chicken Pickers, the Fish Gutters, and there was even a union of the Bowling Alley employes organized, the men who set up the ten pins at the end of the alley.
Honorable members will notice that, under these conditions, if the system is to be carried to such an extent as the Ministry are making provision for at the present moment, it will be impossible in Australia, as well as in America, to have even a game of skittles unless some of those employed happen to be members of a union. I quote this further -
When in San Francisco they began the work of the boycott, labour there employed sandwiched men, and we had parading up and down the streets of our city in dozens of places men bearing placards, bearing such inscriptions as this - “ Do not patronize this non-union restaurant. It employs scab help. Indorsed by the San Francisco Labour Council,” or some other labour organization.
If the system is to be carried out to the same extent in Australia as in America, and if such a thing is permitted, we shall no doubt have sandwich-men parading the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane, pointing out the institutions at which people can get a feed, can get clothes or boots, or telling them which newspaper to read. If some newspaper is not produced under certain labour conditions,) people will be informed that it is not to be purchased by members of the unions. The extract I make proceeds -
But unionism was in the air to such an extent that labour had not employed its sandwiched men boycotters for a dozen days until the sandwich men conceived the idea of organizing the Sandwich Men’s Union. And we had the Sandwich Men’s Union demanding of the union that employed them an increase of wages from a dollar and a half to two dollars a day. And when they did not get it they struck, and we had upon the streets of San Francisco the ridiculous spectacle of one sandwich man parading up and down in front of a place of business declaring it unfair, and another sandwich man parading up and down in front of him, declaring that when he declared the business unfair he unfairly declared it unfair.
This sort of thing had been going on for a very considerable time in San Francisco, and the evil had increased to such an extent that 85 per cent, of the businesses in that city were terrorized by the system. The condition of things described had existed for three years, and when the people could stand it no longer they rose to defend themselves, and brought it under the notice of the legal authorities, in the form of a case submitted to the Court. Judge Hebbard, of the Superior Court of San Francisco, gave a decision in connexion with the matter which is of very considerable importance. I quote the following reference to it: -
It was upon a demurrer interposed to an application for a restraining order, a complainant in the Equity Court, setting up a boycott as the reason for the restraining order, and asking protection of the Equity Court. The question was one of law, whether an action in boycott could be maintained. The Court, in overruling the demurrer, said, “ There are not, and there cannot be any authorities to sustain the defendant’s contention. There is no law, human or divine, to support their argument. To proclaim a business or the proprietors unfair in this manner, is as infamous as to proclaim before a private dwelling that the inmates thereof are prostitutes. The acts complained of are breaches of the peace, and it is safe to say that if the one boycotted had met it by personal violence, instead of appealing to the law, he would have been justified by a jury under his constitutional right of self-defence.”
That is a very important decision by an eminent- Judge.
– Surely we are not proposing to legalise anything like that?
– The honorable member ought t.o know, if he does not know, that we are. I am afraid the honorable member does know something about the matter, or, having taken the action he has taken, and having gone as far as he has gone in connexion with this union business, he would have gone wholly into if, and become one of the unionists. It is plain to me that it is because the . honorable member knows something that he has wisely kept outside.
– What has that to do with the question I asked?
– The honorable member knows that what has occurred in America may occur in Australia. If we give these people an inch they will take an ell, and the result will be disastrous not only to the commercial life of this country but to the working men themselves, because it is absolutely bound to react upon them.
– What has this to do with the question I put to the honorable member?
– The cases which the honorable member has quoted show an evasion of the law. The same thing would apply to pickpockets.
– Here we have the honorable member for Moira proposing to vote for clauses which would give a legal justification to this kind of thing in Australia, and under whichitcould not be overruled as it has been in America.
– The honorable member has no justification for saying how I am going to vote.
– I presume that the honorable member will vote in the direction I have indicated. He is such a faithful follower of the Ministry that I assume they have onlyto issue an order to him as to the way in which he shall vote to induce him to vote accordingly. The same thing appiies to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– Is it not a fact that the Bill provides safeguards against boycotting ?
– There is no safeguard provided by the Bill against boycotting.
– How could there be?
– I may tell the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that, so far as we in Australia are concerned, we have not the same constitutional power for the protection of the rights and interests of our citizens as they have in the United States.
– Against boycotting?
– We have not, to the same extent, the protection against it which exists in the United States. It was, fortunately, discovered that, according to one of the amendments of the Constitution of the United States, it was absolutely illegal for any of these conditions to be imposed on labour. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has said, on one or two occasions, that the Constitution of the United States is defective in that it is not elastic enough. In the Commonwealth we have a Constitution which is elastic enough ; but it does not absolutely protect the . rghts of every citizen, even those conferred under the magnificent Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights.
– Did the honorable member get that from the Women’s League ?
– The honorable member cannot think much of his leader, because his leader is in favour of unions.
– When honorable members opposite are impatient, the honorable member for Corangamite may be sure that he is making good headway.
– I shall read another paragraph from this newspaper, which says -
I believe absolutely that the right to live is the right to work;
– Hear, hear.
– for without the unrestricted right to labour, man cannot support himself, nor the lives of those dependent upon him.
– Hear, hear.
When, therefore, any man dares to make membership in any organization an essential prerequisite to the exercise of the right to work, he violates the fundamental dispensations of the Almighty.
The honorable member for Darling does not say “hear, hear” to that. The honorable member would force all men into unions, and. so far as he is concerned, those who would not be forced might starve or rot. The quotation proceeds -
I claim that that man has also aimed a blow at the life principle of this Republic, which is simply the ultimate victory of 5,000 years of human effort to express in the form of human government the essential safeguards of human liberty.
– It is the nonunionists who knock out the unionists.
– The facts of the case are altogether against the honorable member. We have read in the daily newspapers from time to time within the last few weeks that in New South Wales men are being brought by the unions before the Court for not paying their fees. A poor washerwoman has been sued for fees she owed to the union, and it has been ruled by the Judge of the Court that, so long as a union has a dispute pending in the Arbitration Court, those who have joined it remain members of it. Even if a dispute remains unsettled for ten years, those who have joined the union concerned in it remain members of it, and slaves to it. Honorable members here tried to introduce into our Conciliation and Arbitration Bill a principle which, having been carried into effect by the New South Wales Act, has established a tyranny far worse than any form of slavery which has existed in any other part of the world.
– That is according to the honorable member.
– It is according to fact. In New South Wales, men join the unions, and then, as the leaders of the unions take good care that there shall always be disputes pending in the Arbitration Court, they are unable to leave them again. But the leaders of the unions have pushed matters too far. Men of liberal mind were disposed to assist them so long as they thought that they were asking for a fair thing; but they are now causing reasonable men to turn against them, because they are saying in effect to those who are nonunionists and free men, “ You are not slaves now, but immediately you become members of our organization, you will be so. You’ will be bound hand and foot,” just as the members of the Labour Party in this House are bound with regard to their votes, and almost with regard to what they say in this Chamber
– The honorable member should have been a novelist ; he would have done well.
– I wish to read another extract from a later issue of American Industries, but before doing so, I should like to see a quorum present. [Quorum formed.), The extract which I wish to read is as follows : -
An opinion of Judge Shackleford Miller, of the Chanoery Branch of the Jefferson Circuit Court, at Louisville, in the suit lately brought by the Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, and its president and vice-president, as citizens, to test validity of the “union label” ordinance under which the city has been awarding the contracts for public printing, is of the utmost interest and importance. It renders an unqualified judgment for the plaintiffs. Some of the points in the brief of the attorney for the plaintiff, Mr. Alfred Seligman, were as follow : - That the ordinance is unconstitutional and void, being in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, in this : that citizens not a member of the Allied Printing Trades Council of Louisville, and not employing members thereof, are abridged in their privileges and immunities as citizens of the United States and deprived of liberty and property without due process of law, and denied the equal protection of the law. That it is unconstitutional under section 3 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the State of Kentucky, in this : that the said ordinance constitutes the grant of exclusive separate public emoluments and privileges to persons, members of said Allied Printing Trades Council of Louisville, or employing members of said council, and that such separate public emoluments and privileges are not in consideration of any public services rendered.
That it is a violation of the inherent equality of all men before the law. Moneys raised by public taxes constitute a trust fund for the benefit of all taxpayers, to be administered and spent only for public municipal purposes; that municipal officers are trustees, and have no right to divert such trust funds to any other than municipal governmental purposes; that the city buyer is undertaking under the direction of said ordinance, to pay $260 more for the public printing than the same can be done without the operation of said ordinance, and to that extent there is a diversion of public funds to private uses, and a breach of trust that will be enjoined by the Court. The injunction is not an interference with the discretion vested in this public officer. The legislative department of the city of Louisville has no right to impose upon the discretion of the city buyer or limit it by an unconstitutional ordinance, nor has he a right to accept or bind his discretion with the terms of such an ordinance. The appropriate remedy is by injunction. Judge Miller’s opinion was as follows : - This action is brought bv L. T. Davidson and August Straus, in their capacities as residents and taxpayers in the city of Louisville, and by the Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, as plaintiffs, against the City of Louisville, Charles F. Grainger, mayor of the said city ; Fred. R. Bishop, city buyer of said city ; the Globe Printing Company, and Charles T. Den ring, as defendants, for an injunction to prevent the awarding of a contract for printing of the reports of the city of Louisville for 1903, under a letting of June 1904, to either the Globe Printing Company or to C. T. Dearing. By an ordinance of the city of Louisville, approved January 24, 189S, it is provided in substance that all printing, bookmaking, and work of like character used or ordered by the city of Louisville, “shall bear the imprint of the recognised union label of the Allied Printing Trades Council of Louisville, Kentucky, as registered with the Secretary of State “ ; and that the city buyer, when advertising for printed matter, shall insert a notice in the advertisement that all bids shall be submitted in accordance with said ordinance. In advertising for these bids, the defendant, Bishop, followed the requirements of the ordinance by giving notice that “ all bids must be subject to ordinance approved by the mayor, January 24, 1898.” The plaintiff, the Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, filed a bid by which it proposed to do the work for $220 per page, while the defendants, the Globe Printing Company and C. T. Dearing, each offered to do it for $2’6o per page, there being a difference of $240 in the cost of the entire work under the respective bids. There is no question raised as to the regularity, sufficiency, or validity of any of the bids. This motion for an injunction is based upon the single ground that City Buyer Bishop is threatening to and will award the contract to the Globe Printing Company or C. T. Dearing at $2’6o per page, under and as required by said ordinance of January 24, 1898, because said Globe Printing Company and said Dearing can comply with the ordinance bv using the label of the Allied Printing Trades Council - commonly called the “ Union Label “ - while the Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, being an “ open shop,” cannot use said label upon its work, and cannot therefore comply with the requirements of the ordinance. The ordinance is attacked as being unconstitutional, in that it undertakes to make a discrimination between different classes of citizens similarly situated ; that it restricts competition in public work, and tends to increase its cost and creates a monopoly thereof ; that it attempts to confer an exclusive privilege upon certain persons, in violation of the Kentucky Bill of Rights, and that in awarding said contract to the Globe Printing Company or to C. T. Dearing said city buyer and the mayor (who must approve the same) will not act in the full exercise of their judgment, or discretion, or *bond fide, but will do so only under the alleged constraint of the said ordinance, which will require them to so award the contract. That the ordinance is clearly unconstitutional is conceded by the city attorney and by the counsel for the other defendants. Indeed, whenthe ordinance was presented to the city attorney for examination before it became effective, that official made the following indorsement thereon : - “ The ordinance is unconstitutional. Examined “and approved. H. L. Stone, City Attorney.” The legal objection to the ordinance has been well expressed in the following language : - “ Manifestly, if the General Council has the right to restrict competition, so far as the public supplies and public contracts are concerned, to those only who employ union labour, it would have the same right to pass the same character of ordinance for the benefit of non-union labour, if at any time the friends of non-union labour should gain control of the General Council. And if at any time the majority of the members of the General Council should be members of the Presbyterian Church, or the Methodist Church, or the Baptist Church, or the Catholic Church, or of any other church, or if the majority of them should belong to the Masons, or the Oddfellows, or the Elks, or any other order, they would have the same right to pass a like ordinance for the benefit of those employing members of their particular church, denomination, or order. The result would be that the laws of the city, instead of being enacted for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the municipality equally and impartially, would favour only that class of our citizens who happened to be in political power at the particular time.”
As I said in the first place, the Judge declared the use of the union label in connexion with the printing trade to be unconstitutional. Another case is mentioned in the same newspaper of the 15th June, 1904, as follows: -
Agents of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and of the International Association of Mechanics, of the Brass-workers’ union and the Brass-moulders’ local union, demanded that the Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Company, of Chicago, should execute an agreement that they would employ none but members of these organizations. The officers of the Kellogg Company refused to sign the agreement, a strike was declared, the union men leftthe employment of the company, and its factory was picketed by a large number of them. It obtained a preliminary injunction, but the picketing continued. It made an application to the Superior Court topunish the ringleaders for con tempt. The union denied all conspiracy, and claimed that the men who were engaged in picketing only used peaceable means by persuasion. The Court, however, fined a number of the officers of the unions, and directed two of them to be imprisoned. The unions appealed, and the Appellate Court has now sustained the injunction unanimously.
Judge Adams’ opinion says -
Appellants denied that they used force, threats, or intimidation of any sort, and say they were peaceful and mildly persuasive. But the very presence of a large number of pickets, with the avowed purpose of preventing plaintiffs’ employes from remaining in its employ, and of preventing those seeking employment from entering it, was in itself intimidation. When a thousand labourers gather around a railroad track and say to those who seek employment they had better not, and that advice is supplemented every little while by a terrible assault upon one who. disregards it, every one knows that something more than advice is intended. lt is coercion, force ; it is the effort of many by the mere weight of numbers to compel the one to do their bidding.
The affidavits show that the defendants picketed and patrolled around and about complainants’ place of business, watching the streets, alleys, and approaches thereto, daily shifting their positions; that they so stationed themselves that the complainants’ employes were obliged to pass through their picket line ; that their attitude was ugly and menacing, such as to cause fear in the mind of an ordinary person. Complainants’ employes and persons seeking employment were waylaid on their way to and fromthe factory ; they were insulted and threatened, and in numerous instances assaulted and beatenby the strikers’ pickets and patrollers, and complainants’ business was seriously and injuriously interrupted. All teaming and haulage of merchandize to and from complainants’ factory was stopped.
Thepurpose of the strike by complainants’ employes and their prosecution of it, as described, was to compel the complainant to execute the agreement referred to and made a part of the Bill. The drafts of agreements, three in number, purport to be with the different unions, whose members were in complainants’ employ.
– From what newspaper isthe honorable member quoting?
– American Industries of the 15th June. 1904.
– That is up-to-date.
– Yes, it is quite up-to- date, and members of the Labour Party desire to bring the conditions still more up-to-date.
– All that has nothing to do with union labels, but refers to a strike.
– The principle of the use of the union label is dealt with in connexion with the demand that the employer should engage union labour, or none at all.
– That is a question of trade unionism.
– The question of the use of a union label is dealt with throughout the judgment. The matter is one of preference being given to unionists, and the attempt made last session to apply that principle, compared to what is now sought to be achieved under the provisions of the Bill, was as measles compared to the plague. The judgment continues -
That the purpose of the strike was to compel the execution of the drafts of agreement is clear. It isaverred in the sworn Bill, and deposed to in the affidavits of De Wolf, complainant’s president; Kellogg, its secretary and treasurer; and Edwards, its superintendent, that business agents of the different unions, called on complainant, and insisted on its executing the agreements, and that, when complainant’s president refused, on the ground that the proposed agreements were unreasonable, it was threatened by one of the said business agents that unless complainant would sign the agreements a strike would be called, and that said business agents called a strike, in response to which about 500 of complainant’s employes quit its employ.
As I endeavoured to show a few minutes ago, the attempts to force all men into the unions are intended to create a monopoly for a certain class of labour. If the efforts of the Labour Party are successful, they will have the effect of bringing about monopolies amongst those who are conducting commercial enterprises. Therefore, the very conditions which honorable members are always condemning, are likely to be brought about by their own action. They are setting up monopolies and trusts, and are at the same time contemplating the nationalization of our industries. They are thus setting up certain conditions in order that they may knock them down again.
– Was the judgment which the honorable member has been Tending, delivered by a Circuit Judge ?
– Judge Adams is a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.
– His position would be equivalent to that of a County Court Judge in Victoria.
– The judgment proceeds -
The agreements in question would, if executed, tend to create a monopoly in favour of the members of the different unions, to the exclusion of workmen not members of such unions, and are, in this respect, unlawful. Contracts tending to create a monopoly are void.
The Legislature of the State cannot create a monopoly.
The purpose of the strikers is in violation of the criminal code, which provides as follows : -
Section158. - If any two or more persons shall combine for the purpose of depriving the owner or possessor of property of its lawful use and management, or of preventing, by threats, suggestions of danger, or by any unlawful means, any person from being employed by or obtaining employment from any such owner or possessor of property on such terms as the parties may agree upon; such persons so offending shall be fined not exceeding $500, or confined in the county gaol not exceeding six months.
Section 159. - If any person shall, by threat, intimidation, or unlawful interference, seek to prevent any other person from working or from obtaining work at any lawful business, on any terms that he may see fit, such person so offending shall be fined not exceeding $200.
Not only was the purpose of the strike unlawful, but the means used to achieve the unlawful purpose were unlawful. The means used were the acts heretofore mentioned, and thereby injury to the complainants’ business. The appellants and their associates intended to stop the business of the complainant so far as they possibly could, and the evidence shows that they did stop it in great part to complainants’ injury.
– There is not a word there about union labels.
– It is further statedEach conspirator is responsible for the acts and declarations of every other conspirator in furtherance of the common purpose. The conspiracy originated simultaneously with the calling of the strike, and continued until the filing of the last petition, July 14th, 1902. It was a single conspiracy. Andthe Court on the hearing of each of the second and third petitions did not err in hearing the prior evidence.
This was an appeal case, the evidence having been given in another Court. The statement proceeds -
The evidence was competent as tracing and showing the character of the conspiracy. It is an indispensable condition of the enjoyment by each citizen of the liberty and rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws that he shall respect, and not unlawfully infringe upon the liberty or rights of any other citizen. This cannot be done with impunity…… The fact that labourers have the right to refuse to work for a man who does not employ union labour, or in order to better their condition or advance their wages, does not authorize the making of a contract under which the employer is compelled to employ only union labour, and to discharge nonunion labour. The rights of the employer and employe are, and should be, synonymous, but employes cannot, by combination or union, without committing the crime of conspiracy, force employers to agree to employ only union labour. When employers do become parties to such an agreement they are equally guilty of conspiracy.
– Have we any such law here?
– No. The United States Constitution protects the rights and liberties of citizens far more effectively; than does the Constitution of the Commonwealth. It is further stated -
If in the future any employer signs a closed shop agreement with union or non-union workers, says one of the leading lawyers in the case, such employer will do so with a full knowledge that he is laying himself liable to the criminal as well as the civil code, and that any non-union or union workmen excluded under the signed agreement has a double-edged weapon of the law with which to enforce his right to be free from the handicap of a conspiracy of discrimination when he seeks employment in any workshop, store, factory, or other place of business.
I think I have shown by the extracts which I have read, that the effect of legislation empowering the use of the union label will be a very serious one to workmen who are not members of trade unions, and that it will be detrimental to the best interests of the commerce of Australia. I now wish to point out how it will operate in relation to the agricultural and pastoral industries - the two industries in which I am particularly interested. The other day, the honorable member for Bland declared that unionism in Australia was not carried out under the conditions that obtain in America.
– I said that it was not carried out in the way that it is alleged to be carried out in America by the honorable member and his friends. I have not been tb America.
– I occupy a similar position. I have not travelled to America, and I can only judge of the conditions which obtain there from the reports which I read in the newspapers, and which are supposed to be absolutely accurate. The judicial decisions which I have quoted are couched in the language employed by the learned Judge who presided, and I think that the honorable member should accept them in good faith’. If we consider the proposal in favour of the adoption of a union label in relation to the production of wool, what do we find? When the union label business is pushedto an extreme - and I am assumingthat honorable members connected with labour unions will push it to an extreme
– If it is a good thing, it ought to be pushed to an extreme.
– The honorable member is certainly not one of the mildest men in the Labour Party. He occasionally pushes his views to an extreme. Upon a recent occasion, he even went so far as to refuse to travel upon a steamer which carried a black stoker. I am quite sure that most members of labour organizations will not hesitate to push matters to an extreme in every possible way. Under the proposal which I, am discussing, what will be the position so far as shearing is concerned ? It will be necessary that every bale of wool shall bear the union label. What conditions will require to be fulfilled in order to bring about that result? Every man employed upon a station will need to become a member of the Australian Workers’ Union.
– Is that why the honorable member left the Pastoralists’ Union ?
– No. I left that body in order that I might be an absolutely free agent in regard to these matters, and in order that I might be able to fight the battle of the non-unionists without any prejudice. I do not wish to fight the battle of the big man, but, so far as I possibly can, I intend to fight the battle of the poor man. The former will not be seriously affected by this proposal, but the latter will be. Under the operation of the Bill in its present form, hundreds and thousands of men who are now outside the Australian Workers’ Union - men whoare engaged in the Western District of Victoria, and in the pastoral industry in New South Wales - will be compelled either to join that organization or to starve.
– Why did the honorable member join a union in the first place?
– I joined to protect the rights and interests of the people who were taking up the other side of the question.
– Why does not the honorable member organize the non-unionists?
– I replied to that question when it was put by the Minister of Home Affairs in the form of an interjection the other day. The honorable member for Grey wishes to “ draw “ me ; but he cannot do so. I am not quite so soft as he apparently thinks I am.
– The honorable member is not as soft as dynamite.
– I may have been soft so far as the honorable member is concerned, because upon one occasion I allowed my feelings of friendship to get the better of my judgment. I repeat that all the non-unionists who are at present engaged in the pastoral industrythroughout the Commonwealth will - if this Bill becomes law - be compelled to join the Australian Workers’ Union. Then the implements which they use - the shears - will have to be produced by union labour. As a matter of fact they have to be so produced at the present time, when a system of voluntary unionism obtains. Union shearers must use union-made shears.
– There is no “must” about it ; but they use them.
– They use union shears. These must be provided for them.
– There is a label on them too.
– Yes, there is a label on them. Under existing conditions, unionists insist upon using only union shears. What will happen under a compulsory system of unionism? The bales will all require to be made by union labour, and every sale will need to be branded. If not, what will happen? If the bales and the wool do not bear the union label the members of the Wharf Labourers’ Union will be instructed not to handle the goods, and the members of the Seamen’s Union will be directed not to carry them.
– The world will stop.
– I thank the honorable member for his interjection. I have not the slightest doubt that the members of the Labour Party are putting brakes upon the wheels of progress in Australia. They have been doing so ever since they gained great power in this Parliament, and they will continue to do so. It will be their constant aim to apply brakes to the wheels of progress, in order to prevent the proper development of the commercial and industrial lifeof this country. I thank the honorable member for Hindmarsh for his interjection. Unfortunately, not only for the people who conduct business enterprises in Australia, but also for the workmen of this country, our commercial world is stopping. Then in the butter industry an attempt will be made to force all the men who are engaged in producing milk, and all the farm hands, to become members of the Milkers’ Union. If they refuse to do so they will be discharged. So far as I am concerned, every one of the men at present in my employ is a non-unionist. Under the provisions of this Bill, those men will either be forced into a union or I shall have to discharge them. If I do not employ unionists my milk will not be received at the factory, because the hands engaged there will be members of the Butter Workers’ Union. All the butter boxes will have to be produced by members of the Butter Box Makers’ Union, and will require to be branded with the union label. I presume that that brand will be put inside the box, because the brand upon the finished article will have to be placed upon the outside, otherwise the stevedores will not handle it, and the seamen will not carry it. That is how legislation of this character will affect the pastoral and agricultural industries, in common with every other enterprise that is being carried on in Australia. I maintain that it will strike one of the most severe blows at commercial enterprise that have ever been struck in the history of this country, or of any other part of the civilized world. It will apply also to the manufacture of boots and, indeed, to every other business undertaking in Australia. Trade union propositions of this kind have gone beyond the voluntary stage, and we are now asked to force them upon the people by legal enactment. We know the members of the Labour Party and of the Trades Hall Council well enough to realize that they will see that the trade union label provisions of the Bill, if they be passed, are pushed home, and that industry is further crippled in this way. The history of the system in the United States shows that the union label is used simply as an instrument of torture so far as industry and commerce are concerned. Shop assistants who are members of unions are invariably instructed to introduce to customers goods bearing the union label, and it is in this way that pressure is brought to bear by the unions. As soon as the unionists have obtained control of industries bymeans of this system, it is open to them to absolutely dictate their own terms and conditions to employers in every line of business, and to push them so far that in the end those employers may have to say, “I cannot comply with these conditions any longer; I shall have to close down.” If this system be allowed to prevail in Australia, we cannot possibly look for the opening up of new undertakings. The proposal will strike one of the most severe blows that has yet been aimed at the industrial life of Australia, and means the introduction of a form of tyranny and slavery in relation to non-unionists, the like of which has never been experienced in any part of the world.
– The honorable member promised to quote cases in which members of unions had been fined for using goods that did not bear the trade union label.
– Here is a quotation in point -
In Chicago if a man went into a shop and bought goods which had not the union label on them, he would be fined five dollars for the first offence, twenty dollars for the second, fifty, for the third, and for the fourth offence he would be turned out of the union.
– What is the name of the union ?
– I cannot supply it.
– There is nothing in it.
– The extract continues-
The walking delegate can insist upon a union man showing the union label on all his goods, even to his underclothing and boots, and he can also make the wife and children show that they are also wearing goods with the union brand on them.
– Does the honorable member believe that is true?
– I do; the one is the natural corollary of the other.
– Does the honorable member believe that women could be made to strip before a uni©n delegate in order that their clothing might be examined?
– I made no such insinuation, and am astonished that such a suggestion should have come from the honorable member.
– That is the effect of the statement which the honorable member read.
– I read nothing of the kind. I simply read a statement showing that it was necessary in Chicago that the wives and children of unionists should wear clothes bearing the imprint of a union, but I never suggested that a walking delegate - even of the union to which the honorable member belongs - would be guilty of critically examining the clothes worn by the wives or children of unionists. The idea that a union delegate could sink so low has never occurred to mymind; my impression has always been that only a superficial examination of the clothing is made. The provisions of the Bill relating to the union label will strike a blow at the liberty of the poorest class of workmen in Australia. We have to fight the battle of the non-unionists as against the unionists, and I can promise honorable members of the Labour Partv that in the end they will suffer very seriously from the enactment of such provisions. The result of the attitude taken up by the party will be that those who are outside the unions will be driven into a combinption to fight them. At the outset, their organizations were formed with a laudable object, but having felt their strength, thev have done as many others have done in similar circumstances - they have gone too far. It is because of this that a reaction has set in, which must eventually cripple organizations that have served a very useful purpose. But above all other considerations, the desire of honorable members of this Parliament should be to conserve the liberties of the very poorest of our citizens, in so far as the avenues of employment open to them are concerned.
– I listened with some attention to the remarks of the honorable member for Corangamite, being, led to assume from his opening statement that he would deal with the more important: features of the Bill. I naturally considered that he would enlighten the Houseas to the results that would possibly accrue from the passing of the union label provisions of the Bill, but have come to the conclusion that he dealt with the question, not of the union label, but of unionism generally, and the injurious effects of unionism upon the industrial life of the United States, where strikes constitute one of the chief engines of warfare employed by trade unions. The honorable member treated us to a disquisition upon many learned judgments pronounced by theCourts of the United States which had had the effect of preventing people from doing something that was not in accordance with law ; but I would remind him that it is unnecessary for us to go so far for illustrations in that regard. Whathappens in Victoria, not only to those who break our industrial laws, but to company promotors who violate the Companies Act, or evento members of the medical profession who break the law? Law-breakers in all theseclasses generallv find themselvesin the end, in Pentridge, or thereabouts. Itshould be our endeavour to deal with the question of trade marks solely from the point of view of Australia - we should strive to show what may be the effect of the passing of this Bill upon the trading and industrial welfare of the Commonwealth. No less an authoritv than theleader of the Opposition has told us that unionism, in its essential principle, is a splendid thing.
– He did not say that theunion label was a good thing.
– I am dealing first of all with the question of unionism. Unionism is a splendid thing for any body of men who wishi to securethe best results of their labour, jio matter what avocation they may follow. As an evidence of that, take the profession of which the honorable member is an ornament - the medical profession. Practically every worker, no matter what his calling may be, sooner or later realizes the enormous advantages to be gained from unionism. Notwithstanding what the honorable member has said to the contrary, he has seen fit to leave the ranks of the unionists, to leave the association of which he was such a conspicuous member.
– Conspicuous by my absence from the meetings, at all events.
– Well, the honorable member has admitted that at one time he was a member of the Medical Association, and also of the Pastoralists’ Union. I have yet to learn that the Pastoralists’ Union has ceased to exist, or that the Medical Association will cease to exist on account of his defection.
– Quite right ; I never thought it would.
– We all know that non-unionists, especially in the industrial walks of life in Australia,! have to thank unionists for their position to-d’ay. As a matter of fact, do they not benefit from every advantage gained by unionists, and gained entirely at their own expense ? That is a factor which is lost sight of to a very considerable extent.
– What expense -or disadvantage are the unionists put to?
– Every time they find the funds to fight the cause, and the nonunionists are never asked to contribute. I would also remind the honorable member for Corangamite that, generally speaking, in Australia we have a law taking out of the hands of unionists that great engine of warfare which they previously used, namely, the strike, which to my mind, was never a legitimate means of achieving their end.
– Will the honorable member take steps to insure that the people to use the union label shall be the same organizations as are controlled by the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Court ?
– The House is well aware of my opinions in regard to the basic principles of unionism. I believe that a union when constituted for a particular purpose should not abuse its privileges as a union to achieve some other object. I stated my position very clearly to the House on a previous Bill, and I have seen no reason to alter my mind. I desire to approach the discussion of the present measure from a fair basis, without raising any little side issues. What is the use of dealing with the question from the standpoint of strikes which originated in America, or of the effect of strikes, and some law points which have been raised, when we know that in Australia to-day strikes are practically prohibited by law?
– Where are strikes prohibited bv law?
– Under our Australian laws, a strike is a penal offence.
– No. /
– Men are on strike in New South. Wales to-day.
– And in Western Australia, too.
– Let me get back to the original position. The Government were subjected by the leader of the Opposition to some criticism for introducing this proposal for a trade union label, and a previous Government, some of whose members are supporting the present Government, were twitted with not having placed it in the original Bill. What queer positions we find ourselves in at times ! Had the right honorable member forgotten at that time what position he occupied, when he asked the Crown to assent to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill ? Although the leading feature of that Bill which had caused the downfall of one Government, and subsequently caused the downfall of a second Government, was opposed by the right honorable member, yet he, as leader of the Government, advised the Crown to assent to that principle. So far as I know, honorable members constituting the present Government did not formulate this Bill in the first instance. It was originated in the Senate by the Labour Government, without a provision for a union label, which, by the way, was introduced there by the representatives of the Labour Party. The present Government accepted the Bill with some modifications.
– Did thev not draft the Bill ?
– So far as I could gather from a search of the records, the Watson Government introduced the Bill in the Senate without a provision for a union label.
– The Bill was drafted by their predecessors.
– Admitting that it was, the provision for a union label was inserted in the Bill by the Senate, as the result of deliberations, and the Bill is now accepted by the present Government with that provision, in some shape or form, embodied therein. Of course, it remains for the House to say what will be the effect. To those who declaim against the provision, and point to the tyranny and injustice which will accrue to non-union labourers through its enactment let me put this question, “ Where is compulsion, within the four corners of the measure, to compel any employer or manufacturer to put the union label on his goods?”
– What is the object of the Bill, then?
– The union label is for the same purpose, all things being equal, that any trade mark is for.
– Is not a trade mark a guarantee of value to the consumer?
– Certainly. If an employer thinks that there is an advantage in using a trade union label, why prevent him from using it?
– Cannot the honorable member see the Bill offers a means of using force upon a person?
– No. Until there is compulsion; until the unions have power to go to an employer and say, “ Unless you employ all union men, you cannot use the union label”-
– They cannot under the amended proposal.
– I know that they cannot : but I am putting it in this way : that under this Bill, when the employes of a man claim that every act in the production of an article shall be done by union labour, he will still have the power to say, “No; I shall not use the union label, as it would be of no benefit to me.” Is not power still left in the hands of the manufacturer to .prevent any terrorism, or even coercion, from unionists?
– Would the honorable member support any clause to guard against the abuse nf the union label?
– I am prepared to act as I did on a previous occasion. I am prepared to prohibit the making of any rule that would debar any fair or reasonableminded man from entering a union. I raised my voice against the existence of such rules before. Not only have the unions of industrial workers transgressed in that respect, but even the union to which the honorable member for Corangamite belonged has had some extraordinary provisions in its rules. The body to which I belong, the farmers, also have an organization that has done some extraordinary things with which I have no sympathy, and which, indeed, are, from my point of view, absolutely absurd - as, for instance, putting provisions in their rules which are repugnant to any fair-minded man. The position which I take up is that there is nothing, obligatory upon any employer or upon any manufacturer, even if the whole of his employes are union men, to use the union label. No trader, commercial man, or manufacturer will use a trade mark unless; there is some advantage from so doing.
– What is the advantage of using the union label?
– What is the advantage of any trade mark? There is this advantage, from the industrial worker’s stand-point - that the union label puts him on an equality with any corporation or individual manufacturer in the community who has a right to register a trade mark. It gives to the industrial worker, through his organization, a right to register a trade mark, showing that the goods which he makes are produced entirely by union labour.
– What is the advantage tothe manufacturer?
– It is another incentive to the honest employer. What has been the object of the whole of our industrial legislation? It is not restrictive on any fair employer; it is restrictive on the employer who resorts to illegitimate means in competition with the honest employer.
– And the fair-minded employer, who has ninety unionists and ten.nonunionists, cannot use the label unless, he “sacks” the ten.
– If the whole of his. employes are unionists, they can put no coercion upon him to use the label.
– He has to discharge the ten to get any advantage from the label. Theremust be coercion.
– There is no coercion whatever. Generally speaking, if an employer finds it to be to his advantage todischarge non-unionists, and to put in other men, on account of their better workmanship or their better services generally, he will not hesitate for a moment to do so. I do not follow the argument that any power- of coercion is given to the unions by means of this principle. The object which I have in view, before the Bill is finally disposed of, is this : We have had many complaints in Australia - some have been voiced on the floor of this House - as to the injurious effects upon the community generally of monopolies, combines, and trusts. To my mind there is splendid opportunity in connexion with this Bill - as there was in connexion with the Patents Act, although advantage was not taken of it - to do something to restrain monopolists or those individuals who wish to create a monopoly in any particular article. I intend to propose an amendment to the effect that any individual or corporation who becomes the proprietor of a registered trade mark, and who does anything whatever in restraint of trade in the article to which that trade mark is applied, shall have the registration cancelled forthwith.
– Would the honorable member apply that to a trade union that did anything of the kind?
– Certainly ; I wish to achieve uniformity wherever it is possible.
– That is right ; the honorable member would apply the principle to both parties ?
– Yes; and that is why, in a spirit of equality and fairness, I wish trade unions to have the right to register a union label just as an individual or corporation is given the right under this Bill.
– Trade unions are not engaged in trade.
– They are engaged in labour; that is their trade for the time lifting. The leader of the Opposition told us that this Bill was an instance of the effects of a shuffle of the political cards, and he went on to argue that if it was possible by combinations of parties to bring about such a state of things, we should never know exactly where we were. Stress was laid on the fact that the Labour Party in this House were the determining factors in this class of legislation. I should like to direct the right honorable member’s attention to the fact that the industrial classes in Australia are above the level of serfs to-day. They are citizens ; they are constituted such by Act of Parliament. They have the franchise. We have thrown aside in Australia the old barbaric system of resorting to road metal and brute force to achieve what a particu lar class may think to be for its welfare. The working classes have come into the political arena. The members of the Labour Party are here as representatives of the citizens of Australia.
– One section of them.
– It is not for the leader of the Opposition to quarrel with the members of the Labour Party or with those who send them here. It will be better to recognise that they represent one of the forces at work in this community, and to endeavour to direct that force into proper channels than to be interminably in antagonism to it. The whole industrial and economic life of Australia is to-day represented in Parliament. The party which is designated the Labour Party, represents, if honorable members choose to say so, a class. But we have had class representation’ in the past. Those who complain of it to-day did not complain of it then. This force being at work to-day, is it not better to recognise it, and to endeavour to direct and govern it in the best interests of the community, than to be eternally abusing it? It has been recognised in some of the States, and it is being recognised in this Parliament, that it is our duty so to control the affairs of the nation that no section of its people - even the poorest of our’ industrial classes - shall have to sacrifice their life-blood, so to speak, for the benefit of their employers. So far as I can understand the situation,, it is admitted by all that the efforts of trade unions have been directed towards the uplifting of the industrial elements in Australia, and to placing them on an equality with other classes. That is the sole object of this trade union proposal. Consequently, I approach the question with an open mind. Up to the present, however, I have not heard of anything to prevent me from supporting the Bill. I trust that when we get into Committee, if any provision is found to be necessary to safeguard the interests of all, we shall be found perfectly willing to insert it in the Bill.
– If honorable members desire to have additional evidence of the fact that the present Government does not possess a sufficient majority in this House to enable them to introduce useful legislation, they have it in this attempt to bring forward a Bill embodying provisions which afford clear proof of pressure from another party. The Ministry speak with the voice of Jacob, but the hand is the hand of Esau. I venture to say that if the party really responsible for the introduction of the trade union label provisions of this Bill were occupying the Treasury bench, they would not have had the temerity to bring forward a provision of the kind. They would have exercised that caution which was so characteristic of their brief reign of office only a little while ago. But, occupying positions in which’ they are able to control legislation without responsibility for that legislation, they evidently have been able to prevail on another Ministry to do what they themselves would probably never have attempted. I object to provisions of this character for reasons which I have always given for my objection to the creation of special privileges for any one section of the community. I hold that the Legislature exists for the purpose of preserving the equal rights of every citizen, and not for the purpose of creating laws which advantage one section at the expense or inconvenience of the, rest of the community. -That is exactly what measures of this kind are designed to do. Here, the obvious intention and purpose is to enable one section to obtain special privileges at the expense of the rest of the community, bv the use of a union label, which will have the effe’ct of bringing pressure to bear on employers and employes alike - -on one to employ only certain members of the community, who are associated with unions, and on the other to purchase goods only from those who employ union labour. Whatever may be the rights of unions to draft rules in an endeavour to bring about such a state of affairs, the Legislature has no moral right to lend itself to any scheme for enabling such things to be done under the sanction of legal authority ; and it is that aspect of the question to which I propose, mainly, to address myself.
– Would the honorable member not give a union the right to register a label ?
– I see no objection to a union registering a label, provided it is clear that it is not the intention to use that label for the purposes of intimidation, coercion, or conspiracy, for the purposes of a boycott, or by any other means of combination to prevent freedom of choice on the part of members of unions to purchase wherever they please, or to prevent freedom on the part of manufacturers or dealers to employ whom they choose, and sell what goods they choose, whether or not of union manufacture. If it is not the intention of the framers of this Bill to afford such facilities the provisions of the part relating to trades unions certainly seem to me to lead in that direction. If we are to take the experience of other countries where similar provisions have been adopted, not bv Legislatures, but by the unions themselves, we have reason to believe that there is room, for great doubt and fear as to the consequences of passing such a measure with the full force of law behind it. Looking through’ a list of cases, which is supplied in a pamphlet recently distributed, we see the following statement.
– By whom is the pamphlet distributed ?
– It is distributed by the Central Council of the Employers’ Association of Australia.
– Is it signed by Walpole?
– The pamphlet bears no signature, but it is issued by the central council, from 285 Collins-street, Melbourne. I do not vouch for the correctness of the statements therein contained ; but if those statements have been published under the authority of an organization of the kind, we may, I think, reasonably assume that they are not made with any reckless disregard of fact. I propose to read some extracts without taking any responsibility for their accuracy, giving them ito the House for what they are worth, and leaving it to honorable members to say whether there is not reason for giving serious attention to the arguments’ and statements which have been published and issued officially by a body of reputable citizens. Under the heading of “ Examples from America,” we find -
As an example of what the unions can do under the protection of the label, an American newspaper states that in San Francisco -
– What newspaper?
– I am now reading a quotation, and not malling a statement.
– The pamphlet ‘does not give the name of the newspaper.
– Therefore, I say I am not prepared to accept responsibility for the accuracy of the statements unless an authority is given; I simply read them for what they are worth, and because of the arguments which they contain.
– It is like a quotation from what somebody says somewhere.
– The quotation goes on -
As an example” of what the unions can do under the protection of the label, an American newspaper states that in San Francisco, after the 1901 strike, “Burials of the dead were actually impossible -
That is the quotation from the newspaper.
– What newspaper? An alleged newspaper.
– It is a quotationfrom the newspaper referred to. The honorable member may use the word “alleged” if he pleases, but, at any rate, the words I am reading are within quotation marks. “ Burials of the dead were actually impossible, because of the demands of the union grave-digger. The people who patronized the restaurants narrowly escaped going altogether hungry because of the demand of union cooks and waiters. And every time it is the public on whom the expense and inconvenience has really fallen. One restaurantkeeper, Mr. M. Johnson, has fought the organization since 1901-
The name is given - M. Johnson, a namesake, but no relation - “ the other restaurant-keepers giving up the struggle in December, 1903. The boycott of his restaurant has been unruly, and, at times, insulting. Threats have been used, and even proper police protection only obtained after an appeal to public opinion.”
– Where was that?
– In San Francisco. “ San Francisco is a city where labour, even to the boys who sell gum in the streets, is closely organized, and directed by keen business men ; the Mayor is elected by the Union Labour Party ; a paid union labour lobby is maintained in the State Legislature; the force of the militia has been effectively reduced at the request of union labour; union labour, by the strike and the boycott, has monopolized the labour market of the city ; and the employer who can face all this opposition is a brave and resourceful man.”
– What has that to do with a trade-union label ?
– It undoubtedly has to do with a trade-union label, because unless goods are produced’ by union labour those who sell them are boycotted at the instance of the union.
– What nonsense !
– Members of the unions are forbidden under pains, penalties, and fines from purchasing goods which do not bear the union label, or have not been made by union labour.
– That is an argument against trade unionism.
– Not at all.
– I suppose the honorable member will say that it is only an argument against extreme trade unionism.
– It is an argument only against what is designed by the provisions of the Bill before us, provisions which are the immediate object of our consideration. For this reason, the statements I am reading have value, as bearing on what is likely to result from the legalizing of a union label in Australia. If those have been the effects where a union label has not been legalized, we are within reason in assuming that something of the kind’ will certainly happen in Australia under an Act which affords special facilities for coercion and intimidation on the part of unions. We, therefore, pught to consider the possibility of such events, and, as far as possible, guard against them.
– Do not trade unionists wives buy cabbages from Chinamen ?
– The extract goes on -
There is a Retail Clerks’ Union throughout the United States, the members of which are bound to present and recommend to purchasers goods bearing the union label-
The words “ union label “ are distinctly used - while they hold back, as far as possible, competitive goods not bearing it. They have great influence in support of the label. An unconscious employer, finding that certain goods sell better than others of the same class, naturally orders them in preference. Recently the General Council of Lexington passed an ordinance requiring contracts for supplies to be given only to firms employing union labour. This was vetoed by the Mayor, on the ground that it violated a section of the Constitution, which reads : - “ No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law ; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.”
I am very sorry we have not a similar provision in our Constitution.
– Has that part of the American Constitution been held to render a union label illegal?
– By whom?
– I do not pose as an authority on the subject, but the Mayor of Lexington, after the adoption of this course, vetoed the resolution on the ground that it was ultra vires of the Constitution. I take it that he was more familiar with the Constitution of America than I can profess to be. These provisions of the Bill before us form really an attempt to revive the preference provisions sought to be included in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill but in another form. Those preference provisions were distinctly objected to by this House, and yet by the provisions of the Bill before us, it is proposed to sneak in preference to unionists, under the guise of provision for a union label. That has already been declared against in this House.
– No, it was carried in this House.
– - The clauses as originally proposed were not carried, but amended, so that preference should be given only under certain prescribed conditions which the honorable member for Bland declared could not be given effect to. The arguments which were used against the introduction of preference to unionists in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill apply with equal force to these clauses.
– The honorable member voted for preference to unionists.
– That is not so. If the honorable member for Bland recollects aright, I moved an amendment, when we were discussing the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, to delete the preference clauses, and it was only after that amendment had been lost that I voted for an amendment, which hedged those provisions round with certain safeguards. The honorable member’ for Bland must admit that that is a correct statement of my attitude on that occasion. I take up the same attitude on this Bill. I do not object to unions having a label or trade mark, provided it is not used for coercive or tyrannical purposes, in order to prevent members of unions buying goods where thev like, and whether thev are made by union labour or otherwise; or to prevent employers, manufacturers of goods, or dealers in goods from employing such labour as they like, or from making or selling goods the manufacture of union or non-union labour. I do not object to a union being permitted to register a distinctive mark or label, provided that the right to do so does not carry with it the power to interfere with the liberties of the citizens of the Commonwealth in any direction. I believe that all citizens should have equal rights before the law. So far from making any attempt bv legislation to enable one section of the community to coerce any other sections into the sacrifice of their’ rights, I believe it should be the object of our legislation to prevent and punish such coercion. I should like to know from honorable members opposite whether it is the intent and purpose of these particular provisions in the Bill to prevent the members of unions buying goods which have not been made by union labour, or to prevent manufacturers and dealers from selling such goods ? Honorable members are silent on that point.
– That is a matter for public discrimination. If people want goods made by union labour, they will buy them, and if they do not want such goods, they will not.
– Then what is the object of this measure ?
– The object of the measure is to enable even the honorable member for Wentworth to identify goods which have been made under union conditions.
– If honorable members who are supporting these clauses sincerely believe that they will not have the evil effects I have mentioned, and will not lead to coercion and intimidation, they will be willing to safeguard the registration of union labels by voting for a clause which will have the effect of penalizing any effort at such coercion or intimidation. I shall give them the opportunity, as I propose to move the insertion of a new clause to follow clause 77, which will guard against such intimidation by members of unions, designed to prevent employers or workers buying goods where they please, or which would prevent dealers or manufacturers making or selling goods produced by union or non-union labour.
– What penal tv would the honorable member impose on a man who. going into a shop, asks for a union-made article?
– As honorable members opposite say that such intimidation as I have indicated is not intended, I claim their support for such a provision as that to which I have referred. These provisions of the Bill are not new. We are really harking back to the legislation which was in existence in mediaeval times, legislation which long since was discarded bv our forefathers. Unfortunately, instead of progressing we are retrogressing. The Times in a recent article stated -
In its youth Australian democracy has hastened to imitate the spirit, if not the letter, of some of the worst rules of medieval close corporations. <
This Bill is a fair indication that the Times was right when it published that statement. To illustrate the ‘practices that obtained in the period referred to, I might be permitted to read another extract from an old book : -
The trade guild of Hammermen, of Duns (in Scotland), in 1729, ordained - “ That no master of the incorporation shall hyre a stranger alse (as) long as their are any of the incorporation or jurnemen that is entred wants work and is willing to serve.”
At the same time they had also another provision in force, which was frequently put- into operation -
At duns, the 6 day of Agust, 1696, the trade being mett, fines John Cosor in the sum of Ten pounds, Scots, and yt (it), for selling and buying of shoos not made within the toune, but cowl)ed (i.e., hawked, imported) shoos. None within ye corporation shall sell sic (such) within the shyre, heirafter in all times coming under the paine o”T Ten pounds Scots money.
– What is the reference?
– These are extracts from an old book, published in a newspaper called Liberty and Progress. They show that what is now being- proposed by the Government was carried into effect, although in a cruder fashion, about the latter end of the seventeenth century. Notwithstanding our present state of enlightenment and knowledge, we are harking back to methods which have long since been discarded as tyrannical and unjust.
– Legal restraint is always tyrannical towards those whom it affects.
– The primary object of laws is to protect citizens from injustice, and most of our amending Acts have been passed to get rid of abuses and tyrannies practised under old laws. All law has a more or less restrictive tendency ; but the intention is always to prevent certain persons from encroaching upon the general liberty.
– Does not a juryact tyrannically towards a burglar?
– A burglar takes what does not belong to him, and interferes with the liberty of others to possess their property in peace. The law rightly steps in to prevent this infringement of the rights of others.
– That is all that the unionists ask for.
– No. The object of the preference clause which it was sought to introduce into the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill and the object of the proposed union label is to secure, not equal rights for all, but special privileges for some at the expense of the rest. The object of the preference clause was to prevent nonunionists from getting employment until all unionists were employed, and the object of the Bill is to serve a similar purpose.
– Not the ostensible object, at any rate.
– The obvious object. If the Bill is carried, we may easily have such a state of things as this : A man, attempting to hang a picture in his own house, with the assistance of his wife, might find that they were unequal to the task, and call in the coachman to their service. Under orders from his union, however, the coachman might refuse to have anything to do with the matter, unless the picture bore a union label, to show that it had been painted by a union artist; and he might also demand that the canvas should be labelled to show that it had been manufactured under union conditions, and that the very tacks used to secure it to the frame bore a union stamp. He might also refuse to handle the picture unless the nail from which it was to be suspended could be shown to be of union manufacture, and might raise similar questions in regard to the wall paper, plaster, and everything else connected with the building. There is no limit to the objections which could be raised, and, if I remember rightly, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, in a famous speech on the Arbitration Bill, spoke very forcibly on this subject. Therefore, although the measure at first sight appears to be such a simple one, it may prove one of the most powerful engines of tyranny, unless its provisions are carefully safeguarded, and I ask those who support it to assist us in obtaining such safeguards from abuse. I shall oppose the measure unless its provisions are so safeguarded, because, as they stand, they are calculated to establish a labour monopoly. One of the most cruel forms of monopoly exists when labour unions attempt to exclude from employment all who are not unionists, and resort to devices of this kind to obtain the support of law for their coercive actions.
– I have no intention of speaking at any length, because I think that Part VII. may be dealt with very fully in Committee. At the same time, there has been a good deal of debate on the Bill, and perhaps what is said now need not be repeated in Committee.
– I hope not.
– I see no objection whatever to allowing unions or unionists to register trade marks. The members who have spoken from the Labour corner have asked in frenzied fashion why unionists should not have the right to register trade marks, a right which manufacturers possess. I see no reason why they should not. In point of fact, they possess that right.
– Unionists cannot register a trade mark in Victoria.
-I think that the Attorney-General, in moving the second reading, said that every individual has the right to register a trade mark, if he feels disposed to do so, and can put it on any article that he manufactures. But the proposed label is to be used by the unions to give a preference to goods manufactured by them over goods manufactured by nonunionists.
– There is nothing in the Bill providing for that.
– That is what is meant. Thev are not honest enough to put it into the Bill.
– That is the object of the measure. The AttorneyGeneral, in moving the second reading, said that the Bill provides a guarantee to the general public that the labour employed in manufacturing goods has been employed under conditions in which sweating could not prevail, and the whole argument last week was that the great philanthropists of the day say that such a measure is necessary to prevent the public from purchasing goods manufactured under unfair and insanitary conditions. An appeal is therebybeing made to persons with a conscience to purchase goods which are manufactured by those who pay their workmen a fair wage. What is the real object of the proposal for the use of union labels? Is it not that workmen may purchase goods which have been manufactured by union labour, and so encourage the employment of unionists?
– The object is to enable purchasers to discriminate between the goods made by unionists and those turned out in workshops where non-unionists are employed.
– Exactly, and for what other purpose ? - in order that nonunionists may be forced into the unions. The honorable member for Bland told us that he would keep the unions open to every person who might desire to join them.
That is only right and proper. The honorable member desires that all workmen* shall join the unions, and he would keepthe unions as open as possible. It is, however, now proposed to employ coercion, and to exercise tyranny - to force men intothe unions.
– The honorable memberhas not demonstrated that any tyranny islikely to be exercised.
– It is impossible, to do that at this stage, because the Bill has not yet been in operation.
– Similar provisions havebeen in operation in England for the last twelve years.
– They have alsobeen in operation in the United States. We have heard a good deal with regard to the experience in that country, and I judgethat what has happened there will probably be repeated here, namely, that the unions will endeavour to make it imperative that manufacturers shall employ only union labour. I am not prepared to say that the unions would go to the same extremes as their confreres in America have done. I donot propose to follow that line of argument. My point is that the chief object of the provisions relating to the use of union labels, is to force men into the unions. We know from what has been written by Tom Mann, Webb, and others, who have dealt with the unionist side of the labour problem, that their aim is to force all artisans into the unions, and to then organize their forces insuch a way as to accomplish their political ends. Since this debate was commenced, I have endeavoured to obtain a copy of thelast pamphlet written by Tom Mann, inorder to ascertain whether he has repeated what he stated in a former publication, to the effect that at the last International Labour Convention, the members agreed bv resolution to do their best as Socialists to force men into the unions, and then use the unions for the purpose of promoting the adoption of extreme socialistic principles. The Australian Labour Party have decided to be represented at the International Labour Convention which takes place nextyear.
– We want to convert them’ to rational methods.
– Whether the unionists are Socialists or otherwise, thev will have to further the objects of the Socialists. That is the real object of the present movement. The Socialists have no very great regard for unionism pure and simple, because that is only a means to an end. That statement is made by all the modern writers on the socialistic side. That is the objective of the present movement in England and upon the Continent, and honorable members of the Labour Party in Australia are working most assiduously in the same direction. The AttorneyGeneral proposes to make provision whereby non-unionists shall be able to work with unionists. Whilst the Minister is, no doubt, sincere, I am inclined to think that he will fail to accomplish his purpose. The honorable member for Bland has mentioned certain instances in which unionists and non-unionists might be employed in the same factory. He mentioned the case of clickers in a boot factory. Let us imagine that a non-union clicker is employed in a boot factory. A clicker is an operative who cuts out uppers, and one man is capable of cutting out thousands of uppers, and of keeping a whole factory going. Therefore, the manufacturer who employed a non-unionist clicker could not affix the union label to his goods unless he also attached a tag to show that some of the men employed by him were non-unionists. It could not be’ expected that those whose sympathies were with the unions would purchase goods bearing a tag of the non-unionist. Otherwise, the union label would possess no advantage. The honorable member for Lang has described what has taken place in San Francisco, and I have no doubt that the same condition of affairs is sought to be brought about here. I have no sympathy with coercion or tyranny. and I contend’ that the object of the Socialists, if approved by unionists, should be attained by evolutionary methods, not by coercion.
– Does the honorable member believe in Socialism?
– I should be in favour of the State taking over many public services, but not in the form that the honorable member desires. He would nationalize an industry, whether the public weal were involved or otherwise.
– I should take an industry over for the benefit of the people, whereas the honorable member would take it over for himself.
– I shall have an opportunity when .the Bill reaches the Committee stage, of doing mv duty towards my constituents by voting against the proposals relating to the use of union labels.
– It has been urged in justification of the union label proposals, that the affixing of such labels to goods would afford a guarantee that they had been produced under conditions fair to the workers. No man, I suppose, wishes to see labour employed in any place under unfair conditions. But I claim that the means which it is proposed to adopt to secure that end are not such as ought to commend themselves to the House. This Bill marks a very important departure in our legislation, and I exceedingly regret that there is such a small attendance of honorable members who take any interest in it. If it is merely desired that a man engaged in producing any article shall work under fair conditions, obviously these clauses should not apply to any industry which is working under a Wages Board,’ or under an award of the Arbitration Court, because those tribunals guarantee fair conditions to the men engaged in such industries. If the contention urged in support of this proposition is correct, no attempt- should be made to apply the principle of the union label to goods which are produced in industries working under an award of the Arbitration Court or under a Wages Board.
– We desire that the effect of using the union label shall be upon the goods.
– That is really what is aimed at. The proposal to adopt the union label is another attempt to secure a preference to unionists. We debated that principle ad nauseam last year, we deposed two or three Governments whilst it was under discussion, and honorable members generally derived a good education in regard to it. The proposal contained in this Bill constitutes another attempt to secure a preference to unionists, because the idea underlying it is that by the use of ‘ the union label we shall create a demand for union goods, so that any employer of nonunion labour will be forced bv the competition of those who put the union label upon their products, either to urge his men to join the union - a course which they may not desire to adopt - or to dismiss them.
– There is no compulsion proposed.
– I admit that no direct compulsion is proposed ; but the provisions of the Bill would, in their operation, prove an indirect means of compelling men to join a union.
– There is no compulsion upon the manufacturer to apply for the union label.
– If a man who makes goods, say in the district of Collingwood, finds that in and around that district an increasing number of persons purchase goods with the union label upon them, and he cannot affix that label because he employs two or three dozen non-unionists, then he will be forced either to induce the nonunionists to join the union, or to supplant them with unionists. Notwithstanding the ingenious sophistries interjected by the AttorneyGeneral, while the leader of the Opposition was speaking the other night, I maintain that it is quite possible for a man to be debarred from using the union label if he employs only the smallest proportion of non-unionists in a very large factory.
– Do not put that statement into my mouth.
Mr.ROBINSON.- That is the fair inference to be drawn from the AttorneyGeneral’ s remarks. The leader of the Opposition pointed out that there might be a factory in which 1,000 men were employed, only twenty or thirty of whom were non-uni©nists, and as a result the owner of the factory would not be entitled to use the union label upon his goods. Take the case of a boot factory, for example, and it will be seen that the statement of the right honorable member for East Sydney was absolutely fair. As we all knew, in that industry, the work of manufacture is distributed among a number of hands. One man does a certain portion of the work, a second confines his attention to another operation, and so forth. No single individual manufactures a pair of boots in their entirety. The employes include putters, clickers, and numerous other operatives. If one non-union clicker be employed in a factory, it will be impossible to distinguish which particular boot has been worked upon by the non-unionist and which has not been so worked upon; and consequently that factory will be precluded from using the union label. Thus, in an establishment employing a small minority of non-unionists, the latter will either be driven to join the union or will be dismissed. I have no objections to unions in any shape or form, but I object to legislative enactments which will have the effect of compelling men to join a particular association when they may be reluctant to do so. It appears to rae that’ this is a matter which the workers ought to decide for themselves. If they neglect or refuse to join a union, that is their own affair. We should not endeavour to force men into a body to which, for various reasons, they may not desire to belong. It has been said that this project has been put forward with themost noble object, and I have no doubt that the vast majority of honorable members who support the proposal only wish to see it carried out in a reasonable way. In Victoria, however, we have had some instances in which more than fair conditions have been asked. An attempt has been made in this city to apply the principles of the union label for purposes of oppression. I hold in my hand some cuttings from the Age and Argus of March last. They are headed. “ The Butchering Trade. - Listing Union Shops.” From these clippings I find that the Victorian Amalgamated Butchers’ Union, in February of this year, took steps for the purpose of forcing men engaged in the various butchering establishments throughout the city of Melbourne to join the Butchers’ Union. It must not be forgotten that that trade is under the operation of a Wages Board, that the hours of its employes are not undulv long, and. that their wages are not low. They receive a fair remuneration. Despite these facts, however, an attempt was made by the Amalgamated Butchers’ Union to force men to join that organization. That union endeavoured to achieve its object bv what was called “Listing Union Shops,” and the circular which was issued by the secretary to various master butchers reads as follows : -
In response to numerous inquiries from individuals and organizations in your district - that is a little bit of what we call “fudge”- as to what are the shops wherein fair conditionsof labour are observed, or what are known asunion shops, we have decided to publish lists for distribution throughout the whole of the district, recommending such shops to the public for patronage, as being shops wherein fair conditions of labour are observed, and where the persons employed are members of the Butchers’’ Union.
Honorable members will recollect, in this connexion, that every master butcher in the metropolis has to pay the same rate of wages to his employes, and to work them for the same number of hours. The circular continues -
We are desirous of placing vour name on thelist, according to above conditions, and await your reply, on or before1st March, when it is intended to print the lists for publication.
As honorable members will readily see, that was an attempt to use the master butchers for the purpose of forcing their employes to join the Butchers’ Union, whether they desired to do so or not. This was done in relation to a trade in which a Wages Board has fixed the hours of labour and the rate of wages. It is not a trade in which sweating can be said to be rampant. The men work under fair conditions, and yet an attempt has been made to force those engaged in such a trade to join unions. That is the very principle which underlies the union label clauses. The object is not to secure that men shall work under fair conditions - because that is a matter for which provision is already made in the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Act, as well as by State factory legislation - but to force or persuade men, or to make it to their interests, to join certain trade unions whether they desire to do so or not. A good deal of comment took place upon this action on the part of the employes’ association, and the Master Butchers’ Union, .in a letter which they addressed to the press, used very strong terms. In this letter it was stated -
The conditions of labour in the trade are regulated by law, and no other authority is recognised. If in any case unfair or illegal conditions are imposed, there is ample remedy under the Shops and Factories Act. Further comment is unnecessary.
Under this pressure the Amalgamated Butchers’ Union practically “‘threw- up the sponge “ because they saw that the public considered that the issuing of the circular was an attempt to compel the workmen to join their organization. It is only fair that I should quote some extracts from a letter bearing date 9th March, 1905, which the secretary of the Victorian Amalgamated Butchers’ Union, Mr. Anderson, addressed to the Age, as it is an excellent illustration of the way in which the union went to work -
Before sending out any lists, we thought the fairest course to pursue would be to notify master butchers what was intended, so as to give any men who were employed an opportunity of becoming members.
It is true that they wished to give any man who was employed an opportunity to become a member of the union, but they also desired to give the master butchers an opportunity to dismiss any employ^ who would not join that union. These letters clearly show the object of “ listing “ union shops in this way or of issuing union labels. The object is not to secure fair conditions for the workers, which no one would deny to them, but to force them to form a union.
– What is the object of inducing men to join a union ?
– In the majority of cases the object is to improve their conditions; but I think that it was conclusively shown, last year, in this House, that there were some unions which desired to get men into their ranks for political purposes just as much as for industrial objects. It was stated by the honorable member for Bland that union label provisions were in force in a great many States in America. It is a fact that a large number of the Legislatures of the States have passed what we may designate as union label provisions ; but it must not be forgotten that those provisions have been held to be unconstitutional bv every Supreme Court in the United States in which they have been challenged. They have been held to be unconstitutional because, in almost every case, I believe, thev infringe not only the Constitution of the States concerned, but a very vital amendment known as “ The Fourteenth “ in the Federal Constitution of the United States. I have before me a book entitled The Corporations Auxiliary Company Bulletin, which gives a full statement of what is described as a union label case, heard bv the Jefferson Circuit Court, Chancery Branch. First Division, the plaintiff being one L. T. Davidson, and the defendant the City of Louisville. In that case the union label was held to be unconstitutional, because it infringed the State constitution of Kentucky, as well as that grand declaration of rights known as the American Constitution. I should like to make one or two quotations from the report, in order to show the opinions upon which the learned judges acted in this case. In support of the contention that the provisions in question were unconstitutional quotations were made from a decision by one of the Justices of the Court of Appeal of New York - Mr. Justice O’Brien - as we’l as from decisions given in the Supreme Courts of Illinois - the State in which, as honorable members are aware, Chicago is situate, and which is the second most- populous State in the Union - New York, Kentucky, and other States. The Supreme Courts of these States had all held that the union label provisions were an infringement of the guarantees of fundamental personal liberty contained in the Constitution of the Union. Although our Constitution does not contain the same guarantees, the principles upon which the
Court acted in the case which I hare mentioned seems to me to be such as ought to commend themselves to those who have some respect for individual liberty - a principle which is at present rather out of favour. One of the justices of the Supreme Court of New York, Mr. Justice O’Brien, said, in language which appears to be unanswerable -
That is the employer - t is not left free to select his own workmen upon such terms as he and they can fairly agree upon, he is deprived of that liberty of action and right to accumulate property embraced within the guarantees of the Constitution, since his right to the free use of all his faculties in the pursuance of an honest vocation is so far abridged. A law that restricts freedom of contract on the part of both the master and servant cannot, in the end, operate to the benefit of either. The law forbids the contractor from paying a rate of wages other than what is called “ the prevailing Tate,” although the labourer is willing to accept it. It calls for the payment practically on all occasions of the highest market price, and hence must compel the contractor to employ only such workmen as aTe competent to earn the very highest rate of compensation.
To my mind this is an excellent statement of the position to which provisions of this kind must lead. In a Kentucky case, Mr. Justice Shackleton Miller stated -
Both classes -
That is, unionists and non-unionists - are entitled to precisely the same consideration ; neither is entitled to a preference at the hands of the law. It is elementary that our government is conducted for the benefit of all citizens alike; and not for the special benefit of a.ny one man over his neighbour, and thai a nonunion workman has no right to say that a union workman shall not be employed in public work. A union workman has all the rights before the law that the non-union workman has, and the General Council cannot, constitutionally, deprive the union workman of that equality.
In the United States the authorities are abundant and uniform to the effect that ordinances and laws restricting the right of work to a class are unconstitutional, and therefore void. The American decisions are based upon sections in the Constitutions of the individual States, as well as in that of the Union, which guarantee to all individuals there the right to pursue their avocation in the way which seems best to themselves. The trade union provisions in this Bill have not been inserted with a view to secure fair working conditions, because, ns I have shown, in trades in respect of which the State Parliament has insisted that fair conditions shall prevail - trades in which, to the knowledge of every householder in- Melbourne, fair conditions are observed - an attempt has been made to blacklist those who do not employ union labour. The object of that is, of course, to strengthen the unions in every way, to force men into them. I do not think that Parliament can too strongly reprobate conduct of that kind. The privilege of joining a union is one of which I think most men ought to avail themselves. But if they do not, it seems to me to be a very great infringement of personal liberty for this Parliament, by enactment, to say to a man, “ We shall make it to your advantage to join a union, and very greatly to your disadvantage to keep outside the ranks of a union.” Last year that position was debated at great length here on a proposal for preference to unionists, and, although a majority of the House were in favour of the principle of preference to unionists, yet we succeeded after some struggle, in cutting down the provision very materially.
– At their last conference in Adelaide, the employers advocated ‘the boycotting of newspapers.
– If employers advocated the boycotting, of newspapers, employers are just as much to blame as are employes. I certainly should like to see such men. whether they be rich or poor, prosecuted; because to my mind the boycott is a most contemptible engine to use in any walk of life, and men who use that engine, whether they be rich or poor, should suffer a very severe penalty at the hand’s of the law. That is not a state of affairs which any honorable member favours.
– Frequently they have blackballed men all over the country.
– Two wrongs do not make a right. If men do these things voluntarily, they are guilty, it seems to me, of an act which is wrong in a court of morals. But if we, by law, give men the power to so act, we shall do something which is much more immoral, because we shall put men in a position where they can do something which offends against morality, but which they will be able to justify by an Act of Parliament. Undoubtedly, the greatest objection to the enactment of preference to unionists, or the union label, is that it gives a justification in courts of law for an action which is not consistent with the highest code of morality, which is not consistent with fair protection to all classes, but which is based upon this underlying assumption -
To him that hath shall be added, and from him that hath not shall be taken even that he hath.
The man who, through lack of funds, or for any other reason, cannot join a union is put to a further disadvantage. Honorable members will admit, I presume, that most of the non-unionists are in the poorest circumstances.
– That is not so, except in the case of women.
– I am glad to hear from the honorable member that the condition of those outside the unions is not so bad as I thought it was. But even if there are only a few persons who do not join a union because they are not financiall y strong enough to do so, we should not make their burden any greater than it is. We know that in these States, where friendly societies are largely in vogue, many men find great difficulty in keeping up the payments which, when the necessity arises, would entitle them to sick pay, and so on. If, on top of that, they are forced into a union, where they would have to pay an entrance fee and make another payment, the calls upon them get too severe, and those who are dependent upon them suffer very much in the long run. In conclusion, I can only reiterate what I have said against this provision, because I feel that it is another attempt to extend the principle of preference to unionists, which I believe should not be enacted, it being, in my opinion,, contrary to any high moral code.
– I deeply regret that, when a measure of such farreaching importance is under discussion, honorable memberswho are responsible for its original and extraneous phases, have not seen fit to explain what they really mean. We have had honorable members sitting in the corner as if they were without that gift of loquacity which we all know them to possess, as if they were under the Government whip, instead of holding the whip over the Government. This is a measure which previously had a vast amount of opprobrium heaped upon it, because it was what is known as a noncontentious measure. I do not think it can be said any longer that it is noncontentious. The House recently expressed its desire to proceed with useful business, but all along it has shown that it is incapable of dealing with contentious legislation. I ap peal to the House, as the Attorney-General did, to proceed with useful business. The only way in which we can do useful business is to express clearly what we mean to do, and not to try to crowd contentious proposals into non-contentious measures. If this provision for a union label be germane to the character of this measure generally, why was it not proposed in the first instance ? The original measure was drafted by the Deakin Government, I think, during the previous recess, or immediately after the House met last session, and it contained no union label provision. The succeeding Government - a Government representing militant unionism in the Commonwealth - did not submit any . union label proposal. The Reid-McLean Government then came into power, and it alsodid not propose to insert this foreign proposition. We had to wait until theBill was introduced into the Senate before a member of the party that is now so silent in this Chamber submitted a provision for a union label. It is only fair, in trying to gain an estimation of what the proposal really means, to ask honorable members why, when they had their own party in power, they did not see fit to introduce the proposal in an honest, straightforward way? We know that for a long; time the Labour Party were intensely anxious about a Federal arbitration measure. We know that they devoted all their energies to the preparation of a measure which was to secure industrial peacethroughout the Commonwealth so far as an industrial dispute trespassed beyond the boundaries of any one State. It was of no use to point out to honorable members; that for a considerable time there had beenno industrial warfare of a Federal nature, and that there was no likelihood of industrial strife of a Federal nature occurringfor a considerable time to come. They said, “ Such a thing may happen, and we wish to prepare against it.” Well, we prepared against its occurrence, but the Housesaw that that measure, which was to induce industrial peace, would also conduce to the immense strength of the labour organizations - to the political strength of each member of the Labour Party ! One of the incidents of the measure was co-operative bargaining. Honorable members said that, for the convenience of the Court, men should be induced to form organizations of employersand of employes. We found that this incident of the measure was to be used to forcemen, under the preference proposal, into unions which might have - and some of which did have - political rules, which could devote their funds and subscriptions to political objects, and which could and .did go far to return some honorable members to their places here. We found that the great fight was not about the large question of industrial peace or war, but as to whether these unions, which were to be recruited through the agencies of this Chamber, should have absolute latitude for compelling men to vote how they pleased, and to devote men’s subscriptions to whatever purpose they thought necessary. This House very properly refused to support that conspiracy of honorable members on the cross benches. The House, as we know, inserted definite safeguards in that Bill. It laid down the principle that when a man in pursuit of his livelihood was compelled by legislation which this House had passed to join a union, that union should have no oppressive rules, and should in no way interpose in politics or interfere with the liberty of that man outside the legitimate objects of the union. There are other similar safeguards which. I intend to ask the House to insert in this measure also. The Labour Party may naturally be keen to further its organization by crowding these foreign proposals into ordinary machinery Bills. They may hold themselves justified in turning what are meant to be Bills to facilitate the machinery of the Commonwealth, into Bills to further the machinery of their own organizations. But there are two ways to do these things. There is an open honest way, and there is a surreptitious secret way. There is a way of candour and there is a way of hyprocrisy. I do say that it is surreptitious and hypocritical for honorable members opposite to insert proposals of the immensely far-reaching character of that which is contained in this Bill, into Bills which were never designed to contain such provisions. The Labour Party may hold that they are the best judges of what best befits them. Very probably they, who carry on their deliberations somewhere in the vaults of this building-
– No, upstairs now.
– I am corrected.
– The honorable member’s part’ is beneath us now.
– Yes, and we will blow up the honorable member’s party some day. I am told that the Labour Part , carry on their deliberations somewhere near the heavens, since they have arrived at the important position in the House that they have now reached. I am glad to know that the party to which my honorable friend belongs is openly and frankly occupying the chamber which we all know as the Ministerial room - that the Ministerial tail has had the frankness and candour to take possession of a room ordinarily reserved for the Ministerial party. The Labour Party, however, do carry on. their deliberations in secret, and consequently it is not to be wondered at that they prefer to carry on legislation in secret, and to spring secret proposals on the country. But the moment the country begins to see that the Labour Party is utilizing endeavours to carry useful legislation for the purpose of crowding what ought to be non-contentious measures with contentious legislation, it will have no more of them. Why should a trade union have a trade mark? What is a trade mark for? A trade mark is a guarantee of value to the consumer. Do honorable members on the cross benches mean to tell me that anything made by a union would be a guarantee of the value of that article to the consumer. Surely the public are the only judges of what is good, in their eyes.
– Why not give them a chance ?
– They have a chance now. Does the honorable member mean to tell me that they have not?
– They have not a choice between goods made by union labour and goods that are not so made. They cannot discriminate.
– What is to prevent the honorable member from inducing a manufacturer to say that a trade mark which he places on his goods is a union label ?
– What would be the value of that?
– It would certainly have no value to the consumer. I am glad that the honorable member has helped me with my argument, which is that this union label would be no guarantee of value to the consumer. A manufacturer establishes a reputation for manufacturing a certain article well. Naturally the public wish to get their goods from that manufacturer. He puts a trade mark on his goods to protect the public, and to give them a chance to defend themselves against piracy. It also gives him a chance of protecting his own reputa tion. The original idea of the trade union mark has been described several times, but I may, perhaps, be pardoned for repeating it, for the purpose of illustrating my argument. The original idea was to afford some guarantee that the goods in question were made under healthy conditions of manufacture. In San Francisco the union label was used to show that only unionists - who were not Chinese, possibly suffering from the ailments peculiar to Asiatic people - had been concerned in the manufacture of the goods. In other words, the mark was a guarantee that the goods were1 made under healthy conditions. Do honorable members opposite mean to say that that argument applies to-day in Australia - that all our Factories Acts, our Early Closing Acts, and our Acts governing and controlling the manufacture of various articles of commerce do not govern alike unionists and non-unionists? Obviously, then, this proposal to enable a trade union mark to be placed upon goods is not one to enable the consumer to tell whether the articles have been manufactured under healthy surroundings.
– Do the Chinese manufacture furniture under healthy conditions ?
– If the honorable member will ask that all Chinese-made goods shall be branded as such I am with him. That would give the consumer a chance to know whether the goods were manufactured by Chinese or not. But that is another point altogether, which could more fittingly bc dealt with in the Commerce Bill. I have shown that this proposal is not in the interest of the consumer, since it gives the consumer no guarantee of value.
– Does any trade mark necessarily guarantee the value of the goods to which it is affixed?
– It does not guarantee the value of the goods, but it enables the consumer to know whether the article has been manufactured by a maker whose reputation he knows or whether that reputation has been pirated.
– It is simply a mark put on the goods with the object of letting the purchaser know that he is getting what he wants.
– Is that not a guarantee of value? It is a guarantee of value if the consumer knows through the trade mark that he is getting what he wants. We are told that the consumer is a person of no importance; that it is the manufacturer and the employ^ who matter.
– Who said that?
– The Melbourne Age has on occasions inferred so recently.
– I do not think so.
– No doubt the honorable member reads the Age.
– No doubt the memory of the honorable member is as trustworthy as my own. But my impression is that the Melbourne Age, within the last week or so, has spoken of the consumer as if he were of absolutely no importance. There was a leading article some time ago-
– Only last week.
– I am glad that some other honorable member remembers the circumstance. In that article the consumer was referred to, not in so many words, but in a spirit as if he were a person of very small importance - as though the only people to be considered were the manufacturer and his employes. In a newspaper like the Age that is very natural, because that journal has a contempt for the gullibility of its own consumers, and no one, I think, would be inclined to contend that such contempt was unjustifiable. Nevertheless, the consumer is a person of immense importance, representing, as he does, the whole community. Only a few of us are manufacturers, or manufacturers’ employes, and the consumer is of supreme importance ; and the fact that this proposal does not benefit the consumer, and was not originally intended to benefit him. should govern all our considerations. But I ask whether this union label is in the interests of the manufacturer. Will it give him any guarantee of value? Obviously not ! But I say that the measure will not hurt the manufacturer, but only the consumer. Under the Bill a prejudice will be sought to be set up in favour of only the union-made article, and that prejudice will enable the manufacturer, if he so wishes, to deteriorate the value of his goods, and to throw on the consumer a loss that the latter otherwise would not have to bear. If the manufacturer is able to escape the results of this legislation, and visit it on another and unoffending and innocent party, I hold that the manufacturer will not particularly object to the measure.
– The consumer is judge and jury.
– That is why I wish the measure had been introduced in a plain and straightforward way, and not disguised as a non-contentious measure. As a proof that the manufacturer, or person in trade, is always able to visit on the consumer the increased loss caused by this type of legislation, I have only to point to the anxiety manifested amongst the extreme members of the Socialistic Party, who favour it, to fix values and assess everything by statute. Honorable members know that the Queensland Worker has recently been tackling this question, which has also arisen in New Zealand. In the latter Colony it has been found that the increased cost of production, owing to the present proceedings of the Arbitration Courts and to the consequent general rise of wages, has been passed on to the consumer, and the worker himself has to pay the enhanced price of the articles produced.
– He has to pay increased house rent.
– The increase applies not only to house rent, but to all goods and all phases of trade; and the cry now is to settle everything by Act of Parliament, even the price of food. Will honorable members deny the truth of that statement ? Do they deny that, as a result of the increased cost of production in New Zealand, the articles produced are charged more to the persons who produce them, and that there is now a cry raised to have prices fixed by statute? I can understand that neither the consumers, who constitute the people of this country, nor, perhaps, the manufacturers, who are a very small element, wish for legislation of this character. I can understand honorable members on the cross benches, who are of the Socialistic Party, sedulously urging on this measure under any guise in which they can secure it. Those gentlemen represent political trade unionism; and they hope to affiliate to their political organization all trades unions and the members thereof. They have already succeeded in affiliating a considerable number of the trades unions of Australia, and from those trades unions their electoral subscriptions are met.
– Is that true?
– It is quite true, and if honorable members listen I shall prove the facts. In South Australia, as all honorable members should know, if they do not, the members of the affiliated unions support the Labour Party by yearly subscription. I am, therefore, absolutely cor rect when I say that the affiliated unions pay for the organization work of labour members of this House.
– That applies to both sides.
– It does not apply to the side to which I have the honour to belong.
– I tell the honorable member that it does apply in South Australia.
– If the affiliated unions of South Australia give their subscriptions to all sides of politics, I still think it is a very false system. In New South Wales, the trades unions support only one side of politics. At the recent Labour Conference in New South Wales, there was a proposal to levy 6d. per head on every member of every affiliated union. The delegate who brought forward the proposition told the conference that the suggested levy would realize from £1,500 to £2,000 per annum for the Labour Party’s fighting fund. There is direct proof of the interestedness of the Labour Party in this measure ! If men can be forced into unions, and those unions forced to become affiliated, and the proposition to which I have referred, is made universal, this 6d. per head per compulsory recruit will become available for the organization and political expenses of honorable members who are now supporting this Bill.
– I am going to vote for the Bill, anyhow.
– I cannot say that I congratulate the honorable member on that fact. We know that this inclination on the part of the Labour Party, received a check in the House during the course of the Arbitration Bill. The Labour Party hope for increased affiliation ; and the honorable member for Grey may take some comfort from that, though he was not keen to go to the country a few months ago.
– The honorable member for Wentworth was not eager to go to the country twelve months ago.
Mr.KELLY. - As I was saying, the inclination of the Labour Party received a check during the course of the Arbitration Bill.Honorable members saw that if, as a result of that measure, men were forced into unions, at least their individual liberty should be safeguarded - that no man should be compelled to join a union, the rules of which were oppressive, or made him sacrifice his political opinions or contribute to funds to be devoted to objects outside those of an ordinary trades union. These were the two points to which this House subscribed its signature. That Act provides that a union, the rules of which are burdensome or oppressive, or do not provide reasonable conditions for admission to and continuance in membership, shall not be entitled to ask for preference, and further that no organization shall be entitled to appear before the Court, so long as its rules, or other binding decisions, . permit the application of its funds to political purposes, or require its members to do anything of a political character. That was laid down as a definite principle by this House. Honorable members discovered that, even though that were not its object, the main result of that Bill would be to force men into unions, and the House insisted that at least the unions, which men would be forced to join, should not contain in their rules any of those objectionable provisions.
– Who pays for the honorable member’s organizers?
– I pay for all my own organizing. I wish some persons would be prepared - although not forced - to pay fid. a head for it. We know that the result of this measure will be the same as that which it was contended would be the result of the provisions proposed in the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill. We know that the result of this measure will be to force men into unions. There is no use. trying to disguise the fact, or to burke the issue - men will be forced into unions under the provisions of this Bill. This House knew that, as the result of the preference clauses of the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill, men would be forced into unions, and it took definite action with regard to that Bill, and laid down the definite principle to which I have just referred. Will not the House apply the same principle to this measure ?
– Make it ‘apply to all applicants for trade marks; that would do.
– Would the honorable member for Wentworth go as far as that, and apply the principle he suggests to every applicant for a trade mark?
– Yes, I would apply it to every applicant for a trade mark.
– The honorable, member has committed himself now.
– I am referring to every applicant for a union trade mark. No honorable member will contend that the object of an ordinary trade mark is to effect a boycott. It is only to give a value to the consumer. I have proved that the object of the proposed union label provisions in this Bill is not to give a value to the consumer, and that their effect would be to force men into unions. That being the case, why should we not say that these unions shall be governed by the same rulesas those which we have already laid clown in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act?
– Are not some trade marks used to force people into combines?
– If they are so used, I would re’gulate that by an ordinary antitrust Bill.
– What ! State interference ?
– I would regulate that by an ordinary anti-trust Bill, which I hope will be introduced in this Chamber. But this sort of -business, introducing legislation providing for interference with trade in a measure which has nothing whatever to do with such proposals, is not honest, as it does not give people outside an opportunity to know what those who propose such legislation have really in view. If honorable members would bring such a measure forward, to be dealt with on its own merits, the case would be different. Of course, I should be against it then, as I am against anything that would provide for a boycott. But if, on the other hand, Ministers would bring forward measures to prevent undue interference with or hindrance to trade, I should be prepared to support those measures, provided they are not drafted in a way which is calculated to defeat the object I desire to attain. Honorable members have told us, during the course of the debate, that it is essential that some such provision as the one which I have just outlined should be included as a safeguard in this measure. The honorable member for Bland made art interjection during the course of the debate, and I should like the attention of the honorable member while I refer to it.
– I am busy.
– I regret that the honorable gentleman does not seem to have the common courtesy necessary in conducting a debate.
– I object to be interrupted.
– No doubt the honorable gentleman has something particularly important to say in the conversation in which he is engaged, but I was going to ask him whether or not he made a certain interjection.
– Certainly I did.
– Did not the honorable gentleman say, in the course of the debate, that he would like the unions made as open as passible?
– Not by interjection, but in the course of my speech.
– Now the honorable gentleman can go on with his conversation. During the honorable gentleman’s speech he made that statement in reply to an interjection. The . honorable gentleman has admitted the necessity of keeping the unions free from any outside object. The object of legitimate trade unionism is not necessarily political, and these unions should be kept free from political objects. The honorable member for Moira also again reiterated his determination to in no way depart from the principle laid down by this House. Honorable members have already voted on a somewhat similar provision, and, according to the official divisionlists of this Chamber, I find that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat voted for the principle I have just announced. The honorable member for Richmond, at present Vice-President of the Executive Council, also affixed his signature to that principle. The right honorable member for Swan also adopted that principle. The honorable members for Mernda, Moira, Echuca, Wimmera, and the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, also affixed their signatures to that principle, as well as honorable members on this side of the House. I think I am justified in asking, what 1 think their constituents and the people of Australia will ask, whether, if it is necessary to regulate these things in one Bill, it is not necessary to regulate them in another similar one? Honorable members may say that matters have now changed, and they are under the whip, and cannot help themselves.
– Whosays that?
– I say that honorable members may say it.
– They are not likely to do so.
– It is the only explanation there can possibly be for any change of opinion on so vital a question. Honorable members may urge that that would be some reason for a change of opinion, but I put it to them that in this House, from its very inception, it has always been understood that, if an honorable member once gives a vote in a certain direction, no new arrangement of parties is to be considered a sufficient reason for departure from the vote previously recorded. Certain questions are always treated as non-party questions. We know that in the present Ministry there are several gentlemen who voted, on the occasion to which I referred, against the insertion of any safeguard, and those honorable gentlemen cannot be expected to go back on their original position. But the honorable gentlemen I have mentioned have put their signature to the expression of a principle, and in the pages of Hansard they are wedded to that principle; and if they now depart from it, there can be absolutely no reason advanced except a most ignoble love of office, and a most ignoble fear of the whip which is constantly held over them.
– The honorable member has a lot to learn yet.
– I have a lot to learn yet if I must learn that I must stand in this House and refrain from expressing my contempt for such departures from principle. I know that some of the honorable members I have enumerated will not. vote with the Government upon this matter, but I hope that all of them will stand firm to the votes they previously gave, and agree that -these provisions are opposed to the principle which they have approved. I have endeavoured to show that there is a similarity between the situation brought about by the present proposal and that evolved by the discussion on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I have shown, further, that the anxiety to introduce the union label by means of this measure was not evinced until in another place provisions had been inserted in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill for the regulation of unions. I now propose to show that unless Parliament again stands to the principle it has already laid down, and makes sure that no union which may be formed, as the result of this union label proposal, shall transgress the rules sanctioned by the Arbitration Court, new unions of a political character will spring into existence to do the recruiting for my honorable friends on the cross-benches. If non-unionists are to be compelled by means of the boycott to join unions, I think it will be admitted, even by those on the cross-benches, that entrance to and membership of unions should be made as easy as possible. Unless non-unionists are to be compelled to enter unions for the benefit of the social- istic leagues, these provisions, which allow non-unionists to be coerced by being forced into unions to adopt politics which may be foreign to their views, should surely be safeguarded. The rules of unions may very easily be made offensive to men who treasure the liberty of the subject. 1 do not propose to go far and wide in search of anomalies, but I should like to read three of the rules of the Sydney Wharf Labourers’ Union, which is one of the largest unions in the city from which I have the honour to come. The entrance-fee to be paid on joining that union is 10s., and the annual subscription another ios., so that a man who sought to enter it to earn a day’s work would be compelled to pay j£i for the privilege. That, however, is not the point which I wish to make by quoting these rules. This is the first rule to which I wish to direct attention : -
If any member shall at any meeting bring :t forward a proposition tending to destroy or break the aforesaid union, or should any member persuade or seduce others to join a conspiracy for such purpose, those who are thus tempted shall report the same to the committee of management, who shall investigate the matter, and on proof to their satisfaction of such conspiracy, they shall award such punishment as they may consider necessary.
That rule obviously places an enormous power in the hands of the committee of management, because they are the final and absolute arbiters. If they choose to say that anything that has been done has been done against the interests of the union, the offender may be dealt with as they think fit. To illustrate the effect of such a rule, let me ask honorable members to consider what would have been a similar position if, at the beginning of this session, the late Government had been in the position of this committee of management. Any member bringing forward “ a proposition tending to destroy or break the” late coalition - the “aforesaid union “ - or to “ persuade or seduce others to join a conspiracy for such purpose “ would at once have been liable to be dealt with at the absolute discretion of the late Administration ! Another rule, which might very easily militate against the joining of unions by non-unionists - because non-unionists probably have friends who are also non-unionists, and do not wish to join unions - is this : -
No member of this union shall work with unfinancial members or non-unionists when union labour is available.
I pass by that rule without comment, since its extreme stringency speaks for itself. The third rule is the most stringent of them all -
If any member shall at any meeting bring forlion which may lend to injure the union, or conveying information, or causing to be conveyed any information, either verbally or otherwise, or acting as an accessory, if found guilty by a majority of the committee of management, such person or persons shall be expelled for all time from the union.
In other words, a man is to have no opportunity to earn a livelihood if, in the opinion of the committee of management, he has been guilty of the rather slight offence of “ imparting information.” That is a rule which is oppressive, and Parliament should not pass a law which would have the effect of compelling men to join a union governed by such a rule. To give other instances of union oppression, it is well known that the Australian Workers’ Union runs a strong and influential newspaper. This union, as every one knows, supports a distinct part in politics, and the newspaper is a partisan organ of the most pronounced type. The offices in Sydney into which it has just moved are such as the most capitalistic press might envy, and, if we pass the legislation now proposed, it may obtain compulsory subscriptions from men who maybe definitely opposed to the views published by it. Before passing a measure which will inevitably have the effect of compelling men to join unions, we should endeavour to insure that the unions shall not use these compulsory recruits oppressively. There will be no difficulty about the enforcement of such limitations. Honorable members know that the Arbitration Court has power to enforce the provisions in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act governing unions. Honorable members on the cross-benches told us while that Bill was under discussion ]that ;the difficulty of forming new unions is almost insurmountable. If that statement was correct, no new unions will be formed, and the limitations which I should like to see placed on the existing unions, which will benefit by this legislation, will not press hardly upon any one, since they already weigh on every existing union. But, if honorable members on the cross-benches were only characteristically specious on the occasion to which I refer, it will be clear that, unless we insert the provision which I wish to see inserted in this Bill, the measure will be used in opposition to the provisions of the
Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and I do not think that Parliament should stultify itself by allowing such a position to arise. -
– How does the honorable member prove that?
– I prove it in this way : The agitation for the registration of union labels did not arise until the unions, which honorable members opposite hoped to see augmented by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, were made politically non-oppressive to those compelled to join them. That provision did away with the Labour Party conspiracy in regard to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Now, under that Act, a unionist cannot be compelled to vote for a member of the Labour Party, or to subscribe funds for the organization or propaganda of the party. Therefore it has become necessary to introduce a new measure compelling people into new unions, and this measure is being used for the purpose. I prophesy that under it new unions will be formed outside the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, having political objects, advocating” definite political principles, and supporting definite political parties. New subscriptions will flow into the exchequer of the Labour Party, and honorable members will have been hoodwinked into making paramount the Labour Party, which will then be able to get along without the assistance of their present allies. Since these proposals are not made in the interests of the consumers, or in order to forward the legitimate objects of the manufacturers, we should inquire closely into the uses to which militant unionists might put them. They would refuse to buy any article unless it bore the union label. They would next refuse to deal with any one unless all the articles he sold were similarly marked. I would ask, first, whether that would be possible, and, secondly, how it would affect trade? In the first place it is clear that the vast majority of articles cannot be guaranteed as completely made by union labour alone. Honorable members of the Labour Party seem to think that a coat or any article of clothing or food, or any commodity of ordinary use, can be so guaranteed. Take the average article that is made from a raw product. It would not be possible to guarantee that the raw product was produced by union labour, because even the members of the Labour Party are not sufficiently versed in the mysteries of creation to permit of their doing any such thing. I think we may safely say that no one could guarantee that a coat .was ‘madethroughout by union labour. In this connexion, I desire to quote from an excellent publication by Mr. Max Hirsch called An Exposure of Socialism, which is one of the best contributions on the subject I have read. Mr. Max Hirsch takes the case of the coat, mentioned earlier in this debate, and says -
Take, for instance, this coat which I am wearing. In order to produce -it, some men had tc« clear land and rear sheep; another group of men had to .shear the sheep ; another group had toclean the wool; still another group had to dye the yarn ; yet another had to weave the yarn, into cloth ; and still another group had to fashion, the cloth into a coat. Simultaneously with these activities, another group of men had to collect horns, and another had to fashion these into buttons; another group had to plant and tend cottonbushes ; still another had to collect the cotton ;. another had to spin the cotton into yarn; another had to weave the yarn into cloth; and: still another had to dye the cloth, in order that, there should be lining for the coat. At the sametime another group of men had to plant and’ tend mulberry trees; another had to rear silkworms, collect the cocoons and unravel them; another group had to spin the silk into thread ; and still another had to dye the thread in order that the coat may be sewn together. Antecedent to all the activities so far mentioned, other groups of men had each to mine ore, coal, and flux, in order that another group might smelt these materials into iron ; while other groups, spread all over the earth, and far too numerous to number, had to fashion the iron into all themany tools and machines which were required’ for the many different activities mentioned. Also antecedently, other groups of men had to cut down trees, and still others had to cut the trees into planks; othershad to quarry slate, and still others had to cut it into shape; still others had to dig clay, and’ still others had to bake the clay into bricks, inorder that yet other groups of men might form these materials into factories, warehouses, and’ dwelling houses. Even this does not exhaust the process. In order that all these various materials, originating in different parts of the world, might be brought to the places where they could be most conveniently transformed, many different groups of nien had to act as carters, sailors, and railway men. Antecedent again totheir rendering these services, thousands of different groups had to perform the manifold processes which resulted in the production of carts, ships, and railways. Yet other groups of men, intervening at every stage of all these processes, had, as bankers, brokers, merchants, and storekeepers, to co-ordinate all these activities. And’ finally, in order that all these many thousand’ different groups of men could direct their energies each to his special task, thousands uponthousands of other groups, also spread over thewhole earth, had to direct their energies to theproduction of the many different kinds of food? and other things which the former wanted.
J would ask honorable members on the Ministerial cross benches how it would be possible to insure, as must be insured in -order to comply with the provisions of the Bill, that every part of a coat which was decorated with a union label was made wholly by union labour ? If that were difficult would not the obstacles be even greater in the case of an ordinary article of merchandise? That brings me to another point, namely, how the proposed provision would affect trade. It is obvious that even if we were able, in a rough and ready way, without carrying out the letter of the Bill,’ to affix union labels to certain articles made in Australia, it would be absolutely impossible to guarantee that an imported article had been made by union labour in that part of the world from which it was imported. This would have the effect of at once placing the imported goods at a serious disadvantage.
– I am glad to hear that.
– Now I come “to a point to which the remark of the honorable member has given me the cue. We know that in Chicago a conspiracy was entered into between employers and employes, at the instance of a walking delegate named Sam Parkes, to defraud the consumers. The employes were to be paid certain1 rates ot wages, and the employers were to recoup themselves by charging more to the consumers. There was to be a definite combine amongst the employers as well as : amongst the employes, and the two were to co-operate to defraud the consumers. Does the honorable member for Melbourne Ports mean to tell me that such an argument will be secretly used with manufacturers, in order to secure their support for this proposal ? Does he mean to say that “the manufacturers will willingly support this scheme, which they know will have a bad effect, and lead to a depreciation of the standard of value, because it will militate against the import trade.
– I am sorry to say that the manufacturers frequently oppose that which they should support. I do not expect much assistance from them.
– There is no doubt that the use of union labels would seriously interfere with the import trade, since no imported article could be guaranteed as “having been made by union labour.
– Why not?
– For obvious reasons.
– The use of union labels has been adopted in other parts of the world.
– Does the honorable member propose that we shall deal only with those countries in which union labels are in use?
– Why does not the honorable member rise and address the House ?
– I will have a word or two to say before the debate closes.
– I have been waiting to hear words of wisdom from the corner in which the honorable member sits for a long time, but I have waited in vain. Honorable members will at once recognise that a man in my position - returned as I was by a free-trade constituency - must definitely oppose this principle upon that issue alone. At the same time, I do not think that the protectionist members of this House need necessarily support it, because I credit them with a desire merely to regulate the import trade. They do not Wish absolutely to kill it. I believe that they wish to regulate it in an honest open way.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports said that he would like to kill it.
– Certainly. I should like everything which can be made in Australia to be manufactured here
– So would everybody else, if those articles could be made here at a profit to Australia. In conclusion, I should like to remind honorable members opposite that they will be asked at the next general election to explain - if the votes they will shortly give will call for any explanation - why they have changed their opinions, why they have dishonoured a bond which they signed in this Chamber when they subscribed their signatures to the principle which has been embodied in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The principle contained in this Bill is identical with that which has been laid down in the statute to which I have referred, and for that reason when we reach the Committee stage I shall ask honorable members to again affirm that no union shall be allowed to register a label unless its rules are such that it cannot be said of them that they are burdensome or oppressive, or that they do not provide reasonable conditions for the admission to or continuance of membership, or that they permit of the application of their funds to political purposes, or require their members to do anything of a political character. Nine honorable members who support the present Government have appended their signatures to that principle, as recorded upon the pages of Hansard. I say that, not only this House, but the country, will expect them to stand to the convictions which they then expressed.
– A great many things have happened since then.
– I have listened very attentively to this debate, in the hope ofhearing some justification of the proposals contained in this Bill from below the gangway. One would have thought that the incorporation in this measure of the proposal referred to would have received some justification in the shape of argument from those honorable members who profess to be more directly interested in these matters.
– Votes are more powerful than speeches.
– The honorable member knows very well that the Bill is a matter for discussion in Committee more than upon a second-reading debate.
– As the honorable member for Barrier has said, “ Votes are more powerful than speeches.” I take it that the principles of a Bill, however, can be more properly discussed upon the second reading ; in Committee we have an opportunity only of debating its details. The honorable member for Barrier, as an old parliamentarian, ought to know that.
– The question of the use of the union label is a mere detail.
– I dare say that it is, judged by the statements which have been made upon this subject by the honorable member’s leader. I have been at some trouble to try and understand what is the justification in Australia, at any rate, for legislation of this character. I have not heard one honorable member declare that it: is intended to meet any shocking state of things which obtains here. Neither have I heard anybodv a.lleee that unless this Bill be passed, some dire consequences will ensue to trade unionism - consequences of a character calculated to undermine it or to bring injury to its organization in any shape or form. In fact, there has been no tittle of justification for the measure, except a general statement by the leader of the Labour Party.
– Is the honorable member opposed to the Bill ?
Mr.JOSEPH COOK. - I hope that the honorable member will listen, and then he will understand exactly the attitude which I take up. I say that before these proposals are passed into law, they should be justified by those who make an appeal for the support of the House to be accorded to them.
– It is not for us to justify them. It is the duty of honorable members on the other side to show why the Bill should not be passed.
– That is a new doctrine, in this House at any rate.
– It applies to this particular Bill.
– I should have thought that the Attorney-General, who proposes to amend the whole of these provisions - and who, therefore, approves of their principles - would have been the first to attempt some defence of them, and that he would have been followed by the leader of the Labour Party. Instead of that, both of the honorable gentlemen to whom I have referred confine themselves to criticising anv utterances which may be made from this side of the Chamber. The result is that, after a long debate, no attempt has been made to show that the condition of things obtaining in Australia justifies the adoption of these proposals. In reply to that argument, I am. told by the leader of the Labour Party that it is not for them to justify such proposals - that they have merely to throw them on the table of the House, and that it is for those who are opposed to them to advance reasons for their opposition. I venture to sa.v that that is a new doctrine in regard to legislation.
– Why should any exception be made against trade unions in the registration or protection of a copyright? That is what the honorable member has to justify.
– Before I sit down I hope to show that the trade unions in Australia want no buttressing of this kind.
– We shall be pleased to listen to an ex-trade unionist.
– I do not think that I am a trade unionist of the unreasoning class to which the honorable member would seem to belong, and I do not pretend ever to have been one either. Honorable members can look back as far as they choose, and they will find that I have always been an opponent of these absurd and extreme proposals.
– The honorable member only found that out after he had got into the ranks in which he now finds himself.
– The honorable member must be very ignorant of the past or he would not have made that remark. The justification of these proposals so far is that they will stop sweating, and will insure that fair wages and good sanitary conditions obtain in the manufacture of goods to which the union label is attached. I wish to say that that label of itself will furnish not the slightest guarantee against sweating. The fact that an article is made by a trade union is not necessarily a guarantee against sweating. If the honorable member knows anything about trade unionism, he will be aware that, in spite of all that trade unions can do, a great deal of sweating unfortunately goes on in many of the industrial occupations of Australia. That is to be regretted. I take it that no honorable member believes in sweating, and I tell the honorable member for Bland that I am afraid the trade union label provisions of the Bill will not abolish that evil. I hardly think they will even touch the fringe of the great question as to the conditions which make sweating seemingly an institution of our time. If I could believe that they would abolish sweating in the manufacture of goods, I should hold up both hands for them, notwithstanding what other consequences might arise from such legislation.
– The difficulty is to make the honorable member believe it.
– I am open to conviction, if the honorable member will bring forward his facts ; but mere statements are not necessarily proofs. In a matter of this kind we need proof of an irrefragable character, rather than the mere utterance of shibboleths. I am tired of hearing honorable members of the Labour Party asserting what this, that, or other proposals will do. I wish them to show how the reforms of which they speak have been brought about where legislation of this kind is in vogue, and how such legislation will abolish sweating, or otherwise improve the conditions of the workers.
– Will revenue tariffism do away with sweating?
– That is the only proposal which the honorable member can at present put forward.
– The honorable member for Barrier is as well able to answer the question which he puts as I am.
– Would the passing of standing orders abolish sweating?
– Would the mere rushing to the table with a Bill to confer upon honorable members the title of “ honorable “ have that effect ?
– I do not know how the allusion applies. I did not bring in any Bill of the kind.
– The first proposal that the Government of which the honorable member was leader submitted to the House-
– Order ! Will the honorable member discuss the question before the Chair?
– The honorable member knows that no colleague of mine ever took action to secure for honorable members the title of “ honorable.”
– Order !
– I believe that the first motion which the honorable member, as Prime Minister, submitted to the House provided for the printing of a despatch conferring upon honorable members of the first Parliament the title of “ honorable.” He made that motion the basis of the discussion on his Ministerial statement.
– Would not the honorable member have reproached me if I had suppressed that despatch?
– I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will put an end to these interjections, for I do not wish to occupy the time of the House in replying to them.
– The honorable member should make a reply that is worth hearing.
– The AttorneyGeneral, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said that -
A trade union label is exactly analogous to every other trade mark which is placed on commodities offered for sale. If a man vends pure sugar or milk, he has a right to put a mark on his goods to indicate that fact ; if goods be made by a certain process, the manufacturer has a right to inform the public of it; and if goods be made by union labour, the manufacturer has also a right to say so.
No one questions the right of a manufacturer to place any label that he thinks fit on his goods, but it is quite another thing to place such a provision as this on the statute-book of the Commonwealth.
– A trade union is not a trading concern, and therein lies the distinction between ,a union and a manufacturer.
– There is no reason why a trade union should not put any mark on its products that it pleases ; but I do not know that that presupposes the right to compel the Legislature to deal in its statutes with the possibilities which inhere to a trade union label. I intend to show that the proposal is totally unnecessary, and may prove an injury instead of a benefit to the people for whom it is intended. I take it that a trade mark is first and foremost a guarantee of quality, and as such we have surrounded it with legislative authority and protection, so as to encourage the production of quality in articles of merchandise. In other words, we give a. man this ^protection because we believe it will be on the one hand a guarantee to the people that they are getting the good articles for which they pay, and that on the other it may encourage the maker of those articles for consumption to acquire a reputation for a good instead of an indifferent product. By this means we are doing that which we do in many other ways, and that which I think should be the guiding principle of all our legislation - we are seeking to make it easier for people to do the right thing than it is to do the wrong. Trade marks, therefore, are in their very essence a guarantee of the quality of the goods on which they are placed. But no guarantee of quality is conveyed by the mere placing of a trade union label on an article.
– There is not always a guarantee of quality given by the ordinary trade mark of a manufacturer.
– I am speaking, not of the abuses which occur, but of the intention of the legislation relating to trade marks, and of that for which it stands. A trade union label gives.no guarantee of the quality of the goods or the -product on which it is placed. It may stand for reasonable working conditions - I firmly believe that it is intended to give that guarantee - but that is quite a different object from that of a trade mark. A trade mark gives no certificate as to the conditions under which goods are produced. It does not show whether goods are produced under sweating or wholesome sanitary conditions, but merely sets up a standard of quality and protects that standard to the benefit of the consumer, as well as of those who observe it. At “the best the only guarantee that a trade union label affords is that the goods on which it is placed have been made under trade union conditions as to wages and hours of employment. I wish to say as plainly as I can that, unless a trade union label gives some guarantee of the quality of the product on which it is placed, we ought not to go to the extent of enshrining a provision of this kind in the statute-book of the’ Commonwealth. I ‘think that the honorable member for Newcastle has already said, by way of interjection, that the working classes would be more likely than others to buy goods that bore a trade union label. I very much question whether they would, if higher prices were charged, particularly if there were no such coercion in the matter as has taken place in the United States.
– What evidence of that coercion has the honorable member?
– Only that which we have already heard in the House.
– Would the honorable member describe such statements as evidence ?
– They amount to evidence, such as we usually accept when discussing any matter in this Chamber. They are the evidence of reputable writers on the subject.
– Not one of the statements that were quoted had the name of the writer attached to it, nor was any newspaper mentioned.
– They were statements quoted at the conference of the Employers’ Federation.
– Quotations from the law journals of the United States have been read.
– The statements of the law authorities that I have read show that the trade union label provisions have been ruled to be constitutional.
– I take it that we are bound to accept the statements to which I have referred as having been written by purely impartial writers. The honorable member for Bland said a day or two ago that there were twenty-eight States in the Union in which the trade union label system obtained. I read only to-day, however, that that statement was quite wide of the mark, and mat the system was not in operation in anything like that number of States. Thus, if authorities quoted from time to time are to be impeached, I do not think we shall get any nearer a solution of our difficulties ; the only result will be to perpetuate the debate, and make it all the more indefinite. So far as I am aware, there is no guarantee that the people would prefer to buy goods at i higher price, bearing a trade union label, particularly in the absence of a guarantee of quality. I go further, and say that I do not think that a trade unionist, or any other free man, ought to be coerced to purchase goods of an inferior quality, no matter how or by what means they have been produced. Once you apply any kind of coercion, either through a union, or in any other way, to enforce the purchase of goods of a less value than can be got in the open market, that moment you reduce wages.
– From an official document, I have obtained the names of the twenty-eight States I referred to.
– I shall be much obliged to the honorable member if he will wait until I have finished. The honorable member for Newcastle ‘says that union people will be bound to buy labelled goods, rather than others, even if they be inferior goods. If you, by any sort of coercion, compel unionists to buy inferior goods, no matter how they are made, that means a reduction of their purchasing power j_ in other words, it is equivalent to a reduction of their wages.
– Why should the goods be inferior because they were made by trade unionists ?
– Only because there is no guarantee that they are superior, and because a business man is compelled to put his goods on the market at the lowest price. I am simply taking cognizance of a law of competition which operates whether we like it or not, and which all our legislation will not prevent from operating, as it has done ever since the world began.
– What is the boycott for if the public will take union goods without it?
– All I am concerned in just now is to take care that the very people whom’ we are trying to serve by this legislation are not those who will suffer by its enactment.
– Does the honorable member deny my statement that the union label is used in twenty-eight States in America ?
– I do not mind going back to oblige the honorable member who is so persistently interjecting’. In the Age to-day, I read a statement which was made at a meeting last night-
– By Mr. Walpole?
– Whenever an honorable member begins to talk here about anything industrial, he generally gets Mr. Walpole shoved down his throat by the honorable member. I do not know this Mr. Walpole, who seems to give the honorable member a lot of trouble.
– No; I have given him more trouble than he has given me.
– I shall be obliged to the honorable member if he will give Mr. Walpole a rest just now. I do not know the gentleman, and I am not quoting him. In the Age’s report of a meeting held last night, I read a statement contradicting one made by the leader of the Labour Party, to the effect that the union label operates in twenty-eight States in America.
– Surely the honorable member will admit that the official bulletin of the Department of Labour in America is a better authority ? I can produce it.
– I am not disputing the matter at all.
– It is not worth while to rely on a statement of that sort.
– I am not relying upon it. An honorable member on the other side questioned my remark that there is a conflict of opinion on almost every statement made here, and I quoted that as an instance in point. Really, the honorable member need not go to all this trouble. I want more than a mere statement from honorable members who support this legislation that it will be of a beneficial character.
– That is the argument advanced against every progressive proposal which is brought forward.
– Order ! The honorable member can speak later on if he wishes.
– At any rate, the argument has not been advanced here. From that fact, Ave may infer that it cannot be brought forward. But if it can be adduced, the proof to the contrary is irrefragable and abundant. My point is, that in Australia there is no need for “legislation of this kind, and that if it be enacted very likely it will hit the very people whom honorable members are trying to shield from the competition of the world.
– That is what the factoryowners said when children were taken out of the factories.
– That is what was said about the Wages ‘Boards in Victoria.
– Well, it appears that it was said without much justification.
– The honorable member is adopting all the old conservative arguments.
– We shall see what justification there is for the statement [ am making now. At any rate, if these advantages are so apparent, why are they not pointed out here? It would be much better for honorable members to do that than to sit on a bench and interject objections to what I am saying. If these proofs are abundant, why are they not supplied? So far as I know, no argument has been advanced here to-night, or at any time to show that this legislation will be of a beneficial character. I am free to admit, however, that, if it can be shown to me that it will advantage the workers of the country in any way, I shall be very glad to give it mv best support. I was pointing out when interrupted that if you legalize the labelling of goods which may be inferior in quality, for the purpose of inducing trade unionists to buy them in preference to others, by the very fact that they are inferior you will force a reduction of wages upon those who have only a certain amount of money to spend.
– Does the honorable member think that goods made by trade unionists are inferior?
– It all depends. If the honorable member were to ask me whether I think that trade union labour is inferior to other labour, I should say no, emphatically.
– Is the product of union labour likely to be inferior?
– I shall give the honorable member an instance in point. A little while ago two contracts were let in connexion with military clothing. One contract was for the supply of the cloth, and the other for the making up of it.
– Was it colonial cloth ?
– Yes. Inferior cloth was supplied to the Department, and it was taken at, I think, about 6d. per yard cheaper than good cloth, and made up at the same cost as good cloth.
– By union labour?
– I do not know anything about union labour.
– That is the point.
– It was made up by factory labour, I presume. The cost of making up was the same in each case, but the article produced was very much inferior in one case, because an inferior cloth had been supplied. In other words, it cost the same to make up bad cloth as good cloth.
– In that case, the union label would apply to only the workmanship.
– I apprehend that it would apply to the whole product, if the cloth had passed through union hands in the making up. But, supposing that the label applied to only the working up of the cloth, I presume that there would be another label for the cloth itself. Cloth may be made by union labour, and yet be of inferior quality. I have no doubt that, in this instance, the cloth was made by union labour, that is by labour working under the aegis of factory laws.
– That is a very different thing.
– Does not the honorable member see that you may get a bad product from the hands of the best workmen imaginable?
– A workman does not determine the quality of articles he is working up ; he is simply paid to work them up, and his connexion with them ends there. Therefore, you may have an article passing through the hands of the most skilled handicraft men, which1 in its finished state will be of an inferior character. Today some of the cloth I referred to is being worn. It is hardly fit to be worn, but because it was a little cheaper than good cloth it was accepted ‘‘by the ‘authorities, and made up at the price which had to be paid for the making up of good cloth. Whereas a good suit of clothes well made will last two years, this inferior cloth will last only one year. Therefore, the one is worth only about half as much as the other. So that there is no guarantee of quality in connexion with these labels; and there being no guarantee of quality, there is no guarantee that people will buy goods so marked. If they do, they will be decreasing their own spending power bv that very act. The honorable member for Bland attacked the leader of the Opposition almost viciously for daring to express any sympathy with trade unionism. He said -
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.
Has it came to this : that a man can have no sympathy with trade organizations except he believes in political trade unionism finding its expression in the labour leagues ? Will the honorable member for Bland deny that the bulk of the trade organizations of the world to-day are non-political? The best trade organizations on the face of the globe refuse to associate themselves with leagues of this kind.
– Where are they?
– In the old country ; in the north.
– They are nearly all political.
– I say that many of them are absolutely non-political today.
– The great bulk of the English’ trade unions to-day are political ; and there are just as good unions in the SOuth as in the north.
– They all adhere to the Independent Labour Party.
– They do not. I challenge contradiction of the statement that amongst the best trade unions of the world to-day, are the northern miners’ unions of the old country; and they will not have any political labour leagues whatever.
– All the southern trade unions - I do not know about the miners - are working politically for the return of labour candidates.
– The northern miners paid Mr. Benjamin Pickard’s salary ‘for years, and the honorable member knows it.
– They put men into Parliament specially.
– Of course; they sent members to Parliament from the north to oppose the Eight Hours’ Bill amongst other things. The honorable member ought to know that.
– That is political action, is it not ?
– It is political action, but it is keeping the power of politics outside of union matters; because they say that they can secure more by voluntary co-operation than by preference, or com- pulsoriness of any kind - certainly more than by means of the legislative machine.
– They have not said that since the Taff-Vale case.
– They are saying it to-day. The honorable member will find, moreover, that the unions in the old country are quite divided as yet as to the advisableness of going into the political arena ; I mean, of course, in any such sense as they have done here. And surely a man can express sympathy with trade unionism even though he does not believe in the Poli.ticalization of the unions to the extent that has taken place here. I am one of those who do not hesitate to say that I believe that the making of these labour leagues political in Australia has not done them any good.
– The honorable member believed in it in 1890 and 1891.
– Yes, in 1891 ; he should, not deny that.
– No. The honorable member for Newcastle knows as well as I do, that his unions, as such, are entirely without control by the political labour leagues in Sydney.
– They work just the same.
– They vote all right though.
– Of course; they vote for the honorable member for Newcastle, not because he is a political labour leaguer, but because they believe that he is in sympathy with their aims. But he is aware that his organizations will not allow themselves to be dominated in any case from Sydney. It is very different with the union represented by the honorable member for Darling. That is a political organization. But the miners in New South Wales for the most part decline to make their unions political organizations. When that is the case, even in Australia, and over a very much wider area of the world outside, I think that a man may express his opinion in favour of trade unions and yet disbelieve in their being made political organizations. That, I understand, is the attitude of the right honorable member for East Sydney. It is mine, and always has been. I have yet to see what good has come to any of the trade organizations in Australia since they have been made into political machines. I do not think, either, that trade unions in their proper character are merely machines for getting better wages, or for making better sanitary conditions. They have a very much wider import even than that. My impression of trade unionism properly conducted on a voluntary basis, is that it displays many of those qualities of character which conduce to the wellbeing of the State, and are in every way good as applied to the industrial activities, and to the socialities of life. I do not believe in political trade organizations, because, in my opinion, no good has come from them up to date.
– Do not the miners enforce preference to unionists ?
– They have done that from time immemorial, and have never asked Parliament to do it for them.
– There is no difference in principle.
– Is there no difference in principle between voluntarism and compulsion?
– The former is only a different kind of compulsion.
– It is not voluntary, as far as the non-unionist is concerned.
– The reason why preference to unionists has always been enforced by the miners, is that, for the most part the miners have always been unionists. I have hardly ever known of a case of a miner working alongside a non-unionist.
– I have seen them stop the working of a colliery rather than work with a non-unionist.
– I have not; I have known them threaten to do it, and the threat has been quite sufficient. That has been the case for hundreds of years. They have never come to Parliament for assistance to do for them what they can do for themselves.
– The miners asked the Parliament of New South Wales to help them.
– Did they? If so, they did an unnecessary thing.’ I do not know that the granting of that principle by any Statute will add one iota to the power they already possess. It is quite unnecessary for’ them’ to ask any one for the power which they have been exercising for hundredsof years in the coal mining operations of the old country. That is my point. I say that those unions could be made to work on a voluntary basis ; and the best results are achieved by them when they are so worked. That is’ easily provable to-day, in hard cash if need be, should the test be made. Since trade unionists began to make trade unions political labour leagues, they have concurrently developed the idea that the capitalist is necessarily the enemy of labour, and must be abolished; and that is where I take leave of my friends who believe in the new unionism. My idea of a trade union is that it should aim as far as possible at the adjustment of labour and capital, which are the two halves of the same sphere. But, on the other hand, politicians are developing the doctrine more and more every day that capital is the natural enemy of labour, and must be abolished before labour can be said to have its rights. I do not take that view at all, and that is where I part company with my friends, who believe in developing unions on those lines, instead of developing them on a basis of voluntarism, which aims at the adjustment of the differences, between the two essential factors in our industrial production. Are the conditions of labour any better to-day than they were when this kind of political trade unionism began? Are wages higher?
– I should like proof.
– We can give the honorable member oroof.
– Are wages higher since trade unionism descended into political labour leagues? Are the conditions under which trade unionists work better than they were before?
– Certainly; they are infinitely better in Victoria.
– I shall be glad to hear proof, because a mere statement is not enough.
– The honorable member shall have, proof.
– I do not think things are better to-day than they were when many of the trade unions ofthis continent first began to do this. In some respects there has been improvement, I do not doubt, but in all the essentials which make up the lot of the industrial worker I do not think there has been much.
– There has been improvement wherever legislation has been brought to bear.
– On the other hand, I think that in some respects things are very much worse than before. There is worse feeling between capital and labour today than I have ever known in all my ex- perience; and my honorable friends opposite may develop that class feeling as much as they like, but it is going to bring no good to either of the factors engaged in industrial activity. We want less of class feeling instead of more; but it is the very aim and purpose of the labour league propaganda to cultivate what is called “ class consciousness, ‘ ‘ which is only another name for class hatred, aiming at abolishing the capitalist and sweeping him altogether from the industrial arena. A bitter reckoning is in store for people who undertake that kind of propaganda. It prevents the settlement of many of those troubles which arise in the relationship of the two factors, and instead of settling them in a way which leads to amicability of feeling - which leads to mutual sympathy, mutual trust, mutual co-operation - it is separating further and further those two factors which are the very essence of the well-being of the community.
– It is such expressions as that of Walpole that marriage is a luxury which leads to bad feeling.
– I do not understand the chatter of the honorable member.
– I say that such expressions of opinion are the cause of class hatred.
– I do not understand what the honorable member means.
– I cannot help that.
– I hear something about Walpole, and that is all. This Walpole must, be a very remarkable man.
– He is the paid agitators of the employers.
– At any rate, this Walpole seems to “ sit on the chests “ of honorable members opposite like a nightmare.
– He is doing good business for us.
– I should be very glad if honorable members would tell us all about this Walpole, because I know nothing of him. I am now talking of the facts as I have observed them.
– Walpole is partly the cause.
– Of my speaking here to-night?
– Of the class hatred.
– The honorable member for Parramatta is voicing Walpole’s views very well.
– I am not aware that I am voicing the views of Mr. Wal pole, but I am pointing out facts which I challenge the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to contradict.
– I am going to contradict the honorable member, and prove that he is wrong.
– I challenge the honorable member to show that the antagonistic feeling between capital and labour is not stronger to-day than it has ever been.
– I am talking of wages.
– And how that strong feeling can bode any good to the industrial workers of Australia, I have yet to learn. The new unionists say that “class consciousness ‘ ‘ must go on until capital has been eliminated from the industrial sphere. All I can say is that those who support that view have “ a big contract on ‘ ‘ - a contract which I venture to say will only re-act on the worker, and cause intense suffering before this folly is knocked on the head. I remember voting for, the Arbitration Bill in New South Wales - a Bill for which I not only voted, but worked. First of all, we did not believe in compulsory arbitration, and tried voluntary methods. It was deemed, however, that there should be a compulsory Bill, and in voting for that measure I honestly believed that I was doing something to establish amicable relations between the contending parties, and said so. But what has been our experience of the New South Wales Arbitration Act ? Instead of bringing the two parties nearer, it has driven a wedge in between them; and feeling to-day in New South Wales, under that Act, is much more intense than it has ever been before in the industrial history of that State. These are facts which cannot be denied, though I presume my honorable friends opposite would regard this estrangement as a good sign,
– I should say that some men hate to see justice done, and kick up a row when it is being done.
– The workers complain that the Act does not do justice.
– I would remind the honorable member for Hindmarsh that the purely voluntary method was tried for many years in connexion with the coal trade, represented here by the honorable member for Newcastle; and, in my judgment, it did much better for the miners than the compulsory Arbitration Court has done. At any rate, the voluntary method preserved a much better feeling between the two parties than the Arbitration Court is doing.
– Employers in South Australia refused to have voluntary conciliation, although it was proposed over and over again.
– I am pointing out a case in which voluntary action was taken, over some years, and I say, without fear of contradiction, that the results of that system, as applied to the coal trade, were very much better than the results of the Arbitration Court. If trade unionism wants to advertise its wares in the direction indicated by this label it has abundance of opportunity to do so. Trade unions to-day have newspapers; and other means of thorough organization such as they never had before. When I take up the industrial newspapers of the Commonwealth I find them filled with advertisements of one kind and another. To-day, I was looking at the Sydney Worker - an organ in which the honorable member for Darling is very keenly interested - and I find that there is not the slightest difficulty in advertising unionistic wares and unionistic conditions. The signature of that honorable member is appended to an agreement showing the conditions which obtain in the industry he particularly represents, and I also find advertisements relating to unionist hotelkeepers who are scattered throughout the country. I was very much surprised to find on one page of that newspaper about 120 advertisements of hotels, showing where the union hotels were, where union liquor was to be obtained, and where unionist accommodation was to be found. So that there appears to be no reason why we should come to Parliament to ask for these privileges, seeing that unionists have all the opportunities for self-advertisement that they can possibly desire. I contend that we ought not to come here to ask for special powers by legislation, without making out a case showing the absolute necessity for doing so. The honorable member for Bland, when arguing these matters, has acquired the knack lately - and it is a very cunning thing to do - of quoting the opinions of clerics in various parts of the world in favour of the theory he may happen to be propounding. The honorable gentleman never by any mischance stumbles upon a quotation which is against him, but he is very fond of quoting clergymen in support of his socialistic propaganda.
– I have not heard the honorable member for Parramatta quote anything in our favour.
– I have been speaking all night, so far as I know, in favour of voluntary trade unionism. I am as keen about that as is the honorable member for Hindmarsh. -
– That has nothing to do with a union label.
– I believe in unionism, and in its necessity, as thoroughly as does the honorable member.
– I doubt it.
– The honorable member may doubt it, if it pleases him to do so. I do not want his certificate anyhow, so that he can keep his doubts to himself, and allow me to proceed. I say that I doubt the wisdom of the means which some trade unionists are pursuing in Australia in turning unions into political camps. I say that, in my judgment, the condition of affairs to date furnishes no warrant for the new departure, but rather furnishes reasons for getting back to the sound, sane, and healthy conditions of the past in this respect. The honorable member for Bland the other night quoted Canon ScottHolland, who happened to say that it would be to our advantage if we made greater inquiry into the conditions under which the articles we purchased were produced. The honorable member quoted the Canon with a very great deal of approval, but if equally eminent clerics happen to say a word against Socialism, honorable members of the Labour Party are down upon them in fine style. They denounce them hip and thigh for what they believe to be everything that is bad. I could not help casting my mind back to a diatribe uttered the other day by a great friend of the honorable member’s against the Bishop of Goulburn, and all because he dared to have an opinion as to the methods of the labour leagues of to-day. The Bishop of Goulburn is a gentleman whose sympathy with all that makes for our social welfare no one will attempt to question. But the trouble with this propaganda today is that it is an unreasoning propaganda. One must not only believe in the ultimate aims and objects of the Labour Party, but also in their methods. If you dare to have a different opinion, if you dare to exercise the liberty to differ from them, you are a traitor and everything( else that is bad. I suppose that is the kind of liberty we shall have when we get into that glorious socialistic state into which some honorable members wish to hurry us. I am not taking any of that kind of liberty. I prefer the liberty I have rather than to be dragooned in such a way as to destroy the value of my private intellect and judgment to me. But the honorable member for Bland quoted that merely harmless statement from Canon Scott-Holland, and it is a statement with which any one might agree; . 1 subscribe to it to the full, and I say that we ought to inquire as to where goods are made, and, as far as possible, purchase goods that are made under fair conditions. Every man ought to do that.
– We have Wages Boards in Victoria to fix some of the conditions.
– But the quotation from Canon Scott-Holland is not an argument for the use of a trade union label . I submit that it is a mere common-sense statement, from a kindly Christian humanitarian, a man who does not believe in the development of the “ class consciousness “ which is a fundamental doctrine of these latter day Socialists.
– Will the honorable member tell me how we are to discriminate if there is not some mark on the goods?
– I shall tell the honorable member how he is to discriminate, in two minutes. The honorable member for Bland went on to quote John Graham Brooks, and his contribution to the Labour Bulletin of America. What he quoted bears upon the interjection made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. He summarizes the reason for a trade union label, and he says -
The appeal is made directly to the public, first, to understand what the label means - (1)It means, or aims to mean, that the work is done under wholesome conditions.
Secondly, the appeal is made to co-operate actively in furthering its use……
The union label therefore appears to be the only means of helping the workers in the factories to help themselves.
I point out that the value of that statement is very different in America to what it is in Australia, and for the simple reason that they have not in America the conditions of things that we have here. The honorable member for Bland admitted that the trade unionism of America is of a totally different type from the trade unionism of Australia. They have not gone into the poli tical arena there yet, and they are doing by other means in America, what we already have the means of doing throughout the length and breadth of Australia. For instance, John Graham Brooks says that the trade union label “means or aims to mean that the work is done under wholesome conditions.” What are our Arbitration Acts or our Wages Boards for, but to give this verv guarantee. Is that not what thev aim at?
– Yes, but we have not got them in some of the States.
– In what States have we not got them ?
– In Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia.
– South Australia has such a law.
– There are only two boards,; and thev are not in working order vet.
– Does the honorable member mean to tell me that in South Australia, with all her champion democrats in public life for years, effect cannot be given to such a law ?
– We have a Legislative Council there yet; that is the difficulty.
– There are Legislative Councils in all the States.
– I venture to say that in South Australia there ought to be nothing to stop them getting these tribunals now.
– The Legislative Council stops them.
– Neither should there be anything to prevent them getting similar tribunals in Queensland. Singular to relate, the States in which these tribunals do not exist are those which are now being controlled by labour organizations.
– No, there is only one labour member in the Legislative Council in South Australia.
– At any rate, there is a Labour Premier in South Australia at the present time.
– He cannot dominate the Legislative Council.
– Does the honorable member for. Hindmarsh suggest that the. Government of South Australia, because of the Legislative Council in that State, cannot introduce legislation of this character ?
– The Legislative Council in that State hung up the Wages Board provisions for three years.
– I rise to a point of order. I have no desire to interrupt the honorable member for Parramatta, but it appears to me that his remarks are hardly in order. I understand that the matter before the House is the consideration of the second reading of the Trade Marks Bill, but the honorable member is branching off into several interesting dissertations on the methods of the Labour Party, and particularly on those of the Labour Party in South Australia, and is’ lamenting that the Government or the Labour Party have or have not done this, that, or the other. In my opinion, such remarks are not in order. If they are, I do not see what limitations are to be imposed on the debate. If we are to follow the methods of the honorable gentleman’s party and other parties - there are very many parties here ; nothing but parties, in fact - the debate will have no natural limitations at all.
– The point which the honorable and learned member has asked me to determine is whether the honorable member for Parramatta is in order in discussing the existence or non-existence of Wages Boards in the various States. As the honorable member has set up the argument that the existence of Wages Boards enables the discrimination to be exercised which is sought in the Bill by providing for the registration of the union trade mark, I think his observations are perfectly in order. Whilst I ask him not to enter into a dialogue with other honorable members, and ask them not to inaugurate such a dialogue, I cannot rule him out of order, so long as he follows his present line of discussion.
– I am pointing out that the condition of things here is totally different from the condition of things in America. The object which was first sought to be attained by the use of union labels in America, namely, the getting of work done under wholesome conditions, can be guaranteed by the various tribunals which have been set up in all the States of Australia except two. There is nothing to prevent those States from setting up such tribunals, and in Queensland the Government have made it part of their policy to pass such’ legislation. Other objects are to insure the payment of reasonable wages and the enforcement of reasonable hours of work, both of which come within the province of our Arbitration Courts and Wages Boards. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney on almost every day that he is absent from this House, is engaged in arguing om behalf of such things, and making money out of it, more power to him, in the New South Wales Arbitration Court. He is engaged in seeking for the Court the aid which, it is alleged, can be secured in America only by the use of trade union labels. If, then, we already have legislative machinery which compasses all the ends which are set out as the objective of the trade union label in America, the provisions of the Bill, though perhaps necessary in that’ country, are not necessary here. We have taken other means to get rid of our labour difficulties, and to set up and proclaim to the world the conditions under which our goods must be made. If my honorable friends wish to guarantee to the public that the goods which it buys are made under fair conditions, all they have to do is to remind it that they have been made by the members of the unions registered in the various States. I have yet to learn what advantages, in addition to those which they already enjoy, would come to our industrial toilers if the proposed legislation were passed. At the best it would overlap other legislation already on the statute-book, and I believe that its ultimate result would be detrimental to those who are now asking for it. If I understand the proposals of the Minister aright, he intends to throw upon the> trade organizations the obligation and responsibility of policing this legislation; that is to say, if action is to be taken to defend! these trade union labels, it must be taken by the unions. Will any one tell me that this legislation will not provoke great bitterness between ‘employers and employes? The position is already bad enough, but it will become much worse. There will be constant attempts at the infraction of the law, and the unions will find it a much- more costly proceeding to defend the labels than is the litigation in “the Arbitration) Courts of the various States, which, as is well known, has depleted their funds. Whatever advantages may have accrued from the setting up of these Courts, no one will deny that they are costly pieces of legal machinery..
To pass the Bill is to multiply Statutes without giving any advantage in the process. I presume that the measure is part of the socialistic propaganda, the uttering of a socialistic shibboleth ; but, instead of bringing gain to the workers, it will land them in further difficulties, and will still more estrange them from the employing section of the community. The leader of the Government said at Ballarat that every socialistic proposal must be treated by itself as a business proposition. I suppose that we may regard this proposal in that way, and that the Bonus Bill, which is now turned into a socialistic measure, may also be considered by itself as a business proposition. Then there is the Commerce Bill, which proposes to control in great part, and to limit the trade operations of Australia. That must also be treated by itself as a different proposition. On our business-paper, we have also two proposals of a socialistic character - one for an inquiry as to the advisability of running socialistic ships to carry our mails to the older countries of the world, and the other, in the nameof the honorable member for Melbourne, for socializing the iron industry of Australia. According to the Prime Minister, each of these proposals must be treated by itself as a business proposition.
– Can the honorable member conceive of any proposal of a progressivecharacter of which that could not be said ?
– I can only say that, if I were in favour of Socialism, as the honorable member is, I should join the socialistic league. We have a right to consider these proposals together, as well as separately. The proposals in themselves are of the very essence of Socialism, and, taken together, I venture to say make a very serious inroad upon our industrial situation, and go very far towards bringing about that co-operative Commonwealth which it is the aim of the Socialists to. inaugurate. In the meantime there is no hurry. The policy is a gradual one. We are asked to treat each proposal by itself, and not as inter-related to the industrial situation in which we find ourselves. We are to detach it and to discuss it by itself, and pay no regard to its tendencies, or to the fact that, it is a step leading us anywhere. We are to treat it merely as a business proposal. That is the sinister suggestion of the Prime Minister.
So it comes about that we are getting Socialism piecemeal - in an insidious way, in a far more effective fashion than it could be brought about by the membersof the Labour Party if they were charged with the responsibilities of administration. The Government are doing more for them in the direction of carrying out their propaganda than they could do themselves if they were intrusted with the work of carrying on the public affairs.
– That is a good testimonial.
– It may be, from the honorable member’s point of view, but not from mine. The more I read, and the more I observe that which is around me, the more difficult it becomes for me to believe that Socialism is going to bring about the millennium that its devotees expect. If I could believe that, I should hold up both hands for Socialism, as readily and as cordially as its supporters do. I believe it will develop into an engine of tyranny, and that the people who will suffer most will be those who are loudest in the expression of a desire to hurry into it. I believe that the toilers of Australia will eventually suffer most from these rash proposals, and therefore I have to take my stand in opposition to the socialistic propaganda as a whole. I say that these proposals, taken together, mark a very formidable socialistic advance, and that this House should pause before it treats them in a detached and isolated fashion as has been insinuatingly suggested by the Prime Minister. In the meantime, there is no hurry. I am reminded of the man who went to buy a horse, and said that he was not particular about the speed of the animal, but that it must be gentle. In the same way, the Prime Minister and those joined with him in bringing about this socialistic regime are in no particular hurry ; they do not expect to see the full results of their efforts during their lifetime. They are simply building another rung into the ladder.
– Perhaps they are building better thanthey know.
– Perhaps they are ; but I think they are building very much worse than they know. However, it can only be left to the future to confirm the experience of the past for hundreds of years back. The multiplication of these irritating statutes cannot by any possibility help labour. What labour members are seeking is already to their hand in the agencies which exist in the various
States. The multiplication of such agencies will involve over-lapping legislation and costly litigation, but no good result to the trade unionists of Australia. In the meantime, it will help to destroy that confidence which is becoming more and more necessary in the complexities of our modern civilization and. industrialism - that confidence which is the very basis of a prosperous social state. It will destroy that confidence, and in its place create a stronger class prejudice, which will deal a blow at that good feeling which ought to subsist between capital and labour, and, I believe, will make more solid the forces which are directed to disintegration and decay.
– I have listened with great interest to the honorable member for Parramatta, and I congratulate him on having used arguments that have been advanced against every progressive measure introduced into an Austraiian Legislature.
– Surely the honorable member does not call these proposals progressive ?
– That is a matter of opinion. We were asked exactly the same questions as those submitted by the honorable member for Parramatta when the Wages Boards, regarding which my honorable friend had so much to say, were proposed. We were asked to give some guarantee of their usefulness, and to indicate what they were going to accomplish. We were told that they would cause increased class feeling, that they would widen the breach between employer and employe, that they would fail to bring about an increase of wages, and that the great natural law of supply and demand alone could accomplish the latter result. Even that extreme conservative, Mr. Irvine, has, however, admitted in the Victorian Legislature that in this respect he was mistaken, that the Wages Boards have raised wages, and have considerably improved the lot of the industrial worker.
– Yet, in spite of ihe Wages Boards, there are, according to the statements of the men themselves, thousands of unemployed in the city of Melbourne.
– I do not think that any such statement has been made. Unfortunately, a large number of men are out of work, but the honorable member will find that the vast majority of them do not belong to those trades in which Wages Boards operate, but to trades where the unions, if they exist at all, are very weak, and where the men are enjoying that freedom of which we have heard so much from honorable members opposite - the freedom to be unemployed and to starve.
– According to their own statements, they come from the ranks of the workers who are protected by industrial legislation.
– They do not.
– I have never heard any such statement^ and I am quite confident that the honorable member for Lang never heard anything of the kind.
– I have seen such statements published.
– I am sure .that fully two-thirds of the unemployed belong to the building trades or the labouring classes. They do not come from the industrial classes, except in the case of trades which are in open competition with the outside world, and in which the wages are not regulated by Wages Boards. I was remarking that exactly the same arguments as those employed by the honorable member for Parramatta were used when we proposed to adopt the system embodied in the Factories and Shops Act of Victoria. The honorable member for Parramatta has asked whether the conditions of labour are better than they were prior to the time at which the trade unions assumed a political character, and exercised influence in the direction of having their desires expressed in our legislation. So far as Victoria is concerned, I say that; the conditions to-day are better than ‘they were at the period indicated. I go further, and I say that there is not a single Wages Board in Victoria which was not in the first place backed up by a trade union. Take the case of the down-, trodden tailoresses as an example. Before we could secure anything like protection to that branch of the trade in the way of a Wages Board, the operatives had to beorganized into a union. It was the forceof the trade union making itself felt politically that impelled the Government to take action.
– Things are improving every day.
– They are improvingwith my honorable friend. He speaks for himself. If they improved with these people to the same extent, they would not be heard complaining. The honorable member views matters through golden- spectacles, and no” doubt everything appears bright and beautiful.
– Everything that the honorable member has said goes to show that the Tariff has worked very successfully in Melbourne. All the industries that have been mentioned are in a very flourishing condition.
– I am speaking of the condition of the trades which are protected by Wages Boards, and I am endeavouring to show that in the first instance those trades were organized into unions, and that those unions impelled the Government of the day - more especially the McLean Government - to appoint a large number of Wages Boards. They had to do so, in order to retain their seats upon the Ministerial bench. The findings of these boards are infinitely more successful and infinitely more uniformly applied where they are eternally watched by the members and officers of trade unions.
– Why the Prime Minister stated that he was the author of that legislation, and that it was passed before there was any Labour Party in the Victorian Parliament.
– That is not absolutely correct. It is not accurate to say either that the Prime Minister made that declaration or that the statement itself is correct. In the first place, there can be no doubt that the Prime Minister did a very great deal to help forward this class of legislation. He did much more than he has been credited with. I know well that behind the scenes, and in a quiet way, he did a very great deal to helD the Peacock Government to pass the legislation to which I am referring.
– And he took part in pas-, sing the first Shops and Factories Act.
– Yes; that was prior to the advent of the Labour Party in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. But I would point out that the practical part of that legislation - I mean the portion which relates to the regulation of wages - is of comparatively recent date. It has only been in existence for about ten years. That legislation was passed bv the Turner Government, of which Sir Alexander Peacock was the Chief Secretary. There were only six Wages Boards appointed in the first instance - now there are thirty-one boards in existence. Every one of the trades which were brought under the operation of those boards was backed up by a vigilant trade union, and by officers who were con tinually watching and working in the interests of its members. The honorable member for Parramatta has asked, “ Have these unions improved the status of the operatives. Have they raised their wages”? In reply, I say, “ yes.” My honorable friend has asked for proof of my assertion.
– I am afraid that we do not mean exactly the same thing.
– The honorable member can now see that he was wrong, and I propose to supply him with proof omy statement, not from the mouth of a trade unionist,; or a Socialist, but from thai of a gentleman representing the employers of Victoria, who recently read a paper before the conference of the Employers Federation.
– The honorable member misunderstands me. By “ political unions,” I mean unions which turn themselves into political labour leagues, which the honorable member does not join.
– None of the unions of which I am speaking actually convert themselves into political labour leagues, but every one of them has political aims and aspirations. I say that before trade unions made their influence felt in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria their members were hopeless and helpless. I also claim that the application of their principles has raised wages, shortened hours, and improved conditions generally. I will prove that by quoting from a paper which was read by Mr. Pratt, representing the Employers’ Union, before the conference to which I have alluded. Pie said -
In 180,5 the average wage in those trades not under the Wages Boards was 40s. id., against 38s. 4d. for the seventeen trades brought under the boards. In 1902 the twenty-six trades had only grown to an average of 42s., while the seventeen trades under boards had advanced to 46s. 5d. The increase in the trades under the boards was therefore 8s. id., .against 2s. 2d. in trades not under boards.
– They would never have obtained any improvement if they had not taken political action.
– In the absence of political action, they could never have accomplished anything. They were sweated for years. It was only when articles appeared in the Age, pointing out the deplorable condition of things that existed, that they were organized into unions, and the Government were impelled to take action.
– Is all that the result of the influence of the political labour leagues ?
– The honorable member stated that the condition of the working classes had not been improved by reason of the labour leagues taking part in political work and making their influence felt in the political arena.The answer to that is to be found in the quotation which I have just read.
– Is that improvement due to the political labour organizations ?
– It is the result of organization and agitation on the part of those who were most deeply interested in labour or trade unions. Of course it was not wholly due to them, but it was largely the result of their work and agitation. If theyhad not organized and appealed to the Legislature - and, indeed, if they did not remain well organized - those findings would not be half as effective as they are at the present moment.
– Does the honorable member quote Mr. Pratt as a reliable authority ?
– I will leave my honorable friend to judge of that. He will know whether the representative of the Employers’ Federation is a reliable authority. If I had quoted a trade unionist or a Socialist, no doubt he would have questioned the reliability of my authority. Instead, I have quoted the opinion of a gentleman who has always opposed the Factories Act, but who accepts it now as being better than an Arbitration Act - a gentleman who would wipe it off the statute-book to-morrow if he had his way.
– The employers would wipe it out?
– Undoubtedly they would, just as they would wipe out the proposal in this Bill or any progressive proposal which my honorable friend could conceive.
– And these are the men to whom the honorable member’s party have given a protection of 50 per cent.
– We have d’one nothing of the kind. The Employers’ Federation is not a protectionist body. It partakes largely of a free-trade character, and twothirds of its members are Conservatives. The honorable member does not know what he is talking about.
– The manufacturers-
– Iam not talking of the manufacturers, but of the Employers’ Federation of Australia. Mr. Pratt’s paper continues : -
Have the Wages Boards put down sweating? In the clothing trades, “ Yes,” and largely in trades where women are employed.
Have they protected those who needed protection? In the case of females they have to a large extent.
In other cases he stated they had protected workers to a lesser extent -
Have they increased employment? - No; whatever increase of employment has taken place has been through the natural expansion of trade.
We never professed that Wages Boards would increase employment beyond the measure in which they reduced the hours of labour. The application of the system to the bakery trade has caused two men to be employed where one was previously engaged. But the fact that wages have risen, that employment has increased, that conditions are infinitely better, disproves the assertion of my honorable friend that trade unions working under political pressure have done no good to the working classes of Victoria.
– It simply means that we differ in our terms.
– I am sorry that we differ.
– Words have no meaning with the honorable member for Parramatta.
– That is the only conclusion at which I can arrive. The honorable member also asserted that the feeling, between employers and employes was never worse than it is to-day. Was he referring to any particular State? It is true that for a considerable time there was bad feeling-
– There is now.
– But in ninety per cent. of the trades to which the Wages Boards have been applied, the best of good feeling prevails. Who were the witnesses who testified before the Commission appointed by the Parliament of South Australia to the value of these boards, and the excellent relations existing between employer and employe? Nearly all those who gave evidence in Victoria-
– All of them.
– All of them were employers of labour - some being among the largest emplovers in Victoria. They testified that the feeling between employers and employes was good ; that the relationship was good, that prices were better regulated, that wages had improved, and that they would not on any account revert to the former condition.
– If everything is going on so well, what purpose will the proposal for a trade union label serve?
– I shall come to that point.
– Victoria is not Australia.
– I am answering the statements made by the honorable member for Parramatta ‘as to the present position of labour, as well as the benefits accruing from trade unions taking part in political affairs.
– No, not that.
– I am well acquainted with the industrial affairs of Victoria, and rejoice to think that the relations between the vast majority of employers and employed are of the most cordial character. The only cases in which misunderstandings occur and bad feeling exists are those in which the employer is enabled to grind down wages and compel his men to work long hours. Dissatisfaction and discontent are rampant in those cases, and there is naturally a feeling, of bitter hatred ; but where good conditions are observed, fair wages paid, and the employe feels that he is receiving a fair share of the results of his labour, an excellent feeling prevails. I am quite confident that as the Wages Board system is more understood and more widely applied, a still better feeling will prevail. Let me read another remark by the employer from whose evidence I have already quoted : -
The members of the board are all experts in their trade. AH intricate questions and technicalities are easily understood ; mistakes and delays are avoided; fresh avenues of trade easily and quickly provided for.
That is the testimony of a representative employer, and certainly it does not suggest that there is a feeling of discontent or a state of revolution prevailing among those in the trades to which the Wages Boards have been applied. On the contrary, it suggests something like a satisfactory situation.
– In a large number of instances the decisions of the boards are unanimous.
– How are the boards composed? They comprise an equal number of employers and employe’s. These men sit round the same table, are fully acquainted with all the wants and disabilities of their trade, readily understand the points that are raised, and trust one another so well that in many cases they come to a unanimous decision. And yet the honorable member for Parramatta has painted as dark a picture as could be painted ; he has advertised that relations between employer and employed in Australia are in a deplorable condition ; that anarchy and bloodshed are looming in the distance ; and that everything relating to industry is in a state of chaos. Where are the indications of anything of the kind ? I believe the honorable member painted the picture in more vivid colours than he intended, and no doubt the enemies of Australia have already dispatched cablegrams to England to the effect that the sub-leader of the Opposition has painted’ this picture of confusion, although it is quite contrary to fact.
– I did not draw sucha picture.
– I do .not think the honorable member knows what he did say.
– I never made the statements which the honorable member has just attributed to me. They represent a little bit of “ Mauger-oratory.”
– Did not the honorable member say that the conditions existing between capital and labour were more strained, more forced, more antagonistic to-day than ever they have been in the history of Australia?
– I said that they had not improved ; that, on the contrary, taken altogether, they were worse.
– I assert that they have improved, and have proved that assertion by quoting from the evidence of a representative employer. If they have become worse, where is the evidence? There is certainly none to be obtained in Victoria, and I do not know of any in relation to the other States. We do not hear now of lockouts and strikes, and of innocent women and children being brought by these means to the verge of starvation, wretchedness, and ruin. Such a state of affairs, however, is not unknown in Australian history.
– What about the article on this subject which the honorable member contributed to the Review of Reviews ?
– That article is not relevant to the question now before us. The honorable member for Parramatta went on to say that there was no compulsion, so far as trade unions in the United States were concerned.
– I made no such statement.
– Did not the honorable member say that there was no compulsory arbitration in America?
– I said that there were no such tribunals in America as we had here.
– Did you not say-
– Order. The” honorable member must address the Chair.
– I am afraid I entirely misunderstood the honorable member’s speech.
– That is very probable.
– I think that the honorable member himself misunderstood it, for when I recall certain facts to his mind, he asserts that he made a mistake, or that I am confusing the points made by him. He stated distinctly, however, if I have any knowledge of the English language, that trade unions in the United States were of a voluntary character, and that he believed in voluntary .trade unions. What does the honorable member mean by voluntary trade unions?
– Will the honorable member let me tell him what I said ? My argument, after quoting from the report of Graham Brooks, was that whatever might apply to America would not apply in the same’ sense to Australia, since we had Wages Boards and compulsory Arbitration Acts to do the work, which it was alleged the trade union labels were required to do in the United States.
– I have already dealt with that point, and am referring to another suggestion made by the honorable member.
– I. did not hear the. honorable member mention it.
– I wish to know what the honorable member means by voluntary trade unions. Unless a voluntary trade union is sufficiently effective to do what he says the Miners’ Union has done - to compel every worker to be a trade unionist - of what value is it? If it is strong enough to do that, is it not as valuable as any legislation on the subject could be? It is only the powerless ineffective unions that require legislation. A powerful union which, according to the honorable member, can do exactly the same work and secure the same results as are to be derived from legislation of this kind may be of a voluntary charac ter, but it is doing work that we desire, by means of legislation, to enable unions that are not so powerful to carry out. Take an illustration near to hand. In Victoria there is no Wages Board in the felt hatting trade; but there is something which is just as effectual and good for the purpose of keeping up wages and raising them, and maintaining the supremacy of trade union conditions, and that is voluntary trade unions, sufficiently powerful to compel every worker in the trade to be a trade unionist, and to have the conditions of trade unionism carried out. That is all that is wanted. Legislative enactment is not wanted where voluntary effort is powerful, and can be focussed. When my honorable friend talks about no compulsion, I take it that he means that, from the legislative side, there is no compulsion. From the organization side, there is compulsion which is just as effectual as any legislation could be.
– That is what I say., and a great deal mOre. That is my point.
– We are told ‘that in America, there is not compulsory but voluntary arbitration; but what are the facts? Take the anthracite coal strike. When the President of the United States sent out his ultimatum that unless the trade unionists on the one hand, and the mineowners on the other, went to arbitration within seven days, he would, under the protection of the Federal Army, take possession of the mines, and work them in the interests of the people. Was that voluntary or compulsory arbitration? My honorable friend can call it voluntary arbitration if he likes, but unquestionably it was compulsion of an effective and drastic character which brought about the desired end, compelled arbitration, raised wages, bettered the condition of workers, and gave to the coal-miners of America all that we ask through the political arena should be given to the workers of Australia. Then my honorable friend asks, “As we have Wages Boards in Australia, why do we want a trade union label registered and protected ?” The first answer to his question is that a trade union has as much right to protection for its label and trade mark as any employer or capitalist has to protection for his trade union and trade mark. The answer to the second question is that the Wages Boards and the Arbitration Court have not vet touched the fringe. of our industrial life. They have not yet covered the whole of the industrial sphere, even in
Victoria. A large number of manufacturing industries desire to get the benefit of this protection, but they have not yet been able to do so. In Tasmania, Queensland, South’ Australia, and Western Australia, there is a large number of industries which are not protected by Wages Boards and industrial legislation, and we wish to apply the union label to their products. We are also asked, what benefit can it do? May I ask in reply, what harm can it do? A very striking illustration of the value of a label - a label not registered, but essentially serving the same purpose as a trade union label - was brought under my notice in Brisbane about two years ago. An enterprising tradesman there put on his slop clothing this label, “ These goods are made in Victoria under the conditions prescribed by Wages Boards.” He assured me that a large number of the workers in Queensland sent specially for this clothing, because, by the use of that label, they were assured that decent wages were received, and proper conditions enjoyed by those who were making them.
– They were the cheapest to be had, I suppose?
– I do not think so. I quite disagree with my honorable friend’s insinuation, and also with the honorable member for Parramatta. My experience is that the average trade unionist is fast being educated up to the fact that he is only doing his duty when he buys an article which was produced by the best labour, working under the best conditions, and receiving the best wages.
– He is no worse than other men.
– The honorable member wishes to make out that he is.
– He is no better.
– There can be no question that the trade union label, designating as it will the important fact that clothing or footwear was made under proper conditions, in a sanitary building, and by men receiving proper wages, will, to a large extent, attract not only trade unionists but philanthropic men and women, who are anxious to discriminate between sweaters and anarchists and those who work under proper conditions. To show that this proposal does not emanate entirely from trade unionists, let me say that when this agitation was first started in Victoria, the Christian Social Union - a socialistic institution allied to the Church of England - en deavoured, as it was not legal to prepare a black list, to prepare a list of what they called the “ white traders “ for the purpose of urging on all whom they could influence that it was their duty to go to the shops where they had ascertained that wages and conditions compatible with proper living prevailed. It was only because the movement was not backed up by law that it was not eminently successful. It is being carried out to some extent in the old country, where Canon Scott-Holland, Canon Gore, and other eminent men in the Church of England are continually doing their best to provide some means by which men and women can discriminate as to the wages paid to the workers and the conditions under which they work. It is useful in another respect. A lady has no assurance, when she pays even the highest price for her clothing, that it was made under proper and humane conditions. I know of instances where ladies in this community have paid the highest prices for ready-made mantles, which, unknown to them, had been made under the very worst sweating conditions. Ladies would naturally prefer to go to the shops which placed beyond1 doubt the fact that the goods had been made under proper conditions by men receiving proper wages.
– Say that a coat was made by union labour, and that the buttons were not; would the honorable member allow the union label to be applied to the coat?
– That is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.
– No, it is a very big point in connexion with this Bill.
– If the honorable member can assure himself that the coat was made under proper conditions, he need not worry about the braid or the buttons. Let him attend to the principle and he will get on all right. If he can assure himself that his clothing was made under proper conditions he need not worry about the little things.
– Who is going to grant a dispensation ?
– I see no reasonable objection to the proposals of the Government, safeguarded, as they are, from any tyranny on the part of trade unionists and individual employers. I am sure that it will be another step forward in our industrial revolution. My honorable friends on the other side have raved about the socialistic proposals of the Government.
But I ask again, can they conceive of any kind of progressive legislation which cannot be stamped as socialistic? It must of necessity be Socialism, and because this measure is stamped socialistic I trust that the Government will not relax their efforts to place it upon the statute-book.
– The honorable member for Bland, in an interjection while the honorable member for Parramatta was making his speech, indicated that, in his opinion, the honorable member for Parramatta had changed his views in keeping with his company. In perusing this Bill I have asked myself, what is it that is colouring the views of honorable members on the Government side of the House, especially those on the right of the gangway ? How is it that some of them who were responsible for this Bill in its original condition, never saw the necessity for clauses providing for a trade union label? How is it that in spite of the remarks of some of the members’ of the Ministry in connexion with this and analogous questions, we find such clauses inserted in this Bill, and every member of the Government Party supporting it? I think that the colouring of opinion from whatever cause is exceedingly marked in connexion with the measure. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat ventured to call the trade union label provisions progressive. The Attorney-General, who is in charge of the Bill, indicated that they were provisions that had been in existence in England many years back - I think he said hundreds of years ; that there was power then to try to preserve to the guilds qf England the work of England by the registration of similar marks. But that expedient had not the’ effect that was anticipated, and is now anticipated, and the guild marks of Britain became absolutely of no value.
– That is not quite correct.
– It is correct, I think, except, for one instance which the honorable and learned gentleman mav be able to name: and in that instance, I do not think that the guild mark is of much value, though it is still in existence. I am sure that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, in questioning the statement of the honorable member for Parramatta, must have misunderstood, him, because I am perfectly certain, from words which ‘fell from the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, not in this House, but outside, and which are recorded in Hansard, that he and the honorable member for Parramatta are quite in accord. To what was the honorable member for Parramatta referring in the remarks to which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports took exception? He was speaking of political labour leagues-
– He did not say so.
– Which are seeking, and have obtained in many cases, the political control of labour unions.
– We are not proposing to give the right to use a label to the political labour leagues.
– Those political labour leagues are seeking - and have nearly accomplished their purpose - to get the labour unions to become members of their organization. Only by two votes was a motion to bring the unions within the labour leagues lost at a recent conference ; and it was in connexion with that phase of political unionism that the honorable member for Parramatta was speaking.
– He did not say so.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON. What has the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said on that same phase ? He said on one occasion -
The electors had to consider whether they would be represented by a person who was the nominee of a little clique called the Political Labour League, or whether they would send back their present member, who represented, not one section, but all sections of the community.
There he was dealing with the same political labour leagues that the honorable member for Parramatta was referring to.
– We are not proposing to legislate for them.
– If the honorable member had paid that attention to the speech of the honorable member for Parramatta which it merited he would have known that that was the phase of the subject with which the honorable member for Parramatta was dealing. He went on -
If he were to be returned to the Federal Parliament it would be as the representative of the whole people, and not as a machine to be worked at the dictation of a small section. . . . He had been asked to “ nominally “ sign the platform of the Political Labour Council.
A Voice. - Then the council is a failure.
– I say it is not only a failure - it is an absolute fraud.
The honorable member devoted the last portion of his speech to-night to defending that political influence in trade unionism which he formerly denounced. The fact that the criticism pf honorable members has been confined practically to one portion of the Bill is because it is generally recognised that there is a necessity for a measure of this sort, and that most of its provisions are such as have been tested by experience in our own land, and in other countries. Consequently there has been a general acceptance of the remainder of the clauses. Any difference of opinion is left to the Committee stage. But there is one very grave departure that has attracted almost the entire criticism of honorable members, and, looking at the Attorney-General’s speech in moving the second reading, I find that he gives some reasons for this departure. So far as my reading of the Bill goes, in all other portions it is supposed that the person who applies a trade mark shall be the owner of the goods to which that trade mark is applied. That, I think, is a proper limitation. It would safeguard the Bill from many difficulties if it had been adhered to throughout. Once you step beyond that safe limitation, enormous complications and difficulties may arise. But the Attorney-General, in his speech, stated that this was no novel proposal; that in Great Britain there is a law on the subject. I will read his words, so that they may be correctly quoted. The honorable and learned member said that a mark- may be applied in various ways, and in some companies each member of the company or guild or trade has had his own special mark to identify his workmanship. In various Acts of Parliament - I do not wish to occupy time by enumerating the details of them - the principle has been recognised in England for centuries back of having the goods stamped with the workers’ mark.
The honorable and learned member also referred to the law of New South Wales, and said -
In the existing Act of New South Wales there will be found words to which I invite the attention of honorable members. In that Act a “trade mark” is denned as follows : - “Trade mark” includes any mark lawfully used by any person to denote any goods to be goods of (he manufacture or merchandise of such person, or to be goods of any particular description made or sold by such person.
– I think I went on to speak of the definition of “ manufacture. ‘ ‘
– The honorable and learned member went on to say -
In the same section “manufacture” is denned to include “ workmanship and production.”
Having quoted those provisions, apparently with approval, it might have been anticipated that he would follow them in his Bill; but such is not the case. The Attorney-General does not give every person the right to register a trade mark, but gives that right, first of all, to the owner of the goods, and, secondly, to a special section of the community, and that section only. Everybody else is excluded, though they may be workmen getting higher pay,, and employed under better conditions than are union workmen. There may be a single individual who cannot form a union, and yet such an individual under British law,, as quoted by the AttorneyGeneral, would have power to apply his mark. None but those who are members of trade unions, no matter how well paid they may be, or how good the conditions are under which they work, can take aidvantage of this measure.
– I think the British Act refers only to members of guilds or companies.
– I am only quoting what the honorable and learned member said.
– I think I was accurate in what I said : the context is not quoted.
– In the speech from which I am quoting, what the honorable member now says is not stated.
– What I said then is quite consistent with what I say now.
– Certainly ; but I am not aware that the English Act makes any distinction between guild workers and individual workers.
– There are the Cutlers’ Hall marks, and the Goldsmiths’ Hall marks.
– Those are the marks of guilds, whereas I am speaking of individual workers.
– In some of the guilds the members have an individual mark, but as members of the guilds.
– At any rate, the New South1 Wales Act makes no such distinction; and whether any Act does so or not, I fail to see the equity of allowing one particular section of the community, in no way, perhaps, more connected with certain goods than are other sections of th’e community, to affix their own mark for their own benefit - otherwise there would be no reason in affixing it - and not giving the same power to other members of the community.
– We cannot prevent any persons fixing their mark to their goods, and the Bill is only intended to protect against illegal infringement. If employers and employed arrange to fix a mark, they could not be prevented by the State stepping in.
– But the State is stepping in.
– Only to stop infringement.
– But it does not protect others from infringement.
– Yes, it does.
– It only protects members of trade unions.
– It protects anybody who registers a trade mark.
– It only protects a company, firm, or corporation, or ‘members of unions.
– Or an individual.
– I do not think the honorable member for Bland was present when I dealt with that point. Only the owner of the goods is allowed by this measure, except as to trade union marks, to register a trade mark ; that is my reading of the provision, substantiated by legal opinion. I did not pay for that opinion, but I do not suppose it is any the worse for that; at any rate, it is much better to have a wrong legal opinion for which you have not paid, than to have a wrong opinion for which you have paid. However, my opinion was substantiated by a competent legal opinion, namely, that in other parts of this measure, only the owner of the goods is entitled to apply a registered trade mark.
– But unions are not entitled to apply trade marks to goods under this provision.
-^ am perfectly aware of that ; but they have the right of registration, which is not given to other workers.
– Excuse me.
– The right is not given to other workers, however much they may desire to have their mark applied. The honorable member for Bland, whose Ministry introduced this measure in the Senate, said that he did not insert these provisions, because he did not know that under the law of England - I think that was his meaning - there was any provision to prevent such a registration,1 and he did not suppose there was under the
Bill. If the honorable member was satisfied with the law of England, why did he not adopt it? I believe the honorable member is still under the impression that there was no restriction under the Bill.
– I stated in that speech that I had since been informed on legal authority that the law of England did not allow of such registration.
– Under these circumstances, I shall not proceed with my remarks on that point. I understood the honorable member to mean that he believed the law of England did allow registration.
– I said that that had been mv impression.
– However, it seems to me that there is another distinction which, though not larger than that I have already mentioned - the latter is large enough - is important. The second distinction is that, whilst an association of workmen may register a trade mark, an association of employers cannot do so.
– We will provide for that, if the honorable member likes.
– It is not provided in <he Bill. 1 notice that the honorable member for Bland is speaking as the sponsor of the Bill.
– I did not mean to imply that; I mean that those in favour of this provision would favour its extension.
– I accept the explanation. At the present time there is no provision in the Bill for granting the privilege to an association of employers.
– I did not know that the employers desired the privilege.
– The AttorneyGeneral, in gauging the desires of any one section, ought to consider whether similar privileges should not be granted to another section.
– I found this provision in the Senate Bill, and moulded it in the best form I could.
– But the Attorney-General has altered a number of other provisions which he found in the Bill.
– Innocent youth ! He “found it in the Bill.”
– I’ should have imagined that, if the employers wanted the privilege, they would have moved in the Senate to get it granted.
– The Minister and members of this House must look further than what is asked for. They must’ ‘ consider the interests not only of those who make requests, but of those who may be affected by a measure, in which the requests of those who ask are granted. I have already explained that unless the intention is to assist the formation of unions by a method which should not be adopted for that purpose, then any body legitimately forming an association that might be as closely connected with the manufacture of an article as is a trade union should have the same opportunity to register a trade mark as is here given to a trade union. I think that this proposal really has the same political object as the unrestricted preference to unionists that was sought to be embodied in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. It is to increase political power. It is to make the joining of unions almost compulsory, and to give the political Labour Party, of which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports spoke so harshly and so eloquently, additional power, by adding to the strength of the unions which they partially control now, but which they hope to control entirely in the future. That, to my mind, is the evident object of these provisions. It is said that registration of a label is not compulsory, and that it need not be used by employers. I consider that one of the worst features in the Bill is that the measure, as brought in by the Government, does not say what shall or ought to be compulsory, but leaves the compulsion to the members of the unions. That creates a cause of bitterness at once. The measure says, “ You can have what you ask for, but if you want to enforce it, it must be by your own compulsion.” That creates at once a burning cause of bitterness between employers and employes.
– It is a voluntary act.
– But if a union is to benefit by the provision - and if it is not, I should like to know why it is proposed - it must compel the use of the union label, and the whole force of the union must be brought to bear to accomplish what the Government propose for it in this measure.
– Would the honorable gentleman say that a man who has a trade mark must ‘nave compulsion in order to benefit bv it?
– I say that every man who has a trade mark must see that it is used, if he wishes to benefit bv it. In the same way, every union that has a trade mark must see that it is used, if it wishes to benefit by it.
– The union may recommend the use of the mark.
– That is not the experience of the honorable member for North Sydney, as a business man.
– It is my experience.
– The mark is put forward as a guarantee of good faith, and the public are then left to judge for themselves.
– Every one having experience knows that when a trade mark is registered, the cost of maintaining incurred, and the risk of action undertaken, it is because the trade mark is meant to be used. Does the honorable member for Bland say that his experience as a business man tells him anything else?
– I do not say that it is not meant to be used, but it depends upon the public whether they will give it effect.
– In the same way a trade union will register a trade mark because it will be meant to be used.
– And will adopt every lawful means to see that it is used.
– Of course, and the trade unions mean to compel the employers to use their labels. What will be the means resorted to? Do honorable members think that we are simpletons ? Do we not know what will be the means? It will be the boycott of the goods of those who do not use the trade union labels. Honorable members should not come here with such exaggerated innocence as to say that, that will not be the means. It will be the means, and it will be another cause of difficulty and bitterness. I may allude to a remark made by the honorable member for Moira, who said there could not be strife because unions cannot strike. That is not accurate. The honorable member was alluding, of course, to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, but as a matter of fact, we know that under that Act, unions can strike to any extent. The reason the honorable member saw for the introduction of this provision, is a reason which, in the opinion of other honorable members, as well as in my opinion, proves that it is not necessary. I shall not labour that point, as it has already been dealt with by other speakers. When we have already provided means which we were assured by those who supported the proposals under consideration would have the effect of introducing good conditions of employment in the Commonwealth, why we should pile condition upon condition, and provision upon provision to effect what we were assured by those supporting other measures would be effected by those measures, passes my comprehension. Yet that is what we are doing here. The Attorney-General argued that this proposal was desirable because it would encourage trade union conditions in employment. I ask, Are we, the Legislature of the country, to deliberately make the trade unions the arbiters of the conditions of employment ? Trade unions have, in many respects, done good work in introducing improved conditions. I am quite with the workers as to their right to form these unions, and the desirability in their own interests of forming them. I believe they are entitled to anything they can get fairly by their own organization. But we are asked to step in here and allow the trade unions to fix absolutely the conditions of labour and the rates of wages. We know that the members of trade unions are only human. In some circumstances they will accept conditions, even sanitary conditions - to which the Attorney-General alluded as one of the things to be effected by this proposal - that are not desirable. In other cases, they will insist, in the natural selfishnesi found in us all, and found in organizations more fully developed perhaps than in individuals, on things that are by no means desirable in the interest of the community. We know many instances of that. Are we then to make them the arbiters of the conditions, or have we not said by our previous legislation, that Parliament has provided measures which are intended to decide the conditions of employment? The difficulties to which such accumulated conditions and provisions must give rise, in the conduct of commerce, cannot be in the interest of the workers in our industries. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports eulogized the effect of the Victorian Wages Boards. I, myself, when speaking on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, recognised the desirability of some measure to stop the unnecessary reduction of wages. There is, not merely a necessary reduction of wages, but also a very unnecessary reduction, which, without some provision for interference, would lead to industrial conditions which are not desirable. I said then that I believed far more in the Victorian Wages Board system for that purpose than in Arbitration legislation, and I think that the experience of New South Wales is beginning to bring it home to both’ workmen and employers that my belief is justified. The constant, costly, and irritating litigation which has been going on in the New South Wales Arbitration Court is infinitely more troublesome, more disastrous, and less beneficial to those engaged in the industries of the State than the action of the Wages Boards would be.
– Would the honorable member bring under Wages Boards all1 the trades which are not now under them.
-I do not profess to know all the conditions of every trade, but if a method adopted for a good purpose in connexion with any trade has proved successful, I see no reason for not extending it to another.
– In Victoria twice as many trades are not under Wages Boards as are under Wages Boards.
– I know that; and if the Wages Board system has proved successful, if it has increased wages without destroying the industries in which those wages are paid, I should notobject to its extension to trades whose employes do not now benefit by it. My objection to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was founded on the expectation that the results which have followed would follow. I allude to the measure now only to point out’ that that is the proper direction in which to move to secure the improvement of industrial conditions. Why pile on top of that legislation such a cause of dissension as this union label system will be? If the system is adopted, it will not produce the good results which are anticipated. I shall avoid dealing with the matter more fully now, however, because I do not wish to go over ground which other honorable members have traversed. This Parliament is getting a reputation - and not an undeserved one - for such an unnecessary, unreasonable, duplicated, and triplicated interference with commerce that many persons in the community - not employers only, but employes also ask us to leave Australian industries alone for a little, so that those engaged in them may settle down to the present conditions, and may have some distance of time in front of them in which to devote their attention, not to the changes caused in their affairs by our legislation, but to the successful advancement of their businesses. We have placed many enormous difficulties in the way of the conduct of the industries of the country, and we add to them when we single out a special section of the community, as we do in this Bill, give it the right to register trade marks, and intend that it shall bring sufficient pressure to bear to successfully enforce the powers given to it. But before we increase that legislation by this measure and by the other far-reaching and greatly disturbing measures now before us, some of their provisions being based on good reasons, but containing many proposals which are extreme, affecting all the industries and commerce of the country, we should be careful of two things - first, that we propose nothing but what is necessary and desirable, and, secondly, that we make sure that what we propose will be effective, and not merely destructive. That is my attitude on this measure. When the committee stage is reached, I shall take steps, or assist others in taking steps, to effect improvements, although I recognise that, owing to the strange change in the opinions of honorable members opposite since they took possession of the Treasury benches - a change due to the association to which the honorable member for Bland has alluded - I fear that that portion of the measure which is aggressive, and, as I believe, injurious, will be acceptedby the House.
– I have no objection to a Trade Marks Bill, because trade marks are necessary to protect people in the carrying on of their businesses. My great objection to this Bill is the alterations which have been made by the Senate, and accepted by the Ministry.
– With very considerable modifications.
– Ido not care for that. I am against any interference with personal liberty which can be avoided. Parliament placed certain limitations upon unions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, which” were accepted by the Labour Party, and, unless similar limitations are insertedinthis Bill, I shall do all I can to prevent it from coming into force. I do not see why a trade union should be allowed to interfere in any man’s business, or should be given special privileges in connexion with trade marks. Of course, when a union enters into a business for its own profit, as a co-operative concern, it is entitled, like any other manufacturer,to place its trade mark on its productions. The sole object of the special provisions inserted in this Bill is to enable the unionists to force men into their ranks, and to deprive non-unionists of their freedom of action and thought. I strongly oppose any such proposals. I am sick and tired of all the talk that we have heard about democracy. These proposals are absolutely foreign to the principles of democracy. If honorable members opposite admitted that they were Tories in principle, and ceased to boast of their liberalism, and their democratic proclivities, I should have no quarrel with them. If the provisions relating to trade union labels are carried, manufacturers will have to use such labels, or submit to being boycotted by the members of the unions. Why should any man be compelled to employ unionists? What would be said by honorable members opposite if we proposed that the use of only non-union labels should be permitted, with the object of driving men out of the unions? Would they not declare that we were proposing to exercise the greatest tyranny ? No one for a moment would tolerate such a proposal. I am not opposed to trade unions in any way. I believe that they have done some good, and that they have also done a great deal of harm. I would not say that they are perfect, or that the working classes occupy their present position as the result of the good work achieved by the unions. As I have said, I am not opposed to the unions, but I do not intend to give them any advantage by law. If by combination, and by proving themselves to be better than non-unionists, or by co-operation, the members of trade unions can improve their positions, well and good, but we are here to guard the rights, not of one set of persons, but of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. I am astonished to see Ministers who were strongly opposed to all such proposals a short time ago now supporting the Bill in its entirety. The lion is now lying down with the lamb. The Treasurer, for instance, was very strong in his opposition to special labour legislation before he took office, and yet to-day, on account of his fondness for the sweets of office, or owing to some other consideration, we find him calmly accepting proposals which are potent for mischief. It is outrageous that some honorable members should swallow their principles as they have done in connexion with this Bill. I shall do all I can to prevent this measure, or any other framed on the same lines, from being passed. I quite realize how the provisions relating to union labels could be used to boycott tradesmen, or even workmen. If, for instance, a storekeeper did not sell goods bearing the union label, he would probably be called a blackleg, and would be told that he was not taking the proper course to conserve the interests of the working classes. I quite agree with the necessity of protecting the rights of the traders and others in trade marks, and only in so far as the Bill proceeds in that direction will it receive my support.
– Does the honorable member think that the union label will afford any guarantee of value to the consumer?
– None whatever. Non-unionists are in many cases just as good workmen as are unionists. The fact that a man belongs to a union does not carry with it any guarantee of efficiency. Only the other day I met a man in Melbourne who told me that the best men in the unions did not .care whether there were unions or not. He stated that a great number of the unionists were not up to the mark, and that the best men in those organizations had to carry the incapables on their backs. There are plenty of good men in) the unions and plenty of bad ones. The same remarks apply to the men outside the unions.
– Does the honorable member think that new unions, with political objects, will, probably be formed in order to carry out a boycott under the provisions of the” Bill?
– I think that is very likely. We have rendered it impossible for the unions formed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to play the part of political organizations, and no doubt the present proposal is intended to permit of unions with political objects being formed, and thus overcoming the obstacles which are imposed in connexion with the Act just mentioned. My desire is to leave men free to take whatever stand they please, and to follow whatever course in life seems best to them, so long as they do not run counter to the best interests of the community. We have heard a great deal of talk about democracy. I conceive that in order to be true democrats we must not only lookafter our own rights, but also those of other people, and on broad principles, I am absolutely opposed to the union trade mark provisions in the Bill. I trust that those provisions will be eliminated. If that be done. I shall not have very much objection l;i the Bill. Those honorable members. whO call themselves liberals are doing all they can to place restrictions upon every member of the community. If their action is in strict accordance with the doctrines of liberalism I do not know what liberalism is. We should do as little as we possibly can to interfere with the freedom of individuals, so long as they do not act in a manner inimical to the best interests of the people as a whole. I think that the Government might very well consent to an adjournment at this stage. We have now reached the usual time for adjourning - half-past 10 o’clock.
– It is too early ; we ought to continue the debate until the usual hour.
– In view of the fact that the honorable member has asked leave to continue his remarks, and that the Attorney-General has refused to allow the adjournment of the debate, I should like’ to direct your attention, sir, to the fact that there is riot a quorum present. - [Quorum formed.)
– As the AttorneyGeneral will not agree to an adjournment of the debate, I shall conclude by stating that in Committee I shall do my best to secure the rejection of the clauses to which I have referred. I shall spare no effort in that direction, because I think that they are altogether foreign to our ideas of British liberty.
– I should like the Government to consent to an adjournment of the debate. The AttorneyGeneral interjected just now that the discussion should be continued until” the usual hour. Perhaps the honorable and learned gentleman is not aware of it, but the custom in this Parliament has been to adjourn at half-past 10 o’clock on Tuesday evenings. I desire to address myself briefly to this measure - more especially to that part to which the Attorney-General himself has directed attention.
– How many honorable members upon the other side of the House desire to speak?
– I do not know - I have not made any inquiries. I have been present in the House during practically the whole of the discussion.
Debate (on motion by Mr. McCay) adjourned.
– With the permission of the House, I should like to obtain leave to introduce two short Bills. One of them I desire to have read a first time, so that copies of it may be circulated.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi - Attorney-General). - I move -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to amend the Service and Execution of Process Act1901.
The object of the Bill is to obtain power under Federal law to issue a provisional warrant.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
That Mr. Isaacs do prepare and bring in the Bill.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I protest against the adjournment of the debate upon the Trade Marks Bill. Some honorable members, who have travelled hundreds of miles from distant States, have been compelled to sit here all day and witness the erection of a “stone wall “ by members of the Opposition. I would warn the Government that if they allow these tactics to be repeated, we shall get no work done this session. It is quite apparent that there is an organized attempt to prevent anything being accomplished.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member in order in characterizing the debate of this evening as an organized “ stone wall “ for the purpose of obstructing public business? I submit that it is not a fact.
– Order. I will ask the honorable member for Grey to withdraw the remark to which exception has been taken.
– I withdraw it. It is decidedly unfair to bring representatives here for the purpose ofputting up a “ stone wall,” and to adjourn the debate at this early hour of the evening.
– Half-past 10 o’clock is a fair thing.
– It is not. We have done nothing during the past two years. We shall accomplish nothing this session unless the Ministry stiffen their backs. I say that as a friend of the Government. We know that there is urgent work to be done, but unless we make more rapid progress, we shall achieve nothing. It is well known that the last session in any Parliament is chiefly occupied in talking to constituents. No useful work is ever done then. I protest against being brought here merely to gratify the Opposition, whose members are incensed because there has been a change of Ministry.
– I object altogether to the remarks of the honorable member for Grey. I do not know who constituted him a dictator in this House, or how he dares to address either the House or the Ministry in the language which he has employed.Icanassure him that I know of no “stone wall” having been arranged on this side of the Chamber in connexion with this measure.
– The honorable member is very innocent about it.
– I am saying what is true, and therefore there is no need to be innocent. The discussion upon this Bill has not been unduly prolonged.
– All its provisions can be fought out in Committee.
– Will it not save time if the speeches which are made now are not repeated in Committee ? Is the honorable member to come forward and say when honorable members shall deliver their speeches. This is quite a new role for him to play. I can recall to mind occasions when he has insisted upon his right of speech ; but he now desires the suppression of the right of free speech, when itis not unduly exercised. There has been no undue discussion. I was one of the last to speak on the motion for the second reading of the Trade Marks Bill, refraining from taking part in the discussion at an earlier stage- because I had been absent for some days ; but the remarks which I had to offer were curtailed as much as possible, and were made, not with the bad object which the honorable member has suggested, but with the best of purposes in view.
– I think that this difficulty has arisen from the recent change of Government. Had the late Administration . remained in power, no doubt our Standing Orders would have been amended, and honorable members would have had their right of free speech restricted.. I am not one of those, however, who favour such a restriction.
– Have there been any lengthy speeches to-day?
– I am not complaining, bus my suggestion is that, if we are to have lengthy debates, we must either have longer sittings or meet on a greater number of days than we do. I am” greatly in sympathy with the honorable member for Grey, because during the first Parliament the representatives of Queensland had often to attend here under even greater disadvantages than those suffered by the representatives of South Australia, and we keenly felt any delay that took place.
– When the Labour Party were in Opposition they always desired an adjournment at this hour.
– My desire is that we shall now adjourn.
– My suggestion is that we had better meet more days in the week than we do. AT all events, I think it is desirable that we should allow the Opposition a preliminary canter, but I trust that the debate will not be unduly prolonged.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The protest from the Ministerial corner as to the delay in pushing on with public business is one of the richest I have ever heard. The honorable member for Grey rightly said that nothing had been done by this Parliament for the last’ two years, but: he forgot to mention that that was due to the obstructive tactics of honorable members of the Labour Party; that it was due to speeches consisting of pure drivel-
– The honorable member is surely referring to his own speeches
– I “am referring to speeches extending over five or six hours made bv members of the Labour Party.
– What about the speeches made by the honorable member for Macquarie, and the speech on the Standing Orders made by the honorable member for Dalley?
– Those speeches were made during the first Parliament. Whenever the late Government endeavoured to push on with business they were met with obstruction, keen, prolonged, and bitter, on the part of the Opposition.
– The honorable member is, as usual, incorrect.
– They were always asserting that they wished to send the Government and the Parliament to the country ; but now, having reached the Min isterial comer, they could not be dragged to the country by a team of bullocks.
– A certain team made the . attempt.
– The honorable member’s own leader admitted that we often kept a House for his Government.
– I do not know that we need endeavour to send the members of the Labour Party to the country ; they are doing very well as it is. They occupy the .box-seat and, to-night, have warned the Government of what the consequences will be if they dare to conduct business in any other way than that which pleases them. I congratulate the Government upon their cordial and warm supporters, and wonder how long they will submit to political flagellation of this kind.
– Just as long as the honorable member submitted to it.
– We have had tonight a foretaste of what is to come. No doubt we shall have these protests repeated every week - perhaps every night - during the remainder of the session. The Labour Party are, of course. responsible. They have the power to turn out the Government at any moment, and if any one expects that they are going to submit quietly to the ordinary process of government he makes a very great mistake. The Labour Party have the power, and we see to-night how they are beginning to utilize it. They are going to flog the Ministry into carrying out theireverv wish, and we shall look on, with the greatest possible anxiety for the reputation of constitutional government, to see how far the Labour Party will proceed with this kind of flagellation. I am glad that the Opposition are free to protest against impertinence of the kind of which the honorable member for Grey has been guilty. We are not compelled, even if the Ministry are, to sit dumb under it. The Labour Party are not our masters. We h:- s not submitted our programme to the. caucus.
– The honorable member did on one occasion.
– We do not remain in political life for the purpose of doing precisely what the Labour Party desire, and, therefore, we are free to make our protest as often as we please against what I certainly regard as the impertinent speech of the honorable member for Grey.
– When I was young, it was the practice in places of public entertainment to follow a serious drama with a farce, and we owe our thanks to one or two honorable members for having furnished us with relief of that kind this evening. Although anxious to push on with business, I thought that a request by an ex-Minister for the adjournment ofa debate on a matter of such importance as the Trade Marks Bill was, at this stage, one to which the House was. entitled to listen. We are pressing on with two or three very important measures, and as soon as the second reading of the Trade Marks Bill has been agreed to, shall be prepared to move their second reading. I can promise the honorable member for Grey, whose reproaches, so far from affecting me, are such as I hope often to hear, unless better progress be made, that he will find the Government anxious for the House to sit often and long in order that the business of the country may be transacted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at10.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 August 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19050808_reps_2_25/>.