2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I would ask the Prime Minister whether he has noticed that the nitrogenproduring plants, by means of which American agricultural scientists have been impregnating the soil with bacilli, with the object of increasing its productiveness, are reported to be growing prolifically inthe Mount Lofty Range, near Adelaide; and, if so, whether he will cause inquiries to be made with a view to the utilization of the Australian plants, should the representations in regard to them prove to be justified, in less favoured localities in the Commonwealth? I would suggest that, in the first instance, the Prime Minister should communicate with Dr. Holtze, the director of the Adelaide Botanical Gardens, and of the Government, experimental orchard at Mylor, in the Mount Lofty Range.
– I think that we are all acquainted with the marvellous expectations that, have been cherished in the United States in connexion with nitrogen-producing bacilli, and if there be, as there seems to be, some warrant for these expectations, the discovery referred to by the honorable member should prove one of the utmost importance. I shall have pleasure in directing that the matter be further investigated.
– I should like to know whether the Prime Minister could inform the House as to the purport of the communications which have recently been passing between himself and Sir John Quick on the subject of the Tariff Commission reports?
– I think that all but one of the communications have been published in the press. The first announcement by Sir John Quick was not communicated to me, but appeared in the form of a statement in the newspapers, which I had overlooked until I was questioned in regard to it in the House. At a meeting of the Commission in Adelaide Sir John Quick, as chairman, remarked that he had postponed an intended meeting of the Commission in Melbourne in consequence of a statement attributed to me in the press. In my first glance through the newspapers I did not discover the statement to which reference was made, but a latter search disclosed the fact that Sir John Quick’s impression was gathered from an inference drawn by the writer of a newspaper article from certain remarks made by me in the House. Such an inference was not in my mind at the time I spoke. I informed Sir John Quick to this effect, and also advised him that I had just mentioned to the House that it was still possible that progress reports would be received from the Commission before the close of the session. Sir John Quick ex pressed regret that I had been misinterpreted. In view of the inference which had been drawn from my remarks, Sir John Quick had stated that no reports would be presented by the Commission until after Christmas, but on my pointing out to him that any report received after Christmas would have the slenderest chance of being considered immediately, he intimated that an effort would be made to present a report before Christmas.
– Then he acted upon a paragraph which appeared in a newspaper ?
– Yes, without any communication with me.
– I should like to know whether the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Defence has been directed to an article which appeared recently in the Launceston Examiner with reference to the Tasmanian Rangers, who were not permitted to take part in the Birthday Review yesterday ?
– I have had an opportunity of perusing the statements referred to, but I am not in a position to express any opinion in regard to them. Perhaps I may be able to give the honorable member some information to-morrow.
– Upon the 10th inst.. the honorable member for Newcastle asked me a question with reference to long service medals for members of the Naval Militia. I am now in a position to furnish the following information : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence,upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 9th August, vide page 782) :
Clause 2 -
This Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).I move -
That the Chairman do now leave the chair.
I do so for the purpose of entering a preliminary protest against the manner in which this Bill is being forced on our attention at the present time. A little while ago we were told that certain measures, notably the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill, the Seat of Government Bill, and the Electoral Bill, were important, and must be passed this session. The measures mentioned are of the very first order of urgency and importance, and yet the Bill now before us has been suddenly thrust into the forefront of the Government programme. A week ago the consideration of the Electoral Bill was definitely fixed upon as the business for to-day, but we find that, without any announcement to the House, another Bill has been substituted. The Prime Minister told me only a few minutes before we rose on Friday that this Bill would be considered to-day, and the announcement caused me no small degree of surprise.
– Not to the AttorneyGeneral, because he was not here, and, therefore, cannot know anything, as to what occurred. Instead of starting his perkv impudence-
– Order. I would ask honorable members not to use language which can only lead to trouble. I would request Ministers particularly to refrain from interjecting, and would urge honorable members to avoid the use of terms which are calculated to provoke ill-feeling.
– I have no wish to do anything of that kind, but at the same time, I do not intend to be bounced by the Attorney-General. His words are idle so far as I am concerned, except that they may provoke unpleasant retorts. I conceive that I am merely doing my duty in raising my present objection to the action of the Government. Honorable members were not told that there was to be any departure from the programme previously indicated by the order of business on the notice-paper. The Electoral1 Bill is of infinitely greater importance than the measure now before us. I am not now speaking of the relative intrinsic importance of the measures, but of their urgency so far as their order of precedence is concerned. There cannot be, even among those who are specially interested in the proposal relating to the use of union labels, any idea that this measure is of more urgency than the Electoral Bi:,1
– Let us put the honorable member’s interpretation of our opinion to the vote.
– I do not quite understand the honorable member. If he will indicate any way in which the matter can be readily dealt with by the Committee, I shall be quite ready to accommodate him. In my view, the matters to which I have referred are of more urgency than the Bill now under discussion. We were told by the honorable member for Gwydir that 800 persons had been left off the Electoral roll in his constituency, owing to the defective organization of the Electoral Department. We are led to be>lieve by the responsible officers that this disorganization is due to defective legislative machinery, and I think we ought first to direct our attention to matters which are of extreme importance to this House and to the Commonwealth, and allow to stand in abeyance a matter which, at best, can affect only a section of the people. There is no reason for forcing this Bill upon our attention at the present stage. In addition to the matters of urgency, to which I have referred, there is the Sugar Bounties Bill. I have never seen any Government chop and change about with their business as the present Ministry have done. We discussed for two days the Sugar Bounties Bill, which deals with a matter profoundly affecting one of the greatest industries in Australia, and now that measure has apparently to take a back seat until we can dispose of the Bill before us. Then there is the question of popu lation, which, according to the Prime Minister, is supremely urgent. He has introduced amending measures relating to the influx of population to Australia, which have been declared time and again to be of urgent public importance. I have never heard the Prime Minister say that the question of adopting the use of union labels was an urgent or important one. The Attorney-General, even in his wildest flights of pretended sympathy with the unions of Australia, has never said that the question of the use of union labels should be placed in the forefront of the Government programme. Now we are asked to set aside a number of important measures in order that we may betake ourselves to the discussion of a Bill of a highly controversial character, which will provoke long debate and probably create? a good deal of feeling. I protest against this Bill being considered before we have dealt with the measure relating to the redistribution of the electoral power of Australia, before we have dealt with those measures which affect the great sugar industry, and the relationship of the Government proposals to our revenue, and before we have dealt with the question of the introduction of suitable population to Australia, without, which these union-label proposals will be ai dead letter, even if rwe assume them to be good. All these matters are of infinitely more importance than is “that which is now ruthlessly thrust before the attention of the House. ~ Then I object for another reason to precedence being given to this Bill. It is in its very essence, a Bill to create strife. I can describe it in no other way. It is also a measure which possesses no good features by way of a set off. On the contrary, it will sow the seeds of discord between employers and employes in Australia, and will create a rancorous bitterness which we have not known heretofore, but which has been created1 in the country where union-label proposals are most popular - I refer to the United States. But whatever reason may exist there for passing a measure of this character, there can be none in Australia. We have provided other means of settling our industrial disputes, and of arranging and adjusting the relations between capital and labour. Whatever provisions may be applicable to industrial conditions in other parts of the world, they cannot apply to Australia in the sense in which this Trade Marks Bill would apply them.
I hold that we are aiming at bringing into effect ai proposal which has -no good to recommend it, and which will only create strife in the ramifications of our Australian industrial life. Therefore, I protest as earnestly as I can against forcing the measure through at this time, and under the circumstances .before us.
– Yesterday - or, at any rate, very recently - it was stated* in the press that the Opposition intended to use all the forms of the House to prevent this Bill being dealt with.
– In what press?
– .The press which supports the Opposition. I wish to say that, irrespective of whether or not that intimation was inspired, it appears to have been perfectly justified. I hope that this House will meet such tactics as they deserve to be met. The deputy leader of the Opposition to-day - as he has frequently done - has made statements concerning myself which are absolutely unjustified. His remarks this afternoon are entirely in the nature of an after-thought, because, when he asked the Prime Minister the other day what business he intended to proceed .with to-day, there was no expostulation or protest by him. When, in the course of his remarks. ‘ he was challenged upon that important point, he did not venture to answer, but interposed remarks which were absolutely unworthy of him.
– The honorable and learned gentleman knows nothing whatever of my relations with the Prime Minister. His statement therefore is not correct.
– During the time that the deputy leader of the Opposition was speaking I protected him from any interruption whatever. I ask him to extend the consideration to other honorable members which was extended to him.
– I do not know that I am committing any wrong in declaring that the Attorney-General’s statements are not correct.
– The honorable member can make that statement in debate.
– The deputy leader of the Opposition has frequently made accusations against myself, many of which I have allowed to pass unchallenged, whilst, in respect of others, I have told him that they are inaccurate. But he still persists in making them, altogether regardless of whether or not they are justified. He reminds me of a celebrated American, who wrote upon the tombstone of a friend these words -
As a truth crusher, he was unrivalled.
If its author had known the honorable member for Parramatta, perhaps that epitaph would have remained unwritten. The Government have proceeded with business practically in the order in which it appeared upon the business-paper. The Trade Marks Bill was set down for consideration many months ago, and it was in deference to the wish of a deputation representing the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce - a deputation which -was introduced by the honorable member for Kooyong - -that we consented not to press it at that time. We agreed to allow them an opportunity to give the measure their very fullest consideration. Now, when we resume its discussion in the ordinary course, the deputy leader of the Opposition - using the forms of the House - intervenes with a proposal that the Chairman do leave the chair. I ask honorable members to accord that motion the treatment that it deserves - to allow the honorable member and his supporters to talk as they please upon it, and thus to assist us in getting to business as soon as possible.
– I should not have spoken upon this motion but for the extraordinary remarks of the AttorneyGeneral. The deputy leader of the Opposition, in a speech which lasted not more than ten or twelve minutes, protested - in the exercise of what was certainly his right, and in the performance of what he explicitly stated he believed to be his duty - against the consideration of this measure being taken out of its turn. I have no hesitation in saying that it is being taken out of its turn.
– Do not the Standing Orders regulate the manner in which business shall be proceeded with?
– I do not say that the consideration of the measure now is out of order, but merely that the Bill is being taken out of its turn, which is quite a different thing.
– It has been upon the business-paper for a long time.
– Yes; it has appeared on the business-paper for a significantly long time. Some time ago, to-day was specifically set apart for the further consideration of a very important measure - I refer to the Electoral Bill. For some days the further consideration of that
Bil] has been set down for to-day. We all recognise that that Bill is an important one - not intrinsically important as contrasted with some of the great questions of policy which are involved in other measures before the House, but important because of the necessity which exists for passing it before this session closes, in order that the new processes to be observed in connexion with the election soma twelve months hence, if not sooner, may not be interfered with. Consequently, I think that the deputy leader of the Opposition was more than justified in inquiring the reasons for the change which has been made in the order of business. But because he protested the Attorney-General forthwith threatened every honorable member who may differ from him in his view of the measure under immediate consideration. He declared in a way which I think was needlessly far from being conciliatory, that the press had stated that the Opposition were going to use all the forms of the House in order to delay its passing. When he was told that that statement was entirely unauthorized - and he himself produced very cogent evidence of the fact that it was unauthorized by pointing out that the deputy leader of the Opposition raised no protest upon Friday - the AttorneyGeneral said, “Well, if it was not inspired, at any rate, it appears to be correct.” He appealed to the House to view the matter from that point of view. That is a deliberate invitation to the majority to use its numbers in lieu of its reasoning faculties - a not unfamiliar sight in Legislatures, it must be admitted. He thus made a distinct threat against those who may feel it their duty to give this important measure that consideration to which it is entitled.
– The honorable and learned member misunderstood me. I said that if the Opposition resorted to the use of the forms of the House to prevent the passing of the Bill, I hoped that the House would meet such tactics as they deserved to be met.
– The honorable and learned’ gentleman said it appeared that the newspaper paragraph was correct, irrespective of whether or not it was inspired. He made that statement at the conclusion of a ten-minute speech by the deputy leader of the Opposition.
– We have had enough obstruction this session’.
– When honorable members speak in that way of the proceedings this session, I wonder whether they remember what happened last session.
– The Government of which the honorable and learned member was a member had a comparatively easy time last session.
– The honorable member’s standards of comparison must be peculiar to himself, or possibly to the party to which he belongs. Anybody who says that anything in the nature of obstruction has taken place during the current session must possess a defective memory.
– We had a good time.
– Some of those who were then sitting upon the Ministerial side of the House did not enjoy so good a time. But during the present session there has been a large amount of business transacted. More measures have been passed than were passed last year, because the- present Opposition have not persistently attempted to hinder the transaction of business in the way that was attempted last session.
– The greater part of last session was occupied in the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– The majority in favour of the Government last session was not very large, and it was somewhat precarious, even when allowance is made for its size. That, however, is hardly a reason why the Chairman should leave the chair to-day. I regret that I have been led to digress somewhat by the irrelevant interjections which have been made by some honorable members in the Labour Corner. I think we are all agreed that there are portions of the Trade Marks Bill which give rise to certain divergences of opinion, which involve very important questions of policy, and which inevitably must compel a good deal of discussion. The Government cannot expect a minority - I am informed that the numbers upon the union label provisions are very close - to allow a measure of this kind to pass without placing their views fully before the Committee and the country, in the reasonable hope that they may make converts and so transform their minority into a majority.
– We do not complain a bit about that.
– The Attorney-General has complained in anticipation. His action reminds me of the procedure adopted in a certain country, which is described by Lewis
Carroll, I think, and in which punishment is inflicted before an offence is actually committed. The Attorney-General’s fulminations precede the commission of any offence. During the few minutes that he spoke, his attitude towards not only the deputy leader of the Opposition - against whom he appeared to have a political personal grievance - but other honorable members, appeared to be unnecessarily overbearing.
– I can only tell the honorable and learned gentleman how his action appeared to me. I know that his intentions were the most amiable in the world - they always are.
– I think the honorable and learned member himself would have felt very much as I did if he had been in my place.
– I do not think I Would have “ slanged “ a body of honorable members as the honorable and learned gentleman did the leader of the Opposition. At the present time I find that there are nine measures upon the businesspaper, quite apart from the numerous notices of motion by private members, which will be included in the first batch of slaughtered innocents. There is the Electoral Bill, to which I have already referred and the passing of which is particularly urgent. There are also the Sugar Bounty Bill and the Excise Bill, which I imagine a. considerable number of honorable members think must be passed this session.
– The representatives of Queensland are solid on those Bills.
– And, as they are aware, I am supporting them. It is essential in the interests, not only of Queensland,, but of Australian productions, that those measures should be passed. The Prime Minister has told us that he desires the session to close before Christmas. I am quite sure that, however we may differ from him upon other questions, most of us agree that this Parliament should not be expected to sit all the year round - that attendance here for five or six months in the year makes a sufficient demand upon the time of honorable members. I say frankly that a session of that duration makes quite enough demand upon honorable members. We do not occupy seats in this Legislature as a permanent means of earning a livelihood, although some people, judging by the way they speak of the necessity of Parliament sitting continually, appear to think we do. Whether this Parliament sits in Melbourne or Dalgety, a six months’ session should be quite sufficient. We must remember, also, that a general election must take place at the latest at the end of next year. It may come earlier, but I am afraid that it will not. In any event, it must take place at the end of next year, because theSenate elections must be held during the course of 1906, and none of us would be prepared, unless a very considerable interval intervened, to support the holding of a. general election for members of the House of Representatives apart from the elections for that Chamber. In view of this fact, it must be recognised that, if any variation is to be made next year in regard to the time at which Parliament shall be called together, our deliberations must commence earlier than hitherto. In other words, we must meet in May instead of in, say, July.
An Honorable Member. - In February.
– If next session commences in February there are many honorable members who will not attend. Including the present week, there are only five working weeks before Christmas, and surely it is reasonable that measures which will, not call for much debate, and the importance and urgency of which are fully recognised, should receive prior consideration.
– Who is to conduct the business of the House - the Government or the Opposition?
– I would remind the honorable member that the Opposition, as well as the Government supporters, have their rights, and that not many months ago he availed himself of those rights to the full.
– I have occupied ‘ess time in the House than has any other honorable member.
-That statement would be challenged if the honorable member for Wimmera were here. Passing by one or two debatable measures on the businesspaper. I find that we have the Census and Statistics Bills which should not occupy much time, and also the Copyright Bill, awaiting our consideration. The latter is a long and important measure, which has not vet passed the second-reading debate. TheseBills, together with the Bill to amend the Immigration Restriction Act, the Contract Immigrants’ Bill, and the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, which pre said to be of an urgent and pressing character, are sufficient to occupy the attention of the House for some time.
– Why should we not proceed with their consideration?
– Because these important measures must inevitably involve lengthy debate, and I wish the passing of other measures to be assured. I do not wish the consideration of those measures left in abeyance until Christmas or later.
– We will pass them, or, at least, I hope so.
– I wish them to be passed, but my desire is that they shall be fairly dealt with. The Government have arranged the business of the House in such a way that there will not be a fair chance for them to be passed this session, or, at all events, to be properly considered before they are finally dealt with. I was surprised to learn that the Trade Marks Bill was to be further considered to-day. The Attorney-General tells us that the delay in resuming its consideration has been due to his desire to comply with the wish of certain critics, who desired to give further attention to it. That sounds excellent.
– When a deputation asked for a month’s delay, the AttorneyGeneral said that it was impossible.
– That is so, but notwithstanding that statement, the further consideration of the Bill was forthwith delayed, and now, although no one anticipated that its consideration, would be resumed this session, it is once more brought forward. I do not know whether or not this is due to the fact that the Attorney-General has a leisure week; but the statement made late on Friday that the Trade Marks Bill would be the first business for to-day certainly caused some surprise. I have the greatest doubt as to the wisdom of certain portions of the measure, and I cannot undertake to support them until I hear more in their favour than has yet been adduced. As one of those who think that an important matter of this kind should be fully and fairly discussed, and not pushed on by mere efforts of brute force at the end of a session, I wish to make my protest against the Government proposal. The business on the notice-paper, as it stands, is sufficient to occupy our attention for a session, and the most contentious of all this business is that which is now brought forward. As a matter of fact, the business of the House took a fresh start last week, many new measures being then placed on the notice-paper. I know that it is only beating the wind to make any protest ; that, as the honorable member for Riverina pithily puts it, the Government have control of the business, and have a majority consisting of honorable members who will do anything that they ask. I venture to say, however, that they will find that many of their supporters will require more information in regard to the Trade Marks Bill than we have been accustomed, during the past few months, to receive from the Ministerial benches.
– Why not give them a show to obtain that information?
– Because I desire reasonable time to be given for the consideration of other measures, whose passing during the present session is assured. I would prefer to see the Sugar Bounty Bill and the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, rather than the Trade Marks Bill, passed this session.
– Why not pass all of them ?
– Because all these matters must be discussed. Do honorable members expect those who wish to criticise this Bill to remain silent?
– Does the honorable and learned member anticipate any chance oF discussing it next session ?
– Certainly, I do not see why the next session should not be a sound business one, unless the preliminary speeches of die ensuing election campaign are to occupy the time of the House.
– What about the Tariff?
– Does the honorable and learned member expect a general Tariff revision next session?
– I do.
– Although I know that I shall be told that I am obstructing the business of the House, I desire to say that the Government are taking, the best possible course to render impossible the passing of useful measures during the remainder of the present session, unless they choose the further alternative of prolonging the session beyond reasonable bounds. Holding these views, I desire briefly _ to express my dissatisfaction with the action of the Government, and to say frankly that I think that they are taking a course which neither the stage of the session which we have reached and the state of business, nor their duty to the House in the least degree justifies.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).I shall take only a few minutes to reply to a statement made by the Attorney-General, which I characterized at the time as being absolutely incorrect. I refer to the assertion that I said nothing when I learned that This business would be taken to-day. As a matter of fact. I had a conversation in the lobby with the Prime Minister in regard to this very matter, and did my best to dissuade him from taking any course which would interfere with the passing of the Electoral Bill. I pointed out the urgency of that measure, and told him that even if it were passed at once the Department would not be placed in thorough working order before the expiration of the present Parliament.
– I was referring to the honorable member’s public statement.
– Does the honorableand learned gentleman think that I should have created a stir in the House - that I should have done that for which he is blaming me to-day ? The moment that I rose this afternoon the honorable and learned member interjected in the most impudent and rude way.
-He talked about tombstones.
– I could not see the application of that remark any more than I could realize the application of his reference to Captain Cuttle when I was speaking the other day. The honorable and learned member reminds me of the cuttle-fish, because whenever he finds himself in trouble he clouds the political’ waters in order that he may escape. That is what he did a few days since, and as soon as I rose this afternoon he met me with a rude interjection. I do not think that that is the way to expedite the business of the House, nor do I consider that the making of piteous appeals to his confreres in the Ministerial corner to “ sit tight “ will help him. Does not the honorable and learned gentleman see that these piteous appeals to his own side to refrain from speaking makes our obligation to fairly criticise these measures all the greater. The leader of the LabourPartymay laugh-
– I am laughing at the way in which the honorable member is fishing for an excuse to waste time.
– I do not object to these interjections ; they occupy a little time but serve no useful purpose. They certainly will not deter the Opposition from criticising this proposal in a fair and reasonable way. I have not the slightest doubt that that criticism will be searching, though I hope that it will not be unfair or unduly prolonged. If anything would tend to lengthen it, it would be the rudeness of those in charge of the measure, and the conspiracy of silence on the part of certain honorable members in regard to some of its provisions. I appeal to the Committee as to whether this is not a measure whose provisions should be debated and explained. No measure coming before us needs more searching criticism. It was most unfair for the Attorney-General to attack me as he did when I rose to protest publicly, as I had already protested privately to the Prime Minister, against the consideration of the Bill being forced on us to-day. I do not know what he intended to be the application of his remark about tombstones, but certain honorable members have been seriously thinking of subscribing to a tombstone for him, since his frequent absences from the Chamber have given us ground for believing him to be dead and gone. Probably the reason for the long postponement of the measure has not been a desire to compliment the honorable member for Kooyong and the Chambers behind him, so much as to consult the convenience of the Attorney-General. I have no intention of taking advantage of the forms of procedure to obstruct the measure. All I intend to do is to see that it is thoroughly andfairly discussed, and I hope that the Attorney-General will not make any more attacks on me for doing what it is undoubtedlymyduty to do.
– The course of moving the Chairman out of the chair is one which is never taken by an honorable member unless he is compelled to take it, as the honorable member for Parramatta has shown himself to be, in order to obtain an opportunity to protest against the bringing forward of the Trades Marks Bill today. I have no wish to prolong the discussion. It is generally Ministerial mem- bers who do that, whilst members of the Opposition are blamed for it. Although the Trade Marks Bill is the first order of the day on the notice-paper: to-day. for weeks past it has stood sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth, and only on Friday last was eighth. Have not the Opposition a reason to protest against this sudden alteration of position, which has resultedin springing the measure upon the Committee?
What guarantee have we that, if we pass the Trade Marks Bill, the Government will have a working majority to deal with other important legislation, such as the Electoral Bill and the Sugar Bounty Bill? The Labour Party, who supply the Government with its strength, may leave as soon as the Trade Marks Bill is passed.
– Do the members of the Labour Party usually leave when there is business to be done?
– It would suit the Opposition to .have the Government left without a majority.
– We hare come here to do business, and to pass other measures besides the Trade Marks Bill. I should not like the Government to be compelled to put up the shutters because the absence of the Labour Party left them no majority to work with. The Trade Marks Bill affects the Labour Party more than any other party, and consequently it would not be surprising if, directly it was passed, they were anxious to get into recess. The.mea-. sure is a controversial one, which it will take several nights - probably a fortnight - to pass. At the end of the time representatives from other States will wish to leave for their homes, so that they may spend the Christmas season with their families. What likelihood will there be of getting other measures through then?
– Some of us will stand by.
– I am sure that you, Mr. Chairman, have never heard the motion that you do leave the chair moved with less heat or passion than have been shown today. The Opposition have almost whined in their pleading to the Government that this measure should not be proceeded with at once. But, instead of being answered graciously, we have been spoken to by the Attorney-General in bullying tones, with a reference to tombstones, though I do not know what that reference meant, unless the honorable and learned gentleman wished to express his desire to see the Opposition under tombstones. At all events, his remark put me into a most miserable state of, mind, and I certainly cannot understand its application to the honorable member for Parramatta, who, as a. rule, is most jocular and genial. A literary acquaintance of mine, the sage of Chelsea, said that the best gospel ever written was that a lie should never .live. I apply Carlyle’s statement to the remark of the Attorney-
General that the’ Opposition are “ stonewalling.” That is a lie which should not be allowed to live. You, Mr. Chairman, are so well known for your love of justice, and the reasons given this afternoon why you should leave the chair have been so powerful, that I should not be surprised to see you leave of your own account. 1 cannot understand why the Minister of Trade and Customs is allowing the Trade Marks Bill to supersede the Seat of Government Bill. Surely he has not lost all interest in New South Wales. Last week, I was told to shut my eyes and open my mouth to see what I would get in regard to the Bill, but I said that I could not be taken in with promises of that kind. By keeping my eyes open, I have found that, although there are nine dishes on the bill of fare for to-day, the Seat of Government Bill is not one of them. It is not even an entree. In my opinion, this is a make-believe menu, and if we asked for a good many of the dishes set down on it we should be told, “ I am verv sorry, sir, but that dish is off.”
– The honorable member is making a good meal before approaching the Trade Marks Bill.
– I do not intend to waste time by discussing the Bill under the motion that the Chairman do leave the chair. I am giving reasons why the Government should reconsider their attitude in regard to the Bill. For months it has been buried beneath other business ; and one might have thought that it was a measure having to do with the politics of Bulgaria or some country other than Australia, so little did we hear of it. The AttorneyGeneral tells us to-day that the measure has been held back to meet the convenience of its critics outside, but the other day the newspapers reported him as saying that he would not delay the measure at all. Which statement does he stand by ? I do not know whether the honorable and learned gentle.man is usual 1v peevish, but I hone that in future he will treat the Opposition differently. The honorable member for Parramatta has been grossly insulted by him, while he had no ground for saving that the Opposition are “ stone-walling.”
– I desire to frankly announce that I shall do everything that lies, in my power to prevent the passing of the provision for the adoption of trade union labels. Every member of the mercantile community believes that the Government are endeavouring to pass legislation which will have a most pernicious effect upon our industries and upon trade and commerce generally, and if any waste of time occur? responsibility must rest upon the Government. The measure, as originally, drafted, was one which we should have been glad to assist the Government in passing into law, but it now has upon it a most objectionable excrescence in the form of the provisions for the adoption of trade union labels. It is quite a mistake for the AttorneyGeneral to suggest that the honorable members who sit in the Opposition corner have been guilty of obstructing the, Government in their general conduct of the business of the House. On the contrary, we have done everything in our power to assist them in placing upon the statute-book measures which we regard as calculated to promote the best interests of the community. .Commercial men and manufacturers have given the Bill the most careful consideration, and they will fully approve of my conduct in declaring that I shall fight it to the bitter end. The AttorneyGeneral stated that he desired to consult the interests of the members of the business community who waited upon him, .and I admit that he gave fair and reasonable hearing to their representations. He knows full well, however, that the members, of the deputation were not satisfied with the amendment he proposed, which, in fact, is regarded as even more objectionable than the original provision. We fought the Commerce Bill because we did not believe that it was a just measure.
– The Bill is now being fought in the Senate.
– If we believe that, in the best interests of the community, certain measures should be opposed, we shall fight them line by line in this House,. or in the other Chamber. I am very . glad that the deputy-leader, of the Opposition has, by means of his motion, afforded me an opportunity to frankly declare my position, and to press upon the Attorney-General1 the desirability of abandoning the provisions relating to the use of trade union labels and bringing down another measure next session dealing specifically with that branch- of the subject. That would be the proper course to .adopt.
– We do not believe in onesided treatment of that kind ; we object to class legislation.
– There is no fairer man than the -leader of the Labour Party, and I am sorry to hear him impute to us a desire to favour any one class of the community as against another.
– The honorable member may not be aware of it, but that is what he is doing.
– My belief is that the provisions relating to union labels would operate against the workers of Australia to a greater extent than they imagine, and that we are fighting in their interests as much as in those of any other class. My honorable friends must not imagine that they are the sole custodians of the interests of the workers of Australia. I claim to be as much the representative of the workers in my electorate as of any other section in it. I know that the workers believe that my claim is well justified. It is not right to suggest that in opposing the ‘Bill, as we shall oppose it, line by line-
– The honorable member opposes everything that is introduced for the benefit of the working classes.
– That is quite untrue.
– Order. The very thing that I have tried to prevent has now occurred. The honorable member for Kooyong has made a remark which is distinctly out of order, and I must ask him to withdraw it. .1 must also request honorable members to refrain absolutely from making interruptions.
– I withdraw my remark, but wish to say that any statement to the effect that I oppose everything that is intended to confer benefit upon the workers is absolutely incorrect and at variance with my actions in this House and outside of it. I am sure that my statement to this effect would be fully supported by many of the workers who are employed by the companies with which I am associated. My object has always been to secure fair play for every man, and any assertion to the contrary would be absolutely untrue. I do not adopt the apologetic attitude that has been taken up by .some honorable members v who have preceded me. Although I shall do nothing to waste time, I wish honorable members to know that the gloves are off, and that I shall oppose in every possible way a measure which, to the best of my belief, would have disastrous results. The opposition which is being directed to the Bill should not call down on us any reproaches from members of the
Government, some of whom do not believe in it. I think we are fully justified in insuring that the public shall be fully informed, and we should therefore give the fullest consideration to the Bill before us to avoid harmful results.
– I cannot take any exception to the course adopted by the honorable member for Parramatta in affording honorable members an opportunity to protest against the action of the Government in connexion with this measure. The programme before us is of such a character that the most sanguine cannot expect that it will be overtaken! during this session. The Electoral Bill is of immediate importance in view of the possibility that honorable members may unexpectedly be called upon to face their constituents. Then the Sugar Bounties Bill and the Sugar Excise Bill require to be dealt with in the interests of Queensland. Then there are the two measures for the amendment of the Immigration Restriction Act, which the Prime Minister has declared to be of the greatest urgency. Besides all these Bills, we still have to deal with the final stages of the Commerce Bill. Yet we are called upon to consider the most debatable Bill in the whole of the Government programme. We can quite understand why it is so debatable. The late Government themselves did not introduce the Bill in its present form.
– I do not think that they introduced it a.t a fi. It had been previously introduced in the Senate.
– The Bill was taken over by the present Government.
M,r. Watson. - It was introduced before the Government of which the honorable member was a member came into power.
– It was introduced by the Watson Government, and the honorable member for Bland and his fellow members of the Cabinet did not think it necessary to insert these provisions in it. We have heard a good deal by way of interjection in regard to their zeal for the welfare of the workers. It is a wonderful kind of zeal, seeing that they did not consider it necessary to insert these provisions in the Bill which the;’ introduced.
– The members of the Labour Party wish- the Attorney-General to pull the chestnuts out of the fire.
– Apparently it is a question of bargaining, and I am opposed to any Ministry abandoning their principles for the sake of bargaining. Apart from that consideration, however, I claim that it has been too much the custom of this Parliament to accept the most important “tacks” to measures - “tacks” with the most far-reaching results - rather than risk their tenure of office. We had an instance of that in connexion with the Immigration Restriction Act. Did the provision which has caused the most trouble in the administration of that Act appear in the Bill in the form in which it was originally introduced? Certainly not. At first the proposal in question was opposed by the Government, but it was afterwards accepted. Similarly the provision prohibiting the employment of black labour upon mail steamers was not included in the Postal Act as that measure was originally introduced. As a matter of fact, the Government opposed it in the Senate, but when the Bill reached this Chamber they accepted the provision. Here we have another instance of the same procedure. I do not blame the Watson Government for their action. They naturally intended this Bill to deal with what are commonly supposed to be the objects of a trade marks measure.
– But this provision was inserted in the Senate, and was forwarded to the House whilst the Reid Government were in power.
– The Reid Government ‘had nothing whatever to do with that Bill.
– The provisions in respect of the union label were inserted in the Bil before the Reid Government took office.
– But the Reid Government did not move to recommit the measure for the purpose of considering those clauses.
– The AttorneyGeneral is telling us the same old story - “We are not so bad as our predecessors.” He knows that I am speaking of “tacks,” which have more far-reaching effects than have the original measures themselves. This is another illustration of that practice. The provisions in regard to the union label were “tacked” to the Bil] introduced by the Watson Government. The present Government have not only accepted those provisions, but have accepted them as part of the arrangement by which the;y hold office.
– What is the justification for that statement r”
– Let the Attorney-General deny it if he can.
– Most certainly I deny it.
– I say that it is one of the assumed “ bluffs “ of the honorable member. I deny it.
– Let the honorable member for Bland deny that he insists upon this Bill being proceeded with this session.
– I hope to see all the measures upon the business-paper proceeded with this session. If I had my way, I would keep the Opposition here till every one of those Bills had been passed.
– Let the honorable member deny that he has insisted that the Government should proceed with this measure during the present session.
– Byl way of explanation, and in reply to the “ fishing “ question of the honorable member, I merely desire to say that I have asked the Government to proceed with every Bill upon the businesspaper, and to finish their consideration this” session.
– I should just like to say, by way of explanation, that the suggestion that any member of the Labour Party has approached the Government and insisted upon this Bill being proceeded with is not correct. Our position in regard to the measure under consideration is no different from our position in regard to any other Bill.
– The explanations of the honorable member for Bland and the Attorney-General do not throw much light upon the question. As a matter of fact, I know that the honorable member for Bland is prepared to allow some other measures to be sacrificed so long as this Bill is not sacrificed.
– That statement is not correct.
– The honorable member must allow me to say that, in order to end the session, he was prepared to sacrifice some other Bills.
– That is absolutely incorrect, and I challenge the honorable member’s authority.
– The honorable member has spoken several times of his desire to end the session, and has stated that by arrangement that end might be achieved. He said that if it were arranged with the Government what Bills should be passed-
– That statement is incorrect.
– It is one of the honorable member’s fairy tales.
– I am not in the habit of telling fairy tales. In view of the assurance of the honorable member for Bland, I can only say that I have misunderstood him. Upon more than one occasion he has stated that he desired to end the session as early as possible, and that if the Government and the Opposition could come to an arrangement as to the work to be done - that, of course, always implies a sacrifice of some measures at the end of the session
– I suggested that a fortnight should be allotted to the consideration of this particular Bill.
– The honorable member was asked if he would forego the most debatable measure on the business-paper - I refer to this Bill - and he replied “ No.”
– I said that I would forego none.
– I have no hesitation in saying that the Government are . perfectly aware that this is one of the measures to the postponement of which the honorable member will not assent.
– Ask him if he will.
– He has already said that he will not. In consequence of his attitude, the Government are bound to give it that prominent position upon the business-paper which it now occupies. If they did not they would experience trouble with a certain section of their supporters. The honorable member for Bland cannot expect me to come to any other conclusion, because the fact is patent.
– I expect the honorable member, in common with other honorable members, to accept an assurance when it is given.
– I have already told the honorable member that if he did not mean all that I inferred I misinterpreted his language. But the fact is patent, nevertheless. The honorable member insists upon this measure being dealt with during the present session. I cannot understand the reason why he should insist upon pressing forward the union label provisions qf the Bill. He has maintained, both in this Parliament and in another, that our object should be to promote peace between employers and workmen. By sup- porting this Bill, he is introducing, not peace, but strife. After we have established tribunals in some of the States, in addition to the Federal tribunal, for the settlement of industrial disputes, the honorable member and his party are now acting as if thos,e institutions were useless. They are supporting a measure which will not only result in strife between employers and employes, but which will introduce strife into every household in Australia.
– What I have stated is a fact. The honorable member knows that the first effort to enforce the union label provisions will be by way of boycott. An attempt will be made to influence individuals and households, to boycott certain goods, because they do not bear a particular label. That is the only power which is sought by the Bill.
– No. It confers a power to protect the owner of a trade mark against fraud. The honorable member is standing up for fraud and pirating.
– I will not ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark, because I do not believe that he means it. He knows perfectly well that I have never stood up for fraud.
– What would the honorable member term a man who imitates a union label or any other kind of label?
– That is a very skilful way of drawing a red herring across the trail. But it does not answer my argument at all. There is no provision in any Trade Marks Act in the world for registering a trade union label-
– I know of nearly forty of such Acts.
– Not Trade Marks Acts.
– The honorable member is aware of the Trade Marks Acts in the United States?
– I am speaking of the registration of a union label-
– I am speaking of union trade marks.
– My remarks apply to the union label which is proposed in this Bill.
– The power to register a trade union label exists in a great number of the States of America. There they are called “trade marks.”
– So far as I am aware, no Trade Marks Act passed for general trade mark purposes, contains any provision for legalizing union labels, or union marks. I do not object to the Government submitting these provisions in a separate measure. They have a perfect right to do so, if the pressure put upon them is sufficient to induce them to adopt that course. What I object to is that such provisions should be mixed up with, and tacked to, a general Trade Marks Bill. The Ministry are making use of this measure to force these objectionable provisions through Parliament. That is an undesirable thing in connexion with any legislation. We have already objected to it in connexion with financial measures. If a Bill has a certain object, it is most undesirable that we should tack to it provisions having an entirely different object. They should be embodied in a separate Bill. It is open to the Government even now to adopt that course; they might very well place the provisions relating to the. trade union label in a separate measure. I hope that the Government, as well as the honorable member for Bland, will recognise that it is futile at what is practically the end of the session to enter upon the further consideration of this very debatable measure if anything practical is to be done. I trust that the Ministry will realize that even some of their own supporters are not -with them in this regard ; that . they see more clearly than they do the great danger which legislation of this class must necessarily involve. The Legislatures of Australia have done more than has the Parliament of any other coun-try to establish sound labour conditions, and why should we revert to the methods adopted in countries where it has been impossible by other means to improve the position of the workers. Why should we revert to a barbarous system, which must stir up strife and cause embitterment as between master and man? Why should we pass a law which, if carried to the extreme, must disturb our producing, manufacturing, and trading interests without securing any good result ? The Legislatures1 of most of the States, as well as the Commonwealth Parliament, have passed measures which some persons, at all events, consider will secure reasonable working conditions, and yet an attempt is being, made, without any necessity whatever, to force the passing of a Bill containing provisions which the High Court will? I am sure, declare illegal. I feel confident that, if appealed to, the
High Court wil] determine that the provisions relating to the trade union label properly form no part of a Trade Marks Bill.
– The same question would arise if the two matters were dealt with separately. The validity of the trade union clauses would not be the more assured by their being embodied in a separate measure.
– The union label is being dealt with as if it were a trade mark.
– That is the only way in which it can be put.
– Surely there are other ways of dealing with the matter.
– The late Attorney-General said that it was immaterial whether or not the union label provisions were passed.
– The probability is that he was right, but I am not one of those who believe in the passing of legislation which we are assured will be declared invalid. Apart from the Federal Act, we have in Australia State conciliation and arbitration laws which apply to all but a small section of the population, and surely, if they are found to be advantageous, the Legislatures of those States which have not yet taken action in this direction will pass similar measures. That being so, why should we pass a Bill containing provisions that will lead to strife in private and domestic circles? Above all, I cannot conceive why, at the eleventh hour of the session, and when other legislation that is much more pressing awaits our consideration, an attempt should be made to force into law a measure of this kind, which is not only experimental, but which, in view of legislation that we have already passed, is unnecessary, and also contains provisions that might well be embodied in a separate Bill, to be dealt with in the coming session.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth).’ - I also arn indebted to the honorable member for Parramatta for giving us an opportunity, now that an attempt is being made to force this measure through the House, to discuss the question in its broader sense, instead of being confined, as we should otherwise have been, to a consideration of each clause as submitted. The honorable member who- has just resumed his seat showed that the Watson Government when in power had not the anxiety that they now profess for the passing of a measure providing foi a union label. The honorable member asked what was the reason foi this; but, as was only to be expected, received no satisfactory reply. I think it is fairly obvious that the Labour Party in this House did not think at that time that the passing of a law relating to the union label was essential.
– Read the report of my second-reading speech. The reason is given there.
– That is the one place to which I should not look in order to ascertain the true opinions of the honorable member. I think that the reason for the change of front is very obvious to any one who examines the history of last session, especially in relation to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. As that measure originally stood, it could and would have been used to compel people to join political unions, and so to compel them to subscribe to the labour leagues, and, in fact, to the electioneering expenses of the members of the Labour Party in this House.
– A most admirable idea.
– The majority of honorable members thought the idea so admirable that they inserted certain safeguards preventing any preference being given to a union that could devote its funds to political purposes, or in any way exercise its powers in a partisan political spirit. The mere insertion of those safeguards at once struck at the root of the Bill, about which honorable members of the Labour Party were then so keen; but the union’ label provisions of this Bill were not definitely inserted in it until the Watson Government had left office.
– The honorable member is wrong. When the Bill was before another place, Senator Pearce moved the insertion of the union label clause long before the Conciliation and Arbitration Bil] had been finally dealt with bv this House.
– The Bill now before us will be just as effective, so far as giving a preference to supporters of the Labour Party is concerned as would have been the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill as introduced. The immediate outcome of the passing of this Bill will be a series of boycotts. Not only will goods which do not bear the union label be boycotted, but shopkeepers offering for sale any article on which the union label does not appear will be treated in that way.
– Shopkeepers, even at the present time, could place union labels on their goods.
– Can the Minister be marked with a union label, when only last session the honorable gentleman was one of those who was most anxious to keep as far away as possible from certain associations? It is obvious that when this boycott has been established, all workers must necessarily join a union, otherwise there can be no sale for the products of their labour. If they do, the unions which register union labels will become political bodies different altogether, from those now coming within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. These new political unions, for every recruit they secure, will pay a considerable sum into the party war-chest.
– Does not the honorable member think that a good idea?
– What is the honorable member’s opinion ?
– I think it is a capital idea. We are trying to realize it, or, at all events, to do something in that direction.
– It is an ideal that does not reflect credit upon the patriotism of the honorable member’s party, although it is an excellent ‘hard-headed proposal to increase its organization and funds. The moment the Labour Party succeed in compelling a majority of the workers of the Commonwealth to come within their Political Labour Leagues and to subscribe to their political war-chest, that moment the honorable members of the party, who are now so anxious to see this measure passed, will be here to stay.
– We do not object to that.
– Honorable members of the Labour Party entirely fail to understand their unfitness to occupy seats in this Chamber.
– We need some more from Oxford.
– The object that the Labour Party have in view, in attemptingto pass the union label provisions of this Bill, may not seem a particularly noble one, but one cannot but be struck by the unanimity with which they are now urging it. This piece of legislation, which is designed in the interests, not of the workers themselves, but of the representatives of the Labour Leagues in this House, is the only measure in which any interest has been evinced during the life of this Parliament by the Labour Socialistic Party. Other measures of national importance have come and gone, but many of the members of that party have scarcely honoured’ us with their wisdom or their presence. One has only to propose something intended to strengthen the personal and political position of the members of the Labour Party in order to cause every one of them to become at once instinct with life, and to take his place in the House. It is a sorry thing that any party in this House should take such a selfish view of their responsibility to the country. But the Labour Party, as a party, must soon lose its cohesion, and begin to disintegrate. No party can .continue to exist for any length of time whose principles are absolutely foreign to the interests of national politics. We know that the members of that party are all eager to become members’ of the legal profession, and those who have followed the history of arbitration in New South Wales are aware why that is. The Labour lawyers there have taken out of the war-chests of the unions’ funds which have been, the accumulation of years. The New South Wales unions had, by ceaseless endeavours extending over a long term, collected not inconsiderable reserves against contingencies, but during the last two or three years we have seen the representatives of the workers in that State become lawyers, and, as lawyers, use the greater part of the funds of the organizations for their own expenses.
– What does the honorable member mean. ‘ by that ?
– I mean that the Labour lawyers are getting the funds which belong to the unions.
– Does the honorable member mean that they get them without the permission of the unions?
– No ; they take them by process of law ; but the result is that the lawyers are getting fat, and the unions are getting thin. No doubt this Bill is intended to expedite that process, and all members of the Labour Party will be able to get fat when they have been able to put two or three measures of this kind on the statute-book The aims of these honorable gentlemen are not unselfish. Although they speak on the platform, and in the press, of their disinterestedness, and of the selfishness of all others, they are the only persons who have benefited by the “Labour” legislation which has been passed in Australia during the past five 3’ears.
– That is a suggestion worthy of the honorable member.
– It is absolutely true.
– It is an absolute falsehood.
– I do not wish to worry the Temporary Chairman about keeping the honorable member in order, and so I content myself with repeating that the correctness of my statement is known to all thinking people throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth.
– It is known for what it is.
– Who gets the bulk of the business in the New South Wales Arbitration Court? Labour members.
– A man who is not a Labour member, and is not in Parliament - Mr. Beeby.
– Why, he ran as a Labour candidate at the lastelection, and it was only the good sense of the electors which prevented him from becoming a Labour member ! One of the Labour members in this House is so engrossed in the business of getting money from the unions that he has only very little time to spare for attendance upon his duties in this Chamber.
– He has been in only two cases. The honorable member had better confine his criticism to the conduct of his leader in this matter.
– It is better to be conducting proceedings in the Arbitration Court than, to be conducting proceedings in the Divorce Court.
– The Arbitration Court is a court to divorce labour and capital.
– Which would the honorable member rather be in ?
– In view of the utterances of the Vice-President of the Executive Council last session, one might expect him to occupy a chair in some obscure corner of the Minister’s room for the next fortnight, while the honorable member for Bland, and others, are discussing this Bill. The honorable gentleman and the Treasurer, in view of their indignant indictments against similar legislation last session, might be expected to oppose the Bill. No doubt it is very pleasant to occupy a throne, and, regardless of the man behind it, to stare with impassive countenance across the footlights, but the honorable and fearless gentleman is so anxious to move his arms, as the strings pull that heinvoluntarily makes interjections in support of legislation in which he does not believe. I hope that he and the Treasurer will, in the course of the next fortnight, tell us whether they intend to indorse what they said last session, or whether they have thrown away the last shred of principle.
– Does the honorable member hint that he is going to “ stonewall “ the Bill for a fortnight?
– I ask you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, as an authority on “ stonewalling,” if anything I am doing at the present time can be so construed?
– I did not say that the honorable member is “ stone- walling.” I would not for a moment say that he is.
– The honorable member for Riverina interjected this afternoon that he has opened his mouth in this Chamber fewer times than any other honorable member. No doubt he has delivered himself of fewer pearls of thought ; but I think that it is preposterous for him to say that he has spoken fewer times than other honorable members, and has a right to claim a record for muteness.
– The honorable member for Wentworth has spoken about 150 times this session.
– The honorable member for Bass has addressed the Chamber on many occasions, but invariably confines himself to the statement that the discussion has lasted long enough, and that we should address ourselves to the business of the country
– That as what we are asking the Government to do, but they will not.
– Exactly. We wish them to proceed with business in which the whole country is interested. The Electoral Bill, for instance, is an urgent measure which should be passed this session. Any amendments made in our electoral machinery should be made sufficiently early to enable the officers intrusted with the conduct of elections to become conversant with them before putting them into operation, and so to avoid mistakes. But, in humble obedience to the suggestion of the honorable member for Bland, the Government have submitted the union label provisions,, which concern only a section of a class. The whole country is interested in the Trade Marks Bill, apart from the union label clauses, the Electoral Bill, the Sugar Bounty Bill, the Excise (Sugar) Tariff Bill, the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill, the Contract Immigration Bill, the Census and Statistics Bill, and the Copyright Bill. Yet a fort- night of the five weeks remaining to us is to be given up to the dis.cussion of a measure which vitally interests only the representatives of a section of a class. The honorable member for Bland said, by way of interjection, that he had suggested giving a fortnight to the consideration of this Bill, and if he’, who is so desirous that it shall become law, thinks that this discussion should occupy a fortnight, the probability is that (he Bill will not be passed for a month or two. Why, then, should not the Government put it on one side, and let us deal with such measures as the Sugar Bounty Bih and the Excise (Sugar) Tariff’ Bill, which could be put through in a very few days? After the first few great principles involved are settled, those measures can be easily disposed of in Committee. Then there is the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill, which honorable members of the Labour Party are supposed to be anxious lo pass into law.
– The honorable member is preventing that result from being brought about.
– Honorable members of the Labour Party have been speaking from every platform in Australia with regard to the necessity for immigration, and yet they are now imposing a very .large bunker in the way of desired legislation. The Contract Immigrants Bill, which was introduced by the Prime Minister only last Friday, should be proceeded with without delay. X do not regard that Bill in its present shape with any particular favour, because it appears to me to provide specifically for administration upon all-fours with that which has been carried out in the past by the Prime Minister and Sir Edmund Barton. Then, again, the Copyright Bill is of immense importance. Do honorable members of the Labour Party pretend for a moment that that measure will not affect for good more people than will the boycott proposal contained in the Bill before us? We know that the provis’ons relating to the use of trade union labels will upset the whole trade of the Commonwealth. Thev are being strongly resisted by the storekeepers throughout the country, because it is recognised that retailers will be compelled to sell union-made goods, or none at all. An r such condition would cause a complete upset of existing arrangements, and consumers would incur considerable loss. If a monopoly were created by the use of union labels, which afforded no guarantee as to quality or value, the results would be detri mental to consumers generally, because any increase in price would be passed on to them by tlie storekeepers. Not only the storekeepers, but the manufacturers, exporters, importers, and consumers at large are standing shoulder to shoulder in their opposition to the proposals. We should not lae called upon to embody in this Bill a proposal for the adoption of union labels, which will afford no guarantee of value, or indicate the origin of the goods, or prevent the piracy of trade descriptions. I am very sorry that the union label provisions were not more strongly opposed in the Senate, and I hope, that it is not too late to put the President’s ruling to the test. I contend that the trade union label provisions are beyond the scope of the Bill, and I suggest that the Attorney-General should adopt the same course that was followed in Canada., where, after it was decided that provision for union labels had nothing whatever to do with trade marks, a separate Ball was introduced. If this course were adopted, the country would know exactly the price the Government have to pay for their continuance in office. It is unfair to the country to graft on tn a non-contentious measure highly debatable proposals such as those which have been embodied in the Bill. If the Government will consent to withdraw the objectionable provisions now in the Bill, thev will have no difficulty in carrying out the rest ofl their programme before Christmas. If a separate Bill relating to the use of trade union labels were introduced next session. I -am sure that, in view of the imminence of the general elections, honorable members would refuse to pass it. If the Attorney-General sincerely believes that benefit would be conferred upon the general community bv the union label provisions of the .Hill. he should withdraw them, and afterwards embody them in a separate measure, rather than attempt to surreptitiously pass them now.
– The honorable member is giving a new meaning to the word “ surreptitiously.”
– Does the AttorneyGeneral mean to say that the Government are adopting an open and frank method of j passing such a provision into law?
– I do not know of any course that would be more open.
– Let me tell the AttorneyGeneral that the course adopted in Canada was a far more open and frank method of proceeding. It was there declared that to attach bogus union label proposals to a Trade Marks Bill was not constitutional or honest, and I would advise the AttorneyGeneral to adopt the straightforward course that was, without passing the Bill, followed in the Dominion. Until he does that, I can only characterize the action of the Govern ment as an attempt to surreptitiously honour the none too honorable bargain into which they have entered with the Labour Party.
– I am reminded by the circumstances under which this Bill has been brought under our notice this afternoon of a statement made in the old days when the United Netherlands were fighting with all their strength against the power of Spain. It was then said, of certain persons, that every man had his price; and it appears to me that that statement is true with regard to Ministers. They have their price; but nott in hard cash - I do not wish that to be implied. Only a little while ago Ministers denounced the Labour Party and all their doings. Thev told us) that when they were previously in power they had toeat dirt, and submit their wills, consciences, and judgment to the control of members of the Labour Party. That was the price which they had to pay for being kept in office. They have) now deliberately gone back to the Treasury benches with a smaller direct following than previously, and have shown themselves content to rely to a still further degree upon the support of the Corner party. The service rendered by the Labour Party must be paid for in some way or other, and that is the reason why the Trade Marks Bill has suddenly shot up from a very low place on the business-paper to its present prominent position. Several Ministers do not believe in the Bill, and we know that in their heart of hearts they believe that it will prove to be a curse to the community. Still, they will vote for it. even at the sacrifice of their honour. Thev are not the rulers of the country, and they know it. Those who control the destinies of Australia are the members of the Labour Party, and they are making Ministers eat dirt, not by the peck, but bv the bushel. Rather than occupy the position of honorable members opposite, I would cut my throat and die in the gutter. It is humiliating to see men of ability - for the possession of a mere semblance of power - paying the price that is being exacted from Ministers.
– What did the honorable member do when the Reid Government was dependent upon the vote of the honorable member for Wilmot?
– I do not care anything about the position which was occupied by the honorable member for Wilmot. I am responsible only for my own actions. At any rate, when an. attempt was made to do what was wrong, the Reid Government acted as honorable men by throwing up the sponge.
– Why did they not do that when the honorable member for Wilmot said that he held them in the hollow of his hand?
– Because we were fighting to keep the party which is now in. power out of office.
– That is the time when the honorable member was eating cart-loads of dirt.
– I hold in my hand a copy of the Trade Marks Bill in the form in which it was introduced by the Watson Government. It does not contain one word in reference to a union label. If it was important to the masses that some such provision should be inserted in this measure, why did not the Labour Government include it in that Bill? Because they knew full well that it could not be carried, and that honorable members opposite would have turned them out of office.
– The provisions in respect of the union label were inserted in the Bill before the Watson Government retired from office.
– That Government dared not introduce the measure with those provisions in it. They had not the courage to do so.
– What does the honorable member suggest should be done to them ?
– This afternoon some honorable members of the Labour Party have emphasised the necessity for these provisions in theinterests of the masses. It is significant, therefore, that when the Labour Government were in power they neglected to include them in this Bill. With regard to who shall register, the mea- sure introduced by the Watson Government provides -
Any person, claiming to be the proprietor of trade mark, may make application to the Registrar for the registration of his trade mark.
The application must be made in the form prescribed, and must -
specify the goods in respect of which the applicant desires the trade mark to be registered ;
state what are the essential particulars of his trade mark, and disclaim any right to the exclusive use of the matter added to the essential particulars of his trade mark ; and
state an address within the Commonwealth as an address for service.
– I think that the Government ought to have at least one supporter present. I would therefore call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed.]
– The Trade Marks Bill was introduced by the Watson Government on the14th July, 1904. The honorable member for Wentworth has referred to certain members of the Labour Party who have succeeded in becoming barristers. All honour to them. It is an honour to men who have worked their way up to that position. But, of course, we must remember that a number of these very men have denounced lawyers as the greatest curse to the community.
– The honorable member himself has said the same thing.
– Probably, I have. But seeing that I have not become a lawyer, the honorable member’s interjection does not fit! me. I say at once that there are plenty of honest lawyers.
– Upon many occasions, when I have looked through their accounts, I have described members of the profession as “ legalized thieves.” That, however, does not affect my point, which is that members of the Labour Party, after having repeatedly denounced the lawyers as the greatest curse of the community,have themselves embraced thevery first opportunity tobecome lawyers. And theyhave assisted to pass Acts which would bring grist to their mill. I do notsay that they have been actuated by that motive, but it is a. fact that a great portion of the funds of the unions, findsitsway into the pockets of these lawyers. The honorable member for Bland said that one gentleman - Mr. Beeby-
– Is there a solitary member of the Labour Party who is a lawyer ?
– Yes, there is the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, for instance.
-I thought that he was a barrister.
– In New South Wales there is Mr. Hall, who is a member of the Labour Party-
– Is not the right honorable member for East Sydney a lawyer?
– Certainly he is. My point is that the labour representatives have repeatedly denounced lawyers as the curse of the community. Yet upon the very first occasion which offers, they themselves become lawyers. This afternoon the honorable member for Bland intimated that the Labour Party desired to see this Bill pass on. account of the great advantages which it would confer upon the masses.
– Does not the honorable member think that that is a very good reason to advance?
– It would be if it were true.
– It is true.
– I am aware that in Parliament, although we may think what we like, we are bound to accept the assurance of an honorable member. At the first opportunity, honorable members of the party to which I am referring set to work to qualify themselves, for admission to the legal profession. I do not suggest for a moment that that was a ‘dishonorable course to adopt ; but I wish to show the absolute inconsistency of these men. On becoming Members of Parliament they have availed themselves of their leisure to fit themselves for membership of the legal profession. The honorable member for Bland stated that the one man who gained most from the labour unions, in the direction I have indicated, was not a member of the party. Whether that be so or not, it cannot be denied that he has. made two or three attempts to secure election to Parliament as a labour candidate; that he is one of those who in the past denounced the lawyers, but to-day is growing rich by acting as legal adviser to the unions.
– He is fighting against injustice.
– Fighting really for injustice. The contributions of the unionists, instead of being devoted to a purpose that would improve their position in life, are going into the pockets of these lawyers. I wish to support the statement made by the honorable member for Wentworth, that, although Mr. Beeby has not been returned to Parliament, he has stood on several occasions as a Labour candidate. Then, again, as honorable members are aware, the honorable and learned member for West Sydney is a lawyer, actively practising his profession, whilst in the Parliament of New South Wales we have Mr. Holman, Mr. Sullivan, and others who are also practising.
– That is not to their discredit.
– Certainly not. I am simply pointing out that although, at one time, these men did not hesitate to denounce the lawyers, they took advantage of the first opportunity to seek admission to the profession. I wish the Committee to consider whether there are not on the business-paper other Bills calculated to confer on the labouring classes greater advantages than this will.
– Where would the honorable member put this Bill ?
– If I had my way I should put it in the fire. I shall make every effort to prevent its passage, because I think that it will inflict injury on the masses.
– The honorable member is very anxious about the workers - he is anxious to see that they do not have too much.
– I have done as much for the worker as has any honorable member.
– What did honorable members opposite do for the workers before the Labour Party came into existence? They did nothing but make promises to them.
– I have shown more sympathy for the working men than have honorable members of the Labour Party.
– We shouldlike to hear what the honorable member has done for them. .
– At my own expense, I obtained the introduction of the eighthours’ system in the district which I represent. I do not wish to mention all that I have done in this direction.
– It is extraordinary that, despite all that the honorable member has done for the workers, hehas never been returned twice in succession for the same constituency.
– I have always represented the same constituency.
– That is another matter. The fact that I have not continuously represented the one district is testimony to my straight going. I have never swerved from what I believed to be right, and have not hesitated to support that which I believed to be best for the workers. I was returned to this House as a supporter of the very principles I enunciated when first I sought political honours. I have always stood by my principles, and my occasional defeat has been due only to my refusal to “ trim.” It has been stated that the Trade Marks Bill is the one measure which we ought to pass this session, because it will confer great advantages on the masses. I hold, ‘ however, that other Bills awaiting our consideration are of much more importance to the workers. Take, for instance, the Sugar Bounty Bill.
– Is the honorable member very anxious about that Bill?
– The honorable member is aware that I am anxious to see that Bill defeated. I shall not allow any one to control me.
– The honorable member has been put up to “stone-wall.”
– My duty is to oppose the passing of the union label provisions of this Bill, and, with that object in view, I am prepared to occupy as much of the time of the Committee as possible. The Sugar Bounty Bill would confer greater benefits upon the working classes than would a Bill relating to the union label.
– Is that why the honorable member is going to vote against the Sugar Bounty Bill?
– My objection to it is that it is a proposal to take out of the pockets of the people a large sum of money and hand it over to one section of the community. The amount paid by way of bounty to the sugar-growers of New South Wales has been an absolute gift to them, because sugar-cane has always been grown in that State by means of white labour. We are told, however, that the extension of the bounty may increase the number of white workers employed in the cane-fields of Queensland. I have my doubts as to that, but the representatives of Queensland, who, for the most part, are members of the Labour Party, desire that the Sugar Bounty Bill shall be passed as early as possible, in order that the planters in that State may team their fate. In the interests of the toilers, for whom the members of the Labour Party profess so great an anxiety-
– It is strange that the honorable member wishes to give us’ advice which we would not seek if we had to pay for it. Does he not think that we know our own business best ?
– I am offering my honorable friend what I believe is sound advice. The honorable member knows that this Bill will not help the workers, and vet he is prepared to allow it to take precedence of the Sugar Bounty Bill. Honorable members of the Labour Party do ‘not relish this criticism, because they realize that they are untrue to their trust.
– Does the honorable membet really believe that?
– I hold that, in allowing this Bill to take precedence over the Sugar Bounty Bill, the Labour Party are false to their trust. As they have the power to force the Ministry to do whatever they please, they ought to compel them to proceed with the Sugar Bounty Bill and the Sugar Excise Bill before dealing with the measure now before us.
– Why does not the honorable member force them to do so?
– If I had the power, T. would force them very quickly. The honorable member’s question indicates that they should be forced, and no doubt he would be very pleased if they could tie forced by us. But he has not the courage to break from’ the caucus to help us. These two Bills hang one upon the other, and, if they become law, are likely to be of advantage to the workers. But those who profess to be the friends of the workers are not seeking to bring about this advantageous state of affairs. There is also on the notice-paper a Bill to amend the Immigration Restriction Act, so that that measure may be differently viewed by the world at large. It is much’ more important that we should improve our relations with the world at large than that we should enact union label provisions in a Trade Marks Bill. We have heard a great deal of the manner in which the Immigration Restriction Act has brought us into disrepute. I believe that the amending Bill will improve the Act, although it retains the hypocritical pretence that certain men are to be kept out, not because of their colour, but because they are not properly educated. Then there is the Contract Labour Immigration Bill. We know that Australia has, been misrepresented in the old land. Men have come here under permit to land, and have been told that they must stay only a certain time. Apparently these permits were not necessary, and therefore were illegal. But under the Immigration Restriction Act, no man who is under contract can be brought here unless it is shown that he is possessed of skill not obtainable in the community. Time after time difficulties have occurred when men have been ‘wanted for the starting of new industries, or to bring out improved methods. Notwithstanding our pretended desire for the immigration of British people, men of our own race have been prevented, from landing on our shores because they have been under contract. The amending Bill seems to me to be worse than the original Act, and it has been made more stringent at the desire of the Labour Party. The Prime Minister has expressed the desire to modify the original Act in the interests of British people who desire to come here, but the Labour Party have practically intimated that they will not allow that to be done, and we can come to no other conclusion than that they have forced the Government to make the Bill more restrictive. Of what use will the union label provisions be to the labouring classes? Their effect will be to cause strife and discord between employer and employe”. We should, on the contrary, strive to develop a feeling of respect for each other amongst employers and employes. No union will be able to directly compel a manufacturer to put a union label on his goods, but if he refuses to comply with union conditions, unions will be able to boycott his goods, by preventing unionists from buying them. It may be that a manufacturer employing none but unionists, and observing .union conditions, will decline to use the union label ; but, if he does, he will be boycotted. Where a man employs both unionists and nonunionists, even though, he may comply with union rules as to wages, hours, and conditions of labour, he will not be able to use the union label, and, as a consequence, will be boycotted. No law should be passed to compel any man to become a unionist, nor should any law be passed to prevent a man from becoming a unionist. I stand for the right of every man to choose his own method of employment, and we should not prevent men from being either unionists or nonunionists, as they prefer. It is said that the union label provisions are necessary to prevent fraud, and the honorable member for Bland said that the honorable member for North Sydney was supporting fraud. Those who know the honorable member for North Sydney are aware that no one is mom prepared to do the right than he is. I believe that he has more sympathy with the workers than has the honorable member foi Bland, and has a greater desire to prevent the countenancing of fraud. Not a man on this side of the Chamber desires to countenance fraud, and I am prepared to move the insertion of a clause which I think would accomplish all that is desired, if honorable members wish only to discountenance fraud. I would provide that it shall not be lawful to affix to any goods or articles any trade mark that falsely states the conditions of labour under which such .goods or articles have been produced. If all that is desired is to prevent manufacturers from placing on their goods descriptions purporting to declare that the goods were produced under proper labour conditions when they were not so produced, my suggestion will meet the views of honorable gentlemen. But if some such suggestion is not accepted, the only conclusion open to us will be that the Bill is intended to force men into unions, and! to create strife and trouble between employers and employes. We should set our faces against such legislation as that. The sooner Parliament is prorogued the better. Some remark of the kind was made coming over in the train to-day, and I replied, “This is magnificent weather. Let the forces of nature have full play., and shut up Parliament, and prosperity will increase.” Legislation will not make every one better and happier, and I am certainly opposed to legislation which will assuredly create strife. I should be only too happy to support the Bill if I thought that it would be of use; but I do not think that it will be, and I have always been opposed to any unnecessary interference with human liberty. Every man should be as free as possible to do what he can for those dependent on him. I am distinctly and positively opposed to the union label provisions of the Trade Marks Bill, and shall use all means to fight and to destroy them.
– I am very glad that the honorable member for New
England did not carry out his threat to commit suicide in the Chamber. It seems to me that the extraordinary transposition of the order of Government business must necessarily excite a good deal of adverse criticism. On Friday last, the Trade Marks Bill stood tenth on the noticepaper. Of the preceding nine items of Government business, one has been dealt with, and the others remain on the paper, but this measure has been suddenly jumped from the last to the first place on the Government programme. What particular urgency is there for the Bill? I venture to say that the Electoral Bill is much more important. Honorable members who had to put up with the bungling at the last election, and who know that private individuals, as well as the Government, had to incur unnecessary expense, will recognise that a considerable time will be advantageously occupied in making preparations for the next election, and that the more promptly we pass the Electoral Bill the better chance we shall have of putting an end to an unsatisfactory condition of affairs. No serious attempt is being made to push on with that measure. There is nothing in this Bill to call for arw selfdenying ordinance on the part of the Government, and it seems to me that there is no necessity for them to make it the piece de resistance of their programme. Why, then, is it urged forward with such fervour ? The reason is undoubtedly to be found in the fact that it contains provisions for the use of union labels. These are such as have never been passed into law in any other part of the Empire. An attempt, which resulted in a dismal failure, was made to enact such provisions in Canada, and it is noteworthy that the Registrar of Trade Marks in the Dominion decided that a union label was not a trade mark within the meaning of the Act.
– That was within the meaning of “trade mark” under a particular Act.
– Under the Trade Marks Act. He held that it did not come within the accepted meaning of “ trade mark.”
– That is under the Trade Marks Act.
– The sympathizers with the trade unions in Canada were compelled to bring forward the proposal relating to the use of union labels in a separate Bill, and to rely, not upon any colourable imitation of a trade mark, but upon the inherent sovereignty of the Canadian Dominion to bring a special enactment into force. The measure introduced into the Canadian Parliament was not passed, nor is it likely to be passed for many years to come.
– Was not the Bill passed by the Canadian House of Commons ?
– I am informed that it did not pass that House.
– I understand that it passed the House of Commons, but was rejected by the Senate, the members of which are elected for life. I am speaking only from hearsay.
– I am informed to the contrary. Serious doubt exists as to the constitutionality of the provisions relating to union labels. A gentleman of high legal reputation, Mr. L. F. Cussen, of Victoria, has expressed the opinion that the Commonwealth Parliament has no power to legislate upon this question.
– He said that it was a question of great difficulty.
– Yes, and in his written opinion, which is marked by his characteristic modesty and judicial bearing, he gives very strong reasons for holding that the provisions are ultra vires of the Federal Constitution. That being so, it seems extraordinary that at the tail end of the session we should be asked to pass them into law. It would be the height of affectation to deny that the anxiety of the Government to push forward the measure is due to the fact that it contains certain provisions which two-thirds of the Government following - namely, the members of the Labour Party - insist upon having passed into law. They furnished the votes which were required to establish the Government in office, and it is only natural that their wishes in regard to some measures should be complied with. It cannot be claimed that the merchants, traders, or manufacturers are panting for a Trade Marks Bill. They have got along satisfactorily ever since the Federation has been: established without any such measure, and they could go on for another forty years without suffering any serious inconvenience owing to the want of it. The Government regard the Bill as urgent because it contains provisions which are to be used, as in the United States, for the purpose of persuading, cajoling, and forcing men into joining the labour organizations. Honor able members will recollect that last session three months were occupied in discussing a measure which to some extent implied collective bargaining, and provided for preference to unionists, and it would be mere affectationto pretend that it is possible to dispose of the union label provisions of the Bill now before us within a fortnight; that lis, if any reasonable attempt is to ‘be made to reply to the mass of criticism which has been hurled at them both by the Age and Argus, and by Mr. Cussen and others. I am opposed to the clauses referred to because I am thoroughly convinced that they are unconstitutional. If they were constitutional, I should still object to proposals which I regard as of a coercivetype, and as intended to be used for the purpose of forcing men into joining certain labour organizations.
– It will amount to a legalized boycott.
– The provisions referred to have two objects. The first is to legalize an instrument of boycott, and the second is to differentiate between men on account of their conditions of employment. It cannot be urged in favour of these provisions, as is urged in America, that the men in the unions are being paid at higher rates than are those outside. InVictoria forty trades have been brought under the operation of the Wages Board provisions of the Factories and Shops Act, and all trades in New South Wales are liable to be brought under the operation of the State Arbitration Act; whilst on South Australia provision has been made for Wages Boards.
– And only two trades have been brought under their operation.
– I have no doubt that the Labour Government now in power in South Australia will take care to bring many other trades under the operation of Wages Boards. We know that, in all the trades in Victoria and New South Wales which have been brought under the operation of Wages Boards, or the provisions of the State Arbitration Act respectively, no sweating can exist, because labour conditions are regulated for unionists and non-unionists alike. The union label provisions are not intended to secure first-class wages for workmen, but are designed to enable trade union officials to coerce men into joining their organizations. I think that I shall be able to show at a later stage that, owing to the operation of union label legislation in the United States, many workmen have been dismissed from their employment because they would not join certain trades unions. They were receiving the same wages as were the union workmen, but, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to remain outside the unions. I think that the deputy leader of the Opposition was perfectly justified in challenging the extraordinary change of front on the part of the Government which has resulted in a Bill - which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called urgent - being lifted from the ninth to the first position on, the Government programme. No indication was given to honorable members until the last moment orv Friday afternoon of any intention on the part of the Government to alter the order of business, and it seems to me that their action calls for vigorous protest on the part of members of the Opposition.
– I cannot understand why the AttorneyGeneral should consider himself aggrieved because the deputy leader of the Opposition has felt himself called upon to enter a protest against the extraordinary course adopted by the Government. On Friday last they submitted a programme covering the business to be transacted on that day and to-day. On Friday last the Electoral Bill occupied the first place upon the businesspaper, and it was followed by the Sugar Bounties Bil], the Excise Bill, Census and Statistics Bill, Copyright Bill, Manufactures Encouragement Bill, and Trade Marks Bill, in that order. Honorable members who left the House early upon that day were under the impression that the Government intended to proceed with the Electoral Bill this afternoon. The Ministry thought so little of the Trade Marks Bill that it was the last item upon the business-paper. Now, however, we find that the whole of the business has been re-arranged, “ without honorable members having been consulted in any way. Apparently there is some reason for this alteration. Yesterday I read in the newspapers a paragraph to the effect that an attempt would be made in the Senate to block the passing of the Appropriation Bill until some honorable members were sure of the attitude which the Government intended to adopt in regard to a certain measure - presumably the Trade Marks Bill. Is this re-arrangement of business the result of representations which have come from a certain quarter? In the other Chamber, the Appropriation Bill is not being proceeded with. The Senate is engaged in considering the Commerce Bill. Yet the chief reason urged by the Government for the speedy passing of the Appropriation Bill was that they desired to afford the Senate a fair opportunity of considering it. We passed it upon that understanding.
– Order ! The honorable members must not refer to that measure. Standing order 270 says -
No member shall allude to any debate of the current session in the Senate, or to any measure pending therein.
Under these circumstances, I must ask the honorable member not to refer to the Appropriation Bill.
– The ruling which you have given, sir, serves only to emphasize the serious position in which this House has been placed. We were led to believe that there would be no need for any further Supply Bills this year. Upon Wednesday evening last, the Government deliberately wiped the items relating to Supply and Ways and Means from the business-paper. If they wish to introduce a measure dealing with Trusts or with the Tariff, they will be again compelled to set up a Committee of Ways, and Means. That will give rise to debate. We all recollect what happened when Supply lapsed during the period that the Reid Government were in power. A whole sitting was occupied in discussing a motion to restore it. Because the deputy leader of the Opposition occupied ten minutes in criticising the Government conduct of business, he has been accused of “stone-walling.” If the Appropriation Bill be not passed in time to permit of salaries for the present, month being paid to our public servants, what are we to do ? We shall have to take some steps to ascertain what the Senate has done with that measure. The Government have led us to believe that they are anxious to close the session.
– We are all anxious to close it.
– I do not doubt that statement for one moment. But does the programme which was submitted to us by the Prime Minister evidence any sincere desire to terminate the session before Christmas? I have no hesitation in saying that if we deal with all the business upon the notice-paper, we shall be kept here for two or three months. The passing of the Appropriation Bill is usually an indication that the session is about to close, and that there will be no necessity for any further Supply Bills. But if the Appropriation Bill be not passed-
– I must ask the honorable member not to refer to that measure.
– I submit that the honorable member is perfectly in order in referring to the general practice.
– The words of the standing order are very clear indeed. It says -
No member shall allude to any debate of the current session in the Senate, or to any measure pending therein.
I do not desire to curtail the honorable member’s remarks in any way, but I would point out that he was doing more than making a mere allusion to the Appropriation Bill. He was discussing what would happen if that measure were not dealt with in a certain manner. Consequently his observations were outside the scope of the Standing Orders.
– I was merely referring to the fact that the Appropriation Bill had passed this House, and I was asking what would be our position if we did not hear anything in reference to it for a few weeks.
– What warrant has the honorable member for assuming that the Senate will take up that position?
– The Government induced the Opposition to agree to the Appropriation Bill in order that the Senate should be afforded a fair opportunity of dealing with it. Since the Ministry intimated their desire to close the session, the Prime Minister has submitted two very debatable measures. I presume that he intends the House to deal with those Bills seriously. In introducing them, the honorable and learned gentleman made a very elaborate speech, and if he does not intend to persevere with them, he was guilty of a gross waste of time. Some honorable members affirm that the Opposition have incurred the adverse opinion of the electors, because we have thought it our dutv to criticise the way in which business is conducted iri this House. Recent events, however, show that that is not so.
– Where is the honorable member’s authority for that statement ?
– Can the honorable member tell me why his party received such a strong “set back” at Charters Towers only a few weeks ago?
– That was at a State election.
– I am aware that some people say that the result was due to apathy on the part of the electors. But there is no evidence of that, especially as 7J per cent, more electors voted upon that occasion than voted at the last general election. In addition to that fact, the Labour candidate was a popular man; but whilst the party previously won the seat by 450 votes, thev were defeated on this occasion by about the same number. I dare say that the honorable member for Southern Melbourne will assert that the result of the general election in Western Australia is an evidence of the popularity of his party. We have to remember that the political existence of the Government depends upon the support which they receive from the Labour Party. On one occasion I was told at a meeting that there was a combination on the part of the right honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable and learned, member for Ballarat to “ down “ the party.
– That did not come off.
– That was the suggestion put forward. But what is the present position? We find the Labour Party supporting a Government, two members of which” have been described by them as enemies of labour, and I suppose that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the Government whip at the next general elections will go before their constituents and repeat the anti-Labour speeches which they made two years ago. I have no desire, however, to discuss these matters, because I do not wish to waste time. There is no foundation for the assertion that the Opposition wish to fritter away the time of the Committee.
– They have been talking for three and a half hours upon a dilatory motion.
– I have known the honorable and learned gentleman to waste far more time. I dare say that as counsel in court fie has often wasted time.
– I have never been told that I have.
-That is because more courtesy is extended to those practising in the ,courts than is accorded honorable members in this House. I dare say the Attorney-General would be pleased if the Opposition remained silent and allowed the Government to pass anything they chose.
– Why does not the honorable member face the question ?
– I shall be called to order by the Chairman when I am transgressing the rules of debate. This Bill was considered on the 27th July last, and now, after many delays, has been placed in a prominent position on the businesspaper. This shows that the masters of the Ministry have issued their ultimatum. In view of the alliance into which they have entered, the Government could not have expected anything else. We cannot blame the Labour Party for compelling those whom they described a few months ago as their avowed enemies, to carry out their purpose. They are using them for all that they are worth.
– Just as the honorable member’s leader sought to use another party.
– We did not hesitate to throw down a challenge to our opponents to go before the people. That was a challenge which honorable members opposite were not prepared to accept.
– What right has the honorable member to make that statement?
– The honorable member knows that he has no chance of being re-elected.
– I ask honorable members not to make interjections of a character that must lead to trouble, and at the same time I appeal to the honorable member for Macquarie not to make remarks which I am sure he would, upon reflection, regret.
– I should not have referred to the honorable member for Southern Melbourne, but for the interjections made by him. I rose merely to complain of the want of business capacity shown by the Government. Ten measures appear on the business-paper, and some of them, involving very important principles, have scarcely been considered, although honorable members desire to see them passed.
– Let us hurry on with their consideration.
– The AttorneyGeneral wishes to force the Opposition to curtail their remarks upon a very debatable question. If the Government were honestly anxious to expedite the passing of the Trade Marks Bill, why did they not push on its consideration some weeks ago? The change of front on the part of the
Ministry, so far as this measure is concerned, is the most extraordinary that I have witnessed. Amongst the measures still awaiting pur attention is the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, which I have from the first opposed, notwithstanding that my constituency is one of the few Federal electorates that are interested in it. Large deposits of iron are to be found in the electorate of Macquarie, and it was my opposition to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill which led to my return to this House being contested at the last general election. The Prime Minister has informed us that he intend to propose some important amendments in that measure, and I hold that he should tell us exactly what changes he contemplates making. Then, again, the Sugar Bounty Bill and the Sugar Excise Bill involve very important issues. The debate on the second reading of the first-named measure occupied our attention on Friday, but our consideration of the Bill has been suddenly arrested, and it now stands, third on the businesspaper. I have no desire to deal at length with that matter, although honorable members must recognise that, if I wished, I might occupy some time in debating it. I am here to-day only to criticise the conduct of business, and am referring merely by way of illustration to the position of the various measures awaiting our attention. Why should we be left in the dark as to the intentions of the Government? We are told that they are very anxious to close the session, and I think that every honorable member who has any private business to transact must also desire to see the Parliament prorogued as early as possible. It is only a. sense of duty to our constituents that impels us to remain here, at considerable inconvenience and loss to ourselves, in order that these matters, may be fully discussed. The Opposition hold that it is unwise that a number of important Bills should be rushed through the House in the closing days of the session. If the Government succeed in. inducing another place to act in accordance with their wishes, they may discharge from the business- paper many of the orders of the day now appearing on it. If that is their intention, they ought to say so.
– The Prime Minister made a. statement a few days ago as to the intentions of the Government.
– The honorable and learned gentleman knows full well that it is impossible for the Government, before the close of the present year, to carry out the programme foreshadowed.
– If there be no waste of time, the work can be done.
– Does, the AttorneyGeneral say that the Contract Immigrants Bill, or the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill is likely to be passed before the end of the year?
– Is there not time for it?
– There are not many sitting days left this year. The Sugar Bounty Bill is another very important measure which, in view of the large amount of money involved, ought to be dealt with.
– Why do not honorable members let us deal with it?
– My complaint against the Government is that they will not tell us what measures they intend to deal with. On Friday, we were led to believe that the Sugar Bounty Bill would be proceeded with to-day, and I went to some trouble to prepare figures in connexion with the remarks which I intended to make. Now we are told that it is not intended to take that Bill to-day, although on Friday the measure was debated at considerable length, some honorable members stating that if the proposal’s of the Government were carried into effect the Commonwealth would suffer great loss, while others said that they thought it would be of advantage to the Commonwealth to pass the Bill. The measure involves many debatable points as to whether, and, if so, for how long, the bounty should, be extended, and as to whether there should1 or should not be a second extension. I should like the Government to proceed with the Representation and Electoral Bills, because proper machinery for holding elections is necessary for all true legislation. What guarantee have we that, when the Trade Marks Bill and the Appropriation Bill have become law, the Government will not drop the Electoral and Representation Bills, ‘and leave our electoral system in a chaotic state for a further period? Honorable members did not show any carping spirit when dealing with the Representation Bill. Many of us who have experienced the inconvenience of, and know the loss occasioned by, the want of action on the part of a previous Government, had a great grievance ; but, in view of the importance of the measure, and as we were desirous that it should become law, we talked very little about our wrongs, and helped the Government to pass the Bill.
We are prepared to deal similarly with the Electoral Bill, because we recognise that without proper representation legislation must be unsatisfactory. There should be no inequalities under our electoral law, and electors should have every facility for the exercise of the franchise, though we should be very jealous about providing proper safeguards against wrong-doing in connexion with elections. The late Government felt that, although a dissolution was necessary, Parliament should not be dissolved until electoral matters had been set right ; but the House determined that there should be no election. I have nothing to say about that determination further than to remark that it was wonderful that honorable members, who, a few months previously, were asking for a dissolution, suddenly objected to our proposal that the opinions of the people of the country should be ascertained. If it was a right thing for the Watson Government to ask for a dissolution, because the House was incompetent to do good work, what change had taken place within a few months which made it wrong to have an election in June last? Was the change of attitude due to the fact that certain honorable members knew that the views of the electors had changed, and that a general election would bring about an alteration in the state of parties in this Chamber ? I have not risen to occupy time unduly, nor do I think I should have spoken at all had it not been for the unfair attack of the AttorneyGeneral on the deputy leader of the Opposition. When I came here this afternoon I had no intention to say anything on this subject, nor did the deputy leader of the Opposition mean to do more than enter his protest against the action of the Government. I was astounded at the ungenerous and unfair attack made upon him by the Attorney-General. The honorable member for Parramatta has shown a desire to assist the Government in proceeding with business, but because he entered! a protest against their change of front he was accused of all sorts of wrong-doing. I protest against their, want of business capacity in submitting a number of measures which, if intelligently considered, cannot be passed this session. If the Government had out before us fair proposals, the Opposition would have been only too glad to assist them in bringing the session to a close. I have a sincere desire to have the session closed, but I do not wish legislation to be passed without proper consideration. We have a right to expect from the Government a clear statement of what they intend to do this session. If their proposals are fair and reasonable, we shall be only too glad to assist them. Of course, if the Government say that they are going to extend the session into next year, we shall be able to understand their present programme, but if they wish to close the session before Christmas, they must put before the House reasonable proposals. The Opposition would be prepared to assist them in passing any such programme.
I regret very much that the Prime Minister did not give us some idea of the business that we would be asked to discuss to-day. We left the House on Friday under the impression that the Electoral Bil! would be brought up for discussion. I have always held the view that the Government are to blame when they do not make an attempt to preserve some. kind of order in regard to the business to be presented to the House. Honorable members should have an opportunity to prepare themselves to deal with the questions submitted to them. I know that many honorable members pay no attention to anything that comes before the House.
– The honorable and learned member must not say that. I must ask him to withdraw his remark.
– I do not see that I can withdraw it.
– Order ! I would point out to the honorable and learned member that he has been directed to withdraw a statement which reflects upon honorable members, and unless he complies with my request I shall be compelled to name him.
– You, sir, have ruled that I am not entitled to say that some honorable members do not pay attention to a matter like this-
– That is not the question. I am now doing what I should not do - namely, I am permitting the honorable and learned member to canvass my remarks, and to misrepresent what he has said. The honorable and learned member’s statement was that some honorable members did not pay any attention to anything that came before them.
– I withdraw the remark, since it is considered of too sweeping a character. I would merely say that many honorable members take no interest whatever in this measure, and are utterly unprepared to discuss it. Moreover, they are quite unfitted, by their lack of training, to properly consider it. . I submit that, in the first place, more than one-half of the members in this Chamber could not come prepared to discuss this measure to-day, because they have mo opportunities to prepare themselves beforehand. For a week past we were informed that it was proposed to deal with the Electoral Bill and the Sugar Bounties Bill, and T submit that any man who attempted to properly deal with those measures could not within the same week approach, in an appropriate frame of mind, the consideration of the question now before us. The reason is perfectly clear. There are nearly 100 clauses in one measure, and I do not know how many in the other. The Electoral Bill contains many important clauses; the’ proposed amendments are very numerous, and will involve careful consideration. The fact that our business is being very poorly conducted is to be attributed to the continual chopping and changing on the part of the Government in respect of the measures before us. When the present Electoral Act was before us a sudden change had been made in the order of business, and I then pointed out how unfair it was to expect honorable members, unprepared as they were, to deal with such an important subject. I said that I had had time only to discover that the Bill was framed upon two contradictory principles, and that it was not clear what course we ought to follow until a decision had been arrived at as to which of these principles we should follow. My objection was laughed to scorn. I then declared that before two years were over important amendments would have to be made, and my prediction is fully borne out by the fact that an important amending measure is now on the business-paper awaiting our discussion. We have reached a parlous state in regard to. our electoral administration. We framed an Act under which even Ministers think they have no power to deal with the question of representation. One or two amendments in the original Act would have made all the difference. I only quote this instance to show how dangerous it is to change the order of business without giving honorable members an opportunity to prepare themselves for logical discussion. Some honorable members do not come prepared to discuss anything. They think that if they follow the Government, any measure approved of by Ministers must be quite satisfactory. They appear to forget that the fact that Ministers have to sit here for many hours, and also have to perform the administrative work of their Departments prevents them from properly considering the various measures presented to the House. As proof of this, I need only point to the fact-that a measure is rarely dealt with by the Cabinet as a whole. It is brought forward by a particular Minister, and if, from any cause, he should be absent, not one of his colleagues is able to take his place in conducting the measure through the Chamber. My point is that we should not be asked to proceed with a Bill of this kind without due notice. The measure is divided into two parts, one of which deals with trade marks, pure and simple, and the other part with matters which should properly be embodied in a Union Labels Bill. Members of the Labour Party ought to be the first to object to the incorporation in a Bill of this kind of provisions which properly belong to another measure. Surely, the principle involved in the union label provisions is of sufficient importance to justify its being dealt with in a special Bill. Then we could fight out the principle, and if it were approved by the majority, its supporters and opponents alike could devote their attention to framing the measure in such a form that it would accomplish its purpose. I leave honorable members to judge whether there is any possibility of our being able to follow that course in the present instance. The Bill has been drawn up in such a hotchpotch fashion that no member of the general public could possibly understand that legislation relating to union labels was to be looked for under the head of trade marks. We are forcing laymen to consult lawyers in regard to every matter upon which we legislate. Under these conditions’, no layman can possibly claim to have any knowledge of the law, and even lawyers will be bound to confess that they are not certain as to what Parliament may have done in regard to any particular matter. They look at one/ Act, and lay down the law very clearly to their clients. The latter are obliged to go to Court, to find that owing to some other provision relating to the same matter which, unfortunately, their lawyer had overlooked, the whole meaning of the Act has been modified, and that the advice given to them is valueless. In the meantime, the unfortu nate litigant Gas had to incur very heavy expenses. I contend that Acts of Parliament should be so described in their title that people at a glance would! be made aware of the principles- which they affirm. There would then be an amount of certainty about the law which does not exist to-day. What party is chiefly responsible for the creation of lawyers’ work? I am bound to say that members of the Labour Party, by neglecting to give attention to very serious questions of this character, are very great offenders. I am bound to say that our legislative actions are causing confusion, even amongst the legal profession itself, as to what the law really is. Nowadays, lawyers will not give an opinion off-hand in respect of any subject submitted to them. It seems to me that there are three rules which should always be considered by a Legislature. Its laws should .be so simple that everybody can understand them. Thev should be as few as possible, so that people would have a chance of becoming thoroughly conversant with their provisions, and thev should be so drawn as to effectual Iv accomplish the purposes which they were intended to achieve. In order that our laws may be simple, it is obvious that we ought not to introduce into them matters which are foreign to their general purpose. It is for these reasons than’ I object to including iti the Trade Marks Bill provisions which properly belong to a Union Label Bill.
– Would the honorable and learned member vote for the union label provisions if they were embodied in a separate Bill ?
– I would enter my objection to the principle involved. There are scores of laymen who are able to arrive at as sound a decision upon any subject as is a trained lawyer. I am perfectly in accord with the desire to pass a Trade Marks Bill. I wish to see such a Bill passed as will safeguard the interests of the honest trader as against his dishonest competitor, and to insure that one man shall not live upon another man’s reputation. What I am not in accord with is the proposal to embody in this Bill a principle of a character entirely foreign to its scope. We are here to see that no class enjoys any advantage at the expense of another class. We are in the position of trustees, with the whole public as beneficiaries. If we had some fund now unknown upon which we could draw, there would be no hardship whatever if we singled out a particular class, and said to them,. “ We intend to give you so much money.” But that is exactly what we cannot do. We have no unknown fund upon which to draw - no unknown resources. The only resources at our command are those arising from the progress of industry in the community. Consequently, when we single out any special body of men, and say to them, “ We shall confer upon you certain privileges,” we are utterly mistaking our functions. It is upon such a principle that we are acting here. We are, in effect, saying to one class of citizens, “ We intend to provide such a distinctive mark that we shall place in the hands of the 150,000 trade unionists the power to establish a boycott against all the rest of our citizens.” If the Bill permitted any unregistered body to come forward, and take advantage of its provisions, I should not object! to it. But this measure goes further than that. It provides that no body of citizens,other than the particular bodies which have already been formed into unions, shall be allowed to register a union label. I hope that the honorable member for Bland will recognise the difference.
– I do not recognise as facts what the honorable and learned member states.
– If the honorable member discovers that they are facts, will he be prepared to accept amendments which will make the Bill perfectly clear?
– Certainly. I would protect from fraud any man in the community, irrespective of whether he be a unionist or not.
– I am very glad to hear that.
– Why should not any body of men who desire to register a label be protected against pirates and thieves?
– Does not the honorable member recognise that the Bill goes far beyond that? The honorable member asserts that he is willing to allow any union to register, and I trust that the Committee will keep him to his word. I fear, however, that, despite anything he may say, the remainder of his party will not permit anything of the kind.
– The Attorney-General told a deputation a month ago that he would allow the Employers’ Federation to register.
– If the honorable and learned member reads clauses 74, 75. and 76, he will see that the only unions that will be able to register a mark are those registered either under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act or one of the States laws.
– An association of them may do so.
– But the honorable and learned gentleman has so framed another clause dealing with this matter that the Registrar will be compelled to refuse to register unions other than those I have indicated. If this Bill would apply to a combination of 50, 100, or 200 citizens who meet together and say, “We will place our mark upon, certain goods,” the position would be different.
– If that power were given, would it satisfy the honorable and learned member?
– I should accept it as being a large instalment of that which I desire.
– That is reasonable.
– I hope that I have made my meaning clear to the Committee. I say that, under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of New South Wales, and also under the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Act, no body of men meeting together can be termed a union unless they are registered as such.
– There is nothing to prevent a trade union being registered under a State Act.
– The honorable and learned gentleman will find that under the New South Wales law every body of men constituting; a union must be registered as such if they desire to come under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of the State. The effect of this is that the first body of men working in a given trade who meet together and apply for registration are the only ones entitled to call themselves trade unionists.
– But could they not register under the State Trade Union Act?
– If I am correctl v informed, the Attorney-General will find that when one body of men employed in a trade are registered as a union, it is not open for another body to obtain registration.
– Is not separate registration permissible under the Trade Union Act ofNew South Wales ?
– Yes. Two bodies of men engaged in the engineering trade - the Associated Society of Engineers and the
Amalgamated Society - are registered under the Trade “Union Act of New South Wales, and there are at least two bodies of men engaged in ‘the carpentering trade registered under that law.
– I do not think that there is any limit to the number that may be registered.
– There is so, so far as the Trade Union Act is concerned, but we are now going beyond that law.
– The provisions of this Bill apply to every trade union under the Trade Union Act.
– But part of that Act has already been superseded by the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Registrar has refused the application of a second body of men engaged in a given trade to be registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration! Act.
– That is a different matter. This Bill includes every trade union registered under a State Act.
– Under some parts of this Bill a union that is registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is the only one that will be able to apply to register a mark in respect of the trade to which it relates.
– I think that the honorable and learned member is in error. The question is, of course, a very important one.
– It is an important matter.
– In one of the amendments which I have circulated it is provided that- “ Union “ means any trade union registered as such under the law of any State or any number of . . . trade workmen or employe’s registered under any law of the Commonwealth or of & State relating to conciliation or arbitration. . . .
– An Act has been passed by the Parliament of New South Wales which has practically repealed that part of the Trade Union Act which relates to registration.
– I have not been able to find any such provision, and should be glad if the honorable and learned member would point out the section to which he refers.
– Do I understand that the honorable and learned gentleman would be prepared to amend this defect?
– I would cure any defect of that kind.
– My reading of ihe Bill is that a body of unionists already registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, or one of the State laws, would alone be entitled to place a union label on the goods produced in the trade to which it relates. If 100 unions desired to register, why should they not be allowed to do so? Why should thev not be allowed to put their separate marks upon goods produced in the trade to which they relate?
– That lis the intention, and I was not aware that there was anything to prevent that being done. »
– This affords us1 an excellent illustration of the difficulties with which we are confronted. Certain parts of the Bill originally dealt only with trade marks, and if the provisions, in regard to union labels had been embodied in a separate measure the draftsman would not have had to consider two different principles. I presume that this Bill is really designed to prevent fraudulent trade descriptions.
– Hear, hear.
– That is a. most worthy object, and I am sure meets with the’ approval of nearly every honorable member. The only means by which we can give effect to a Bill so designed is by providing a cheap and easy method of suing for a breach of it. When, the vendor of goods bearing a fraudulent trade mark must take the responsibility of offering such goods for sale, we shall secure that effective “ policing “ that we need.
– Are not false trade descriptions dealt with in the Commerce Bill ?
– Unfortunately, the provision to which the honorable member refers will apply to about ^30,000,000 or ^35,000,000 worth of exports. It may apply even to wool, although I am sure that was not the intention of this House. We are asked to hurriedly pass measures of this kind, some honorable members, with a total want of knowledge of the meaning of the word “ work “ crying again and again, “Let us get on with our work.” Their idea seems to ‘be that, because a clause in a Bill has been drawn by a certain draftsman it ought to be passed.
– Shocking !
– I regret that, while many honorable members assert that such a procedure is discreditable, they refuse to take part in deliberations that would, perhaps, enable us to overcome these difficulties. We have to take care that the benefits arising from our legislation, which applies to a population of nearly 4,000.000, are far greater than the evils it is designed to cure. It is curious that all good is accompanied by some measure of evil, and we should not lose sight of that fact when we are passing legislation that will affect a large portion of the population of the Commonwealth who have not the time or the means to fight against proposals that run counter to their wishes. We should take care that our laws will operate wisely and well, and that the bulk of the people, so far from deriding our legislation, as they are doing now, will’ say that it is sound, and will accomplish necessary purposes. Ignorance of the law does not excuse any one for disobeying it, and therefore we should take every care that our legislation is plain and effective. What I believe to be the chief duty of the Legislature is to state the principles of the laws of the country. After that, everything will depend upon administration. As an instance of a. simple statement of principle, let me cite that clause of the Great Charter which says that justice shall not be sold or delayed to any man. What a wonderful superstructure of law has been built on it. A thousand and one cases have been decided in connexion with- that statement of principle. The great barons who framed it no doubt thought that it had nothing to do with their serfs, but, as age has followed age, justice has given a wider and still wider application to it, and hundreds of reforms have taken place to accomplish the end in view. The days of corrupt and venal Judges have ended. We have taken from the King the right to remove Judges at pleasure, and have made Judges practically irremovable during ordinary good conduct. I am sorry that, although it is true that justice is not now sold, it cannot yet be said that it is not delayed, because the “ law’s delay “ is still notorious. Still, in the last century many reforms of procedure were brought about, so that now a litigant may commence a suit at the beginning of the year, with a chance of reaching finality before the end of it. I am aware that in America an appeal may take as much as four years, but I hope that we shall not follow the example of America in these matters. We should make our laws as simple as possible, and any one Bill should embody only the one principle, any new principle being given effect to in another Bill. If that is d’one, the public will know exactly what our legislation means. Of course, legislation cannot be quite as simple a thing nowadays as it was in times past, because of the greater complexity of life. I regret that the AttorneyGeneral has in the Bill before us disregarded the elementary principles which I nave laid down. But, although he may have felt himself forced by the exigencies of political life to do what should not have been done, we should set our faces against such action, and should insist that the measures of this Parliament shall be simple and’ straightforward, so that any one may read them. The road of the law is already too tortuous and devious, so that none may travel it but at serious expense. But why should we not seek after simplicity? In this Bill the draftsman has been compelled to deal with quite different principles, so that complexity is inevitable. We are all agreed that the man who infringes a trade mark used for the protection of honest goods should be punished, because we do not wish to see the fruit of industry, foresight, sagacity, and prudence stolen, but the Bill is not content with enforcing that principle. When introduced in the Senate it contained about eighty-five clauses, and dealt with trade marks only, the Ministry of the honorable member for Bland being responsible for it.
– If was on the businesspaper, and had been introduced by a previous Ministry.
– There are measures which have been on the notice-paper almost since May, 1901.
– The Iron Bonus Bill has been before the House for four years.
– And the old-age pensions question.
– That is so. But to say that, because there are certain notices on the business-paper, the matters to which they relate were dealt with by previous Governments, while it may mislead people who are not acquainted with our procedure, will not mislead any honorable member.
– The people will be able to know that the honorable and learned member is blocking these measures.
– Yes, if one may be considered to be blocking a measure which is not before us by debating one which is. Some of these proposals will not be heard of until the Greek kalends. They are mere window dressing, put on the notice- paper, year after year, to mislead the public into believing that Parliament intends to do what it has no intention of doing. The honorable member for Bland’s Government followed the right course in dealing only with trade marks in the Bill which it introduced in the Senate, and it is a pity that the present Government are not following his example. If thev had’ done so. the measure would have been speedily passed. The effect of inserting a new principle into the Bill has been that even a clever lawyer like the honorable member for Indi has to nsk the Committee to deal with forty-four amendments, with over thirty-four new clauses, and with sixty-two sub-clauses which have the effect of clauses, or, altogether, 140 amendments, clauses, and subclauses. Is this the sort of legislation to bring before the House at the fag end of the session? In addition, I understand that there are numbers of consequential amendments which, of course, must be dealt with unless we are shortly to pass an amending Bill. By embodying two principles in the Bill, the Government are preventing honorable members from fairly discussing them. I am in favour of punishing the infringement of trade marks, and I see no reason why any body of men should not, if they wish to do so, register a particular label. T do .not see any reason why any body of citizens combining for that purpose should not be able to carry it out. Wealthy corporations can do so, and any body of men should be in a position to associate with similar objects. There is, however, another principle/involved in the Bill, namely, that those citizens who first form themselves into a union shall be the only ones entitled to register a trade mark. Every other combination is to be regarded1 as bogus, and cannot use a mark descriptive of their trade, which the first union registered may have taken up. My contention is that if 150 different bodies of men like to form themselves into associations for the purpose of registering trade marks, they should be able to do so. I should deal with this question in quite another way if I thought that the provisions of the Bill were to be used as a weapon of boycott. That could easily be done if the principle underlying the registration of union labels were embodied in a separate measure, but at present I do not know where I am, and I am sure that no other honorable member does. I venture to say that no honorable member, probably with the exception of the Attorney-General, has devoted more time than I have to this measure. Therefore, when I say that I can see that the Bill embodies conflicting principles which I should favour if they were incorporated in different measures, honorable members who have not studied the question must at least admit that there is some force in. my objections.
– Let us discuss the Bill.
– The honorable member does not seem to be aware that I have been discussing the Bill for the last hour.
– But let us consider the clauses.
– My difficulty arises from the fact that the Bill is framed on two different principles, and that the whole of the clauses ought to be recast. At present some of them have been framed more widely than is necessary for the purpose of trade marks legislation pure and simple, in order to cover union labels, which’ should be dealt with in another measure. There are some clauses which relate to union labels and to trade marks.
– Very few. The clauses would be the same if no provision were made for union labels.
– A number of clauses relate to both matters, and they ought not to be framed in that manner. The provisions regarding trade marks and union labels respectively should be separate and distinct. The fact that the great majority of members of the Labour Party have not been able to contribute one word to the discussion of this measure shows that they have an imperfect conception of it. Many of them, possibly, have not had time to master the subject, whilst others have had no inclination to do so.
– The honorable and learned member does not call this discussion?
– I am1 merely enunciating elementary principles, which are so simple that I should be ashamed to explain them to any intelligent man outside of this Chamber. I have to state the case for the information of honorable members who are following the Government as simply as I should place it before school-children. I derive no pleasure from telling honorable members that they are going wrong. It would be far more comfortable for me if I could stay away with the assurance that the business of Parliament was being conducted wisely and well. But I am compelled to travel 1,200 or 1,300 miles every week, in order to put some kind of brake on the wild, frantic, ignorant legislation which some honorable members are prepared to pass. If honorable members opposite would confine their efforts to enacting useful legislation, we should be only too glad to retire with the proud consciousness that they were capable of standing by the people as a whole, and of refraining from legislating in the interests of any particular class. The whole history of Liberalism is that of one continuous, struggle against class. Whether laws are framed for the benefit of the wealthier classes or of the poorer classes, the moment you depart from eternal principles you proceed along the downward track. Fortunately for the progress of humanity, laws cannot set a barrier to everything. After all, legislation affects our lives to a very small extent at present. But we must take care that we do not make the public tired and angry with our perpetual meddling, and cause them to rise and abolish this institution. Meddlesome and interfering legislation was persevered with to such an extent in some of the States of the American Union that the people rose, and practically abolished their Parliaments.. In some cases they restricted their sittings to thirty days in the year, and in other instances decreed that they should meet only once in two years. That was due to perpetual meddling, such as is now being attempted bv this Parliament. In all quarters outside of this House we hear people saying, “ Close up the Parliaments for five or ten years, and put a stop to the doings of those meddlesome men.” And there is some justification for the expression of such a desire. I regret that the majority of honorable members upon the Government side of the Chamber do not appear to grasp the full meaning of the Bill before us.. I do not refer to honorable members of the Opposition, because those who are hostile to the Bill show that they fully appreciate the situation, and are prepared to set their face against proposals which are opposed to the best interests of the great masses of the people. I might have proceeded to s.hOw that I could oppose the principle contained in the Bill as it stands upon the best possible grounds. I admit that if the proposed amendments are accepted they will modify some of my objections.
– I find that there has been no alteration of the Trade Union Act in New South Wales which is, recognised in the Arbitration Act of that State.
– But there is a provision which makes a registered trade union the paramount party.
– Registered under the Trade Unions Act?
– But to a large extent that measure has been superseded by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– I do not follow the honorable and learned member.
– The Attorney-General would follow me very quickly if he were an advocate. He would take very good care that he did not understand anybody who argued the other way. He would urge that the rules made in regard to one organization should bind all organizations. He would say to the Court, “ Is it not a fraud upon the public that another union can take advantage of a slip in the Act to register a distinctive trade mark for itself ?” I can just imagine the fine scorn with which he would appeal to the presiding justice; that, if the contention were correct, it would be open’ to a thousand little unions, each containing ten or fifteen members, to register themselves as a union to obtain a distinctive trade mark.
– So thev can under this Bill.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral insist upon making that point perfectly clear? Will he plainly declare that it. shall be competent for as many bodies of men as choose to form themselves into unions, to register their own distinctive trade marks
– When the time comes, I have no objection to endeavouring to show that the Bill is perfectly clear.
– I assert that it is not clear.
– For a lawyer, the honorable and learned member is betraying an awful ignorance of the State law.
– As a layman, the honorable member exhibits a woful ignorance of -my previous statements.
– The honorable and learned member should know that in New South Wales as many unions as choose to do so may register under the Trade Unions
Act, and that, being so registered, they will be eligible under this Bill.
– I regret that the honorable member for Bland has just woke up to that fact. I thought that I made it perfectly clear before I commenced to argue. I sympathize with the honorable member in his dreadful misfortune.
– Anybody who has to listen to the honorable and learned member is deserving of sympathy.
– I have listened very frequently to the honorable member” for Bland, and if he has received as much instruction from me as I have from him, I am satisfied. I am perfectly aware that these bodies can register under the Trade Unions Act of New South Wales. But the Conciliation and Arbitration Act passed by this Parliament has to a large extent superseded that measure.
– The honorable and learned member is mistaken. As many unions as care to do so may remain registered under the Trade Unions Act, and need not register under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– The Arbitration Act passed by this Parliament declares that only one union may register.
– Not at all.
– Why, the whole of the efforts of the Shearers Union have been directed to securing the cancellation of the registration of the Machine Shearers Union.
– The Arbitration Court properly encourages only one union to register under the arbitration law, but it does not object to as many bodies as wish to do so, registering under the Trade Unions Act.
– An attempt has been made to force all the workers engaged in the same calling into one union, so that no other body can be registered. Whilst it is perfectly clear that fifty bodies may be registered under the Trade Unions Act, I contend that the Arbitration Act has practically repealed the provisions of that Statute.
– That is a ridiculous argument.
– It practically repeals its provisions, in that it forces all men to join one union only.
– I would suggest that the honorable and learned member should, as far as possible, get his illustrations from Commonwealth Acts.
– I know plenty of men who belong to two unions.
– The Arbitration Court is not aware of that fact.
– In Sydney, plenty of men belong both to the Coal Lumpers’ Union and the Wharf Labourers’ Union.
– Is. that the way in which the number of trade unionists is inflated? Apparently we ought to divide the membership of the various unions by one half in order to arrive at an accurate estimate of their strength. When men are compelled to join one union they cannot afford to belong to other organizations. The unions are very kind to the labour members in Parliament, inasmuch as they are providing them with sufficient law to keep them going.
– That is a most improper insinuation.
– My statement is that the unions prefer to employ as their legal advocates, men with labour sympathies. I should be the very last to quarrel with them for so doing. Edmund Burke recommended a study of the law to all men entering public life. No public man will deny that a knowledge of the law is of great assistance to him. But I do say that a. too close study of the law is not calculated to liberalize the mind as it should do. Some men who follow the law occasionally get so bound down to the meaning of a word that they allow the sense of a whole paragraph to escape them. ‘
– The honorable and learned member’s remarks are very relevant to the question before the Chair.
– At any rate I have accomplished some good by causing honorable members to understand that there are two principles embodied in this Bill. Before I began to speak, they were evidently under the impression that it was a mere collection of words. Unfortunately one has to repeat himself, because honorable members have not been afforded an opportunity of grasping the meaning of the provisions with which we are asked to deal. It is. simply another instance of the evil resulting from an alteration in the order of business. Some honorable . members might have been prepared to proceed with the consideration of the Electoral Bill, the Sugar Bounty Bill, or the Sugar Excise Bill.
– Some are not prepared to proceed with the consideration of anything.
– The honorable member is at perfect liberty to speak for himself.
– There is no chance for honorable members on the Government side of the House to deal with the matter.
– My complaint is that they have agreed to blindly accept measures prepared by the Parliamentary Draftsman. The Bill is a noxious one. We are prepared to give the Government every assistance to deal with trade marks, and some of us are also prepared to allow any body of men the right to register a mark for themselves, provided that that power be properly safeguarded ; but1 we certainly do not desire that the registration of the first union that happens to apply shall deter others engaged in. the same trade from being registered. If a small body of men consisting, perhaps, of thirty or forty men engaged in a given trade were allowed the sole right to place a union label upon the goods manufactured in that trade, serious results might follow. There is no provision in this Bill to regulate the rules of the unions, and, according to my reading of it, a union consisting of, say, forty men might secure the registration of a label, and refuse to allow any addition to be made to its ranks. If we allow the union label provisions of this Bill to stand they may give rise to corporations similar to those which prevailed in France prior to the Revolution, when membership of a union was so valuable that a poor individual was never able to secure enrolment. Fortunately, the Revolution abolished such bodies. I would also remind honorable members of the position of some of the great corporations and guilds in London. In certain oases these guilds compri’se some of the wealthiest men in London, and their membership consists of twelve or fifteen individuals having within their control a revenue of thousands of pounds per annum. There are guilds so wealthy and powerful that they have been able to prevent the widening of some of the streets of London, and special Acts of Parliament have had to be passed to deal with them. Owing to their wealth and influence, the improvement of the city in some directions has been absolutely blocked. And yet it is proposed’ under this Bill to give power for the formation of close corporations which may boycott merchants and manufacturers, and say to them, “ Unless you give us so much, we shall not allow you to place the union mark on your goods.” If we concede this power to such bodies we shall open a vast field for black-mail.
Another point is that the union label! provisions may also be used as a weapon of oppression against the very class for whose benefit they are designed. The Labour Party are supporting legislation that must be absolutely inimical to the interests of those whom they profess to serve. Even if our laws were ‘framed with the greatest possible wisdom they could not do more, than express the sense of the Commonwealth Parliament of the dayBut our laws do not express the opinions of the most thoughtful and intelligent of the Parliament; as a rule, they represent the standard of intelligence of the least thoughtful of those amongst us; because, as a rule, they are in a majority. Our legislation is seldom up to the standard of intelligence of well-informed men outside. Even if it were, it would be obsolete a few years hence.
– At this rate, we shall never get through.
– The honorable member imagines that to blunder through with our work is to get through with it. Honorable members who are endeavouring- to force this measure through the House in the belief that it is in the interests of the masses will find themselves grossly deceived. When the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was before us I pointed out that it was based partly upon the provisions of the New South Wales Act, which had just come into operation, and which I felt confident had! “ failure “ written across it. I pointed out then that in the course of a year or two many men whom it was designed to benefit would declare that it was a menace to those who were the most capable and provident in the community. How many unionists are there in New South Wales to-day who do not recognise the truth of those words? And yet many honorable members laughed at my prophecy ! The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, notwithstanding that the public were led to believe that all trade troubles and difficulties would cease the moment it became law, has so far remained a dead letter. The workers themselves are objecting to the Act because it prevents them from striking for higher wages. Why, should any Court have the right to insist that men shall work for a certain wage when they could otherwise obtain a higher rate? In the ordinary course of events, there is a remedy for every wrong, and we should not give one class of citizens power over another without amply safeguarding that power. The history of the world shows that people are disposed to tyrannically exercise the powers which they possess. That being so, what are we to expect if we give one section of the community, who have not had a reasonable opportunity for study, vast powers over their fellow-citizens ? Sometimes this class will sacrifice the interests of years for a momentary advantage j they will rarely consent to make a sacrifice to-day in the sure and certain hope that by doing so they will secure a great gain a little later on. In these circumstances, 1 have no hesitation in saying that great injury will be inflicted upon the community if we pass the Bill as it stands. I am in favour of its trade marks provisions, and am partly in accord with certain other provisions which it contains ; but I hold that the latter should have been embodied in a separate measure. If they lae construed as I apprehend they will be, they will be pernicious in the last degree. The trade union clauses of the Bill may be used not only as a means of boycotting, but also as a weapon against the workers. Once the great body of the people understand that an attempt is being made to force them to do this or that in which they do not believe they will revolt just as some of the unions in Western Australia revolted against the State Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and as unionists in Charters Towers and portion of New South Wales have also revolted. I fearlessly assert that the Ministry had no right to bring before us at this late period of the session a Trade Marks Bill in which is incorporated a Trade Union Label Bill. I have shown that over 140 amendments, clauses, and sub-clauses have to be dealt with, and I have been told that yet another string of amendments is to be submitted. Under the circumstances, we shall be doing a wrong to the people, and to ourselves, if we hastily pass this legislation.
Motion negatived. ,
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth). -The Act is to commence on a day to be fixed at the sweet will of the Minister ; but I should like to point out that, as it covers many provisions quite different from those generally included in Trade Marks legislation, it should not be brought into operation too hastily. The moment that the union label provisions are put on the statutebook a system of boycott will be instituted which, if successful, “ will block every channel of trade and commerce in the country. In the official magazine of the American Federation of Labour, published in July, 1902, is set forth as clearly as possible what may take place under the system of boycotting now sought to be legalized. The origin of the union label of the United States of America is spoken of in the following words : -
The union label is entirely American in its origin, and American in its use. While trade unions exist in other countries, and are, especially powerful and influential in Great Britain, it is only in America that this unique sign of skilled and sufficiently paid labour is in recognised use.
– Honorable members have been five and three-quarter hours wasting time already. Are the observations of the honorable member in order?
– The AttorneyGeneral has insulted honorable members by saying that those who have already spoken have- been wasting time. Is it in order to make such a statement?
– I did not apply my statement to the honorable member for Macquarie.
– It was an insult to the Committee.
– If the Chairman thinks it wrong, I will withdraw it.
– I think that the statement should not have been made.
– Then I withdraw it.
– With regard to the point of order taken bv the AttorneyGeneral, I do not think that the honorable member for Wentworth is in order in discussing the details of the Bill on this clause, which deals only with the date of the commencement of the Act. I ask him to confine his remarks strictly to the clause.
– The clause says that the Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation. I am endeavouring to show, by analyzing the operations of the union label in the United States of America, what we. may expect from the passing of these union label provisions, and am giving that as a reason why a sufficient time should be allowed to elapse before the Act is brought into operation. Unless I am able to state the history of the union label in the United States of America, I shall be unable to put before the Committee an argument which it is entitled to hear.
– So long as the honorable member can connect his remarks with the subject-matter of the clause they will
– Is it competent for the honorable member to discuss American law, which is quite distinct from the proposals’ of the Bill, and therefore utterly irrelevant ?
– I will deal with that, point when the occasion arises.
– Will not the honorable member for Wentworth be in order in showing that the Act should never commence, giving as a reason the ill effects of similar legislation elsewhere? I take it that that is what he is doing.
– The proper time to discuss that question was on the second reading. Honorable members must now confine their remarks strictly to the clause.
– I propose to confine my remarks strictly to the question of the date of the commencement of the Act, and before I sit down shall move an amendment. I intend to show honorable members what we must expect the moment the Bill is passed ; and to do so I shall refer to the history of the union label in the United States of America, where, according to the publication from which I have just quoted, it was originated to give the public an opportunity to differentiate between sweated and unsweated labour. There is no need to make such a differentiation in Australia, where we have Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts to mete out justice to unionists and non-unionists alike. I grant that the union label was originated in America for a good purpose - to prevent sweating ; but it has been used in a reckless and evil way. I propose to show that the boycotting which has taken place in the United States, and which will occur here when the provisions in the Bill relating to the use of union labels come into operation, renders it necessary to postpone the operation of the measure for as long a period as possible. I wish to quote from the official journal of “the federated labour organizations of the United States - the largest labour organization in the world. In that publication is a list headed, “ We do not patronize,” and the intimation is made that the union working men and union working women who sympathize with labour have agreed not to patronize the firms mentioned in the list.
– I am indicating that the boycott .which exists in the United States, and which will be extended to Australia the moment that the Bill is brought into operation, will have such a serious effect that the trading community should have ample time within which, to adapt themselves to the new conditions.
– So far as I have followed the honorable member, he is giving reasons why the Bill should not be passed at all, and it is not competent for him to do that at this stage.
– I almost regret that you. sir, should have been so impressed by my arguments that you consider that they damn the Bill altogether. I do not ask the Committee to go quite so far as that. I merely desire that they shall recognise the seriousness of the prospective boycott, and the desirability of providing that the Act shall not come into operation until the trading community have had1 ‘an opportunity to adapt themselves, to the new conditions. Unless I am able, by quoting American labour publications, to show what is likely to happen in the Commonwealth, I shall not be in a position to enforce my contention that the Bill should not come into operation at any moment that Ministers may think fit. I propose to give a brief resume of what has happened in the United States. In the publication to which I have previously referred there appears, a list of tradesmen under the heading, “We do not patronize.” This list gives the names of firms engaged in almost every branch of trade, including brewers, bakers, cigar-makers-
– I would ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether the honorable member is in order in persistently disregarding VOW ruling?
– I believe that the honorable member is endeavouring to keep within the ‘terms of my ruling. I would ask him again not to trespass beyond the bounds of orderly discussion.
– Surely, sir-
– I hope that the honorable member will not discuss my ruling.
– There seems to be some misunderstanding. I take it that the honorable member for Wentworth is now urging reasons-
– I hope that the honorable member will not open up a discussion upon my ruling. I believe that the honorable member for Wentworth is disposed to obey my ruling.
– I propose to move an amendment. The clause provides that the Act shall come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation, and I propose to move an amendment to the effect that, so far as one portion of the Act is concerned, it shall not come into operation before 1st January, 1907. I have necessarily to submit reasons why we should differentiate between one portion of the Bill and another. I have already explained, much against the will of members of the Labour Party, that boycotting is carried on in the United States with the assistance of the legislation that has been passed there relating to union labels. I wish to quote from the utterances of the paid organizers of* the United Slates Labour Federation to show that this boycott is in operation from end to end of that country, and that similar results may be expected to follow upon legislation such as that now proposed. If the union label provisions are passed, there will eventually be no market for goods that are the product of non-union labour. Storekeepers will either have to sell union-made goods or submit to be boycotted, and will have to make fresh arrangements for the purchase of their stocks. At present, all they require to do is to find out where and how they can purchase to the greatest advantage; but in future they will have to think, not of the value that they are able to give to their customers, but how they can best pander to their prejudices without incurring loss.
– I rise to a point of order. I have no objection to the honorable member making a few remarks upon the question when the proper time arrives, but I should like your ruling as to whether it is competent for him at this stage to discuss the union label provisions of the Bill. It does not seem practicable to provide that a portion of the Bill which has not been specified shall come into operation fourteen months hence, whilst the other provisions shall be brought into operation by proclamation. The honorable member has not yet moved any amendment, and it is obvious that if the course now being pursued by him is permissible, it will be possible for about twenty discussions to centre round the one principle.
– I think that the honorable member has puthimself right by indicating his intention to move an amend ment deferring the operation of a portion’ of the Bill, to which, under the circumstances, he is entitled to refer. Perhaps it would be more convenient, however, if he were to hand in his amendment.
– I shall do so as soon as it can be drafted. I propose to produce testimony to the effect that boycotting is carried on by the labour organizations of the United States.
– I rise to a point of order. I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether it is permissible for the honorable member to go on discussing an amendment which he may or may not move. If it is competent for an honorable member to enter upon a rambling discussion merely upon the strength of his statement that he intends to move an amendment, he may refer to every subject under heaven, and resume his seat without taking any definite action.
– The honorable member for Kennedy is quite right in the view he has taken. It is not in order for the honorable member for Wentworth to discuss matters beyond those dealt with in the clause, merely upon the strength of his expressed intention to move an amendment. I was about to ask the honorable member to confine his remarks strictly to the clause; but he has now handed in his amendment, which reads as follows: - .
That after the word “ proclamation,” the following words be inserted, “but as far as Part VII. is concerned, shall not come into operation until 1st of January, 1907.”
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the proposed amendment is relevant to the clause under discussion?
– Oh, yes; I rule that it is relevant.
– I am indebted to my friends in the Labour corner for their attempt to stifle discussion, especially upon a subject of this kind.
– I ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it. I now propose to read a few extracts from the reports by the local organizers to the central organization. Mr. W. T. Reynolds, the organizer in Arkansas, says : -
Good work is being done for the union labels, and all boycotts published by the American Fcderationist are observed.
The next report is from Mr. T. J. McNamara, the organizer in California, who writes : -
All American Federation of Labor boycotts are being pushed.
Mr. J. L. Nelson, from Colorado, writes :
All union labels are being pushed.
Mr. J. J. O’Neil, the organizer at Connecticut, writes: -
All union labels are being pushed, and all American Federation of Labor boycotts are observed.
– From what paper is the honorable member quoting?
– I am quoting from the American Federationist, which is the official magazine of the American Federation of Labour, for July, 1902. The next communication is from Mr. R. S. Monck, the organizer at Delaware, who writes : -
With prospects of success union labels are being agitated, and all the American Federation of Labor boycotts are being pushed.
– In each case there is a distinction between the Labour Federation boycott and the union label.
– The honorable member is a loss to the equity bar ! The next communication is from Mr. R. L. Harper, the organizer in Florida, who writes : -
We are forcing, the union label into prominence.
The organizer at Tampa writes : -
All American Federation of Labor boycotts are being observed.
Mr. W. S. Harris writes from Georgia:
We have a great demand for the union labels, here, and the boycott against the National Biscuit Company is being pushed.
The organizer from Illinois writes : -
The boycott against the National Biscuit Company is being pushed.
Mr. W. W. Young, of Freeport, says:
Boycott against the Radiant Home Stove is being pushed.
The next communication is from Mr. Nellis, of Waukepan, who writes: -
All the American Federation of Labor boycolts are being pushed.
Mr. Edward Cutty, the organizer in Indiana, writes: -
The American Federation of Labor boycotts on cigars, shoes, beer, and stoves are being pushed.
Mr. Jos. Hind writes from Clinton:
We are pushing all union label goods.
Mr. Fred. Hunt, of Elkhart, writes:
All American Federation of Labor boycotts are pushed.
Mr. C. L. Hall, the organizer at Hammond, says: -
Boycott on the National Biscuit Company is observed.
Mr. J. C. Heenan, of Linton, writes:
All non-union goods are refused, and all unfair firms boycotted.
Mr. S. Randolph, of Logansport, writes :
The boycott against the American Tobacco Company is especially pushed.
The next communication is from Mr. Fred. Fletcher, who writes from Muncie, to the effect that -
Union labels are being boomed, and all American Federation of Labor boycotts are vigorously pushed.
Mr. J. W. Hurst Writes from Vincennes :
All American Federation of Labor boycotts are being pushed.
Mr. George C. Campbell, from Clinton, writes :
We are now preparing union-label compaigns for the benefit of the labels.
That is what the honorable member for Bland would do with the aid of the boycott.
– The boycott is quite another question.
- Mr. A. E. Holder writes : -
All trust-made cigars are boycotted.
Mr. A. J. Rosgen, of Waterloo, writes:
Union labels are being pushed.
From Indian Territory Mr. George W. F airlie writes : -
Several of the American Federation of Labor boycotts are being pushed.
From Kansas Mr. John H. Urquhart writes : -
Everything possible is being done for the union labels.
Then at Kentucky I find that -
All labelled goods are demanded.
From Massachusetts the local organizer writes : - “All shoes and tobacco declared unfair by the American Federation of Labor are boycotted.
From Fitchburg one organizer says: -
All American Federation of Labor boycotts are being pushed.
Mr. Hayes, from Lynn, writes:
Boycotts on the Tobacco Trusts are being pushed.
Then from Milford Mr. W. Hamilton writes: -
All American Federation of Labor boycotts are being pushed
From Michigan the same statement comes. From Ionia also, in Michigan, the labour organizer tells us that -
All boycotts published by the American Federationist are observed.
The next communication is from Kalamazoo, which relates to the state of affairs in regard to the boycott. In Minneapolis -
All the American Federation of Labor boycotts that we know are observed.
Apparently there are so many labour boycotts there that the official organizer cannot be sure that he has noted every one of them. From St. Louis we are informed -
All union labels are- being pushed, especially the boycott against the American Tobacco Company.
Then in New Jersey we are told -
All boycotts affecting this city are being pushed.
– I would suggest to the honorable member that he should make his list as short as possible.
– I do not propose to read any more extracts from these reports. I recognise that the Labour Party are not anxious that these matters should be prematurely made public. The honorable member for Bland has sought to draw a very subtle distinction between boycotts originated by this, great federation of labour and boycotts which might result from the use of the union .label. In the publication from which I have already quoted I find the following notice : -
To all Affiliated Unions. - A satisfactory settlement of the differences with W. J. Yarbrough and Sons, of Richmond, Va., and the Tobacco Workers’ International Union having been reached, whereby the said firm now operates a union establishment, the same is removed from our list “We Don’t Patronize,” and placed upon our Fair List.
I also find another notice, which reads as follows : -
To all Affiliated Unions.- At the request of the unions interested, and after due investigation and attempt at settlement, the following concern has been declared unfair : - Philadelphia Bulletin, Philadelphia, Pa, Secretaries are requested to read this notice at union meetings, and labour and reform press please copy.
The object of that notice is to boycott that particular newspaper througout the United States. This is the result of the operation of the union label in that country. The moment that we pass this Bill a similar condition of affairs will be created in Australia. Not- only will union sympathizers refuse to buy goods which do not bear the union label, but they will decline to deal with any storekeeper who does not stock union-labelled goods exclusively. Surely it is clear to the Attorney-General that he must differentiate between that part of the Bill which deals with the union label and that portion of it which deals with bond fide trade marks ? The union label clauses of the Bill are entirely new, and are fraught with the most serious consequences to the trading community. That being so, if we must pass this legislation, it is clear that we should! give storekeepers sufficient time to adapt themselves to the new conditions. Many are probably making their purchases from wholesale firms in the metropolitan centres, and the latter in turn are doubtless making purchases from manufacturer’s here or abroad. If the wholesale firms find that the market for goods that do not bear the union label is interfered with, it will be necessary for them to search for markets where union label goods are obtainable. At the present time, only a small minority of the workers of Australia are enrolled in unions, and in the event of the passing of this Bill, the demand for goods bearing the union label would be far ahead of the local supply. We must have time to adapt ourselves to these new conditions, and I, therefore, trust that the Attorney-General will grant the concession I seek for the trading community of Australia.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I should prefer the postponement of this clause, pending the consideration, of the remaining provisions of the Bill. If the measure be passed as introduced, I shall be disposed to move that it shall not come into operation until 1950. That part of the Bill to which the Opposition object is shown by the quotations read by the honorable member for Wentworth to be fraught with great danger. It will constitute an instrument of the greatest tyranny and oppression. The union label provisions of the Bill are being forced upon the Committee against the desire of the Ministerial party. I am confident that they are really opposed to that part of the Bill, and that if we could deal with it by ballot, they would promptly reject it. If they could vote on the sly-
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member in order in suggesting that honorable members on this side of the Chamber have not the courage to vote according to their convictions?
– It can scarcely be said that the honorable member has imputed motives, but I am sure that he will withdraw the remark if it be regarded as offensive.
– In accordance with the usual custom, I shall withdraw the remark if it be considered offensive, but my opinion will remain unchanged.
– It is well known that some members of the Ministry are opposed to the union label provisions of the Bill.
– Their public utterances show what course they would take if they could vote by ballot.
– If such a system prevailed, I should like to examine the honorable member’s ballot-paper.
– I am prepared to vote openly. The Labour Party mustrecognise that the union label provisions of the Bill will be used as an instrument of tyranny; that they will be used to starve into submission men who would not otherwise join the unions. I object to such provisions, and should like the clause to be postponed. If we allowed the Bill to remain inoperative until 1950, the then members of this House would probably recognise the responsibilities of their position, instead of seeking, as honorable members are now doing, to given effect to a principle which has proved nothing hut a curse to the very men for whose benefit it is proposed.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I certainly support the suggestion that if the clause be not amended as proposed, it should be postponed until we have dealt with the rest of the Bill. I should like to point out that the provisions in regard to workers’ trade labels will apply to articles of over-sea commerce. Clause 78h, in the list of amendments, circulated by the Attorney-General, strikes me as being prohibitive, and, unless carefully watched, might very well be worked in the interests of a particular fiscal policy. It provides that -
No person shall import into Australia any goods not manufactured or produced in Australia, to which there is applied -
a worker’s trade mark, or
a mark substantially identical with a worker’s trade mark, or
a mark so nearly resembling a worker’s trade mark as to be likely to deceive.
I take it that if there be a union label provision operating in Canada or in the. United States, and a trade mark registered in the United States-
– Such a mark would not bear an Australian name.
– But this clause refers to a mark “ resembling” a worker’s trade mark. It need not be an Australian’ mark.
– It will apply only to Australian marks, and is designed to prevent deception. The object is to provide against attempts to pretend that a foreign-made article is one of Australian production.
– It provides that if a foreign mark so nearly resembles the Australian mark as to be likely to deceive, the goods on which it appears shall be prohibited.
– So they should be.
Mr.JOSEPH COOK.- Why? If a mark has been affixed to goods in a bona fide manner, and is a guarantee that labour conditions have been observed, it is merely an indication that the circumstances are the same in both countries.
– Would the honorable member permit such an imitation of the ordinary trade mark of a merchant as would be calculated to deceive?
– If the object of the clause be not that which I have indicated, its only other purpose must be a fiscal one.
– I am anxious to allow honorable members every latitude that the Standing Orders permit ; but the honorable member for Paramatta is now proceeding to discuss in detail an amendment that is not before the Chair.
– I shall content myself by saying that the question of jurisdiction will probably arise in regard to goods manufactured abroad, and labelled similarly to those made in Australia. It is customary for merchants to order their goods for several seasons ahead. I understand that it is not uncommon for goods to be ordered a couple of years ahead, and I suggest to the Attorney-General that he. should defer the coming into operation of a measure whose provisions affect the industrial life of the community so widely as the provisions of this measure will.Therefore, I ask him either to postpone the clause until we have dealt with the other provisions in the Bill, or to fix a definite period for the coming into operation of the Act.
– Either the provisions of Part VII. of the Bill are good provisions, or they are not. If they are bad provisions, they should not come into operation at all ; but, if they are good provisions, there is no reason why they should not come into operation simultaneously with the rest of the Bill. I see no reason for making a distinction between the time of coming into operation of the two parts of the Bill. In my opinion, there is ample proof that the provisions of Part VII. are good provisions, though that is. a matter which will be discussed in detail later on. As the honorable member for Wentworth made a reference to what has occurred in America, and it has been thought relevant, I should like to point out that so much has the trade union label commended itself to the people of the United States of America, that it has, found favour with the Legislatures of State after State, and Territory after Territory - Legislatures which are usually worked on behalf of capitalists as much as on behalf of the workers.
– Because a reign of terror has been established.
– Between 1889 and 1893 twenty-eight States adopted the trade union label, but since 1893 no fewer than fortyeight States, land Territories, containing nearly 68.000,000 people, have adopted it, and it has been upheld by the Courts in every instance where its legality has been tested.
– I will quote a few cases which show that that is not so.
– Then the honorable member must quote cases which I have not been able to find, although I have searched very diligently. I am speaking of the decisions, on the State Acts. I should like to quote a few lines from the magazine from which the honorable member for Wentworth has quoted, to explain the office and functions of the union label. It was adopted, first, by the cigar-makers, in 1874, and by the hatters in 1888. The writer of the article says : -
Thus it is that this ensign of labour, which originated in a most practical way, ‘has become a symbol of a sentiment, as well as of a practical and living issue. As the union label progressed and broadened in its domain, it deepened in its significance, until, to-day, it means that the work on which it is placed is done by skilled workmen, under wholesome conditions. It insures the payment of reasonable .wages. It stands for shorter hours of work. It indicates the efforts of organizations constantly striving to secure and maintain these and other important results. The union label is, above all, a weapon to defend the, trade unions from various kinds of antagonisms, whether they aim to increase the hours of labour or decrease the price paid for it, and whether emanating from the unfair competition of -the sweatshop or the duress of powerful combinations of capital. The union label has had its misfortunes. It has been maligned by the suspicious, and counterfeited by the jealous and dishonest. But as the storm adds vigour and sturdiness to the tree which survives it, so have these trials added strength and vigour to the union label. That little seed which a few zealous cigar-maker planted on the Pacific Slope has grown to be a mighty tree.
That is a view which I think we shall be able to show is the right one. I. do not intend to discuss at this moment the subject of boycotting, because the provisions of our criminal and civil law are ample to repress it, and numerous instances are to be found in America, in England, and in other British communities, in which the courts have repressed it. I can see no reason for postponing the operation of the provisions relating to trade union labels. I can’ understand the action of honorable members in moving the rejection of Part VII. ; but if these provisions are worthy of inclusion in the Bill, there is no reason why they should not come into operation with the’ rest of the Bill. If they are not worthy of inclusion, they should be excluded.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney). - The Attorney-General has followed a course to which he himself objected by dealing with the effect of the union label in the United States.
– I did so only after that course was ruled in order, and theo I spoke only for two minutes;
– The AttorneyGeneral, I presume, originally thought it undesirable to discuss the matter at this stage. He forgot to tell us that the United States have not the tribunals for fixing the hours, conditions, and remunera- tion of labour which the Commonwealth has provided for Australia, and which exist among, at any rate, the largest portion of the people of the States.
– Two States have no such tribunals, and the Commonwealth tribunal is only for the settlement of disputes extending beyond any one State.
– That is not a correction of my statement, which is well within the mark. Therefore, the circumstances of America are altogether different from our circumstances. I cannot understand why, when we have passed a law to create a certain effect, we should immediately afterwards pass another measure to have the same effect. We were told that the establishment of an Arbitration Court would get rid of bad conditions in our various trades and industries, and now we have a number of provisions introduced into a measure to which they are alien, to effect the same object.
– They are very shortsighted who think that any of this legislation is1 more than temporary.
– Surely it should not be the object of this Parliament to heap legislation on legislation, all covering the same ground.
– On that line of argument, we should not pass a Trade Marks Bill at all, because, the States have Trade Marks Acts.
– That is not my line of argument at all. The Commonwealth Arbitration Act was passed to deal with what the States could not deal with. Would it not have been ridiculous had its provisions been merely concurrent with those of the States Acts? If it is intended to exclude goods because they have on them at the present time labels which our legislation may make illegal, a sufficient time should be given to inform those at the other end of the world, because alterations of labels cannot be made in a day. If it is intended to exclude, either in the administration of this1 measure, or by certain proposals which the Minister intends to put forward, certain labels which may exist at a certain time–
– It is not.
– The honorable and learned member does not know that. A label is often declared to be a colourable imitation of another, although it may not bear on it a single word of what appears on the other.
– There cannot be at the present moment in existence a counterfeit of an Australian union label.
– A label so nearly resembling a worker’s trade mark as to be likely to deceive would be dealt with by the courts as a colourable imitation of that label, even though it might not bear on it a word printed on the trade label. If, for instance, the French flag, or the British flag, were adopted by a worker’s union in Australia as a registered label, the label of a firm sending goods here from another part of the world might be declared a colourable imitation of it, or one calculated to deceive, and the goods might be excluded. Since the Bill contains these provisions, time should be given to make known their effect. That was recognised in connexion with the Commerce Bill ; but the honorable and learned gentleman proposes! to take a different course in connexion with this measure.
– The whole of the Commerce Bill was postponed, and I ask that the whole of the provisions of. this Bill shall be treated alike in regard to their commencement .
-I think that a date should be fixed for the coming into force of the Bill. We should give the States notice of its commencement from a definite date.
– We have arranged to bring other Acts into operation by proclamation.
– Yes ; but there is, perhaps, more reason in this, case than in others why a specific date should be fixed. I have pointed out the reasons why full notice should be given to all those whose business is likely to be affected by the operation of the Bill. I would also direct attention to the fact that clause 25 provides -
Except by order of the Court, the Registrar shall not register in respect of goods a trade mark identical with one belonging to a different proprietor which is already on the register in respect of the like goods, or class of goods, or so nearly resembling such a trade mark as to be likely to deceive.
That means, that there will be a race for registration, and the first comer - the man who is nearest to . the Registrar - will be able to hold the field until he is dispossessed. Certain labels attached to imported goods are not registered here at the present time, and in the event of the Bill being hurriedly brought into operation, there would be nothing to prevent persons, on the spot from racing to the Commonwealth office, and registering these trade marks.
– Will that not be the case whenever the Act commences?
– Not to the same degree. New conditions will arise, and many persons who are not dis- posed to take the trouble to effect separate registrations in every one of the States, will be prepared to register for the whole Commonwealth in one office. I think, therefore, that full notice should be given, so that all those who are interested may have an equal start.
– Does the honorable member desire to provide that the Act shall be brought into effect by proclamation, not earlier than a certain date?
– Yes ; I would suggest the 1st July, 1907, or some other reasonable date. I think there are good reasons why the date of commencement should be fixed ; but I am quite willing to consult with the Attorney -General on that point. It may be of advantage to the States Governments to know when the transfer of the Trade Marks Departments is to take place, so that they may make provision for the employment of officers whose services will be no longer required in that branch. I do not wish to take action at this stage, but I trust that in the event of the amendment now before the Chair being withdrawn, the Attorney-General will consider the representations I have made.
– I think that is reasonable.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth). - I should not have troubled the Committee again, but for the quotation made by the AttorneyGeneral from an American labour publication, with regard to the causes for the adoption of union labels in the United States. I would point out that conditions which exist there do not obtain in Australia. The Minister quoted the statement that “ The union label insures payment of reasonable wages.” What would happen if we passed provisions for the use of union labels with that object in view ? We have already a properly constituted tribunal to deal with the question of wages, so far as a Commonwealth authority is competent to exercise control. If the union label provisions of the Bill’ are designed with the same object, it is clear that we shall be constituting a new authority over and above-
– I rise to a point of order. I think that the honorable member is anticipating discussion which will arise on Part VII. of the Bill. I submit that for the present his remarks should be confined to the reasons why his amendment should be adopted.
– The amendment is now before the Chair. The Attorney-
General certainly read a statement which appeared in the publication referred to by the honorable member for Wentworth, but I do not think that he proceeded to discuss it. I suggest that the honorable member should confine his remarks to the amendment.
– I shall not deal with the matter any further at present, except to the extent of saying that the portion of the article read by the Attorney-General does not apply to the circumstances of the Commonwealth, as ; he must have been well aware.
– I do not agree with the honorable member.
– It has been suggested that the clause might be postponed, instead of being dealt with in the way I propose. If the Attorney-General can see his way to adopt that course, I shall be quite satisfied, because, on reflection, it seems to me that that is, perhaps, the best thing to do. We really do not know how far-reaching this Bill will prove to be.
– That could be said with regard to any Bill.
– But the honorable member must recognise that the Bill is clearly divided into two parts - one containing provisions which might reasonably be expected in a measure dealing with trade marks, and the other consisting of absolutely foreign matter. If the Attorney-General will consent to the postponement of this clause until the remaining clauses have been dealt with, I do not think that he will delay the passing of the measure in any way. I think we should consider the question of when the. Bill shall come into operation after we have dealt with the provisions of the Bill itself. If the union label proposals become law, the Attorney-General must recognise that we shall establish a new set of conditions throughout Australia, which the trading community will be called upon to meet. If those proposals are not carried there will be no need to postpone the date upon which the Act shall come into operation.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). - I do not think that we should differentiate between the various parts of the Bill. In my opinion, there is very much to be said in favour of the position put by the honorable member for North Sydney. When this clause was inserted, the intention was that the Bill should commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation, but it was understood that, as the Commonwealth would have to take over a good many State officers, some time must necessarily elapse before the Department could be got into proper working condition. In connexion with the Patents Act, I think that eight months was absorbed in this way. Probably six months would be required in the case of this Bill. For that reason I am quite willingto insert at the end of clause 2 words which no doubt will be practically observed by any Government that may be in office. If the amendment of the honorable member for Wentworth be withdrawn, I shall move to add to the clause the words “ not less than six months after the passing’ of this Act.”
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I am of opinion that the consideration of this clause should be postponed until after the other clauses of the Bill have been disposed of. The following extract is from an American paper : -
The union label is a weapon which, above all, is intended to defend trade unions against various kinds of antagonism, whether they aim to increase the hours of labour or decrease the price paid for it, and whether emanating from the unfair competition of the sweat-shop or the duress of powerful combinations of capital.
It appears to me that those conditions do not obtain in Australia, or that they obtain only to a very small extent. The fact that they prevail in America is no argument in favour of the adoption of a union label here. We have already established Courts to regulate wages and hours of employment and to prevent those evils occurring which the adoption of the union label in America was intended to correct. Consequently, by this legislation, we are merely double-banking the methods of dealing with the same evil? In my opinion, the less that we interfere with industrial pursuits the better. I have no desire to see unfair conditions obtain, but I realize that the union label will be used for purposes of oppression and tyranny, and that its adoption will bring about a great deal of unrest. I think that we should deal with the other clauses of the Bill before considering the provision which is under consideration.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth). - In view of the statement of the Attorney-General that the Bill will come into operation not less than six months after the passing of the Act, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn
Amendment (by Mr. Isaacs) agreed to -
That the following words be added to the clause : - “ not less than six months after the passing of this Act.”
– At this hour of the evening, I trust that the AttorneyGeneral will consent to an adjournment of the debate.
– Oh, no; we must make up for lost time.
– Hitherto it has been customary for the House to adjourn on Tuesday evenings at about half-past 10 o’clock. Honorable members who come from distant States have had to travel all night in the train, and it is unreasonable to ask them to sit longer.
– From half-past 2 o’clock this afternoon until now we have not passed a single clause.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral imagine that these matters should be allowed to go to a division without being discussed ?
– Let the honorable member discuss the Bill.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral think that he will make much progress by adopting “forcing” tactics?
– I shall try.
– No doubt some honorable members of the Opposition will be able to-night to obtain some rest, safe in the knowledge that any attempt by the Government in their absence to force the Bill through Committee will be resisted.
– The honorable member is out of order.
– The honorable member should move that the Chairman report progress.
– I am strongly tempted to do so. I object to this clause for a variety of reasons, which, to my mind, are practically irrefutable. I object to it in the first place because I am opposed to the Bill itself, with these extraneous and highly contentious matters embodied in it without rhyme or reason, and because the Government had no mandate whatever from the electors to introduce such a measure. They are simply being pressed by the third party in the House to proceed with it.
– I must ask the honorable member to discuss, not the Bill generally, but the clause before the Chair.
– I was not proceeding to discuss the merits of the Bill, but was pointing out that one of my reasons for objecting to the clause is that I am opposed to the Bill itself. It will be injurious to the workers, the producers, the manufacturers, the distributors, and the public generally, and I shall vote for any further amendment to defer its coming into operation until a period much later than that suggested by the Minister. As a discussion of the operation of the trade union label laws in force in the United States, and the ruling of the courts in regard to their validity, has been permitted, I propose to bring forward some testimony-
– That matter is not now before the Chair.
– Am I to understand that certain honorable members are to be allowed to bring forward matters which others may not discuss.
– I trust that the honorable member will not make such a suggestion. The discussion to which he refers took place upon an amendment which has since been withdrawn.
– The AttorneyGeneral referred to the decision of certain Judges in the United States with respect to the union label, and I said at the time that I should bring forward some testimony in reply to his assertion.
– The honorable member has lost his opportunity.
– Then I shall take advantage of another opportunity to deal with the matter. I know that protests on the part Of the Opposition are absolutely futile, because the Ministry are relying upon brute force to carry this measure through. All reasonable argument is absolutely useless, because honorable members opposite are in a majority, and have determined to follow a certain course regardless of whether or not it is in the interests of the community to do so. Asthe Opposition are in a minority, and have no power to prevent the passing of a Bill that must be attended by evil consequences, they can do no more than protest as emphatically as possible. I make no secret of the fact that I shall avail myself of every opportunity allowed by the Standing Orders to obstruct this iniquitous measure, and prevent its being passed.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). - I understand that the Minister has accepted an amendment providing that the Bill shall come into force by proclamation at a date not less than six months after its passing.
– We shall be guided by the time it takes to secure the necessary organization.
– It is evident that another difficulty has arisen. While I am quite content to agree to the amendment in regard to the commencement of one set of the provisions in the Bill, I am not content that the other set of provisions should come into effect within six months of the passing of the Act. It is doubtful whether they are constitutional, and, therefore, an opportunity should be given to test their validity. I do not think that six months would be sufficient to give that opportunity.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).The Bill is so drastic in its nature, and so different from any legislation hitherto passed in any British country, that I think it should be prevented from coming into force at all. I have no objection to those provisions which relate solely to trade marks, butI shall do all that I can to prevent Part VII. or any substituted provisions, from coming into force. It is time that we put our foot down on legislation of this character, which runs across the grain of all that has been done in the past. Ministers would not attempt to force such a measure through the Committee if it were not for their arrangement with the party sitting behind them. I believe that the Bill is utterly distasteful to the great majority of the people, and, while it can do very little good, will do a great deal of harm, because of the manner in which it will upset trade arrangements. I hope that the Minister will consent to an adjournment to-night, because many honorable members have had a long train journey.
– Let us go on.
– Yes ; we have the numbers.
– Honorable members wish to force the Bill through by means of what I would term brute force, if that were in order; but we, on this side, will resist such an attempt with all the strength we have. The honorable member for Barrier is very brave now that he knows that he has a large number behind him; but the fact that the Labour Government did not insert the union label provisions inthe original Bill which they introduced shows how hypocritical are their statements that their desire is to benefit the people outside.
-The honorable member must confine his remarks to the clause.
– In my opinion, the clause should not be allowed to pass, because the Bill is a bad one, and should not come into force at all. We should destroy the measure clause by clause. I have no desire to stop here all night, but, in view of what we conceive to be the interests of the general community, we have a right to adopt every means within our power to prevent the Bill from being passed! into law. I should have no objection to the measure if Part VII. were eliminated; but I am sure that if the Bill is passed in its present form it will prove an instrument of tyranny. I shall, therefore, oppose the clause.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth).- It seems to me that at present we are at cross purposes. I understand that the Attorney-General desires to pass a number of non-contentious clauses this evening.
– All of them.
– I think that the Minister expects too much. I take it that he is willing to postpone the consideration of all contentious clauses, and as the clause now under discussion is .obviously contentious, I would suggest that its further consideration should be deferred1. I ‘ admit that the amendment which has been made constitutes a considerable concession ; but a number of honorable members consider that it does not go far enough. I should like to see some arrangement arrived at by which we could perform some useful work before we go to our homes to-night.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang).- I wish to move the substitution of the word “ twelve “ for the word “ six “ in the clause as amended.
– It is not competent for the honorable member to move such an amendment.
– I am very sorry to hear that. I object to the Bill being brought into operation at any time prior to the next general election, because I think that the country should have an opportunity of expressing its will with regard to the union label provisions. The Committee ought not to agree to this clause until that issue has been submitted to the electors. It must be recollected that at the last general election the people had no opportunity of expressing their opinions upon the proposals embodied in the measure because it was never anticipated that legislation of this character would be brought before Parliament. For that reason, amongst many others, I object to the clause in its present form.
– I should like to understand exactly the position, taken up by the Attorney-General in regard to this clause. Everybody recognises that a Trade Marks Bill is not only a necessary, but a useful measure. But upon the present occasion we are threatened with certain proposals which will be discussed at a later stage, and which have been sprung upon us owing to the baneful influence exercised by the Attorney-General over other members of the Cabinet.
– It would be interesting to know what the Treasurer thinks of thisclause.
– I quite agree that if the union label1 clauses had been embodied ire a separate Bill the path of the Government would have been rendered very much easier. Had that course been adopted, it is quite possible that members of the Labour Party who are more interested in those proposalsthan is anybody else, would have secured all that they desire. I have no wish to. offer any factious opposition to this measure,, but I hope that the Attorney-General will, without delay, make a statement of his intentions in regard to both its contentiousand non-contentious provisions.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang).- Before this clause; is passed, we ought to have an expression of opinion from Ministers in regard to it. I should like to hear what the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the PostmasterGeneral, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council, have to say upon it. From their previous utterances upon another matter which is closely allied! to this, I know that their speeches would be very interesting.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).There seems to be quite a conspiracy of silence on the part of honorable membersopposite.
– Wait until we reach the contentious clauses of the Bill. I shall then have something to say
– I should like toput this view to honorable members : I think it would be a fair thing to raise a general debate upon the new amendments proposed” by the Attorney-General. When we reach Part VII. of the Bill, unless some opportunity is provided for initiating a general discussion, we shall find our hands tied by the well-known rule in Committee that we must confine our remarks to the particular clause which is under consideration. The proposals of the Attorney-General by way of amendment practically amount to a new Bill. They embrace thirty-three new clauses and sixty-six sub-clauses, to say nothing of the other portions of the measure. His proposals in regard to the union label contain that number of clauses and sub-clauses - quite sufficient material to have warranted the bringing in of a separate Bill. The honorable and learned gentleman’s proposal is of sufficient importance to warrant a general debate upon the whole subject; a debate in which I should like the honorable member for Bland to take a prominent part. There are many matters which I should be pleased to have explained and discussed, and I believe that a general discussion of the whole question, precedent to a consideration of the clauses in detail, would facilitate rather than retard the passing of the Bill.
– But for the action of the Opposition we might have had that discussion to-day.
– I do not think that the honorable member cancomplain. Some of the speeches made to-day, and especially that delivered by the honorable member for Werriwa, were of great value. I repeat that the amendments circulated by the Attorney-General warrant a general debate before we proceed to discuss them seriatim, and I propose to raise that debate on clause 3 by moving the omission of Part VII., which relates to trade union marks. That would bring the whole subject under review. The Attorney-General says that he desires to show some work for the sitting, and I suggest that he might very well agree to the passing of the noncontentious clauses of the Bill.
– Some of those which we are prepared to accept are contentious.
– I propose that we agree to pass the clauses relating to trade marks, which the Attorney-General alleges are not contentious. This arrangement would cover fifty-seven clauses of the Bill.
– There has been no objection to the remaining portion of the clauses relating to trade marks.
– That being so, their consideration should not occupy much time to-morrow.
– That depends on the temper of the Opposition.
– There are some members of “the Opposition who believe that they can usefully discuss the subsequent clauses, and suggest amendments which would improve them. It is because of that fact that we are not prepared to consent to-night to the passing of all the clauses up to Part VII. of the Bill. If we pass fifty-seven clauses to-night the AttorneyGeneral will be able to say that we have done a good evening’s work. I suggest to the honorable and learned gentleman that he should consent to the adoption of this course, clause 3 being postponed only to allow a general debate to be raised, and the remaining proposals, down to Part VI., to be passed. I submit that we can do very much better work for the country by sitting during reasonable hours than by remaining here late at night, wearing ourselves out in fighting for what we believe to be our rights.
– As a matter of fact, the Senate took weeks to discuss the clauses to the passing of which the Opposition is prepared to consent.
– There is no doubt that the Senate took weeks to discuss the clauses which I now propose shall be passed at once. I appeal to the AttorneyGeneral to accept this proposal as a reasonable one, and as one that will assure him of a good night’s work, of which the Ministry will haver no reason to be ashamed.
– I can fully sympathize with the suggestion of the deputy leader of the Opposition that, at some stage of the proceedings in Committee, there should be a general debate upon what is admittedly a very contentious question. The general principle involved in the proposal to extend protection to trade union marks was discussed very lengthily on the motion for the second reading of the Bill. The leader of the Opposition then made a very long,though interesting speech, and I too spoke at some length. Many other honorable members also addressed the House, and every one of them concentrated his attention upon the union label provisions of the Bill. Honorable members practically offered no objection to any other aspect of it.
– The honorable member will admit that the amendments circulated by the Attorney-General place a different complexion on the matter.
– I am not prepared to admit that.
– Provision is now to be made for two more labels.
– No difference in principle is involved. Indeed, I believe that the proposal in regard to individual workers’ marks has been made in deference to the criticism of the Opposition.
– Is the honorable member speaking for the Government?
– I am speaking for myself, and not for any impertinent interjector on the Opposition benches.
– Is the honorable member in order, Mr. Chairman, in making that statement ?
– The honorable member was absolutely offensive.
– If the honorable member considers that my remark was offensive, I will withdraw it.
– If the honorable member would moderate his superciliousness for a moment, he would admit that I am entitled to speak only for myself. With regard to the suggestion of the deputy leader of the Opposition, I should not see any objection to the postponement of clause 3, with a view to facilitate the discussion to which he refers ; but I do say that had it not been for the motion submitted by him “ That the Chairman do now leave the chair,” we should have done much more business during this sitting than we have yet transacted. I do not object to such tactics if honorable members consider it necessary, to resort to them, but those who wish to see the business of the country attended to have a right to ask that the non-contentious clauses shall be passed without objection.
– The clauses to which we are prepared to consent were - considered for weeks bv the Senate.
– That is a reason why we should not occupy much time in their consideration. The majority of the clauses relating to trade marks merely paraphrase existing legislation.
– And we say, therefore, that there is no objection to them.
– That being so, why should not the Opposition consent to the passing of all the clauses to which there is no objection, so that the field may be left clear “for the fight to determine whether or not the union trade label provisions of the Bill shall pass?
– Does the honorable member say that the Opposition are not offering the Government a good night’s work ?
– Considering that practically all the clauses in question have not given rise to any objection, I do not think that they; are.
– There are honorable members of the Opposition - including the honorable member for North Sydney, who is familiar with trade ramifications - who wish to consider these clauses.
– Honorable members have had several months in which to con- sider them. I am prepared to listen with deference to the honorable member’s criticisms. If there is to be considerable discussion on any clause, there is no reason why it should not be postponed; but, in my opinion, we are not justified in adjourning until we have done a fair amount of work. We should have dealt with all the clauses but those in Part VII., had the Opposition been ready to face their discussion in a reasonable fashion.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). - The proposal of the honorable member for Parramatta that we should deal with the first fifty-seven clauses means that we should do barely an hour’s work. The measure has” been carefully considered by the members of the other Chamber, and the Bill has been before this House for many months. No amendments, however, have been circulated in regard to its provisions, except those for which’ the Government are responsible, and that, coupled with the fact tha* no suggestion has been made in- regard to the measure by the Chambers of Commerce, make it a fair assumption that there is no objection to them, and that they are purely non-contentious. If honorable members will look at the list of amendments which the Government have circulated, they will see that they involve no party question, and no question of policy ; their intention is merely to make the Bill workable. I understand that the honorable member for North Sydney and the honorable and learned member for Corinella desire to raise some point on the three clauses comprising Part V., and I am willing to postpone those clauses, though I do not know what the point is. The succeeding clauses deal purely with office machinery.
– Not clause 71.
– That is a machinery provision, and provides for ordinary Court practice. The miscellaneous provisions of Part VIII.–
– Surely the AttorneyGeneral does not ask us to pass Part VIII. to-night?
– Yes. It deals only with such matters as the making of regulations, incidental powers of Court, powers of Registrar, penalty for disobedience to summons, and so on.
– If the honorable and learned gentleman _thinks that he is going to pass a Bill like this in a night he is mistaken.
– Would not the AttorneyGeneral like to pass another Bill as well?
– I believe that if we had gone to work in the ordinary way when first we met we should have disposed of all these clauses before now.
– The honorable and learned gentleman is wrong.
– Five and three-quarter hours were consumed in the discussion of what I may term an outside motion.
– The late Administration had to listen to speeches nearly as long as that from individual members of the then Opposition.
– If we were to accede to the proposal of the deputy leader of the Opposition we should rise after doing not more than a fair hour’s work. I think that I have made a reasonable proposal, and, if it is not accepted, we are ready to go on.
– The Attorney-General will see how far ahead he will be in four days from now. We can easily give him four days on one clause.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella).- The Act, under the amendment to which the AttorneyGeneral has agreed1, is not to take effect until six months after its passing, and it is difficult, therefore, to understand why’ it should be regarded as, a measure of such urgency that it must be passed in one night. It is unquestionably ai measure of great importance, and it is highly necessary that the public should be made well aware of its provisions before it comes into operation. T say without any hesitation that the AttorneyGeneral cannot point to any instance in which a technical measure of this kind was passed in a single night. Elsewhere the clauses of the Bill, were discussed one by one, and debated for weeks. It is now proposed that the whole of these clauses should be passed in a single night.
– With the exception of the provisions which the honorable and learned member regards as the most important.
– I do not consider them the most important, but regard them as the most debatable.
– We have already agreed to postpone three clauses,
– Three clauses out of 100. The Bill contains 100 clauses, of which Part VII. comprises six, and I am astonished that it should be regarded as the duty of the Committee to pass ninety-four clauses of a technical measure in one evening.
– The honorable member is not in order dm discussing that point.
– I am pointing out that the present attitude of the Attorney-General is inconsistent with his action in agreeing to a provision that the Bill shall not be brought into operation until earlier than six months after it has been passed. The Attorney-General suggested that we could pass the Bill within an hour.
– I suggested that we should pass fifty-seven non-contentious clauses in am horn.
– Then as there would be less than fifty-seven clauses left to discuss, the Attorney-General evidently takes the view that the whole measure could be disposed of within two hours.
– The honorable member is not in order in discussing the attitude of the Attorney-General.
– At least one other member of the Opposition was allowed to refer to the matter.
– Order ! I conceive it to be my duty to expedite public business, and when I thought that the honorable, member for Bland, the honorable member, for Parramatta, and the Attorney-General were endeavouring to enter into an arrangement by which the public business would be facilitated, I did not interfere. Their efforts failed, however, and I cannot allow the matter to be further discussed. I hope that the honorable and learned member will see that I am doing him no personal in-, justice, but that I am endeavouring to consult the best interests of the country.
– I have no desire to say anything that is out of order, but I am rather puzzled to know why I am debarred from the same privilege that has been extended to other honorable members.
– I trust that the honorable and learned member will not continue in that vein.
– I think it will be better to let me say the few words I desire to say than to compel me to adopt some other method.
– I prefer that the honorable and learned member should adopt the constitutional course.
– Then I move-
That the Chairman do now leave the chair.
I should certainly not have taken this step if I had been allowed to say the few words that I desired to address to the Committee.
– I would point out to the honorable and learned member that he has already spoken for nine minutes.
– That is not a long period when the course of a session is considered.
– Seven minutes is nothing out of an all-night sitting.
– I do not wish to sit all night. I think that the proposal that we should pass more than one-half of this measure was of too generous a character. There are some good reasons to be advanced in favour of the motion. When the honorable member for Parramatta moved a similar motion this afternoon in order to protest against the action of the Government, he expressed himself briefly, and I had the . privilege of speaking for about twenty minutes. The debate extended over some five , or six hours, but I must confess that the whole of the speeches delivered dealt very fairly with the question under consideration. Later in the evening, when the Attorney-General assumed an attitude of determination, honorable members agreed to the suggestion that a large number of clauses might be passed on his assurance that they were not contentious, and that the amendments proposed by him would make the measure practically all that could be desired. But the present attitude of the Attorney-General appears to me to be utterly unreasonable.
– If the Opposition were willing to pass all the provisions up to clause 57, why should we not proceed that far. and allow the other clauses, to be dealt with as honorable members may think fit ?
– Because we should then be told that we would have to sit on until we passed the whole Bill, with the exception of Part VII. Will the AttorneyGeneral consent to progress being reported when clause 57 has been agreed to?
– No, but members of the Opposition have admitted that there is no objection to passing the clauses up to clause 57.
– They have not admitted that.
– Then no offer whatever has been made.
– I have already stated that I surrendered my judgment, in order to avoid an all-night sitting. I acceded, much against my will, to the request of the honorable member for Parramatta on his assurance that the Attorney -General bad informed him that the provisions up to clause 57 were not contentious, and might be safely accepted by honorable members.
– I did not say that I would stop at clause 57.
– The proposal of the Government to pass the whole of these clauses to-night is sufficient justification for an honorable member taking any course, which the rules of the House permit, to prevent that object being accomplished. Neither my judgment nor my voice consented to the view that the first four parts of this measure contained no contentious clauses - no provisions as to which debate might not reasonably arise, or as to which suggestions might not well be made for the improvement of the Bill. Nevertheless, I was prepared to accept those assurances, even against my own judgment, and to consent to the Billbeing passed up to the end of Part IV. That suggestion was rejected almost with” contempt. We were told that so much of the measure was to be passed, and that until that was done a proper amount ofbusiness would nothave been transacted. That is not the way to treat men who have already surrendered their own views in order to meet the opinions of others. When allegations of that character are made and are backed up by threats of force, we have no choice but to exercise our rights and to insist that proper consideration shall be given to this Bill. Whatever may be the merits or demerits of the debate which took place earlier this afternoon, there can be no doubt that to propose, after 11 o’clock at night, to pass nearly 100 clauses through Committee-
– Whose fault is that?
– I do not think that anybody is to blame.
– -The Opposition simply wasted time.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon. So far as I am able to judge, the Opposition did not waste time. I listened to most of the speeches which were delivered, and I heard some very cogent arguments used, to which no reply was made.
– They will all be used again.
– The honorable member knows that repetition on the part of public men is very frequently unavoidable. The honorable member himself has indulged in repetition at various times, and justly so. I spokefor nine minutes before I moved that the Chairman do now leave the Chair. But I shall feel it my duty to speak for more than nine minutes now.
– A lovely exhibition.
– The honorable member himself was a most skilful exponent of the art of wasting time - not during the present session of Parliament, but at a previous period. If, upon the 15th November last year, the then Government had proposed, at a quarter-past 11 o’clock at night, to pass 100 clauses of a measure through Committee, lie would have resented it.
– I always resented the honorable member’s political existence.
– I am very sorry to hear that. I do not resent the honorable member’s political existence. I think that the world is large enough to hold men of varying political views without the necessity for them entertaining any desire to see their opponents go to the wall.
– I was referring to the honorable member’s Ministerial existence.
– ThenI understand the honorable member’s allusion quite well. I recollect how he graced the Ministerial benches.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that his remarks are quite germane to the motion under consideration ?
– I think that I can show the connexion. By behaving in the way that they are doing, the Government have shown that they are unfit to retain office. I must say frankly, however, that there is not much chance at this hour of the night-
– Nor at this time of the year.
– At this time of the year we ought to be thinking of our Christmas holidays, instead of exercising our minds over these troublesome matters. These late sittings, I contend, do not benefit either our health, our intellects, or our tempers.
– I call attention to the absence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– There is no real reason for opposing some of these clauses.
– Had the AttorneyGeneral accepted the offer of the Opposition to consent to the passing of fifty-seven clauses he would have done better work than he has ever yet accomplished at one sitting.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that when the Committee sits for ten hours without passing a line it is doing good work?
– The honorable and learned gentleman is taking up a position which I venture to characterize as disingenuous.
– I am stating what is a fact.
– Another place took weeks to discuss some of the clauses, to the passing of which the Opposition were prepared to consent; and my present attitude is due to the belief that the Government proposal that the whole of the Bill except Part VII. shall be passed through Committee at one sitting is an outrage, that ought to be resented in every possible way. Whenever any Government whose proceedings I am watching makes such a proposal I shall pursue the samecourse.
– Is there any clause to which the honorable and learned member objects ?
– The question now before the Committee is whether or not the Chairman should leave the chair. The AttorneyGeneral practically said to the Opposition, “ Gape, sinners, and swallow 100 clauses before we adjourn.”
– I made a reasonable proposal.
– I say that it was an unreasonable proposal.
– The Opposition commenced by moving that theChairman do now leave the chair. They may go on till next Sunday now, so far as I am concerned.
– I understand that the sittings will be suspended at midnight on Saturday.
– In the New South Wales Parliament we once passed a Tariff after midnight on Saturday.
– Another reason for urging that you, Mr. Chairman, should leave the chair is that the champion of toil - the Attorney-General - has himself left the chamber. We have known in Victoria for some time that we could not follow a better example, and now that fact is dawning on the Commonwealth. Will the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has temporarily relieved him, say that he has carefully read the first fifty-seven clauses of the Bill?
– I have not, because they are all machinery clauses.
– I do not believe in passing practically the whole of the clauses of an important measure in one evening after 11 o’clock, and I intend to make my objection, to that course felt. We do not now hear jibes about the proposal of the late Government to introduce Standing Orders to limit debate. Perhaps, if the Chairman left the chair, the present Government would put in an hour or two in drafting Standing Orders to meet the case. One objection to these late sittings is that honorable members cannot subsequently approach the measures submitted for their consideration with that clearness of intellectual vision whichis desirable when matters of great public importance are being dealt with. I do not pretend that the Trade Marks Bill will be advanced by the present debate, but I am not going to be a party to pushing through the measure at the point of the bayonet. I shall not allow the Attorney-General, or any other Minister, to say what we shall or shall not do. No doubt, if I had five minutes’ talk with the Minister of Trade and Customs I could make some arrangement with him, because I see a melting look in his eye.
– The Government ask the Opposition only to pass clauses to which there is no objection.
– The Attorney-General, who adopted an utterly unreasonable attitude, asked a great deal more than that. He wished us to accept his assurance that, beyond the union label clauses, there is nothing in the Bill which this deliberative assembly should deliberate on. He did not say, though he went near to’ saying, that he would postpone any clauses he was asked to postpone; he said that he would postpone clauses in regard to which reasonable points were raised, but he was to be the judge of what was reasonable. I do not think he views these matters with an unprejudiced eye or unbiased mind.
– He is pretty keen.
– No doubt; but keenness is not the only requisite for the performance of the important duties of a Minister of State. The Attorney-General cannot point to any occasion but one in his experience on which the quantity of work done was anything like equal to that which he suggests should be done to-night. That occasion was when an Insolvency Bill was before the Parliament of Victoria, about the drafting of which a number of honorable members had grave doubts. The honorable and learned gentleman was AttorneyGeneral at the time, and he had one of those moods of firmness which occasionally vary his reasonableness and conciliatoriness. Honorable members at length became tired, and finally told the Minister that they would hold him responsible for the drafting of the measure. As a consequence, ninety clauses were passed in the one evening, and that measure has been a constant source of income to the members of the legal profession ever since. Several Ministers have been good enough to signify to me their concurrence that it is time that the House rose, and all that is required to bring about the desired result is the consent of the Attorney-General.
– I am agreeable to that course if the honorable and learned member will only do what is reasonable.
– If the Attorney- General will agree to stop at clause 57, I believe that the honorable member for Parramatta will adhere to the suggestion he made at an earlier stage.
– I think we might pass Part VI. of the Bill, which relates solely to office matters.
– I think there are several clauses prior to clause 57 which call for some discussion. For instance, I wish to make a few remarks upon the interpretation clause, which does not contain a sufficient number of definitions. I think it is necessary to define the term. “ trade mark.”
– One of the proposed amendments relates to that matter.
– Yes, I understand that it is intended to adopt the last English definition, but I am not sure that we should not endeavour to do what the courts invariably do, notwithstanding that definition; that is to say, define the essentials of a trade mark. The Attorney-General will admit that that is a matter for discussion, and one upon which difference of opinion may reasonably exist.
– If the honorable and learned member wishes to deal with that matter, I will consent to recommit the clause for that purpose.
– I did not expect that this measure would come on for consideration to-day, and I have had no opportunity to put my hand upon my annotated copy. It is because I desire to have further time for consideration! that I wish progress to be reported.
– Will the honorable and learned member be content if we proceed as far as Part VI., and leave the rest of the Bill to be dealt with later on?
– Now we are coming within sight of some arrangement. I should prefer to have the law codified, instead of relying upon a reference to the common law in cases to which the measure does not apply. I do not think that the States Acts contain the provision! in the Bill relating to the application of the common law.
– The honorable and learned member will probably see the reason for that. There is no common law of the Commonwealth in the same way that there is common law of the States. In cases for which the State Acts do not provide, the common law applies. The provision referred to is inserted in the measure merely to make sure that the common law will apply. The same principle has been accepted in the Judiciary Act.
– Does not the AttorneyGeneral see that points such as I have mention may be justifiably raised, and that, if each clause occupied only five minutes, we should require to spend at least four hours in the discussion of fifty clauses.
– But, with very few exceptions, these are every-day clauses.
– The clause to which I have referred does not come within that category. I think we should act wisely if we codified the law.
– That would be a great task.
– But I am not sure that it should not. be undertaken. Clause 8 deals with the question of partial registration, which for various reasons may not be valid in all the States. A registration may be good in two or three States, but not in a fourth. I have given a good deal of anxious thought to the cases of trade marks registered in Victoria, but not in New South Wales, or not registerable by reason of other users. I experienced a good deal of difficulty in connexion with that matter.
– The only difficulty I can see is met by the proposed amendment.
– Yes. but the point is one which may very properly be raised and discussed by both laymen and lawyers. Clauses 10 and 15 appear to be purely formal, but clause 16, which relates to the essential particulars of the trade mark, varies to some extent from the provisions of other Acts, and I should like to know why.
– We have had the various States laws to consider - that is the trouble.
– The question as to what are the essential particulars of a trade mark is a very important one from the point of view of the commercial community. Clause 21 is practically a new clause. At first sight it seems satisfactory, but I should like to have some information regarding it. Clause 23 is proposed to be amended.
– Only by the substitution of the word “may” for the word “must.”
– But that raises the whole question as to whether trade marks are to be compulsorily registered in respect to particular classes of goods. This has given rise to discussion without end.
– That is an invariable provision,
– But it is proposed to substitute “ may “ for “ must.”
– But that alteration does not affect the registration of trade marks for particular goods or classes of goods.
– No ; but the whole question has been raised as to whether registration will be permitted for a trade mark applying to the whole of the goods manufactured by a particular firm, or whether separate trade marks will be required for each class of goods. That is a question that requires serious consideration. Then again, clause 28 deals with concurrent user - a very difficult matter, which has always given trouble, and which will continue to give trouble, because the question of whether a concurrent user is honest or otherwise is always open to debate. Then the form of application provided for under clause 32 certainly requires consideration.
– The form of the application must be in the “ form prescribed.”
– But the clause lays down certain conditions which must be embodied in the application, and the prescribed form must contain these, or else it will be bad, because it will be inconsistent with the Act. Upon clause 34 I desire to raise specifically the question of appeals to the Law Officer. That matter is a very important one. The foundation of the argument is that it simply interposes another step in the process of appeals.
– In consequence of the views expressed by the honorable and learned member on a previous occasion, I had that matter inquired into. The report supplied to me is that in most cases it will save the expense of an appeal to the Court. The litigant will not require to brief counsel .
– In important cases counsel are briefed. However, that is a matter upon which some debate may legitimately take place. Let us suppose that some person applied to register a trade mark in respect of Panama hats, and let us further assume that the application was opposed before the Registrar, and that it passed on to the Law Officer. Under such circumstances, neither party would be satisfied, and the matter would inevitably go to the Court. In that case there would be an unnecessary step.
– Clause 35 provides that if the applicant so desires, an appeal shall lie direct from the Registrar to the Court.
– Does the Attorney-General intend to sit all night?
– I have made a fair offer. I am willing to postpone the consideration of certain parts, and to recommit the definition clause so far as it relates to trade marks.
– Will the Attorney-Gene- ral agree to recommit any clause that I advance good reasons for recommitting?
– I will.
– Clause 61 provides -
There shall be kept at the Trade Marks Office a Register of Trade Marks wherein shall be entered particulars of -
all registered trade marks, with the names and addresses of their proprietors, together with the date’ of registration and expiry thereof ;
notifications of assignments and transmissions, and disclaimers ; and
any other matters relating to registered trade marks which are prescribed.
I do not think that any quarrel can. arise over that provision. Then the Bill forbids notices of trusts. Clause 63 provides that the registershall be open to the inspection of the public on payment of the prescribed fee. ‘ Clause 64 does not seem to be a very objectionable one. There is no domination by any party involved there. Clause 63 provides that certified copies or extracts from the register may be made evidence. That provision seems a reasonable one. Clause 66 forbids false entries being made in the register under a penalty of three years’ imprisonment. Clause 67 permits of the correction of the register and the following provision requires assignments to be registered. Clause 69 allows the Court to alter registered marks; and clause 70 permits it to rectify the register. Clause 71 requires very serious consideration.
– If the honorable and learned member, after full consideration, desires that clause to be recommitted, I shall not object.
– Will the Attorney- General report progress at clause 70?
– I think that we might deal with clause 71.
– In any case, we cannot finish the consideration of the Bill to-night.
– I think that the AttorneyGeneral has met us half-way. At the same time, in offering to agree to the provisions of the Bill up to Part IV., we went a long way towards meeting him. But if members of the Opposition do not think that these clauses ought to be passed tonight, I cannot quarrel with them. If the Attorney-General had spoken earlier in the evening in the same way that he spoke to me a few minutes ago, there would have been less heat imported into the debate.
– I think that the honorable and learned member exhibited a very good example.
– The Attorney-General has promised to recommit any clause which honorable members may legitimately wish to have recommitted. That is to say, he has not to be convinced that a clause is wrong, but merely that honorable members desire to recommit it for the bond fide purpose of improving the Bill. I leave myself entirely in the hands of the Opposition in regard to this matter. If, after what I have said, they feel that they can consent to the course suggested, I shall be quite willing to acquiesce in it but I shall not feel aggrieved df they regard the measure as of too great importance to be treated in that way. I rely chiefly on the promise of the Attorney-General to recommit any clause the recommittal of which may be reasonably asked for.
– I will accept the assurance of honorable members who say that they desire to improve the Bill.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney). - I think that the expectations of the Attorney-General concerning this Bill exceed those of any previous Minister. Even if we were to admit, for the sake of argument, that in the earlier part of today’s proceedings there was unnecessary discussion, it must be acknowledged that the passing of fifty-seven clauses of a Bill-
– I beg to call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed^
– The Attorney - General was offered fifty -seven clauses of this Bill. More than that, the course suggested was assented to by some members of the Opposition who had amendments to submit in those clauses, and who wished to discuss some of the points which have been raised by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. They were willing to allow those provisions to pass, and to trust to the Attorney-General recommitting them if necessary. The honorable and learned gentleman should feel very gratified indeed that the Committee were wilting to agree to fifty-seven clauses of his Bill at one sitting. It has already been pointed out that in another place the consideration of those clauses occupied a period out of all proportion to that which they would have occupied had the offer to which I refer been, accepted. But the honorable and learned gentleman wishes to say to the Opposition. “ You shall do so and so.”
– I did not say that. The Opposition said to the Government, “You shall not have more than so-and-so.”
– The AttorneyGeneral made a proposal, in reply to which a very, favorable offer was put forward by the Opposition. The honorable and learned gentleman cannot deny that had he accepted it he would have made more progress than could be made in any other circumstances during a single sitting. In order to allow of that offer, some honorable members of the Opposition were prepared to forego certain amendments which they had contemplated moving. The present position is that at the end qf the sitting - and no one can foresee when the sitting will be brought to a close - we shall have to deal with the clauses that the Opposition were prepared to allow to pass to-night.
– Is the honorable member aware of the offer that I made to the honorable and learned member for Corinella!’
– I did not gather what the whole proposal was, but I should be glad to have the honorable and learned gentleman’s explanation.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). - What I proposed was that we should pass the clauses up to clause 57 ; that we should postpone Part V., and that, with the exception of clause 71, we should deal with Part VI. I also offered to agree to the recommittal of any clause at the request of an honorable member who desired a recommittal, not for the purposes of delay, but to improve the Bill. There is only one clause that does not come within the definition of being a machinery provision, and’ I offered to agree to its postponement.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney). - If these clauses are. not debatable they will not be discussed at length.
– We have to remember what has been debated to-day
– The honorable member seems to forget that whilst his party was in Opposition one of its members made a speech which occupied nearly a whole sitting.
– We kept Houses for the late Government.
– And on two occasions, counted out the House.
– I think that the late Government were liberal Iv treated.
– I have always said that the honorable member himself treated us very reasonably, but that some of his party did everything-thev could to delay business. I can understand a Ministry attempting, towards the close of a session, to arrive at an amicable agreement with the Opposition to expedite the business of the House, and in such circumstances they should be treated with reason. When they are so treated, however, I object to their saying to the Opposition, “ You shall do what we ask, or remain here.” All-night sittings in other Legislatures have resulted in the custom of nothing being done until after midnight. Then measures have been rushed through without consideration, and various errors have escaped observation. Such sittings have also resulted in unpleasant scenes, and I would therefore discourage them as far as possible. But the Opposition made a reasonable offer to the Government. No one can point to any sitting of the House at which more clauses of a Bill have been passed than those to which we intimated our willingness to agree to-night.
– Does the honorable member know of a single instance in parliamentary history where a House sat for eleven hours without passing a single line?
– I have known days to pass without anything resulting from the deliberations of a Legislature. Even in the history of this Parliament I have known several’ days to be occupied in the consideration of one clause of a Bill. Such an instance occurred when many of those now on the Government Benches sat in Opposition. I certainly think that if the Attorney-General had accepted our offer
– It was not an offer, but a demand.
– That is not so. The demand was made by the honorable and learned gentleman, and was considered by the deputy leader of the Opposition, who made a liberal counter-offer. I should like to know whether the AttorneyGeneral has made any provision for amending the heading to Part VII. of the Bill.
– I have agreed to postpone clause 3.
– But that offer has not been accepted. As an illustration of the confusion intowhich we are drifting, I would point out that many amendments have been introduced, and that although those originally circulated by the Attorney-General provide sufficient material for a separate Bill, he has circulated another sheaf of amendments that have not yet been fully considered.
– They have been distributed for over two months.
– But we cannot give attention at the same time to all the measures on the business-paper.
– The amendments in question have been considered by the Chambers of Commerce. ‘
– And objected to both by the Chambers of Commerce and the Chambers of Manufactures.
Mr.Isaacs. - -None of those provisions which I have asked the Committee to pass during the present sitting have been objected to by them.
– I do not know that this is so. Most of those objected to deal with the trade union label.
– I have not heard any objection to the others. I do not know if the honorable member has.
– I have, and I intended to move two or three amendments on clauses earlier than clause 57. One of them would probably be regarded as contentious, though the intention of the others is merely the improvement of the Bill.
– I told the honorable and learned member for Corinella that if there was any desire to recommit a clause for the improvement of the Bill I would consent to the recommittal.
– The Opposition offered to do one of the biggest day’s work, so far as the number of clauses to be passed was concerned, ever done by this Parliament.
– The honorable member seems to think that the Opposition should dictate its terms.
– No. The Minister, in saying that the Opposition must do’ certain things, was dictating to the Opposition.
– Is the honorable member proposing to take the business out of the hands of the Government?
– The Government and the Opposition has each taken its own course. The AttorneyGeneral seems not to have provided for the alteration of the heading of Part. VII. to Workers’ Trade Marks. I should like to know whether the provision in clause 4 - “This Act” includes all regulations made thereunder, is necessary.I think that that provision is covered by the Interpretation Act. Although we passed that Act to shorten our measures, we still find provisions in Bills which the Acts Interpretation Act was in- tended to make unnecessary. I should like an explanation from the Attorney-General as to the effect of clause 5.
– In the States the common law of England prevails, subject to any statutory provisions to the contrary ; but there is a rule in the United States of America that the common law of the States is not the common law of the United States. We do not know how the rule may operate here - whether the common law of the States would be the common law of the Commonwealth, and therefore we provide that, subject to any Act of the Parliament, the common law of England shall apply throughout the Commonwealth. It is a practice which has been followed in other measures, such as the Judiciary Act.
– I recognise that the matter is purely] a legal one, and if the legal members of the Committee are satisfied, I am willing to accept the honorable and learned gentleman’s statement. Clause 6 provides that -
The State Trade Marks Acts of each State shall, on the commencement of this Act, cease to apply to trade marks further than as follows : -
The State Trade Marks Act under which a trade mark is registered, shall continue to apply to that trade mark so long as the registration under that Act remains in force.
The State Acts provide different currencies for trade marks. In one State the period may be twelve years, and in another fourteen.
– The proprietors of trade marks have paid for their rights for a certain term, and under this Act will be entitled to enjoy them for that term, so long as it does not exceed fourteen years. We do not wish to deprive a man of a right which he has acquired under a State law.
– At first sight it seemed to me like inequality of treatment. We reconfer these rights.
– No. We simply recognise existing rights.
– Paragraph b says that -
Proceedings under a State Trade Marks Act, pending at the commencement of this Act, may be continued and completed under the State Trade Marks Act.
I understand that that paragraph does not refer to legal proceedings.
– That is so.
– Clause 7 provides that -
The registration of a trade mark under a State Trade Marks Act shall cease either -
at the expiration of fourteen years from the commencement of this Act, or
at the time when, under the State Trade Marks Act, the trade mark would, if after the commencement of this Act no fee for the continuance of its registration were paid, first become liable to removal from the register, whichever first happens.
That means that if there is to be a renewal fee it will be fixed by the Commonwealth?
– And the trade mark will become a Commonwealth trade mark.
– The rate of the renewal fee will be that fixed by the Commonwealth? It will not be the State rate?
– No. If there is any new trade mark to be given, with a new application and a new grant, it will come under the Commonwealth law; but if there is an application pending, we do not want a man to have to pay twice or else lose his property.
– Clause 8 provides that -
The registered proprietor of a trade mark properly registered in any State under a State Trade Marks Act may make application for the registration of his trade mark under this Act.
– That simply means that if he chooses to come under, this Act he may do so.
– For the State only, or for the whole Commonwealth ?
– Any person who has registered a trade mark under a State Act may, if he chooses, come under this, Act.
– Is it intended that his trade mark shall then apply to the whole Commonwealth?
– Subject to subsequent provisions. There may be conflicting rights, and they are provided for.
– There may be trade marks registered in separate States, belonging to different persons, which are practically the same design - a diamond, a heart, or anything else. They have not been registered throughout Australia, because the proprietors’ business has been confined to one State. What would govern the registration of such marks for the whole Commonwealth ?
– Their registration would be subject to such conditions or limitations
– When registration is granted under the Commonwealth Act, it covers all the States?
– Subject to the condition that no one else has registered a mark for any one of them.
– How would it be determined which proprietor had a right to register for other States?
-^- If there were no Commonwealth Trade Marks Act, whoever registered first in another State would have the preference, and it will be the same under this Bill.
– The matter would be decided by the order of application apparently?
– Might it not happen that use in a State had destroyed the right to register for that State?
– The use of a trade mark does not destroy a right in it. It is” not like the publication of a patent.
– If goods bearing a trade mark had come within the jurisdiction of a particular registry, another proprietor of the same trade mark could not register. I do not think that every point is met. For instance, a triangle may be the trade mark of two firms, one doing business in New South Wales, and the other in Victoria. Suppose that the Victorian proprietor was the first to apply to register that mark for Ihe Commonwealth, how would the other proprietor be dealt with ?
– It would be the same as under the State laws. If A was trading under a triangle in South Australia, B could not obtain exclusive right to trade under that mark. 1
– Would not the fact that goods had been sold under the mark prior to registration in other States than Victoria or New South Wales prevent registration? I think it is very doubtful whether in that case a registration would hold in those other States.
– The matter would have to be determined on ordinary principles. We could not pass a specific provision for that. If a mark at the time application is made to register does not signify exclusively the goods of a particular person, he cannot register it.
– Sub-clause 4 of clause 8 provides that -
Where the same trade mark, or a nearly identical trade mark, is owned or registered by another proprietor in respect of the same goods, the trade mark may be registered subject to such conditions and limitations as to mode or place of user or otherwise, as the Registrar, Law Officer, or Court thinks fit to impose, to preserve the rights of each proprietor.
– I can understand that the proprietor of a trade mark registered under a State Act should be allowed to register it under the Commonwealth Act for the same State, but I am referring to registration’s to take effect all over the Commonwealth.
– The Bill deals with every part of the Commonwealth.
– There might be only one proprietor.
– Proprietor does not mean registered proprietor. If there were only one proprietor there would be no competition.
– Goods might have been in circulation in a State for which their trade mark was not registered.
– I think that the clauses cover everything.
– I hardly think sp.
– If, later on, the honorable member thought that the clause required consideration, I would recommit it.
– I am speaking in the interests of the Bill, not in my personal interest. I understand that the Minister intends to move an amendment in sub-clause 4 of clause 8.
– I intend to move the insertion of the words: “in any part of the Commonwealth.”
– Would the words proposed to be inserted refer to “owned or registered,” or to “ proprietor “?
– To “ owned or registered.”
– Clause 9 provides that the proprietor of a trade mark in use in any State at the com- mencement of the Act may make application for registration under the Act. The marginal note refers to unregistered trade marks, and I wish to know whether the clause relates merely to trade marks that are not registered.
– That relates only to unregistered trade marks.
– Until I looked at the margin I was under the impression that it only referred to the proprietors of registered trade marks.
– Reading clauses 8 and 9 together, the meaning is clear.
– I do not think that the meaning is quite clear. At any rate, the wording of the clause might be more definite. Clause 10 provides that the Act shall be administered by the Minister of Trade and Customs for the time being. The words “for the time being” appear to be unnecessary, because the Acts Interpretation Act provides that any Minister, who is acting for the time being, shall be considered to be the Minister charged with the administration of an Act. Furthermore, it seems to me that the system of bringing an Act under the administration of a particular Minister is very undesirable, and that it would be much better to follow the course adopted in some other Parliaments of merely describing the Minister as “ the Minister administering the Act.” On some occasions, provisions such as that contained in the Bill have proved troublesome. Clause 12 provides that an office shall be established which shall be called the Trade Marks Office. I wish to know if it is intended to establish an office apart from that which is devoted to the registration of patents?
– I do not know what will ultimately be done, but it is not intended to increase the expenditure by creating a new Department. It may be necessary to arrange the work inside the office so that one officer may act as Commissioner of Patents and another as Registrar of Trade Marks. That is a matter of internal arrangement.
– In my opinion, it is undesirable to have a separate office, because any such arrangement must involve increased expense and make supervision more difficult. With regard to Part III., relating to registrable trade marks, I had intended to move an amendment in clause 15, which provides that a registrable trade mark shall consist of essen tial particulars, without additional matter, to the effect that the particulars should be applied only to such articles as were produced, prepared, manufactured, or owned by the person in whose name the trade mark was registered. That is opposed to the principle of a Bill that has been inserted in another place, although it is in accordance with the provisions of other Trade Marks Acts. My amendment is an important one, and involves a principle which, after consultation with the deputy leader of the Opposition, I was willing to surrender, in order to make a liberal concession to the Attorney-General. Under the circumstances, I may, in some form and in some place, move an amendment to the effect I have mentioned. Clause 16 sets out the essential particulars of a registrable trade mark. I notice that in clause 19 it is provided that certain words and devices must not be used in connexion with registered trade marks. For instance, it is not permissible to use any representation of the King or Queen, or any member of the Royal Family, or the word “ Royal.” It seems to me that that provision goes too far. I know that the word “ Royal “ is in use in some countries, and that it is presumably registered. If “ Royal “ is to be objected to, why should not the use of “ Regal “ and other words signifying connexion with royalty also be prohibited?
– I do not think that the word “ Royal “ has been registered in New South Wales, except as an incidental feature of a trade mark.
– I do not know whether that is so or not, but in the United States a baking powder is advertised under the name “Royal,” and as the article is largely exported to Canada, I should think that the trade mark was registered there. I understand that the Customs authorities threatened to seize certain goods that bore the Royal Arms, although in many cases articles have been so marked for many years. It is provided that neither the flag of Great Britain nor of the Commonwealth, nor the national arms of Great Britain, or of the Commonwealth, shall be used in connexion with any registered trade mark.
– I suppose the object is to prevent any person from even pretending to have a proprietary interest in those designs.
– I know that flags have been largely registered in connexion with trade mark designs.
– But those would be merely incidental, and no reliance would be placed upon them for protection.
– Is it intended to prevent the registration of any design of which these emblems or words shall form any part?
– Would a design containing a crown be nonregistrable ?
– I know that a crown has been registered as part of trade mark designs in British communities, and I know that its registration has been permitted in the Commonwealth.
– I would point out to the honorable member that since 1875 similar provision has been made in Great Britain. In Sebastian on Trade Marks, p. 468, the following passage occurs: -
The following will not be registered as trade marks, or as prominent parts of trade marks, unless the marks have been used since before 13th August, 1S75 :-
The Royal Arms, or Arms so nearly resembling them as to be calculated to deceive.
Representation of Her Majesty the Queen, or of any member of the Royal Family.
Representation of the Royal Crown.
The National Arms or Flags of Great Britain.
– I am sure that the crown is registered in several States, and I believe that there are registrations of some of the other designs which are prohibited by the Bill. The passage which the Attorney-General has read explains some of the British provisions which have applied only since 1875.
– The first Registration Act was passed in that year.
– But that did not exclude firms which had acquired the right to use certain trade marks before 1875. Apart from that altogether, I should like to know what the AttorneyGeneral intends to do. He has made no such provision as that contained in the British law in reference to trade marks in use before the Bill comes into operation.
– The States laws provide for that. There is no need for us to recognise old trade marks which are not registrable under the States laws.
– Certain rights to trade marks acquired1 prior to the Act passed in 1875 have been recognised in Great Britain, and it seems to me that some similar provision should be made in this Bill. I am quite sure that some of the prohibited designs are registered in some of the States, or rights have been acquired by user for which some provision will have to be made.
– I will make inquiries about that.
– Clause 20 provides -
No scandalous design, and no mark, the use of which would by reason of its being likely to deceive or otherwise be deemed disentitled to protection in a Court of Justice, or the use of which would be contrary to law or morality, shall be used or registered as a trade mark or part of a trade mark.
I do not think there is any provision of that sort under the heading pf workers’ trade marks. I do not see why there should be a provision of that character in connexion with one trade mark and not in connexion with another. There are a number of other clauses which I have noted, and to which the same remark is applicable. I do not propose to deal with the whole of them, but if they are necessary in the case of a trader’s trade mark, why should they not be necessary in that of a workers’ trade mark? I notice that the proposal contained in Moulton’s Bill has been embodied in clause 21. I know that there is no more frequent cause of dispute between persons registering trade marks, and even between firms themselves, than the question of whether the pictorial representation of goods or words having reference to their character or quality shall not of themselves be deemed distinctive. I am not prepared to say whether the adoption of the proposal contained in Moulton’s Bill is the best way of settling the matter. I quite agree that there should be something clearer than the provision which is embodied in most Trade Marks Acts ; but I have not had ah opportunity of considering all the cases affected, and whether the Moulton Bill best meets the situation. Clause 23 provides -
A trade mark must be registered in respect of particular goods or classes of goods, as prescribed.
I do not know whether the Attorney-General intends it, but I think it is highly desirable that a firm by paying a larger fee than that exacted for the registration of one class of goods should be enabled to register a trade mark for all the goods issued by it on naming those goods.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the House.” [Quorum formed.]
– A great variety of methods for dealing with registration have been adopted in the different States. At one time a trade mark could be registered by a proprietor or manufacturer of goods if it differed from any other registration, and could be applied to all his wares. Then, partly because of difficulties that arose when the wares were not named, and the registrar was unable to determine whether some other applicant for the registration of the same trade mark was using it for particular goods-
– I would again call attention to the fact that there is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.”]
– In some of the States the law has been pretty liberal in allowing classes of goods of a similar nature to be grouped together - the articles being named - so that the registrar might know to what goods the particular trade mark was meant to apply. In other States the tendency seems to have been to compel those registering to individualize as much as possible. Instead of allowing them to use to any considerable extent groups of goods of a similar nature, the authorities insisted upon the registration of a mark in connexion with almost each article. I would point out that such a provision bears very harshly upon the smaller manufacturers - upon those who produce a variety of articles in small quantities. They can ill-afford to pay these numerous fees whilst their stronger competitors, who perhaps issue as great a variety of goods, but in much larger quantities, can readily pay the fees fixed by the regulations. Under this Bill, we have no indication of what those fees will be. The matter is left to prescription. I do not know whether it will be necessary for me to move an amendment setting out that articles of a similar nature, manufactured or produced by the same firm or individual, shall be grouped together, and shall be registered for a fee proportionate to the particular items of the grouping. At any rate, there should be an opportunity of grouping goods of a similar character - as has been done under the administration of many Trade Marks Acts - so that the smaller men shall not be liable to a very heavy charge upon them relatively to their larger rivals.
– That is all a matter of prescription.
– I am aware of that. But it might be just as well to insert an amendment indicating the nature of the grouping, as is done in accordance with the regulations issued under certain Trade Marks Acts.
– All the regulations will have to come before Parliament.
– But we have a very nominal power over regulations. They have very often to be framed during the recess, and having once been gazetted, it is very difficult, and often undesirable, to alter them. Then, under paragraph a of clause 24, the question is raised to which I have already alluded. The AttorneyGeneral thought that under this Bill part of a design could not be registered.
But clause 24 states -
If a trade mark -
contains parts not separately registered by the proprietor as trade marks ; or
contains matter common to the trade, or otherwise of a non-distinctive character, the registrar or the law officer or the Court, in deciding whether the trade mark shall be entered or shall remain upon the register, may in his or its discretion require, as a condition of its being upon the register, that the proprietor shall disclaim any right to the exclusive use of any of those parts, or of that matter, to the exclusive use of which they hold him not to be entitled.
Apparently it is the intention of the Bill - and I think it is a desirable intention - that. parts may be separately registered. If so, one of my objections to a portion of clause 19 will be removed. If, for any reason, part of a design is not properly registrable, an opportunity should certainly be afforded to register the balance of the design. Subclause 2 provides -
The fact that a mark is publicly used by more than three persons in any one State as a mark or in connexion with similar goods, shall be treated as conclusive evidence that it is common to the trade.
I do not know why three persons have been selected in this connexion.
– I think that a quorum should be present during this debate. [Quorum formed.]
– I do not see why three public users of a trade mark shouldbe necessary to prevent registration. Surely two users ought to be. sufficient - if they have used a trade mark openly for years - to show that either the user trying to register has no rights, or that he has slept upon his rights, and is consequently not entitled to registration. Clause 25 provides that -
Except by order of the Court, the registrar shall not register in respect of goods a trade mark identical with one belonging to a different proprietor which is already on the register in respect of the like goods, or class of goods, or so nearly resembling such a trade mark as to be likely to deceive.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed.]
– Under clause 25, the Registrar seems to be compelled to refuse to register a trade mark. On the other hand, under clause 27, he appears to have the option of registering or not registering the application of persons applying for registration as the proprietors of nearly identical trade marks. There are also some matters in connexion with clause 29 which might be profitably discussed. Clause 31 provides that -
When a person claiming to be the proprietor of several trade marks, which while resembling each other in the essential particulars thereof yet differ in respect of -
It seems to be intended under this clause to take cognisance of price or quality. It is provided in another part of the Bill that descriptive words shall not be registered, but it seems that under this clause a series of trade marks will be required in relation to articles of different prices, although in all essential particulars the trade mark in each case may be practically identical. This provision has been taken from the Victorian Act, but unless good reason be shown to the contrary, I think it would be better to follow Acts containing no such provision. Then it is required by clause 32 that -
Any person claiming to be the proprietor of a trade mark may make application to the Registrar for the registration of his trade mark, and under paragraph c - state an address within the Commonwealth; the address so furnished or any address in Australia subsequently furnished, shall be a sufficient address for the service of any notice, or any legal, or other proceeding in connexion with the trade mark, the subject of such application.
To my mind a great wrong may be done under this clause to those registering trade marks whose domicile is far from Australia. They might obtain registration of a trade mark through an agent who might subsequently leave Australia, and it does not seem necessary or desirable that they should have to keep constantly on the spot an agent at whose address notices could be served. These notices might be of the utmost importance to the persons registering the trade mark, and yet in the event of the proprietors not residing within the Commonwealth they would not reach them in time to allow of the proprietors taking action. I do not know that such, a provision appears in the English law, and I fail to see why we should insist upon an address in Australia being given by a person who is not domiciled here. I think that an address within the British Empire ought to be sufficient. In that event, notice could be sent to the address given, and sufficient time should be allowed the person concerned’ to defend rights that were being attacked. There are some other clauses in this division which I do not at this stage propose to read. Division III. deals with opposition. In clause 38 it is provided that a notice of opposition in duplicate to the registration of a trade mark shall be lodged at the Trade Marks office; but by a subsequent clause workers’ trade marks are excluded from this provision. The same remark will apply to clause 39, which requires that although a person opposing an application for registration may not reside in Australia, he shall furnish an address for service at some convenient place within the Commonwealth. There is more reason for a person opposing registration of a trade mark being required to give an address within the Commonwealth than there is for requiring the person whose registration is being attacked to do so.
– I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether on the motion that the Chairman do now leave the chair, the honorable member is in order in dealing in detail with the clauses of the Bill ? My impression is that whilst he may be entitled to refer incidentally to the general features of the measurewith a view to illustrate an argument in support of the Chairman leaving the chair he is not justified in dealing in detail with the provisions of the Bill and in arguing on every aspect that it is possible to import into them.
– On the point of order, Mr. Mauger, I may say that I have been offering more legitimate reasons for your leaving the chair than are usually given in support of such a motion. On similar occasions I have known the discussion to range over almost every conceivable topic ; but I have been showing that the very clauses which the Opposition offered to pass to-night contain many matters worthy of examination, and, in some cases, of amendment. I think I have proved that our liberal offer, if accepted, would have expedited the business of the Committee; but that as it was rejected you should leave the chair and report progress. I can, if necessary, cover a wider range of discussion, but in order that ‘there may be no complaint on that score, I have endeavoured to adhere as closely as possible to the motion.
– The point of order is that the honorable member, in discussing in detail each clause of the Bill, is not speaking to the motion that the Chairman do now leave the chair. I rule that the point of order is a good one. I certainly think that under cover of the motion the honorable member is dealing with matters that may be more properly considered when no such proposition is before the Chair.
– I think it is most important that the point raised by the honorable member for Bland should be definitely decided. I know that on a similar occasion a different ruling was given, and I therefore wish, Mr. Mauger, to dissent from your ruling.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Will the honorable member hand in his dissent in writing?
– My notice of dissent is as follows : -
That the Temporary Chairman having ruled on the motion that the Chairman do leave the chair that clauses in the Trade Marks Bill cannot be discussed in detail, the question be referred to Mr. Speaker.
In the House:
– I have to inform you, Mr. Speaker, that my ruling that on the motion that the Chairman do leave the chair an honorable member is not in order in discussing each clause of the Bill in detail has been dissented from.
– In discussing the. question that the Chairman do now leave the chair, the standing order as to relevancy must be strictly observed. The honorable member, therefore, is not entitled to deal with any question other than those relevant to the question of whether or not the Chairman should now leave the chair. If the honorable member can connect his remarks with the motion, or if he can base upon any particular clause a reason why the Chairman should leave the chair, he will be in order in referring to it, but not otherwise.
In Committee :
– I do not think I shall have any difficulty in complying with Mr. Speaker’s ruling.
– I think that we should have a quorum. [Quorum formed.”]
– I can give, and have given very good reasons why the Chairman should leave “the chair. One of these is that some of the provisions of the Bill require greater consideration than honorable members have been able to devote to them since the numerous amendments prepared by the Attorney-General were circulated. Even the Attorney-General himself has shown by his replies to some of my queries - replies which he gave very courteously - that he has not recognised certain points that have been raised, and that it is very desirable that before we pass the union label provisions of the Bill he and honorable members generally should have a further opportunity to examine and consider them. Surely no better reason can be adduced in support of the motion? On similar occasions I have listened to a debate that has not had the remotest connexion with the question of whether or not the Chairman should leave the chair, and yet objection is taken when I am absolutely dealing with the question immediately under consideration. In support of my contention, I had, when interrupted, to allude to only a few more clauses. I do not intend to discuss those clauses, because the one remark will apply to them generally, that the workers’ trade marks are excluded from certain provisions that are to be applied to other trade marks. In some cases, there is a reason for this, but in many others there is none whatever. Before we proceed further with this part of the Bill we . should have from the AttorneyGeneral a statement why the workers’ trade marks are to be excluded in this way. If advantageous provisions or restrictions are to be extended to certain trade marks, I cannot see why they should not be applied to others. I allude to clauses 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 52, and 56. If these provisions are necessary in order to control the registration of general trade marks, whyshould they not be extended to workers’ trade marks? I should like to have a full explanation on that point from the Attorney-
General. I think honorable members will admit that I have raised several important points that are relevant to the question immediately under consideration, and I believe that I have furnished good reasons why the Chairman should now leave the chair.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).We were told yesterday afternoon by representatives of Queensland that if there was one measure on which they were more solid than they were on another it was the Sugar Bounty Bill. Although the sugar bounty affects the whole community, they appear to be ready to throw it to the four winds of heaven for a proposal which affects only a section of the people of Queensland. The members of the Labour Party are at all times prepared to sacrifice their country for sectional aims.
– What is the honorable member’s proposal?
– That we should be reasonable and adjourn. The Opposition made a fair offer last night.
– The price has gone up since then. We want the whole Bill, and the Sugar Bounty Bill as well, now.
– Judging by the criticism levelled at the Bill by the honorable and learned member for Corinella and the honorable member for North Sydney, it would have taken from half-past 2 yesterday afternoon until 11 o’clock at night to deal with fifteen clauses, whereas the Opposition agreed to pass fiftyseven clauses in order to obtain an adjournment at a reasonable hour. The Attorney-General, however, asked his confreres to sit tight, and I venture to think that his action will find very little sympathy amongsthis colleagues. I challenge the Vice-President of the Executive Council and the Postmaster-General to say whether they believe in the union label clauses. I should like to hear the honorable member for Richmond speak on the subject from this side of the Chamber.
– I should like to hear what the honorable member would have said on the subject when member for Lithgow?
– I did not advocate any such nonsense then, and neither did the honorable member.
– Ask Mr. Bennett.
– I challenge him or any one else to prove anything to the contrary. The honorable member for Barrier believes in a lot of things to-day in which he formerly did not believe. He goes with the stream, and sticks to his caucus.
– I stick to my party. I am not a rat and a renegade.
– It pays the honorable member to do so.
– And it paid the honorable member to become Postmaster-General in the Reid Ministry.
– Notwithstanding the honorable member’s boasted independence, no one in the Chamber keeps a more watchful eye on his constituency. I should like to know the private opinion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council in regard to the union label clauses. I should also like to know what the Treasurer thinks of them?
– The right honorable gentleman was the author of the Western Australian Arbitration Act.
– Since then he has expressed himself very definitely on this and other matters pertaining to political unionism. I do not think there is any honorable member who does not know that these Ministers hate these provisions, and would not support them were they not in fear of destroying the Cabinet. Indeed, I doubt if any member of the Ministry besides the Attorney-General and the Minister of Trade and Customs has any faith in these provisions.
– Let us get on. with the Bill.
– We are told that we must pass the Bill and the Sugar Bounty Bill too. When Ministers are so unreasonable, there is nothing for us to do but to fall back on the poor, despised Standing Orders. It is a brutal thing for the Attorney-General to compel the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has until re- , cently been confined to his bed through illness, to remain up all night. At 4 o’clock in the morning honorable members are tired and incapable of performing business.
– It is offensive to charac terize honorable members as incapable.
– Then I will withdraw the term. I certainly am incap- . able of transacting business at this hour.
– And at any other hour.
– The rudeness of that remark shows the honorable member’s incapacity. A reason why you, sir. should leave the chair is that honorable members may procure a little rest, and return to work with a better appreciation of the fitness of. things’ I hope that honorable members generally will after to-night cease to taunt the Opposition about their desire to improve the Standing Orders.
– I have always been in favour of new Standing Orders.
– Are the honorable member’s party in favour of new Standing Orders?
– The honorable member should ask them.
– If they are, I think that the Chairman should leave the chair so that the House may seriously consider the matter. Some little time ago the leader of the Opposition proposed to amend the Standing Orders, and he has been taunted ever since by members of the Labour Party, who are how disposed to favour an alteration. In the meantime, we must obey the Standing Orders as we find them, and the best way in which we can honour them is by utilizing them from time to time, when we consider that we shall serve a useful purpose by doing so. Honorable members may take exception to my suggestion that we are serving a useful purpose at the present time, but members of the Opposition consider that they are conferring a benefit upon the community by preventing legislation from being rushed through this Chamber.
– This Bill was considered in the Senate, and therefore we cannot be accused of acting hastily. There is no hasty legislation in the Senate.
– I am informed that the Commerce Bill was passed through all its stages at the last sitting of that Chamber. If that is not hasty legislation, I do not know what is.
– The honorable member’s colleagues in the Senate did not stick to their guns.
– They succumbed to the brutality of the Government - the very thing of which we are now complaining. In face of the evidences of haste on the part of the Senate, all the greater obligation rests upon us to impose a wholesome check upon the passing of Bills without the fullest consideration. Honorable members are manifestly unfit at this hour to properly consider an important measure like that now before us. I venture to say that when they were last before the electors, they certainly did not tell them that they would allow a measure of this kind to pass whilst they were lying asleep upon the benches in the Chamber. The leader of the Labour Party assured us that he had not been in communication with the Government concerning the trade union label proposals, but I should like to know why honorable members have been stricken with dumbness concerning a measure in the framing of which they profess to have had no hand.
– I spoke at considerable length on the motion for the second reading’ of the Bill.
– But the honorable member apparently forgets that the Attorney-General now proposes to sweep aside the w:hole of the provisions which were the handiwork of the labour representatives in the Senate.
– I wish to direct attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present. [Quorum formed].
– I think that when we are addressing ourselves to new proposals which are totally out of harmony with the genius of genuine Australian trade unionism, honorable members should have the whole of their faculties alert. I should like to make another appeal to the AttorneyGeneral for an adjournment.
– I made a very fair offer when the honorable and learned member for Corinella was speaking.
– But that is quite “off” now.
– Then let it be off.
– The spectacle presented by- Ministers is indeed a pitiable one. With the exception of the AttorneyGeneral, they are all asleep. The honorable and learned gentleman, however, never seems to sleep. I wish that he would sleep away from the House whilst we are discussing the union label provisions of this Bill.
– The honorable member is always complaining of his absence.
– If what we have experienced to-night is a taste of his presence, I am not quite sure that I shall ever complain of his absence again. However, we shall see whether these rough and ready methods of transacting public business will redound to the public welfare. I have a very decided impression that they will not.
– I beg to call attention to the absence of a » quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– Those Ministers who are awake appear to be giving no attention to the business before the House. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, after forty winks, has just returned to the chamber, like a giant refreshed.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN,Order. The honorable member must confine his remarks to the motion under consideration.
– He should do that for a change.
– Could I find a better illustration of my argument than is supplied bv the abject, irritable appearance of the honorable member for Bland? If ever there was a “washed out” individual in the chamber-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is decidedly out of order in criticising honorable members in the way that he is doing.
– With the greatest respect, I submit that one reason why you should leave the chair is to be found in the condition of honorable members.
– Upon a point of order, I wish to draw attention to the fact that the honorable member has already made that statement about fourteen times. There is a standing order dealing with tedious repetition, and consequently we ought not to be called upon to listen to the frequent repetition of the same set of words.
– I submit that I am not repeating the same words. I am emphasizing my point, and I hope that I mav do that as often as I please.
– The honorable member is decidedly out of order in repeating again and again that honorable members are incapable.
– Do you, sir, rule that I am not at liberty to refer to the condition of honorable members?
– I rule that the honorable member may not repeat again and again the same set of words, as he has been doing during the past ten minutes.
– I take exception to your statement, sir. I may have repeated my point, but I have not repeated the words which I employed.
– That is a reflexion on the Chair.
– I do not care upon whom it is a reflexion.
– Upon a point of order, I would call attention to the honorable member’s statement that he does not care whether or not he reflects upon the Chair. I take it that the. Committee desire to see the Chairman’s ruling upheld.
– I have no desire to do other than obey the Chair. When honorable members make these inane interjections, it is clearly time that the Chairman vacated the chair, so that they may go home to bed and rest themselves. I hope I shall be in order in calling attention to some press criticisms which have been passed upon the Opposition.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member in order in quoting any press criticism upon a current debate ?
– Go to bed and get a point of order.
– I am quite as alive to the possibilities of the situation as is the honorable member, and I contend that it is absolutely improper for him to attempt to sway the Committee by quoting outside criticisms upon our action.
– The honorable member does not know what I was about to do. I stated that I wished to reply to some press criticisms, upon the members of the Opposition. Certain statements are published in the Age newspaper to-day which reflect upon the House andi upon the Opposition. They ‘are absolutely incorrect, and I do not think that they should be allowed to pass, unchallenged.
– I rise to a point of order. I think it is about time that this sort of conduct was stopped. We do not wish to reduce our parliamentary proceedings ‘to an entire farce.
– Who is doing that ?
– The honorable member is doing it.
– I rise to a point of order.
– I am putting my point of order.
– Then the AttorneyGeneral should put it in respectful language.
– The honorable member for Parramatta, in quoting the opinions of a newspaper, is clearly exceeding the limits, of legitimate debate upon a motion of this kind. I do ask you, sir, to confine the honorable member to the bounds of proper debate, otherwise this House will become the laughing-stock of the country. We shall not be worthy of the name of a
Parliament if we do not succeed in imposing some limits upon the conduct of honorable members.
– I submit that I am entirely in order. I apprehend that these proceedings are being protracted owing to a belief on the part of the Government that the Opposition are resorting to obstructive tactics. That statement has been made again and again. I wish to show that the mind of the Ministry is being turned in that direction by a journal to whose criticism they appear to be very sensitive.
– We have been sitting fourteen and a half hours, and we have not passed a single clause of the Bill. We must compel the Opposition to allow us to transact business.
– May I remind the Attorney-General that he cannot compel us to do anything. The sooner he ceases to employ the language of the schoolmaster the sooner we shall get to serious business. I venture to say that his language of yesterday provoked the debate of which he complains so much.
– It is a carefully organized plot.
– The AttorneyGeneral is now repeating like a parrot the statements of the Age newspaper. I wish to give those statements an emphatic denial. Perhaps I need not trouble to read the criticisms of that journal, because they are so remarkably like .those of the AttorneyGeneral. Indeed, it is well known that the honorable and learned gentleman is merely an echo of the Age.
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the opinions of the Attorney-General have any relevance to the motion under consideration?
– I have already ruled that the honorable member for Parramatta is not entitled to discuss the opinions of honorable members.
– I shall not disobey your ruling, sir, wrong as I know it to be.
– That is an insult to the Chair.
– Then I will say that I will not disobey the ruling of the Chair, wrong as I think it to be. The honorable member for Riverina was such a brilliant success in the Chair-
– It is a pity for the country that I am not there now.
– When the honorable member was in the Chair it used to be constantly remarked of him that he was possessed of a deaf ear and a blind eye. My second point is that this Bill ought not to be proceeded with until other measures of greater importance, and of more urgency have been dealt with. Yesterday I appealed to the Attorney-General to defer its consideration, and to proceed with the Electoral Bill. If there is one honorable member more than another who should be anxious to see that measure pass it is the honorable member for Riverina. I know al! the v risks that the honorable member incurred at the last general election. Yet the honorable member allows the Trade Marks Bill to elbow out of its place on the Government programme a great measure of electoral reform. We know that owing to the want of proper supervision the rolls are stuffed with the names of deceased and absent people, and that their thorough revision and policing, even if the Electoral Bill were passed to-day, would occupy all the time intervening between now and the next general election. For the first time in the history of this Parliament we have on the notice-paper a Bill that will remedy many of the defects of our electoral system, of which complaint has been made ; but it now appears at the bottom of the list. It was expected three months ago that we should proceed with the Copyright Bill, but by a shuffle of the cards that measure has also been placed almost at the bottom of the business paper. Last week we discussed1 the Sugar Bounty Bill as well as the Contract Immigrants Bill and Immigration Restriction Act Amendment Bill; but tha Trade Marks Bill is now given precedence. Mav I point out that although the Sugar Bounty Bill affects Queensland as a State, the representatives of that State have suddenly become silent in regard to its importance.
– I wish to draw attention to the .absence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– There are now three or four representatives of Queensland in the Chamber, and I’ desire to know why they have consented to precedence being given to a Bill which at the most can only partly affect that State. Only a few days ago the honorable member for Wide Bay told us that the Sugar Bounty Bill was of first rate importance; that business in ‘ Queensland was already paralyzed owing to the uncertainty as to the intentions of the Parliament, and he begged the House to proceed with the utmost despatch to deal with the question. It would appear, however, that honorable members of .the Labour Party are prepared to sacrifice the interests of the State as a whole to their class objects, and. to matters relating to only a section of the people. Then, again, the honorable member for Coolgardie is prepared, apparently in order that the demands of a clamorous minority outside may be satisfied, to sacrifice the project for coupling Western Australia with the other States of the Commonwealth by means of the transcontinental railway. There is also the question of the Capital Site. Honorable members who read the newspapers must be aware of its pressing urgency, and of the feeling that is running so high between the most populous State of Australia and the Parliament of the Commonwealth tin respect to its determination. In the State of which I am a representative the question is assuming a very awkward shape, and I venture to say that if any trouble arises it may profoundly affect every State in the Union, and in a way that may be disastrous to the Commonwealth. I am no prophet of evil in this matter, and speak more freely because I feel that I have nothing with which to charge myself in respect to it. I have tried to do my best to have the question determined.
– I draw attention to the want of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– There are now in the Chamber three members of the Government who are utterly unconscious of our proceedings. Every one knows that Ministers have no sympathy with the union label provisions of the Trade Marks Bill.
– The honorable member has already referred to that matter.
– Another question of urgency which should take precedence of the Trade Marks Bill is that of the defence of Australia. Every one knows that we are in a shocking state of unpreparedness. The Prime Minister time and again has denounced our military system as being worthless for the purpose of effective defence, and as requiring immediate attention, with a view to its improvement. We all remember the paper which he presented to the (House embodying his splendid speech upon this subject - a speech full of warning and indicating that many thousands, nay mil lions, of pounds must be spent in’ order that we may secure that state of preparedness to defend ourselves which is necessary in view of the contiguity of Eastern nations. Surely a matter affecting the safety of the Commonwealth should take precedence of every other question. Then there is the question of population. Only a few days ago the Prime Minister in Sydney addressed himself to it in a speech of his usual brilliancy and vagueness. The only point that he made, however, was that we require more population. He did not offer a single suggestion as to the way in which population might be attracted to Australia, and we now find him shelving the whole question, and saying that he is powerless to do anything in regard to ib. I hold that he has been guilty of humbugging the country.
– What would the honorable member do?
– Unless I had a practical proposal to make I should hold my tongue. The other day, when asked a straight question by the leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister had to confess that if the States would take action he t might step in and help them.
– That is all that the leader of the Opposition could do.
– But the leader of the Opposition has not submitted to this House a programme bearing upon it the one word “ population “ ; he has not been peregrinating all over the country an.i speaking on this subject from a hundred different platforms in a way that suggests that he is absolutely master of the problem. I have hesitated to identify myself with this movement, because I wanted some practical direction, although I am as anxious as is any one to get population here. The Government, however, have placed this most vital plank of their platform behind measures which are trumpery in comparison with it. Referring to the Capital Site question, I think that the Government have not treated us fairly in keeping from us their decision in regard to it, seeing the menacing attitude adopted by the Parliament of New South Wales.
– If the Opposition will let us pass this Bill, we can then deal with the Capital Site question.
– The Capital Site question is of infinitely greater urgency than this Bill.
– The Opposition are blocking it.
– That is an idle and incorrect statement. If it has been blocked, it is by Ministers who are unable to come to any definite decision. They say that this Parliament is bound by the Seat of Government Act, in the passing of which, as I pointed out at the time, a mistaken course was followed. But, although it is more than twelve months since that Act was passed, nothing has been done under it.
– The Reid Government were in power most of the time.
– They undertook to re-submit the whole matter to Parliament, together with the proposals of the New South Wales Government.
– Then they did not keep faith with the New South Wales Parliament.
– On the roth June last, the honorable member for North Sydney, who was then Minister of Home Affairs, promised definitely to bring the matter before Parliament as soon as possible.
– Why did he not do so?
– Because his Government were sent out of office immediately on the reassembling of ‘ Parliament. This Government set aside that promise, and the negotiations leading up to it, so that nothing has been done. They should, however, tell us what steps they intend to take to bring about finality. I again ask the Attorney-General if it is too late to suggest an adjournment?
– There will be no adjournment until we get business done.
– The AttorneyGeneral has told us that he intends to compel us to do business, ‘but if that is the way in which he wishes to conduct the. affairs of the country, the sooner he goes back to the Law Courts, and leaves matters in charge of his more reasonable colleagues, the better.
– We have been sitting for fifteen and a-half hours, and not one line in the Bill has been passed. The honorable member is holding up the country.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral been learning the language of Ned Kelly? I appeal to him to consent to an adjournment, so that honorable members may be in a proper position to discuss business. To show him that I am in.’ ear- nest in seeking a reasonable course, I shall content myself with the remarks which I have made, and resume my seat.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I ask the Attorney-General to consent to an adjournment, so that honorable members may have some rest, to enable them to deal with the business of the country in an intelligent manner. Last evening the Opposition were ready to pass no fewer than fifty-seven clauses of this Bill.
– Having wasted six hours, honorable members were ready to do one hour’s work.
– I did not know of the intention of the deputy leader of the Opposition to move that the Chairman leave the chair until the motion was moved. That motion was necessary to enable the honorable member to place his views before the Committee in regard to the manner in which the business of the country was being dealt with. His remarks occupied only ten or twelve minutes, and had it not been for the Attorney-General’s attack on him, I should not have spoken to the motion. But when the AttorneyGeneral tried to make political capital by his charges against the deputy leader of the Opposition those on this side of the Chamber were bound to support their leader. Later on in the evening, the Opposition made the reasonable offer to the Government fo pass fifty-seven clauses before adjourning. The Attorney-General, however, wished to pass seventy-eight clauses. I venture to say that the bulk of his colleagues were favorable to the acceptance of a fair and honorable proposal.
– ‘The honorable member for Corinella said that my second proposal was a reasonable one, but the Opposition would not accept it.
– The honorable and learned member made so many proposals. The honorable and learned member for Corinella informed the Government that, not being aware that the Trade Marks Bill was to be proceeded with, he had left his notes at home, and other honorable members were in the same position. I thought it an extraordinary proceeding, in view of the order of business on Friday, that we should be asked to proceed with the Trade Marks Bill.
– Was that any excuse for going on strike?
-r- Although many honorable members had travelled 500 or 600 miles to attend this meeting, of Parliament, they were ready to pass fifty-seven clauses in the Trade Marks Bill, including one or two affecting Court proceedings, on which the discussion might well have occupied a day or two. The Opposition wish to assist in despatching business, so that honorable members may return to their homes before Christmas time.
– Then why not let us get on with work?
– We have a duty- to perform, and are prepared to perform it even at the sacrifice of our own interests. One of the important measures we have to consider is the Electoral Bill, which was originally the first item placed on the businesspaper for to-day. Honorable members fully expected that some progress would have been made with that urgently-needed Bill, and they have every right to complain of its having been displaced from its position of priority by the Bill now before us. The honorable member for Gwydir recently directed attention to some very serious defects in the electoral roll for his constituency. He pointed out that a large number of electors who had been long resident in the district had been left off the roll, that the work of compilation had been carried out in a scandalous manner, and that the question was one which seriously affected every honorable member. The honorable member’s statement pointed to serious defects in the law, and to the urgency of the Electoral Bill. Valuable information was obtained by the Electoral Committee bearing upon the collection of the rolls, and a number 0? recommendations were made in the direction of improving the system of compilation, and also the provisions for voting by post and the use of Q forms. A general election must take place next year, in the ordinary course, and it is essential that amending legislation should be passed without delay. We have no guarantee that the Electoral Bill will be disposed of during this session, and as we shall probably not meet again until about the middle of next year, we may be fooled as we were on a former occasion in regard to electoral matters. I think that we have every reason to complain of the action of the Government in regard to the Electoral Bill. Then again the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill and the Contract Immigrants Bill are important measures regarding which the sincerity of the Government is open to the strongest doubt. We are entitled to know whether it is intended to proceed with those Bills, or whether they were brought forward merely for display. We have been told that the Sunshine Harvester Company and other manufacturers have suggested that an Anti-trust Bill should be introduced, or that the Tariff should be amended in order to afford protection to the agricultural implement industry. The Prime Minister has induced us to believe that the Government intend to take some action in this direction, but his. announcement on this point was quite inconsistent with the action of the Government in discharging from the business-paper the Or,ders of the Day relating to the Committees of Ways and Means and Supply. It will be necessary to restore both these Orders of. the Day if any measures affecting the finances are to be dealt with. We are entitled to know what the Government really intend to do in the matter. They have interfered in a most unwarrantable manner with the Tariff Commission, with a view to inducing them to present reports which will enable action to be taken for the amendment of the Tariff before the session is brought to an end, and the intentions of the Government in this connexion should be frankly declared. We have been called upon to partly consider the Sugar Bounties Bill and: the Sugar Excise Bill, both of which are measures of urgency. Although I do not agree with all the Government proposals, I admit the reasonableness of the claim put forward by the representatives of Queensland that they should be dealt with as early as possible, in order that the sugar-growers of that State may learn their fate without unnecessary delay. Apparently, however, the Government are not in earnest in the matter. I suppose that we are all anxious to bring the session to a close as early as possible, but, in view of the congested businesspaper, we cannot hope to pass all the Bills now before us, and close the session before Christmas. If the Government intend to sit on after Christmas, they should announce the fact so that honorable members, may know where they stand, and make their arrangements accordingly. We shall be glad to proceed with the business if the . Government will frankly tell us what measures they really wish to pass into law. Another matter of importance which should be dealt with is the question as to the respective positions which are occupied bv the High Court and the Supreme Courts of the States,
– I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– The differences to which I have referred vitally affect litigants.
– The tactics of honorable members opposite show that if we do not effect some change in our. Parliamentary methods we shall get no business transacted.
– If the AttorneyGeneral indulges in statements of that character, I shall give him a taste of his own physic. I protest against the way in which the business of the country is being conducted. If the Prime Minister had frankly told honorable members what business the Government intended to proceed with during the remainder of the session, no difficulty would have been experienced in bringing our labours, to a speedy termination. I throw the whole responsibility for last night’s proceedings upon the Government in attempting to force honorable members to proceed with business when they were physically incapable of doing so.
– The AttorneyGeneral must be less than human if he persists in his present course of conduct after the very able speeches which have been delivered by the deputyleader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Macquarie. My first objection to the attitude of the Attorney-General in refusing to accede to the reasonable request of the Opposition is that such conduct does not facilitate the transaction of business in this Chamber. Can any body of legislators devote their best intelligence to the discussion of a question of far-reaching importance after they have been in attendance here for about seventeen hours?
– And without passing a single line of the Bill.
– That is the result of the militant attitude adopted by the AttorneyGeneral. We were quite prepared to pass, fifty-seven clauses of the measure.
Mr.. Isaacs. Why did not the Opposition agree to pass one clause?
– Because of the extraordinary want of tact exhibited by the AttorneyGeneral. He should recognise that honorable members are sent here to perform certain work, and that we have a duty to discharge to our constituents. But, instead of doing so, he wishes to ride “ the high horse.” If we desired to delay the passing of this Bill, what better excuse could we have than that afforded by the action of the Attorney-General in gratuitously insulting the Opposition ? In a few hours’ time, other members of the Opposition will enter this Chamber, and will naturally inquire whether the Attorney-General intends to allow a reasonableamount of business to be transacted, or whether he insists upon dictating to them.
– We insist that the Government shall not be dictated to.
– If the honorable and learned gentleman adopts that tone when those honorable members arrive, he will at once set them by the ears.
– I am glad that the honorable member has been candid enough to threaten us in that way.
– I am asking the AttorneyGeneral not to make threats.
– The honorable member has made a distinct threat, which must be met.
– Our object is to carry on the business of the country with a due regard for each other’s principles, even if we cannot indorse them. The Opposition have rights which the AttorneyGeneral should recognise.
– The country has rights.
– My constituents are just as keenly concerned in contesting this Bill as the electors of Indi can be in forcing it through. When the Attorney- General threatens me, he threatens my constituents.
– I do not threaten. I object to the honorable member threatening us.
– During the past two hours we have been repeatedly assured that we shall be kept here until business has been done.
– Until a fair amount of business has been transacted.
– What is a “fair amount? “
– The supporters of the Government are now going round the Chamber declaring that they intend to have the whole programme.
– Then a new situation has arisen. We are now assured that the Government intend to put through all the business which appears upon the noticepaper before the Parliament prorogues.
– Nobody made that statement with the authority of the Government.
– The PostmasterGeneral and the Government Whip have just made it.
– In view of the disclaimer of the Attorney-General, I take it that the Postmaster-General spoke without authority. What are the Bills which the Postmaster-General is so anxious to rush through the House before the session closes? They include the Electoral Bill, the two measures relating to the sugar industry, the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill, and the Census and Statistics Bill. I think it would interest the taxpayers to know how much discussion in this House results from the tactless methods of the Attorney-General. Whenever he opens his mouth he provokes debate.
– In other words, I say something that is worth saying.
– Not exactly. The honorable gentleman seems to come here for the express purpose of stirring up trouble. No doubt that is. a very valuable quality for a member of the Opposition to possess. If we had an Opposition of the calibre and attainments of the Attorney-General it would be quite impossible for any Government to transact public business. If you, sir, would leave the chair, another Bill which might be proceeded with is the Copyright Bill. That measure contains a number of provisions which are regarded bv members of the Labour Party with almost as much anxiety as are the union label proposals. We all know that they are very anxious to get telegrams for their labour newspapers free of cost.
– That statement is as about as near to the truth as are most of the honorable member’s remarks.
– I recognise’ that it is idle to ask the Government to proceed with any business in which the Labour Party is not interested.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed.’]
– I was showing, when interrupted, that the Labour Party desire to proceed with the consideration of the Copyright Bill because they hope to pass it in a form that will enable labour journals run bv union subscriptions to pirate cable news.
– Is the honorable member in order in referring to the pirating of cablegrams ?
– I will ask the honorable member to connect his remarks with the question before the Chair.
– I was explaining that the only business that can be proceeded with is that in which the Labour Party are peculiarly interested. The members of that party do not seem to be anxious that I should make this statement.
– I desire to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– If you left the chair, sir, there are many matters not appearing on the business-paper that might be discussed. 1 wish to avail myself of the first opportunity to refer to the mismanagement of the arrangements for trie convenience of honorable members at the military review on Monday.
– Order ! The honorable member can deal only with the business before the Chair.
– Having been prevented^ sir, from discussing some of the reasons why I wish you to leave the chair, I shall now deal with the question of the urgency of the Trade Marks Bill. Yesterday evening I quoted from the official journal of the federated labour of the United States statements proving conclusively the state of boycott which exists there as the result of the union label law. An attempt was made to make capital out of the fact that the issue from which I read extracts was dated 1902. I have now before me the issue of the Coast Seamen’s Journal of San Francisco for 5th April of this year. This is the official paper of the Seamen’s Union of the United States, and it gives indications of the way in which the union label law operates there. I shall read a few of the advertisements which appear on one page of this issue -
The Red Front. Clothing and Furnishing Goods. Boots, Shoes, Hats, Caps, &c. Union Label Goods. Port Townsend, Wash.
The feature of this advertisement is that union label goods are sold in the establish-, ment in question.
– Is there any harm in that?
– Not unless there is a boycott. Then we find the following advertisement : -
Union Cigar and Tobacco Store. Elias Weberg, Proprietor. Front-street, opposite S.P. Depot/, San Pedro, Cai. Union-made Cigars, Tobaccos, Pipes, Notions, Sec.
I would now draw attention to the advertisement relating to the union label of the United Hatters -
Union Label of the United Hatters of N.A.( When you are buying a fur hat, either soft or stiff, see to it that the Genuine Union Label is sewed in it. The Genuine Union Label is perforated on the four edges exactly the same as a postage stamp. If a retailer has loose labels in his possession, and offers to put one in a hat for you, do not patronize him. Loose labels in retail stores are counterfeits. Unprincipled manufacturers are using them in order to get rid of their scab-made hats. The John B. Stetson Company, of Philadelphia, Pa., is a non-union concern.
– I wish to call attention to the want of a quorum. [Quorum formed.’]
– The concluding sentence in the advertisement I ‘have just rea,d is evidence of a boycott.
– I do not think it is.
– At page 7 of this journal, I find the following paragraph : -
Help the white cigar-makers in their struggle against Chinese and tenement-h’ouse labor by demanding the blue label of the Cigar Makers’ International Union ! It’s printed in blue on the box.
– Does the honorable member object to white workers being protected against coloured labour?
– I do not, and, if the same cause existed in Australia, I should not offer such strenuous opposition to the union label provisions of this Bill. The Attorney-General is aware that Factories Acts regulating wages, and labour conditions apply all over Australia.
– I believe that there is no Factories Act in operation in Queensland or Tasmania-
– Would the,honorable and learned gentleman seek to impose factory laws on Tasmania?
– That is a different question altogether; the honorable member is shifting his ground. ‘
– I am not. If the honorable member would not impose factory legislation on Tasmania, why should he attempt in this surreptitious way to do so?
– I must again call attention to the want of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– The Attorney-General has taken the view that in certain States which have no factory legislation tenement labour must be in a different position from union labour. That does not apply to the State of which I am a representative. If it did, I am not at all sure that I should not be prepared to advocate dealing with the trouble by means of a straight-out
Factories Act. By means of this Bill, according to the Attorney-General, we shall influence and control the industrial affairs of the States. If that be so, we shall infringe the right of the States to the complete management of industrial matters within their own borders. We have also to remember that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act provides for the creation of a Court that will determine all questions of labour and wages. Surely a measure of this kind, which may, perhaps, be necessary in the United States in order to protect the consumer against the products of sweated labour is not necessary in Australia, and is, therefore, only a proposal to double-bank legislation, in these circumstances, it must be obvious, that the real desire of the Labour Party is to secure the passing of this Bill id order that new unions, having political objects, and subscribing ‘ to the party war-chest, may be formed. Union labels will be registered by these bodies, and an effort will be made to force men to join the unions. The outcome of the passing of this legislation must necessarily be the complete disorganization of existing trade. If the attempt to create a prejudice by means of a union label be successful, all goods must necessarily be made by union labour. Some time must elapse before the union labour available locally is sufficient to cope with the demands of consumers, and in the interval there must be a complete disorganization of trade. That is not a matter to be lightly faced. Another phase of the question is whether or not the position of The Labour Party will be affected by the passing of this Bill. I. think that, as. the result of its coming into operation, their political gains must be enormous. At the last Labour Conference In New South Wales, a proposal was made to levy 6d. per annum per member from each of the affiliated unions in that State.
– Has the question of a levy made by labour unions in New SouthWales anything to do with the motion before the Chair?
– So far as I can see it has not, but I do not know whether the honorable member proposes to connect it with the motion.
– I am attempting to do so. I have already shown the disorganization which must take place as the result of the passing of this Bill, and, when interrupted, was about to point out the financial support which it would confer upon the organizations of the Labour Party by causing the membership of the unions, to be increased.
– I submit that the fact that certain labour unions in New South Wales devote part of their funds to assisting the Labour Party has nothing to do with the question.
– I ask the honorable member to confine himself to the question.
– It seems to be verv clear that, as any trade union can register under the Bill, these unions will register their labels, and, in that way, double their membership and subscriptions, by which means £$,000 per annum would be raised.
– The honorable member is now defying, your ruling, Mr. Chairman.
– I. ask the honorable member to leave this line of argument.
– I will now deal with some more advertisements in this newspaper which show how the union label is used in the United States. A paragraph says -
There is no panacea for the “ labour question,” but the union label comes f»s near to filling the bill as, anything we know of. Demand that device upon all purchases. ,
Then, lower down, I find this -
For fair products of all kinds, read the Journal’s advertisement columns.
In those columns is a black-list, headed “ We do not patronize.”
– In a previous discussion an honorable member was ruled out of order for tedious repetition, and I think that the honorable member for Wentworth should be dealt with in that way, because, some hours ago, I heard him using the same arguments as he is using now.
– I do not think that the honorable member for Wentworth has been guilty of tedious repetition, but, no doubt, the Committee would be prepared to take his statements at large, without requiring him to go into details.
– It is .only because my quotations from another newspaper were challenged on “the ground that that newspaper was some years out of date that I am quoting from a newspaper published this year. Black-lists are published in every labour newspaper in the United States, setting forth, under their different denominations, not the firms which sweat or pay unfair wages, but those which dare to employ non-union labour- No doubt
Parliament is not concerned with the question whether men do or do not belong to unions, but it is our duty to protect the rights of every citizen. In these blacklists are named firms which sell bread, cigars, flour, groceries, meat, tobacco, clothing, pottery, and furniture, as well as firms engaged in the printing trade, and street railways.
– Similar lists exist in Sydney and Melbourne j the union label has nothing to do with them.
– Then, what is the use of it? We know the means which have been adopted in San Francisco and elsewhere to prevent persons from patronizing shops where the union label is not recognised. Men have been posted outside such shops to keep customers a.way, and there are walking delegates in receipt of large sums of money from those who employ them, as all true servants of labour should be, who travel from place to place to see that the clothes of all unionists and of their wives and children are stamped with the union label. Surely we have enough persons battening on labour in the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member has battened on it all his life. He has al- ways had some one to work for him.
– In the Arbitration Courts labour lawyers are engaged in depleting, the union treasuries, and, if we pass this legislation, Ave shall bring into existence a new class of men, whose interest it will be to awaken the prejudices and passions of the working classes. I do not think that the Commonwealth is anxious to have the walking delegate in its midst, because we know what these men have been capable of in the United States, where they have brought misery and suffering to the wretched dupes belonging to the organizations controlled by their cunning and plausibility.
– Is that any reason why the Chairman should leave the chair?
– We must give sufficient time for the proper consideration of the proposal, which has for ils inevitable consequence the creation of walking delegatesin Australia.
– Can the honorable member discuss the effect of the Bill on the motion before the Chair?
– I think so, if he advances reasons why there should be delay.
– Early in the evening Mr. Temporary Chairman Mauger decided that the honorable member for North Sydney could not, oni this motion, discuss the Bill in detail, and, on the ruling being dissented from, Mr. Speaker decided that all remarks must be relevant to the question that the Chairman do leave the chair.
– I hope that my rulings have not been misunderstood. It would be out of order for any honorable member speaking on this motion to discuss the Bill clause by clause. Such a course of action would be ait evident attempt to obstruct and to waste time, which I would not permit. But ani honorable member is in order in referring to any particular portion of the Bill to which he objects - such as Part VII. Honorable members must not discuss it in detail.
– I shall bring my remarks to an abrupt conclusion at this stage to give an opportunity to the honorable member for Lang to address the Committee.
– I suggest that, ‘following the practice already established in this Parliament, we should now adjourn for breakfast.
– I should like to go on without intermission, but, as I recognise that honorable members have endured a great deal, and that some concession must be made to human nature, I shall offer no objection to an hour’s adjournment at halfpast 8.
– I think that we should have some consideration for the officers and staff of the House, who are not their own masters and may not suit themselves. In New South Wales, after am allnight sitting, we used to adjourn for two hours for breakfast, and I think that will be little enough on the present occasion to enable us to get a bath and breakfast.
– Before proceeding to give in detail my reasons why the Chairman should leave the chair, I wish to congratulate the Attorney-General upon the progress made during the night with the business which he brought before the Committee.
– Half-a-dozen men have held up the whole Commonwealth.
– Before it was proposed that the Chairman should leave the chair, the Opposition made an offer to go on with business, which the AttorneyGeneral, for some inexplicable reason, would not accept. Therefore, the motion was moved that the Chairman do now leave the chair, to allow a wider range of discussion, and to prevent the passing, by sheer brute force or force of numbers, of clauses to which they honestly object, and wish to properly debate. One reason why the Chairman should leave the chair is that there is a limit to human endurance, and the fatigue of occupying the chair for many hours must be very great. Another -reason is that many honorable members in the chamber are physically unfit to transact business. I would direct attention to the fact that the members of the Labour Party are conniving at, if they have not actually instigated, the introduction of a system of sweating in connexion with the officers of the House. The advocates of short hours of labour have insisted upon keeping honorable members and the officers of the House, and the newspaper reporters, in attendance here in order to permit of the discussion of matters which it certainly cannot with truth be contended are of pressing urgency on any ground of public necessity or even expediency. If honorable members had been kept sitting, continuously for twenty hours for the purpose of carrying some- useful measures, I could have understood the anxiety of the Government to proceed with public business. If, for instance, any of the other items on the business-paper had been, dealt with instead of this Bill, there might perhaps have been some warrant for this great display of devotion to public duty. I was under the impression that we should have been called upon to deal with the Electoral Bill, which is a measure of the first importance, and should be dealt with at the earliest possible moment j and I enter my strongest protest against the constant manipulation to which the businesspaper is subjected bv Ministers. Then there is the Sugar Bounty Bill, and its companion measure, the Sugar Excise Bill. These Bills deal with matters which, whether we are in agreement with them or not, may fairly be admitted to be more or less urgent, and so entitled to receive our careful attention at the first opportunity.
Sitting suspended from 8.20 a.m., Wednesday, until p. 30 a.m.
– I cannot dream, sir, of allowing the honorable member to proceed without a quorum, especially when honorable members on the other side desire to
– Amongst other measures which I consider of very much greater importance than the Trade Marks Bill is the Electoral Bill, which the electors require to be enacted at the earliest possible opportunity. The electoral officers have held an inquiry and furnished a report as to the state of the rolls, and the conditions generally under which elections are held. The proper representation of the people in this House lies at the very foundation of our system of parliamentary government. Unless the existing anomalies in the electoral law and the representation of the people are adjusted, we shall have to face another general election under the provisions of a very much out-of-date electoral law. The Electoral Bill should engage our attention’ at the earliest possible moment. I am sorry to find that the Ministry have interrupted the passage of that Bill by pressing forward a measure for which no possible urgency can be alleged, especially when they knew that it was regarded by the Opposition as being of a most contentious character, and that widely divergent opinions existed among honorable members on each side as to its provisions. I have no objection to a Trade Marks Bill pure and simple, but I strongly object to extraneous provisions being engrafted upon the measure. The members of the Opposition were perfectly willing to agree to the enactment of provisions for the protection of legitimate trade marks, but they strongly objected to such an excrescence as a provision for a union label being incorporated in the Bill. This attempt to legalize boycotting and coercion with a view to prevent a large number of working men and women from earning a Hiving has no right to be made in .connexion with the Trade Marks Bill. The matter should have been reserved for consideration in a separate Bill. I am sure that had Part VII. been eliminated the Government would have had no difficulty in passing, the Trade Marks Bill. We are entitled to know what reasons have induced Ministers to .put aside other measures of a more useful character and to thrust this Bill into the forefront of their programme at the tail end of the session, knowing full well that the Opposition intended to make the fullest use of their powers to criticise its provisions, in the interests of fair play and public rights. The
– I call attention to the state of the Committee. (Quorum formed.]
– We have ample evidence that the constituencies represented by the Opposition, and also by some Ministerial supporters, regard this Bill with the greatest concern. That affords justification for our strenuous opposition.
– I beg again to call attention to the want of a quorum. (Quorum formed.]
– There is further justification for our action in the almost universal condemnation of the Bill outside this House. In dealing with a measure of this kind we should have regard to the opinions of our electors, and I am satisfied that if this Bill were submitted to a vote in my constituency to-morrow nine-tenths of the electors would show themselves as strongly opposed to the principle underlying Part VII. as is even the right honorable member for Swan. The proposal is made, not to effect any improvement in the quality of manufactured goods, but to exclude from sale all goods that are not made by a particular class of labour. The primary object aimed at is not to set one class against another, but members of one class against other members of the same , class. An attempt is being made by the introduction of this principle to reverse the decision of a Parliament that in dealing with the Arbitration Bill was so strongly opposed to the preferential clauses introduced into that measure as to take action, which was followed by disastrous results to at least one Ministry. That should be a sufficient reason to justify strenuous opposition to the legislation now proposed. An attempt is here being made to use the forms of the law to institute a system which I say advisedly is absolutely immoral in character. Such a measure would interfere with the free rights of citizens to work for whom they chose, and to purchase their goods from whom they chose. It would put power into the hands of a certain section of the community to use the forces of tyranny, persecution, and intimidation in order to make the will of the minority prevail over that of the majority. That must be evident, because we know that the majority of the workers of Australia do not belong to unions. Honorable members occupying the Ministerial cross benches cannot be sincere in their professions of belief in the right of the majority to ‘rule, when they insist on introducing clauses in this Bill to provide for the enforcement of the will of the minority on the majority. We have had protests from bodies of manufacturers and from individuals, not against the legitimate purposes of the Bill, but against the introduction of the pernicious principles embodied in Part VII., which have nothing in common with the legitimate purposes of a Trade Marks Bill. There are other measures of far greater importance than the Trade Marks Bill, and these ought to receive the attention of the Commonwealth Parliament. In addition to the Electoral Bill, there is business which private members desire to introduce, including a Bill by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, in conjunction with myself, in reference to military canteens, but I suppose the latter must be sacrificed unless, as seems not unlikely, the session is to last the life of this Parliament. There might have been some excuse for the Government pushing on with the measure relating to sugar bounties, which is regarded as of such vital importance in Queensland that, I believe, the question of secession has been raised in connexion with it. Then, again, the Excise Bill is one regarded by a great many people as of urgent importance; and, in view of the pressing need of population, the Immigration Restriction Act Amendment Bill ought to receive prompt consideration. The measure dealing with immigrants, who come here under contract, is. no doubt, of a contentious character, but, even at this late period of the session, there would have been every justification for the Government submitting it in preference to the Bill now before the Committee. The Census and Statistics Bill, involving, as it does, the representation of the people in this House, must be regarded as of pressing urgency. Every honorable member will admit, I think, that the Copyright Bill should be proceeded with. Even in a Bill with such an innocent title as it bears, there may lurk socialistic debatable provisions, but otherwise it is a measure which I think honorable members on both sides would be will-“ ing to consider at the earliest possible moment. According to the statements of certain supporters of the Government, the Manufactures Encouragement Bill is one of paramount importance to the welfare of this country. If they really hold that belief, I marvel at their sitting tamely behind a Government which is setting aside that measure in order to proceed with a Bill which even they have admitted is not of so urgent a character. Another question of urgent public importance is the selection of the Federal Capita^ site. Recognising that this important question is of great moment to the State of New South Wales, the Government might very well have asked honorable members to consider their measure on the subject in’ preference to this Trade Marks Bill. It would be a sufficient justification for our submitting; this motion if it resulted in providing an opportunity to enable that important question to be considered by honorable members. If, however, the Trade Marks Bill be proceeded with the Easter holidays may be reached before it is passed, because it is only fair to assume that so far as its objectionable matter is concerned, it will be discussed clause by clause. Another subject which the House might very well have been asked to discuss is the defence policy of the Government. Another reason why you, sir, should leave the chair is to enable the Government to redeem their promise to make a statement of defence policy. The state of our defences is not a minor question. It is really of a more urgent character than any other question, even more urgent, I think, than the amendment of the electoral law. Owing to our peculiar position, we are so greatly exposed to the possibilities of hostile attack that in the interests^ of our safety and of our industrial and commercial life, it is necessary to arrive at a definite policy. If the Trade
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– I am sorry that my quotation was interrupted, because it will necessitate my going back to explain my reasons for reading it.
– I again call attention te the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– The paragraph states that the earth-eating disease has made its appearance in North Queensland-
– On a point of order, I submit-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member cannot discuss my ruling unless he moves that it be dissentedfrom.
– As I invariably assist to uphold the authority of the Chair, I shall not persist in reading the quotation. I regret that I was not present last night to hear the arguments advanced for your leaving the chair.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee.
In the House: [Quorum formed.]
The DEPUTY-SPEAKER. - I draw attention to the fact that several timesquite recently I have counted the House, and assured myself that there is a quorum, present. I ask honorable members to make up their minds whether there is any need for these frequent calls for a quorum.
– Members of the. Opposition clear out in order to enable this farce to be enacted.
– They are ordered out to enable it to be done.
In Committee :
– I was not present earlier in the sitting, because I took theopportunity to snatch a few hours’ rest, and I think that if honorable memberssupporting the Government had followed my example they would have been in abetter condition to conduct public business.
– A motion that the Chairman do leave thechair is an attempt to take from the Government the conduct of the business of the House, and they are therefore justified in looking upon such a motion as one of vital importance. For the same reason, those who support such a motion should beseised with a .proper sense of the responsibility they assume. I have been as littleinclined as has any other member of theCommittee to waste time. I have often assisted the present Government, in whomI have no confidence whatever, to carry onthe business of the House merely becauseit has. also been the business of the country. But occasions do arise when one feels that it is necessary to emphasize a protest against a measure being carried, and* against- the want of sincerity displayed by a Government in introducing such a measure. There must be something rotten in the “ state of Denmark “ when practical business men, such as the honorable members for North Sydney, Kooyong, Grampians, and myself, are induced to consent to an all-night sitting. The honorable and learned member for Corinella cannot be looked upon, even by his most bitter political opponents, as one who would voluntarily submit a motion merely in order to delay business. No member of this House has been more desirous than I have been to see the session produce some useful legislation. Prom the initiation of Federation I have desired that honorable members sent to this Parliament should justify the choice of the country by carrying out the great scheme of Federation and the large measures, many of which still await our consideration, necessary to complete the work, to secure the economical government of Australia, to perfect the union of the States, and to develop their resources. The Government, in persisting with this measure and the obnoxious clauses inserted since its introduction, are neglecting other matters of paramount importance. They are occupying the time of Parliament with a side issue at the dictation of a minority. There are many Government supporters in this House, and in the Ministry itself there are some, who in their heart of hearts are opposed to the proposed legislation. In such circumstances it is a comparatively easy task to justify the motion before the Committee as a protest against the way in which the Government is conducting the business of the country. More than one Ministry have had something to do with this measure, which, when first introduced, did not contain the provisions, which are so obnoxious to a section in this House. Whilst only a section in the House is opposed to these provisions, I challenge the Government to deny that a majority of the electors are opposed to this legislation. Honorable members generally are in favour of giving complete effect to the principles of this, Bill, as introduced. At the dictation of a section in this Parliament, a certain set of clauses have been introduced, and have, with certain modifications to preserve their consistency, since been stepfathered by the present Government. The Bill is submitted for our consideration now with so many proposed amendments that it would have been well if the Government had had the measure printed as they desire to see it passed, in order that honorable members might be enabled to understand the effect of the amendments proposed. This is not the time to go into the details of the wording of some of the clauses, but I can assure the Committee that there are clauses which are positively unworkable, while there are others which have been introduced for merely fiscal purposes. I support this motion in order to emphasize objections, which, while they are those of only a certain number of the members of the Committee, represent, I believe, the opinion of the great majority of the people of the country. From the commercial business, and moneyed classes of the country, on whom we must depend for our advancement and prosperity, and the employment of labour, petitions and other expressions of opinion have come, which have afforded overwhelming evidence of a belief that the measure is wrong in principle,, and will work evil to the whole of the people, more particularly, in the last instance, to the wage-earning classes. It is believed that the measure will restrict production and retard business in all directions, with the ultimate effect of “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.” On the ether hand, there has been no such general expressions of opinion from the working classes, unionist or non-unionist, as show any widespread desire for legislation of the kind. It may be said that that argument proves nothing; but we have not found the working classes miss opportunities in regard to other legislation in which they have felt deeply interested.
– That is a good argument for a Harvester Bill.
– When a Bill of that kind is before us, we shall listen to arguments, whether they come from the mass of the workers or from manufacturers. I ask the Committee to recognise the fact that, from one end of the Commonwealth to the other, business and commercial people have, in no mistaken terms, ‘let us .know that, in the light of their experience, they regard these proposals as inimical to the interests of the country.
– They have had no experience yet.
– Some manufacturers and capitalists have done as much for the advancement of the working classes as have any outside organizations.
– Hear, hear ; and they are not the men who have been petitioning this House to-day.
– I have always acknowledged that humanity is actuated by self-interest; but many. manufacturers have done their best to advance the interests of their employes.
– What does the honorable member know of the opinions of the working classes?
– I am brought into contact with the working classes quite as much as is the honorable member, and I know very few workers who, whether organized or unorganized, desire this legislation. The great impetus to this legislation comes from the many politicians amongst the working, classes - politicians who desire measures of “the kind, because their whole aim is to increase and consolidate the power of the political labouring classes, in order that they may satisfy their ambition, laudable in itself, of obtaining seats in the Legislature which governs the Commonwealth. The aim of the Labour Party from the first has been to pass such legislation as will assist to increase the number of their representatives.
– I should like the honorable member to show what this has to do with the motion that I leave the chair.
– I think that I am in a position to speak for both the working classes and the capitalists, and my argument is that the object of the introduction of such provisions in the Trade Marks Bill is to increase the political power of the organized Labour Party of Australia. All through legislation of the kind the effort has been to consolidate the labour organizations, so that the whole machine may be pulled by means of two or three wires.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is perfectly in order in dealing with that matter in a general way, but not in attempting to deal with it in detail.
– I am endeavouring to answer the question of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. I regard the Trade Marks Bill as an ordinary measure, which is being used for party political purposes. The Arbitration Bill obtained the support of, at any rate, some manufacturers, while the White Australia policy was favoured by others of the same class; indeed, its ultimate success was due to the support received from capitalists, because it could not have been carried by the other side unaided. I was a warm supporter of the broad features of the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill, urging, as labour representatives urged, that it was intended to get rid of the very causes which had produced disputes in the past, and create a tribunal which would decide what, under ail the circumstances, were fair wages and conditions of labour in any particular trade.
– A body of manufacturers have always opposed that measure.
– I am a manufacturer, and I supported it. I use the Arbitration Bill as an illustration, in order to show that I have some ground for my opposition to the Bill before us, which I regard as an endeavour to pass legislation of which we refused to make the Arbitration Bill a vehicle. The Labour Party, when that Bill was before us, argued that if they gave up their power to strike, they should receive something in return; and there was created the tribunal to which I have referred. As time went on, an effort was made to carry that principle further - to carry it as far as is proposed in the Bill now under consideration. An endeavour was made to give preference to unionists. I argued that there should be no preference to unionists or any one else, when a Court was created to fix rates of wages, and the hours and conditions of employment. Actuated by sound democratic principles, I objected to creating class distinctions. Amongst others who assisted to knock the principle of preference to unionists out of the Arbitration Bill was the present Prime Minister, who, in a most eloquent speech, laid bare the secret underlying the efforts of the Political Labour Party. The enactment of the union label provisions is desired by them, in order to bring about precisely the same result as was endeavoured to be brought about by the enactment of preference to unionists. The Committee would stultify itself if, in view of that decision, it were- to agree to Part VII. of this Bill. We find Ministers who vehemently opposed the enactment of the principle in the Arbitration Bill endeavouring, in order to achieve the object of the Political Labour Party, to sneak into this Bill some, clauses to which we believe the great majority of the electors are strongly opposed, and which we contend will be inimical to the producing and manufacturing interests of the country. We desire to draw attention to the fact that the Government is not sincerely desirous of seeing this principle embodied in the Trade Marks Bill, but is simply acting from reasons of political expediency, in order to placate a large number of followers without whose support they could not possibly exist. Outside Parliament the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council were in deadly earnest in opposing the machinations of the Political Labour Party in seeking to secure the enactment of preference to unionists.
-I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– Inasmuch as the principle of preference to ‘unionists was rejected with the assistance of at least three prominent members of the present Government, neither this House nor the country can believe in the sincerity of a Government which seeks to embody union label provisions in a Trade Marks Bill, because in each case the aim is to increase the power of the Political Labour Party. I am prepared to stake my reputation that if a secret vote could be taken, at least three Ministers would vote against the enactment of the clauses to which the Opposition so strongly object,
– Is it fair to say that ?
– It is notorious that three Ministers are opposed to the enactment of the union label provisions.
– That is not worthy of the honorable member.
– It is worthy of me to expect to find consistency in three men who have played a prominent part in public life.If they have advocated certain principleswhen sitting on this side of the House it is worthy of me to expect them to be still consistent to those principles, and, if they had the privilege of voting in secret, to vote against their enactment. There are honorable members sitting behind the Government who, if a secret vote could be taken, would vote in a similar way. These clauses are fathered by the Government merely to secure the support of a section of the House; and, according to the moral maxims which are associated with our system of party government, their supporters feel constrained to support objectionable provisions lest, if defeated, Ministers should have to resign office. If I were sitting on the other side, I, too, should feel constrained to give a loyal support to a Government in similar circumstances. I do not say that I would swallow everything, as some Ministers are swallowing principles which they enunciated when sitting on this side of the House. But I should feel somewhat constrained to support a Government that brought in measures to which it pinned its faith. The present Government, however, cannot be considered to have pinned its honest faith to the trade union marks proposal. We ought not any longer to allow a system to continue under which the fate of a measure depends, not upon the principles actuating honorable members, but upon the exigencies of party warfare. If we could get rid of the particularly obnoxious clauses of this Bill with the undertaking that they shall be introduced in a separate measure next session, after mature consideration, I, for one, would assist the Government to pass the other Bills that have been brought forward as speedily as possible, so that Parliament might get into recess, and Ministers might obtain what they require more than anything else - rest and the opportunity to frame other measures, for which this nation is waiting. Throughout Australia we are face to face with the fact that the great wave of faith which swept us into Federation is spending its force, as the Commonwealth, as such, is beginning to stink in the nostrils of the people. When I was in Queensland a little while ago, it was almost a constant occurrence that whenever I was introduced to” a man as a member of the Federal Parliament, he would say, “Let him go and hang himself then.” That feeling is growing in the other States. Little Tasmania is finding that the hopes entertained of this great union are being sadly delayed. The people are coming to the conclusion that the members of this Parliament have not brains enough to give them the measures that were expected as a result of Federation. We can find time to stick into a Trade Marks Bill clauses which embody an obnoxious principle, but we have neither time nor ability to solve the States’ debts question, or to deal effectively with the conservation of the Murray waters.
– I beg to call attention to the want of a quorum.
In the House: <
– As I have quite recently assured myself of the presence of a quorum, I shall not count the House.
– Mr. Chairman, when attention is called to the fact of the absence of a quorum, I maintain that it is not within the power of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker so to degrade the forms of the House as to say that he will not count the members present.
– The honorable member must withdraw the remark which he has made criticising the action of the Deputy Speaker.
– I” say that it is not within the power of any member to say that the House shall not be counted; and I wish to move that we dissent from the Deputy Speaker’s ruling.
– We are not now in the House, and the honorable member cannot do that. He should have done it before the Deputy Speaker left the chair.
– I again call attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present.
In the House:
– The Temporary Chairman of Committees has again reported to me that his attention has been drawn to the state of the House. About a minute age I informed the House that I was certain that there was a quorum present, and that there was no necessity to count the House- Only a few minutes before I had done. so. I, therefore, declined to count the House again. I followed a precedent laid down in the House of Commons, where, in the opinion of the Speaker, it was not necessary that the House should be counted and re-counted so frequently. A little while ago I made a suggestion that honorable members should not use one of the forms of the House in the manner in which, I feared, it was being used. I feel that I am bound to do all in roy power to have the business of the House conducted in an orderly fashion. Under these circumstances, I am called upon to take u),on myself, for the first time, a grave responsibility, but one which is strictly in accord with practice, and also with our first standing order, which provides that where ou rules are silent the practice of the House of Commons shall govern our proceedings,
I -have consulted the authorities, and am acting strictly in accord with them. Recognising the importance of the question, I do not intend to deprive the honorable member for Werriwa of any right which he has. I am even prepared to extend to him some latitude, and possibly to give him a right which he has not, in order that the question may be properly determined. But I again ask honorable members to exercise some restraint with regard to impeding the business with which the House is engaged-
– On a point of order, I desire to state that under the Constitution twenty-five members of this House constitute a quorum. It is true that Parliament has power to alter that number, but it has wisely been considered that it is not too much to ask that at least twenty-five members of a legislative body shall keep their places when business is being done. Standing order 33 is as follows : -
If any member shall take notice, or if the Chairman of Committees, on notice being taken by any member, shall report to the Speaker that a quorum of members is not present, the Speaker, standing up in his place, shall count the House ; and if a quorum be not present within two minutes, he shall adjourn the House till the next sitting day.
For several minutes after attention has been called to the want of a quorum, there has been an absolute disregard of standing order 33, and under that standing order the House should now be adjourned until the next sitting day. Your ruling, sir, must have been given without reference to the standing order, otherwise I cannot conceive why you should have made the statement that where our Standing Orders are silent, reference is made to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. In the House of Commons, owing to the number of its members, it is practically impossible that there should ever be a want of a quorum. It is true that some honorable members may find it a nuisance that twenty-five of them should be compelled to wait in the House, but surely it is not a very irksome regulation.
– I submit that the honorable and learned member’s remarks are not now relevant to the point of order. The question is not whether the necessity for providing a quorum suits the convenience of honorable members.
– I think that perhaps the matter can be better settled in another way. I am satisfied as to the power to be exercised by the occupant of the chair. I indicated that to honorable members a little time ago in a way which I thought would be taken advantage of. I recognise that the business in which we are at present engaged can hardly be called important business, so far as the actual motion before honorable members is concerned. I also feel that perhaps in my position as temporary occupant of the chair, I should not have taken such a serious step. My desire was to assist in the despatch of public business, and to bring honorable members to a sense of the serious position into which we were drifting through what at the time I believed to be an abuse of one of the formsof the House. In the circumstances, I feel that perhaps I should best consult the progress of public business if, for the present, I were to allow the matter to remain in abeyance, and to leave it to the good sense of honorable members to exercise the power they believe they have, but which I believe they have only so long as they do not abuse it in a reasonable way. If honorable members are prepared to accept my suggestion, we can go on in the ordinary way. I ask the honorable member for Werriwa to now allow the debate to proceed.
– The House is in a somewhat extraordinary position.
– The House generally is not committed to anything. If the honorable and learned member desires, I will go on with the course I at first proposed, but I ask him whether he does not consider it would be better to let matters remain in abeyance.
– According to standing order 33, the House must now be adjourned.
– I have made a proposition which I hope the honorable and learned member will accept.
– Two minutes having elapsed since the want of a quorum was reported
– On a point of order, can you, sir, not withdraw your ruling?
– I prefer to allow matters to remain in abeyance.
– We cannot accept that position. ,
– There is no necessity to accept anything.
– On a point of order, may I suggest that as you do not care to withdraw your ruling, and as perhaps it has not been formally and deliberately given, it would be as well to proceed now by counting the House.
– That is the proposition I made. I shall now proceed to count the House.
– On a point of order-
– I ask the honorable and learned member for Werriwa not to proceed with his point of order. No harm ‘has been done by what has so far transpired. There is a quorum present.
In Committee :
– I wish only to complete my case by a reference to some other matters of supreme importance, which should have engaged the attention of the Government. Next in importance to the great question of Inter state irrigation scheme, to which attention was directed by the honorable member for Echuca, and the question of the consolidation of State debts, I should say that the question of defence is one which should receive the attention of the Government. I accuse the Government of having abnegated the principles laid down by their leader in an interview with a representative of the Herald shortly before his accession to office, and again enunciated by him after taking office. He declared that it was absolutely essential that the Federal Government should work out some scheme of defence which could be understood, and under which we might get value for our money. This is a much more important matter than the consideration of trade union labels. We are now at the end of a long session, and there has been no hint of a system of defence. We have become demoralized. We are doing no good, and it is better that we should go to the country, that Ministers may be given an opportunity to initiate some policy on these grave questions, and that they should drop the twopennyhalfpenny questions that are thrust upon them by outsiders. The Labour Party were charged with’ cutting down the cost of the defence of the country. I glory in the fact that I helped the Labour Party to do that. If it had not been done we should have wasted more money than we have, in my opinion, already, wasted. The only way in which to secure some attention to the necessity for a proper system of defence was to check the spending of the Defence Department. Prior to Federation, the confiding people of the various States were informed that if thev consented to the proposed union they would be enabled to save from ,£500,000 to £750,000 a year by the consolidation of States debts, and that they would be provided with a perfect system of defencewithin their means. The people have been misled in this, as in almost every other direction. Nothing has been done to secure what was promised, whilst the attention of Parliament has been devoted to unimportant questions submitted in order to gratify certain political parties otto secure certain political support. AVe had better consider whether it would not be in the best interests of this Commonwealth to abolish the party system of government. How would a measure like this be dealt with if we had not the present system of Executive, but one in which each individual member of the Executive was responsible to members of the House? Under such a system, when a Minister or any private member introduced a Bill of this class, there would be no unnecessary discussion, and there would be nothing to be gained by submitting a motion of the kind now under discussion. Such a Minister would gravely and seriously introduce the measure, in all probability believing in its principles, or, if he did not, he could honestly say so; and after he had explained that he had endeavoured, to the best of. his ability, to give effect to the will of the House, a decision could be rapidly arrived at. Under the present system, however, if a Minister does not believe in a Bill introduced by his Government, the utmost honesty we can expect from him is that he will not open his mouth. This measure is one in which, probably, not one-half of the Ministry believe; and many honorable members simply support it out of a feeling of loyalty. The system results in much fruitless labour, and that waste of time will continue so long as there is a party system, and more than two parties. Indeed, the chances are that as time goes on there may be as many as five parties, with all the resultant secret understandings between section and section. It would be far better to abolish the party system in favour of one which would probably condense the labours of the session into three months, and produce more practical results than have any of the four long sessions we have already experienced.
– The seriousness of the position must be realized when we find a sedate and studious gentleman like the honorable member for South Syd ney displaying so much excitement on a question of the kind now before the Committee. At times the motion that the Chairman leave the chair may be abused, but, having regard to the spirit in which the honorable member dealt with the matter, it cannot be even suggested that he was , displaying obstructive tactics. When that honorable member, and an honorable member of the character of the representative of North Sydney, address themselves seriously to the question, it may be presumed that the occasion is of an unprecedented character. Is it worth our while as sane men to proceed as we have been doing? I am sure that the Prime Minister would have willingly accepted the compromise which was offered last night by the Opposition. The honorable and learned member for Corinella, who is answerable for the motion now under discussion, cannot be described as an obstructionist.
– The honorable and learned member admitted that my offer was most reasonable.
– Then it is strange that he should have occupied about two hours in explaining his reasons for adopting the unusual course of moving that the Chairman leave the chair.
– I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– I ask the Prime Minister whether, if he had been here when the honorable and learned member for Corinella suggested that the 57 clauses should be accepted, he would not have fallen in with the idea?
– The proposition was that all the non-contentious clauses should be accepted.
– We have no desire that’ this Parliament should be presented as occupying any lower status than that of the States’ Parliaments. We do not wish to devise obstructive schemes, of which the electors could not approve. The British Constitution provides that the Opposition shall have every facility to assist Ministers in carrying on the government of the country. I do not wish any honorable member to depart from that great ideal. Bv this time, the Prime Minister must be aware of the temper of the Committee. He must realize that it would not require much engineering to enable the Opposition to spend a whole week upon the Bill rather than proceed with its consideration under existing circumstances. It was an open secret in the early part of yesterday afternoon that the Government had determined at all hazards to get up to clause 72 of the Bill, andwhen we offered to proceed as far as clause 57, our reasonable compromise was rejected by the Attorney-General, who, in my opinion, has shown great want of tact. A Minister needs to possess, not only backbone, but tact and discretion. The Attorney-General is one of the keenest lawyers in the community, but, as a political leader, he is a great failure. If he thinks he can make any progress with this Bill against the intentions of the Opposition, he is sadly mistaken, To show the disturbed nature of the Committee, let me draw attention to the fact that for hours honorable members have been searching May and the Standing Orders for an authority with which to prevent the Opposition from proceeding with this motion. Nothing would please me better, sir, than to see you removed from the chair by the vote of a powerful majority, not as a reflection upon your action, but as a reflection upon the Government. I have to take the role of a passive resister. It is a peculiar thing, sir, that this action was moved, not by what the Age calls a degenerate from New South Wales, but by one of its own pet children. I am almost choked with emotion, sir, when I recall the fact that the Chairman invited the honorable and learned member for Corinella to move him out of the chair,and then refused to accept the motion when it was moved. Every one will remember how that breezy writer, Chesterton, of the Daily News, deals withNapoleon on Notting Hill. By his attitude last night, the Attorney-General has earned for himself the appellation of “the Napoleon of William-street.” He may drive, bully, and cuff in the Law Courts, But in this Chamber he cannot drive, or bully, or coax His Majesty’s Opposition. It is quite true that the smaller a man is physically, the more tyrannical he will become if he is, given the opportunity. We are asked to sit night and day merely in order that this political martinet shall get to clause 72 of this Bill. My great consideration is to keep sweet with the Age, the bosom friend of the AttorneyGeneral, which, in a leading article, says that it is impertinent and obstructive on our part to ask you, sir, to leave the chair, when, as a matter of fact, the motion was moved, not by a degenerate from New South Wales, ‘but by the honorable and learned member for Corinella, and then only on an invitation given by the Chairman. Why have we been kept here all night, to the injury of our health? Simply because the Napoleon of William-street, the AttorneyGeneral, who has the reputation of being an iron man, sought to compel the Committee to pass a certain number of clauses.
– If the honorable member will allow me, I will move that progress be reported.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– If it is all right, I have no objection.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
House adjourned at 1 p.m. (Wednesday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 November 1905, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19051114_reps_2_29/>.