2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. BAMFORD. - Has the Minister of Home Affairs had any examination made by experts of the voting machines now on exhibition in one of the ante-rooms, or has he made arrangements for giving them a trial ?
Mr. GROOM. - Although I have seen the machines, they have not been brought under my notice officially. I understand that they are to be placed before me with certain requests, of the nature of which I am not yet acquainted.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON. - I wish to know why the Minister of Trade and Customs has not carried out the distinct promise which he made to me in connexion with the Commerce Bill. On the third reading, after calling his attention to the fact that he had not then given the consideration whichhe had promised to a proposal of mine, I said, as reported in Hansard -
I understand from the Minister, however, that in another place he will have carried out his promise that the statement of this information on a Customs entry - that is, a full trade description - shall not be required unlessthat entry is the only trade description.
Sir William Lyne. - Yes.
That promise has not yet been fulfilled, and therefore I ask how it is intended to fulfil it?
Mr. DEAKIN.- I shall have pleasure in calling the attention of my honorable colleague to the matter.
IMMIGRATION RESTRICTION AMENDMENT BILL.
Mr. CROUCH. - In connexion with the consideration of the Immigration Restriction Amendment Bill, can the Prime Minister arrange to supply honorable members with copies of the principal Act, showing how it will be affected by the proposed amendments? Without such information it will be very difficult to follow whatis proposed.
Mr. DEAKIN. - I will see what more convenient method can be found.
– As the. Representation Bill has now passed both Houses, I wish to know from the Minister of Home Affairs when he intends to proceed with’ the redistribution of seats?
– As soon as the Act has been assented to, the necessary steps will be taken at the earliest practicabledate.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister whether the very important proposed new standing order of which he has given notice has received the consideration and approval of the Standing Orders Committee?
– Not so far as I am aware.
– What are the powers and privileges of the Standing Orders Committee, Mr. Speaker?
– The Standing Orders Committee is empowered to consider and to make recommendations on any matter referred to it by the House, or that it may think fit to take into consideration.
– How is it appointed ?
– By a resolution of the House, moved at the beginning of each Parliament by the Prime Minister.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
How many officers were called upon to qualify in -
Were applications invited from other Candi dates at the time of their appointments? 5. (a) Is there ground for complaint on the part of some officers because of unequal treatment or because regulations have either been ignored or not enforced in certain cases?
– The answers to thehonorable gentleman’s questions are as follow : -
In Committee: (Consideration resumed from 14th November, vide page 5115.)
Clause 2, as amended -
This Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation not less than six months after the passing of this Act.
– I move-
That the Chairman do now leave the chair.
I hope that the arguments which I presented on a similar motion this morning will have some weight with Ministers and honorable members generally, though my anticipation is that Ministers will study only their own interests, and will hot concern themselves with those of Parliament or of honorable members. Since we met this afternoon, after an adjournment of an hour and a half, we have been given notice of the intention to move a new standing order to prevent the moving of motions such as that which I am now discussing, which gives me encouragement to more thoroughly debate this question, in order to place before the public the true position of affairs.
– The honorable member will not be in order in discussing the new standing, order directly.
– The Government, after a sitting of twenty hours, have accomplished nothing, and had ultimately, of their own accord, to more the Chairman but of the chair. As I understand, however, that it is now the desire of the Committee to proceed with the discussion of the Bill clause by clause, I shall not proceed further. The Opposition are now anxious to proceed with business and trust that the experience of the last twenty hours will convince the Attorney -General that they are not to be dragooned or cajoled into submission.
– Do they find their position turned ?
– Certainly not. That is another misguided interjection. I deeply regret the loss of time that has taken place, and now that honorable members have returned to a rational frame of mind, trust that we shall proceed calmly and dispassionately with the consideration of this measure. I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 3 -
This Act is divided as follows : -
Part VII.- Trade Union Marks.
– I am ready to proceed with the consideration of this clause ; but in view of the statement that I made last night, I thought of suggesting its postponement, in order that we may have a general discussion upon the question of the union label, when the clauses dealing with it are reached.
– If the gag is to be applied, I must object to the clause being postponed.
– In the circumstances, I move -
That the words “ trade union,” line 2, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ workers’ trade.”
– I think thisis a convenient stage at which to raise a general debate upon the very important departure made by this Bill from the ordinary trade mark legislation of the Empire. The union label is practically American in its origin, and was first proposed, before the Alien Immigration Restriction Act came into operation there, as a means of inducing the public to buy goods made by white labour. It was subsequently diverted from that object to build up and strengthen trade unions at the expense of the other sections of the community, and as far as possible to force employers and manufacturers to comply with the demands of trade unions, irrespective of whether those demands were legitimate or otherwise. A most exhaustive inquiry has been made into the whole question. The Department of Labour of the United States, presided over by Mr. Carroll D. Wright, in one of the bi-monthly bulletins published a few years ago, gave a most exhaustive statement of the reasons urged in favour of and in opposition to the union label. He also reproduced samples of the label.
– I wish to know, sir, whether the honorable member is in order in discussing the general question on the amendment before the Committee? I submit that as the clauses dealing with the union label have not yet been reached, the general question cannot now be discussed.
– A detailed discussion of the clauses cannot take place, but a general discussion of the objects of Part VII. of the Bill- which relates to the union label - is permissible.
– The Attorney-General himself agreed to a discussion being taken upon this clause with reference to the union label provisions.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). -The honorable and learned member is mistaken. What I suggested was that we should postpone the clause in order that the general debate on the question of the union label might take place.
– On this clause?
– Plus the clauses dealing with the union label, I thought that if this clause were postponed a general debate might take place upon it.
– I hold that it would be wise to agree to the postponement of the clause, in order that a general debate might take place on the union label provisions of the Bill. If Part VII. be amended a long discussion of this clause may be absolutely unnecessary, and in the circumstances I favour the suggestion that it should be postponed.
– I object to a postpone ment of the clause.
– It is perfectly clear that we shall have to reconsider this clause if certain amendments, which a great many honorable members desire, be made in Part VII.
– I think that the Attorney-General should have moved at the outset the postponement of this clause, because the Bill has been recast since it came from the Senate, and even the amendments foreshadowed by the AttorneyGeneral have been reframed. That being so, this clause, in the ordinary course of events, should be postponed until we see what will be the terminology of Part VII. The Attorney-General has for a third time recast the proposals of the Government, and’ in the circumstances we do not know what will be the effect of passing this clause. The
– He suggested at the outset that the clause should be postponed.
– The honorable and learned gentleman merely said that he was willing to postpone the clause. That is not leadership. When amendments necessitate the postponement of a clause the Minister in charge of the Bill should ask for that postponement. I am prepared to discuss this clause or the general provisions of the Bill.
Mr. ROBINSON (Wannon).- I should be prepared to agree to a postponement of the clause if an undertaking were given that the gagging standing order which has been foreshadowed will not be adopted until the union label provisions of the Bill have been thoroughly debated. I distinctly object to the postponement of this clause until a standing order to stifle debate has been passed.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). - At this stage I do not intend to debate the question of union trade marks. I propose to discuss that matter subsequently.
Mr. ROBINSON (Wannon). - I intend the Committee to discuss the question of trade marks now, and, as far as I can, to prevent debate upon it being stifled.
– I shall reserve what I have to say in that connexion until we are discussing particular clauses of the Bill.
– The purposes for which trade union labels have been used differ very considerably from those for which they were first introduced. I hold in my hand a copy of a report issued by the Washington Department of Labour. It seems to me a very fair report, inasmuch as it presents the arguments for both sides with great amplitude.
An Honorable Member. - From what publication is the honorable and learned member about to quote?
– From the Bulletin of the Department of Labour for March, 1898.
– Who is. the author of the article which it contains?
– Mr. John Graham Brooks.
– He is a good Socialist.
– I believe that he is a Socialist. The following is the inscription on the union label issued by the autho
This certifies that the cigars contained in this box have been made By” a first-class workman, a member of the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America, an organization devoted to the advancement of the moral,material, and intellectual welfare of the craft; therefore we recommend these cigars to all smokers throughout the world.
All infringements upon this label will be punished according to law. President, Cigar Makers’ International Union of America.
Then the forms of other labels which differ in some respects from the particular sample I have quoted are given. As showing the extent to which these labels are used, Mr. Brooks points out that since 1 891 they have been taken up by printers, bakers, woodworkers, iron moulders, broommakers, coopers, photographers, shoemakers, custom tailors - that is, tailors who make to order - mattrass-makers, horseshoers, brewers, egg inspectors, and barbers. He says : -
Labels are found even upon coal carts, indicating that union men only are employed in distributing coal.
It is interesting to note the conditions upon which employers are permitted to use these labels. We know very well that if a Government could be found which was more pliant and ‘treacherous to its (professed principles than is the present Government, it might conceivably go to the full length desired by the labour unions in this particular regard. Each individual cigar manufacturer in America has a contract with the trade unions. Some of the conditions of that contract are decidedly interesting. One of them is that no union shall be allowed to furnish a label for cigars made in whole or in part by machinery. There we have a revival of the ancient, ignorant prejudice against machinery. It is a sine quanon that in this particular industry machinery shall not be used. Again we find that -
Manufacturers operating more than one shop shall not be allowed the use of the union label unless all shops operated by such manufacturers are strictly union shops.
We also find that -
No brands of cigars made in both union and non-union shops shall be allowed to bear the union label.
The United Hatters of America also have a similar contract regarding the use of their label.
– From what page is the honorable and learned member quoting?
– From page 200 .and succeeding pages. I find that -
Any manufacturer using bats any part of which was made in a foul shop shall not be entitled to the use of the label.
I believe that the word “foul” in that connexion means a non-union shop.
– Oh, no.
– Surely the AttorneyGeneral does not contend that non-union shops can use the label ? The article continues -
Labels shall not be furnished to any person buying seconds, knockdowns, or hats in the rough to be finished outside the factory where they are made, unless a voucher is presented to the label secretary filled out and signed by the steward of either the finishing or making departments.
There are various other provisons which are designed to prevent an employer from using a union label without the consent of the union concerned. The garment-makers have similar rules. For example -
The label can only be used on garments made for strictly union firms.
These facts show that the employers cannot use the labels without binding; themselves to certain conditions which the unionists desire. At a later stage I shall emphasize some of the other conditions inserted in these agreements. The reasons alleged for the use pf the union label are that it will insure better pay and improved conditions to the workers. In this connexion, Mr. Brooks writes -
Upon its theoretic side the label stands, primarily, for “ better pay and for improved conditions of labour.”
When these clauses were inserted in the Bill at the instance ‘of Senator Pearce, he claimed, in much the same way, that the label was intended as an Instrument to secure better pay and improved conditions to the working classes. But it is not a fact that the label, of necessity, stands for better pay and improved conditions. It may do so in one or two cases in America, but it does not do so in all cases. ‘ Even if it did, there is no justification for extending its use to Australia. In Victoria, we have about forty wages boards, whose decisions apply to unionists and non-unionists alike. They are all treated”’ in the same way.
– In certain places.
– The honorable member knows that the number 6t men who are employed outside those places is a mere bagatelle. In New South Wales, every industry is liable to be brought under the operation of the Arbitration Act. In South
Australia, there is a Labour Government in power, and in Queensland a semi-Labour Ministry hold office. Therefore, the argument in favour of the wage-elevating tendency of these labels cannot be urged in Australia, because Here conditions are insisted upon which apply alike to unionists and non-unionists. Last year, we passed an Act which was intended to regulate wages and generally to improve the conditions of labour, to employ the language of Mr. Brooks. It is sometimes claimed that the label stands for good work. In this connexion, Mr. Brooks writes: -
The aim is moreover to make the label in this instance stand for excellence of workmanship, restoring something of the ideal of the craft guilds in their better days. That this has not been done more generally with the label is clearly a weakness, especially if appeal is to be made to a larger purchasing public. . . A sort of minimum quality is, however, set, as will be seen in the following extract from their constitution. which states that a label shall not be applied to cigars sold for less -than $20 a thousand, or about id. each. Mr. Brooks goes on to say : -
In the case or the hatters, it is even more difficult to trace any relation whatever between .the label and quality or improved conditions. Many shops conspicuous for the high character of their product, wages, and entire circumstances under which the labourer works, have never used the label, nor is there any likelihood of their so doing.
Therefore, the use of the union label is no guarantee of excellence, of quality, or of good workmanship. It is merely a guarantee that the manufacturer has obtained the sanction of a trade union. In Australia, tHe guarantee, as regards pay and labour conditions, is conferred under various Acts passed. by this Parliament, or by the States Legislatures. Mr. Brooks then proceeds to discuss the real reason for the use of these labels. Upon page 205, he says : -
Its practical and immediate purpose is, of course, to strengthen the union. The label- is the chosen symbol of work done under union conditions
Again, on page 207, he writes: -
Nowhere better than among the ‘hatters can the matter of fact side of the label be seen. It is like the strike or the boycott -
I ask honorable members to notice that - an instrument of warfare. The published literature of the Hatters’ Union is filled with evidence on this point. No printed matter upon this subject is so wholly frank as to the primary objects to be sought through the label. It is, of course, assumed that the mere fact of labour organization implies of itself higher wages anil better surroundings ; otherwise there is singularly little pretence that quality of work, for example, or sanitation, enters into their calculation.
It is an instrument of warfare, like the strike or the boycott. In Victoria, since 1890, we are supposed, under the beneficent influences of the Labour Party, to have abolished strikes under our Factories Act, with its attendant Wages Boards system.
– The Factories Act does not prevent strikes.
– It has done more in that direction than has the Arbitration Act in New South Wales. Another object aimed at by the use of union labels is pointed out by Mr. Brooks, upon pages 209 and 212. He says: -
If the pressure of competition is too great there is naturally no thought of any end except to induce the employer to maintain a strictly union shop, and thus insure the payment of members’ dues.
This awakes an echo of the Arbitration Act, during the discussion upon which measure so much stress was laid upon the necessity of unionists paying their dues. Further, Mr. Brooks says -
This contract gives the officials of the union much help in doing their own work, as it becomes the interest of the manufacturer to see to it that his workmen fulfil the conditions (paying dues, &c.) which the unions set. This is indeed the real influencewhich the advocates of the label seek to advance.
When we recollect that some of the unions have been and are political associations, and that a bitter resistance was offered to the attempt made to divest the unions of their political character, we shall recognise the advantage of a provision which enables the union officials to enforce the payment of contributions to the party warchest. The label as used not only as an instrument of warfare, such as the strike or boycott, but also as a means by which the party funds can be kept up. It is also availed of with the object of increasing the membership of the unions and of ousting from employment men who decline to become unionists. The union label system of boycott is used directly and indirectly. ‘ In the first place, an agitation is set up by which it is sought to secure the sole use of goods bearing the union label, and men are urged to boycott articles which are not made by unionists. Another method employed is to insure that the label shall be used only by those manufacturers who have entered into contracts with the unions. Such contracts invariably contain a clause providing that every man employed in the factory shall be a unionist, of that the manufacturer shall dismiss any man who is not a unionist at the. request of the union officials. I would direct attention to a case which was tried before the Supreme Court Bench of Massachusetts, which the Attorney-General will agree with me is a high tribunal.
– From what publication is the honorable and learned member proposing to quote ?
– From the Corpora- tions Auxiliary Company Bulletin. The case to which I refer was that of Michael T. Berry v. Jerry E. Donovan, which is briefly stated as follows: -
On January 24th,1902, and during the three years and eleven months next preceding that date, the plaintiff was a shoemaker employed by the firm of Hazen B. Goodrich and Co., at Haverhill, Mass., under a contract terminable at will. The defendant was the representative of a national organization of shoe workers called the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union. A contract between Hazen B. Goodrich and Co. and said Union was executed on the tenth day of January, 1902 - a copy of which contract is on pages 20 and 21 of the bill of exceptions. This contract provided, among other things, that the firm of Hazen B. Goodrich and Co. “agrees to hire as shoe workers only members of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union, in good standing, and further agrees not to retain any shoe worker in his (their) employment after receiving notice from the Union that such shoe worker is objectionable to the Union, either on account of his being in arrears for dues, or disobedience of the UnionRules or Laws, or from any other cause.”
That provision is wide enough to cover an objection on the part of the union officials to the colour of a man’s hair.
– Can the honorable and learned member connect this case with the trade union labels?
– Yes. I am prepared to show that it is absolutely connected, because it relates to a contract affecting the use of the union label which was entered into between the firm of boot manufacturers referred to and the secretary of the Bootworkers’ Union. The clause to which I have referred contains one of the conditions with which the manufacturer had to comply in return for the right to use the union label. The consideration he was required to give for the right to use the label was an undertaking to dispense with any man that Mr. Donovan did not like. The report proceeds -
Between the time of the execution of said contract between Hazen B. Goodrich and Co. and the union, and the hereinafter mentioned ‘discharge of the plaintiff from his employment by said firm, the defendant called on Hazen B. Goodrich and Co. on several occasions, and demanded that they discharge the plaintiff from their employment because he would not join the union.
Mr. Berry, the working bootmaker, who had to earn his living by the sweat of his brow, declined, for reasons best known to himself, to become a member of the Bootworkers’ Union. It is further stated -
The plaintiff’s employers were satisfied with the plaintiff as a workman and as a man, and, notwithstanding the terms of the contract which they had entered into with the union, would have retained him in their employment but for the aforesaid demand of the defendant. Both the plaintiff andhis employers were able and desirous of continuing the relation of employer and employe’ that existed between them, but because of the defendant’s demands, the said firm, on the twenty-fourth day of January,1902, discharged the plaintiff from his employment by them.
It is further stated that at the time of his discharge Mr. Berry’s actual earnings amounted to $17, or about£3 10s. a week. That fact in itself is sufficient to show that he was not being sweated, and that he was giving satisfaction to his employers. But the terms of the contract with the bootmakers’ union were of such a character that the manufacturer could not use the union label unless he discharged any man who was not a member of the union, or whom the secretary or officials of the union did not like. That is to say, the union had every control over the employes in the factory, and could wreak their vengeance upon any workman who might incur their resentment. That is one method by which the use of the union label has been sought to be extended in the United States.
– What happened to the man?
– He secured a verdict against the union, andhas been endeavouring ever since to collect the money.
– Where is that stated?
– That is my statement. I have particulars of a similar case in Hartford, Connecticut. So far as I know, this is not a reported case, but I have had forwarded to me a copy of the writ issued at the Circuit Court of Hartford, under the authority of the Chief Justice of the United States of America. This was a case in which Martin Lawlor and other members of the Bootmakers’ Union were called upon to comply with the judgment which was entered against them in an action arising out of a boycott, conducted by means of the union label, against Dietrich E. Loewe and Martin Fuchs. A. verdict was given against the union as a whole, and against the members of the union, for a very large sum of money; and the plaintiffs have been endeavouring ever since to recover it.
– Will the honorable and learned member give the source of that information ?
– I shall give the honorable and learned gentleman a copy of the writ to which I have referred, and if he challenges its genuineness, or thinks that I am making a false statement, I can only say that I shall be prepared to make a donation of£5 to any charity in his electorate upon his proving that my information is not correct.
– I suppose that I am to go to America in order to find out whether or not the writ is authentic?
– The AttorneyGeneral can easily ascertain whether the copy I am reading is genuine or not. I have seen a printed copy of the writ. The AttorneyGeneral has the whole resources of the Commonwealth behind him, and can easily ascertain whether this is a genuine writ, and whether the plaintiff recovered judgment.
– The writ will not show what amount was recovered.
– No. But I assert positively that judgment was obtained, and’ that it has not been wholly satisfied. My statements can be verified by the AttorneyGeneral, without the expenditure of one farthing of his own money. I vouch for the statement that a judgment was obtained, and I say that it was not wholly satisfied.
– But the honorable and learned member does not believe in American judgments.
– That depends on the Court from which they come. Some American Courts have been held in the highest respect all over the world, but some have not.
– Is this the judgment of a State Court?
– The writ is a United States writ, and therefore I presume that the case was tried in one of the Federal Circuit Courts.
– That is why I asked the honorable and learned member to give me a reference to it.
– I will give the AttorneyGeneral a copy of the writ, and he can then get all information about it, and verify my statements without a penny of expense to himself.
– What was the effect of the judgment?
– That the goods of this particular firm had been! boycotted, the men being urged by handbills and in other ways not to purchase them.
– What is the name of the town in which the case was tried ?
– Hartford. I will make some quotations from the writ, which will give honorable members an account of the plaintiffs’ claim -
Hatters of North America, and said combination includes more than nine thousand persons, residing in the several States of Massachusetts, Connecticut”, New York, New Jersey, Pennslyvania, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, California, and in (he Province of Ontario in the Dominion of Canada. Said combination is sub-divided into twenty sub-combinations, each of which is by themselves styled a local Union of The United Hatters of North America. Six of said subcombinations are in the State of Connecticut, and known as local Unions, 1, and 2, 10 and11, and 15 and16 of the United Hatters of North America, and have an aggregate membership of more than three thousand persons residing in the State of Connecticut.
– These are merely assertions made by the plaintiffs.
– The AttorneyGeneral overlooks my statement that a verdict was given for the plaintiffs.
– Where is the proof of that? The honorable and learned member appears unable to give the source of his information.
– The AttorneyGeneral can verify or disprove my statements without expense to himself. The writ continues -
The plaintiffs were then employing many union and non-union men, and their said factory was running smoothly and satisfactorily both to the plaintiffs and their employes. The defendants, their confederates and agents, deferred the execution of their said threat against the plaintiffs until the conclusion of their attack made in pursuance of the same general scheme and purpose against H. H. Roelofs and Co. which resulted in the surrender of Roelofs and Co., on July 15th, 1902, except that the defendants, their confederates and agents in November, 1901, caused the said American Federation of Labour to declare a boycott against any dealer or dealers who should handle the product of the plaintiffs.
It will thus be seen that it is a boycott against not only a manufacturer, but any retailer who handles goods that are not made by union labour.
– I am prepared toaccept the challenge thrown out by the honorable and learned member as to the issue of the writ to which he has referred.
– The honorable member must imagine that this is a. circus.
– I think that the alleged writ is a fake.
– The statement goes on to show that the union declared a boycott against Messrs. Loewe and Company, and sought to intimidate dealers in. and purchasers of hats by raising a prejudice against all goods made by that firm. I have here a long, extract from a circular issued by the San Francisco Labour Council, which is a fair indication of the way in which, not merely the manufacturer bat the innocent retailer who handles any nonunion goods, is boycotted. The circular is as follows : -
San Francisco, 3rd July, 1903.
To whom it may concern -
At a special meeting of the San Francisco Labour Council held on the above date, the hat jobbing concern known as Triest and Co., 116 Sansome-street, San Francisco, was declared unfair for persistently patronizing the unfair hat manufacturing concern of D. E. Loewe and Co., Danbury, Connecticut, where the union hatters have been on strike, for union conditions, since 20th August, 1902.
– That was a strike; it had nothing, to do with the question of the union label.
– At the outset a threat was made to boycott the firm, and whenthey declared that they would conduct their businesss as they thought fit. that threat was carried into effect, and the unionists were asked to go out on’ strike. The circular continues -
Triest and Co. will be retained on the unfair list as long as they handle the product of this unfair hat manufacturing concern. Union men do not usually patronize retail stores who buy from unfair jobbing houses or manufacturers. Under these circumstances, all friends of organized labour, and those desiring the patronage of organized workers, will not buy goods from Triest and Co., 116 Sansome-street, San Francisco.
I have here another precious document issued by the same body -
San Francisco, 14th July, 1903. Gentlemen, - We beg leave to call your atten tion to the following products which are on the unfair list of the American Federation of Labour.
We do this in order that you refrain from handling these goods, as the patronage of the firms named below is taken by the organized workers as an evidence of a desire to patronize those who are opposed to the interests of organized labour. The declaration of unfairness regarding the firms mentioned is fully sanctioned, and will be supported to the fullest degree by the San Francisco Labour Council.
It will thus be seen that in the first place the San Francisco Labour Council issued a circular pointing out that different firms had acted unfairly, and should not be patronised. Theythen published a list, setting out that the persons named therein did not work under the union labour conditions, and that, if retailers wished to secure the patronage of union men, they should sell only goods produced by union labour. The plaintiffs issued a writ, fur- nished security to the extent of $150, and secured a verdict, and proceedings have been going on since to collect the amount of the judgment.
– Why cannot they collect the amount of the judgment?
– If the honorable member imagines that the unionists of America are as well off as he is, he is labouring under a misapprehension.
– But some of the unions have a little money.
– I have shown the means adopted by trade unionists in America to enforce union labour conditions. It is distinctly stipulated that an employer must dismiss a man who is a non-unionist, or is otherwise objectionable to a union. That is the direct method adopted. Then there is the indirect method of urging all sympathizers and members of unions to buy only goods bearing union labels, and of issuing a black list of firms who handle goods that are not made by unionists. If, for instance, a, well-known honorable member who carries on business not many hundred yards from this House, offered for sale any goods that were made by non-unionists an attempt would be made by means of the union label to boycott him. Mr. John Graham Brooks, the author of the excellent article to which I have referred, has absolutely proved his statement.
– He states that the union label has been recognised in twenty-eight States.
– We shall see about that. I take the following from page 213 of the Bulletin of the Department of Labour, to which I have already referred : -
The growth of the union label is steady and sure. It is the backbone of some of our unions, and a great aid to* them all. Label leagues are being instituted in many places, both on local and State lines, and are doing good work. There are many more industries which can adopt union labels, and which, no doubt, will in the course oftime. From reports made to headquarters during the year from the various unions, continued and increasing interest is being taken in their welfare. That all unions should boom the union label of each other is important, for to build up and strengthen any one union strengthens all others. While we may be working at different callings, our interests tire intertwined. Upon the growth and activity of unionism generally in any city depends the stability and power of the particular union in which any one of usemay hold a card. Hence the importance of furthering union labels of sister unions. By helping them we help ourselves, and all help each other.
The following resolutions were also adopted at this convention : -
Whereas the National Union of the United Brewery Workmen has adopted a union label for use on all packages containing union-made beer, ale, and porter, and also a union showcard for display in all saloons, which sell union products exclusively ; be it
Resolved that this sixteenth annual convention of the American Federation of Labour indorse the said label and show-card, and urges all members of the American Federation of Labour to demand the label and the show-card.
Whereas we recognise in the union label the mainstay of trade unions, and that the best, most far-reaching, and most earnest way of educating and advocating the union labels is through the organization of active label leagues; therefore
Resolved, that the American Federation of Labour recognise this form of organization, impress upon the minds of delegates in reporting to their constituents the necessity of organizing and maintaining label leagues, and that this body instruct the newly elected officers to grant charters to local, district, and State label leagues.
It was declared by the convention that it was not only the duty of unionists to refrain from purchasing the products of nonunion labour, butto induce their wives and families to use only union products.
– These are the slanderers of the States.
– I am referring to resolutions passed by the American Federation of Labour, which were designed to force unionists and their families to buy only union goods, and to deal with those who handle union goods alone. Mr. Brooks shows, further, that in one year over $3,000 were spent by a branch of the Cigar-makers’ Union in Boston to push the union goods and to boycott those of non-union manufacture. The demand made for a union label for Australia cannot be due to a desire to improve wage conditions, because the industries to which the union label provisions of the Bill would apply in the first instance are under the control of Wages Boards or Conciliation and Arbitration Courts. The label is desired merely as a means to boycott, and to build up unions by forcing men into their ranks. It is sought as a means to drive out of employment those who will not join the unions-. The object of Part VII . is somewhat similar to that of the preference to unionists provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act; but in some respects there is a difference. With the assistance of several members of the present Government, including the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Postmaster-General, and the VicePresident of the Executive Council, honorable members now in Opposition succeeded in surrounding the provision for preference to unionists with so many safeguards that the Labour Party declared that for all practical purposes it would be a dead letter. The proposal now before us is one to secure preference to unionists by a more insidious method. It is a proposal to legalize boycotting, to put it into everyday use as an ordinary means of industrial warfare; to allow organized bodies to decry those who desire to manage their own business in a way that seems best to themselves. It is a proposal to enable the unions not only to boycott manufacturers and retailers, but to force men into their ranks whether they desire to join them or not. There are many trades in Australia which are subject to Wages Boards and Conciliation and Arbitration Courts, and it is therefore evident that the union label is to be used chiefly as an instrument of oppression. I can give local illustrations showing that the chief object of the unions is to force men into organizations of a political or semipolitical character. Their primary object is not to better the labour conditions of Australia, but to strengthen their fighting political bodies. I propose to refer to the position of two trades out of forty that are subject to the Victorian Factories Act.
– Is the honorable member aware that there was a charge of libel contained in’ the writ to which he referred a few minutes ago, and in respect of which the judgment may have been given?
– I think that I shall be able to prove that my statement is absolutely correct. The butchering trade has been under the provisions of the Factories Act in Victoria for seven or eight years past. All the men who are engaged in that trade in the city, suburbs, and the large centres of population, work the same number of hours, and receive the same rate of pay, so that, as far as that (industry is concerned, sweating is non-existent. Yet what do we find? I hold in my hand a reprint of certain statements which were published in the Age and Argus during March of the present year. The article to which I referis headed “ The Butchering Trade,” “ Listing Union Shops,” “ Important Action Proposed,” and reads -
The executive of the employers’ union in the butchering industry has resolved upon an important step in order to secure for certain shops the custom of those purchasers who sympathize with the aims and objects of trades unionism. The union is endeavouring to prepare a list of shops that are said to be absolutely faithful to trades union conditions, with the view to recommending unionists to make their purchases at these establishments, to the exclusion, of course, of other butchers who are not included on the roll.
That is to say, to the disadvantage of men who pay the same wages and who comply with all the conditions laid down by the Wages Board, but who do not employ union labour exclusively. The circular issued by the Victorian Amalgamated Butchers’ Union to various master butchers is as follows : - 1st February, 1905.
In response to numerous inquiries from individuals and organizations in your district as to what shops wherein fair conditions of labour are observed, or what are known as union shops, we have decided to publish lists for distribution throughout the whole of the district, recommending suchshops to the public for patronage, as being shops wherein fair conditions of labour are observed, and where the personsemployed are members of the Butchers’ Union. We are desirous of placing your name on the list, according to above conditions, and await your reply on , or before 1st March, when it is intended to print the list for publication.
If ever there was a deliberate attempt to boycott and intimidate employers, that was one. This union wrote to employers, all of whom were paying the wages fixed by the Wages Board, saying, in effect, “We intend to publish a list of those who employ only unionists, and to recommend our people to deal solely with them. If you desire our custom, you must let us include your name on the list as employers of unionists only.” The inference is that, if they did not employ unionists only, their names would not appear upon the list, and the influence of the unions would be used to boycott their goods. The secretary of the Master Butchers’ Association wrote a very short letter to the press in regard to this matter, in which he says -
The circular letter addressed by the Amalgamated Butchers’ Union to various master butchers will explain the way in which the Trades Hall authorities are tricking shopkeepers into establishing themselves as union shops. The conditions of labour in the trade are regulated by law, and no other authority is recognised. If in any case unfair or illegal conditions are imposed there is ample remedy under the Shops and Factories Act. Further comment is unnecessary.
This association therefore urges the trade to ignore the attempt as being thoroughly, unBritish, and opposed to the best interests of the general community.
J. Kent, Secretary.
– Is not that the man who has, dismissed every representative of the workers on the Wages Board in his employ ?
– I do not know. Mr. Anderson made the following defence : -
Before sending out any lists, we thought the fairest course to pursue would be to notify master butchers what was intended, so as to give any men who were employed an opportunity of becoming members.
If that is not an unmistakable hint, I do not know what is. A somewhat similar dodge was worked in connexion with the bakers’ trade. The baking industry was one of the first brought under the operation of the Factories Act in 1896. On the 5th May last, at the Trades Hall Council, Mr. Large, the bakers’ representative, intimated that a large number of copies of a “ white list,” showing the bakers who adhered to union rates, had been printed, and he asked all unionists to deal only with those on the list. We can best judge of the probable effect of the legislation proposed by observing what has been its result in other countries. In the United States we know the purposes to which the union label has been put. There it has been used as a means of intimidation and boycott, to oppress people and to drive men from their employment. In the case of Berry v. Donovan, in which a demand was made by unionists for the dismissal of a non-unionist named Berry - a demand to which the employer yielded - judgment was given for the plaintiff, on 21st June, 1905. The Chief Justice, upon that occasion, said that the plaintiff was entitled to recover, because he had been dismissed on account of the boycotting tactics pursued by the union,
– That is a criminal act in Victoria.
– It has nothing whatever to do with the union label.
– Even the AttorneyGeneral, despite his twistings, cannot escape from the judgment of the Chief Justice, who said -
The evidence tended to show that the sole ground for the demand was that the plaintiff was not a member of a Union.
– Hear, hear !
Mr. ROBINSON. Evidently that meets with the Attorney- General ‘s approval. I repeat that we can only judge of the probable effect of this legislation by its results in America. Though an attempt might not be made in Australia to deliberately force a man out of his employment, yet an indirect boycott could be produced by an effort to patronize goods made by union labour only. Unionists could abstain from dealing with those manufacturers who did not employ union labour solely. That form of boycott could, and would be, established here. It is the only method by which the use of the union label could be made general. Not even the Attorney-General will contend that the use of that label affords any guarantee of the quality of the goods. The quality of an article is determined by the material supplied by the employer.
– In some trades it would be a guarantee that the goods, were produced under wholesome and sanitary conditions.
– No. The Factories Act affords that guarantee. The only guarantee afforded by the label is that persons who purchase goods to which it is attached will assist to build up a particular union, and to force out of employment men who may not be unionists. It is purely a coercive measure, and one which is intended for the purposes, of boycott only. That being so, I contend that it should not meet with favorable consideration at the hands of honorable members. I do not intend to discuss the constitutional aspect of” this question. I have read with great care the opinion expressed by Mr. L. F. Cussen, to which I referred yesterday, to the effect that the union label proposals, are ultra vires of the Federal Constitution, and I think that it is a great pity that the Government should be prepared to put our manufacturers to the expense of testing the constitutionality of our legislation upon this question, instead of having the matter threshed out beforehand. The weight of constitutional testimony is against the union label provisions of the Bill, so far as the Federal authority is concerned, but there can be no doubtthat the States Governments have the power to legislate in this regard if they so desire. I donot agree with many of the claims of the manufacturers of Victoria, but if they have any fighting capacity, as I believe they have, they will take early steps to test thevalidity of the provisions of the Bill, and I trust that they will be successful in upsetting them. I hope that every honorable member will debate this question on its merits, and that those who favour the union label clauses will endeavour to show us why we should legalize a means of boycotting manufacturers, producers, and retailers, and also why we should practically reverse the decision at which we arrived in connexion with the preference clause of the Arbitration Act. We know very well that if a change of Government had not taken place, the Treasurer, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and probably the PostmasterGeneral would have been found voting against the provisions referred to, but under present conditions they have to do as they are told.
– I should not have considered it necessary to again address the Committee upon this question but for the anxiety displayed by the Government to stifle all discussion.
– I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– As this may be the last opportunity that will be presented to us to discuss the serious results that may ensue from the passing of the trade union label provisions of the Bill, I wish to explain as fully as possible the evil consequences that have followed the adoption of similar measures in the United States. I can quite understand the anxiety of the Government to prevent this matter from being discussed1, without hindrance, by the application of the gag. They fully realize the disastrous possibilities of their action, and they wish to keep the public in ignorance. The honorable and learned member for Wannon demonstrated that a universal system of boycott had been adopted by the militant trade unions of the United States, and I should like to know for what purpose the proposed legislation is designed unless it is to extend the operation of a similar boycott to Australia. If there are any other reasons I shall be glad to hear them. Honorable members of the Labour Party sit silent and do nothing but pull the strings which ‘operate Mie marionette who is working for them at the table.
-I must ask the honorable member to strictly confine himself to the question before the Chair, which has nothing, whatever to do with the relations which exist between the Government and the Labour Party.
– If I am not in order in referring to the unfortunate position of ‘the Government, I shall proceed to indicate the evil results which will inevitably follow the passing of legislation such as that now before us. I propose to quote from the American Federationist, the official maga zine of the American Federation of Labour. This publication may be relied upon for a true indication of what is happening in industrial circles in the United States. After a reference to the union label as entirely American in its origin and use, we find the following statement: -
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.
The further statement is made -
The reasons for the adoption of the union label are many and varied ; but it came about principally on account of the great influx of immigration, which brought to us a horde of cheap and unskilled labourers, who, by reason of their low standard of life, created a competition which would, of necessity, either have driven the American labourer from the field or compelled him to seek protective measures.
– Surely the honorable member agrees with that.
– Yes; the difficulty which the union label was intended to meet was a real one, and if I had been in America I should have attempted to deal with it ; but I hope in a less dangerous way. The statement continues -
It was not the immigrant who came to us to be one among us, to share our liberties, adopt our customs and laws, and advance and progress with us, but the Chinese coolie, sweat shop and colonized classes, which represented a far too low standard of living for our citizens to adopt, who compelled the union workmen of this Country to take a defensive stand.
I ask honorable members whether any of these conditions exist here at the present time. Can poorly-paid contract immigrants be introduced into this country ? Do we have sweating shops and colonized classes representing too low a standard of living for our citizens to adopt? Have we not our Arbitration Courts, our Wages Boards, and our factory laws?
– No. We have Wages Boards in some of the States, but we have no factory law worthy of the name in South Australia.
– Does the honorable member think that we should interfere with the undoubted constitutional rights of the States to manage their own industrial affairs ?
– There should be uniformity in the industrial Taws of the- Commonwealth.
– That is unfortunately prevented by the Constitution.
– If it were not the honorable member would not alter the conditions.
– The honorable member is stating what is not correct.
– I believe that it is correct. Trie honorable member would not lift his little finger to help one of the workers.
– That is the honorable member’s view. I commend him to follow the example which has been set him by s.o many labour men, and become a labour lawyer, to appear for his union in the Arbitration Court, and so deplete the funds of the unions. In that way he will get fat, and the unions will get thin. The honorable member for Grey says that he desires uniformity of industrial conditions, but, under the Commonwealth, the States preserve the right to deal with their own industrial conditions. He admits that we cannot, under the Constitution, pass factory laws applying to the States, but he proposes to achieve the result which he has in view by means which I can only characterize as surreptitious and dishonest. If honorable members think that the Commonwealth should interfere in the management of the internal concerns of the States, let them approach the subject openly and straightforwardly, and ask the people of Australia to alter the Constitution, so that that may be done. Until the Constitution is altered, we are bound by oath to uphold it. None of the conditions which led to the adoption of the union label in the United States of America exist in the Commonwealth to-day. We have no sweated labour which there are not properly constituted Courts to relieve, and no insanitary conditions which cannot be remedied by our factory laws. The authority from- which I have already quoted says : -
The influx of Chinese labour to the State of California, nearly thirty years ago, compelled the Cigar Makers’ Union of that State in 1874 to create and adopt a union label as a weapon of defence.
Is there any influx of Chinese into Australia at the present time? . A glance at the returns with which we are furnished will show that there is not -
The original label was white, and it signified that the box to which it was attached contained cigars made oy .1 first class workman under proper sanitary conditions, and by a member df an organized union, as opposed to inferior, rat shop, coolie, or filthy tenement house workmanship.
All these matters are dealt with in Australia by arbitration and factory legislation.
– Nevertheless, in Victoria a special brand is placed on Chinese-made furniture.
– Which is dodged in every conceivable way.
– If ‘that brand is dodged, will .not the union label be dodged, too ? The more one thinks of the matter the more one is satisfied that the use of the union label is desired, not in the interests of the workers, but of the organizations under the aegis of which labour members hold their places here.
– A union label is a positive evidence of merit, whereas the brand on Chinese furniture is the reverse.
– Why should not men display the same adroitness in evading these union label provisions as is shown in evading the provisions which require the stamping of Chinese-made furniture?
– Because the man who is permitted to use the union label will be proud of it, and will exhibit it in a prominent place, where every one can see it.
– It is absurd to say that the union label can be openly exhibited on clothing, for instance, though, if it were, the work of the walking delegate would be made much easier.
– There is not a quorum. [Quorum formed. .]
– Continuing my quotations on the subject -
Gradually, from union to union, the label of the cigar makers advanced,, but it was ten long years of experiment and struggle before the utility and force of the label idea commended itself to the unions of other crafts…..
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.
In the United States of America, not only is it insisted that trade union labels shall be used, but sandwich” men warn away customers from shops which have the temerity to expose for sale any non-union goods.
– Where has that been done?
– In San Francisco.
– Only in one instance, and the offender was prosecuted.
– The honorable member for Wentworth has not told the whole story.
– There is in the United States at the present time a militant boycott under the union label arrangements.
– There is a boycott in Aus.tralia against certain leading unionists.
– I do not uphold that sort of thing. I hold that practice in such contempt that I am extremely anxious that we shall not endeavour to commit two wrongs to make a right. By way of interjection, the honorable member for Bland intimated recently that black lists at the present time are being circulated by some labour journals in Australia, so that the system to which the honorable member for Canobolas refers is not confined to the one party. But why should we legalize such a practice? Why encourage it by special legislation ?
– Why have any ‘law at all?
– Is the honorable member aware of amy law that has been passed recently to encourage crime ?
– I know of several: The standing orders which allow the honorable member to waste time are really one.
– I think that we should have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– -I hope that the honorable member for Maranoa will show what excuse can be advanced for the action of the Government in endeavouring to legalize this unfair and hurtful procedure. The honorable and .’earned member for Corio has told us that the union label will be applied in a prominent way to all goods manufactured under union conditions. I do not think that is likely to occur. With the exception’, perhaps, of some of the members of the present Government, no one would think of walking down Bourke-street with a union label printed on the back of his coat or on his waistcoat. Would the Treasurer walk one of our public thoroughfares with such a label plastered on his waistcoat? I should be glad to wear unionmade goods, but what honorable member would care to wear clothes to which a label was affixed in a prominent way? The idea is absurd. I do not think that the union label will be displayed in the way that some honorable members imagine. I believe that it will be just as easy to evade these provisions as, I am informed, it has been to evade the branding laws properly applied to furniture manufactured by Chinese.
– If the union label provisions of the Bill are going to be evaded, why oppose them?
– My desire is that the Parliament shall pass legislation that is honest and straightforward, and designed in the best interests of the people. I shall pr»test against the passing of a surreptitious proposal. I should not haw dealt so fully with this question but for the notice given to-day of the intention of the Government to secure the passing of a standing order which will apply the gag, and render it impossible for us to adequately discuss it. The Prime Minister has but to thank himself for this. Like the Attorney-General, who refused last night to accept our offer to agree to the passing of fifty-seven clauses, with the result that he has ‘gained nothing, the honorable and learned gentleman is determined that we shall not discuss this Bill, and has given notice of another proposal which will offer ample opportunity for debate.
– The honorable member is not in order in discussing that matter.
– At page 366 of the American Federationist, to which I have already referred, it is pointed out that -
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 effort 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.
What antagonism have trade unionists in. Australia to fear ?
– A prominent member of a union may be sacked.
– Under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act an employer Who so misuses any of his employes, i’s penalized. The safeguards mentioned in this article, already exist in Australia.
– If the honorable member had had fo earn his living by manual labour, he would know what trade unionists have to endure.
Mr. KELLY. The honorable member has done so.
– And I wish” to prevent others from being treated as I was.
– We are anxious to assist the honorable member ; but “the Government proposal does not offer a direct means of reaching the goal sought to be obtained. The course proposed is a surreptitious one in traversing which I do not think the honorable member is particularly happy. He must recognise that it offers a roundabout way. of effecting control over the industrial conditions of the States; that, in order to be able to deal properly with these questions, we must secure, first of all, an amendment of the Constitution, which prevents us from legislating in regard to industrial conditions, within the States. It is pointed out in this article that -
The union label has had its misfortunes. ‘ It has been maligned by the suspicious, and counterfeited by the jealous and dishonest.
These are some of the misfortunes of the union label, and I think that a new misfortune awaits it in Australia. It is to be used, in the interests, not of the workers themselves, but of the organizations under the aegis by which certain honorable members hold their seats in this House. Honorable members know that every recruit to an affiliated union means an extra subscription to the Labour Party’s war-chest.
– That is not a fact.
– I wish to be. fair. In speaking of an affiliated union, I had in mind a union affiliated with the Political Labour Council.
– Even then it does not follow that the honorable member’s statement is correct.
– The Miners’ Association at Creswick, by a majority of five to one, decided that it should not subscribe to political funds.
– That is only one association.
– The Miners’ Association is not interested in this proposal.
– Quite so. The honorable member for Wide Bay will admit that at the last Labour Convention held in New South Wales, a motion was carried bv a very large majority that 6d. per annum should be exacted from every member of an affiliated union. That being so, every recruit gained by the affiliated unions there will mean an additional 6d. per annum to the electioneering expenses of the members of the Labour Party representing that State.
– My own view is, that the Convention could not enforce such a proposal.
– Perhaps that is the position, but evidently the Convention did1 not think so.
– The honorable member for Wide Bay knows that it could enforce such a proposition.
– The honorable member knows better than that.
– I do not wish to take the honorable member further than he is prepared to go. But I say that the Labour Convention under which Labour members representing New South Wales hold their seats in this House hope to .secure 6d. per annum from every member of an affiliated union in that State.
– What is the difference between obtaining 6d. per annum from a trades unionist and securing a donation of £1,000 from the ship-owners or the pastoralists ?
– There is a difference in the amount, of course.
– There is a considerable difference in the amount, but I, at any rate, do not know of any organization that gets these large subscriptions. It is a curious fact that these unions, which are always inviting sympathy, are richer than is any other political party in Australia.
– The honorable member must be talking in his sleep.
– I suppose the honorable member is not aware that under its rules the Australian Workers’ Union can exact is. per annum from each of its members - who total number from 20,000 to 22,000 - for political purposes. Upon that basis the members of the organization in question would contribute ,£1,000 every year. A further proposal, if adopted by all affiliated unions, would yield an additional £1,500 per annum, which is equivalent to a very large fighting fund for any political party. I do not know any political party in Australia which possesses funds totalling anything like that amount. Yet this Labour Party, which receives thousands of pounds annually for political purposes, has the temerity to call itself poor. After stating the difficulties with which the union label had to contend in America, the article continues -
But as the storm adds vigour and sturdiness to the tree which survives it, so have these trials added strength and vigor to the union label. That little seed which a few zealous cigar makers planted on the Pacific Slope has grown to be a mighty tree.
It is almost a pity for the sturdiness of the Australian union 1 abell that honorable members should seek to hedge it about with all the safeguards which are conferred by a legislative enactment. In America the thing stood upon its merits and prospered, because there was no reason why it should not do so. Here, where there is no reason why it should prosper, the Government propose to make it prosper by Act of Parliament. In America, 1 need scarcely remind honorable members, labour is very well organized. All over the country there are paid delegates, who furnish their official newspaper with the results of their labours. I propose to read a few extracts from their reports, with a view to showing that the union label is a live thing in the United States, and that it is being used to foster the system of boycott. The organizer in Arkansas writes -
No strikes or locks-out to report. There has been some improvement in working conditions. Good work is being done for the union labels, and all boycotts published by the American F e’de ratio nist are observed.
I am quoting from the American Federation, ist, the official journal of the Federal Labour Unions of the United States. In that journal a black list is published, under the heading, “ We don’t patronize,” and it states -
Union working men and working women and sympathizers with labour have refused to purchase articles produced by the following firms : -
Labour papers please note changes from month to month, and copy.
The names of the boycotted firms appear under different headings. The first of these headings has reference to foods and kindred products. Under it is published a list of the firms dealing in beer, bread, cigars, flour and meal, meats, oysters, tobacco, and whisky, which do not employ union labour exclusively.
– Does the honorable member imagine that that system will come into operation in Australia?
– I am assured by the honorable member for Bland that it is already existent here.
– It would be a criminal offence here.
– But it is obviously impossible to put the penal provisions of the law into operation. The honorable member for Bland has admitted! that in Australia to-day, black lists exist in both industrial camps.
– I do not know of any black list, so far as the workers are concerned.
– The honorable member for Bland has never made the statement attributed to him.
– I should like to ask the honorable member for Bland whether he has not done so, and, as he is absent from the chamber, I call attention to the fact that a quorum is not present, with a view to secure his immediate attendance, and. denial of my statement, if denial is possible. [Quorum formed.] The boycott list extends to firms dealing in different articles of clothing, such as cottons, hats, shirts, shoes, and woollens. Under these respective headings the names of the various firms are grouped. The offence for which their goods are boycotted throughout the United States is that they do not employ unionist 1’abour exclusively.
– Perhaps it is because they believe in sweating.
– Not necessarily.
– The question of “ black lists “ is absolutely outside the scope of the legislation proposed.
– The honorable member must have been asleep during the earlier portion of my address. I propose to quote from the “ black list,” published by the Federation of Labour in America. The local organizers there declare that the boycott system is being effectually carried out.
– Why should it not be?
– Perhaps the honorable member for Darling would see no harm in instituting a universal system of boycott. What better means than the trade union label provisions of the Bill could be employed to render such a boycott effective? The honorable member would then be in his glory. We all know that the honorable member, although so mild in has manner, is one of the most redoubtable agitator’s in the Commonwealth. I do not use that term in any invidious sense.
– I believe in boycotting the sweater, and everything else that is bad.
– The honorable member no doubt believes that “scabs “ are bad.
– Does not the honorable member think so too?
– I am referring to the term of endearment that unionists apply to non-unionists. Honorable members are prepared to admit that they will, as far as possible, institute a boycott throughout Australia against non-unionists.
– Nobody ever said such a thing.
– I understood the honorable member for Darling to say that he would boycott everything that was bad. If the trade union label provisions are adopted he will have ready to his hand such means of accomplishing his object as could not be looked for during a lifetime of agitation. Now, referring once more to the black list-
– Is the list referred to called a “black list”?
– No. It is headed “ We do not patronize.”
– I thought the honorable member believed in individual liberty.
– So I do; and I say that we should not legalize the boycott. The honorable member endeavours to make some capital out of the fact that the list to which I have referred is not called a black list, but I would direct his attention to the fact that the official organizer for Arkansas of the United Labour Federation wrote to the official organ of that body as follows : -
Good work is being done for the union label, and all boycotts published by the American Federationist are observed.
What, then, does it matter to the ordinary fair-minded man whether the list be headed “ We do not patronize “ or “ black list “?
– Mr. Walpole, when recently in Adelaide, advised the employers not to patronize publishers who issued socialistic Literature.
– Does the honorable member think that I hold a brief for Mr. Walpole ? The moment that one objects to one set of extremists, he is accused of belonging to the opposite camp. Persons of ordinary balance of mind, who do not take an extreme view upon one side or the other, surely have a place in the Universe. I think that we have too much extreme opinion in Australia, and I do not stand here as the advocate of the extremists of one party or the other. I am independent. At the last general election I told the Employers’ Federation! that I would no more accept their nomination thani I would accept that of the Labour Party. Coming back to the black list, I find that hotels are included.
– Would it not be a good thing if all hotels were boycotted by the working classes?
– If that is the interpretation which the honorable member places upon the boycott which is directed to certain hotels, why are the labour organs so careful to publish the advertisements of Brother Bung. In the American labour journals, as in those of Australia, liquor advertisements appear from cover to cover.
– The honorable member thinks it a pity that they should secure any advertisements.
– Personally, I think that it is a great pity that the labour journals should especially cater for drink advertisements. The labour movement was originally intended lb elevate the masses, and I hope that that object will be reverted to.
– The honorable member has no authority for his statement that the labour journals cater especially for drink advertisements.
– If the .honorable member will count the drink advertisements in the average labour journal’s, he will find that they are more numerous in proportion than iri any other newspapers in the world.
– The honorable member knows that that is not correct.
– Proof of my statement can be obtained by reference to the labour newspapers in the Library, and I challenge the honorable member to bring one into the Chamber. I find that the list to which I have referred also includes printing-houses, publications, bookbinders, and newspapers’. The boycott of certain newspapers suggests to my mind the question whether the Australian labour journals would, if they had the power, boycott all other newspapers. We know that when the Labour Party ‘hold their conventions the representatives of the great daily newspapers are denied admittance. The proceedings are carried on upon Star Chamber lines, and the delegates deny the right of any newspaper, except their own official organ, to report their discussions. Would they, under a complete system of boycott such as could be introduced under the union label provisions, deny their members the right to buy any daily newspapers of which the unions did ‘ not approve? The honorable member for Newcastle has just handed me a newspaper, and has asked me whether I have ever seen one containing so many drink advertisements. The publication referred to is the Australasian Traveller, the journal of the Commercial Travellers’ Association. It is perfectly natural that hotelkeepers should advertise in such a newspaper, for the reason that they largely depend on commercial travellers for their incomes.
– That is not a labour newspaper.
– No, but it is almost as bad, and1 I wish the honorable member had handed me a labour paper so that I could read its liquor advertisements. I had a copy of the journal issued by the operatives employed in the Australian printing trade. Unfortunately, I cannot lay my hand upon it at the moment, and. I shall not be able to quote from it; but I may mention that the hope was expressed that no half measures would be adopted in regard to the application of the union label provisions. I shall take care that the article is referred to by some other honorable member. The black list from which I have quoted also contains the names of a number of hardware and machinery firms, which have no doubt had the temerity to give nonunionists an opportunity to earn a living. The American F Federationist contains a long list of firms dealing with hardware and machinery, wood, leather, and rubber, watches and jewellery, and miscellaneous goods, which have been boycotted by the aid of the union label. We do not know what offences they had committed, but they might have done anything, from employing one non-unionist amongst 10,000 hands, to sweating their employes. Then there is what is called a “ fair notice,” the general clearance which an employer gets after he has been whipped by the boycott. Here is one dated Washington, D.C., 2’5th June, 1902 -
To all affiliated unions :
A satisfactory settlement of the differences existing between 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 patronise” and placed upon our Fair List. Secretaries are requested to read this notice at union meetings, and labour and reform press please copy.
The only fault committed by that firm was in daring to give non-unionists an opportunity to earn an honest livelihood. Here is another such notice, of the same date -
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.
In one case, a firm had dared to employ, perhaps, one non-unionist amongst the hundreds of persons in its employment, and was consequently boycotted throughout the length and breadth of the States. In the other case, a newspaper which had, perhaps, kept some poor devil from starvation by giving him employment in defiance of the unions, was declared “unfair,” and was to be starved into submission, to be declared “ fair “ only when it had sacrificed the employe who bad trusted to it, and had thrown him, out on the world to starve.
– Those are imaginary statements, which are not supported by the facts.
– It is obvious from the statements I have read that the only crime in one case was the employment of a certain number of non-unionists, though how many is not stated. It was only when those men were driven out of employment or into unionism that the employer was declared “fair.” The unionists play on the selfishness of the employers, and compel them to sacrifice the undoubted rights of the employes. I cannot congratulate them on their methods. In addition to the boycott list, there is a “fair list” in this newspaper, with which I do not propose to deal. I have here another official labour newspaper, the Coast Seamen’s Journal - the organ of the International Seamen’s Union of America. This copy is dated 5th April, 1905. It is “A journal of seamen bv seamen for seamen.”. Its aim is “The brotherhood of the sea,” while its motto is “ Justice by organization.” It has a black-list, headed, “ We don’t patronize “ - a thoroughly understood heading, which appears above every black-list published iti the American labour papers. It means that no unionist is permitted to buy goods which are supplied by the firms named. In this newspaper the black-list fills up an entire column, and deals with every class of business, supplying every known article of human consumption or wear. On the other side of the page isi a list of what are described as “fair” offices. Throughout the paper are references to the union label, and advertisers recommend nothing that does not bear that label. Buyer9 are warned to insist on getting goods marked with the label, and to take no others. It is clear from the information which I have placed before the Committee that organized boycotting is taking place in the United States, and that the main instrument of the boycott is the union label. If we pass these proposals the same system will inevitably be adopted here, and I ask honorable members to consider what that will mean to the Common- wealth. The average country storekeeper, who makes his purchases from the great business houses of the cities, does; not know, and hardly cares, whether the goods which he. stocks are made by union or non-union labour. He buys them because he thinks that they will sell well, and he tries to give the best value he can, consistent with fair profit. What would such a man do if a strong league were formed in his neighbourhood, and it were decided that only goods branded with the union label should be purchased by unionists, their wives, and children? Eventually, the storekeepers would find that if they had two articles for sale, into the composition of one of which there entered 100 per cent, of union labour, and into the composition of the other only 99 J per cent., the latter would be refused by all unionists. As the boycott spread, the political bosses would decree that no unionist must buy of any storekeeper whose store contained any article not made wholly by union labour. In Australia we use a large quantity of imported goods, and not even so energetic a prohibitionist as the AttorneyGenera!) would assert that all the requirements of Australia could be made locally. But under the boycott they would have to be made locally, not by our manhood and womanhood, but by that small section which belongs to unions. The union label could not be applied to goods which are not made in Australia. Thus prejudice would be created against those goods, and they would be shut out from this market. It means that we shall have, within a brief period, to endeavour to make in Australia all the goods that we now import, and import because it pays us to do so. I am not dealing with this phase of the question from the fiscal stand-point. All parties must recognise that if we are suddenly to completely stop our import trade, the cost to the consumer must be enormously increased. In many cases, it would be equivalent to an import duty of from 80 per cent, to 90 per cent. As far as clothing is concerned, fit would be tantamount to the imposition of an additional tax of from 10 per cent, to 15 per cent, om the people of Australia. The passing of the union label provisions of the Bill must inevitably have the effect of immensely’ increasing to’ the consumer the cost of food and clothing, and that being so, I think it is extraordinary that the Attorney-General cannot see his way to at once withdraw them. The mat ter is one which should be very seriously considered before it is persisted in, and the Attorney-General might well allow it to remain in abeyance until next session. I wish to ask the honorable and learned gentleman whether it would be legal to embody the trade union label provisions of the Bill in a separate measure?
– They would be just as legal in a separate Bill as they would be in a Trade Marks Bill.
– Woul’d it be possible for the honorable and learned gentleman to introduce a Bill similar to that introduced in the Canadian Legislature, which set forth clearly the intention of providing for a union label?
– I have not a copy of the Canadian Bill.
– Notwithstanding that the honorable and learned gentleman professes that he has nothing to learn in regard to this measure, he admits that he has not searched for precedents - he has not even endeavoured to find out what happened in the case of the Canadian Bill.
– I have not seen that Bill. A Bill which is not passed into law cannot be regarded as ‘a precedent.
– It was only because of the intelligence of the Canadian House of Commons that it was not passed.
– I thank that the Bill was passed by the House of Commons, but rejected by the Upper House.
– I feel that I should be in a better position if, at the next election campaign, I could assure/ my constituents that the Attorney-General utilized the vast forces at his command to obtain a copy of that Bill1.
– Why should I do so?
– I think it is the duty of the honorable and learned gentleman to seriously consider that which has a cognate bearing on any proposal which he introduces. This is the Attorney-General’s own Bill.
– It is not.
-The honorable and learned gentleman allows no one to meddle’ with it. He insists upon every honorable member giving way to his right to coerce the proceedings of the Committee.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member must discuss the question before the Chair.
– I am pointing out that, had the Attorney-General looked up the important precedent to which I refer, he might have been induced to postpone the consideration of Part VII. of the Bill to another session. Union label provisions were introduced in a .Canadian Trade Marks Bill, and were declared to be unconstitutional, amidst such harmless surroundings.
– Where, and when?
– My natural diffidence prevents me from acting as the mentor of an honorable and learned gentleman, who should have looked up these facts for himself before introducing the Bill. Does the honorable and learned gentleman deny that the inclusion of union label provisions in a Trade Marks Bill introduced into the Canadian Legislature, was held to be unconstitutional ?
– I have not heard of it.
– If the honorable member were prepared to deny everything of which he had not heard, he would be ready to deny three-fourths of the proceedings of this House. I merely wish to know whether it would be competent for him to introduce a Bill dealing separately with the question of the union label? I was assured by a gentleman who interviewed him on a previous occasion that his recollection was that the honorable and learned gentleman informed him that it would not be possible for him to do so.
– Who said so?
– I was informed privately of this, but at once replied that I did not think the honorable and learned gentleman could have made such a statement. I am glad to hear that the Attorney-General has this power.
– What I say is that the onlypower which we have to deal with the question - if we have it at all - is that conferred upon us by the constitutional provision in regard to trade marks, and that it would be just as legal to deal with a trade union mark in a separate Bill as it would be to deal with it in a Bill relating to trade marks generally.
– Then the AttorneyGeneral could introduce a separate Bill dealing with the trade union label?
– It could be done, but when we are dealing with a Trade Marks Bill we may also deal with that question. We could introduce a Tariff, and have a separate Bill for every item.
– We have dealt with the questions of the sugar bounty and the sugar excise in separate Bills.
– The honorable member must understand that it would be illegal to deal with the two matters in the one Bill.
– I hold that it is wrong to include union label provisions in a Bill relating to trade marks. If the Minister were to separate the two proposals, we should be able to address ourselves shortly and sharply to the questions at issue ; we should have a chance to differentiate between that which we desire to fight and that which we do not wish to oppose. The delay that has taken place in the consideration of this measure has been due as much to the fact that it deals with two different questions as to the want of tact displayed bv the Attorney-General. Another point to which I desire to refer is that, on glancing at the amendments which have been circulated, one cannot help being struck by the fact that some of them are similar to amendments circulated in connexion with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. That necessarily brings the controversial characteristics of the two propositions into something like harmony. In my opinion, there is a similarity between the two measures. It is because certain provisions were inserted in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act that the proposals in reference to the union label have been submitted to this House. As honorable members are aware, ‘certain safeguards were included in that measure with the object of preventing members of trades unions, whose funds were devoted to political purposes, from enjoying a preference over non. unionists. It was only after those provisions had been carried that these union label proposals were first heard of. The Trade Marks Bill was introduced by the Watson Government. Its members did not think it necessary to include in that Bill ‘ any proposals in reference to the use of union labels. But as soon as it became clear that the political organizations of the Labour Party would not benefit one iota from the passing of the Arbitration Act, owing to the insertion of the safeguards just referred to, one of its members proposed that the ‘ union label principle should be embodied in this Bill. Tt was inserted in the measure only a day before the Watson Government resigned from office. To me, it is quite evident that the insertion of certain political safeguards in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill is very closely connected with the sudden appearance of the union label provisions. That is a point which I hope will “be made abundantly clear before this discussion is concluded. I can quite understand the Government suggesting the use of the “ gag “ to prevent us from discussing such a miserable conspiracy.
– It is a pity that they do not “ gag “ the honorable member.
– A similar spirit to that exhibited by the honorable member for Capricornia was displayed by members of the Labour Party when the proposal to extend a preference to unionists was under consideration. I hope that on the present occasion the same determination will be exhibited by the Opposition to make the meaning of this legislation perfectly clear. Hitherto, it has been the practice of Government’s to allow their supporters absolute freedom to re-affirm the votes which they have previously recorded upon any question.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is not now discussing the question.
– I am pointing out the necessity which exists for extending to supporters of the Government the same freedom of action that has been extended to the supporters of previous Administrations. The Government consists of gentlemen who entertain different views upon this question. For instance, there is the Attorney-General, who is always in his element in preparing political bridges for his friends. Although he has built a bridge to office, I do not envy him his position. At the present time, there are three members of the Government in the Chamber who voted in favour of the Labour Party’s conspiracy upon the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– I rise to a point of order. I ask that the honorable member should withdraw the word “ conspiracy.” He has had an enormous amount of latitude extended to him, and I think that the use of such a word is a cruel insult to a great body of men.
– If it be a cruel insult to “a great body of men,” including the AttorneyGeneral, I withdraw the expression. There are three members of , the Government who, when the Conciliation and Arbitration
Bill was under consideration, constructed a political bridge, namely, the AttorneyGeneral, the Minister of Trade and Customs, and the Minister of Home Affairs.
– I would point out to the honorable member that his remarks have no relevance whatever to the motion before the Chair.
– I was merely pointing out that every Government has extended to its supporters absolute liberty of action in regard to any question upon which they have previously registered an opinion.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN The honorable member must see that he is now discussing whether certain proposals which are embodied in this Bill ought to be treated by the Government as an open question. That matter is in no way connected with the amendment before the Chair. I must ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to that amendment.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, but I was not aware that my remarks were irregular.
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– In these union label proposals a principle is involved which, in my opinion, constitutes an additional reason why “the Government should abandon them. The Bill contains a clause which sets out that a registrable trade mark shall not contain certain things. The use of the word “ Royal,” or of the Royal Arms is prohibited.
– On a point of order, I would ask you, sir, in the interests of public business, to restrain the honorable member from referring to matters that are not relevant to the subject under discussion. The question is whether the words “ trade union “ shall be included! in clause 3. We have not reached any other clause, much less any amendment, and the honorable member is entirely out of order. His action is resulting in a sheer waste of public time.
– I should like your ruling, sir, as to whether the Attorney-General is in order in accusing me of wasting the public time.
– On the point of order, it appears to me that the honorable member for Wentworth is perfectly in order in discussing the question whether other clauses of the Bill relating to trade marks also apply to union labels. It seems to me that his remarks are quite relevant.
– The discussion must be confined to the motion now before the Chair, namely, whether the words “ trade union “ shall, or shall not, be omitted. No discussion beyond these limits can be permitted.
– Perhaps I was not discreet in mentioning any particular clause. I should have referred to the principle embodied in one part of the Bill, and not in the other. The matter to which I have referred is well worthy of the attention of the Attorney-General, who would do well if he gave his consideration to it, instead of lecturing honorable members. In conclusion, I desire to point out that the people of Australia are looking forward anxiously to the decision of the Committee. Protests against the union label provisions have been received from persons engaged in all branches of trade in all parts of the Commonwealth. There has been no call for such legislation. Upon the one hand we have had emphatic protests against the proposal, and upon the other hand absolute silence. No honorable member can say that he was sent here to support the union label provisions. Even the Labour Party have never included in its platform any such proposals. The Attorney-General has received no mandate from his constituents in favour of the legislation now proposed. This is one of the most controversial measures that has yet been presented to Parliament, and I can only once more express the hope that the Government will refrain from any attempt to gag the Committee or to prevent honorable members from expressing, in the most complete way. the reasons for their objections to provisions which should never have been included in this Bill.
– No one knows, better than the AttorneyGeneral that there is the widest difference between a Trade Marks Bill pure and simple and a measure embracing provisions relating to trade union labels. The honorable and learned gentleman has a keen intellect, but I cannot credit him with the possession of high principle.
– I do not ask the honorable member to give me credit for anything.
– I can assure thc Minister that I would not give him a very high character.
– I should be very sorry if the honorable member did.
– It is- not worthy of the Attorney-General - or it is worthy of him, according to the way in which his conduct is viewed - to attempt to deceive the public as to the true nature of the provisions made for’ the use of trade union labels. He knows full Swell that the articles to which trade union labels are to be affixed will not be the property of the unions, whereas those who register trade marks must have a proprietary interest in the goods to which they are to be attached. It has been urged that we are refusing to extend to unionists the same rights that we would! grant to corporations or individual traders ; but we are not doing anything of the kind. If union workmen care to work upon co-operative lines and manufacture goods for themselves, they will be entitled, to register any trade mark that will comply with the conditions of the Bill. The union label provisions of Part VI L are altogether foreign to a Trade Marks Bill. This measure which, without the trade union label clauses, might be of great use to the community, is being employed merely as a means for giving effect to those provisions. I join issue with those who say that the application of a union label’ to goods is a guarantee of their quality. It is no guarantee, and the labels are not intended to be used1 to insure good quality. Honorable members who belong to unions, or who believe strongly in unionism, contend that the statement that an article has been made by unionists is equivalent to the statement that it has been made by good workmen. But outside of unions, there are workmen as good as any unionists, and I am not sure that, man for man, the workmen outside unions will not be found better than the unionists.
– The honorable member must confine his remarks to the amendment, and not discuss the merits or demerits of unionism.
– How can I discuss the amendment, if I am to be precluded from dealing with the object of providing in the Bill for trade union labels? I say that such labels will not guarantee the quality of the goods to which they are attached. If that remark is not in order, I should like to know how I can discuss the amendment? There are good men outside unions, and often men who are not unionists are better than those who are. If we are going to adopt the trade union label principle, we should provide for it by a separate Bill. It has been suggested that the unions occupy the place which, was formerly occupied by the trade guilds; but in olden days, before a man could become a member of a guild, he had to prove himself a good workman, and hence the fact that work had been done by a member of a guild, was a guarantee of its excellence. The object of the trade union label, however, is, not to guarantee the quality of the goods to which it is attached, but to provide a means of forcing men into unions against their will. Whilst this may be necessary in America, though I doubt if it is, it is unnecessary in Australia. In New South Wales and Western Australia we have Arbitration Courts, and in Victoria, Wages Boards, to provide fair conditions of labour and just rates of wages, with the Commonwealth Arbitration Court as an additional safeguard. Therefore, the union label1 is altogether unnecessary. The real object of the label is to provide a means of establishing a boycott which will force non-unionists into unions, which I look upon as un-British. It is extraordinary that, whilst in Russia the working classes are striving to escape from bureaucratic tyranny, in Australia, the Labour Party, and those whom they are supporting, aare seeking to deprive the workers of their freedom, and to compel them to do what they do not wish to do. I shall resist such attempts with all the strength I possess. When the Arbitration Bill was before us, “honorable members on this side inserted in it provisions to protect non-unionists from injury by it. No legislation should be passed by this Parliament injuring any section of the community, and, certainly, the majority should not be made to suffer for the good of the minority. We, who object to the trade union labels, are charged with desiring to see goods sold under fraudulent descriptions ; but that is not our desire. We hold that goods should be placed on the market under true descriptions, and there can be no better guarantee of the quality of an article than the name of the maker on its label, because if its quality is not good, he will be the first to suffer. But certain men, belonging to unions, are doing all they can to increase the membership of these bodies, perhaps in the interests of the workers at large, though, I think, chiefly in their own interests, in order to gain larger support. If a man refuses to become a member of a union why should he, or the goods which he produces, be boycotted? Why should the public be prevented in this way from purchasing his goods? On what ground should we be justified in passing legislation that would make it difficult for men to secure employment? I feel strongly upon this question, and will do my best to prevent the passing of such legislation. But for the union label provisions this measure would have been passed before now. Sheafs of amendments have, been circulated by the Attorney-General, and these serve to indicate that he is not satisfied in his own mind as to the possible effect of the union label proposal. The statements made in Committee this afternoon, in regard to the effect of the union label in the United States, have been challenged. It is easy for one to challenge a statement with which he does not agree, but we know that by means of the union label great injury has been done to many people in the United States. After a perusal of the Journal of the Federation of Labour - the largest labour federation, I believe, in the world - one is forced to the conclusion that the boycott effected by means of the union label in the United States is very severe. We read of men having been ruined because of their refusal to employ unionists, or to place a union label upon their goods. The improvements which have been made during the last fifty years in the conditions of labour halve been secured, not by the passing of restrictive measures, but by the development of freedom in every direction.
– The working men have had to fight all along the line for- the freedom they enjoy.
-The fight has hitherto been along the lines of freedom, but to-day the honorable member is fighting for restriction.
– Every reform advocated by the worker has been denounced as a restriction of Freedom.
– I have made no such accusation ; but the honorable member must recognise that the union label movement is a restrictive one.
– That is not correct.
– It is true that men will not be compelled by law to place union labels on their goods, but the unions themselves will force them to do so.
– That has not been done.
– That is the history of the movement in America.
– The honorable member is in error.
– What is the use of passing a Jaw with regard to the union label unless the use of that label can be made compulsory ? The Labour Party do not intend that these provisions, if passed, shall remain a dead letter. They will counsel the unionists to take advantage of them to increase the membership of their organizations. I oppose restrictive proposals of this kind just as I should oppose a proposal to compel a man to place a non-union label on his goods.
– We should not object to that.
– One honorable member said that the Opposition were endeavouring to take from the workers that which we were prepared to give to others.
– That is a fact.
– I beg the ‘honorable member’s pardon. Any man may register a trade mark in respect of the goods .that he produces, but what right should a man have to place a trade mark upon goods that he does not produce? We should not enable one section of the community to boycott another. When a storekeeper offers, for sale goods not bearing a union label, the order goes forth that unionists shall not purchase them; that they are to deal only at those stores where goods bearing the union label can be obtained.’
– Rot !
– The honorable member knows that that will be the effect of the passing of the union label provisions of this Bill. Orders will be given to unionists not to purchase goods that do not bear the union label.
– How many unionists are there in the honorable member’s electorate?
– There are some unions connected with the mining industry in my electorate.
– If there were a number of unionists in the honorable member’s, electorate, he would be very anxious to see the union labour clauses passed.
– I should not. The interjection of the honorable member shows that if there were only a few unionists in the electorates represented by the members of the Labour Party, they would not desire these clauses to be passed. Their anxiety in regard to these provisions is due to the fact that there is a large number of unionists among their constituents.
That is why they are prepared to accept proposals which they themselves believe to be wrong. I have had’ the courage to tell the unionists what I believe is best for them ; I have not advised them that such proposals as these will be of any service to them. I have said, and still say, that we find in the unions men who are as good as are those outside their ranks; but I will not admit that unionists are better than non-unionists. I object to coercive measures. I wish to give every man the fullest liberty. Let every man have the right to put a trade mark upon his own goods, but do not let us pass a law which, by means of outside pressure, will force men to place labels on their goods which they do not desire to use. We believe that it would be wrong to compel men by law to use such labels, and yet it is proposed to place in- the hands of one section of the community an instrument that will enable them to force manufacturers anti others to follow a course which they would not otherwise pursue. I am against trade union labels in even’ shape and form.
– In view of what has gone before, I do not feel that I should unduly prolong my remarks, but I should like to make a few observations at this stage regarding the proposals now before the Committee. My first observation is that it is strange to find that the Labour Party now consider this question one of urgency. One looks in vain for any mention of union label proposals in their political programme. They certainly find no place in their State or Federal platforms. When those programmes were framed, the question was either one of which they had not the slightest knowledge, or for which they bad the most supreme contempt. They did not take the trouble to place it on their programme or to discuss it at any of their conferences.
– It was discussed at the Inter-State Conference held in Sydney four years ago.
– And placed on the programme? ‘
– A resolution was carried in favour of it.
– The honorable member’s interjection shows most conclusively how little the Labour Party thought of this proposal four years ago. They deliberately discussed it at their con- ference, but did not consider it of sufficient importance to warrant its being placed in any of their programmes.
– The honorable member must know that every resolution carried is not embodied in the programme of the. Labour Party.
– I am quite aware of that. Only those which are considered to be of a more urgent and important character are incorporated in that programme. At that time, therefore, the party regarded the proposed union label. as one of the flotsam and jetsam- of their political doings. They did not consider it entitled to a place in their programme of legislative action. It is well known that the party divide their programme into two parts. They have what is known as their fighting platform, and their general platform, but in neither of these did the union label find a place. I am glad to see you, sir, again in the chair. During the past twenty-four hours we have scarcely known who has been our Chairman. The occupants of that office have glided in and out of the chair, after giving the most diverse and contradictory rulings, and we have seen their faces no more. I am glad indeed to get back to our old authority and our old Chairman. Coming to a later period, we all remember that some time ago a Commonwealth Labour Government came into power. During the tenure of their office, did anybody hear of a proposal such as this? Did anybody hear any mention of trade union labels?
– The provision in regard to that matter was inserted in the Bill in the Senate.
– Was Senator Pearce a member of the Government? I am speaking of the Watson Administration, and I say that they did not include in their programme any proposal in reference to the use of the union label. They took no action to give legislative effect to it. Evidently at that time they regarded other matters as of greater importance. This question has now become suddenly urgent. Why ? Certainly it is not because of any popular demand for it. No petitions have been presented to the House claiming that the use of the union label should be sanctioned either as a right or as a privilege. Consequently, we have to look underneath these proposals to ascertain their true inwardness, and to realize why they have so suddenly become urgent. They were not included in the programme of trie Labour Government some months ago; neither did they find a place in the programme of the Deakin Government. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat had no time for this subject at the last general election, when he announced so confidently, and with so much brilliancy, his urgent measures of practical reform, including his preferential trade * proposals, most of which have suddenly been relegated1 to the parliamentary dust-heap. Immediately he came into office, and was afforded an opportunity to give legislative effect to his pre-sessional programme, he found every excuse for relegating the measures he had outlined to the lumber room where Ministers heap up their musty tomes. But at the elections preferential trade was his great rallying-cry, and it altogether precluded the possibility of considering such matters as trade union labels. One looks in vain for the slightest pretence of authority or of justification for these proposals, particularly when an urgent and practical programme is awaiting attention at tha hands of this House. The honorable member for Bland has reiterated a remark which I venture to say is as specious an observation as has ever been made by him or by any other honorable member. He claims that the innocent function of these proposals is to prevent fraud, and he characterizes as pirates and the friends of fraud all and sundry who oppose this ‘ Bill.
– That is not what he said.
– The AttorneyGeneral knows nothing about the matter.
– I heard what he said.
– The honorable and learned gentleman could not have heard what he said. I am referring not merely to the remarks made by the honorable member for Bland in this House, but to numberless utterances of his outside - to criticisms of myself, for example. He declares that the object of these provisions is to prevent fraud - to prevent the pirating of something which presumably belongs to the trade unions. Before there can be any piracy, I maintain that there must be some kind of ownership. Does the honorable member surest that the same kind of ownership attaches to a trade union label as exists in connexion with a trade mark?
– -Why not?
– To my mind, the distinction is very clear. Provision is made in the Copyright Bill that when an artist has painted a picture and is paid for his work, his ownership in that picture absolutely ceases. The work becomes the property of the individual who has purchased it. Clearly that is what happens in respect of the employment of union labour. When that labour has been paid for, it becomes absolutely the property of the employer. The employe has no longer any interest in the goods which he has produced. How, then, can it be urged that there is any fraud or piracy in respect of goods which a man does not own ? I refer to this matter merely to brush aside the cobweb which the honorable member for Bland is seeking to wrap around these proposals. May I suggest to him that he and his party occupy a very peculiar position in regard to this Bill ? A number of new clauses have been brought down by the AttorneyGeneral, and we have the assurance of the honorable member for Bland that he has had nothing whatever to do with them. Is it accidental that they are so favorable to the honorable member and the whole of his party that they can be given an unqualified and silent support?
– Wait till the clauses are under discussion, and the honorable member will then see whether we are giving them a silent support.
– Does the honorable member suggest that we can discuss this matter as freely upon a single clause as can be done in the course of a general debate? The Attorney-General has submitted thirty-three new clauses, and about sixty-two sub-clauses. He has tacked them on to another Bill, to the purposes of which thev are absolutely foreign.
– I must ask the honorable member not to discuss amendments which are not before the Committee.
– They are before the Committee.
– I can assure the honorable memberthat theyare not.
– An understanding was arrived at that there was to be a general debate-
– Not upon this clause.
– Yes. It was for that very reason the Attorney-General agreed to postpone the consideration of this clause.
– Asa matter of personal explanation, I wish to say that this afternoon I distinctly stated that I desired to postpone this portion of the Bill, so that when the other clauses were reached we might have a general debate upon them. When the honorable and learned member for Wannon was speaking, I pointed out that it would.be very inconvenient to discuss this question upon my amendment for the excision of two words, and that I should not attempt to debate it until we reached Part VII. of the Bill.
– By way of personal explanation, I wish also to sav it is quite true that the Attorney-General intimated his desire that honorable members should discuss this question upon Part VII. of the Bill. But he omitted to inform the Committee of the reason why I refused to follow that course, namely, that if the new standing order framed by the Government were boought into operation before we reached Part VII. of the Bill, honorable members upon this side of the House would ha.ve no opportunity of discussing the union label provisions. The standing order in question is intended to suppress debate.
– I think that the honorableand learned member is exceeding the limits of a personal explanation.
– I informed the AttorneyGeneral that if he would give an undertaking that the standing order to which I have referred would not be enforced until we had dealt with Part VII. of the Bill, I would agree to the general debate taking place upon that portion of the measure.
– I would point out to the Committee that understandings of the character indicated cannot possibly be regarded by the occupant of the chair.
– But they are so regarded.
– I understand that the Attorney-General has given notice of certain amendments and new clauses, and’ it would be utterly irregular, for me to allow those matters to be discussed before they were properly before the Committee.
– I am bound to say that the Attorney-General has stated something to-night entirely different from what he said last evening on the same matter.
– Last night I made a proposal which was not accepted, and therefore I am entirely free.
– The AttorneyGeneral is guilty of the most contemptible quibble ; there is no other name for it.
– I would ask the honorable member not to use expressions of that kind; they can only provoke disorder.
– I regret to halve to speak sostrongly but I must say that the action of the Attorney-General in bluffing, and twisting and contorting everything he touches is enough to provoke stronger language still. It was distinctly understood last night that we were to discuss the union label proposals generally, when clause 3 was under consideration. The AttorneyGeneral himself distinctly stated across the table that he desired to postpone the clause, so that we might have a general debate upon it..
– I venture to say that Hansard will prove that I am right, and the honorable member is wrong.
– It may be that the Attorney-General has revised the report of his statement, in which case I should be prepared to find that his statement was borne out.
– I have not altered even one letter of the report. I suppose this is the best the honorable member can do. He is a defeated man. He has been completely bowled out, and is savage in consequence.
– Will the honorable member for Parramatta proceed to discuss the clause?
– Will you, sir, kindly keep this small pettifogging Napoleon quiet?
– I rise to a point of order. The term “pettifogging.” is not a good one to employ with regard to any person, and when applied to a lawyer is highly disorderly. It bears a very bad construction indeed, and I hope that the honorable member for Parramatta will withdraw it.
– I am sure that the honorable member for Parramatta will withdraw his remark.
– I am bound to say that my remark was a severe reflection upon Napoleon, and, upon reconsideration, Idesire to withdraw it.
– It could not be a severe reflection on any one.
– We are told by the Attorney-General that we have been defeated in regard to a proposal which we are not supposed to discuss until to-morrow. No one knows better than the AttorneyGeneral that it is out of order to anticipate debate. I look forward to the discussion tomorrow without the slightest apprehension. The Attorney-General claims that he has already turned our flank. We shall see tomorrow whether the liberal professions for so many years past on the part of the AttorneyGeneral and the liberal protestations on the part of the honorable member for Bland-
– The honorable member is again departing from the question before the Chair.
– I shall urge, before I sit down, that the proposed amendment in this clause should not be agreed to, for the simple reason that the proposals to which it relates ought not to receive the sanction of the Committee. I wish to take a cursory glance at some of the amendments brought before us by the Attorney-General, as to which it was arranged last night that there should be a general debate at this stage. My position with regard to the union label provisions is simply this: I haveallmy life had a deep sympathy with trades organizatons. I would not willingly do anything that I thought would be detrimental to them. I would notweaken their natural and legitimate force, prestige, or, influence one iota. But the more I study these proposals, the more I am convinced that they would aim a blow at the genuine trade unionism of Australia, and therefore I oppose them.
– And yet the Employers’ Federation is opposing the Bill.
– I know nothing about the Employers’ Federation. I should think the Employers’ Federation, as well as theEmployesFederation, might very well oppose proposals of this kind, seeing that they can produceno good to either of them, but will inevitably create external friction in the ranks of both parties. They must create strife. They are intended to be used forthe purpose of coercing men into joining the labour organization. I do not think any honorable member can dispute that. The union; labels will be used for the purpose of increasing the membership of the unions. The moment such political means are employed to bolster up the unions, a blow will be struck ‘ at the rationale of trade unionism, as we have understood it for years past. Honorable members who profess to know exactly how theunion label provisions will operate will not help us with even so much as a sentence.
– Give us a chance.
– I would sit down instantly if the honorable member
– I shall have something to say before they are disposed of.
– This is the point at which the honorable member should give us the benefit of his wise counsels. He has always been a good, loyal trade unionist, and I shall be very glad to hear how he expects the union label provisions to operate in favour of unionism. I admit frankly that the trade organizations are for the most part in favour of the provisions for trade union labels, but I back my judgment against theirs. I may be wrong, but until it can be shown that I am wrong I prefer to exercise my own discretion. As far as I can see, these provisions can result only in the development of class hatred, of which we have already had enough in Australia. Strangely, enough, the keenest class hatred has ‘been developed in -those countries where union labels have been used. If any one desires to see this feeling developed to perfection, he Vill find it in the United States, and, in proportion as union labels are used for coercive purposes by trade organizations, so bitterness and class hatred will be engendered. I think that that is an incontestable fact, and. I challenge proof to the contrary. Good feeling cannot exist between employers and employes so long as tyranny is exercised by either side. I have fought many battles against capitalistic tyranny, but I have not the slightest intension to escape from that tyranny by setting up another kind of class tyranny.
– The honorable member is working very hard for the capitalist.
– The honorable member talks at random. He has suddenly made a bolt round, and has become a convert to political unionism. He has had to fight political unionism before today.
– I have been a trade unionist for twenty-five years.
– I am not talking about trade unionism, but of political trade unionism, which is a very different thing. As I look abroad over the industrial arena, I see no hope of betterment for unionists so long as political unionism holds sway. Whatever advantages they are enjoying to-day have been gained by their
Upon the registration of a union trade mark the union by which it is registered shall be deemed to be the proprietor thereof, and shall be entitled to prevent the unauthorized application of the mark.
While proposed new clause 76 provides, that -
The application of a union trade mark to goods shall be deemed to be unauthorized, unless it is by the employer -
Not by the employes - the owners - for whom the goods are made or manufactured, or by a member of the union by direction of the employer, applied.
There is another matter which I think worth considering. It is intended to confer ownership upon those who register a union trade mark. But there can be no ownership in the results of labour which has been paid for, which pass out of the control and possession of the labourer into the control and possession of the employer. Therefore there can be no fraud, such as has been alluded to by the honorable member for Bland. These trade union marks are so radically different from trade marks that the provisions dealing with them ought not to find a place in the Bill. The Attorney-General also provides for the registration of two Government brands, which, I think, can be termed trade union labels only by a stretch of the imagination. These are a brand which the Government may put on the goods of a corporation which they have examined, tested, and standardized, and a Commonwealth brand which is to indicate that the goods, to which it is applied have been manufactured in accordance with the social conditions of the Commonwealth as a whole.
– The honorable member may not discuss those proposals now.
– I am arguing that these proposals ought not to find a place in this Bill. I am referring to the schedule of amendments which the AttorneyGeneral has circulated, and in respect of which he seeks to amend this clause.
– The AttorneyGeneral has moved the omission of certain words with a view to the insertion of others, and I take it that the honorable member for Parramatta will recognise that we cannot, at this stage, discuss any further course which the Attorney-General may intend to pursue. If those words be omitted, it will be competent for the honorable and learned gentleman not to move to fill up the blank. I have allowed the honorable member to refer in general terms to certain amendments which nave been circulated, butI must ask him hot at this stage to debate them in detail.
– May I point out, sir, that it is practically impossible to refrain from referring to the provisions of the Bill, as a justification for my opposition to the amendment now before us ? Part VII., to which it relates, deals with the union label, and the amendment now before the Chair has been moved so that that division may correctly describe the clauses coming within it. I am pointing out that the proposed new clauses contain something totally foreign to, the Bill, and that they should not find a place in it.
– It has been laid down over and over again that, on a motion for the omission of certain words, the Committee is not justified in discussing in detail a projected amendment to fill the blank proposed to be created. The question to Be debated is whether or not certain words shall be omitted. As the amendment deals with the heading to Part VII. of the Bill, I have allowed a reference to be made to the whole of the clauses coming within that division ; but I do not think it is competent for the honorable member to go beyond the Bill, and discuss certain amendments which have been circulated.
– I merely wish to refer to the amendments which have been circulated in order to give point to my argument that that now before the Chair should not be made. The AttorneyGeneral’s proposals are entirely new. They provide for at least two Government brands and three trade union labels. Then there is to be a Commonwealth trade mark. The provision in regard to the latter gives a very important indication of something which should be fatal to the union label proposals. Sub-clause 2 of proposed new clause 78? provides that before the Commonwealth trade mark can be applied to goods, a resolution shall be passed by both Houses -
That the conditions as to the remuneration of labour are fair and reasonable in respect of goods which are manufactured in any part of the Commonwealth under conditions as to the remuneration of labour prescribed, required, or provided in relation to the goods by an industrial law or order, or an industrial agreement, under an industrial law.
I venture to say that that clause shows the absolute non-necessity for a trade union label in Australia. A trade union label cannot be affixed to goods until there has been placed upon them a Government brand as to wages, conditions, and everything else that indicates the social status of the work, in accordance with the decision of the industrial Courts of the country. Whatever excuse there may be for trade , union labels in the United States, there clearly can be none in Australia, since we are already doing this work, and doing it in an infinitely better way, by means of the various industrial Courts that have been set up. In Victoria there are Wages Boards; in New South Wales and in Western Australia, compulsory arbitration prevails; whilst in South Australia a Conciliation Court has been set up, although I believe that, for some reason or other, it has never been availed of. We have thus a. chain of industrial Courts extending over Australia, and the Commonwealth trade mark cannot be affixed to goods unless those tribunals have previously declared what the social status of the work associated with them is to be. Why do we need to duplicate this machinery ? Whatever excuse there may be for a . union label in the United States, where fierce individualism is the order of the day - where the people do not believe in compulsory arbitration - there is no necessity for it here, where the conditions of the workers are arbitraril v fixed by governmental machinery. That is another reason why the union label provisions of the Bill should not be passed. I do not find much trace of brotherhood in these proposals. The proposed new clause78e provides that unions, as distinct from each other, may own these labels. Notwithstanding that the labour conditions in relation to two unions and the social status of the workers in those unions may be similar, only one of those unions, and that the one which happens to get in first, may possess a trade union label.
– Is there anything to prevent the other from registering a union label?
– Yes. The clause provides that one union may not register a mark or label which so nearly resembles the registered trade mark of another as to be calculated to deceive.
– Could two employers in the same industry register similar labels?
– The interjection made by the honorable member shows the distinction between a trade union label and a trade mark. Two men may own the same trade mark. This Bill willi give them absolute ownership, and the right to dispose or sell. One may assign his trade mark to the other; but a union cannot assign its union label to another organization, notwithstanding that the labour con-‘ ditions and the social status of the workers in both unions may be the same.
– I wish to know, Mr. Chairman, whether the honorable member is in order in making repeated reference to the inability of unions to sell or transfer their union labels?
– Our StandingOrders provide that honorable members shall not be guilty of tedious repetition, and those who transgress that rule must suffer the penalty. I think that honorable members would assist me by refraining from interjections, which probably lead the honorable member to deal with matters which he would not otherwise discuss. I must ask the honorable member once more not to discuss amendments that are not before the Chair.
– I have no desire, Mr. Chairman, but to deal with the matter fairly, and keep within the scope of your ruling. I shall make only one other remark as to the schedule of amendments that has been circulated by the AttorneyGeneral. Two of the proposed new clauses appear to have a , distinct fiscal bearing, although, in my judgment, they should have no such colouring. For instance, it is provided that goods bearing a label which is anything like a colourable imitation of any Australian labelshallnotbe imported from abroad. What is more natural than for a trade organization in Canada - a place within the Empire, and one with which we are seeking to cultivate closer relations - to have a label of its own, which may contain some of the colours that are employed in labels in Australia.
– The use of the same colours would not necessarilv make any label a colourable imitation of another.
– The honorable member will find many instances in which it has been held that trade marks have been infringed, even because of the colours which they contained. In that case, there could be no free intercourse between one part of the Empire and another, so far as the products of labour are concerned. I have now! said nearly all that I wished to say, but not with that detail which I anticipated in the light of_ the clear understanding with the Attorney-General, which was arrived at last night. The honorable and learned gentleman has receded from his attitude of last evening. He asserts that since then things have altered in his favour. He declares that he has spiked our guns, turned our flank, and done all sorts’ of things. Seeing that he is so strong, surely he might, at least, be merciful. However, he is exacting his pound of flesh. I hope that it will do him good, but I do not think that! it will. My experience is that a Minister in charge of a Bill never gains anything by the adoption of the course which is being followed by the Attorney-General. This Chamber is not a law court, as the honorable and learned gentleman will find before this Bill is passed. I suggest that he should’ not import into this House the practices of a ‘cute police-court lawyer. I do not suggest that he is merely that - he is something very much more. Atf the same time, he possesses that ‘cuteness which” would make him an equally good policecourt lawyer, and it is of the .exercise of those qualities in this House that I complain. He has deliberately gone back upon the understanding that he arrived at with me last night, and by so doing has prevented me from discussing this question in detail.
– I cannot understand the anxiety of two or three members of the Opposition. They pretend that in connexion with this proposal there has been something approaching a conspiracy of silence on the part of honorable members upon this side of the House. Under the circumstances, it is perhaps well to recall the stages through which this measure has passed. Upon the second reading of the Bill, I spoke at some length, and in the course of my remarks I dealt with quite a number of the arguments which the deputy leader of the Opposition has seen fit to reproduce this evening. Since that time what has occurred? The consideration of the Bill was not resumed until yesterday, and the only stage at which it was possible to debate this general question was upon the motion, that the Chairman should leave the chair. Those of us who are not concerned in retarding legislation - who are anxious that some work should be performed by the Parliament - would have been in the highest degree foolish if we had joined in the discussion of the “ stone-walling “ motion which was submitted’ yesterday. As members of the Opposition are aware, there will be an opportunity to discuss the union label provisions of the Bill when the clauses embodying them are reached. When we come fo Part VII. of the measure, the whole policy and the details contained in the proposal for the registration and protection of trade union marks can be discussed upon tlie first clause. Consequently, it is mere; pretence of the shallowest character for honorable members opposite to declare that if the present debate had not taken place, they, would have been precluded from considering the general principle involved.
– I prefer to take the Attorney-General’s opinion on that point.
– I have not -heard the Attorney-General say anything so foolish as that we could not deal with the whole question upon Part VII. of the Bill. The honorable member for Parramatta is too cute a politician to induce me to believe that he is not aware that upon clause 73 of the Bill, in its original form, as well as upon the amendments “outlined by the AttorneyGeneral, there is ample opportunity to discuss every phase of the general question of whether union trade marks should or should not be registered.
– It is part of the game.
– The honorable member for Yarra is quite correct. It is part of the game to affect that ami attempt is being made to gag the Opposition! and to prevent them from fully and freely expressing their opinions. I suppose that there are some few people in the Commonwealth who will believe them.
– What is the object of the motion which is to be submitted to-morrow ?
– That motion will be discussed to-morrow, and I shall be quite prepared to say a few words in support of it. The honorable member for Parramatta has observed that it is a curious fact that the men at the head of the trade union movement in Australia have not taken any steps to indorse the principle of the union label, or, rather, that ,the political Labour Party have not done so. At the conference that was held .at Ballarat in 1891, which he will no doubt recollect-
An Honorable Member. - The honorable member for Parramatta was not piesent at that gathering.
– I was under the impression that he was.
– I was never in Ballarat until about a year ‘ ago.
– At any rate, the honorable member was a trade union representative at that time, and he wilL doubtless remember the conference to which I refer. At that gathering a proposal in favour of the adoption of the union label was carried. At a conference of the Political Labour Party which was held some three years asp a similar proposition was carried.
– Why was it not embodied in the programme of the party?
– I was under the impression that it was not necessary ro enact special legislation, because the protection of the State would be extended to the body which possessed a trade union label, or a trade union mark, equally with the owner of a trade mark as we ordinarily understand the term. It was only recently that I found there was a large volume of opinion as to the improbability, under existing laws, of successful registration, and consequent protection, being secured for union labels. The deputy leader of the Opposition failed to see the benefit that would accrue to any union from the recognition of a trade mark. I do not know that that is the only aspect of the question that we should regard.
– It is the main aspect, I think.
– With all deference to the honorable member’s opinion, [ do not agree with him. We have a right to follow the lines of justice and equity irrespective of who is likely to benefit by our action. But, assuming that the honorable member’s contention is correct, I say that, to a trade union whose members are determined to give the public good workmanship, and who are at the same time willing to be guided by reason and justice in the exercise of the right to use a union label, nothing but good can result. As soon as the public have an opportunity to identify the products with which the union is associated, so soon will they begin to inquire for such goods, in the knowledge that they are made under fair conditions, that they are produced by good workmen, and that they can therefore be safely purchased.
– Not necessarily.
– I am not going to make any wild assertions to the effect that in every case benefit will accrue to the union. There will be found amongst trade unionists, as amongst other classes of the community, certain men who are inclined to overstep proper bounds, and who will pos- sibly alienate public sympathy in connexion with the label with which they are associated. But in the great majority of cases - where a reasonable degree of judgment and discretion are exercised as to the conditions and terms of employment - the products put forward by members of unions in conjunction with their employers will meet with public appreciation, and the existence of the label cannot fail to be of immense advantage.
– The honorable member has omitted something which is very important, namely, the quality of the material made up.
– The material may be of the best, and bad workmanship may convert it into something that is absolutely useless.
– A suit of clothes may be thoroughly well made in every way, and. yet the cloth may be poor.
– On the other hand, good cloth badly made up may be of little value. The honorable member knows very well that, as a rule, the best men get the best work to do. In fact, there is a kind of natural affinity between the skilled1 workman and high quality goods. I do not ground my support of the trade union label proposal upon the benefit that is likely to accrue to the unionists concerned. With me it is not’ a matter, so far as the action of the State is concerned’, as to whether individuals or unionists are to receive any particular benefit from the operation of the law. What justification would there be for our passing a Trade Marks Bill at all, if the only object were to benefit those who registered trade marks? The very existence of a Trade Marks Bill is a recognition of the fact that something of the kind is necessary to protect the public against fraud. The community realize the advantage to be gained by recognising property in signs, symbols, and brands known as trade marks. My support of the trade union labels is based upon my belief that general benefit must result if the public are enabled to readily identify goods manufactured by any particular individual,” whether a® an employer or employe”.
– Surely a man who was inclined to go in for fraud would make a special point of securing the use of a union label in order to cover his fraud?
– I “do not think that is likely to happen very often. The attachment of a trade mark does not afford any guarantee as to the value of a commodity, but it assists the public to recognise the products of manufacturers who put a fair quality of goods upon the market. That is the theoretic principle underlying the provision for the registration of trade marks. I wish to emphasize the point that it is essential that we should render the same treatment to those members of the community who happen to be trade unionists that we extend to those who are not unionists.
– And vice versa.
– I am glad that the honorable member makes that admission.
– At present, the man who counterfeits a bank-note is punished. The forger is put in gaol. ‘If a man counterfeits a trade mark or label of an individual employer he is properly liable to punishment for pretending to the public that that which he puts on the market is something other than it really is. He is perhaps not liable to be sent to gaol, but is opento be mulcted in heavy damages. Now, those who oppose us on this question advance the extraordinary argument that if a man counterfeit a label belonging to a trade union - something which is in existence as the result of their own skill ; something which they have designed, and which has become their property by right of user -not a finger should be stirred to punish the fraud.
– That is what has been said by . honorable members who claim to be opposing class legislation. That is what honorable members have referred to when they have said : “ We are not a class Legislature. We believe in treating every member of the community in a like manner and putting all on an equal footing.” The honorable member for Parramatta, with his usual ingenuity, attempted to drag a red herring across the trail. He said that I had tried to put cobwebs round this particular question. Let us examine the case which he put to honorable members a few minutes ago. He said that a man who painted a picture and sold it to a customer ceased to have any proprietary interest in it; and that, similarly, if an ordinary trade unionist sold his labour to his employer he would have no further interest in the product of his work. That is one of those truisms from which no one can dissent. But how can it be held to meet the position which I take up? I did not say that a man should continue to have a proprietary interest in the” product of his labour after he has been paid for his work. My contention was something quite distinct from that. I said that if workmen, as individuals, or associated in unions, created something apart from their labour by the adoption of a sign, symbol, brand, or special design, they should be protected. At present, the common law permits of the adoption and use of adesign, but so far as I know it affords no remedy against those who may infringe it.
– I showed that the law in America did afford a remedy in such cases.
Mr.WATSON.- That is another point. I contend that the honorable member for Parramatta is deliberately evading the question at issue, when he says that a man having sold his labour has no further interest, or part in it, and, therefore, cannot appear before the public as the owner, and register a trade mark.
– I said nothing of the kind.
– I took down the words used by the honorable member.
– I was replying to the honorable member’s allegation of fraud.
– As to my statement about fraud, I ask any fair-minded person -which, of course, excludes those who have become so infatuated on this subject that they are incapable of making anything like a just estimate - if it would be anything but fraud for a man to issue a label informing the public that his goods were union-made when they were not unionmade.
– That would be fraud. Who defends such action?
– If, in the exercise of my common law rights, I design a label, and arrange with my employer to have it fixed on his goods, is it not fraud for some other person to colorably imitate it, and thus lead the public to believe that his goods were made by me, when they were not made by me?
– Then why not use the powers of the State to punish the wrongdoer? Why not insure that the person who is guilty of such fraud shall suffer at the hands of the law, just as the person who infringes an ordinary trade mark suffers ?
– There is a remedy now against such fraud, if persons care to register their labels.
– It is contended that these are not trade marks, and should not be registered, ‘and therefore the pirate who infringes them is to be allowed to go scot free.
Mr.Robinson. - That does not follow.
– Is the honorable and learned member, and those who are acting with him, prepared to indicate what steps they would take to punish the wrongdoer?
– There is a remedy now.
– If there is now a remedy, why has there been so much outcry against the Bill?
– Because it legalizes boycotting.
– The honorable member has been such a short time in life, and such a much shorter time in Australia, that he has not that practical’ acquaintance with affairs which other honorable members possess, and consequently frequently amuses us with displays of economic ignorance. If honorable members are prepared to protect the owner of a union trade mark or label, they should indicate how they are prepared to do so. If, as the honorable and learned member for Wannon says, redress for the infringement of such a label is obtainable at present, what is the cause of the agitation against the Bill ? What does the measure propose to do? It proposes to allow the registration of union trade marks. The mere registration is in itself of no advantage. It cannot be that to which objection is taken. But the effect of registration will be to provide an economical and speedy means of redress against, not the infringement ofthe right of a union to put goods on the market, or of an employer to put goods on the market, but the use of a colorable imitation of a registered label.
– Does the honorable member assert that the trade union label is not used for other than its ostensible purposes ?
– The honorable member alludes to the boycotting which has been practised ; but he was associated with trade unions long enough to know that it is useless to try to persuade the public that trade unions never boycott, without a union label, or with it.
– Employers also boycott.
-Yes. Some honorable members have seen a copy of the black list circulated amongst the pastoralists of Western Queensland. I have seen black lists circulated in respect to other callings. I do not say that an employer who boycotts is necessarily wrong in doing so.
– We say that he is.
– “ We,” in this instance, does not mean a great deal. A boycott is often justifiable. Years ago, as a trade unionist, I joined in one or two boycotts, although there was no union label in existence then.
– The honorable member ought to beashamed to make the admission.
– The British Medical Association boycotts.
– Under the circumstances, I take a pride in making the statement. The members of the union to which I belonged found it necessary to boycott certain persons who were sweating their employes, and competing unjustly against fair employers. I was not at the time working for any of those affected. I was in a newspaper office, and it was only in jobbing offices that sweating occurred. What other weapon had the members of the union against the sweating and improper employment of children which was then taking place in such offices? There was no Arbitration Court in existence no wages board, and no legal means ofremedying the evils to which I have alluded. The only method of obtaining compliance with a fair standard of living and’ wages, and of seeing that justice was done to fair employers, was to compel those who patronized these establishments to insiston compliance with fair conditions. In England a vast Anglican Church organization is at the present time engaged in a boycott of goods made by sweated labour.
– More power to them.
– I am replying to the argument of the honorable member for Corangamite. I honour those in the church and in society, who feel it their duty to inquire astothe conditions under which are produced the goods which they buy. The principle ofboycotting is already approved by the good sense of the community, where sufficient reason is shown. During the last month or two, while the Bill has been laid aside, awaiting the public discussion of the clauses, it has been subjected to a tirade of abuse throughout Australia, because of the motives which are said to underlie these provisions, and because of what has been, said to be the effect of the union label in America. In the Argus some little time ago appeared a collection of decisions by some of the State Courts of the United States of America, and at least one letter, and probably a number, appeared over the signature of Mr. Walpole, the secretary of the Employers’ Federation.
– The man who said that marriage is a luxury?
– He publicly denied having made that statement.
– There are those who are prepared to prove that he made it, and I have repeated it outside.
– There is no risk in doing that. One can always tell a lie about a man.
– In the communications to which I refer, a number of American decisions were quoted in regard to the use of the union label for boycotting. I should like to say, however, that there is no necessary connexion between the use of the union label and boycotting. If unionists are suffering an injustice, and are strong enough, they will use the weapon of the boycott, whether they have the union label or not. That is only human nature,
– Is the honorable member quite sure that boycotting takes place in America only where there is sweating?
– The honorable member evidently wishes me to pretend that the trade unionists of America are akin to an archangel, and never do anything wrong. We know that every class of the community acts unjustly occasionally. When the coal miners, of Lithgow returned the honorable member to Parliament, they showed a strange mental aberration. Such exceptions, however, only prove the general rule. The honorable member for Wentworth last night showed his disingenuousness by reading a number of reports from union organizers, in -which the trade union label and the need for popularizing it, and the boycotts of the American Federationst, were dealt -with. By artfully joining “together those portions of the reports in which the two subjects were referred to, the honorable memoer strove to create the idea in the public mind that it was admitted in them that the union label is being used as an instrument for boycotting. I defy him, however, to cite d. passage in any of the reports which would justify any such assumption to any fair-minded man.
– We will have a full-dress debate on the subject to-morrow.
– Since the honorable member’s party were dispossessed of the Treasury benches a few months ago, they have been prepared for a full-dress debate on every conceivable occasion, and on even subject under the sun.
– Does not the honorable member wish that he was in the same position ?
– I admit that one has a . certain freedom of action when in Opposition which is rather congenial ; but we cannot all live the ideal life. In regard to the statements made by the Employers’ Federation, and the articles which have appeared in the Argus, a number of decisions of the States Courts of the United States - tribunals which are not to be confused with the Federal Courts - were quoted, ostensibly as bearing upon the legality of the trade union label. But, viewing them as a layman, it seems to me that in ..nearly every instance those decisions have nothing whatever to do with the union label -per se. In nearly every case the question for decision was whether or not a municipal council was entitled under the law to insist, as a condition antecedent to the acceptance of certain supplies, that they should bear the union label. That is -quite a different question from that of whether or not a union label is in itself legal. A union label might be amply justified, and yet it might be illegal for a municipal council to say that it should be applied to all goods supplied for its various services. In these circumstances, it will be recognised that an importance has been attached to that aspect of the question that it does not deserve. An effort has been made to produce in the minds of casual readers the impression that these decisions against the application of the union label in the way I have described affected the validity of the label itself, and consequently vitiated any suggestion for its legal adoption. The honorable and learned member for Wannon, by way of interjection, said a little while ago that, in his opinion - and as he is a member of the legal profession- 1 pay some’ deference to his opinion on points of this kind - not only was there a proprietary right in a trade union label existing in common law, quite apart from any specific legislation on the subject, but that a remedy would lie at common law against any infringement of that right. As a layman, I am inclined to believe from what I have read of the law and history of trade marks, that that is quite possible. But, after all, it is only a question of which road should be taken in order to approach a certain goal, and the honorable and learned member may very well consider in that contingency the advisableness of affording those who have designed, or are about to design, trade marks, a speedy and economical means of redress, in the shape of the provision relating to workers’ trade marks.
– Many of those who oppose the principle contend to-day that there is no such remedy, their view being that workers’ trade marks are not trade marks.
– I was about to say that the contention of many of the opponents of the principle is that no such remedy exists, inasmuch as union labels are not trade marks.
– In the absence of specific legislation, great expense might be involved in determining the question.
– I have always believed that, where it is possible for us to do so, it is advisable, in order to cheapen law, to place any ‘such’ question beyond doubt. It has been suggested to me that the honorable and learned member for Wannon should not object to the Government proposal, because in his view it amounts merely to a codification of the existing law.
– It goes a good deal further.
– We have been told that a union label cannot be held, in any circumstances, to be a trade mark. We have heard the honorable member for Parramatta express the opinion that unless ownership of the goods to which the union label is attached can be proved, that label cannot be a trade mark. I admit that there seems to be a considerable difference of opinion on the part of the legal authorities I have been able to consult.
– I confess that I have not consulted any.
– I have read a good many of the decisions bearing upon this Question. I have not been able to find any decision of the Federal Court ; but there seems to be a difference of opinion on the part of the various States Courts of the United States upon the question of whether or not a trade union label is properly a trade mark. Speaking with the diffidence of a layman, it seems to me that the term “trade mark,” in its ancient significance, must be held to include any sign, symbol, or brand attached to goods the subject of trade. I fail to see how any mark which is used in trade can be held to be other than a trade mark within the meaning of the Constitution. Coming to an objection raised by the honorable member for Parramatta to the Government proposition, I propose to quote a decision given by the State Court of New York in 1888. As I have said, I can find no Federal decision.
– The reason is that the matter does not come within the Federal law.
– That is so. Under the Constitution of the United States, the Federal authorities have power to deal only with trade marks as relating to trade with foreign countries, and among the States, That being sp, union mark legislation has been confined to States Legislatures.
– The decisions of the States Courts are final as to States laws and trade marks laws come within that category.
– There being no appeal from the States Courts in regard to this question, we find that the views expressed by them are somewhat conflicting. In part reply to the point taken by the honorable member for Parramatta, I propose to read the decision of the State Court of New York in the case of Strasser v. Moonelis (1888) 23 Jones and S., 197-203, which related to the application of the Cigar-makers’ International Union for the protection of their label, Mr. Justice Dugro said -
The defendant’s counsel, on the argument and in his brief, lays great stress on the fact that the label (of the Cigar-makers’ International Union) presentedin this case does not come within the settled definition of a trade-mark, as he claims it to be. It is needless to discuss this phase of the case, for the right to the exclusive use of this- label may be sustained, although it fail to be a trade-mark in the precise definition of the term as heretofore used.
That is a phrase which I invite honorable members to consider in conjunction with the history of trade marks.
– That is to say, in the general acceptation of the term.
– The learned Judge said that the label might be sustained, although it failed to be a trade mark in the ordinary acceptation of the term. That is the point. He continued: -
For whether we call the property right, which I believe the plaintiffs have in the label, a trademark, or by another name, is a matter of slight import. It is a right entitled to the protection of a court of equity on the same principle as that upon which courts have based their right to protect trade-marks and goodwill.
By reaspn of the principle governing ordinary trade marks, there is vested in the owner of ‘a trade union label a property right which should be protected.
– But the Court did not pretend to recognise a union label as a trade mark.
– It did. It said that it was immaterial whether or not it was described as a trade mark; the same property right governed it that governed an ordinary trade mark. It held that the right of ownership existed, and that, after all, is the important question to be determined. The learned Judge went oh to say that - lt needs no deep study to perceive that the labourer has the same valuable interest in the goodwill of his labour as a manufacturer has in the goodwill of his trade.
– Under this. Bill ownership of a trade mark, on the part of a union, is impossible. The mark must be used by an employer.
– This is a case in point. In this instance the employer affixed the label to his goods, but the union itself owned the label.
– The honorable member is showing how shadowy is. the ownership under this Bill.
– I do not quite recognise the relevancy of the interjection.
– A union, might not be allowed to use a label.
– It is purely a matter of arrangement. The honorable and learned member is aware that a very large number of trade marks are used by arrangement. For instance, I know of traders in New South Wales - and I suppose that the position in the other States, is the same - who do not manufacture, but arrange to have their trade marks affixed by the manufacturers.
– But whatever the arrangement may be, the mark is transferable or assignable.
– I do not see that that affects the question of whether a person ought to be protected in the use of such a mark. I propose to make one other quotation, as. it seems to me to be necessary to place it on record, in view of what has been said in opposition to this proposal. In the case of Hetterman Bros, and Co. versus Powers dealt with in the State Court of Kentucky in 1897, Justice Hazelrigg said: -
Moreover, it is urged that the plaintiffs do not come into court with clean hands. . . that the label (of the Cigar-makers’ International Union) itself cannot be approved either in law or morals as it denounces cigars other than union-made ones as inferior and unwholesome, and the product of filthy tenement houses, or made by coolies and convicts. And first we may admit that the label is not used as a trade-mark in the ordinary sense of that word.
Again, the learned Judge uses the term “ in the ordinary sense of that word “ -
It is not a brand put on the goods of the owner to separate or distinguish them from the goods of others, but we cannot agree on that account that it does not represent a valuable right whichmay be the subject of legal protection. Why may not tho-e engaged in skilful employment so designate the result of their labour as to entitle them to the fruits of their skill, where it is admittedly a source of pecuniary profit to them? And this though they may not own the property itself? They are not, it is true, “in business” for themselves in the ordinary sense, but they have property rights nevertheless. They may not select a label and be protected in its use apart from its connexion with some commodity, but they not only select it in this instance - they apply it to the property, and it does not at all matter that the tangible property is that of another. . . . The man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer in that larger sense in which the word “ business” has come to be used by statesmen and legislators. . . . The learned Chancellor below -
I may say, by the way, that this, was an appeal case - in an exhaustive opinion, reviewing all the authorities, among other things said, and we can say it no more clearly: - “Hence it is indisputable that the employe, whose skilled labour in the production of a particular commodity creates a demand for the same that secures for him higher remunerative wages, has as definite a property right to the exclusive use of a particular label, sign, symbol, brand, or device adopted by him to distinguish and characterize said commodity as the product of his skilled labour, as the merchant or owner has to the exclusive use of his adopted trade-mark on his goods.”
I desire honorable members of ‘the Opposition to specially note the concluding words of this learned Judge. He said: -
On the whole case, therefore, we are of opinion that the law may be justly invoked by organized labour to protect from piracy and intrusion -
The honorable member for Parramatta objected to my applying such a term to those who might infringe a union trade mark. Here, however, I find the Chief Justice of Kentucky applying it, although at the time I used it, I had not seen his judgment.
– If the honorable member can establish the fact that the cases are identical, he is quite justified in using that term.
– The cases are similar in every respect. The Chief Justice of Kentucky said -
On the whole case, therefore, we are of opinion that the law may be justly invoked by organized labour to protect from piracy and intrusion the fruits of its skill and handiwork, and that brain and muscle may be the subject of trade law rules as well as tangible property.
In those three or four lines the learned Judge has summed up the whole position for which I contend. As a matter of principle we have a right to protect the designer and owner of a union label against fraud or piracy.
– Is the Chief Justice of Kentucky an elected Judge?
-I do not know whether he is elected or not.
– I would point out that interruptions and conversations across the table are highly disor9erly. I have already drawn attention to that fact, and I again ask honorable members to refrain from interrupting, otherwise I shall be compelled to enforce the Standing Orders.
– I might point out to the honorable member for Eland that the case which he has quoted is one of those upon which the opponents of the Bill rely.
– That decision was given by an elected Judge.
– The honorable member for Lang must recollect that there is no Judge who’ can be relied upon by the other side, who does not occupy his office under similar conditions. Personally, I do not approve of elected Judges. That, however, is another question. The complaint has been made that not one word has been uttered by members of’ the Labour Party in regard to the amendments suggested by the Attorney-General. I should like to remind members of the Opposition that we had not much opportunity of referring, to those amendments. Yesterday, the honorable member for Parramatta and his friends exercised their right of speech to the exclusion practicallyof every other honorable member.
– The honorable member could have spoken if he had wished to do so.
– The deputy leader of the Opposition and his friends yesterday monopolized the time of the Committee to the exclusion of those who might have been disposed to say something upon the amendments, but who were not prepared to participate in a movement which was intended to block the progress of the measure.
– It was a bovcott.
– I regret that this discussion should have been raised at the present stage.
– What will the honorable member call the motion which is to be submitted to-morrow ?
– I shall be prepared to say something upon that motion, and I shall claim the support of the leader of the Opposition upon it, because he has already declared himself in favour of the adoption of effective standing orders. I do think it is a pity that this debate upon the general question was not deferred by consent until we had reached clause 73 of the Bill.
– Until the “ gag “ was fixed up?
– The honorable member for Dalley joined with me to apply the “gag” in New South Wales, but he will’ admit that it was never applied unfairly. I do not think that honorable members need entertain the slightest fear - whatever standing orders may be adopted in the meantime - that they will be denied a reasonable opportunity to discuss the details of this Bill. As far as I am concerned, I shall be no party to blocking debate.
– We all know what the honorable member will do.
– The honorable member has had no bad experience of rae in that connexion. I do not wish to detain the Committee further than to reply to the statement of the honorable member for Par-: ramatta, that our present industrial legislation is sufficient for all practical purposes. He declared that the machinery we have already set up insures that reasonable conditions of labour shall prevail throughout the Commonwealth.I say that his statement argues a very insufficient knowledge of the actual condition of affairs in Australia. Is not the honorable member aware that in several of the States there is no industrial legislation of this character?
– In what States?
– In Tasmania and Queensland.
– It has been promised in Queensland.
– The enactment of legislation of that character in Tasmania seems far off, and in South Australia the law is not effective.
– It may be made effective, because a labour Government is in power there.
– But I would remind the honorable member that in South Australia there is a Legislative Council - just as there is in Queensland and Tasmania - which has proved strong enough for many years to block legislation which has been approved by the general body of the electors.
– I know that the people of the country have just proved that they are behind the South Australian Labour Ministry.
– The honorable member ought to know that the Legislative Council in that State has simply snapped its fingers at the electors. It has shown, in regard to the suffrage proposals of the Government, that it does not care a dump for the opinions of the people. Only two electors out of every seven have a vote for the second Chamber there.
– Surely the Labour Ministry will rectify that state of things.
– But the honorable member knows what a tedious task it was to effect a change in New South Wales, when the Government of which he was a member attempted to fight the Legislative Council of that State, which is a nominee body, and which is, therefore, more amenable to reason than is an elective body. In reply to his statement, I wish to remark that it is a moot point as to how far Commonwealth legislation may be invoked to settle disturbance’s of an industrial character.
– Does the honorable member suggest that there is no- constitutional doubt as to the validity of this legislation?
– If a bad state of affairs exists, I do not think we shall advance very much by submitting to the opinion of those who urge that we can do nothing. If a constitutional doubt exists as toour powers, surely that is an argumentwhy we should endeavour to accomplish something for those who stand in need of our assistance. The condition of things industrially throughout. Australia requires considerable amendment. I trust that honorable members will not be led away by the suggestion of the deputy leader of the Opposition, that theindustrial legislation already in force is sufficient to cope with this evil. There is still room for improvement in the social conditions of the people; there is still room for the community to exercise a steady and insistent pressure upon its members concerning their responsibility one to the other. In the interests of simple justice, I trust that this Committee will render those who are associated together in trade unions the same treatment that it is proposed to apply under this Bill to employers and other individuals, who may register ordinary trade marks.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I should like to appeal to the AttorneyGeneral to report progress. I think he will agree that we have had a very informative discussion, and one which will certainly prove helpful to us at a laterstage. In view of the long sitting that we have had, I think it is only proper that he should report progress.
– It is true that we have had a very long and, what the honorable member has been pleased to call, informative debate. It has certainly informed us upon one point, namely,thatwe have been sitting here for thirty hours without having passed a single line of the Bill. I appeal to honorable members to say whether the work that we have accomplished is sufficient to warrant our reporting progress.
– I trust that the Attorney-General will not persist in the attitude which he has assumed towards the deputy leader of the Opposition. The request preferred to him was a most reasonable one.
– The Prime Minister to-day gave me a definite promise that he would adjourn early.
– He informed me absolutely to the contrary.
– If the AttorneyGeneral will only look round at the haggard features, and recumbent forms of honorable members, especially those on the Government side of the House, his feelings of humanity should cause him to yield to the representations made in favour of an adjournment of the debate. Honorable members on the Ministerial side cannot much longer stand the heavy strain that is being imposed upon them.
– That is not our fault.
– lt has been brought about by the want of tact and judgment of the Attorney-General in not accepting the very fair offer made by the deputy leader of the Opposition last evening. As the Attorney-General does not seem disposed to consent to an adjournment at this stage, I. shall be compelled to proceed with my speech. I have a great amount of material I to draw upon, and shall probably occupy a considerable time. If any evidence were wanting to show how completely the Government are under the control of an irresponsible section of honorable members, it has been afforded by the action of Ministers in bringing forward proposals of this character, which members of the Ministry have expressed themselves hostile to, and which they must know cannot fail tobe hurtful to the community. The speech of the leader of the Labour Party, although it occupied a considerable time, and was certainlyinformative in some respects, was not convincing. Towards the conclusion, of hrs speech the honorable member referred to made a quotation from a judgment given by a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in Kentuckv. lt is notorious that many of the elected Judges of America are corrupt, and the importance of their decisions must be discounted by the knowledge of that fact.
– That is not a fair statement. The judgment referred to was given by the highest court of appeal in the country.
– I was not speaking of that particular court. I was referring to the United States Judges generally, who are elected by popular favour - a system which must necessarily lead to corruption, and to practices which would not be countenanced in this community. Therefore, any decisions given by them for or against proposals such as those now before us must lose a large amount of the weight that under ordinary circumstances would attach to them. It is proposed to extend the provisions of the Bill now before us to workers for wages who are in no sense the proprietors of the particular goods produced by their work. It seems to me that this exceeds all reasonable bounds. The labour organizations are not trading corporations in any sense of the term. The members work for wages, and the result of their labour becomes the property of their employers. Although an employer may be entitled to register a trademark for the purpose of enabling his goods to be distinguished from those manufactured by his trade rivals, the same principle cannot be extended to his employes. If a trade union were to manufacture goods, and trade upon its own account, it would have a legitimate claim to the use of a distinctive label or trade mark, because ownership would be established, together with the accompanying right to secure protection against other manufacturers with whom theunion might be brought into competition.Under existing conditions, however, it cannot be claimed that the employes of any manufacturer have a proprietary interest in the goods produced. The right of ownership might be established to a certain extent if the employes were allowed to share, even to a small extent, in the profits of the enterprise ; but so long as they occupy the position of mere employes, they can have no interest in the concern beyond such as may attach to the performance of their work, and the receipt of their wages. The primary purpose of trade marks is to enable certain goods to be distinguished from others, and to protect the manufacturers against fraud on, the part of their rivals. It must be remembered, however, that a trade mark in no sense affords any guarantee as to quality. The honorable member for Bland supported the trade union label provisions on the ground that if such labels were applied to goods, they would guarantee the public against the purchase of inferior articles. I would point out, however, that a trade mark does not necessarily protectthe public in that regard. The person who receives protection from a trade mark is the owner, manufacturer, or seller of the goods to which it applies, but it gives no guarantee of quality. Thus, the union label or trade mark may be applied to goods of the most inferior and shoddiest description. How, then can it be claimed that the public will benefit by distinguishing articles made by union or organized labour from articles made bv other labour? If the union trade mark guaranteed the quality of the goods to which it was applied; there might be some reason for agreeing to the provisions of Part VII., though I do not say that there would be a justification for doing so. Part VII., however, is a mockery, a delusion, and a snare, if it is contended that the union label will protect the public, and no one knows it better than does the honorable member for Bland. The real purpose of those provisions is to legalize coercion by means of the boycott, and to prevent the public from exercising freedom of choice in the purchase of goods. They aim, too, at preventing employers from employing those whom they think it to their interest to employ, and at giving the unions power to interfere in the management of the business of manufacturers. We know, from reading, what has occurred in the United States and in Canada in connexion with, the use of the union label. Even although its use has not been legalized in those countries, we know to what extent it has been found possible to make it available for purposes of intimidation. The trade and labour journals of America teem with instances in which boycotts have been established, and employers harassed and worried by means of the union label. We are asked to legalize the use ofthese labels. But if they have proved so disastrous to the commercial and industrial life of America, and such an engine of tyranny and oppression where they have not been legalized, is it not reasonable to assume that if legalized they will be used with even greater severity, and with more oppressive results and consequences? In my speech on the second reading of the Bill, I mentioned in detail some of the cases which have occurred in America, and I refer honorable members who wish to refresh their minds on the subject to the official report of it. The leader of the Labour Party told us that the union label is not necessarily connected with boycotting. I do not think that any one has claimed that it is. But will he say that it cannot, and will not, be used to make boycotting more effective? As a matter of fact, he practically admitted that it will be so used.
– The honorable member has discovered another windmill.
– The honorable member will, in time, get too close to the arms of the windmill, and will be injured by their revolution. The honorable member for Bland contended that a man who is a unionist should receive the same treatment that is given to a non-unionist, and in reply to an interjection had to agree to the converse case. The members of the Opposition have been contending all along that all men have the same rights, and should be given equal opportunities. The purpose of Part VII., however, is to give exclusive privileges to a section of the workers. The provisions of this part of the Bill are more far-reaching, and give greater coercive powers to members of unions, than were proposed to be given under the Arbitration Bill. The powers then proposed to be given were refused by honorable members, and an attempt is now being made to get behind the decision then arrived at. The Bill is. a denial of what the honorable member for Bland says should be a principle of legislation, namely, that non-unionists and unionists shall be allowed the same rights. I do not intend to deal with the amendments of which notice has been given, because I understand that it is not competent for us to discuss them at this stage. I should like to point out, however, that trade unionists will not be allowed to use the union label. They will have no right of proprietorship in it. That will be vested in employers. The use of a trade mark implies ownership of it, and the right to assign, sell, or otherwise dispose of it. I submit, however, that a trade union may not deal in that way with a union mark.
– A union mark may be sold and purchased.
– A trade union might purchase it, but it may not use it. Furthermore, a trade union label can never be properly prescribed as a trade mark unless it can be shown that the goods to which it is attached are owned, prepared, manufactured, or sold solely by the union as an organization, and that they areas such separate and distinct in essential particulars from other goods sold elsewhere. Is it claimed that those conditions can possibly apply to a union label under the provisions of this Bill? I submit that they cannot, and that therefore the very essence of a trade mark is absent from the proposed union label. I hope that even at this late hour, if the Ministry are not absolutely under the thumb of the Labour Party, they will see their way clear to eliminate the union label provisions from the Bill, and that, if they are really anxious to. proceed with them, they will embody them in a separate measure. The deputy leader of the Opposition has shown very clearly that Part VII. of the Bill contains so many provisions, apart altogether from the amendments which have been circulated, that it might well be embodied in a separate measure. The honorable member showed that, if that were done, the way would be cleared for the discussion of the’ remaining parts of the Bill, and that it would facilitate the passing of a, useful and workable Trade Marks Bill this session. It is the desire of every honorable member of the Opposition to assistin the passing of a useful measure of that character, and the prolonged discussion of this measure has been due to the action of the Government in grafting upon it extraneous provisions having no bearing whatever on trade marks in the ordinary acceptation of the term.
– What is it that the honorable member desires?
– I sympathize with the honorable member and other honorable members opposite in the position in which they find themselves. I know that many of the supporters of the Government, in other circircumstances, would be as strongly opposed as I am to the union label provisions of the Bill. We know what are the opinions of certain members of the Ministry in regard to proposals of this kind, and I am surprised to find the Vice-President of the Executive Council giving them his support. Under other conditions the honorable member has been heard to inveigh most loudly against such propositions, and we should have some explanation for this sudden volte face. Some influence must have been at work to induce the honorable gentleman to suddenly become a convert to principles which he has time after time denounced in this House. My references to his attitude are made in the most friendly spirit, but I fear that his constituents may not be satisfiedwith his sudden change of front. In language less graceful, but more forcible, than that employed by him, the Treasurer has also spoken against proposals of this kind. So far we have been left quite in the dark as to the opinions ofmany honorable members opposite. There has been a conspiracy of silence.
– Order ! The honorable member must not make that statement.
– At any rate, what had all the external appearance of a conspiracy of silence was broken partlyby the honorable member for Bland ; but he did not adduce any argument that would appeal to the intelligence of the Opposition, and induce them to change their opinion. Their close study of the question has led to their opposing the provisions of Part VII. The question of whether or nob we have power under the Constitution to enforce provisions relating to a union label has also to be considered, and in this connexion I propose to read a short extract from a well -recognised authority on trade marks. In dealing with the definition of a trade mark, Kerly defines it as -
A symbol which is applied or attached to goods offered for sale on the market, so as to distinguish them from similar goods, and to identify them with the particular trader -
Not trade unions - or with his successors as the owners of a particular business as being made, worked upon, imported, selected, certified, or sold by him or them, or what has been properlyregistered under the Acts as the trade mark of a particular trade.
It will be seen that this definition of a trade markcannot possibly be applied to a trade union label. The conditions governing the use of a union mark do not fit in with any of the conditions laid down by this authority as governing the use and application of trade marks. A claim to the proprietorshipof a union label cannot be established by a union; there can be no claimthatthe union, in using the label, is the owner, manufacturer, or seller of the goods, or is interested in those goods except in respect to the wages which its members earn in their production. Kay, in the case of Richards v. Butcher, laid.it down that -
The essence of a trade mark is that it is some distinctive thing, which points out that the goods are the goods of A. B.
That is One of the distinguishing characteristics laid down by Kerly in his definition. We cannot dissociate the question of proprietorship, in so far as the right to trade in certain goods is concerned, from the question of trade marks. The real object of a trade mark is to protect the manufacturer, or the distributor, or the seller of goods. I now propose to make a brief reference to the latest case tried in the United States, in respect of the use of a unionlabel. I allude to the action of Berry v. Donovan, which was decided in Massachusetts in June last. The plaintiff Berry was a non-union shoemaker, who sued Donovan, an officer of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union, for damages for procuring his discharge from employment by the firm of Hazen B. Goodrich and Company, at
Haverhill, because he was not a member of the union.
– Does not the honorable member think that honorable members have made up their minds as to how they intend to vote upon this question?
– Possibly they have. Some people make up their minds quite irrespective of considerations of weal or woe to the general comm’unity. I do not propose to discuss the merits of this case. I would merely call attention to the following passage from the judgment of the Chief Justice: -
The primary right of the plaintiff to have the benefit of his contract, and to remain undisturbed in the performance of it, is universally recognised. The right to dispose of one’s labour as he will, and nave the benefit of his lawful contracts, is incident to the freedom of the individual, which lies at the foundation of government in all countries that maintain the principles of civil liberty. Such a right can lawfully be interfered with only by one who is acting in the exercise of an equal or superior right, which comes in conflict with the other. An intentional interference with such a right, without lawful justification, is malicious in law, even if it is from good motives, and without express malice.
That judgment embodies a sound principle, which should appeal to the reasoning faculties of honorable members - at least of those who possess any reasoning faculties. When they realize that the real purpose of this Bill is to prevent some men obtaining employment in order that a monopoly may be conferred upon others, they will express their strongest disapproval of it. I trust that the arguments which I have adduced will furnish honorable members with food for reflection. I hope that they have not made up their minds to adopt a certain course, irrespective of whether it is wise or just, or in the best interests of the country. I am satisfied that members of the Opposition, in resisting the provisions of this Bill, are rendering the best possible service to the country. The measure is one which is calculated to inflict a serious and permanent injury upon our social, industrial, political, and commercial life.
– The Committee have now been discussing the general question of trade union labels for over eight hours to-day, and I think it will be admitted that our attention has been very strictly confined to the specific lines to which’ the Attorney-General himself recognised that the debate upon this clause should be limited. The only difference between the honorable and learned gentleman and some other honorable members was that he suggested’ either that the consideration of this particular clause should be postponed until after the separate provisions of Part VII. of the Bill had been dealt with, or that it should be debated in conjunction with them.
– I do not .know whether honorable members who have spoken upon this clause intend to repeat their speeches upon the other provisions of the Bill.
– The Attorney-General has no right to assume that unnecessary debate will take place.
– In the light of what has happened, I think that he has.
– To-day a number of very valuable speeches have been delivered1, chiefly by honorable members upon this side of the Chamber. The honorable member for Bland made a very interesting address, the delivery of which occupied a longer period than that occupied by any other speech since the adjournment for dinner. The honorable and learned1 member for Wannon also made a very valuable contribution, to the debate, although his views , may not have accorded with those entertained by some honorable members opposite. Consequently there seems to be not only an error, but an intentional misapprehension of the facts. The Attorney-General earlier in the evening made some reference to thirty hours-
– I should have said thirtytwo hours.
– It is not the first time that the honorable gentleman has said one thing when he ought to have said another. His statement is entirely fallacious, and I think that, in view of the speeches which have been delivered since the clause came under consideration, an adjournment might very well be granted. I think I might fairly ask at what hour the Attorney-General suggests that the debate should be closed.
– I should like to see some business done. It is not. a question of hours, but of business.
– I have always understood that to debate important public questions was to transact business.
– Hear, hear. That is what we have been wanting for the last few hours.
– The speeches delivered since the House met this afternoon have not been unreasonably long, but have been seriously directed to the consideration of the
Bill. The motion, “ That the Chairman do now leave the chair,” was moved last night as a protest against honorable members being called upon to transact public business for an unreasonable length of time, and against the refusal of the Government to accept the very generous offer made by members of the Opposition. I do not wish to again adopt that course, so long as we are called upon to transact a reasonable amount of business within reasonable hours. It is proposed in a series of clauses now in the Bill, and in a further series of provisions which it is proposed to substitute for some of those now embodied in the measure, to give power to register under a Trade Marks Bill what are to be called union trade marks. I have several objections to urge to these provisions. In the first place, after further consideration, I have still graver doubts than I entertained on a previous occasion as to ..the constitutionality of the union trade mark proposals. Under the Constitution, which regulates and limits the powers of this Parliament, we are authorized - in section 51, sub-section 18 - to legislate with regard to “ copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks.” That provision at once raises the question as to what is the meaning of the two words “trade marks.” I admit at once that we are not to be bound for all time by the meaning of the words “ trade marks “ at the time the Constitution was passed. If that were the case, the Constitution would become an impossible and inelastic instrument, instead of a reasonable and elastic one, as it ought to be. The furthest we can go - and I think that we shall then be going further than the authorities would allow us - is to say that these -words must be interpreted according to the conditions of the time at which they are being applied. That is to say, that in proposing to-day to pass a Trade Marks Bill, we should interpret these words according to their current meaning. We are not entitled to assume that in the future they will bear’ a more extended meaning, nor are we entitled to assign an arbitrary meaning in order to pretend to give ourselves competence to legislate on matters that would otherwise be beyond the scope of our authority. We cannot by calling a thing a trade mark make it a trade mark, and the most elastic and generous standard I can suggest is that we should recognise the present meaning of the words “ trade mark.” With regard to that, we have two sets of authorities at our disposal. In the first place, there is the long course of judicial’ decisions in the English and Australian Courts upon Acts and common law rules - all similar, though not necessarily of an identical character. In the second place, we have a considerable series of decisions in various State Courts of the United States, upon what is popularly known as the union label, in which special consideration has been given to the question whether union labels are trade marks according to the common acceptation of the term. First of all, as regards the current English and Australian decisions, I think I shall have the concurrence of the Attorney-General when I say that in all cases the Judges, many of them eminent men, who have found it necessary to discuss the essential qualities of trade marks, have held that a trade mark implies ownership. In every text-book, both recent and otherwise, that I have had an opportunity to consult, and in every case to which I have had an opportunity to refer, it has been laid down that ownership of the goods, when they reach the point of being available for sale, accompanies the ownership of trade mark. We find that both in the cases decided at common law and upon the statutory provisions in, this respect - even in the Bill itself - trade marks are not to be assignable except in company with the goods to which they are attached, or with the good-will of the business with which they are associated. Trade mark is one of the attributes of ownership that go along with the business or goods. If that be the essential point in a trade mark, surely it cannot be contended that these union trade marks, as they are called, are trade marks within the ordinary legal acceptation of the term - within the ordinary interpretation that the words receive at the hands of pur Courts. More than that, I would go so far as to saythat there is no case in the English or Australian Courts which suggests that union trade marks would be judicially determined to be trade marks, as known to the commercial or legal world.
– Is there any case in the British Dominions dealing with that?
– Not with union trade marks. I have already pointed that out. I say that in none of the cases in which we have a definition of trade mark occurring is there such a definition as would include union labels. Of course, it i* capable of being argued in a Court of Law that that point has not been submitted for specific consideration, and that if it had been, the definition of trade mark might have been extended to include union labels. But, after all, that is the argument of desperation. When we find continually, not the same words, but varying words, all containing the same idea, we are bound to say that no definition of trade marks would include union labels. We are entitled at least to contend that there is no reasonable probability that the definition would be extended to include them. On the other hand we have a series of decisions given in American State Courts. The honorable member for Bland read two or three very interesting extracts from reports of those cases, but the extracts which the honorable gentleman read as supporting his view of the propriety of passing this legislation were as cogent an answer to the suggestion that these union labels are trade marks as anything I have heard. They all said that it was not necessary to say that they were trade marks in order to give the legal protection asked for, In a number of cases the Judges have gone further, and have said that they are not trade marks. In some cases the Judges have said that they could not give them the full protection which a trade mark would give. One of the decisions quoted by the honorable member for Bland was to this effect : “ We can protect trade union labels in exactly the same way that we can protect good-will.” I remind the AttorneyGeneral in that connexion of the fact that, under English and Australian law, a man’s trade description may be protected although it is not a trade mark at all. One must not imitate a man’s trade description, whether it is a registered trade mark or not, in such a manner as to deceive people into believing thev are buying his goods when they are buying the imitator’s goods. But that does not make a trade description a trade mark. From the American cases it would appear that, while the counsel for the imitator has argued every time that the trade union label is not a trade mark, and therefore cannot be protected, the Court has answered the argument by’ saying, “Although it is not .a trade mark, still we can protect it.” Neither the Attorney-General nor those who think with him can find any course of authorities to support their contention that this is a trade mark. It would be far from sufficient to quote a single case, in which a casual expression might enable one to draw, as a workable conclusion, the inference that it was supposed to be a trade mark, against a whole series of decisions. This is a matter in which, if there be a divergence between English and American decisions, the English decisions, and not the American decisions, will guide our Courts. This is not a matter in which, because of some analogy between our Constitution and the American Constitution American cases can be used as a guide, as for example in the great series of important cases recently so much quoted before the High Court, and of which the Attorney-General has some professional, as well as some political, knowledge. In this matter the whole current of English decisions will have the same weight in Australia as the current of English decisions upon the construction of wills, or upon Questions of tort - as to which, especially in connexion with some branches of the law of negligence, as the AttorneyGeneral knows, and some matters connected with the law of trespass, the current of American decisions has set in a different direction from that of English decisions.
– I agree to a large extent with’ the honorable and learned gentleman in that observation; but he will remember that prominence is given to the American decisions; by those who claim them as authorities against this being a trade mark.
– The honorable member for Bland quoted some of them in support of his view, and I have pointed out that they do not support the honorable gentleman’s view. This is a point on which we cannot be guided by a consideration of the English cases.
– Because the honorable and learned gentleman said that there was no English case in which it had been held.
– I say that the English cases by necessary inference exclude this being called a trade mark, because, wherever a trade mark is defined, their definition prevents this, being included within it. I challenge the Attorney-General to quote any single authoritative definition of a trade mark, either in the text-books or in cases in English or Australian Courts which would include a union label. If the honorable and learned gentleman will name one case, I shall look it up in the library as soon as I have concluded mv remarks. If there were such a case the Attorney-General would let me hear of it quickly enough.
– I propose to address myself to the question.
– The Attorney-General might have named one case, and that would not be considered an irrelevant or ‘ disorderly interjection. The point of my remarks is that if a union label is not within the competence of the Federal Legislature under sub-section 18 of section 51 as a trade mark, it is not, in the form proposed by the Government applying to trade within a State as well as to trade between a State and foreign countries, within the competence of the Federal Legislature either. I think the Attorney-General will admit that.
– I have admitted that over and over again.
– It is clear that the English and Australian cases exclude these labels from the 1905 definition of a trade mark, and even from the definition of 1900. We are, in my opinion, engaged in an unconstitutional task in this matter. We are proposing to make laws which we have not the power to make. I remember that a very similar question arose some eighteen months ago in connexion with the proposal to include State servants under the Arbitration Bill.
– And the honorable and learned gentleman was a member of the Government that passed the Bill containing that provision.
– I voted against it, and spoke against it.
– Not as a member of that Government.
– No; I voted against it, and then supported the whole measure, because I preferred the measure with blemishes to no measure at all. I never disguised my attitude with respect to the Arbitration Bill.
– The honorable and learned gentleman threw one Government out over it.
– I did-
– The honorable and learned gentleman did not attempt to throw his own Government out over it.
– That is so, because I had before then announced that I intended to support the measure, whether that provision were included in it or not, just as I announced my intention to support it, whether there was, or was not, a certain amendment made in what was known as clause 48. I referred to the amendment proposed in con nexion -with- the Arbitration Bill as an illustration to show that it is not desirable that this Parliament should pass laws ob the chance of their being constitutional. Amongst our deliberate duties as a Federal Parliament is the duty of keeping as far as we can within the bounds, of the Constitution. Especially in the early years of the Federation, whilst State watchfulness of our proceedings is marked, we have a deliberate duty not to transgress the bounds of the Constitution. I do not mean by that to say that we should refrain from passing laws, because they may possibly be beyond the Constitution. We may approach reasonably near to the limits of our powers in a case of genuine doubt, which can only be decided, as the Judge of a State Court said the other day, “ by the man who has the last say,” and should not hesitate to exercise our power because, after full argument in a Court of Law, our legislation may be held to be unconstitutional. At least, the burden is on those who support the measure, to satisfy us that there is reasonable likelihood of its being held to be constitutional. We have not had that proof ; we did .not get it from the AttorneyGeneral in his second1- reading speech, and I have read twice every word he then uttered. I noticed the singular fact that he practically confined his remarks in this connexion to pointing out that there was something somewhere which was something like what is proposed to be done now. But he did not use any argument which would justify us in supposing that “ trade mark “ will suddenly be found to have a meaning which it has never been given in the English Courts - a meaning that it will, require to have to bring this proposal within our legislative power. The Constitution was framed intentionally with limited Federal authority, and was so accepted by the people.
– The honorable and learned member will admit that the whole power of dealing with trade marks is delegated to the Commonwealth Parliament.
– My point is that this is not a trade mark at all. As to the AttorneyGeneral’s criticism of speeches on this side, I ask him whether, up to the present, at any rate, I have not fairly addressed myself to the question?
– I have no complaint whatever to make about the honorable member’s speech.
– But I also ask whether it is fair to compel me at this hour of the night to address myself to these important matters ?
– Considering that my desire is to strike out the words, I cannot see the necessity for discussion by honorable members who are opposed to their being in the clause.
– But the motion is to strike out the words, with a view to insert “workers’ trade.”
– I have already intimated that I shall not urge that now, but shall leave a gap.
– But the present proposal involves the question of the substituted words.
– I said distinctly, at an early hour, that I would not discuss the question of inserting the words until we reached Part VII.
– But the Attorney-General does propose to insert those other words ?
– Not now. I shall have to recommit the clause ; and that is why I saythere is no necessity for this discussion.
– It is just as well to have the discussion now as later on, especially seeing that later on we are not going to be allowed to discuss the question.
– Who said so?
– The Prime Minister of Australia said so. He is the last man who should, but he said so.
– That is not correct.
– I am now answering the interjection of the Attorney-General as to the discussion of the matter now, and pointing out that he and his leader propose to give me no opportunity to discuss it later on.
– That is absolutely incorrect.
– It is correct. That is my opinion, and I express it.
– The honorable and learned member told us just now that the Prime Minister had said so, and that statement is very incorrect.
– What the Prime Minister wishes to do is to see that business is transacted, and not obstructed.
– I will leave that point. At present I wish to confine myself to the question before the Chair. I think I have, more briefly than I would like, and, at any rate, not at so great a length as did the honorable member for Bland-
– The honorable and learned member challenged me to make a statement, and I occupied about one hour out of forty hours of discussion.
– I cheered the honorable member for Bland when he sat down, because, although I did not agree with his speech, I considered it a good one from his point of view.
– The honorable member for Bland “ gave the whole show away.”
– That is partly why I cheered him.
– The honorable and learned member is welcome to all the capital he can make out of my speech.
– I have endeavoured to address myself absolutely to the points at issue. I have spoken briefly, but I think I have said sufficient to make clear my views, without going into detailed argument in support of them. I have laid down the general line of my argument in support of the view that this proposal is unconstitutional. The next point - and it is one equally pertinent to the question - is as to the necessity for a union trade mark. In the United States of America, rightly or wrongly - and I am not prepared to say wrongly - the great majority of the States have adopted union label Acts. The history of the struggle for better conditions on the part of wage-earners in the United States has developed on very different lines, and in very different ways, from the similar movement in Australia. There is nothing more gratifying in the history of the last century or half-century than the rapid, though certainly not too rapid - indeed in some cases too slow - development of the power of the wage-earning classes, and the results that have been attained in the securing of better and fairer conditions. When one looks back, even only half a century, to the condition of the wage-earners then, and compares it with their condition to-day, one cannot but recognise that it has improved enormously, largely, though I will not say entirely, nor almost entirely, owing to the energetic and well-directed efforts of the wage-earners themselves. In their struggle to develop their own opportunities, and secure to themselves the proper reward of their own efforts, they are deserving of all commendation and support. Any man who sets himself up in opposition to all wise efforts in thatbehalf, sets himself in opposition notonly to a tide which will quickly overwhelm him, but tojustice. It does not follow, however, that every means proposed by those either personally interested, or, as it were, interested from the outside, is the right means. No one would admit more quickly than honorable members who claim to specially represent those who are struggling upward, that sometimes their proposals have effects which are not expected, and that sometimes they find themselves in a blind alley, from which they have to retrace their steps in order to seek another road.
– All honour, nevertheless, to those who initiated the lines of progress. The road is strewn with sad memorials of the noble men who did so.
– I admit that in very many cases, which do not redound to the credit of those who were the cause, the men who have been in the van in great and just industrial movements, have personally suffered. I object to honorable members assuming that they, and they alone, have these honorable aims in view,. I remind them that where I differ from them - and I speak only for myself - I in no way differ as tothe aim they have to secure equality of opportunity and justice of treatment for all human beings. Where I differ from them is as to whether the methods they propose will produce the desired effect. However wrong honorable members may think my views, that is a position- which may be taken up by any man without exposing him to a charge of injustice or unfairness ; his intellectual view may be questioned, but not his heart or sense of justice. The verv classes who confessedly have the same object in view have pursued1 very different methods in dif.ferent countries. It may be that those differing methods will all conduce .to the desired result, but, on the other hand, they may not. In the United States of America the movement of the working classes, or those who, perhaps, may be fairly called the wage-earning classes as a whole, has been kept as far as possible from the Courts. The wage-earners have said, “ We desire to, and we can, work out our own salvation!” They have said very plainly in many cases, “ We do not trust the Courts ; we do not trust the purity of the source from which justice is drawn.” I do not say whether such an attitude is correct or incorrect. .1 believe that, as a general rule, Judges selected by. popular votes for short periods are not as likely to be as efficient Judges and as good lawyers as are those who are appointed during ‘good behaviour by careful selection. I think that the British and Australian system of choosing Judges is incomparably superior to that which has been pursued for many years in many of the United States of America - a method which, as its application has been diminished from year to year, with consequent improvements, has shown the unwisdom of that system as compared with ours. And I should be very sorry to see the principles of democracy so distorted as to be applied to the popular selection of our Judges, however wise it may be - as I admit that it is wise - that those principles should be applied to the selection of ourselves as deliberative legislators. I want to point out the essential difference between the conditions in the United States and the conditions in Australia, in order to show that any argument as to the desirability or the necessity of this legislation in Australia drawn from the United States analogy, is an utterly false argument; and, therefore, I am compelled to show the essential difference in conditions between the two countries. In the United States of America there are no Courts set- .tling hours of labour, rates of wages, and conditions, of employment.
– There are not such laws in some of the States of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member’s intellect is quick, and he sees ahead to the point at which a slow tongue cannot arrive as quickly as his thoughts can. I am coming to that a little. ‘later, but I cannot say what I wish to say all at once. In the United States, I repeat, there are no courts determining hours of labour, rates of pay, and conditions of employment. As a consequence, the allpowerful influence of the State - the organized community - cannot be used for securing by that particular method satisfactory conditions for wage-earners ; and they have adopted, therefore, what they believe will to a large extent achieve the same result by a different method. They have adopted as a method of securing these results the union label, because, they say, ~ “ our unions will lay down in their bargains with employers conditions as to satisfactory hours, satisfactory rates of remuneration, satisfactory conditions of employment. Consequently, with our union label on the goods that are made by us, the buyer can be assured that he is buying an- article which has been- made under satisfactory conditions.” I say at once, as any fair-minded buyer would do, especially one who is not tied down to thinking whether he can afford to pay another sixpence or another shilling for an article, that one should take that much trouble in the interests of his fellowcreatures. And we do, I think. All of us, so far as we can, do that. The wage-earners of the United States say - I think with a good deal of reason - “ Give us our union label, and it will “assure the buyer, without his havingto make personal inquiries, that he is getting an article that is being made under satisfactory conditions.” If it stopped there, and there was nothing else to differentiate the American case from the Australian case, it might be acknowledged that a very strong, if not exactly a conclusive argument, might be drawn from the experience of the United States. But as a matter of fact - and I say this deliberately - the union label, besides being used for what we might call quite legitimate purposes in the United States, is used for other purposes which are not as legitimate or as proper. So that the first thing we learn from the United States experience, without considering the conditions prevailing there, without considering the difference between those conditions and the conditions prevailing here, is that while the union label maybe valuable weapon, it is also a weapon of a dangerous character; and that while we may be able to get useful lessons and useful experience from the United States laws, we also get warnings.. But those warnings are apparently to be entirely disregarded.
– I beg to draw attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– For a number of years - at least, for the last fourteen or fifteen years, probably longer, but at any rate, for that time - the efforts of the wageearners in Australia have been directed towards securing the exercise of the authority of the State directly in reference to wages, hours, and other conditions of labour.
– The principal opponents of the union label are also the principal opponents of trade union labour, conciliation and arbitration, and Factories Acts. If the honorable member reads the report of the conference held in Adelaide he will find that Mr. Bostock and Mr. Walpole were saying, “ Root out conciliation and arbitration root and branch.”
– I was always a supporter of wages boards in the State Parliament.
I must make a divergence for a little while to discuss the accuracy of the statement of the honorable member for Yarra. He says, if I understand him aright- and he will perhaps correct me if I have misapprehended him - that excepting myself-
– I say that the principal opponents of the union label are the principal opponents of industrial legislation, such as Conciliation and Factories Acts.
– I do not know what the honorable member means by “ the principal opponents.”
– The Employers’ Federation of Australia, for instance.
– Of course, the farmers do not count?
– Do not count with whom ?
– The Labour Party.
– That is not correct.
– That is the view that I take.
– That does not make the statement any the less a misrepresentation.
-It does not make it incorrect either. I draw my inference from the facts which I have observed.
– It suits the honorable member to do it; that is all.
– I also find that frequently people measure others by their own yard sticks.
– The honorable member is giving short measure in this instance.
– The honorable member will find that I am not, before I have finished. The honorable member for Yarra has said that the great majority of those who are opposed to the union label are also opposed to Conciliation and Arbitration Acts, wages boards, and similar industrial legislation.
– That is quite correct.
– I venture to differ from the honorable member. As far as I could, in view of the fact that I must not break the thread of my speech, I have run over the names of all the main opponents of the union label in this House, and I find that more than half of those - I think nearly two-thirds - who are opposed to the union label were not opposed to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and are members whose careers in the States Parliaments prove that they were not opposed to Wages Boards or Factories Acts, or anything of the kind. If the honorable members who have interjected will take the trouble to obtain a copy of Hansard, and look at the names of the members on the back page, and if they will tick off those names of members who are known to be opposed to the union label proposals of the Government, they will find that not one-third of them were opposed to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– This is only one of the Parliaments.
– The people whom we represent, and we who represent them, are to be regarded rather than persons who may possibly take a less broad and more onesided view than we who have had an opportunity of hearing both sides of the question. I think the honorable member will admit that reasonable opportunities have been afforded to him and others to hear the other side. I now come to the point from which I was diverted by some interjections, though only to a kindred matter. In Australia, the wage-earning class - and I use that phrase as a conveniently brief one to indicate all sections of the community - have set themselves to work to secure direct State control of wages and conditions of labour, and for two-thirds of their number they have succeeded. In Victoria, we have a system of Wages Boards which is very excellent, as far1 as it goes. I do not think it has been extended to cases to which it might reasonably be made applicable. But we have Wages Boards in a large number of trades-, with very valuable results. Speaking in general terms, each Wages Board prescribes the wages and conditions for all employes in the trade, . unionists and non-unionists alike. In their case, not only would the use of a union label by the union whose members form part of the employes in a trade be unnecessary, but it would be absolutely misleading. It would be an attempt to tell the public that, while the places in which the union label was exclusively employed were working under fair conditions’, by implication the other places were not so working under fair conditions, and it would be stating that which would not be the truth, because under the Wages Boards unionists and non-unionists alike are getting the benefit of their decisions. Take the case of two factories which were producing the same article, and working under the decisions of a Wages Board. Suppose that in one factory union labour was employed, and that in the other non-union labour was employed. If the factory in which union labour was employed, did use the unionlabel, and its goods went out to the world bearing the union label, there would be a false inference drawn that the other factory, in which the wages, conditions, and hours of employment were exactly the same, was a sweating factory. In other words, the label would be a means of telling lies about the non-unionists working under the Wages Board.
– Is there no sweating in Victoria ?
– Yes, I am sorry to say. I do not think that the use of the union label would cure the sweating in the trades in which it is still practised. In New South Wales there is a Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which provides in effect that the Court may determine what are proper wages and conditions of labour in practically any trade whose differences of opinion are brought before it. Under the Act the wage-earners in any industry may go to the Court, and have fair wages and conditions of labour prescribed. Frequently - I think I might say usually - <(?he Court will say :that the wages and conditions of labour shall apply not merely to the persons, or even to the members of the organizations making the application, but to all persons employed in the industry, at any rate, within the competitive area, because, after all, it has always appeared to me that the competitive area, is the proper test for the application of the common rule. Consequently, in New South W’ales there is a Court which has the power of prescribing that, for unionists and nonunionists alike in an industry, certain rates of pay and certain conditions of labour shall be observed. Very often the Court has also directed that to unionists shall’ be given preference ; sometimes it has not. There we have the fact that, whether it be a unionist or a non-unionist, who is employed, he is to get the rates of pay and the conditions of labour prescribed, and the union label going out from a shop or factory where union labour was employed as a suggestion that there, and there alone, were proper wages being paid and1 proper conditions of work being observed would be another falsehood. Again, the inference, which may or may not be true in the United States - “and I have no doubt that in many cases it is not true - would be false in New South Wales in exactly the same way. In Western Australia, the application of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to an industry will affect unionists and nonunionists alike, and will, consequently, cause it to be untrue to suggest by the use of the union label that, while the goods so marked are being produced under proper conditions of labour, the goods not so marked are not being produced under exactly the same conditions.
Mr.Poynton. - Does not the Bill also provide for a non-union label ?
– What is it to show ?
– That the goods are made under humane conditions.
– The laws in operation in Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia show that unionists and nonunionists alike are under the same conditions of labour, and are being paid the same rates of wages. Consequently if there is in the United States some reason for the use of the non-union label, there is no such reason inthose three States in Australia. It is not fair to assume that any honorable member can address himself closely to so important a question at this hour, and expect that reasonable attention will be given to his remarks. If I am given an opportunity to conclude my remarks under ordinary conditions, I shall undertake not to discuss the general question again, but to confine myself strictly to a discussion of each of the clauses to which I am opposed. This question of the union label is the biggest question which has been before Parliament this session. It is of greater importance than the fate of a Government. The country will recover more quickly from the effects of a change of Government’ than from the institution of the union label. It was referred to shortly during the second reading debate in connexion with other matters, and it has been Under the consideration of the House in Committee during one sitting. However the Attorney-General is in an obstinate mood, and be will not. say what he is prepared to do.
– I have moved the omission of two words, and I cannot get that done.
– Will the honorable and learned gentleman agree to report progress as soon as those three words are omitted ?
– I am not going to submit to any dictation.
– I am not dictating, but asking a civil question.
– I shall make no such bargain with the honorable and learned member. He must take the responsibility of his own action.
– I am quite prepared to do that. I have made my last appeal to the honorable and learned gentleman,and it was purely a personal appeal I must continue what I had to say. In Queensland there is no Conciliation and Arbitration Act in force, although there is practically a Labour Government, and the Labour Party are in power. Why have they mot passed such a measure, if it is necessary in the interests of the wage-earners of that State? It is presumably because they believe that they are able to secure proper wages and conditions without the aid of such legislation. I now pass to a consideration of the condition of affairs in South Australia. Am I to understand that the Attorney -General is willing to report progress ?
– I intend to ask the Committee to report progress.
– Then I shall resume my seat.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). - It is evident to me that no business can be transacted, and, therefore, I am compelled to move -
That the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill returned from the Senate with a message acquainting the House that the Senate had agreed to the amendments of its amendments.
Mr. AUSTIN CHAPMAN laid upon the table the following paper -
Regulations under the. Post and Telegraph Act, Statutory Rules, 1905,Nos. 62 and 63.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
I wish to say that to my mind, it has been proved to demonstration that under the existing Standing Orders St is absolutely impossible to carry on the business of the country.
– -11 we have an AttorneyGeneral who will not accept .a reasonable offer.
– It has been demonstrated beyond all question that under present conditions the will of the majority cannot be attained - that it is within the power of the minority to obstruct the business of the whole country.
– I regret to hear that expression of opinion from the Attorney-General. If the honorable and learned member had last night pursued a more pacific course, and had accepted the recommendations pf his colleagues, fiftyseven clauses of the Bill would have been disposed of, and, with the exception of three, that number would have been raised to seventy-two to-day. However, at this hour, I do not propose to argue those points.
– In reply to the extraordinary statement of the AttorneyGeneral, I may say that on Tuesday evening the honorable and’ learned member was made an offer which would have resulted in a magnificent day’s work, but declined to accept it. To-night I offered that if the Attorney-General would consent to report progress on the Committee agreeing to strike certain words out, the omission of which he had moved, I would sit down, and, thereupon, the debate would have come to an end When the Government deliberately refuse to accept the very thing it declares it is fighting for, it is political audacity of the most astounding kind for the Attorney-General to rum round and assert that the business of the country cannot be carried on.
– When it is known that a wager has been made in Sydney that this obstruction will be continued, it is time, for the welfare of the country, that some decided steps were taken. This is the most disgraceful obstruction of which I have ever heard. This drivel of debate must be ended.
– Is there a quorum present?
A quorum not being present,
-Speaker adjourned the House at 12.53 a.m. (Thursday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 November 1905, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19051115_reps_2_29/>.